Accessibility links

SPLM Spokesman: Government Blocking Referendum Preparations

  • Peter Clottey

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir (R) walks with Sudan's First Vice President and south Sudan leader Salva Kiir at the airport in Khartoum, as he prepares to leave for Chad, 21 Jul 2010

The spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) political movement of south Sudan said his party is “panicked and disturbed” over the referendum commission’s lack of progress ahead of the scheduled 9th January vote.

Yien Matthew Chol told VOA that, despite promises of full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has “consistently” blocked efforts to hold the referendum as agreed.

“The SPLM is worried over the current situation that there is no clear move. Even when we sometimes reached agreements with the NCP, they just at anytime run away and cling to the positions which are anti-fair and free referendum,” he said.

Provisions of the CPA allow residents in south Sudan to decide in a referendum whether to be part of Sudan or secede and become an independent nation.

Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)
Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)

Chol also said that, under peace accord, the semi-autonomous south Sudan’s referendum should be held concurrently with that of the oil-rich enclave of Abiye.

He expressed concern that the NCP has so far failed to cooperate with other parties to set up the Abiye commission to organize that area’s referendum, which is also scheduled for 9th January.

But, officials of the ruling NCP dismissed the accusations as baseless propaganda saying the party has been working closely with the SPLM to organize the January referendum.

Chol urged the international community to put pressure on Khartoum to guarantee its commitment towards a free and fair vote. He also said that there are ample reasons to believe that the ruling NCP wants to control the activities of the referendum commission.

“Two days ago, there was a decision and a clear agreement made that registration will start and take like a month which commences approximately in October and that is good news partially. As far as my knowledge is concerned, to the very moment, the commission has not received yet its budget, technically, to start the work.”