Home | News    Monday 26 April 2010

INTERVIEW: Former aspiring presidential candidate accuses NEC of lying, conspiracy

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April 25, 2010 (IRVING, TEXAS) — A Sudanese man who made a failed attempt to become a presidential nominee in Sudan elections held this month accused the National Elections Commission (NEC) of lying and intentionally quashing his candidacy in collaboration with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

Mohamed El-Hassan also known as Al-Sufi from the National Reform Party (NRP) has fought up until the last minute to force the electoral board to accept his nomination taking the battle to Sudan’s highest court which ultimately turned down his appeal.

One major requirement to run for presidency was to gather 15,000 signatures from 18 of Sudan’s 25 states. El-Hassan has managed to secure 15,365 of those in North Sudan, which is comprised of 15 states, but was unable to get any from South Sudan citing difficult geographical terrain, harassment and detention by authorities over there to his delegates. All these incidents were detailed in a formal complaint he filed with the NEC.

His case is similar to that of Munir Sheikh el-Din Jallab, of the New Democratic Nationalist Party, who has not been able to complete registration procedures in the South for the same reason. Jallab’s representative in Sudan’s Unity state had been arrested and his papers taken from him.

Jallab has been returned to the race by the Higher National Court after originally being excluded by the NEC. The court agreed with his challenge that he has tried in good faith to get the signatures but has been hindered by "ill practices".

El-Hassan’s case was more complicated than Jallab as the NEC has not even acknowledged his candidacy application and thus did not consider him a prospective candidate. On top of that, the NRP, he is a member of, later split into two after abandoning his candidacy which he attributed to a deal between the NCP and party leaders including its president Dr. Ali Hamouda.

"I can now understand why someone in Darfur would carry arm and fight the government. There is nothing worse than the feeling of injustice," El-Hassan told Sudan Tribune in an interview at his home in Irving, Texas.

He showed a video of him inside the NEC headquarters in the Sudanese capital handing his application with the signatures to NEC chairman Abel Alier and other senior electoral officials minutes before the deadline expired last January.

Following the rejection of candidacy, El-Hassan proceeded to challenge the NEC decision with the Higher National Court on February 6. The NEC filed its response with the court stating that El-Hassan "has not submitted any documents to complete his nomination".

Two weeks later, the court handed down its decision dismissing the appeal saying that El-Hassan "did not submit [his] completed documents...and therefore did not satisfy the statutory requirement in the law for nomination".

"The [elections] commission lied saying I did not furnish them with any documents, nothing at all when I have it in sound and picture. Even the court concurred that the NEC received papers from me. This is when I realized that the [elections] commission is not an impartial one" he said.

"The NEC did not want me in the race under pressure from the NCP and [president] Bashir. They know I have wide support among my tribe, farmers, Sufi sects and expatriates" El-Hassan said in a bitter tone.

He also blamed the circuit court for refusing to listen to the testimony by his witnesses.

"They accepted the nomination of Fatima Abdel-Mahmood and Munir Sheikh el-Din who were short in their signature requirements yet they were still admitted by the same court. Only that both had arrangements with the NCP and therefore got their blessings to become candidates" he said.

"They applied the case law differently when it came to me even though the situation was almost identical" El-Hassan asserted.

Refusing to back down, El-Hassan proceeded to the Constitutional Court to overrule the Higher National Court ruling. To the surprise of many, the highest legal authority in the country said on April 7, days before the polls were due to open, that the case merits review.

El-Hassan’s attorney filed separately an urgent request with the same court to suspend the elections while the appeal is being reviewed and urged the judges to making an expeditious decision on his motion.

The NEC has made a filing with the Constitutional Court claiming that while El-Hassan pulled an application for presidency and paid the required fees he never submitted it to the commission missing he deadline.

"There was not with the National Elections Commission until the deadline for the presidency application any candidate by the aforementioned name to make any decision with regards to him whether acceptance or rejection" said a memo addressed by the NEC to the Constitutional Court on April 3rd.

But on April 8th the Constitutional Court said that El-Hassan did not provide all the documents required by the NEC and has exhausted all the appeal process stressing that its duty "is to protect the rights and freedoms from violations, something that did not occur this dispute".

"I was told that Bashir personally intervened with the court to reject my challenge. The NCP wanted the elections on time and refused any requests for rescheduling. We heard the president [Bashir] threatening to torture any foreign observer talking about postponing the elections. Bashir got it his way" El-Hassan said.

Asked why he hailed the NEC work in the beginning and spoke about democratic transformation in Sudan being a reality.

"I was deceived in the beginning thinking this country was governed by law applying equally. But I discovered myself this is all a hoax" he said.

"People are talking about fraud and vote rigging. I do not to hear these stories. I have seen it firsthand. A commission that has lied and kept lying in front of the world. I am still shocked" El-Hassan added.

El-Hassan said that the future of the country is "bleak".

"The South will surely separate under the NCP and Darfur will be next. This is the result of National Congress [Party] policies" he said.

Some 16 million registered voters had been asked to vote from April 11 to April 15 in presidential, parliamentary and state elections.

The electoral commission has been announcing results as they become available from the votes which are likely to see an easy victory for Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the NCP. It is expected that the full results on Monday almost a week late from the original date.

The poll for president was marred by the withdrawal of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) candidate Yasir Arman and another key Bashir challenger, the Umma Party’s Sadiq al-Mahdi. The elections were also overshadowed by logistical problems and delays including polling stations opening late or not at all, names misspelled or missing from registration lists and ballot boxes delivered to the wrong place.

Today the European Union election monitors said they were concerned about the manual compilation of ballots by Sudan’s election commission, saying it could undermine the transparency of the polls.

Results provided by polling stations to regional bureaus have been "in many cases incomplete or incorrectly reconciled making it difficult to enter them in the computerized results management system," the mission said in a statement.

The NEC has asked its regional bureaus to compile votes manually "without the benefit of the necessary safeguards which were built into the computerized system," the observers said.

On Saturday, an international source close to the voting system told Reuters the computer system had already shown up discrepancies.

"Abandoning the automated system makes the entire results process extremely vulnerable to manipulation," the source said, adding the NEC had been advised against the move.

(ST)

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  • 26 April 2010 16:57, by Gatwech

    Calm down Mr. El-Hassan. Take it easy, please...

    I concure with your prediction in your sentence which says "The South will surely separate under the NCP and Darfur will be next. This is the result of National Congress [Party] policies" he said.

    Yes, NCP has probably sensed that the South is surely moving towards unstoppable trend to independence. And yes, Darfur is next......

    repondre message

    • 26 April 2010 21:49, by Machingela gai

      Of course, there seems to be a reason why South will definately seperate for good from the North.
      All Arabs are liars. They do what they don’t say and say what they don’t do. We "Southerners" care less about the unity...and whatever way it takes for Southern freedom to come to its being is all about us and the destiny we are vying at, period. Who cares for the election whether it is rigged or not, Mind your North. You, Jallab, zip up your mouth on our Southern’s issues. You has been staying in Khartoum for almost rest of your life, as a plolitician, yet you changed nothing then until Splm reshaped the government through bullet and through recent democracy. What position are you?

      Where were you at the time we need peace and freedom for the whole country? Where were you when evil rules?
      Where were you when inequality became a best culture in the country?

      Your parents and grandparents were the best practitioners of those activities.

      And then why not you now?

      Your claims are road lock to that likely coming referendum and toward Southern nation and her indpendence. Leave the South alone when you talk about North and its government. Don’t try to intermingle the two, for the Political remedies will not produce favorable results in the end.

      repondre message

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