SUDAN’S LANDMARK ELECTIONS
BY PAUL NDIHO
APRIL 11, 2010
Although Washington DC has a significant number Sudanese people very few
were registered to vote in this landmark election, a handful voted at the Sudanese Consulate in Washington dc. A small number of Voters from the Washington area came early to cast their ballots in this historic election. The three-day election is a key indicator of whether Sudan can fend off renewed conflict and humanitarian crisis as it heads toward a 2011 referendum that could split apart this oil-producing nation and bring independence for south Sudan. The Sudanese Ambassador to the United States said this was a significant milestone in the history of Sudan.
“This election is confirming one of the mandates of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement or the (CPA) that is to hold elections as a fulfillment of the CPA and to prepare for the referendum.”
Mayom Ball Achuku said that this election is a new hope for Sudan.
“This election means chances of freedom are coming to Sudan. I was the first person to vote and I think that I’m doing it not only for
generations that were not able to vote and for myself. It also means that the suffering of the people in Southern Sudan will come to an end. That’s the main reason I voted.”
In Sudan, thousands of police were deployed to make sure things go
smoothly for the first multi-party poll in 24 years.
Greeted by supporters shouting “Allah hu-Akbar” President Omar al-Bashir arrived at a polling station in Khartoum to cast his ballot.
Analysts say he is expected to win but this comes as leading opposition figures accuse him of manipulating the vote. However former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, leading a team of observers, says his foundation hasn’t spotted any major irregularities.
“We have 30 teams out from the Carter Center in all the states and so far they have determined that everything is find and orderly – no problems with violence or intimidation and almost all of our teams have reported that all materials have been on site at the polling stations which they visited in preliminary state.”
Voters in the south were also excited to be voting for the first time since the deadly north – south civil war. Meanwhile in the south of the country, Southern Sudan president Salva Kiir said he was hopeful for the future.
“Well I have never voted in my life, this is my first time to vote and it is a good beginning that Sudan’s going back to democracy and I hope it will be the foundation for future democracy in our country so that power is transferred from person to person by peaceful means instead of military coup.
Elsewhere, Opposition groups and activists complained of vote-rigging, fuelling doubts about the credibility of the election.
There were reports of delays, ballot paper mix-ups and names missing from voters’ lists in some areas of the country.