Sudan Southerners Enlightened On Referendum Implications

A post-referendum conference to enlighten South Sudanese on the aftermath of the plebiscite was recently held in Eastern Equatoria State.

An advocacy organisation and research institute Justice Africa concluded a 3-day Sudan Dialogue conference on ‘citizens’ discussion on the Referendum’ in a bid to familiarise Southerners with the upcoming referendum concerns, especially post referendum issues.

The conference that drew a number of participants from all the eight counties of the state led by their commissioners and respective Executive Directors together with chiefs at the boma levels and head of chiefs at the state level, Madam Magdalena Tito Ihisa, was also attended by the state cabinet led by acting Governor Nartisio Loluke Manir , all state Members of Parliament led by the Speaker, civil servants, community-based organization representatives, civil societies as well as state other citizens from around South Sudan residing in Torit.

Among the agenda extensively exhausted were post referendum issues such as assets (both movable and immovable properties), liabilities, political and economic issues, the currency incase referendum vote outcome favors separation, citizenship, security, financial, economic and natural resources, international treaties and legal issues.

“The session ran between 28 and 30 June, 2010 with more than 250 participants in the state and the conference was jointly funded by Justice Africa and Inter-Africa. We aim to cover all the 10 states of the south with Eastern Equatoria State being the first beneficiary”, said Neha Erasmus, coordinator of Justice Africa- South Sudan.

In an interview with Gurtong, Erasmus explained the three core objectives the organisation.

“ Justice Africa has been commissioned to help the southerners to make informed choice ahead of the referendum, to prepare the people of South Sudan for the outcome of the referendum and to help decision makers of the process to put necessary measures so that a peaceful exercise is realised”,she said.

A consultant, Kenneth Korayi, stressed that the most contentious issues around the referendum are oil, pipeline and water among others.

“The oil being produced in the south is likely to go to south after the separation and still the south shall pay for pipeline for use while the north is likely to accept a zero option agreement”, he said.

He revealed that there would be a number of political implications such as south-south relations, south-north, regional and global relations, adding that the international community would be nervous on how the South Sudanese Government would perform with regard to the rule of law, freedom of expression and good governance among others.

Examples were given of countries where referendum ended with secession, including Ethiopia versus Eritrea, Bangladesh versus Pakistan, Latvia versus Russia, Czech Republic, Montenegro versus Serbia and Singapore versus Malaysia.

Mr. Korayi said that during the referendum, opportunities for insecurity can present themselves in favour of disagreement over the procedure used, suppression of minority voices and dispute over results.

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