Sudanese government calls for emergency meeting of Presidency on South Sudan census postponement

13 April 2008 (Miraya FM)

The Council of Ministers of the Government of National Unity has called for an emergency meeting of the Sudanese Presidency following the decision of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to postpone  the census in the south of the country.

The Council of Ministers also called on GoSS to reverse its decision.

Sudanese Vice President and President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit is expected to travel to Khartoum to meet President Omar Al-Bashir on Monday to discuss the issue.

The National Congress Party called on the government of southern Sudan to reverse its decision of postponing the Census exercise.

In an emergency meeting it conducted on Saturday night, the National Congress Party described the decision taken by the government of southern Sudan as unconstitutional. Speaking to Miraya FM, the Secretary of Information in the National Congress Party, Dr. Kamal Obeid, said that such resolution reflects differences regarding decision-making within the Government of South Sudan.

Earlier, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Government of Southern Sudan, Gabriel Changson Chang, had announced the postponement in southern Sudan of the census scheduled start 15th April until 'later this year".

The Minister said that issues of the north-south border demarcation, insecurity, religion and ethnicity are the most important reasons behind the postponement of the Census. He said that there are almost two million southern Sudanese displaced people in northern Sudan waiting to be repatriated to their places of origin in the south.

In other reactions, the head of the Central Bureau of Statistics, Yasin Haj Al-Abdine, said that it is an unfortunate decision for the Census not to take place in the south. Speaking to Miraya FM, Dr. Abdine rejected the justifications made by the government of southern Sudan to postpone the Census adding that they are not convincing.

Dr. Abdine added that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement did not stipulate the return of the displaced people for Census to take place.

The head of the Census Monitoring and Observation Committee, Abdel Bagi Al-Jilani, told Miraya FM that all the preparations for conducting the Census in northern Sudan are completed.

Mr. Jilani did not confirm or deny whether the Census exercise will take place in northern Sudan without the south. He said that they are waiting for a final decision from the Presidency to resolve the issue.

Darfur Factions have meanwhile welcomed the decision taken by the government of Sudan to postpone the Census. The Factions said that the current security situation in Darfur is not favorable for conducting the Census exercise.

The National Umma Party criticized the decision taken by the government of southern Sudan.  The Party said that the decision is illogic and that it came with a bad timing.

The Spokesperson of the National Umma Party, Mohammed Saty, told Miraya FM that the Census is linked with a lot of important decisions for the country. Mr. Saty said that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement stipulated that conducting the Census shall guarantee the impartial process of the elections and referendum.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Mohammed Osman Mirghani said that the decision violates the National Interim Constitution. The DUP said that the current situation  is complicated. The Deputy Chairman of the DUP, Mahmoud Hassenin, told Miraya FM that the decision taken by the government of southern Sudan despite its justifications will negatively affect the forthcoming elections.


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