Good Reasons Why Sudan is destined to Inevitable Doom? Revisiting the Prophecy
A few months ago, when I posted my article “10 Good Reasons Why Sudan is Destined to Chaos“, in which I have anticipated the possibility that holding the elections and the referendum, at all, might not be possible unless the issues of concern are properly addressed, and in a timely manner, many views on the contrary were optimistic about the possibilities inherent in the special nature of the Sudanese politics to reach compromises and to keep the machine going.
It is apparent that what I mentioned about the shortsightedness of the Sudanese politics and politician is a major contributor to the way in which the events so developed in Sudan today. Sudanese parties, been traditional or so-called progressive, are ingenious in tactical maneuvers, political street fighting skills, aimed at gaining some party-related or personal gain. As a Sudanese witnessing the plight of my country for over four decades, I can, without prejudice claim that none of these parties had shown a tendency to put the national strategic interest of the country before their limited interests.
The move by the SPLM to withdraw their presidential candidate Yassir Arman, was a logical move from the SPLM against the threats of Beshir that any calls for the delay of the elections will result in delaying or jeopardizing the referendum. The SPLM never had any illusions regarding their potential to win presidential elections against Beshir, in the North even under fair and transparent election and even if all the controversial and pending issues were addressed. That was a just a tactic to annoy Beshir and to use this element as a card to put pressure on the NCP and to ensure the referendum will take place as planned. Compromising or jeopardizing the referendum, which is the SPLM card to rule the State of South Sudan, has no place in the agenda of the movement. The right to referendum is seen by the SPLM as a one time historical mistake committed by the north, and they can not afford to jeopardize it. To ensure this right, the SPLM might even secretly support Beshir in these elections. I wouldn’t feel surprised if that happened.
Yassir Arman told the AFP that the presidential elections are aimed at deflecting the International Criminal Court (ICC), which a year ago issued an arrest warrant for Beshir for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur. “The elections for president are made for one person, it is not made for a democratic process or for the Sudanese people, and it was only made to save General Beshir from the ICC”.
Apparently, the situation in Darfur and Kordofan are giving good opportunity for the SPLM to justify its decision, not to mention the NEC and the elections laws and their enforcement or non-enforcement, the practices of the NCP, the national security laws, the population census row, and lots of other elements can still add value to their reasoning.
This morning, I read in the Brisbane Times” “The forces of national consensus have decided to reject and boycott the elections at all levels,” the Umma Party’s Mariam al-Mahdi told a news conference in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman yesterday”. The grouping comprises the nationalist Umma, the Communist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), all of which earlier announced a boycott of the presidential election which looks set to return Omar al-Beshir to power. Officials said each party would now hold an internal meeting to validate the boycott decision.
On the other hand, the few parties that maintained their positions to participate in the elections have their well known reasons. Turabi is a dying dinosaur, and he believes in the futilities of the call for postponing the elections or of boycotting them, he understands the determination of Beshir to hold these elections in time, no matter what and no matter how, and on the other hand he need to maintain some foot space for his party as no one is clear when a second chance for democratic elections will come. A coup d’état remains quite a wishful thinking, given the way in which the NCP, not only Beshir, is entrenched and determined to stay in power. The rest of the other political parties are locally termed as “coins or exchange parties – Ahjab el-fakka” are mere opportunists who might probably been promised few gains by the NCP if they accepted to participate in these elections and accepted to give some legitimacy to the presidential elections.
The current development of events comes amid feverish attempts by General Gration, the US Envoy to save the first claimed democratic elections and processes in Sudan in 24 years. This was a very clear signal to the declining role and influence of the US, which is a major precipitate of their sanctions decisions of 1997, and their plundering with the Sudanese politics without adequate understanding to its complexity.
The reality remains, Beshir is determined more than ever to remain in power, the major parties just harvested the results of their failure to grow up to the national challenges and aspirations, fragmented elections with partial participation and partial boycott “might” take place to consolidate the status quo. The separation of the South is inevitable, and a chaos is quite imminent between now and the elections date, if the parties decided and managed to mobilize people to streets in yet another dream popular uprising, or between the elections and the referendum date, if the NCP managed to hold the election in time.
Legitimacy of the Beshir government after the elections will definitely become questionable due to the highly potential controversies over elections and their results in Kordofan, Darfur, and the South, in addition to the issues of the participation and non participation of the other political parties.
Whether or not Beshir will respect the promises of the CPA for a referendum in the South or not, after being elected, remains a serious question that we should consider. Whether or not also the SPLM will tolerate any delays or attempts by the NCP to compromise this right, also remains as a more serious question. Both situations could lead to an eruption of all out conflict between the South and the North. Many of my colleagues argue that conflict is not in the interest of any of the two parties. The matter of fact is that rulers in the like of Beshir can extend their office by igniting and nurturing conflicts because that is the way they can keep everyone busy. For the SPLM definitely the referendum is a matter of life and death and they are prepared to go to the extreme to protect and to take this right.
