The Campaign Period
The elections campaign period extended from the 13th of February to the 9th of March 2010. It was marred by obstructions and restrictions on the activities of the political parties and individuals other than the SPLM. The candidate for the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Dr Lam Akol, faced the following problems:
1. His posters were torn by a contingent of the SPLA in Malakal town on the 18th of February 2010.
2. On the same day his campaign materials were seized by the military intelligence (MI) of the SPLA at Juba airport.
3. On the 28th of February, two cars carrying elections campaign materials from Khartoum to Northern Bahr El Ghazal State were seized by the SPLM and SPLA as they entered the territory of the State and six people on them were arrested. One car was abandoned when it developed an engine failure and the other one is being used by one of the Governor’s wives up to the time of writing.
4. He was prevented by authorities in the Government of Southern Sudan from campaigning in the four States of the former Bahr El Ghazal Province. Despite the letters written to the National Elections Commission to intervene nothing was done up to the time of polling and counting of votes.
5. In Rumbek town, his Chief Agent for Lakes State was arrested and the party’s car was seized by the MI of the SPLA and remains in their custody up to the moment of writing.
6. Party officials and activists were constantly arrested in Rumbek by the SPLA for no reason except to prevent them from doing the party’s work, especially mobilization and raising awareness.
Written complaints were delivered to the NEC but did nothing beyond writing letters pleading with the President of GOSS to respect his public commitment to allow all political parties in Southern Sudan to operate freely.
Polling and Counting of Votes
The irregularities that were observed took various forms as follows:
A – Interference by SPLM Ministers and Commissioners of GOSS in the Polling Process;
B – Threatening, Intimidating and Arresting Voters by the SPLA and Forcing them to Vote for the SPLM;
C – The SPLA Controlling the Ballot Boxes;
D – Arrest and Mistreatment of Agents of the Other Political Parties;
E – Arrest of the Elections Officials by the SPLA Commissioners;
F – Some Elections Officials were Involved in the Rigging;
G – Opening Fire on the Voters.
Detailed documents on these irregularities were presented to the NEC as they occurred. But no action was taken to stop these corrupt practices.
The SPLA’s intervention in these elections covered all the ten States in the South and was so blatant that everybody who was there saw it. Despite that, the NEC was not moved and did not send a single delegation to the South to check this malpractice. It did not even raise a finger to defend its officials who got arrested by GOSS Commissioners and some armed SPLM candidates. By endorsing the results of the elections in Southern Sudan, the NEC has an obligation to tell the Sudanese public and the international community which elections law and regulations allow the SPLA and Commissioners to take over the work of the elections officials and determine the result in the absence of party agents.The Governors and the Commissioners in Southern Sudan were outbidding themselves in satisfying their boss by achieving the highest votes for him through rigging in their respective States/Counties.
No international and local monitors were present where these irregularities and fraudulent acts took place. They never went beyond the main towns in the South which represent a small proportion of the electorate. Therefore, those among the international monitors who passed judgments that these elections were free and fair, at least in the South, should be ashamed of themselves. The NEC itself can justifiably be accused of complicity in the rigging process, for it failed to exercise its powers under Article 10 of the National Elections Act 2008 to ensure a semblance of free and fair elections.
That Salva Kiir scored 93% of the votes cast, is the clearest evidence to any doubting Thomases that this election was nothing but a farce. Such percentages are only heard of under totalitarian regimes. If they had such a commanding popular support why were they obstructing the activities of the other political parties? This is a bad joke.
The more than two million votes scored by the SPLM presidential candidate in the South is another evidence of the rigging that took place there. Those in charge of the rigging were just ticking the symbol of the SPLM from top to bottom oblivious to the fact that their Presidential candidate had already been withdrawn. In another sense, it also showed the bad faith from the side of the SPLM leadership in their pledge to support President Al Bashir by denying him those votes in the South.
In the gubernatorial race, it is credibly reported that the President of the Government of Southern Sudan has vowed that he doesn’t want to hear that an Independent candidate has won as Governor all over Southern Sudan. It seems, thanks to the NEC, he has achieved his wish. To take one example, in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, the Independent candidate, Mr Dau Aturjong, was leading in each and every polling centre. However, the final result turned out that the SPLM candidate who was trailing in the third position was declared the winner with almost twice the score of the front runner!! Where these votes came from remains a mystery. In Western Equatoria State, the results were sent out to Khartoum without the knowledge of the security elements of GOSS. The move was a big embarrassment to both the President of GOSS and the NEC leadership in Khartoum. There was no way again of doctoring the result. This is why it was the only State in Southern Sudan that went to a non-SPLM candidate. We congratulate the High Elections Committee in Yambio for their honesty and integrity and our activists in Western Equatoria State for their vigilance without which this victory wouldn’t have been possible.
The rigging did not exclude the elections to the Legislative Assemblies. Many of the SPLM candidates who clearly lost the elections were declared winners to the chagrin of the High Elections Committees in the States.
The rigging of the elections that was masterminded and executed by the SPLM and SPLA recently in the South has no parallel in modern history. It is a black spot in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, an abuse to democracy and a mockery to the people of Southern Sudan. It follows therefore that the result of such a fraudulent and farcical exercise can never be a true reflection of the will of the people in Southern Sudan and must be rejected. Hence we have resolved:
1. Not to recognize the result just announced by the National Elections Commission regarding election of the President of the Government of Southern Sudan and the Governors;
2. to appeal to the courts in accordance with Article 81 of the National Elections Act 2008, for the decision of the NEC on the matter to be declared null and void.
We have a dossier on the details of the irregularities and corrupt practices that took place in this election. Of course, there is always an exception to every rule. Some constituencies in Southern Sudan shielded themselves in one way or the other from the SPLM/SPLA’s massive and comprehensive rigging. We do not question the results therein.
We ran a clean principled campaign to the extent that the other side was stealing our slogans. Little did we think that they would too steal our victory. Whatever the outcome, the winds of change have already swept Southern Sudan and things will never be the same again. We seize this opportunity to thank all those who contributed to the success of this magnificent campaign, materially and by brain and brawn. In particular, we single out for a special mention, the party workers, those youth and women, who spent days and nights moving in villages and urban areas carrying our message to the people, and the agents who guarded the polling and counting boxes vigilantly. Most of these dedicated cadres were not allowed to carry out their mission. For instance, in Maiwut and Longchuk counties in Upper Nile State, Rumbek in Lakes State, Warrap State, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, etc., the agents were arrested on the eve of polling and were only released after the counting of votes was completed. Little wonder that the votes scored in some of those and other counties were more than the votes cast. Yet, we are told the elections were free and fair!
We thank the hundreds of thousands of the masses of our people who voted for us in this election, thinking that it was going to be free and fair and bring in the leaders of their choosing. We shall not let you down and will continue to pursue your rights at all times. Our appeal to you is to stay calm in order for the legal process to take its course.
1. South Sudan Democratic Forum
4. United Democratic Party
5. National Democratic Front
6. Sudan National Labour Party
7. South Sudan Democratic Front