Political campaigns mount between unity, separation supporters in S. Sudan ahead of referendum

21:34, July 13, 2010      

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As south Sudan referendum, slated for January 2011, is approaching, political campaign activities between the unity and separation supporters are mounting.

In both north and south Sudan, unity and separation supporters embarked on intensive moves to win the votes of the southerners who will decide the future of Sudan when the referendum is conducted early next year.

Demonstrations and festivals in support of unity began Tuesday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum where the organizers plan to continue their activities until Jan. 9, 2011, the date of the referendum.

To this end, Khartoum State Students' General Union on Tuesday organized a demonstration to the premises of the Sudanese National Assembly (parliament) where they handed over a memorandum to the parliament members demanding them to move to enhance unity and make it attractive in the forthcoming referendum.

"This is a positive move, though it is some how late. It has been five years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and there has been no move during those years to persuade the southerners with unity," Atim Garang, deputy speaker of the Sudanese parliament from the parliamentary bloc of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), told Xinhua.

"The southern Sudanese voter is looking forward to some serious work to enhance unity option and provide guarantees on justice, freedom and equality. If unity advocates have managed to present something including all these demands, then any move towards unity will have positive outcomes," he added.

Hago Gasmal-Sid, deputy speaker of the Sudanese parliament from the parliamentary bloc of the National Congress Party (NCP), told Xinhua that the move by the civil society organizations in Sudan towards supporting unity and informing with the impact of separation on Sudan's political future was important.

"The people of south Sudan need to be informed with the negative consequences of separation, in case it happened, they need to know that separation will not achieve stability, neither in south Sudan nor in north Sudan. Separation will not have any gains for the people of south Sudan," he added.

He further urged the Sudanese political forces to live up to their responsibilities in promoting unity and preserving the stability of Sudan.

He reiterated determination of the Sudanese parliament to seriously move to remove all obstacles preventing Sudan from remaining united.

In the meantime, a number of south Sudan organizations, which support separation, continued their activities to push the southern Sudanese voters to vote for secession and decided to steer regular demonstrations in Juba, capital of south Sudan.

In this respect, over 50 south Sudanese organizations began on Tuesday a campaign to inform the citizens on how to participate in the referendum from the stage of registration until voting.

Buda John, secretary general of Organization of Youth for Separation, told Xinhua that youth and women organizations in south Sudan have decided to launch an initiative to inform the citizens with their rights and call them to vote for separation.

He said "what we are doing is an expression of the will of the bases and we have nothing to do with any political party. We do not move according to political orientations."

Six month ahead of the referendum, the two major partners in the Sudanese government, the NCP and the SPLM, have commenced negotiations on post-referendum arrangements.

The African Union recently proposed four possible scenarios for post-referendum including two independent states with confederal framework, a united country, two separate states with flexible borders or two separate states with clear borders that need advanced visa to cross.

The CPA, inked between north and south Sudan in January 2005, stipulates that a referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan is to be conducted in January 2011 so that the southerners will decide whether to secede or remain united with north Sudan.

Source: Xinhua


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