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By Frank Mwine
Sudan goes to the polls set to extend Bashir’s rule, Undoubtedly President Bashir is expected to win with a landslide for another term in office as opposition boycotts polls.
For those who thought that the Arab Spring will scare some African leaders to seek unlimited re elections or change their Constitutions to extend their grip on power were mistaken. President Bashir is almost alone in the playing field but not alone on the African continent, Sudan opposition have shunned elections for fear of legitimizing the elections since they had no hope of winning the incumbent President Omar al-Bashir.
Indeed President Bashir is now swimming in peacefully waters without waves and tides of the opposition. The Sudan elections will see more than 13 million people voting at some 11,000 polling stations across the country, but observers say that voting got off to a slow start, with mostly soldiers and elderly people showing up at locations visited by the international and local observers.
The 71-year-old president, who came to power in a bloodless coup in June 1989, was seen voting accompanied by ministers and his two wives. The country’s main opposition groups are boycotting the elections, in which 15 little-known candidates are challenging the incumbent.
“I only see Bashir on TV and elsewhere. It doesn’t feel like Bashir has any other contesting against him,” Ali Adel Kheder, 19 said.
The President with his strong financial muscle and political influence, he has dominated all the national media and he has politically dwarfed his challengers. “The state TV and private channels are all pro-Bashir. I don’t know who the candidates are and what their election programmes are.” Mohammed Khatm al-Haaj, 22 said.
The opposition argues that there is no point to vote because the result are obvious ,they say no credible elections can be held until peace is restored in all of the country’s regions and the oppositions demands, including the release of all political prisoners and increased press freedom, are met.
As the opposition continues to lose hope in all the electro process, they have argued that only revolutions like the Arab Spring could only bring sanity in Sudan politics, “The government knows how to fake the election. Change will only come via a revolution, an organised revolution with a leader. There is currently no leader in Sudan.”
However, President Bashir , its only elections that can guarantee him peace, in other words it’s a matter life and death, as I have mentioned above he is under ICC Warrant of arrest under the case ICC-02/05-01/09, The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir. The Pre-Trial Chamber 1 in July 2010 issued another arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir under the following charges.
Mr Al Bashir is allegedly criminally responsible for ten counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility under Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute as an indirect (co) perpetrator including:
• five counts of crimes against humanity: murder – Article 7(1)(a);
extermination – Article 7(1)(b); forcible transfer – Article 7(1)(d); torture – Article 7(1)(f); and rape – Article 7(1)(g);
• two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a
civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities -Article 8(2)(e)(i); and pillaging – Article 8(2)(e)(v).
• Three counts of genocide: genocide by killing (article 6-a), genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm (article 6-b) and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction (article 6-c).
With all these indictments on his head, and the only survival being the immunity derived from the Head of State, he would be naive and reckless to leave power. President Bashir enjoys an overwhelming support from his African counterparts for fear of setting a precedent or a trap that would catch many of them. Accordingly the African Union passed a resolution on July 3 expressing a refusal on the part of its members to cooperate in the arrest and transfer of the President of Sudan to the International Criminal Court.
Confining its call for non-cooperation solely to the Bashir case, the resolution adopted at the end of the 13th African Union Summit of Heads of States says the AU “deeply regrets” that the United Nations ignored its previous demand for the ICC to postpone the arrest warrant against President al Bashir. The resolution states that the African Union “decides that in view of the fact that a request of the African Union has never been acted upon, the AU member states shall not cooperate pursuant to the provisions of Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the ICC relating to immunities for the arrest and surrender of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir to the ICC.”
Indeed, it is obvious that President Bashir is very aware that his life line or as long as his oxygen supporting machine is still switched on, no one will take him to the Hague, whether it was a mistake on the part of the International Community for issuing premature arrest warrants, no doubt these warrants have become a burden for the people of Sudan and the region.
This post has already been read 16173 times!