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BREAKING NEWS: Sudan president and SPLM chairman resolve census row

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April 13, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and his First Vice President Salva Kiir agreed to resume the census process next week Al Jazeera television reported on Monday.

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, meets with First Vice President, Salva Kiir, in the republican palace in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. (AP)

The Arabic news channel broadcasting from Qatar said Al-Bashir and Kiir decided in a meeting that the census should proceed all over Sudan including the south starting April 22nd.

However it was not clear when or where the meeting took place. It was widely believed that Kiir was due to meet with Al-Bashir on Monday to settle the dispute triggered by the SPLM’s decision on Saturday to postpone the census in the South until year end.

"It was postponed," South Sudanese Information Minister Gabriel Changson Chang told Reuters from Juba last Saturday. "There is a sizeable number of southern Sudanese in northern Sudan and if they are not transported to the south before the census it will affect the wealth sharing."

Questions on ethnicity and religion were not included in the census questionnaire, contrary to the southern government’s wishes Chang said.

The SPLM also said that border demarcation process is not complete which prevents the south from adding people which will impact power sharing formula. Moreover the southern group said the war in Darfur will impede the conduct of census and as such will only be partial.

However Sudan’s former foreign minister and SPLM figure Dr. Lam Akol called on Southerners to take part in the census in a clear departure from the movement’s position.

Earlier today Sudan’s second Vice-President Ali Osman Taha accused some elements in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of provoking a new political crisis before expressing his confidence that census crisis.

Taha, who was speaking in a press conference held on Sunday evening in Khartoum, said that these elements seek to bring down the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)

The Sudanese official said the crisis would be cleared up through consultation and coordination between the three members of the Sudanese presidency including Al-Bashir, Kiir and Taha.

"The Presidency is able to make a definitive decision as long as the parties have a common will," Taha said.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) condemned the decision by the SPLM saying “it is not supported by any justifications or facts whether they be security or political”.

The NCP said in the statement they “regret the decision especially when money from Sudanese people money has been spent on a constitutional issue agreed upon by all sides”.

“All reports from the South confirmed that preparations for census were complete. This is not a surprising decision if you look at the prior positions by the SPLM towards the CPA” Obeid said.

The NCP official called on SPLM to “reverse its decision” before adding that they “see no reason for the census delay and hope that this cause elections to be held on time”.

The SPLM signed a peace deal in January 2005 with the government of the National Congress Party in January 2005 ending two decades of civil war in Southern Sudan. The peace deal made the SPLM, the ruling party in the south and the NCP the ruling party in the north.

In 2011, southerners will be asked to vote in a referendum on whether they want to be independent or remain part of Sudan. A census is supposed to prelude the elections but has stalled because of cash shortage and disagreement over the process.

(ST)

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  • 14 April 2008 08:32, by Paul

    Wow! I am getting sick in my stomach after reading the first two lines of this ridiculous and shameful news. What in the world is so scary in that republican palace of some few Islamic demagogues that make our Leader get too soft to the point that he can not stick to what was agreed for by the majority of Southern Sudanese. What does this giving in to El Beshiir tells the world about his leadership? This is frustrating and unacceptable.

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    • 14 April 2008 09:44, by Malou Luiny Joseph

      Now that Mr.Kiir has redecided to resume census, what are the convincing reasons that you will give to the people of Southern Sudan for accepting census resumption.The reasons for boycotting the census were already convincing to the southern sudanese and they are already clear. Have they now solved the three main issues that led to the postponement of census in Southern Sudan? If they have done so, then you don’t deserve to be blame over accepting census resumption. But if all these things have not been considered , then Mr. Kiir , you must go back first to consult the citizens of southern sudan before you accept what the Jallaba tell you. We understand that they dominate you in the presidency office because you are the only one there.That is why there is agreat need to consult the southerners first before you accept what they tell you.
      They should transport the Southerners in the North or they include the idea of ethinicity in the questionaire. If they don’t do then there should be no census in southern sudan.

