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SPLM Official Dismisses Warning over Vote for Independence

  • Peter Clottey

Southern Sudan leader Salva Kiir [R-front] and Sudan's 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha [L-front] attend the 14th Extra Ordinary Summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority Heads of State and Government at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in N

A leading member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) told VOA his group will not be cowed into submission by Sudan’s second Vice President, Ali Osman Taha, who warned the possible independence of south Sudan will create havoc and chaos.

SPLM spokesman Yien Matthew Chol said the time for dialogue aimed at Sudan’s unity has passed adding that residents in the semi-autonomous south have the right to decide whether to remain part of the original Sudan or secede and become independent.

“We believe that this statement discloses and shows the innermost agendum of the National Congress Party withdrawing from the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement). And, we know the NCP might, in a way or another, create blocks and barriers as southerners are getting to the climax and the end of the agreement,” he said.

Local media quoted Sudan’s second Vice President Taha as saying that the possible independence of the south will create havoc and chaos that has been witnessed in countries with similar experiences.

Awad Al-Jaz, Industry Minister and a top official of the ruling NCP, is also quoted as saying that the north-south separation "cannot be allowed under any circumstances.”

SPLM spokesman Chol described as unacceptable the statements from both Vice President Taha and Industry minister Al-Jaz.

“These statements are a clear transgression (of) to the agreement and that should not frighten the SPLM by any means because the NCP is renowned (for) of breaking all the agreements it makes with the people. However, this time this shall not be repeated,” Chol said.

As part of the 2005 CPA, residents in the semi-autonomous south will decide in a referendum scheduled for 9th January whether to be part of Sudan or secede.

President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s dominant National Congress Party (NCP) recently launched a campaign geared towards encouraging residents in the south to vote for the country’s unity. But, recent polls show a majority of residents in the south favor secession.

SPLM spokesman Chol said recent statements from senior officials of the ruling NCP have been geared towards undermining the upcoming January referendum.