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Monday, 09/20/2010

Referendum pressure group in Aweil campaigns for separation


Sunday 12 September 2010  

September 10, 2010 (MELUT) — As referendum deadline approaches, thousand of youths of Southern Sudan filled the streets targeting populated centers and strategic southern towns, expressing hope and anxiety for possible separation from north in the upcoming vote on self determination.
With participation from civil society activists, politicians, religious leaders, student groups and the elderly people, the composite group on Thursday 9th September flooded streets of the already swamped town of Aweil, the capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, calling for separation of the South from the rest of the Sudan in the referendum scheduled to take place in January 2011.
The pressure groups, mainly youth, go out in peaceful processions on 9th of every month to sensitize the public and government officials on the conduct of the upcoming referendum.

Demonstrators hold a banner saying Good bye Old Sudan, Welcome Independent Southern Sudan in Aweil on September 10 (ST) Daniel Deng James, a chair of Southern Sudan Youth forum for referendum from Juba told Sudan Tribune that the campaign was organized all over the ten states of southern Sudan. “We had wonderful day yesterday. We had a big day attended by all. Boys and girls, husbands and wives, politicians and diplomats and of course the armed forces for our security,” he said.
In Aweil town, Jacob Yel Garang, a chair of the SPLM Youth League in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal on Friday caught up with Sudan Tribune from Aweil town, a provincial capital of the area and expressed determination of the local people to vote for separation.
“We went to the streets yesterday on Thursday 9th of September to sensitize our people on the conduct of the upcoming referendum, and as usual, they came out in large numbers and joined our procession. Our people have tried unity and know what they have experienced from united Sudan, so it is their right to be sensitized to try another option,” he added.
Chanting and singing songs composed against unity and raising flags bearing slogans favoring separation, the chair of the organizing procession said unity with north is no longer the best choice for people of southern Sudan.
“Nobody in the south can buy this commodity called unity in the south even if it means being cheapest item in the market. Nobody will ever accept buying this commodity called unity with north even if it is the only item left in the market,” he said.
Quizzed on his expectations of what could be results of the referendum, the senior member of the ruling party in the state said there are good chances that Southerners would vote to secede from the north.
He said people are hostile to messages about united Sudan and are eager to vote for something that has never been tried before: an independent country, because every experience with the North has been characterized by exploitation, extermination, neglect, and pledges of myriad of unfulfilled promises since 1947.
“This is the main reason our people are ever yawning and impatient counting days for referendum to secede from the north come rain or shine. They will have to vote because that is their constitutional right enshrined and properly explained and protected in the interim constitution of Sudan and in the CPA,” explained the official.
An international aid worker, who preferred anonymity, in an interview with Sudan Tribune from Melut, asked whether the south is seceding for the sake of terminology to turn its back on north or is it going to do something beneficial for its people if it separates from the north.
“I asked this question because Sudanese politics are rather hard to understand. They are complicated for it is difficult to trace originality of the cause,” he said, adding, is secession a less bad scenario than seek remaining part of Sudan and seek changes from within?
“Are people prepared to undertake the responsibilities of a functioning government that will meet the aspirations of millions of the Southern Sudanese people, or is south just getting ready to join other failed states,” asked a humanitarian aid worker in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday?
Such are the questions which linger in the minds of most concerned people and require honest answers earlier before the region goes to poll to vote. There are no easy answers. South is like a wife locked in an abusive relationship and is finally fed up and wants to get out even if doing so is fraught with uncertainty.
Colonel Deng Thiep Akok, a former Aweil north county commissioner and former member of Juba-based Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, while reacting to the question on how prepared is the south to govern itself, said separation has been one of the options that has never been tried in Sudan between North and South.
“We have asked and tried all options but never worked. This time, our people will be encouraged to try what they think will be the best option for them,” said senior member of the ruling party, adding the region is capable of managing her affairs.
“We will manage our affairs just like we managed them in the last five years. We will even manage more comfortably because the power will be with us. We will not look back to ask someone holding part of power for implementation of anything. It will be us and we shall apply it appropriately to the benefit of our people,” explained Akok.
“It’s the only experiment that has not been tried before. Given this challenging future, South Sudan must do what many African Countries have tried when taking over from colonial administrations.
While many started from scratch, others were left with strong foundation for institutional effectiveness by the departing colonial administration. Little is likely known to be left in south should it opt for separation from north.
Many African Countries inherited a system of government that was centered on a powerful executive branch and so able to control the other institutions of government which became beneficial to local communities.”












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