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Flaws and complaints in Sudan’s national elections

March 30 - 2010 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga)

A detailed table of reported flaws in the national elections process, showing who made the complaint, whether it was confirmed and whether any authority followed up with investigation. 


Topic Complaint Confirmed Investigated
Ruling party appoints election staff manning polling stations The NCP has appointed most of the 40,000 staff to run the election centers. Another 20,000 have been appointed by SPLM in South Confirmed No
Ballots printed by government printing press The 32 million ballot papers for the executive offices (president and governors) are printed by the government printing press. Alleged fraud could not be verified. To do the printing in this manner is against the law and also against rules set by the UN which is funding the printing. The funds allocated by UNDP to support printing in Slovenia thus had to be retracted. Confirmed by UN and NEC. UN says it is responsibility of NEC. NEC says ‘time constraints’ prevented the ballots from being printed in accordance with the law.’ Yes
Constituencies have been flawed In North and South Sudan many complaints were sent to NEC to dispute the boundaries of the constituencies. Tribes who are a majority in their area were divided over three or more constituencies with polling centers situated far away in areas where they form a minority. Widely confirmed by parties involved. Yes, NEC often committed to solve the issue. The elections in South Kordofan are postponed and a new census will take place. The presidential elections will continue as scheduled.
National Elections Commission is dominated by NCP The collective opposition wants replacement of the entire NEC, since it seems only to listen to the NCP. The chairman, Abel Alier (a Southerner), once seemed to have resigned, but fierce denials followed this news. Apparently he has become a figurehead. The opposition and SPLM want replacement of the secretariat and the chairman’s staff. SPLM has not yet decided and will wait until the beginning April to decide whether to support the opposition in postponing the election Under discussion between NCP (Bashir) and SPLM (Kiir)
Murder of a candidate Independent candidate Bol Deng Kot from Unity State was assassinated on Wednesday, 10 March by gunmen. He was running to represent Unity State in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly. The SPLM MP was not nominated by SPLM and chose to run as independent candidate. Killing confirmed Investigated by police. Prosecutor assumes it is a tribally motivated crime, not politically motivated
Militarization of voter registration Government army officers and National Intelligence and Security Service agents were present during the registration period at centres. Government acknowledged presence of these forces ‘to prevent hostilities’. Not investigated by NEC
Registration of soldiers within barracks Soldiers were registered in the military camps and barracks. That is against the law. Voters have to be registered in the place of residence. Confirmed and complaint filed by lawyer Mekki Ali Balail on behalf of a regional party in South Kordofan (Justice and Liberation Party) Not investigated by NEC.
Intimidation of government employees Teachers, civil servants, health workers and others were strongly pushed to register Confirmed by Radio Dabanga in interviews No investigation
Small presence of independent internationalmonitoring during elections The monitoring is not organized. The Carter Center was supposed to coordinate it, but EU, AU, Egypt, China, Japan and Russia all operate independently.All together not more than 600 international monitors will be present during election day. Confirmed by UNMIS head Haile Menkerios who emphasized that the UN has no role to play in monitoring elections Not discussed. Even the existing international observer force faced a threat of expulsion from President Bashir in March just after the Carter Center called on the NEC to consider a slight delay to the elections for ‘logistical’ reasons.
Absence of international monitors during registration. Nearly all complaints concerning the elections and accusations of fraud are originating in the registration of voters and candidates last year.For Darfur, two international monitors were allowed to travel to the region which is the size of France. Only eight national monitors were allowed to monitor North Darfur. In West- and South Darfur there was hardly any monitoring or none. Several international organizations supporting the elections technically and the National Elections Commission have confirmed.One monitoring organization describes the registration ‘as probably deeply flawed’. Not discussed.
No voter registration lists available for official review The official voters roll has not been produced. There is, however, a central electronic file of registered voters. This list has ‘hundreds of thousands’ more voters than the accumulated informal lists sent on a CD to the states. The UNDP, which funds most of the election process, claims that 79% of eligible voters have been registered. (16 million out of 20 million). Confirmed by Carter Center and EU.NEC confirms that no official voters list has been published. The NEC expects the list will be published in time. The discrepancies are under investigations.The presidency will decide to postpone elections to review voters registration (process and list).
Confusion about registration of IDPs During voters registration the officials in Darfur have prevented many IDPs (50% of the population) and others from registration, telling them that citizens who were not counted in the population census could not be registered. The same happened in Mayo (Khartoum) and other displaced camps. Many IDPs told stories about this broadcast by Radio DabangaSouth Darfur’s head of the state elections commission confirmed lack of registration in camps and Kass. Not investigated
Underage registration Voters have to be 18 years or older and of sound health. Allegations of organized underage registration have been reported in El Fasher and Nyala. Confirmed by international monitoring agencies NEC says it has not received the complaint
No complaint mechanism Complaints go to the National Elections Commission. It decides whether the complaint is valid or not. If it is valid they refer the case to local courts appointed by the ruling parties (NCP in North, SPLM in South). Confirmed by the lawyers association through spokesman Al Bagir Al Afif Not considered as complaint
UN and international community support ‘flawed’ elections The UN, EU, US and others have supported a wide number of projects in promoting the elections to take place. They have funded the activities of the NEC. Many projects are funded through a UNDP-administered fund of 58 million USD. An original proposed budget of one billion dollars was turned down, but altogether the direct cost shouldered by the international community is close to 450 million dollars. Not issued Not discussed except by some members of legislatures of contributing countries.
Media censorship: opposition not allowed to speak proportionately on state-owned mass media The local state radio stations hardly allow candidates from the opposition to speak out. The National Radio and TV (Omdurman) has allocated airtime, but it refused to air the very first program of the previous prime minister, Sadiq al Mahdi. The complaint is confirmed by NEC and is being deliberated internally. The lack of media access for non-NCP parties is one of the reasons the united opposition wants postponement of elections. A media committee has been installed by the NEC, but most of the members were previously in charge of the organ that does media censorship (National Press Council). Discussion in progress


NCP –National Congress Party

NEC – National Elections Commission

UNDP – United Nations Development Programme

SPLM – Sudan People’s Liberation Movement

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