The recent vote on whether Southern Sudan will remain part of a united Sudan or found its own state has left me confused. Having had the opportunity to witness this event firsthand, the euphoria and outcries of relief that dominate preliminary reflections on the process make me feel somewhat uncomfortable. In an attempt to do justice to my personal experiences and perceptions, I would like to present two narratives, both of which match my direct and indirect observations. Nevertheless, each narrative gives a very different impression of what ‘really’ happened during this historic week in January.(1) In narrative number one, the referendum was a great success. Despite a huge turnout, particularly during the first two days of polling, the process was conducted in an orderly manner, with people patiently waiting in line for hours and hours to cast their vote. In the vast majority of referendum centers, the staff was well-trained and closely following procedures. Their level of professionalism and dedication was, in fact, quite impressive. The polling materials they had to work with were delivered to the centers on time and were generally functioning properly. Given Southern Sudan’s high illiteracy rates, the dramatic lack of infrastructure, the short preparation […]
Submission to the AU Peace and Security Council on the right to a nationality in the context of the referendum in Southern Sudan
The collapse of one of North Africa’s longest-serving rulers – Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia – sent shockwaves through the Arab world and triggered an uprising of equivalent proportions in Egypt, the most populous Arab country. The revolts, which have been on an unprecedented scale, have surprised many and prompted widespread speculation over a possible ‘domino effect’, as a result of which successive authoritarian regimes fall as the impact of developments in Egypt and Tunisia begin to be felt. In this spirit, a guessing game of ‘who’s next?’ has begun.
Not every story out of Africa is doom and gloom, even on topics like “the rise of homophobia.” To be sure, there have been some recent shocking cases of violence and hate-mongering against gays, lesbians, and trans people around the continent. Governments in many countries are meanwhile proposing to reform laws inherited from former colonial rulers, moving toward greater repression and in divergence from major international bodies and public health initiatives.
REMARKS BY THABO MBEKI, AUHIP CHAIRPERSON, AT THE CEREMONY TO ANNOUNCE THE FINAL RESULTS OF THE SOUTH SUDAN REFERENDUM: KHARTOUM, FEBRUARY 7, 2011. Professor Ibrahim Khalil, Chairperson of the South Sudan Referendum Commission, Justice Chan Reec Madut, Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Members of the Commission, Ministers and leaders of the people of Sudan, Your Excellency Mr Antonio Montero, Member of the UN Secretary General’s Special Panel on the Referenda, SRSG Haile Menkerios, Your Excellencies Ambassadors and Members of the diplomatic corps, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen: During the week of the referendum our Panel was privileged directly to observe the process of the exercise of the right to self determination by the people of South Sudan. Naturally, as was the case with the voters, none of us could be oblivious to the historic importance of the occasion and the process, which would determine whether Sudan would remain one country or separate into two independent states. Given the significance of the moment, it was imperative that the referendum should be conducted in a manner which ensured that the people of South Sudan exercised their right in such a way that the legitimacy of the outcome should both be clear and […]
SOLEMN DECLARATION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE AFRICAN UNION ON SUDAN We, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), meeting at our 16th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 30 to 31 January 2011, are mindful of the vital importance of this critical moment of Sudan’s national history. 1. We congratulate the people of Sudan on the successful achievement of the principal pillar of the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan. This success confirms the commitment of the Sudanese people and their leaders never to return to war, and hitherto to resolve any differences that may arise exclusively by peaceful means. 2. We hail the courage, vision and steadfastness of the Government of Sudan (GoS), under the leadership of President Omar Hassan al Bashir and First Vice President and President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) Salva Kiir Mayardit, which has made possible this momentous achievement. Our continent stands shoulder to shoulder, equally with these two national leaders, as they fulfill their historic responsibilities. 3. We commend the people of southern Sudan, whose choice has been clearly, freely and credibly expressed […]