U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration outlined challenges ahead of next year's referendum at an event in Washington
U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration outlined challenges ahead of next year's referendum at an event in Washington

A top official of Sudan?s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said his group will not accept the results of the 9th January referendum if the Sudan People?s Liberation Movement (SPLM) continues to prevent supporters of unity from freely campaigning in the south.

Rabie Abdelati Obeid told VOA the NCP will only agree to the result of the referendum if the vote is conducted in a transparent free and fair manner.

?According to the referendum regulations, the referendum should be free, (it) should be transparent, and, also, nobody should hinder the campaign for unity in the south because the whole referendum will be for (the) south Sudan people. And, this is a precondition for the conduct of the referendum. Otherwise, it will not be called a referendum.?

Obeid also said that southern Sudanese need to be aware of the benefits of unity as well as know ?what will be the loss if they opt for secession. And, this is actually (the) grounds for referendum. If this foundation is not available, the referendum will be nothing.?

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

Haj Majid Suwar, Sudan's youth and sports minister, and also a senior member of the NCP, said Monday that his party will not accept the vote unless soldiers from the south withdraw from disputed areas and allow free campaigning.

But, officials of the SPLM have accused the NCP of planning to undermine the referendum.

NCP official Obeid said the SPLM will be flouting regulations of the National Referendum Commission by preventing campaigners for the country?s unity from freely airing their views ahead of the vote.

?The registration is the first step and it will also give an indication whether the referendum will be free, fair and without any suppression by any of the parties.?

SPLM officials have accused the NCP of monopolizing national state broadcasting and preventing supporters of secession from airing their views. But, NCP official Obeid denied the accusations.

?Nobody can say that the media is monopolized by the NCP. There is no case like that. Whenever there is a campaign, I don?t think that there would be any prohibition on the SPLM people to campaign and to say what they want to say. We are now saying that the media should be free and that SPLM should not restrict the media and not oppress people or to practice any sort of compelling (of) people against their will.?