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Starting Points: Letter From Khartoum

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Letter From Khartoum

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of ...Image via Wikipedia

Sudan’s Empty Election

Rebecca Hamilton

REBECCA HAMILTON is a Fellow at the Open Society Institute, a Visiting Fellow at the National Security Archive, and the author of a forthcoming book on the impact of advocacy on Darfur policy.

At a clandestine meeting in a nondescript Khartoum suburb, a man started reading a list of numbers to me. “Between the census conducted in 1983 and the one conducted in 1993, the nomadic population in South Darfur decreased by just over 5.5 percent,” my informant summarized. “This was largely due to the drought, which led to a loss of livestock and forced many nomads into the towns.” He resumed his list of numbers. “If we are to believe the recent census, this same nomadic population has increased by 322 percent.”

Last year’s census was conducted to determine how many parliamentary seats would be allocated to each geographical area in Sudan’s April 2010 election. Sudan’s ruling party refused to release its raw census data, but anomalies like this one are widespread. With numbers unexpectedly high among populations that support the current regime and lower than anticipated in opposition-dominated regions, many Sudanese believe that the census has been manipulated for political purposes. Distorted census figures like these are just one of many tactics being used to ensure that next year’s election will come out in favor of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), led by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal.

Serious and depressing detailed evaluation by one of the best-informed folks around.

Posted via web from Ted’s Nothing but Net Explorations

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