%PM, %22 %460 %2009 %13:%Jun

Jonglei State may miss out on women's votes

Written by Manyang David Mayar in Bor
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About 99 per cent women in the Southern 

Sudan State of Jonglei have got no idea, or just have a little information about the forthcoming general election due to be held in July.Issues of governance and democratic principles continue to dog women in certain areas of Southern Sudan.

About 99 per cent women in the Southern Sudan State of Jonglei have got no idea, or just have a little information about the forthcoming general election due to be held in July.

This concern was raised by a female SPLM Member of Parliament in the Jonglei State Legislative Assembly Hon June Malet Kuol.

During an exclusive interview in Bor, Malet said that only just about one per cent of women in Jonglei had an idea about the forthcoming election. “These are just the educated ones,” she said. Malet added: “This comes from the fact that they are able to access and read newspapers and tune on to radio programmes, something that most uneducated women in the villages and some in the towns are not able to do.”

Malet felt that this ignorance would pose a challenge to the women, as they have no idea about how people vote for leaders in elections.

"Ninety-nine per cent of women in Jonglei, including some in offices don’t know completely how to vote in an election. They need capacity building on election procedures," she advised.

According to the honourable MP, even women in Jonglei State who are aware of the coming elections still have no idea of how to participate in it.

Malet believes that women in Jonglei will lose the 25 per cent of the quota allocated to them by the SPLM during the Signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 if they are not well prepared for the forthcoming national elections.

Malet also raised alarm that the 25 per cent women share that women are supposed to have in the State is not well observed. In the ministerial positions, there is only one female minister who is Rachael Nyadak. "This is not equivalent to the 25 per cent quota. There are supposed to be two women holding ministerial positions and one among the three governor’s advisors," Malet said.

 The fact that there is no single female advisor to the governor of Jonglei does not augur well for the good image of the 25 per cent share for women. "This is cheating," she reiterated.

Malet said they have not been able to do much about the lack of proper quota because they were appointed and the governor has a powerful hand to form his government making it hard for them to get what they want.

To reduce male dominance in government, Malet urged all women in Jonglei to register immediately voter registration starts so that they can vote wisely for best future leaders.

“Getting registered to participate in the election will show men what women can do,” she said.

A quick check with women in the streets proved the honourable MP right, as the common women on the street of Bor town had no idea about the forthcoming polls. One of the women we met on the streets of Bor, Akon Atem denied having any knowledge of the coming elections.

“I completely know nothing about elections nor do I have any information. This is my first time to hear about it,” said Akon Atem who has been staying in Bor town for years.

Other women said they were not speaking to the press. However, a group of women working in a restaurant said they were registered some time back by some two ladies who told them about the elections. They were asked to pay 5 SP for the registration. Asked on their stand behind the 25 per cent women share, they were surprised to learn that women have a role to play in politics.

“No, we don’t know that women have got a 25 per cent share in the government. How can women contest for government position? Do they have their separate government?" Aluong Leek asked surprisingly.


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