As I scanned the news last night looking for material to incorporate in a roundup about the third day of voting in Sudan – what was supposed to be the final day of voting, though now the polls will stay open through Thursday – I found less material overall than on the first two days. But I was struck by several articles on various ways that Sudanese citizens were expressing dissent. Here are some links:
- Geoffrey York looks at the protest group Girifna and their use of Youtube, Facebook, and other online tools. Girifna is on Twitter here.
- Fatma Naib of Al Jazeera English interviews “protest voters.”
- Reuters profiles non-voters in the slums of Khartoum.
- Finally, this doesn’t fall under the heading of dissent, but apparently many women are voting in the South: “Women have also proven to be more tolerant to the frustrating moments during the voting process, patiently waiting for their turn to vote. This reporter witnessed a number of men turning their back and leaving the polling stations with frustration, but many women stayed on to cast their votes.”
It’s important to not exaggerate the impact of different kinds of dissent on the political process. After all, the National Election Commission told VOA they are seeing a high turnout and feel that the logistical problems of the first day have been solved. Still, the linked reports above show that the elections have left out a lot of groups, including sections of the youth and the poor. The ruling party may win a sweeping victory, but the quiet alienation of non-voters in the Khartoum slums and elsewhere suggests that even a big victory won’t grant full legitimacy to the regime.