06 April 2010

On the campaign trail in Southern Sudan

“I cannot allow you to sleep here,” he says in a direct tone typical of many Europeans. “Perhaps you can find accommodation in town.” Mary appears distressed, a feeling that I quickly assume. “But I am concerned for my security here,” she pleads. “One of my supporters has been arrested and I am not sure if I will be safe.” Standing in the darkness, with no accommodation in sight and a dwindling amount of time in this oasis of security, my blood begins to boil. I had not, until just now, heard Mary admit that she feared for her safety in Pibor. In all my neurotic, security-related queries, Mary insisted that everything here would be fine. I suspected, however, that her interest in my coverage led to a particularly rosy forecast.

“It is exactly because you have these security concerns that I cannot allow you to stay in the compound,” Chris explains, his patience on the decline. Having worked with international organizations in the past, I understood his reasoning and knew there was no chance of reconsidering. “Thanks anyway,” I manage over a growing lump in my throat. “Let’s get a move on.”

From Pete Muller’s coverage of Mary Boyoi’s campaign for a seat in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly for Pibor, Jonglei State.

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