The Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, Mr. Pagan Amum has raised the dust on Sudan’s unity, by stating that South Sudan will declare unilateral independence if the proposed 2011 referendum is deemed unfair. The governing National Congress Party (NCP) insists that 75% of southerners must vote for independence before the south could leave Sudan. Mr. Amum has accused the governing National Congress Party of trying to obstruct the vote.
“We are warning the National Congress – we are also alerting the people of southern Sudan – that we have a serious problem. The National Congress is poised to betray the people of southern Sudan again. We are not threatening anything at all, we are saying that any attempt to deny the people of southern Sudan the right to self-determination will force the people of southern Sudan to declare a unilateral independence,” Mr Amum is quoted by the BBC.
Many of Sudan’s oil-wells are in the south and this, along with national pride, brought about the 22-year war between the mainly Muslim north and the Christian and animist south; a war that was supposedly brought to an end in 2005, after claiming over 1.5 million lives.
The north is keen to hold on to the vast yet underdeveloped south, and there has been delays in passing a law which is to establish the procedures for the referendum because the south is considered likely to vote for independence when the referendum does take place.
In 2005, a peace deal was agreed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party in Khartoum; an Arab-led Sudan government under president Omar al-Bashir. A power-sharing plan was designed, national elections were proposed for 2010, and a 2011 referendum on whether the south should secede, was scheduled.
Ahead of the 2011 referendum, the government in Khartoum (north Sudan) has been accused of Divide and Rule politics; where Khartoum supports civil unrest and sews discord amongst southern Sudan tribes in order to affect their vote for independence.
Sensing success in the alleged crafted division and discord amongst the southern tribes of Sudan, the north is demanding a seemingly unattainable 75% vote in order to grant the south its independence.