SUDAN WATCH: Sudan: Chief Electoral Affairs Officer of UNMIS urges journalists to report objectively and responsibly during the general elections

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sudan: Chief Electoral Affairs Officer of UNMIS urges journalists to report objectively and responsibly during the general elections

Quote of the Day
“It is incredibly important for journalists to verify information. They must not spread rumors and they should try to reflect the opinion of experts as well as the diversity of opinion within Sudanese society and I think in that way we can help these elections to be peaceful." - James Ray Kennedy, Chief Electoral Affairs Officer of UNMIS, 11 Feb 2010
Speaking to Sudan Radio Service in Khartoum on Thursday, the Chief Electoral Affairs Officer of UNMIS, James Ray Kennedy, urged Sudanese journalists and international correspondents to report objectively and responsibly during the general elections. (See full report here below).

P.S. Thank you to the Sudan Watch readers who have sent in news for publication here. I have not forgotten you. At this very delicate and sensitive time for Sudan and its neighbouring countries, I am mindful of how quickly information (and rumours and falsehoods) can spread via computers, mobile texting, phones, satellite receivers and word of mouth (note how a translation error led to an international incident). As usual, I endeavour to be careful and verify information published here. I want peace for Sudan and for all of its inhabitants (animals included) to have access to food, safe drinking water and medical care. God bless the peacemakers, journalists and children of Sudan and keep them safe from harm.

Election Campaign Begins in Sudan

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 15 February 2010:
(Khartoum) - The elections campaign was officially launched on Saturday ahead of the general elections scheduled for April.

The NCP presidential candidate, Omar al-Bashir, launched his campaign at the Al-Hilal football stadium in Khartoum on Saturday.

The SPLM candidate Yasir Arman launched his campaign on Sunday, from the house of the late Ali Abdel-Latif, a prominent nationalist figure who led a resistance movement against the British in 1924.

SRS asked two political analysts for their impressions of the beginning of the campaign.

Taj Al-Sir Maki spoke to SRS from Khartoum.

[Taj Al-Sir Maki]: “I think that the launch of the NCP campaign was not all that successful at Al-Hilal stadium, despite the fact that the NCP has been controlling the media for 20 years. But the SPLM campaign which started from the house of the late hero Abdel Latif, was stronger because they are introducing a new project and they haven’t been tested yet. They are introducing a new project and they are calling for voluntary unity in Sudan, calling for a democratic Sudan that all Sudanese are calling for generally. The NCP campaigns came to support the same leadership everybody knows. So from my point of view, the NCP campaign didn’t present anything new.”

Prof. Al-Tayib Zain Al-Abdin also expressed his views about the launch of the elections campaign.

[Prof. Al-Tayib Zain Al-Abdin]: “In fact, the election campaign started for all political parties, not just the NCP and the SPLM. The Popular Congress Party and the Sudan Communist Party launched their campaigns as well. Generally, the campaigns have started smoothly and all political parties were allowed to conduct peaceful marches around Khartoum, which was not allowed before, and that is a good thing. It seems that the NCP launched their campaign in Al-Hilal stadium to attract Al-Hilal fans and they funded the Al-Hilal team without announcing it. Arman launched his campaign at the Abdel Latif house, because he wanted it to be a symbol of unity between south and north. Arman is really busy to ensure that there should not be a clear separation between south and north, and this line is welcomed.”

Taj Al-Sir Maki and Prof. Al-Tayib Zain Al-Abdin were speaking to SRS about the launch of the election campaign in Sudan.
Sudanese President launched his re-election bid

Photo: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrives to a campaign rally at Al-Hilal Stadium in Khartoum. Bashir launched his re-election bid with great fanfare, extolling his 21 years in power and pledging to the unity of Africa's biggest nation. (AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

Campaign rally at Al-Hilal Stadium in Khartoum

Photo: A supporter of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends a campaign rally at Al-Hilal Stadium in Khartoum. Bashir faces his first real electoral test in April, when he is being challenged by 11 opposition candidates, among them former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and former rebel leader Yasser Arman. (AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Photo: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses supporters at the Friendship Hall in the capital Khartoum, 9 February 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) See news updates at the website of Albashir.
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Kiir launches his election campaign on Saturday, 20 Feb

Salva Kiir Mayardit

Photo: Salva Kiir Mayardit, Vice President of The Republic of Sudan, President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS)

The incumbent President of the semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan and chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is scheduled to officially launch his election campaign on Saturday, 20th February.

