A prominent member of Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) told VOA the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has flouted the Referendum Act by intimidating and harassing prospective voters ahead of the January vote.
Rabie Abdelati Obeid said there is enough evidence to prove that officials of the SPLM encouraged southerners living in the north not to register for the 9th January referendum.
Sudan’s referendum commission is compiling a voter list that would be used to conduct the referendum.
“I think because the SPLM personnel, especially in Khartoum and other northern states, they made a lot of disturbances and they threatened the southern people (living) in Khartoum and they are terrorizing them so as not to register their names to vote in the upcoming referendum,” said Obeid.
“The SPLM (cadres) have put pressure on them not to register their names because they think that those people who are coming from the south, but staying in the north, they will not vote for secession (and that) they will vote for unity.”
The NCP also said that the SPLM is interfering with activities in the run up to the referendum, which the ruling party said could undermine the credibility of the vote.
Obeid said there have been complaints that officials of the SPLM are intentionally putting pressure on voters to choose secession rather than unity.
“Some complaints (have) already (been) presented to the general commission of the referendum so as to take the necessary step against all those people according to the criminal law and according to the act of referendum that (has) already (been) approved by the NCP and the SPLM,” Obeid said.
But, the SPLM denies the accusations and blames the NCP of intimidating and harassing southerners living in the north.
Obeid also said his party will only accept the results of the referendum if the vote is conducted in a free, fair and transparent environment devoid of both internal and external interference.
As part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending more than two decades of civil war, southerners will vote to decide whether to secede and become an independent nation or be united with the north.