Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sudan: Southern Kordofan polls should lead to inclusive government

UNMIS military unpacking ballot papers in Kadugli on 17 April 2011 for upcoming Southern Kordofan State election

UN - The top United Nations official in Sudan said that the elections that got under way today for the governorship of the state of Southern Kordofan should lead to an all-inclusive government, and called for the holding of peaceful polls.

Haile Menkerios, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), met yesterday in Kadugli with the two candidates for the governor’s position – Ahmed Harun of the National Congress Party and Abdulaziz al-Hilul of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

“It should not be a winner-takes-all election,” Mr. Menkerios told the press after meeting with the two men. “They have said that they will definitely announce that if they win, either one of them, they will form inclusive governments.”

In his most recent report on Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states are “vital” for the development of peaceful north-south relations and for the adjustment of the north in the post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) period.

The interim period of the CPA – the historic 2005 accord that ended the decades-long north-south civil war in Sudan – is due to end on 9 July, which is when Southern Sudan officially becomes independent after the referendum staged in January.

While in Kadugli, Mr. Menkerios also met with the state security committee that is responsible for ensuring security for the election.

“I told the two candidates and the security committee that there is tension and apprehension in the state and that everything should be done to ensure the security of the election,” he said, while noting that the army should play no role whatsoever in securing the elections.

The Special Representative reiterated the commitment of UNMIS to provide technical and logistical assistance to the electoral process.

The gubernatorial and legislative elections in Southern Kordofan are slated to conclude on Wednesday. They did not take place during the 2010 nationwide elections owing to disputes over the census figures.

Meanwhile, an UNMIS patrol sent to verify reports of a clash yesterday between unidentified armed men and the police in the vicinity of Todach in Abyei, which remains disputed by the north and south, found 14 dead bodies. The mission has dispatched a joint military team for further investigation into the incident.

The inhabitants of Abyei were due to hold a separate referendum simultaneously with the rest of Southern Sudan in January, but attempts to create a referendum commission remain deadlocked, amid feuds between communities in the area over the right to vote.