Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 28 January 2010

Is it Sudan’s last united elections?

By Salah Shuaib

January 27, 2010 — With our yearning toward the elections supposed to be held in the coming April, there are some observations about the two sides trying to make the elections a bright reality, so that one of the most important items in the Naivasha Accord will finally be implemented.

The National Congress Party, (NCP) and the Sudan’s peoples Liberation movement,(PLM), who have sponsored the implementation of the accord, posses, unlike the rest of the political parties, logistical capabilities to ensure running, comfortably, for all election levels.

But for them, when the election is over, the highly claimed–now credibility of representing both the North and South would be totally appeared, of course if the process of conducting the election is to be accepted by all players in the scene.

Take the good news first. The NCP has been suffering from organizational obstacles and failures, whatever be the form of temporary success in arresting the shown aspects of power. Also, it suffers from a lack of capacity in operating governmental affairs and achieving the people’s benefits. Moreover, the 2000 split that had taken place in the party was, in essence, a major blow to the Islamic National Front, (INF) the previous name of the party.
If it is rational to say that the INF’s real popularity had not been subjected to a test since 1986, but there should be some degree of considerations of that split coming with the NCP’s new leaders, who represent a section of the fragmented INF.

Contrary to the National Congress Party’s expressed hopes of winning all the election levels, there is no evidence that the NCP will wipe out the elections, with the absence of an alliances between Islamists and the others, and with the current internal and external questions the NCP’s leaders didn’t answer, so far, in much creative ways.

For the Sudan’s Peoples liberation Movement, its political status in the South is as the NCP’s in the North. Then, it is not inevitably stuck with the political field in the South, and that the SPLM did not even find a political organization that can be equivalent to its capabilities that can compete nationally as well.
Yes, the NCP engine exceeds the SPLM’s concerning superior financial and logistical heritage, but that does not mean a hurdle for the SPLM, if it smartly, alienates with the political organizations in the North.

But the problem is that the ambitious movement suffers, too- since a time- from organizational and political difficulties, In terms of the political difficulties, the experience has shown us that the policy of the SPLM is not unconnected with the ills of the center’s policies, which the movement had fought as endemic grounds of national failure.

And thus, the still-struggled movement’s political institutions seemed to be overloaded by the failures in encountering the daily problems of the center and the South simultaneously.
In terms of organizational difficulties, it became, abundantly, clear to the movement that Sudan’s complex issues will, in turn, complicate its insights in what makes the leadership depend on ignoring the marginalized peoples in the North.

This is understandable only if the SPLM Command has chosen to yearn toward the horizon of a separate state in 20011, instead of accomplishing the mission of librating the whole country.

Also, the lack of insight appears when the movement deals with the South issues needed to well-crafted procedures, if not strengthened inspiration. I say this without a further paraphrase, looking to the nature of the political issues facing a post-independence Sudan.

In spite of organizational weakness and confusion- here and there within the leadership of the SPLM- but the opportunities to address this vulnerability, resulting from the SPLM’s short-old political experiences, are shown, especially, if the SPLM’s leadership cares of the necessity of reviewing the accumulated political trace in the national government.

Really, the lack of strategic thinking in our country was an evidence of strengthening not the political opposition that could cut the nails of political and religious extremism. Such a role played by the SPLM in fighting Islamic and historic failures of the central government politics, doesn’t let the national leaders to visit the south in order to help. They did so only when conducting the elections has become a fact

However, more than ever, Sudanese need an eloquent and potent president that deals carefully with its problems. But how would we find, through the upcoming presidential election process, such an exceptional or unique person? Also, how about those elected for the National Assembly, who should, assumingly, make the value of election as real and affective as possible?
In fact, what is emerging from the current partisan moves toward the “crucially extraordinary April” approves to us that election, itself, is not a solution. Those of us who dream of uniting all societal sections and figures to fight the politically corrupted atmosphere in the country have to rethink of our political situation.

The reason is that there is a spectacular lack of urgency in the mind of our intellectuals, being ignorant of the principle of the unification of national abilities and efforts. The observed elements in Sudan’s now political spectrum are that:

1_Our political arena faces a kind of fragility in political programs that should make solutions for historical crises. Moreover, issues such as democracy, security, religion, health care, education, and the likes, do not find reflection in the minds of candidates for the elections.

2_There are stylistic phrases; we hear from time to time, which intent to solve such adamant crises, but we can not rely on vague phrases or comments as instruments to political action, which requires wisdoms able to achieve comprehensive development.

Sudan’s traditional parties, which still differ on the role of the religion in life, are unable to provide essentially alternative visions versus the experience of political Islam, which the Islamists have applied in the last two decades.

3_The rural areas, having been forgotten since independence, in terms of their development and cultural rights, are still used as a helpful tool for opportunistic politicians seeking wealth, influence and personal recognition.

4_Sudanese media apparatuses, assumed to be as platforms to lift up democratic political consciousness, are evacuated of intellectual and national stimulations that motivate our people to positively participate in political arena.
5_ if you are eager to examine the role of the new generations in shaping the political action within our partisan institutions, then a tragedy of generational dysfunction is seen to you.

6_To that, most of those who direct these partisan institutions are transferred from Sudan’s past millennium, and that their sensitivity toward a politically deteriorating situation has become unable to bring about political and religious reform.

7_There are, of course, very few Sudanese patriots who can make a difference but the status quo doesn’t allow them to show up when decision-making is required. Since this is true, the majority of Sudanese elites, at each facility, have only been interested in privileges.

And finally, What’s more is that so many politicians, who have joined the parties, were previously wishing, somehow, to do a rightful change. But now our national leaders absorbed those change-mongers, and thus, we have lost critical contributions of those honest elites.

Hence, we can not imagine that Sudan’s presidential and local elections will solve our devastating crisis, even if the well-known faces were to be changed. In deed, the problem doesn’t only exist in the lack of presumed charismas, but in the absence of reform ideas too.

Salah Shuaib is a Sudanese writer and journalist. He can be reached at salshua7@maktoob.com