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    • 15 April 2008 15:58, by JOHN CHOL

      There is no point the entire cabinet decision with its resolutions reverses the whole thing in a minute because their decisons were slammed by the NCP.SPLM must be a strong political party that make permanent decision for the citizens of South Sudan unless our leaders want the Southerners to remained orphaned in absent of Dr. Garang

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  • 14 April 2008 09:26, by Mabior Abun-deng de Mabior

    Mr. Paul

    Don’t be upset or get sick about that rumuor, I call it rumour simply because it did not tell where and when was the meeting held. Mr. Mayardit can not betrayed his people to whom he is President as such. I’m quit convinced by the SPLM decision to suspend census till the questions on religion and ethnicity are included because it will exactly define the state of Sudan which is an Islamic and Arabs state (Middle East) according to the present regime in Khartoum. Also, if the the borders are not demarcated then you can not know exactly who are from the north and who are from the south in the neighbouring states of Upper Nile and white Nile in the north. I hope southerners are not that easy to be fooled.

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    • 14 April 2008 09:46, by Abraham Chol Marial

      Dear Mr Mabior ,I strongly agreed with you because there should be no census when the question on enthincity and regilions matter are not included,Boarded demarcation not done.
      Where can we put the poor peoplpo of Abyei who had never witness peace since it was signed up to date.Some of the areas boardering the nothern state are not also being demarcates nicely as you have mention White nile .
      As for the above reasons it is good that the census should cease because Arabs are saying Sudan is grate Arab State which is not so.
      Let us not be fool this time we are new southerners not the past .
      Mr Paul say he is feeling sick and ashame .What make him to be sick or ashame in his own land? Salva kiir is leading us to the offshor that our late Hero Dr John Garang had promised .
      We should not be nervious for nothing and census wil not solve all the problems which are not address at the current time if even though it is done.

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    • 15 April 2008 12:07, by Snappy Diddy

      It will be good enough if the census issue is resolved amiccably between the parties but I would rather suggest that credible news media like the Sudan Tribune should refrain from publishing unofficial or unconfirmed news. This ultimately makes it to be part of the "rumour-mongering newshouses" which we believe it is not.

      Al-Bashir should straight up this time round. No more hide and seek games if he expects Sudanese to consider what is development in all aspects - be it political, economic or social.

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  • 14 April 2008 09:59, by JeNEsiZ

    They use this method when they see something not favouring them ahead...They are creating anything possible to obstruct the forthcoming referendum!...omitting ethnicity, religion column in the questioniare is a big question they should answer...they want to tell the world that we have one religion in Sudan...Islamic!!! and that is unbearable lie!!...

    The issue of border demarcation has to be dealt with because our border with them will be anonymous!

    They are like drowning in an ocean hence clutching at any thing that come their sight...
    fellow Sudanese...Beware!

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    • 14 April 2008 11:28, by Ojal

      This news is not convincing, as the meeting venue not known. It should be a rumor. The picture of Mr. Kiir and his friend/Boss Bashir is dated back to Octobor last year 2007.
      Either online journalsit did not the ethic and rule of news or just want to share the rumor with their audience.

      Lets’ wait and see the other breaking news news of the day.

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  • 14 April 2008 11:07, by Samani

    The purpose of the census is to determine how many people are located in a certain area/province, to share the wealth fairly. Not to determine how many muslims, christians and races there are! I find it odd that people who claim they want equality no matter what your race or religion, are the same people asking for those differences to be emphasized. What if you do add those questions in the census what will it prove that we dont know already:

    Sudan has a population current estimates range to 40 million. The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing
    rapidly and ranges from 8 to 10 million, including around two million displaced persons from the southern war
    zone as well as western and eastern drought-affected areas.
    Sudan has two distinct major cultures—Arabic-speaking Black Africans and non-Arabic speaking Black Africans—
    with hundreds of ethnic and tribal divisions and language groups between them, which makes effective
    collaboration among them a major problem.
    The northern states cover most of the Sudan and include most of the urban centers. Most of the 30 million
    Sudanese who live in this region are Arabic-speaking Muslims, though the majority also use a traditional non-
    Arabic mother tongue (i.e., Nubian, Beja, Fur, Nuban, Ingessana, etc.) Among these are several distinct tribal
    groups; the Kababish of northern Kordofan, a camel-raising people; the Ja’alin and Shaigiyya groups of settled
    tribes along the rivers; the seminomadic Baggara of Kordofan and Darfur; the Hamitic Beja in the Red Sea area
    and Nubians of the northern Nile areas, some of whom have been resettled on the Atbara River; and the Negroid
    Nuba of southern Kordofan and Fur in the western reaches of the country.
    The southern region has a population of around 10 million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This
    region has been negatively affected by war for all but 10 years of the independence period (1956), resulting in
    serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2 million
    people have died, and more than 4 million are internally displaced persons or become refugees as a result of the
    civil war and war-related impacts. Here the Sudanese practice mainly indigenous traditional beliefs, although
    some practice Christianity, partly a result of Christian missionary efforts and partly a holdover from earlier
    Christian Nubian civilizations. The south also contains many tribal groups and uses many more languages than in
    the north. The Dinka (pop. est. more than 3 million) is the largest of the many Black African tribes of the Sudan.
    Along with the Shilluk and the Nuer, they are among the Nilotic tribes. The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic”
    tribes in the west, and the Acholi and Lotuhu live in the extreme south, extending into Uganda.

