Is Sudan Becoming Africa’s 55th State After Referendum?
Sudan – a country in north-eastern Africa also the largest in Africa and the Arab world and the tenth largest in the world by area is about to be split into two on the conditions of a 2005 deal to end almost two decades of conflict between the north and south.
The referendum which started on Jan, 9 and runs till Jan, 15 will see almost 4 million legally registered southern Sudanese taking part in deciding (voting) this fate for their dear country.
The Islamic-oriented governments have been favored by the military regimes dominating national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century.
These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese.
The first civil war ended in 1972, but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords;
a final Naivasha peace treaty of January 2005 granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, after which a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held.
With an approximate population of 44 million people; Sudan is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world’s longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides.
Below are comments, blogs, tweets and stories from other parts of the world on Sudan’s Referendum:
January 09, 2011
I am extremely pleased that polling has started for the Southern Sudan Referendum, and congratulate the people of Southern Sudan who are determining their own destiny. This is an historic step in the years-long process to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war between north and south. The international community is united and determined to ensure that all parties in Sudan live up to their obligations. We know that there are those who may try to disrupt the voting. Voters must be allowed access to polling stations, and must be able to cast their ballots free from intimidation and coercion. All sides should refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or provocative actions that could raise tensions or prevent voters from expressing their will. Violence in the Abyei region should cease. And while a successful vote will be cause for celebration, an enormous amount of work remains to ensure the people of Sudan can live with security and dignity. The world will be watching in the coming days, and the United States will remain fully committed to helping the parties solve critical post-referendum issues regardless of the outcome of the vote.
Who qualifies to vote?
Only southerners are eligible to take part in the poll, which means most people think the outcome is bound to be independence. Nearly all of those who registered already live in the south – the hundreds of thousands of people who fled to the north during the war seem to have either gone home to register – as they were urged to do by southern leaders – or not bothered. But at least 60% of registered voters must take part for the referendum to be valid – with low literacy levels and little history of voting, this may be more difficult to achieve than the simple majority needed for a verdict either way.
Tyler Hicks from the New York Times traveled to Sudan and took photos of Southern-Sudanese returning home for a Historic vote.
After all the years of guerrilla warfare and hardship, people here are deeply invested in holding a peaceful referendum and building the world’s newest nation.
Also, on the 2nd day (Jan, 10) of the referendum; RFI English reported: Huge Turnout on Second Day of Voting in Referendum
Many people were wearing their best clothes as they cast their vote on whether to break away from the mainly Arab Muslim north of the country. The large turnout on Monday, the second of the seven days of the polling, brings the south a step closer to the 60 per cent turnout needed to validate the referendum. This figure was agreed in a 2005 peace deal between the north and the south.
Global Voices Online’s Ndesanjo Macha aggregated feeds on Sudan’s referendum from the social (Twitter) platforms and came out with an interesting post: Southern Sudan Independence Referendum on Twitter. You can also follow the story and discussions on twitter by following the hash-tag: #SudanRef as very interesting comments and updates keeps coming from Sudan passionates.
Daniel A. Daniel (USA) made a strong appeal in his article: The birth of the world’s newest nation (South Sudan) for the South Sudan News Agency and he even quoted the Late Sudanese Rebel Leader Dr. Garang de Mabior:
“Sudan will never be the same again” once said by: Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior.
Fellow countrymen and women, youths, veterans and patriots, and to all undecided voters worldwide. The decision for our land to secede now is depends on you, and failure to do it right can jeopardized the future of our beloved nation called south Sudan, its matter of life and death, its matter to choose between slavery and liberty, and second class citizenry, and to walk tall. Therefore, I urge all (the registered candidates); go to the polling station (earlier better than later), please, cast your vote for the separation of south Sudan to be an Independent country by July 09th, 2011. Vote for peace, stability, freedom, liberty, equality, and justice, for all. Your thumb print will make a difference, no for ugly unity, yes for the attractive separation. South Sudan Nation Oyee…
What does this split mean for Africa in economic terms? Are we ready for state No. 55?
Do you think after the referendum; the south would be able to build its own government and economy?
Will such a country like South Sudan be able to survive in terms of globalization and policy making?
Does it make sense to split up countries only because of religious, economic and ethnic reason which are not survivable?
- The struggles of an independent South Sudan – ABC Online (news.google.com)
- Witnessing the Birth of a Nation in Southern Sudan (theroot.com)
- Southern Sudan Prepares For Independence Vote (news.sky.com)
- “WAR COULD RESULT FROM HISTORIC REFERENDUM VOTE UNDERWAY IN SUDAN: Please pray for this country, mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39″ and related posts (flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com)