Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 3 April 2010

Sudan’s election crisis and 2011 Referendum


By Zechariah Manyok Biar

April 2, 2010 — The election crisis in Sudan is threatening the stability that the country enjoyed over the last four years. Opposition groups, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) that has now withdrawn its national presidential candidate, seem determined to boycott the elections this month. There are many reasons of potential rigging that would justify the decision of the opposition groups to boycott the elections. The question is how such a boycott would affect the 2011 Referendum that South Sudanese care about more than they care about April elections. The opposition groups do not seem to have concrete solution to both the postponing of elections and the holding of the 2011 Referendum as scheduled.

In their recent meeting, the oppositions gave the following recommendations as conditions for their participations in elections: find a just and comprehensive solution to the Darfur crisis as well as allow for the participation of its peoples in the elections, fulfill the major tenets of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement particularly those parts related to democratic transformation, the sustainability of peace in the south and achieving voluntary unity, review the current Electoral Act with the objective of addressing the gaps and shortcomings that have appeared upon implementation, form a new National Election Commission from persons who are known for their integrity independence and competence, and conduct the Referendum on Self Determination as originally planned in January 2011 as well as public consultations in each of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The opposition groups also demand that elections be held in November this year.

One wonders how realistic these conditions are. We need to go deep into the above conditions and see what would be behind some of them. In this case, we have to consider the fact that the opposition groups in Sudan may have their different interests as well as some few shared interests. The clash of these interests may be disadvantageous to a sustainable solution of Sudanese problems.

The Northern opposition parties, on the one hand, claim that they share the idea that there is a need for a democratic rule in Sudan. But they will not all agree on the importance of the holding of the 2011 Referendum in the South when the current government of the National Congress Party (NCP) is still in power. South Sudanese under SPLM, on the other hand, do not care about whether the current government is voted out or not, they only care about the 2011 Referendum.

So the question is: Are the above conditions realistic for both the democratic transformation in Sudan before November, 2010, and the holding of the 2011 Referendum on time?

First, the condition that the government must find a just and comprehensive solution to the Darfuri crisis as well as allow for the participation of its peoples in the elections before November, 2010, is unrealistic. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed after more than two years of negotiations. Notice that Southerners were united under SPLM during CPA negations and it still took two years to reach an agreement with the government. The Durfuris, unlike Southerners, are not yet united under one faction to present their united position on what they want for their people. How can a comprehensive solution be found before November, 2010, to such a conflict of interest in Darfur?

Second, the condition that the government should fulfill the major tenets of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement particularly those parts related to democratic transformation before November, 2010, is unrealistic. If the opposition groups could not force the government to transform over the last four years, then what would make them force the same government to transform within the next four months?

Third, the condition to review the current Electoral Act with the objective of addressing the gaps and shortcomings that have appeared upon the implementation before November, 2010, is unrealistic. The review would involve parliamentary approval. So, somebody will have to draft an acceptable bill. Then the bill will be debated in parliament. The NCP that has the majority in parliament will oppose anything they do not like in the bill. That will take more than a month. Even if NCP were to give in later, the transformation of Electoral Commission will take at least one month before they resume their work. This leads us to the next related unrealistic condition.

Fourth, the condition that the government should form a new National Election Commission from persons who are known for their integrity, independence and competence before November, 2010, is unrealistic. If the new commission is formed, such a commission is going to start on a new page in order to be legitimate. Every ballot paper printed now would be declared invalid. Even if Sudan had a lot of money to print new ballot papers, nobody would expect the printing of new ballot papers to be done before the end of this year.

Fifth, the condition that the new government elected in November, 2010, would still conduct the Referendum on Self Determination as originally planned in January 2011 as well as public consultations in each of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile is unrealistic. We know that the counting of votes would take some weeks, since our system is not advanced. The new government would be sworn in at least one month after elections, which will be December, 2010. Possibilities are that ministers will not have been chosen before the announcement of election results. So, their appointments may take place in January, 2011. The parliament will start its sessions in the middle of January, 2011. So, who will have organized the 2011 Referendum on January 9, 2011?

The realistic condition here is for SPLM to have goal-oriented reasoning in the few coming hours. What does SPLM regard as important? Is it the 2011 Referendum in the South or is it the democratic transformation in the whole of Sudan? If the answer is to transform Sudan democratically, then the other question would be to know who exactly among the opposition groups in the North is known for fighting for democratic rule in Sudan over the last two decades of his or political career. If none, as far as I know, then what is the guarantee that these opposition groups mean what they say this time about democratic transformation in Sudan?

If SPLM is absolutely convinced that Northern opposition leaders have really changed and are now genuinely fighting for real democracy in Sudan, then the realistic position of SPLM would be to push the 2011 Referendum to January, 2012.

If the main goal of SPLM is to have 2011 Referendum conducted as scheduled, then pushing the current elections to November this year does not make sense. SPLM can still go ahead and participate in all levels of elections, except the national presidency.

Having elections only in the South and not in the North, as rumored, would be regarded as local by NCP, and therefore, would not count as legitimate for the conduct of the 2011 Referendum. SPLM must be smart in its decision-making at this critical moment in our history.

Zechariah Manyok Biar is a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, Texas, USA. He just graduated with a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and he is still pursuing a Master of Science in Social Work, specializing in Administration and Planning. He can be contacted at manyok34@gmail.com

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  • 3 April 2010 04:57, by Dinka Boy

    Brother Manyok Biar, you said it all. Your anaysis is so great.

