Right now, the world’s attention is turned to the 2008 Presidential Elections iin the United States between Democratic candidate Obama and Republican candidate McCain. And for all of us concerned about what is happening in Sudan, we have another election to watch: the 2009 Presidential Election.
Sudan has not had a democratic election virtually since independence: in 1958 there was a military coup that was followed by a series of coups that ended up putting Omar al-Bashir in power in 1989, who has ruled as a dictator ever since, despite the title “President”. Well, after the decades-long Civil War between North and South Sudan ended, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. The CPA provided for many things, one of which was the guarantee of a democratic Presidential election in the year 2009.
This has enormous implications for us as anti-genocide activists: first, it has implications because it is the current regime that is inciting, guiding, directing this genocide in Darfur. Second, it has implications for the peace and stability of Sudan as a whole. Further, it has implications that echo in every aspect of the multiple crises: the ICC indictments, the CPA implementation, the delivery of humanitarian aid, etc.
However, there are many things standing in the way of a free and fair elections: many fear the Government of Sudan is likely to postpone the elections, harass and manipulate voters, tamper with the results, or hold onto power even if it has lost. All of these could have disastrous consequences because they are denying democracy to a people who have been fighting for it since the country gained independence over a half century ago. And that in turn effects Darfur and Sudan as a whole.
Tonight, Wednesday, August 5 we will be having an EduCall about the upcoming 2009 elections, what it means for both Darfur and Sudan, and what it means for anti-genocide activists across the world. We will have special guest speakers, Yien Matthews, who is a Secretary for Youth and Student Affairs of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) , the largest political party in South Sudan, and Apuk Ayuel from the SPLM.
Jump on the call Wednesday, September 3, 2008, at 9 PM EST. Just dial (269) 320-8300 and type in the pin 349902# – I’m looking forward to hearing you on the call!