Southern Sudan on Friday called for a special Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to address alleged plans by their northern partners to scuttle or delay a referendum set for January.
Ambassador John Andruga Duku, who is chief coordinator of the International Campaign Countdown to Southern Referendum warned that any interference with the referendum could return the country to war.
Mr Duku was accompanied by his organisation's Chief Coordinator Information and Media Campaign, Mr Jervasio Okot
Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Mr Duku who is a former Government of Southern Sudan representative to Kenya said it is wrong for IGAD countries to watch as the referendum, which is crucial to peace and stability in the region was faced with huge obstacles.
“It is not late to salvage South Sudan from sliding back to war. IGAD should undertake an extra-ordinary step with Kenya being its chair of sub-committee on Sudan calling for a special Summit to avert the situation,” Mr Duku said.
He added: “It does not require a rocket scientist to realise the situation in Sudan is very serious and that IGAD has become a spectator instead of a guarantor of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).’
Signed in Kenya in January 2005, the CPA ended 21 years of war between former Southern rebels Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement\Army and Khartoum’s National Congress Party. The north and south Sudan have been at war for 39 out 54 years the country has been independent and the referendum was meant to enable the south decide whether they should continue under a united country or unite.
On Friday, Mr Duku said the fight, which started before independence was as a result of unit forced on south Sudan by the British, Egypt and Khartoum government.
“To us unity is equivalent to war which resulted loss of two million lives and slavery. In the CPA which calls for referendum we thus saw hope and opportunity for genuine peace and stability in the region,” Mr Duku said.
The official the timing of NCP deputy leader Nafie Ali Nafie remarks in Friday’s Nation that southern Sudan would commit suicide if they declared an independent state without a referendum showed the party was against the polls and wants to sabotage it.
Mr Duku said Southern Sudanese people will not accept unity to be imposed on them and warned that the whole region will suffer if instability returns in the country.
He also asked the government of South Sudan to close schools and freeze money meant for infrastructure development so that it could be used for civic education with the students as volunteers.
The monthly demonstrations by the civil society to push for the holding of the referendum on time, he said, would now also be held more frequently “to send a message to the international community that things are good.”
He said the IGAD meeting, if held, should find quick ways of providing financial and technical resources for a successful referendum.
Support is also required to facilitate civic education, registration of voters and other operations.
Mr Duku accused NCP of delaying full composition of the Commission to oversee the referendum and facilitating it to do its work.
He added that the African Union and United Nations should also “play their rightful role as guarantors of the CPA.”
There have been fears the referendum could delay due to little preparations so far done for the polls.
The delay has been occasioned by dispute over appointment of the Secretary General of the Referendum Commission with Chairman Mohamed Khalil being accused of wanting to impose a certain candidate with the southern Sudanese insisting the post should go to one of their own.
The SPLM had threatened to opt for “alternative options” if a January referendum is delayed.
Mr Nafie however accused SPLM of wanting to divide Sudan, adding if the movement decided on declaring south Sudan’s independence by a parliamentary vote without a referendum it would be committing political suicide.” - Daily Nation