In 1940, Stalin sent his strongest political operative, Andrey Vyshinsky, to bring the Baltic States to heel under the boot of the Soviet state. Vyshinsky arrived in Latvia on June 18th, installed as Stalin’s special envoy. The president of Latvia, Karlis Ulmanis, was forced to appoint a “people’s government”. Within days, the president and key members of his administration were arrested and deported to the Soviet Union. A hastily scrambled election took place on July 14-15, with a single list of Soviet-picked candidates on the ballot. The results gave 97.8 percent of the vote to the previously unknown and unheralded candidates. Vyshinsky preened for the press corps and expressed hope the newly elected “people’s parliament” would attain success.1
Corruption is an ancient political art form with a steady march of new players. The basic mechanics of corruption use deception as a fulcrum for power and control. In a clearly defined “Vyshinsky moment”, President Omar al-Bashir has once again steamrolled into office in the Sudan. The April 2015 presidential election is over. Al-Bashir’s fellow corruptocrats gleefully awarded the incumbent 94.5% of the electoral vote. The National Congress Party retains control of the political machine. Promise of a “harmony government” is just the latest dung from a man with lying lips and internationally recognized heartless cruelty.
Long live the man whose father milked cows for a living! Omar al-Bashir embraced his father’s work but not the same work ethic. tammThe man has been milking the national teats since his illegal ascent to power in 1989. The president will carry on his tradition of governance malpractice and political extortion. Citizens will continue to groan under the rule of an oppressor. Long live Vyshinsky in the Sudan.
Dirty hands cannot wash dirty hands. The African Union Election Observation Mission extended a dirty hand. On closer view, there is dirt under the fingernails. (2) The 2015 report is a trite document which opines that polls opened on time, the sites were clearly marked, and the electoral process relatively peaceful. “Everything taken together, the AUEOM reached the conclusion that the results of the election would reflect the will of the voters of the Sudan.”
Ceremoniously, I reach for my matches. It is time for a symbolic burning of a printed document which is in the category of molecules-without -merit.
There are molecules-of-merit on my desk. They consist of Supreme Court documents contesting the presidential election results. One appeal is filed on behalf of a bloc of five presidential candidates. This appeal was offered in front of the Federal National Supreme Court (Department of Election Appeals). The men fought “honourably” and sought their appeal in accordance with the legal provisions of electoral law. Two of the court filings were submitted by the National Reform Party on behalf of their candidate, Mohammed Elhassan al-Sufi. I provided guidance for his campaign and wrote basic talking points.
In a hopeful manner, a presidential acceptance speech was written for an English-speaking audience. I communicated with the candidate whilst he was on the ground in the Sudan and during the months preceding the election. Extensive debriefing and access to physical records provide a stark reminder. We continue to live with an outdated notion. Justice should not be blind. True justice acts with eyes wide open. Let me open your eyes with an abbreviated synopsis of the complaints submitted to the Supreme Court regarding electoral irregularities.
Voter fraud via the mechanism of manipulation of the recognized housing certificate was rampant. There were cases of multiple votes cast with one certificate and unfettered cases of voter fraud. Many individuals came to the polls and found their vote already cast in absentia.Deliberate crowding was used as a logistical means to promote chaos prior to the closing of polls.
Vote boxes were unsealed and votes added after the polls closed. In one instance, it was noted that a vote card book annotated 206 votes. The following morning the series number was increased to 722 votes.
Deliberate blockade against the women’s vote was apparent.
Votes were recorded for “Southern Sudanese where they have no right to vote after the
separation of the South, as considered they are not Sudanese anymore, and they are voting with their names using a public housing certificate.”
Voting cards were produced with corrupted (switched) logos for the various parties to mislead voters. Logo integrity is important for the functionally illiterate as a means to identify the approved party candidate.
Coercion and terror tactics against voting center staff was deployed.
There are first person reports from village elders. They were advised that if the village did not vote for Omar al-Bashir they would be denied both food and water. Death by dehydration is a powerful threat. But is it a greater threat than the political dehydration which is the norm in a land which is parched from lack of electoral freedom?
A document sent to the US State Department, British, Canadian, and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (respectively) and the European Union allude to the insurmountable difficulties for presidential candidates in the Sudan. The document comes across as a plaintive cry. (3)
“We appeal to the international community and all the supporters of democracy…. Please send highly experienced lawyers in international elections and media to pursue and follow up the appeals submitted and decisions of the court….The regime knows that our financial and media and logistical abilities are very limited to fight this asymmetrical battle….”
After reading through the Supreme Court documents and “decisions” against the plaintiffs I am left with one small question. When jurists strengthen the powerful and deny citizen rights, should such men be held in high esteem?
The election cycle in the Sudan is not a story in isolation. The story is tethered to the international stage. The Republic of Sudan is anchored in northern Africa and the third largest country on the continent. This vast land mass shares borders with South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Libya, Chad and E-states: Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia. (4)
The story is important because of the nature of political dynamics. Corrupt governance and corrupt business practice always cohabitate. The interdependence of the same produces a bastardized economic seed. Corruption creates policies which are growth inhibitive. Poor economic benchmarks mire the Sudanese in poverty. According to available statistics from the World Bank, 46.5% of Sudanese eke out their existence below the poverty line. (5)
Transparency International releases a yearly Corruptions Perception Index. The data for 2014 shows Sudan at the bottom of the heap (173 out of 174). But the curtain of corruption which frames the borders of Sudan cannot be ignored.
The E-states fall in step with high corruption indices (Egypt 94, Ethiopia 110, Eritrea 166). Libya shares a statistical bunk with Eritrea at 166.
The Central African Republic, Chad, and South Sudan are listed at 150, 154, and 171 respectively. (6)
An excellent abstract is available in the Creative Commons. “Corruption in the Developing World” by Benjamin A. Olken, MIT and Rohini Pande, Harvard University provides a hard look at corrupt business practices. “Anecdotal and survey evidence suggests that corruption is rampant and more prevalent in developing countries than in rich ones.” (7)
The Sudan is a big place with a big sewage seepage problem. That sewage is corruption and the seepage extends beyond her
Despots are dependent on corruption to retain power. Movement towards transparency is a death writ. The world will never witness a transparent Omar al-Bashir. It is time for a legal writ for the nation to move forward. A despot continues to rule a gentle people. The world stands blind and mute.
1) “Disinformation” by Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa and Prof. Ronald J. Rychlak, WND
Books, Inc. Washington, D.C. 2013, pp. 50-51
3) Call for all International Community and Supporters of Democratic States.
7) MIT Open Access Articles: Olken, Benjamin A. and Rohini Pande. “Corruption in Developing
Countries.” Annual Review of Economics (2012) 4:479-509. Copyright @2012 by Annual