Search

 

Cablegate: The Census Should Not Go Forward in Darfur, Opposition

VZCZCXRO5945
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0382/01 0751113
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151113Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0203
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 000382

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E WILLIAMSON, AND AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KEDEM PREF SU
SUBJECT: THE CENSUS SHOULD NOT GO FORWARD IN DARFUR, OPPOSITION
PARTY REPS CLAIM

REF: KHARTOUM 372

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Both the Umma Party and SPLM believe that now is
not the time to conduct a census in Darfur. Their concerns echo
those of civil society in North Darfur - that peace, stability and
the return of IDPs to their homes must take place before an accurate
and thorough census can go forward in the region. Umma Party does
not have a strategy to gain favor among the the Darfuri electorate
in the 2009 elections and the SPLM, aside from having grave
misunderstandings about how the census affects the elections,
believes it has a broad base of support among the Dafuri people. END
SUMMARY.

-----------------------------------
DARFUR TOO UNSTABLE FOR THE CENSUS
-----------------------------------
2. (SBU) On 10 March, poloff met with Rabeei Baharadein Ali Dinar,
Deputy Chairman of Umma Party in North Darfur, and Khaleel Mohammed
Bakheet Tukras, Information Secretary and Spokesman for Umma Party
in North Darfur, in El Fasher to speak about the party's stance on
next month's census and electoral strategy for Darfur. Dinar started
out by saying that the Umma Party (nationally) is not opposed to the
census or the elections and that they hoped both would be free and
fair. As Umma Party members and also as Darfuris, though, they
registered concerns about the conduct of both the census and the
elections in Darfur. They stated that the census and elections
should be postponed until there is peace on the ground in Darfur.
[Note: Rabeei Bahradein Ali Dinar is the grandson of the late Darfur
sultan Ali Dinar. End note.]

3. (SBU) In a separate meeting on 10 March, poloffs met with the
SPLM lead representative in North Darfur Al Shiekh Doda and his
party colleague, Fakhri. The SPLM reps claimed that the census will
never take place in a "proper way" in Darfur due to security
concerns that enumerators will face. They agreed that the census is
important in principle, but said that it is not practical to conduct
the census in Darfur as scheduled for next month.

---------------------------------------
CENSUS WILL NOT BE ACCURATE IN DARFUR
---------------------------------------
4. (SBU) Both Umma Party members stated that their number one
concern about the census in Darfur is the unstable security
situation. "The census requires a peaceful and secure environment,"
said Dinar. "Enumeration will require freedom of movement." In
Darfur, the SAF, the rebels, and even civilians are armed and there
will be many places that government enumerators will not have access
to, he explained. In a separate meeting, SPLM Darfur reps Al Shiekh
Doda and Fakhri came to the same conclusion. "It is too insecure"
and impractical to hold a census in Darfur now. Al Shiekh Doda said
that it would be more rational for the GoS to use 1993 census data
for Darfur and adjust it to the population growth rate.

5. (SBU) Umma members went on to say that a census in Darfur will
not reflect the region's true population due to the number of IDPs
and refugees. "An accurate census in Darfur is not possible because
people are on the move," said Dinar. Due to displacements, refugees,
and areas that cannot safely be accessed by GoS enumerators, the
population of Darfur is unusually low. Dinar claimed Darfur accounts
for one third of the population of Sudan, and said it will be a
problem if the census reveals less than this. (Note: It is highly
unlikely that Darfur constitutes a third of Sudan's 40 million
inhabitants, though it is notable that this figure is being cited by
the political class in Darfur - perhaps based on a popular
understanding passed down over generations. Due to large growth in
other areas of Sudan but also due to the grinding conflict and
refugee flows in Darfur, the population of Darfur may now be fifteen
or twenty percent of the overall population. End note.) The party
members described the critical implications the census will have on
power and wealth-sharing. They instructed that there should be a
solution to the Darfur problem first before the census and elections
are conducted.

6. (SBU) SPLM reps claimed that IDPs will not allow government
enumerators to conduct a census in the camps. They said that there
is an overall lack of advocacy about the census in Darfur. Al
Shiekh Doda stated that the election depends on the census and that
if people do not participate in the census, they cannot vote.
Poloffs corrected him and said that the census is not tied to voter
registration or the elections and that if people do not participate
in the census, it should not affect their ability to vote.

