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Over 5000 local election observers overseeing the ballot

Osman Shinger
Can we independently observe our own elections?
مراقبة الانتخابات ضمان لنزاهتها
مراقبة الانتخابات ضمان لنزاهتها

The latest elections law in Sudan has, for the first time in Sudanese history allowed local monitors, in accordance with Article 104 (3)-D, the right of civil organizations to oversee the elections.

More than 5000 observers from the Saqdi and Sandi organizations are now participating in the national election monitoring procedure across Sudan, which makes this procedure one of the largest in the world.

Ambassador Mohammad Abdul Dai’em, the National Elections Commission’s (NEC) monitoring official stated that the Commission received thousands of applications from civil society organizations expressing desire to contribute to overseeing the elections in different parts of the Sudan. He said the Commission is sorting out these applications and will allow the full participation of accredited organizations.”

Tens of national organizations were quick to apply to the NEC for accreditation as local observers, including the Sudanese Democracy and Elections Group, known as Saqdi”. This group emerged last December as a result of a joint alliance of eight organizations; namely, Aza society, the Educational Babakr Badri Society for Women Studies, Cultural, Social and Economic Rights Study Group, Hilahelp Organization, Human Security Initiative Organization, Consultancy Group for Social and Human Resource Development, Civil Society Development Institute, and Sudan Environment Protection Society.

This alliance (Saqdi) identified itself as a group of independent and non-party political organizations that work together to promote free, equitable, sound and peaceful elections. The group will undertake the task of electoral education and local monitoring in accordance with international electoral standards, the Sudan elections law and the Sudanese electoral regulations accredited by the Commission.  Saqdi”  committed to the principles of avoiding favoritism, non-party trends, accountability, responsibility, equality and respect of democratic governance principles.

The partnership between these two groups (Sandi and Saqdi) represents the first Sudanese election monitoring in the history of Sudan.

Saqdi” has so far been active in the field of electoral education, aimed at promoting increased levels of participation in the forthcoming elections. It has provided 2752 supervisors to follow up the progress of electoral training in the 15 Northern provinces, and Abiee district. It also finalized the coordination procedures with the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (Sandi), which oversees the monitoring work in the ten southern provinces, through signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the NEC (MOU). The MOU aims to set a cooperation framework between the Saqdi” and Sandi” groups, in support of free, transparent and non-violent elections. The partnership between these two groups represents the first Sudanese election monitoring in the history of Sudan.

In accordance with this coordination, Sandi” and Saqdi” will work together to carry out electoral education efforts and local monitoring , based on the rules and instructions of the National Elections Commission , National Elections Law of 2008 and international criterions. The two groups have agreed to deploy thousands of observers all over Sudan to monitor voting and vote count procedures. The results of monitoring efforts will be delivered to the National Electoral Commission, the media, the general public and other elections partners.

Engineer Ali Mohammad, Saqdi’s spokesman says: It is highly important to provide the public and other elections partners with an impartial report vis-à-vis the progress of the electoral procedures across the Sudan.” Through the coordinated efforts of the Saqdi” and Sandi” groups, we shall be able to achieve this goal. We are proud to be members in this first election supervision effort in our country,” he added.  Commenting on the same issue, the chief of Sandi group, Rev. Benjamin Lami has stressed that Saqdi” and Sandi” share similar values and objectives, which include a commitment to avoid party alliances, maintain impartiality and respect democratic governance principles.” He added: Sandi” looks forward to promoting free and fair elections in Sudan, through concerted efforts with Saqdi” group.”

In accordance with this joint cooperation established between these two groups, one of the largest non-party elections monitoring procedures will be taking place over the coming days. Over five thousand observers will monitor the voting process all over Sudan.  And the groups combined will publish a joint assessment report on the progress of the national elections process.   This is the first time such a local indiginous monitoring of elections has taken place in the history of Sudan.