Salva Kiir Mayardit was nominated by his ruling party to contest for the post of the president of the Government of Southern Sudan. He will compete against another presidential candidate in the South, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, chairman of the breakaway Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC).

Dr. Lam Akol is currently based in Khartoum and has not yet officially launched his campaign in the South.

Full story at Sudan Tribune by James Gatdet Dak, (JUBA) Tuesday, 16 February 2010.
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Chief Electoral Affairs Officer of UNMIS urged journalists to report objectively and responsibly during the general elections

Elections a Litmus Test for Democracy in Sudan Says UNMIS
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 15 February 2010:
(Khartoum) - The United Nations Mission in Sudan says the forthcoming general elections will be a “litmus test” for democracy in Sudan.

Speaking to SRS in Khartoum on Thursday, the Chief Electoral Affairs Officer of UNMIS, James Ray Kennedy, urged Sudanese journalists and international correspondents to report objectively and responsibly during the general elections.

[James Ray Kennedy]: “It is incredibly important for journalists to verify information. They must not spread rumors and they should try to reflect the opinion of experts as well as the diversity of opinion within Sudanese society and I think in that way we can help these elections to be peaceful. I think if we succeed in holding peaceful and credible elections in 2010 in Sudan, there is a very good chance that we can see elections on a regular basis in Sudan. We have not seen democratic elections on a routine basis in Sudan; it seems to have been more of an exceptional thing rather than a routine thing.”

Kennedy also said that although the war is still going in Darfur, he believes that it is possible to hold peaceful elections in Darfur.

[James Ray Kennedy]: “I think what we need to look at is the voter registration exercise. Voter registration did not reach 100 per cent of the population in Darfur but it reached a very high percentage of the population and it reached it in a very peaceful manner. We hope and believe that it will be possible to have elections in Darfur that are relatively peaceful, that are relatively successful. I say quite often that there is no such a thing as a perfect election anywhere but we are all working to make these elections as good as possible under very difficult circumstances - including in Darfur.”

James Ray Kennedy also urged the people of southern Sudan who are eligible to vote in the referendum to turn out in big numbers and vote in order to determine the future of the Sudan.
Sudanese women register for national elections in Khartoum

Photo: Sudanese women register for national elections in Khartoum, 2009. Presidential hopefuls in Sudan, Africa's largest country, have begun campaigning for the first multi-party poll since 1986. (AFP/File/Ashraf Shazly)
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Arman Meets Darfur SPLM Delegation in Khartoum

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 15 February 2010:
(Khartoum) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s presidential candidate, Yasir Arman, met an SPLM delegation from Darfur on Thursday and Friday in Khartoum.

In the meeting, the SPLM leaders discussed the political, humanitarian and security situation in Darfur.

One of the delegates, the SPLM secretary in Western Darfur state, Mohamed Abubakar Juma, spoke to SRS from Khartoum on Saturday.

[Mohamed Abubakar]: “Among the issues discussed regarding the Darfur crisis was the insecurity and also the difficulty in reaching some of the voters in most areas. We have also talked about the current Doha talks in relation to the general election. After the meeting, we agreed that we should request the government and the Elections Commission to coordinate with the international community for the sake of free and fair elections. Some of the things we have agreed on were that the emergency conditions should be lifted. The Darfur crisis must be solved quickly and also we must work together with UNAMID.”

The Darfur SPLM leaders also called for the quick resolution of the Darfur conflict before the general elections in April. They also called on the anti-government groups to unite and fight as one for Darfur.
Abu Shouk camp outside El Fasher, North Darfur

Photo: A girl digs for mud to make bricks, in the Abu Shouk camp outside El Fasher, North Darfur, 9 February 2010. Picture taken 9 February 2010. (Reuters/Andrew Heavens)

Zamzam refugee camp in North Darfur

Photo: A displaced boy wears a t-shirt printed with a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Zamzam refugee camp in North Darfur, 8 February 2010. Picture taken 8 February 2010. (Reuters/Andrew Heavens)

Note (seen on Albashir website, Sudanese Press in brief, Thursday, 11 February 2010): (Alraid) - Obama's brother is in Khartoum to participant at the meeting of Munazzamat al-Da’wa al-Islamiia.
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UMMA Party Heals Divisions and Unites

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 15 February 2010:
(Juba) - The UMMA National Party and the UMMA Reform and Renewal party have decided to unite under the umbrella name of the UMMA National Party.

