Well hello there. As Vernon so kindly mentioned in the previous post, I’m Moe and I’ll be blogging here at His Voice a couple of times a month about Sudan-related topics and news. I blog about this and many other [extremely random] topics on my personal blog, which I’d love for you to check out.
But enough about that, let’s get started. Today’s topic: Elections! Oh my! Sudan’s first general elections in 24 years are coming up next month, tentatively April 11-13, which are to be followed by the referendum on Southern Sudan’s secession next January. I’ll probably be discussing these two events in my posts quite a bit, as they will inevitably have tremendous aspects on Sudanese society.
After several postponements over the past months, conflicts big and small, ongoing trouble in Darfur, and SPLM threats to boycott the elections, it looks like these elections might actually be on track to take place, as outlined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. If they do, Sudan will elect a president and various parliamentary members, as well as elections for the Southern region, including President. Sudan’s current President Omar Al-Bashir is up for re-election for the national presidency, as well as other candidates who you can read more about here.
The latest event that leads me to believe these elections might actually happen occurred last week–BBC reported that the deadlock over parliamentary seats in Sudan had ended, with an agreeable result that the South will now have enough members of Parliament to veto any constitutional changes. This power is necessary in order for them to ensure that the CPA remains in place. According to the article, due to last year’s census (which in my opinion, and many others, was a major failure) the South did not have the population representation to have enough seats in parliament to hold this veto power. But after months of deadlock, they came to an agreement. Let’s hope that’s good news.
(The article also pointed out that more seats were awarded to Abyei and Kordofan, the areas which house my beloved Nuba Mountains–the area I visited in Sudan and where my husband lived. I pray that this is good news for our friends there.)
Finally, one more interesting tidbit that I came across this week on Sudan’s national newspaper, the Sudan Tribune, was an op-ed titled “Why Southern Sudanese should vote for Al-Bashir“. This is a bit of a shocking title for anyone familiar with the country’s history–Al-Bashir is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and is potentially up for counts of genocide as well. He is largely known by Southern Sudanese as the mastermind of the violence that killed 2 million of their people and totally destroyed all of their land and belongings. And yet, this op-ed claims that he is the only candidate that will fully recognize a potential Southern secession. I find that hard to believe, but even so would not make me want to vote for him (but I’ll save that for a future post titled “Why I don’t think Southern Sudan should secede”).
So, that’s my bit for now. Please pray for peace and safety in Sudan during this election season–it’s an extremely volatile and tense time and will determine much for Sudan’s future.