February 23, 2020

Eyes on the elections

Hi all

I realize this is a terrible time for me not to be blogging, but it really is book crunch time with 7 weeks to go before my final manuscript is due (and with a current draft that is 40,000 words over my contractual word count). I am, of course, following the pre-elections build up and wishing I was in Sudan right now. When I wrote about Sudan’s “Empty Election” in December, I didn’t imagine it would be quite this empty – – with the Umma Party today being the latest to boycott completely.

Worthy of a much longer post I will just note one reflection for now. Ever since my last visit to Khartoum I have struggled with the notion that the international community continued to pour literally millions into an election that was, very clearly, not going get to anywhere near free or fair. I spoke with frustrated opposition party members who wished that the international community would pull the plug on all of it – of the funding, of the observing, of the whole machine that was moving through to the elections. Many times I felt the same way. But had they done so it would have been a propaganda victory for Bashir; you can imagine the rhetoric – We wanted to hold a democratic election and the international community would not support it! So in that sense it’s much better that the rug is pulled out from under this deeply flawed process by Sudanese themselves.

That said, I don’t think the opposition parties have handled the process well. There was an opportunity a year ago that they failed to capitalize on, to form a unified front and demand real reform  – to at least the media and security laws – in return for participation in an election process that they knew Bashir so desperately needed in light of the ICC indictment. Instead, they fractured and muddled all the way through until today – the eleventh hour.

I’m heading to the U.S. for some meetings and as the election is underway on Sunday I’ll be watching, not for the first time, Winter Miller’s gut-wrenching play, In Darfur at Theater J in D.C.

If you’re in town and, like me, unable to think about anything but Sudan this weekend, then come along and immerse yourself in the world her play brings to life. I’ll be speaking afterwards with Jon Temin, the U.S. Institute for Peace Program Director on Sudan. In theory I’m talking on GBV and he’s going through the Doha process – but given the timing it will be hard to talk anything but elections. . .


  1. hello there Bec, thanks for your post about the election, i have been wishing that more Sudanese people would post about this election to express them self more, i even wrote a post about it in my blog. about the election for sure it is not going to get near a fair and free election, and for sure the opposition is wrong in delaying this tell now, they should have pushed it much earlier and started to use there National Alliance more then just an alliance to talk to each other about how bad the rule party is, we want action, we want a united action that would say to this government that we the people of Sudan don’t think this election would go right under this current situation, i hope they now realize how slow the opposition parties wore how slow they wore. the National Alliance which is lead by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Umma Party had lead a group of 17 Sudanese opposition political parties. they in may of 2009 under the banner of The national alliance they demanded the Sudanese government to step down and called for the establishment of a transitional government that would lead the country to the next phase of the Compressive peace Agreement why did they not insist on this, they seem to have even forget that they called for a transitional government before, how sad.

    thanks for your post, hope to read more about the election from your perspective.


  1. Girifna says:

    […] on a comment from Mahid over at The Sudanese Guardian, I wanted to highlight the Sudanese voices at “Girifna” […]

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