    To be honest with South Sudanese, the decision that was made by SPLM and PB need to be revise before April 11 ;otherwise, we SPLM supporters and SPLA will not support any kind of decision like the way SPLM decided the withdrawal of Yasir Arman. It’s a dangerous decision and SPLM as a party need to check their stupid decision before April 11 ,other SPLM will encounter hardship in the South.

    WHY SPLM made this sort of decision?

    I am very frustrated indeed for the decision of SPLM leaders and PB.It seems that one educated head is better than two. Why SPLM Humiliated our potential hero like this?

    I personally will not shot a single bullet this time if Yasir is contesting aganist Bashier. I regret for this and it is a foolish decision that we south Sudanese can not ever made if Dr John Garang de Mabior was alive. Never!

    Withdrawal will not help the South because it will bring defection again and i awarn SPLM to put back Yasir Arman to the race. Why SPLM want to try to violate the CPA in this way.SPLM must consider and understand that you guys will fight the war alone without majority of support this time if our politicians are dominated by traitors like this.

    What a fuck traitor like Riek Machar talk stupidly about the withdrawing of precidential candidates( Arman)?.

    I will fight if the coup happened,but i am not going to fight again if the war happened in 2011 because we have uneducated leaders who just listen very much for evey thing said by traitors. Good luck!

    Why not we go for election and wait for the possibilities,after that we proceeded to referendum who we all yearn for decades. Wow! I hope thing will change,but if not then SPLM will loss alot because it’s not ingenious way of solving things. Yes, the characteristics of baycotting is common to those who no less about negotiation,and i agree that SPLM plus PB ressemble those.

    The problem of Drafur are not for SS and indeed we can not just withdraw our candidate like that. This Riek Machar has recieved bribe from Khartoum and that is why he just mumbling like stupid dog in the media. Shit!

    repondre message

    • 3 April 2010 13:09, by Gatwech

      Zechariah Manyok Biar,

      What you now seem to have recommended as realistic is what the SPLM has already done. Boycotting national presidency election but participating at all levels (executive and legislature) is what is ongoing. I hope you got it.

      As for these hyenas in the opposition, they will see Bashir as president after elections. They are just pretending to be for democratic transformation this late.

      repondre message

      • 3 April 2010 17:03, by kuminyandi

        Mr. Gatwech,

        Your comment just reveals who you are! You Pretend to be a Southerner, but in reality you are an NCP stooger. I’m not suprise with your betrayal comments, but I’m suprise that you don’t have principles and convictions as everybody else in this hard times of our political history as Southerners. Your endorsement for Albashir is very obvious in your hypocritical comments. And this one is a living proof for your treasons. I never commented for your comments before, but this one forced me to response to your treachery act. My respects go to Dinka Boy, Murlescrewed, Mr.Logic, Junub, Hardliner, and many more who stood firm on their principles and political convictions regarding our contemporary crisis. You and your cliques had doomed your chances to showcase your patriotism and nationalism in this website. Please DO not try to reply me, You are not worth my time.


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    • 3 April 2010 22:47, by kuminyandi

      Dear Dinka Boy,

      I hear you brother! I know exactly how you feel at this difficult times of frustration. The SPLM let us all down by an unfortunate and blind decision.

      I feel your pain and frustration regarding this hot issue in our brief political history as a newly to be found nation.

      Please allow me to pay my regards, special respect, and admiration for your steadfastness, convictions, and beliefs. You have shown and demonstrated the true love for struggle of our marginalised people all over Sudan.

      Even though I do not know personally, but I truely appreciate your efforts to enlighten deviated brothers such as Gatwech and his cliques in this web forum.

      So far, SPLM leadership decision was made to assassinate and destroy comrade Arman politicaly in minds of Southern Sudanese. Such deception games by our leaders are dangerous and will haunt them sooner or later.

      Dinka Boy, SPLM is been hijacked by outsiders who posses different and dangerous agenda out of goals and objectives set foreward by its manifesto in 1984.

      Further, The two biggest mistakes committed by SPLM thus far are:1. Decision of withdrwaing comrade Arman from the election.2. Another decision made by SPLM to welcome back Riek and Lam Akol to the movement after they died politicaly. Their political revival became a nightmares to Southernes; these two stoogers calling themselves doctors are viruses under skin of Southern Sudanese people.

      Borther Dinka Boy, don’t worry about this havoc, its just like strom that will pass through us, our day is going to come. Let’s put this political burden aside and move ahead.

      We have not lost the war yet, but we lost a battle. There’re many battles to be won, therefore, stay put and be vigilant so that you can detect and defeat your enemies by using your emotional intelligent. This is the time when you need to fight intellectually,intelligentlly, and of course politically.

      Brother Dinka Boy, be courages and stand firm to your belief, and don’t let anybody take that away from you by putting you in political depression. Thanks


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  • 3 April 2010 06:09, by Dinka Boy

    Dear South Sudanese,

    Read this deal that traitor Riek Machar did to SPLM. He was bribe by Omer Bashier.

    "One rumor which, if true, would be wildly explosive is that the SPLM cut a deal with the NCP to withdraw Yasir Arman (the competitor most likely to bring Bashir into a runoff vote), in exchange for Bashir’s promise not to interfere with next year’s referendum."

    repondre message

    • 3 April 2010 11:12, by Lokorai

      Dinka boy,

      Give youreself rest on Arman, you know nothing about anything (politics included); you just a boy. 24/7 on the web, responding everything to show your support for Arman or SPLM makes you a pig.

      SPLM never goes wrong on its political decisions since its inception, may be others (admin & management); they exactly know what they are doing.

      Arman withdrawal is the best decision!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Leave them alone and stop telling us that you won’t support SPLM again, who are you that your contribution would be missed when you quit it.

      Have respect for our leadership including Dr. Machar.


      repondre message

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