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Sudan Referendum Commission Spokesman Denies Internal Rift

  • Peter Clottey

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir

The spokesman for Sudan’s referendum commission has denied reports that the alleged dictatorial management style of Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, chairman of the organization, threatens to derail the scheduled 9th January referendum.

George Benjamin described the report as full of pure lies peddled by what he called a disgruntled former official of the referendum commission who was fired over his incompetence.

“Professor Khalil is working very comfortably with all the senior members and the junior members of the commission, and work is going on very well in the commission,” said Benjamin.

“Yes, there has been this talk about time frame of the 9th of January when polling for the referendum is to start. And, this goes back to the very fact that the commission itself was formed late in the constitution, and in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). This commission should have been formed in the third year of the interim period.”

This came after the Sudan Tribune reported that the spokesman for south Sudan’s referendum commission resigned citing disagreements with Khalil.

The report sharply criticized the “autocratic” management style of the head of the electoral commission.

But, referendum commission spokesman Benjamin said the report was mere speculation aimed at creating doubts about the organization’s ability to organize the referendum.

He also said the referendum commission has begun training officials who will compile the voter list that would be used for the January vote.

“Our plans are going as scheduled. We are training people for the registration processes and the material for the registration has arrived in the country, both in Juba in southern Sudan and in Khartoum for the state of northern Sudan. The state committees have been appointed and the county committee has been formed and the work is going as planned so that registration starts on the 15th of this month.”

Meanwhile, the referendum commission is scheduled to launch its media campaign Sunday to educate Sudanese about the upcoming referendum.