Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fifty EU Election Observers from UK deploy to S. Sudan - Darfur issue could still be resolved after the elections

Sudanese people have a wonderful way with words. A year or so ago, Sudan's president Al-Bashir warned warmongers to go lick their elbows (try licking your elbow to see what he means). Last week, Mr Bashir said he will cut off the fingers of international observers if they interfere.
The Sudanese president gave a stern warning to foreign election monitors threatening to expel them if they call for a delay of the polls scheduled for April 11th.

The warning appears directed at the US based Carter Center which last week called for a slight delay in elections because of logistical and procedural issues.

The NEC deputy chairman Ahmed Abdullah insisted the elections would take place on April 11, as planned.

But Bashir had tougher words to the US based elections watchdog. "We brought these organizations from outside to monitor the elections, but if they ask for them to be delayed, we will throw them out... any foreigner or organization that demand the delay of elections will be expelled sooner rather than later, " he said.

"We wanted them to see the free and fair elections, but if they interfere in our affairs, we will cut their fingers off, put them under our shoes, and throw them out," he added.
Heh. Best of British luck to Paul Moorcraft and all other election observers. Thinking of you, wishing you well. Click on labels at the end of this post to read more about Paul Moorcraft and European Union observers for Sudan's elections.

UK Elections Observers Deploy To Help Sudan Move Towards Democracy
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Tuesday, 29 March 2010:
29 March 2010 - (Khartoum) – the UK-based Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis, says it will deploy fifty election observers in south Sudan as part of the international community’s mission to observe Sudan’s general elections scheduled for April this year.

Speaking to the press in Khartoum on Saturday, the Director of the CFPA, Prof. Paul Moorcraft, emphasized that the observers are independent.

[Paul Moorcraft]: “We have fifty observers in the group. They come from a wide range of professions in the United Kingdom. We are independent; we are not aligned to government, although some of the people in the team have a military background or government background or academic background, they are here as neutral, absolutely neutral observers, independent, not tied to any government or creed or philosophy. Fifty people, many of them are lawyers, constitutional lawyers, some of them are eminent professors and some of them have been most of the time in observation recently. So we put together a very experienced varied team who speak Arabic. We tried to put together a team that will understand this country.”

Prof. Moorcraft said the CFPA wanted to help the Sudan move towards real democracy.

[Paul Moorcraft]: “In the final report which we will make, we will put our observations down and if there are some things that we think in our opinion could perhaps in terms of procedures be done better, we would make some suggestions as a way of perhaps trying to help. We are here simply to observe and this is a major operation. So we are here to look at the transition from your previous systems to a multi-party democracy. We are here to help but not to interfere. We are here to see what went right and perhaps one or two things that went wrong and we will record it as honestly and faithfully as we can. That is what we are here to do. We are here to help Sudan.”

Moorcraft described the recent statement by President Omar al-Bashir that he would expel foreign observers if they continue to call for the postponement of the elections as a “threat”.

According to him, the CFPA was invited by the National Elections Commission to assist with the observation of Sudan’s general elections in April.
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Election Observer Presses for Elections to Go Ahead
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Wednesday, 31 March 2010:
31 March 2010 - (Khartoum) – An international election observer says tribal conflicts in south Sudan should not serve as a pretext to postpone the elections.

Speaking to SRS in Khartoum, Paul Wesson from the UK-based Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis explains why he thinks the elections should be conducted as scheduled.

[Paul Wesson]: “I think the issue is that in the whole country you have 17 million people having an election and the election should not be delayed because of the actions of a few thousands people in one area. But if there is no election in that area, then that can be dealt with at a later stage, but the important thing is to have elections for the 17 million people — yes, the electorate is 17 million people - and the tribal conflicts are carried by a few thousand people who perhaps don’t have the national picture in their minds. It is possible that if an election doesn’t take place in one state or in one constituency it could be held separately at a later stage. The important thing is that the main election takes place.”

Wesson also suggested that the anti-government groups in Darfur should allow the elections process to go ahead as scheduled. He says that the Darfur issue could still be resolved after the elections.
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Two Citizens of Rumbek Comment Election Process
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service:
29 March 2010 - (Rumbek) – As the general election campaigns intensify and the election nears, SRS collected views of people in Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state.

[Vox 1 - male]: “I think the elections are going to be fair and free. I am going to vote in these coming elections because it is something I have been waiting for and the person I am going to vote for is some one that will implement the will of the southerners especially after the long struggle that took 21 years to achieve.”

[Vox 2 - female]: “The elections process is good and I think I am not a politician to comment about it. I work in the hospital. I think unity could be good for us southerners. I would like southern Sudanese to stay united. Let there be no such thing as this belongs to that and this to that. My right as a citizen is to unite with others so as to have one voice in achieving our long-awaited freedom.”

Those were views of two people in Rumbek concerning the elections.
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