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Sudan Referendum Commission to Respond to Dissolution Efforts

  • Peter Clottey

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (C) meets with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi (L) and Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in Khartoum, 21 Dec 2010

An official with Sudan’s referendum commission said the commission is set to officially respond Wednesday to petitions seeking the group’s dissolution ahead of next month’s referendum.

George Benjamin, spokesman for the referendum commission, told VOA his organization is set to receive ballot papers that will be used for the scheduled 9th January referendum.

“The petitions that have been filed against the commission by different groups, at almost the same time, would indicate that some organized move is being cooked (prepared) or it has been cooked somewhere in order to derail and disrupt the work of the commission,” said Benjamin.

“We will deal with it, of course, as the situation requires in a responsible and legal manner. And, as long as these (petitions) come before a court of law, it will require a legal and sensible response from the commission.”

Sudan’s Constitutional Court recently demanded the referendum commission answer the allegations, including fraud and intimidation, during the recent voter registration process.

Several groups petitioned the court seeking the dissolution of the commission claiming alleged irregularities during the registration process will undermine the credibility of the referendum.

But, Benjamin said there are reasons to believe that some of these groups want to derail the upcoming referendum. He also said the commission is capable of organizing a credible referendum, despite attempts to hamper activities of his commission.

“The commission has already gone a long way in implementing the process of the referendum, and quite successfully. Despite difficulties that surrounded its formation and the short time that was given to it, it has, by far, succeeded in implementing and putting in (the) process of all the stages required by the referendum,” said Benjamin.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s neighbors have vowed to respect the outcome of the referendum following a meeting in the capital, Khartoum.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Sudanese leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir, as well as southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir, met Tuesday to find ways to resolve “tensions and controversies” surrounding full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).