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Campaigning in Sudan Focuses on Unity and Development

Campaigning for Sudan’s April presidential and legislative elections are in full swing. This week, the leading candidates kicked off the race in the South.

Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir took his own re-election bid to southern Sudan’s capital Juba in what observers described as a civil campaign. Bashir, the northern-ruling National Congress Party candidate, in three-day marathon rallies, emphasized unity and development.

“He talked about national unity and made a lot of promises, especially on infrastructure development,” said Paul Jacob, a journalist and Director of Information in the government of southern Sudan (GOSS). He said the president was mostly campaigning for the unification for the south and north because of the fear that the south may secede.

Related report by Paul Ndiho

Vice president Salva Kiir, who is also the president of the GOSS, is not seeking national office but re-election as a leader of the south. “Kiir in his campaign,” said Jacob from Juba, “is calling for southern Sudan identity and promising to fight corruption in the GOSS. I think he is looking ahead to the referendum.”

There will be six elections: national presidential and parliamentary, the south Sudanese presidency, state governors, the southern parliament and state assemblies.