Sudan and his controversial new President!


A reader’s comment on my last post about the election of Oman Al-Bashir made me think that I might as well go deeper into the whole subject and chart the different aspect of this Election.

2010/05/29 at 2:13 am

“I think it is good news that Sudan held an election in along time, like 2 decades or more, plus it went peacefully.
So…we cant expect much else, at least for now.”

This year elections were the first “democratically” held election since 1986. (…) The 1986 elections were held after the fall of Field Marshal Jaffar Mohammed Numeiry, who seized power in a 1969 military coup and ruled the country until he was ejected in a popular uprising in 1985. source
Omar -Al Bashir came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier of the Sudanese army  led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al- Mahdi. In October 2004, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) negotiated an end to the Second Sudanese Civil War,one of the longest-running and deadliest wars of the 20th century, by granting limited autonomy to Southern Sudan. (…) Al Bashir’s government even signed the the Comprehensive Peace agreement (CPA) in 2005, an agreement between the SPLM and the NCP to develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence.
(…) Since then, however, there has been a violent conflict in Darfur that has resulted in death tolls between 200,000 and 400,000.During his presidency, there have been several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the  Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur region. The civil war has resulted in over 2.5 million people being displaced, and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being at a crisis level.
In July 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, accused Al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The court issued an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide. The warrant will be delivered to the Sudanese government, which is unlikely to execute it. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. source
But the African Union, the League of Arab States, The Non-Aligned Movement, the governments of Russia and China have opposed them to this decision.

Why? One of the reasons is surely that Al-Bashir raised Sudan to be one of Chinas and Russias most import OIL-PROVIDER in the last few years. So despite ICC arrest warrent Al-Bashir is a free man, even thought Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa said, he will have him arrested should he dare to put one foot on South African ground.

How could Al-Bashir get elected president again and what choice did the Sudanese people have?

For the first “free and fair” election since the military coup that brought Al Bashir to power in 1989, the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) nominated in January 2010  Yasir Arman, as the party’s presidential candidate in the north. Arman was a important negotiater for the CPA agreement between South and North Sudan. (Another potential candidate of the SPLM was Riek Machar).

(…) Arman articulated his party’s national ambitions in an interview with Sudan Tribune one year ago. “In many occasions the SPLM in the north has demonstrated that it is growing, it is a force to reckon with. In fact it is one of the biggest forces, and it is to be noted that the SPLM—the movement that started in South Sudan, it is the first movement in the history of Sudan that started in a marginalized area and then it engulfed the whole of Sudan.”(…)

So President Al-Bashir,  had as the main challenger :

From the North: former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi (Interview with Al-Mahdi) and  from the South : SPLM-Frontman Arman.

But then one candidate after the other boycotted the elections.

The southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – which serves in a coalition at national level with President Bashir – first announced it was boycotting the presidential election over fraud and security fears in April 2010.

view: 3min Interview with Aman about boycotting the Elections

Other parties in the north followed suit, saying they believed the electoral process had been rigged in favour of Mr Bashir’s National Congress Party. Then the Umma party announced that it is boycotting the general elections at all levels.

Sadig Al-Mahdi, explained at a press conference the reasons for the boycott.

“Our main concern was the issue of the transportation and control of the ballots and the fact that the number of polling centers were reduced to less than half of the original number. This denied other parties in the states the chance of participation in the elections and the National Elections Commission did nothing about this issue and this led to the general boycott of these flawed elections. When the issue was discussed for the second time, the view of the majority of our political bureau was in favor a complete boycott of the elections. The political bureau yesterday took its decision to boycott of elections at all levels because these elections do not represent the real will of the people of Sudan. “….

please view: Al Mahdis Reasons for the boycott

” The aim of the boycott is to rob President Omar al-Bashir of the opportunity to legitimise his rule.

He has governed Sudan for more than 20 years, but his indictment by the International Criminal Court on alleged war crimes in Darfur now hangs around his neck like a millstone.

He has been campaigning vigorously in the run-up to the vote on 11 April, travelling across Sudan, and was busy rallying his supporters in Sennar – east of Khartoum – as his opponents plotted their withdrawal.

His dilemma now is how to respond to the boycott. It is also a blow for Washington, which was laying a lot of store on these elections and wanted them to go ahead.* ” (Zeinab Badawil, BBC News)

* according to the CPA agreement of 2005, the election were set for 2008/9 !

But the US did not react as the Sudanese people expect them to.

Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim says on the “Sudanese Tribune”:

(…)Sudanese regret that US did not do more as promised to prevent and address such irregularities, manipulation of the process by the NCP,… The US did not only ignore the mass fraud, manipulation, and intimidation that characterized the elections, but also helped in making this scheme possible. The Sudanese opposition had hoped these elections would have led to a democratic transformation… Unfortunately, the US administration views the elections mandated by the CPA as a prerequisite for the referendum in the South to be held in January 2011(…)The fear of Bashir aborting the referendum has been the driving force behind the U.S policy towards Sudan. Ironically, this policy seems to have helped him in aborting the democratic transformation process promised by the CPA agreement(…)This contradicting role encourage the regime of Al Bashir to abrogate the last chapter of the CPA, and the referendum for the South(…) “the US is on our side”,he says. He fears nothing(…)The irony of this policy is that US has achieved none of its goals in Sudan(…). source

I’d like to share one last opinion on this:

Its from a Sudanese political activist, living in the US, called Deng T. Liem :

(…) I believe that it is the best interest for south to vote for President Oman Al-Bashir in this election, not because he is the best President for us, but because he was one who had signed CPA with south. If he will act to disown his own signatory, however, it will make it easy for south to declare UDI for south against his regime and the whole world will rally behind south as they would have known that, President Al-Bashir has breached his own signature on CPA document…

1. President Oman Al-Bashir will not make unity attractive, whatsoever; therefore, south will overwhelmingly vote to secede in 2011, 2. He has vigorously agreed with his nuclear Islamic fundamentalists’ society and endorsed religion state of Sudan that would be governed by “Sharia Laws” opposed to secular New Sudan of SPLM and therefore, President Oman Al-Bashir is now a sought separatist, and 3. He is a partner in CPA and any attempted breach against referendum provision would be grave mistaken as it would be taken very seriously by international community and CPA peace brokers

However, Mr. Yasir Arman will make it difficult for south to secede for these fundamental reasons I listed below.
1. He has no base in north to govern without south, 2. He would not let his base to secede to taint his political carrier and north, 3. He will keep his base by making unity attractive to south and votes for unity, and 4. He must abnegate his known secularism mentality and joins his nuclear Arab people in north to declare wrecking war against south and charges south for disowning it owns SPLM’s compelling principle of New Sudan in place
. source

We well all have to watch very attentively the next steps of the NCP. Even thought Al-Bashir new elected presidency (à la “Survival of the fittest”) lay open many question marks and unsolved problems (and more important many disappointed people!), I sincerely believe that this results were strategically (not morally!) correct and I’m exited to see what is going to happen next.

researched and commented 4u by mwoogie

please feel free to comment





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