News / Africa

Sudan's Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan Face Own Consultations

Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) governor of Blue Nile state Malik Aggar speaks during joint news conference in Khartoum (File Photo).
Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) governor of Blue Nile state Malik Aggar speaks during joint news conference in Khartoum (File Photo).

While much attention has been focused on the recent referendum for south Sudan's independence, the country's 2005 peace deal, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, also called for popular consultations to review the pact in two volatile northern states, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.

The so-called popular consultation is underway in Blue Nile, but not in Southern Kordofan, where last year's state-level elections could not be held amid ongoing delays to prepare the vote and concerns over security.

Jason Gluck, from the United States Institute of Peace, explains how the newly-elected authorities are helping organize the process in Blue Nile, where the popular consultation is making steady progress.

"The elected state assembly has formed a commission, and the commission in consultation with other groups is conducting the consultations," said Gluck. "It is going out to every locality in the state and is providing public forums where people are able to express their views."

Gluck explains it will be a long process of many weeks with general forums first and then specific forums after.

"Each of the key issues, for example power sharing, wealth sharing and natural resources, discrimination and equality rights, land, security, these would each receive their own hearing or series of hearings, the idea being, it is not enough to identify the problems but serious thought and consideration, and discussion needs to go in to how the states might address and treat these problems in order to come up with a proposal to take to the national government," he said.

Voting is also taking place with different propositions being offered, including one for autonomous rule.

Gluck calls the process a necessary "north-north" dialogue that needs to take place as Sudan transitions into a new post-peace-agreement era.

"Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, there is still going to be a north of Sudan," added Gluck. "And it is still going to be a country that is mired in numerous conflicts that are at once separate and yet united in the issues that underlie them and by that I mean the critical issues in Southern Kordofan, in Blue Nile, in Darfur and in other states as well really boil down to power sharing, wealth sharing, a greater degree of genuine autonomy for the states themselves.  That is the key in my opinion to a lasting, peaceful, stable, north Sudan."

David Abramowitz from the U.S-based human-rights group Humanity United says what complicates matters is that fighters who fought for the south during the two-decade civil war remain in the north, including those from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, the SPLM.

"Both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have substantial SPLM presence there, parts of the forces that are on the other side of the border there are very sympathetic or were part of the effort during the civil war," said Abramowitz.

The SPLM's Malik Aggar won the post of governor in last year's elections in Blue Nile, but the former rebels do not have the majority of seats in the state legislative assembly.
The governor of Southern Kordofan is Ahmed Haroun, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.  He denies the charges.  Reports indicate there has been a buildup of weapons by his government and the local SPLM.

Another tense area is Abyei where a referendum was due this month, but had to be put off.  Abramowitz said the disagreements there over whether pro-Khartoum nomads should be allowed to vote, are similar to potential problems in how the popular consultations will come about.

"The questions and issues that we have seen in Abyei recently regarding the need of the pastoralist tribes to move through those areas are a microcosm of what exists along the entire border," said Abramowitz. "That is a critical issue and I think one that needs to be very closely looked at."

Analysts say the expected separation of the south will create new political uncertainty and potential violence in areas with many residents who may feel they would also like to join the new southern country, including in Southern and North Kordofan, White Nile and South Darfur. They say the debate begins with the popular consultation underway in Blue Nile.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More