    Why so negative then !! At least be fair in your judgments. As always you love arguing for the sake of argument.
    It wasn’t too long ago when Yasir Arman said the SPLM wasn’t happy to wait for peace in Darfur to have the census, the SPLM then criticizes the government for being too slow and not paying money to hold the census. The day before the census the SPLM wants to cancel the it !!
    Sudan has never and can never claim that it has one religion. Sudan was always known to be a diverse and deeply interracial country (a Mini-Africa), so where do you get those idea.

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    • 14 April 2008 13:15, by Akol Liai Mager

      There is nothing wrong with a demand to include Ethinicity in Census’s questionaire. I think the CPA negotiators especially on the SPLM side were short of proposing a referendum over ethnicity issue. Ethnicity is the root cause of all Sudan’s problems therefore, addressing it now is better than later. Other point that should be clear to some people is that; Arabisation of Sudan must be fought by all Sudanese including Arabs in all fronts however, Censuses and referendums are the best tools to fight this kind of enemy. If NIF/NCP uses its so-called mechanical majority to impose some of its evils on the people of Sudan, then they need to be negotiated prompt and wisefully. SPLM elected next year will put an end not only NIF/NCP mechanical majorty in the Parliament, but also its Arabisation project through referendum. Sudan’s membership in Arab League will also be determine by peoples’ power and interests by means of referendum as well. SPLM demands for enclusions should not be viewed in a narrow angle as racism. Racist motivated are those 37% who called for Arabisation of 73% Non-Arab population of Sudan. I am not speaking for the SPLM, but I believe SPLM is not anti-Arabs and I am not either.

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  • 14 April 2008 11:32, by Daak Adut

    I am not impressed with the dicision made by the presidentcy to resume cencus on 22nd April, What was the reason an SPLM suspended census for and what should be resolve in seven days time. Please presidency resolve the issues at once don’t leave other part unresolve, it will cause more crisis later.

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    • 14 April 2008 12:38, by Gideon Latio Khamis

      Yes, what has been related by Samani is correct, it is a Sudan history.Since independence upto now, elites are repeating the same connotation. Marginalization in Sudan is ethnicity and religious made.Dispite the facts that some political and economical greediness have contributed to this phenomena. The claim that, Sudan is an arab country is religious and ethnic. So, it will be nice to put an end to this claim through census to clear doubts.
      Thanks

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  • 14 April 2008 13:39, by Toposa Boy southerner

    Shameful shameful to you Mr President
    Our thinking is getting sick and sick and sick about your willingness to destroy people of southern Sudan you will not get away with this useless tactics

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  • 14 April 2008 18:00, by Deng Chol Malual

    In my opinion and according to the history of Sudan,this issue of playing with Southerners is not a new thing.
    Therefore,I would rather suggest that the GOSS to continue to negotiate and let the international community be involve.
    The war will come by its own as per the NCP anticipation and wishes.
    Thanks
    Deng Chol

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    • 14 April 2008 21:09, by Aphrican

      Common guys, Salva was meeting president Yoweri Museveni of Uganda today in Juba. Howthe hell in the world did he have time to meet that dickhead named Bashit? This crap is propaganda. There is no resumption of census and that is that period

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  • 15 April 2008 00:22, by Deng Magot Riem

    I am affraid, whatis behind Mr. GOSS presidents giving in to what he didn’t want to do. In fact if there are still southerner in the North who deserve counting, why can’t the govrnment understand that logic.

    I heard mr Taha talking of the elements in the SPLM trying to bring down the CPA. Should this maybe Mr. Kiir’s fear of diverting the truth he is well aware of. If it is, then, who is the benfeiciary of the CPA? South, North or the Country at large? What the mouth speaks is what fils the heart. Therefore, Osman Taha’s statement must be taken seriously.

