Friday, April 23, 2010

Sudan Elections: Obama's Message to Sudan's Pharoah "Redemption? Legitimacy? Respect? You shall have none of it!"

While reviewing and and organizing the flood of global news and commentary centered around Sudan's historic polls, I came across some outstanding news coverage and writing by ordinary citizens and professional journalists on the ground in Sudan.  Anyone who has carefully followed news and events in Sudan over the past 5-7 years (much of it dominated by the violence and exterminations which have taken place in Darfur and South Sudan, and the International Criminal Court's indictment and arrest warrant for Sudan's President)... anyone who has a deep interest in African affairs will tell you that these elections in Sudan are really important not only for this vast country but also for the many efforts and programs to establish democracy and good governance all across the African continent.

As the Obama Administration, the Sudan Troika (U.S.A., Norway, and the U.K.), and a handful of democratic governments and international organizations struggle to come to terms with what has transpired in these openly fraudulent, manipulated polls across Africa's largest country___ each day that passes while Sudan's National Election Commission withholds the election results (cooking the votes), a new scandal emerges.

As the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (The Jackal) visits his ace-boon-dictator buddy President Robert Mugabe (The Crocodile) for celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Republic of Mugabe Inc. (formerly known as Zimbabwe and Rhodesia), as well as being honored at a state dinner and having talks about Iranian investments in Zimbabwe, the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley made the following comments regarding Sudan's elections:

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing - April 20, 2010
(Hat Tip to Martha Bixby over at the Save Darfur Coaltion blog for the lead)

MR. CROWLEY (State Department): New topic.

QUESTION (Reporter): New topic? Sudan. When the U.S. came out – when the Obama Administration came out with its policy on Sudan, it talked about incentives and disincentives in the process. And I’m wondering – I’ve seen the statements on the elections, but I’m wondering if there are any consequences for Bashir’s government for carrying out such a marred election process.

MR. CROWLEY (State Department): Well, I think, Michelle, we have to put that in a little broader context. As the international monitoring groups have indicated, the recent elections – and the results are still pending – did not meet international standards. There are a number of reasons for that, some based on the fact that elections have not occurred in Sudan for some time and some because the government did not create the appropriate atmosphere and did not take the steps it should have taken to insure a free, fair, and competitive election. So – and we’ve expressed those concerns before the election and we have expressed those concerns since the election. That said, we also recognize that Sudan is facing vitally important decisions and referenda in the coming months that will shape, literally, its future. And we will work with the Governments of North and South Sudan to continue to press them to fulfill all of their obligations under the comprehensive peace agreement. They have to do – there are many things they have to specifically do with respect to different parts of Sudan from Darfur to Abyei to the south of Sudan. To the extent that the Government of Sudan was looking for redemption or legitimacy in what happened here, they will get none of it. But we recognize that there are specific things that we have to do in Sudan to prepare the country for the referenda early next year. There are very important things that need to be done to insure full implementation of the CPA and to, among other things, prevent Sudan from slipping back into conflict. So we will engage North and South on that basis and prod them, push them, support them as they take steps leading to the referenda next January.

End excerpt from U.S. State Department Press Briefing - April 20, 2010

So there you have it.  According to the U.S. State Department spokesman, as far as Omar al Bashir and his regime getting any redemption (from alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, etc.) or legitimacy as the democratically-elected government of Sudan___ the present Khartoum regime will NOT receive official recognition from the Obama Administration , from the U.S. Congress, and especially no support from the people of the United States of America.  "No respect!"  "Nothin' but the sharp end of a stick!"

The National Congress Party and Bashir had a chance to finally do something right for all the people of Sudan by holding free-and-fair elections and peacefully accepting the outcome.  Instead they chose to cheat, lie, and steal___ defying the wishes of millions of voters and honest citizens in Sudan yet again so that the regime could retain power and control over the country's resources (vast untapped oil reserves), land, and people.  Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir: modern-day Pharoah of Sudan, the Land of the Blue and White Nile.  The true Black Pharoahs of Sudan (the ancient kingdoms of Nubia and Kush) must be turning in their crypts just thinking about this guy.  If all else fails to remove Bashir and his cabel of thugs from power and bring them to justice, there is a last resort:  the curse of the pharoahs.

