The former U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs says Sudan’s general election scheduled to end Thursday reinforces the status quo which will allow President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) to further dominate the country’s politics.
Ambassador Jendayi Frazer said the NCP seems determined to maintain its grip on power in order to continue its policies of marginalizing other regions as well as ensuring that power and wealth remain in Khartoum.
“It is a process that was harmed, I think fundamentally, by the National Congress Party and its manipulation of the process, from the census to the voter registration to the distribution of polling stations and materials to benefit the NCP. Secondly, it has been harmed by the opposition's last decision to boycott and to withdraw from the polls,” she said.
Sudan’s general election which is the first in decades forms part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which effectively ended the civil war between the President Bashir-led government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Ambassador Frazer said some observers initially had high hopes for the election.
“Some feel that these polls had to go forward because of the CPA. They certainly were seen by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as the mechanism for democratic transformation, but in fact I think they have resulted in maintaining the status quo…with the NCP returned to power and the opposition further disenfranchised by their own action,” Frazer said.
The United States-based Carter Center is among other international poll observers, including the African Union, Arab League and the European Union monitoring Sudan’s general elections.
Ambassador Frazer said the international community should pay close attention to reports from the poll observers.
“First we will have to hear what the observers say…but I also think that the world needs to understand from the point of view that the (election) is manipulated by the NCP from the outset that it doesn’t any further give Bashir any kind of democratic credential or mandate. In fact he cannot come out of these elections with any greater legitimacy given that he went in as a war criminal and he will come out as an indicted war criminal,” Frazer said.
The ruling National Congress Party said Wednesday it would invite opposition parties to join the government if the party wins the general elections scheduled to end Thursday.
This comes after several opposition groups, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the UMMA party boycotted the poll claiming the NCP influenced the National Electoral Commission to rig the vote - - a charge the ruling party denies.