    It has been the NCP as the world know which is ups and dwons trying in anyway possible to bring down the CPA since they signed what they didn’t expect to work but now claiming of being some elements in SPLM are at it. Khratuom miss calculated that lets sign it as Addis Ababa two agreement which turned out to be different one. Let Taha and the NCP know that CPA is alive because of the SPLM comintiment and this is true and will ever remained true.

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    • 15 April 2008 04:01, by Michael Madit Magot

      President Kiir’s overnight decisions in the face of NCP obstacles will indeed plant a sense of weaknesses and lack of trust between GOSS and the Southerners.

      It is so unbelievable to read yesterday that the census has been suspended and tomorrow a different story.
      What a bleak future we are heading to?
      It would have been better if the president first consult the El Bashiir’s NCP over any matter of disagreement before having knee-jerk reaction of issues.

      The remark by Ali Osman Taha few days ago that the SPLM’s first rejection of census was a litmus test of partnership is in the opposite sarcastic word.
      He was in other way round meaning that the sudden SPLM’s leadership actions are the real litmus test of Goss weaknesses.

      Unless Kiir give a reasonable point on the impulsive and sudden turn of event, the Southerners are infact wearing out of his trust as a leader.

      The reasons given for the census suspension are too big to be corrected within a day or weeks. Kiir must answer why the change?
      For anyone who think that critising Kiir mean his removal, you are dead wrong.

      Madit.

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      • 15 April 2008 12:21, by Mabior De Maluk Deng

        Hi Guys,

        The suspension of the National Census was a bad move on the CPA by our govervment; If it is because of religion and enthnicity, then census can not be cancelled, coz when I say am Mabior de Maluk from Wangulei payam in jonglei state. definetely; you will know that am a Dinka, Christian, and from Southern Sudan! Therefore missing religion and ethnicity in the census questionaire is not an issue. Border demarcation is also not a point, coz the North - South border of 1/1/1956 is put in place now by CPA moniter.
        My advice to the president of GOSS and those who support idea is that, "Why do you see the speck on some one eye yet you leave a chunk on your eye?"

        We should not be blaming Bashir even when it is us taking the wrong move!!

        Enjoy Good day!

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        • 16 April 2008 18:46, by Tung Juol

          Census suspension did caught many by surprise because the things they were claimed were there for all these time and our government which could has more stake to loose on this didn’t do so as we would expect. At the last minutes, there come this news that the census is suspended at least for southern states because of good reasons that there are many as 2 millions people in the North Sudan who would not be counted on their side in the south. Border demarcation, has not been demarcated to know the precise border of North and South Sudan. Darfur in the West is too dangerous for census to be done there. Ethnicity and religions were not added to the questionaire in the census.Therefore, for all these crucial reasons are enough for census to be suspended and not conducted in Sudan if it is for good purpose.

          These things sound real and they should be the reasons if there should be anything that the government of south, Sudan has to be warry about.However, we are surprised again that the census should be resume as soon as next Tuesday April 22, 2008. For sake of political tension in the country, it is good that we should not go back to the tension again that had just lasted like four months ago. However, avoiding tension as trade off for National interest as these above, is not also wise decision to do.

          As a matter of fact, none of the above concerns which triggered the suspension of the census in the first place would be solved within 7 days. Therefore, it would have been better not to capitalize on these in the first place and not just cheaply give in as such. It does not serve you well in your country as government in the south nor does it help in your game with NCP for further issues ahead.

          If I could ask was it a wrong decision in the first place that you come in public and announce that the census is suspended in south for these reasons? Or there is/are deal in place now which will magically solves these contentous issues overnight?
          If there is not magic that will solves these contentous issues at hand as result of your deal with Bashir, I think many southerns would start to question your judgement, capability, and integrity of decision make process as it was said by Taha, Mr. President.

          It would be good to make no decision than give in to the presure of public and the Northerns party so cheap without feedback. It is always a right idea to weight your decision before you make them so that you would know what would be fault or right in the long run on that decision.

          It is nice to test the water before you jump into it and run out naked because you get burn.
          We would count this as one major blunt in your decison thus far and hope you do not make many like this again.

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          • 31 May 2008 00:37, by Santino Nyuol

            It was a great opportunity for both leaders to personal talk. I do believes its’ a right time to get togetther on the table instead of to fight. And my thank to Mr. Salva Kiir for that move.

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