In addtion to this week's breaking news about Sudanese election officials being caught red-handed stuffing ballot boxes with falsified votes, Alex de Waal's SSRC blog "Making Sense of Sudan" has an article from Sudanese contributor Hafiz Mohammed describing in detail how the ruling National Congress Party (NCP, formerly the National Islamic Front) has been systematically buying-off candidates, voters, and votes all across North and South Sudan to the tune of hundreds of millions in Sudanese Pounds, choice government jobs, new cars and houses.

Here is an excerpt from Hafiz Mohammed's post titled "Corruption and the Election":

There is one very important issue which has not been raised by anyone, as I have listened to all reports from the election observers , until now , that is the buying and selling of votes and loyalty. According to my estimate this has amounted to not less than one billion US dollars over the last two years.

For the last year and in every Sudanese region, the issue of buying the loyalty of tribal and community leaders has been happening. This has not been by investing in their communities in terms of health, education and other services but instead in a crude way, by bribing them with cash or other material resources or jobs. Above all, it is cash. That has occurred not only for traditional leaders, but political parties also. The recent row about the amount given to the Umma Party, just two days before the election is one example. This amount was given in cash , and not through bank transfer or cheque and without any signature from the recipient. Until now we don’t know whether it was two million Sudanese pounds (US$ 800,000) or four million (US $1,600,000). It was a bribe for the Umma Party to participate in the election. We don’t know from where this amount was paid and what was the budget line, whether it was from the public purse or not.

In the run up to the election, people were talking about putting up your candidateship for election and then bargaining to withdraw it. If you stand down in favour of the NCP candidate, you will be paid. The price normally depends on the expected number voters who might vote for you. Tens of candidates withdraw their candidateship in favour of the NCP candidates and people were talking about the price they were paid for this.

End excerpt from Hafiz Mohammed's article. Read the complete post at Making Sense of Darfur.

So that's it regarding updates on the Sudan elections for today.  I'll work on completing my list of links to news articles, commentary, and blog posts about these elections as promised to readers in my previous blog post on the Sudan Elections 2010.  I've edited it down to only 13 pages of "must-read" stuff___ do you think that thirteen pages is a bit too much to go to print, er to go to post?  Bis bald.

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Mahid said...

wonderful and well sited, i am very thankful for you Mr. Bell for writing a well informative post. i have been eating,sleeping,waking up and reading about the election, but i didn't read a well rounded post on a blog as i have read here. i even didn't have the time for blogging about the election because i was so much into reading other post and article that i just didn't write one to write a post about the election that not to mention the shame that this election brought on many Sudanese people i being one of them. we had a chance for Democratic change but i guess the NCP didn't want that chance. i just want to say i am reading your blog and i hope you blog more about Sudan.

BRE said...

Thank you very much for your kind words Mahid and welcome to Jewels in the Jungle. I had noticed your blog "Sudanese Guardian" while researching news and blog posts about the Sudan elections. Congratulations on your first post for Global Voices Online and welcome to the community along with Drima (The Sudanese Thinker) and other well known Sudanese bloggers.

I have also noticed after visiting your blog today that we both have been reading some of the same great editorials, analysis, and blog posts about the elections. As promised in my earlier post about these elections, I shall publish a comprehensive list of important news articles, editorials, and selected blog posts about Sudan, the elections, and the upcoming referendum on independence for South Sudan.

One important thing is that we who write and publish online (blog authors, citizen and professional journalists, activists) keep attention and pressure on Sudan's President Omar al Bashir and his regime in Khartoum, as well as South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the SPLM, so that what is going on in the country remains in sharp focus for people worldwide.

Again thank you for your visit and comments and much luck with your own writing at The Sudanese Guardian.

Bill (BRE) at Jewels in the Jungle

Mahid said...

Hi, Mr. bill
Thank you for your reply and looking forward for that post. we as blogger need to look inside the news and point the points that have not been pointed by the news. we can change the world, we can educate not only our self but our people and we can live another day understanding that we can voiced our opinion loud and clear and not keep silent.

BRE said...

You are very welcome, Mahid. That is the right attitude you have there, that real change begins with the people of a nation. Continue working hard to voice your opinions and those of others inside and outside of Sudan and someday you along with the many people of your nation shall arrive in the land of promise and opportunity___ a new Sudan!