The Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) has flatly rejected the results of the recently
conducted census ahead of next year's election describing it as false and
unwelcome. The nationwide census is seen by many as crucial to prepare Sudan's constituencies for next year's elections.
The former rebels of the SPLM dismissed the census results
as gravely wrong, contending that the total for Southerners was too low. The
census which was released Thursday began in April 2008, and was reportedly
hampered by bad weather, poor mapping, as well as a shortage of questionnaires
Sudan's next general election, the first in 24 years, is
scheduled to be held in February next year. Yassir Arman is a leading member of
the SPLM. He told VOA that his group would not be bound by the results of the
had the meeting of the presidency chairman Salva (Kiir), the first vice
president presented the position of the SPLM that the SPLM has serious
reservations (about the census)," Arman said.
said the results of the census are not believable.
Southern Sudanese in this census are one fifth of Sudan's population and
historically and in different censuses before they were one third of Sudan's
population and this is strange," he said.
said there are indications that the number of Southern Sudanese in the capital
has been greatly understated in the just released census.
"Secondly, the numbers have
been doubled or even more… in the capital Khartoum who are known to be more
than two million (people) are only three hundred and fifty thousand (in the new
census)," Arman said.
He accused the powers that
be of orchestrating what he claims is a blatant attempt to reduce the total
number of southern Sudanese in the latest census ahead of next year's election.
"It is a political design;
it is connected with the elections, and the SPLM position is very clear that
this census is not useful to be used for the elections or for the power sharing
and wealth sharing," he said.
Arman denied the former
rebels are against next year's election.
"No it is not the SPLM's
position. The SPLM position is very straight forward. We need elections; we
need free and fair election in this time," Arman said.
He said there is need for
the process to be overhauled before next year's elections.
"Before the elections should
be new registration for the purpose of the elections. And then you draw the
data of the elections from this voter registration not from the census," he
Arman said the objective of
the census has been undermined with what he described as flaws in the entire
"Well, the census is
supposed to draw the map of the human resources and sustainable development for
Sudan, but unfortunately we don't think it is going to be useful for these
purposes," Arman said.
He said there was need for a
fresh start ahead of the elections next year.
"We want two things to be
done, one there should be a new voter registration, which could be done
transparently and systematically for the data of the elections," he said.
Arman said the former rebels
are demanding that the census not be used as part of the implementation of the
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which effectively ended the war between the
north and south.
"The other thing is that
this census should not be used… for power sharing in the country," Arman said.
The former rebels are
accusing northern politicians of manipulating the figures and under-counting
the number of southerners both in the south and in the capital, Khartoum.
The census results, released Thursday put Sudan's total
population at 39.15 million, with 30.89 million or 79 percent living in the
mainly Muslim north, and 8.26 million or 21 per cent living in the
predominantly Christian and traditional south.
The census figures are expected to define the
constituencies for next year's election before the referendum on southern
independence scheduled for 2011.