What will happen during the elections and what will result from the elections, will only add more fuel to the inflammable situation in Kordofan, Darfur, and the South, and will give more reasoning to the rest of the opposition parties to intensify their confrontations with the not-legitimate government of the NCP.
While I do agree with David and the other colleagues on their views and continuous calls for the postponing of the elections to give time for national reconciliation and peace, and that might be the better option for Sudan, nonetheless, neither the NCP is prepared for such postponement, nor the opposition parties will be able to benefit from such delay even if they were given additional five years. On the other hand, the SPLM, although might accept some delay in the elections date, will not negotiate any changes for the time frame for the referendum which make it very challenging to see what type of elections dates we are talking about within eight months between April 2010 and January 2010? Given the complexity of the situation in Sudan now, I doubt that eight months will be enough to settle the several issues currently on the table.
The problems of Sudan actually do not need time; rather they need a different mindset, different practice, and strong political will and determination, as well as some of the promised Obama’s “Change”.
Dear Ahmed Hassan,
I paraphrase your quote here to show how illogical it is:
“[The SPLM’s withdrawal of] Yassir Arman, was a logical move from the SPLM [in response to] the threats [from] Beshir [to] delay… the referendum. The SPLM never had any illusions regarding their potential to win presidential elections…[running] was a just a tactic to annoy Beshir and to…put pressure on the NCP…to ensure the referendum will take place…”
So you are saying: the SPLM ran in the elections to annoy Beshir to prevent or circumvent Beshir’s threats of delaying the referendum. And then “they”, decided to abandon their campaign in the name of this too. Amazing. This is the caliber of Sudanese opposition.
Also, I am puzzled by this quote: “The right to referendum is seen by the SPLM as a one time historical mistake committed by the north, and they can not afford to jeopardize it.”
Is that really the case or is that your perception? I see the referendum as an historic opportunity for Southern Sudan to either reaffirm their commitment to being a part of the ‘greater’ Sudan, or to leave it entirely and face the consequences of a spin off near-majority ethnic or Khartoum-like, power ethno-centrically controlled state. But that’s just me.
So my clairvoyant and misguided friend, since this is your podium, how do you see chaos in Sudan unfolding for the suffering Southern Sudanese? What will happen to their referendum when this revolution that you envisage happens?
Is it just me or is there a plethora of nihilism in the tone of your views? It’s just remarkable and, frankly, rather sad. Ahmed Hassan, for your sake and Sudan’s let us hope you are totally and completely wrong, which you are.
I think you managed to summarize the problem facing Sudan and what is needed to address it in the last paragraph of your posting
(“The problems of Sudan actually do not need time; rather they need a different mindset, different practice, and strong political will and determination, as well as some of the promised Obamaâ€™s”).
In the coming few months the future of Sudan will be determined, and most likely we will see two countries by July 2011, and that is the most serious challenge which faced the country for the last hundred years even most important than 1956 independence, but Sudanese political forces donâ€™t see it that way. The NCP is only keen on one thing staying in power whatever the cost as far as Al Bashir stay as president everything is fine with them, that buys them time and no one knows what will happen tomorrow, and other events which might buy them another numbers of years like the CPA gave them sometime, and they are controlling power and money.
The other opposition forces also lack clear strategy and canâ€™t influence the events, everyone look for its gains or losses more that addressing the challenges which facing the future of the country.
The SPLM has only one strategy which is the referendum in January 2011, and they know without the election that will not happen, they donâ€™t care much about whom will rule the north after that, and whether it is democratic or not. And here is the mutual interest between the NCP and SPLM supported by the international community , as they want any election to pave the way to the referendum in 2011, that why they watered down their demand from free and fair election to peaceful and creditable as if Sudanese donâ€™t deserve proper democracy according to the international standards.
I think we have to accept the fact that the south is going in a few months, and hopefully that will be a peaceful transition, and the two countries can establish good relations, and resolve all the issues in a civilized manner.
But the question will be what will happen to South Kordofan and South Blue Nile, is SPLM going to sell them out for the sake of making the secession smooth or will they stand by them and support them resolve all the pending issues, as they fought with them for more than 20 years, and they have moral obligation to stand by them.
You summarize the situation today excellently! Twenty years of totalitarianism have led to Sudan to the brink of collapse and ruin, and the NIF-NCP has manipulated the elections process so skilfully and thoroughly that it has become just one more step in them consolidating their rule. They are leading General Gration by the nose, getting him to concentrate only on the referendum in the South which will never actually take place so they can steal the election. They have played the game of divide and rule to weaken the opposition including the SPLM.
Yassir Arman’s decision to pull out is applauded by all of the democrats and for sure, the NCP will try to water down the boycott and package the elections as “legitimate.” But the NCP is weak and the people of Sudan have had enough. The international community will have no choice but to reject the regime as totally illegitimate. The crisis will come as sure as night follows day and they will be brushed aside.