Jan 292010

Newshook, 2010
Sudan will hold its first nationwide general election in April 2010. Sudan’s President, Omar Al-Bashir, will run again for office. In early 2009 the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a warrant for Bashir’s arrest, charging Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The election takes place against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis in Darfur, and a peace between North and South Sudan that constantly threatens to unravel.

The 2005 US-brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended altogether 50 years of civil war between North and South Sudan mandates the clear demarcation of borders between the North and the South, a sticking point in negotiations because of oil found along the agreed-upon border. Control over oil fields and the equal disbursement of oil revenues – important for the continued development of South Sudan – play a big role in the ongoing conflicts within Sudan.

Those working to see that peace holds between North and South Sudan say the general election in 2010 will play an important role in the implementation of the CPA. And, in turn, whether or not Khartoum makes good on the peace dividends mandated in the CPA will determine whether or not South Sudan will vote to secede from Sudan’s National Unity Government in a referendum in 2011.

85 percent of Sudan’s oil is in South Sudan. If South Sudan were to secede it would take much of the country’s oil with it.

Easter Sunday, 2008 – South Sudan held its first midterm elections
A group of women delegates from the Women’s League of Upper Nile State stopped at the village where we had stayed the night. They were on their way to vote for the first time.

The late John Garang, South Sudan’s first President, had mandated that 25 percent of government positions should automatically be granted to women.

But women running for office are complaining that their male counterparts are not living up to Garang’s wishes, and that women in South Sudan continue to, “suffer exploitation and marginalization at the hands of South Sudan cabinet ministers,” according to the Deputy Chairperson of Women’s Affairs for Central Equatorial State, which includes, Juba, South Sudan’s capitol. The Chairwoman threatened not to vote for male contenders in upcoming general election.

* Interviews from Sudan are still in the process of being professionally translated.