--------------------------------
GoS MANIPULATION OF THE CENSUS
--------------------------------
7. (SBU) Both Umma Party members alerted poloff to a "very dangerous

KHARTOUM 00000382 002 OF 003


issue" not being discussed regarding the census and elections in
Darfur - the supposed influx of Chadian Arabs that easily obtain
Sudanese nationality. These groups can "change the dynamic of
Darfur", said Dinar, especially since many true Darfuris are
refugees or haQ-f
wjQx~er of which opposition
parties have in Darfur due to GoS harassment and the security
situation. Dinar stated that the NCP will never be able to solve
the problem of Darfur. "The only people who can solve the Darfur
problem are Darfuris," he said.

9. (SBU) SPLM rep Al Shiekh Doda said that the NCP mentality in
Darfur is different from its mentality in Khartoum. In Darfur, the
NCP believes that every opposition party "should be dealt with in a
rough way," he said. If opposition parties want to hold a political
forum, the parties must go through a bureaucratic process that takes
more than one month in order to obtain permission. If parties do
not obtain local GoS clearance for their activities, they will be
arrested, said Al Sheikh Doda. He also said that the NCP will
financially polarize many voters in North Darfur, due to the NCP's
ample financial resources and organization. Al Shiekh Doda lamented
that the SPLM has major financial problems in North Darfur, saying
that his office receives very little financial support from SPLM
Khartoum. He added that the SPLM has offices in 10 out of 14
localities in North Darfur.

------------------------------------------
ELECTORAL STRATEGIES NOT WELL THOUGHT-OUT
------------------------------------------
10. (SBU) Umma party representatives did not give a clear answer as
to the party's strategy for the 2009 elections in Darfur. Dinar
claimed, "We cannot do anything given the situation on the ground
(in Darfur)."

11. (SBU) SPLM lead office representative for North Darfur Al Sheikh
Doda doted that the SPLM has a "good strategy" to gain support in
Darfur prior to the 2009 elections. He said that the SPLM does not
have any problems with access to the IDP camps, which shows how much
the party is liked among Darfuris. Additionally, he said that the
SPLM is constantly in contact with IDP leaders and students in North
Darfur. He said the SPLM will campaign in Darfur, as it is doing
across the country, under its strategy of a "New Darfur", which
includes elements of peace, equality and development. Al Sheikh
Doda boasted that the SPLM has been engaged in the Darfur problem by
facilitating and encouraging unity among non-signatory rebel groups
in Juba. He claimed that the majority of people in Darfur will vote
for the SPLM in the upcoming elections and that the NCP is nervous
it will lose in Darfur. The SPLM reps underscored the importance of
securing peace, stability and the return of IDPs to their homes in
Darfur before census and elections take place. Elusive about the
prospect of delaying elections past 2009 (for the sake of stability
in Darfur), Al Sheikh Doda said that the SPLM is "very keen to see
elections done on time and in a proper way."

12. COMMENT: It is a struggle to find anyone in Darfur who thinks
that conducting the census next month is a good idea. Darfuris are
far more concerned with achieving peace and stability than
participating in a "democratic" census and elections over the next
year. Furthermore, Dafuris feel that, given their current situation
of massive displacement, widespread violence, and distrust of the
GoS and its activities, a census, nor elections, will benefit them.


13. COMMENT CONTINUED: The Darfur electorate has become
de-politicized and turned its attention and loyalty to rebel
movements. Although Darfur was once a political stronghold for
Umma, Umma seems to have no strategy for winning its supporters
back. With the field more or less wide open for the SPLM, it

KHARTOUM 00000382 003 OF 003


unconvincingly claims to have strong support on the ground. However
the reality is that the SPLM is so focused on the South and its
upcoming bid for secession, that Darfur becomes a third-rate
priority. This is a serious mistake (and represents the SPLM's lack
of capacity to adequately make and implement its plans) because the
SPLM has much to gain from allying itself with other marginalized
groups in Darfur.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC