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Praying for Peace and Nonviolent Elections in Sudan

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Praying for Peace and Nonviolent Elections in Sudan

Posted by Maggie Fick on March 19, 2010

“We have no one to care for us but God,” said Rebecca Lueth, 62, a pastor who traveled by road to Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, from the town of Bor, in the South’s Jonglei state, to attend a two-week long fasting and prayer meeting organized at the Emmanuel Jieng parish in the Juba diocese of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. A pastor at Emmanuel Jieng said that more than 600 people had traveled from all over southern Sudan, and from neighboring Kenya and Uganda, to participate in this meeting focused on encouraging the people of Sudan to pray and work for peaceful elections next month.

“I am fearing for elections because the situation we are in now is not that good, we are still having problem,” Ms. Lueth explained in her native Dinka language.

Ms. Lueth fled her village near the town of Bor, which was the site of significant loss of life and inter-South fighting during the North-South civil war. In 1991, an estimated 2,000 people were killed in the “Bor massacre.”
“What I don’t want is another war,” Ms. Lueth said when asked why she came to Juba to participate in fast and prayer meeting. She spoke of the horrors she saw during the war, before she fled on foot “with other women whose husbands had been killed or who were fighting” across the Equatoria region of Sudan and into Kenya, where she lived in Kakuma refugee camp and studied to become a minister. She was ordained in 2002. 
Ms. Lueth returned to Sudan five years later during one of the repatriation efforts organized by the United Nations. Back at home in Bor, she is urging her fellow citizens to participate peacefully in the upcoming polls. She prays that “God will assist us in selecting a leader to unite us…that’s what we want and why we’re praying.”
With the nationwide elections less than a month away, the chance that violence could break out around the polls is real, and fear among Sudanese like Ms. Lueth is warranted. The unpredictable nature of Sudanese politics and the goal of the ruling parties in both North and South Sudan to legitimize themselves through resounding electoral victories, combined with existing tensions along tribal lines in the South, could prove to be a lethal cocktail.