South Kordofan’s deputy governor rejects award by Sudan President
29 April, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)
The deputy governor of Sudan’s central state of South Kordofan, Abdul Aziz Adam Al-Hilu, has refused to accept an insignia of achievement awarded to him by President Al-Bashir, citing his unhappiness with the leader’s recent threats to wage war in his state.
Sudan’s official news agency SUNA on Wednesday reported that Al-Bashir had issued a decree awarding the Insignia of Political Achievement to South Kordofan governor, Ahmad Harun, and deputy governor, Al-Hilu, “in recognition of the two men’s role and efforts in the past period.”
The two men are the frontrunners in South Kordofan’s gubernatorial elections due to be held alongside legislative elections on May 2, after the exercise was delayed for over a year since Sudan held nationwide elections in April 2010 due to disagreements over the 2008 census and delimitation of geographic constituencies.
Ahmad Harun, who happens to be wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in atrocities committed in the country’s western region of Darfur, is the candidate of Al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) whereas Al-Hilu is running on the ticket of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which controls the soon-to-be independent South Sudan.
Addressing a public rally in the state’s provincial capital, Al-Dilling, on Thursday Al-Hilu thanked Al-Bashir for the award but said he declines to accept it. He said that the first reason for his refusal is the threats issued by Al-Bashir to wage war in South kordofan.
President Al-Bashir threatened in a speech he delivered on Tuesday in Al-Mujlad town in South Kordofan to respond with an all-out war in the state if the SPLM resorts to violence as a mean to win the elections. “The movement [SPLM] must submit to the will of ballot boxes or else boxes of bullets will decide the matter,” he warned.
“What political achievement is he [Al-Bashir] talking about after he threatened to wage war a mountain to mountain and a state to state,” Al-Hilu said.
Tension in South Kordofan has been exacerbated ahead of the sensitive polls after the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF), allegedly backed by Harun, attacked El-Feid village and reportedly killed 17 people.
Al-Hilu said that the second reason for his refusal was the use of state-resources in supporting the electoral campaign of Ahmad Harun, citing as an example the live-broadcasting by the so-called national media of Harun’s rallies in a “clear violation of the elections law.”
The Carter Center (TCC), a US-based organization, expressed concern on Thursday over “deterioration in South Kordofan’s security environment,” in reference to the violence that broke out in El-Feid. The only international elections-observation mission in South Kordofan warned that “continuing tensions between rival candidates in certain areas could negatively affect voter turnout, impact the results, and therefore reduce the credibility of the electoral process.”
It urged increased efforts by Sudan government and that of South Sudan to diminish tension in the state and refrain from negative campaign rhetoric. On a positive note, however, TCC noted that the recently concluded candidate nomination period was “largely conducted transparently, efficiently, and peacefully.”
South Kordofan straddles the yet-to-be demarcated borders between north and south Sudan, which voted in a referendum earlier this year to secede in July under the terms of the 2005’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended decades of north-south civil wars during which South Kordofan witnessed fierce battles.
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