Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 8 May 2018

Will Sudan’s 2020 elections make difference?

By Salah Shuaib

Recently, multiple discussions have emerged in the political scene calling upon the Sudanese opposition parties to participate in the 2020 elections. Prominent experts, politicians, and intellectuals, among them Alsir Sidahmed, Nabil Adeeb, Elnour Hamad, and others, have tried to address the opposition’s weakness by linking it to its insistence to boycott previous general elections sponsored by the regime.

Focusing on blaming the opposition for its inability to reinvigorate societal bases for change was the most consumed topic by those seeing the upcoming elections as a way of making a difference in the country’s politics.

But, the arguments about the importance of the electoral process have failed to convince the public opinion that the government could be much serious this time to create a free democratic atmosphere, which may contribute to activate political action and encourage the opposition parties to rely on the outcome of the voting process.

Moreover, the writers calling for the participation of the opposition in the 2020 elections seemed to trust the potentiality of the Islamic government to change its Islamist doctrine, ignoring the dominance of the Sudanese Islamic Movement (SIM) over all state institutions, including the extremely influential and powerful institution: The National Intelligence and Security Services organ.

Apparently, they have forgotten that the Sudanese Islamists systematically made a massive effort to destroy the political parties and groups, so they cannot be able to recover their past glory by competing with this unjust regime.

These new intellectual efforts have resulted in a sharp divergence of views among opposition groups concerning the upcoming elections. And in this respect, each party involved in the dialogue has continued to strengthen its arguments to win the public opinion on its side.

In any event, this constructive dialogue of opposition’s figures about the 2020 elections does not principally express their vitality in facing the country’s traumatic situation. Instead, such a discussion raises awareness versus the opposition’s profound tactical differences over the resistance of the regime.

Undoubtedly, the opposition is historically facing critical problems. However, the solutions should not be necessarily through participating in the regime’s orchestrated aimless elections. Sudan’s crisis goes beyond the idea of being tied only to our political leaders’ weak response to the Sudanese Islamists’ aggressive state.

Many of us know that the Sudanese crisis, evidenced by the faults of both the opposition and the government, is deeply rooted in the failure of the structural setting of the hierarchical system of the state itself.

It is difficult, therefore, to accept that the solutions to the crisis lie only in resorting to the ballot box that the ideologically conflicting parties compete for. Elections will not change the situation if there is no agreed-upon societal will, which is absent since the time of Sudan’s independence.

Now, the government has brought the country to the brink of collapse, while the opposition has no room to act, let alone works for reform freely. In short, resolving the crisis preoccupying the government and the opposition together lies, preferably, in a radical change that brings about a new system of governance with a contemporary standard.

It is illogical to urge the regime to pave the way for the political parties to compete with it through national elections or other means. Inevitably, the nature of the Sudanese Islamic Movement, SIM, wouldn’t let other political groups share with it the governance burden.

Since its establishment, the SIM’s religious doctrine was based on narrow objectives to controlling the whole state with ideologically legislative, executive and judicial settings. Hence, it’s is ironic to encourage opposition parties to participate in the 2020 elections without a free environment for a peaceful and smooth transfer of power.

In fact, there was a lot of examples of how the governing Islamists had rigged their internal elections in the past. There were published reports that the regime’s leaders were involved in altering some of the SIM’s election results to prevent the undesirable winners from being elected.

Due to the full control, it applied to the state’s apparatuses after its military coup in 1989, the NCP has exploited, since then, all governmental resources to help its members win any election. As such, it will become impossible to compete with the ruling party as long as it possesses powerful, political mechanisms alone.

looking at it in retrospect, in the past elections held before the session of South Sudan, the National Congress Party, NCP, rigged the process and thus unlawfully won the presidential, parliamentary and state elections.

Boycotted by the major political parties, due to the lack of electoral transparency, the 2015 elections failed to convince the nation of its worth. “It is the opposite of a great day for democracy. There was general apathy, a sort of fatalism that Bashir and his party were competing with themselves. The boycott was systematic, including even from the membership of the ruling party.”, said Suliman Baldo for the Telegraph.

However, despite the weakness of the argument of the advocates of the idea of competing with the regime through the electoral system, these advocates have succeeded to activate a beneficial dialogue on the Sudanese political dilemma on the one hand and the crisis of both, the opposition and the government, on the other hand.

Perhaps this type of useful debate alerts all Sudanese to the need for a radical change and overthrowing of al-Turabi’s state setting whether through elections, a military coup, or a popular revolution. Even though, concerns about overwhelming chaos continue to rise as the expectations of the collapse of the Sudanese state escalate systematically.

The writer is a Sudanese journalist; he can be reached at salshua7@hotmail.com