GoSS says census postponed in southern Sudan

12 April 2008 (Miraya FM)

The GoSS minister of information Gabriel Changson Chang announced Saturday that the population census in Southern Sudan has been postponed and would be conducted "in the course of the year" but he did not specify the new date of the census.

As reasons for the delay minister Chang named - border demarcation, security concerns, ethnicity and religion issue, as well as the fact that there are 2 million southern Sudanese residing at the moment in the northern part of Sudan who are awaiting to be repatriated to southern Sudan.

The GoSS minister of information's Statement  

Today I am going to make a statement on the Fifth national census which is supposed to start on 15th of April.

Since yesterday the Council of Ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan has been deliberating on the issue and this afternoon has come out with the resolution which I will read to you.

That resolution I am conveying to the press informing the people of Southern Sudan about the decision taken by their government on the issue of census.

The Council, in its deliberations, critically analyzed the circumstances pertaining to the exercise of census.

To carry out this census, the government has its own objectives and among them one is the provision in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that there should be the national census throughout the country so it is an objective and it is an obligation to be met.

What are the objectives for carrying out the census?  Among them is to know the size of the population of the Sudan because the last census was in 1993 and that one was not comprehensive because most parts of the south were not accessed by the census, because those areas were at war or under insecurity, insecure problems.

So we want to know with this relative peace what is the size of the  population of the Sudan in general, and then also the population of southern Sudan in particular, and also the populations of the states and counties.

So, what do we use the results of the census for?  We have to use the results for very important purposes. One is to demarcate the political constituencies that would form the basis for contesting the elections.

So it is a big political decision and it is a fair way of distributing constituencies, because the number of constituencies for the southern Sudan will be determined by the population of southern Sudan, in the first place, and the number of constituencies within the southern Sudan will also be determined by the size of the population of each and every state, including the counties, so that there is fair distribution and objective distribution of political representation. 

Second, the census will give the government the opportunity to plan for socio-economic services, because when we want to give schools, hospitals, water and electricity, sanitation and so forth, we need to know the sizes of those populations.

Given the meager resources we have, we will always be bound to set our priorities.

So if there is an area with the population of one thousand and there is another similar area with the population of ten thousand and you are supposed to give one school or one hospital to those areas, will you go in and give that service to that  small population of one thousand or you'll go to that area where it is ten thousand so that you'll be better off to serving the greatest number of people instead of lowest.

So it is crucial to have census so we map out our development programs in an equitable and efficient manner.   The census has to be comprehensive and inclusive, that is to say it has all the areas of southern Sudan all the Sudan should be given equal opportunity to conduct this exercise.

If it becomes partial then we would not be able to say we have conducted a comprehensive and fair census. That is what happened in 1993.

Given these reasons and examining the situation very critically, the Council decided – and I shall read you the resolution - to defer the census in Southern Sudan, deferring it from 15th April to be carried out sometime during the year.

We did not give the specific date because we want to make sure that the commission  is the technical body that would be able to give the exact date of carrying it out, given technical aspects that are going to be worked out.

So let me read you the text of the resolution and thereafter I'll give the justification why we took this resolution or this decision.

Council of Minister, Government of Southern Sudan, Juba, resolution No 95/2008 Subject: deferment of conduct of the fifth population and housing census in southern Sudan.

After deliberating on the submission made by the Minister of Cabinet Affairs with his memo number this  and that, dated 2 April 2008 on the up-cited subject, the Council of Ministers in its regular meeting number 11/2008 held on Friday 11 April 2008, following a lengthy and critical analysis of the pertinent factors for the success of the fifth national population census in southern Sudan resolved that the objectives of the census would not be achieved under the prevailing circumstances and that it was imperative to defer the conduct of the fifth national census in southern Sudan to a later date some time during the year.

The Southern Sudan Center for Census, Statistics and Evaluation, Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of SPLA Affairs, Ministry of Interior Affairs, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Local Government Board, Southern Sudan States and all other relevant public institutions shall take the necessary measures to implement this resolution.


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