The Chairman of the UMMA Reform and Renewal party, Mubarak Al Fadil, told SRS from Juba on Sunday that the unity of the parties came at a very critical time.

[Mubarak Al Fadil]: “The announcement of the political unity between the two parties came at a critical time in Sudanese politics. There are so many important issues going on, among them are the referendum in 2011 which might lead to the secession of a beloved part of the nation, and at the moment Sudan is witnessing a war in Darfur and instability in Southern Darfur, the Nuba mountains and the east. Sudan is indeed undergoing a lot of problems and there is a possibility that the nation might break into so many parts.”

Al Fadil also said the unity of the UMMA party is a step in the right direction. He said that it will play a major role in stabilizing the nation and supporting peace in Sudan.
Darfuri student Mohamed Musa

Photo: Relatives and students carry the body of Darfuri student Mohamed Musa in Omdurman locality in Khartoum, 15 February 2010. Armed riot police surrounded hundreds of protesters at the funeral of Musa, 23, who colleagues said was tortured and killed by Sudanese authorities in a case that has sparked tensions ahead of elections. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sudan-appointed special prosecutor Nimr Mohamed

Photo: Sudan-appointed special prosecutor Nimr Mohamed addresses a news conference at the U.N. offices in the capital Khartoum, 11 February 2010. Mohamed, Sudan's special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur, has not charged or tried anyone, and the government must speed up trials or lose the confidence of the people, a U.N.-appointed human rights expert said on Thursday. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
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SPLM to discuss NCP’s suggestions to resolve South Kordofan election boycott

From Mirayafm, Tuesday, 16 February 2010:
The Political Bureau of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) will meet on Tuesday to discuss the suggestions of National Congress Party (NCP) to resolve the SPLM boycotting the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in South Kordofan State, SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum confirmed to Miraya FM.

Earlier the Governor of South Kordofan State, Ahmed Haroun, who leads the NCP delegation to Juba, delivered a message from the Chairman of the NCP, Omer Al Bashir, to the SPLM Political Bureau, suggesting solutions to overcome the crisis.

Meanwhile, Amum also told Miraya FM that the SPLM Political Bureau will hold a meeting to make a final decision on party members who chose to contest as independent candidates.
Darfur peacekeepers get helicopters after long wait

On Tuesday, Sudan's neighbour Ethiopia became the first country to respond to the call by sending five tactical helicopters to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, said UNAMID.

"This will make a huge difference ... Only one country has been able to help us. An African country has supported us," force spokesman Noureddine Mezni told Reuters.

"We still need more, at least 18 in total. Up to now we have had zero tactical helicopters ... Imagine managing without this mobility in such a huge area."

Full story: Reuters, Tuesday, 16 February 2010.
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Sudan Sports Latest

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 15 February 2010:
(Nairobi) - Al Hilal FC won the Bani Yas friendly tournament cup after defeating the hosts Bani Yas on Saturday.

The match officially finished with a 2-2 draw leading to the penalty kicks which ended 5-4. Al Hilal’s striker Mohamed Al Tahir was awarded the tournament’s top scorer trophy.

Only four teams participated in the friendly mini-tournament which was organized by Emirates’ Bani Yas FC to celebrate the opening of the club’s new stadium.

Meanwhile, Al Merriekh FC on Sunday drew one-nil with their Ethiopian hosts Saint George during the preliminary round of the African Champions’ league.

The team returned to Khartoum on Monday morning after being away from the country for about four weeks.

And in other football news, in Rwanda, Amal Atbara FC lost their African Union Confederation Cup game against Rwanda’s Atrako 2-0 on Sunday.

And finally in Khartoum, the teenage football team from the state of Equatoria won the first National Junior Football Championship after defeating Al Jazeera 2-1 in the finals on Saturday at the Inkhaz stadium.
With special credit and thanks to:

Charles Haskins
News Programming Advisor
Sudan Radio Service (SRS)
A project of Education Development Center
Safaricom: +254 715 05 2924
+254 722 20 8598
Thuraya: +882 1643 339 226
Office: +254 (20) 387 0906
Fax: +254 (20) 387 6520
Skype: ackamaracus
www.sudanradio.org

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