It is no secret that the presidential seat is reserved for no one else than the current president of Sudan Omar Hasan al-Bashir. Apparently, an agreement was reached between the Bashir’s National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (the strongest party of the South), that the seat of the president should go to a familiar face, and no one is more familiar in Sudan than al-Bashir.

ICC’s indictment against al-Bashir for orchestrating war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur does not stand in the way of his election. In fact, charges of mass murder, torture and rape, did not delegitimize his political persona, they only made him stronger. Without a doubt, a leader that can mock the most serious indictment possible under international humanitarian law and get away with it, has guaranteed himself a place above the law. The illogical starts to make sense. Why would Sudanese vote for a wanted war criminal? Actually, they do not see him as such. They will cast their votes for the untouchable, the al-Bashir that proved to be above the law of the international community.

The leaders of South Sudan are supporting al-Bashir in exchange for a tolerant approach to Southern independence in 2011. However, would al-Bashir really let go of the goose that lays the golden eggs? Southern oil fields are the source of Sudan’s power; without them, the country looses the most of its attraction for foreign investment. Therefore, can the Southern Sudanese trust in al-Bashir?

As may be easily foreseen, after the elections the North may continue supporting the violent ethnic clashes in the South. Moreover, I am afraid a conflict will escalate just before the referendum, giving the North the opportunity to postpone the referendum for an indefinite time. No referendum, no independence for South Sudan.

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