Sudanese differ over elections

Al Jazeera speaks to a cross-section of people and hears their views for and against the polls.

    Opposition parties have complained about the privileged position of al-Bashir's party [AFP]

    Sudan is holding its first multi-party elections in 24 years.

    With several opposition parties boycotting the elections, the campaign had been low-key.

    Before electioneering ended on Friday, cars belonging mainly to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) drove by occasionally in the capital Khartoum with people handing out leaflets urging voters to elect Omar al-Bashir, the president who is seeking re-election.

    But it seems most people already know the outcome and there is a sense of apathy among some. Many have also opted to leave the capital until the election is over due to fears of violence.

    Al Jazeera interviewed some Sudanese people on the eve of the elections in a bid to understand how they view the elections.

    Abdelrahim, businessman

    This freedom now is given to us by the international media organisations who are paying extra attention to Sudan, but we have never been asked by Sudanese TV to express ourselves and share what our hopes and dreams are for the country. I feel very sad, this is the first time I have the right to vote [and] I am over 40 now.

    This right that many take for granted has been suppressed by this regime that came to power by force for a long time. If we were in a democratic country, then people would have voted five times in the last 20 years. We should have seen five governments. But we have only seen one, yet I will vote to make my voice heard.

    Nadia El-Serr Ali, hotel manager

    The current regime had over 20 years to improve things in the country. They have

    Nadia El-Serr Ali

    made some positive changes but when you look at the big picture and calculate the country’s resources and what the living standard for the average Sudanese is then you will see the clear imbalance.

    Sudanese people are kind-hearted and friendly. We are very open to other people and cultures. This nation deserves better, I deserve better. I am very upset for this country, I am disappointed and upset. This land is unlucky. I just want us to be free, I feel chained and restricted.

    Shomos al-Amin, reseacher and part of a movement called 'Boycott the Election'
    Shomos al-Amin

    We don't want to legitimise this government that is still arresting and detaining political activists. Sudan is going through a very difficult time; we could face separation not just with the south, but also Darfur and the east. On top of poverty and the corruption that is plaguing the country, all these issues have not been tackled by the government.

    How can we re-elect someone who has incited a religious war in the south and a racist war in Darfur? Also, how can we elect someone wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)? How can the person who is the root of the problem come with the solution of the problem?

    Osama al-Sediq, a lab technician

    I will reserve my right to practise my democratic right to vote. This is the first election ever for me. I am boycotting but I choose a different method of showing my protest.

    Abdallah Adam Khater, 60,  journalist from Darfur

    I have to go and vote so I can say that I did register and I did vote when asked about the elections and my stance in the future. This is our right and we should never let anyone or anything stop us from from practising that right.

    There is a chance for us as Sudanese to make things happen here but we have to work harder and struggle against this dictatorship. We want to achieve this through elections and participation. We have tolerated this regime for over 20 years.

    I have been detained and imprisoned but I never give up. They never managed to defeat me psychologically or physically. I owe this to my country and myself.

    I believe in a united Sudan, I see this in my family. They come from all over Sudan, Nuba mountains, Arabs, Darfur and Dinka tribe. So I represent the united Sudan that should stay united. I have to fight for unity, freedom and justice for all Sudanese.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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