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NCP Official Insists Both Sides Committed to Sudan Referendum

  • Peter Clottey

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech during his swearing-in ceremony at the parliament in Khartoum, 27 May 2010

A prominent member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) insisted both his party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have demonstrated their commitment towards ensuring that the south’s referendum scheduled for 9th January 2011 proceeds as originally planned.

Rabie Abdelati Obeid told VOA the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulates that none of the two partners can unilaterally postpone the referendum.

“There is no announcement, or even a sign, from (the) NCP or SPLM showing that there is any intention to postpone this referendum of self-determination of the south. I think that the only way (to postpone it is) for the referendum commissioner to report this remark to the two partners. And, the two partners should resolve and remove the problem that hinder(s) the conducting of the referendum,” he said.

An official of the referendum commission reportedly called for a possible delay in the upcoming referendum saying there was not enough time to organize the vote.

Since winning Sudan’s recent election, embattled President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has maintained that the south’s referendum will proceed as originally scheduled in January.

Dr. Rabie Abdullati Obeid, a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)
Dr. Rabie Abdullati Obeid, a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

As part of the 2005 CPA, residents in the semi-autonomous south are scheduled to decide whether to be part of a united Sudan or secede and become an independent country.

NCP official Obeid said the referendum commissioner erred by not abiding by standing protocols.

“I don’t know whether this commissioner is authorized to announce such remarks to the public or not. But, the proper channel which (that) will be effective (for) in such remarks is (are) the two partners. The two partners should be informed that there is a problem, or some trouble, which may face the referendum commissioner to conduct the referendum in the beginning of the year 2011,” he said.

He also said that the CPA stipulates that the Sudanese government should ensure that all obstacles that could possibly hamper the work of the referendum commission be removed to ensure a smooth referendum.

The SPLM has accused the NCP of undermining the upcoming referendum, a charge NCP official Obeid denies.

“I think that accusing is very wrong because (the) NCP is insisting to complete all the procedure pre-referendum and post-referendum. The NCP is committed and is very clear that the referendum should be done in the prescribed time as mentioned in the CPA,” Obeid said.