We’re just days away from the Sudan’s hotly anticipated elections, and no one can say for certain how the process will unfold. But after reading this haunting dispatch, we fear that violence will mar the nation’s fledgling attempt at democracy. It was written by photographer Pete Muller, who has been accompanying music-star-turned-aspiring-politician Mary Boyoi on the campaign trail. Suffice to say, Boyoi is taking huge risks simply by running for office:
As night descends on Pibor, Mary receives word that one of her supporters has been arrested. Unsure of the circumstances the arrest, she begins to fear that a similar fate might await her here. With the news fresh in her mind, we head to the Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) compound with hopes of pitching our tents within its walls. It is not until we are inside the compound that I learn that Mary has no existing relationships with MSF staff in Pibor nor had she previously alerted them of her intentions to stay in their compound. “I am a famous musician in southern Sudan and I am now running as a political candidate,” she explains to a skeptical logistics manager, Chris. “This man is a journalist covering my story,” she adds, gesturing in my direction. Chris looks me up and down and I know, without a doubt, that there’s no way we’re sleeping in this compound.
(h/t Carl Hoffman)