Home | News    Friday 27 April 2007

Church leader exhorts for South Sudan separation

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By Isaac Vuni

April 26, 2007 (JUBA) — The President of Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, His Grace Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Loro today said south Sudanese must look for new leaders who cherish the aspiration of south Sudanese for separation.

He said the current unfolding situation in southern Sudan requires unity of purpose from all southern Sudanese especially during the time of national census.

Speaking at the closing session of the two days workshop on Justice and Peace at Catholic Relief Service center, the prelate said “it’s regrettable that the masses of southern Sudan are not being adequately educated on the vital exercises of the national census that would pave ways for proper planning and effective development of the marginalized areas of the Sudan.”

Archbishop Loro challenged southern political elites to come up in defense of people’s aspiration for separation than misleading them with the words of New Sudan and making unity attractive to people who have been marginalized for more than fifty years.

Meanwhile the commander of Patriotic Resistance Movement, Alfred Lado Gore, said “it is time to call a spade a spade, adding that people must clearly demand for their democratic right to freedom that would lead the to separation from the north.” Commander Gore further added that unity is the most important at this particular time. He cautioned the innocent masses at grassroots to be careful of some southern Sudanese sons and daughter who might have been used to suppress the people’s aspiration for separation from Khartoum.

The participants observed that grievances arose among the ranks and files of the SPLM/A in August 1991 and it let them to fragment into more than ten tribal factions that was after the comprehensive peace agreement reduced to six political groupings.

Yet there are still imbalances in geographical appointments in GoSS leadership characterized with ethnic recruitment that pave ways to tribal tensions and mal practice of corruptions in public offices, rampant injustice inflicted on individuals and groups of people, delay or non payments of salaries to employees and the groups of soldiers holding arms.

The South-South dialogue, brain child of churches in April 2005 was intended to reconcile the warring southern Sudanese factions/parties in order to uphold the interest of the suffering and marginalized Sudanese to air out their grievances for the shake of unity of southern Sudan.

The National Population Census scheduled for November 9th 2007 is very important for the distribution of political constituencies, power-sharing, wealth-sharing and services provision to the Sudanese people but the Khartoum government is deliberately delaying in for their own interest.

Otherwise, without proper census, there would be no fair election that would deliver people’s aspiration and expectation.

“The present government in Khartoum is very keen on diluting the census and election hence it dose not want to change governing rule of election including appointment of electorate commission instead it incorporated the SPLM in its old electorate Commission mostly constituted in accordance with Islamic Sharia code.”

Today in Southern Sudan, people link Census to taxes because Census enlightenment to grassroots people is very poor therefore southerners should be prepared to also get poor result.

Yet appropriate national census result would be of great effect in planning of the coming general election and the referendum at the end of six years interim period in year 2011. Therefore, southern Sudanese people need to be prepared and empowered to vote responsibly “through an urgent aggressive civic education in the ten states of southern Sudan,” the conference recommended

The workshop participants appealed to GoSS Government to respect the constitutions and rule of laws and to embrace practice of inclusiveness than creating divisions among Southern Sudan.

They observed that Peace building must aim at reviving a country’s economy, establishing participatory system of governance, fair administrations of judicial, disarmament and demobilization of former combatants who should also be social sustain fairly, psychological and economic rehabilitation among others.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Darfur Peace Agreement and Eastern Sudan Peace were all signed on the conference tables without much involvement of the society. Until the entire society are fully involved the agreements faces many challenges, remarks participants

The following are Recommendations derived from the two days workshop organized by National Justice and Peace Commission of the catholic Bishops conference held at Catholic Relief service premises in Juba on national census and election:

NATIONAL CENSUS

• Government must create Stability in southern Sudan for achieving better result of the national census in southern Sudan.

• South Sudanese churches should participate actively in Civic education and dissemination of the CPA documents to empower grassroots people as government is failing to reach cross section of southern Sudanese.

• Government should ensured adequate Security for the People of South Sudan especially during the national census campaign.

• Church committee must be formed and co-opted into existing government census committee to monitor the problems of Census, elections and referendum.

• LRA movement within the country must be cleared out to enable the return of the IDPs to their home lands.

• The Church must be involved in government committee of Information and publicity in order to ensure proper and appropriate usage of census funds for enlightening rural People.

• The DDR process must be speed up in order to pave way for smooth running of the November 2007census.

• All census offices in southern Sudan must be empowered and equipped with necessary facilities.

• There is a need to have a laity or a priest to represent the Church in the government.

• The church should now confirm the version of “Let my people choose” New approach.

REFERENDUM RECOMMANDATIONS

- Formulation of special committee as a mechanism to implement the recommendations of Justice and Peace Commission workshop

- Formation of Civil society to aggressively sensitize the entire populace in southern Sudan on Referendum by south Sudanese

- Enlightenment of political leaders, civil society and the grassroots communities on the importance of conducting referendum for south Sudanese

- The Use of Independent media should be encouraged to focus on activities of civil society and other opinion.

- There should be more workshops for enlightenment of political and civil societies.

- South Sudanese churches should call for south-south dialogue to forge unity of south Sudanese people

- The church should lob for funding for establishment of independent media and other programmes of civil society.

- The church should advocacy/lobby to address threats facing the smooth process of carrying out the referendum process among south Sudanese.

- The church call on friendly countries in Africa America Europe and world wide to support the cause of south Sudanese for a free and independent country.

- International community should be involve in monitoring referendum in year 2011

- South Sudan churches should use their structures for disseminating information to cross section of Sudanese.

- South Sudanese churches together with civil society need to prepare new leaders for presidency of south Sudan who have clear vision for south Sudan.

- The church should act as a watch dog in Good governance practices in southern Sudan

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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