Sudan SPLM reiterates rejection of census, alleges fraud

June 6, 2009 (ST)

The main partner in the government of national unity in Sudan accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of rigging the results of the fifth census conducted last year.

Senior figures from Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) held a press conference in Khartoum including foreign minister Deng Alor and the deputy Secretary General Yasir Arman.

Alor said the NCP is in control of the state bodies and the decision making process with complete absence of the SPLM.

He further said that the ruling party manipulated the census numbers and disclosed that the SPLM position was communicated to president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Alor blasted the NCP saying they had been saying since the Naivasha accord that South Sudan is one fifth of the population.

The Central Bureau of Statistics said that the total of Sudan’s population is 39,154,490, with 8,260,490 living in the south or 21 percent of the national population.

The fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, conducted from April 22 to May 6, 2008 is considered crucial in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The census will help decide how wealth and power are ought to be shared in Sudan.

SPLM officials in the past have said that they estimate South Sudan to account for a third of Sudan’s population and that they will not accept figures less than that.

Alor said that the cabinet last Thursday was informed of the census results but did not make any decisions despite statements by its spokesperson. He stressed that the endorsement is up to the presidency which included SPLM chairman Salva Kiir.

He expressed surprise at the population results of South Darfur which showed a 92% increase from last census and claimed that it includes Arab tribes resettled from West Africa and should therefore be excluded as they are “not Sudanese nationals”.

On the issue of Southerners living in the North, Alor said that he had proposed moving them and that committees were formed for that purpose and found their numbers to be 3.9 million contrasting the official figures of 518,000.

The Sudanese foreign minister said he expected the dispute to be resolved through dialogue between the NCP & SPLM. He suggested using previous census results to determine electoral constituencies.

However, last month NCP official Mandoor Al-Mahdi said that election law has determined that constituencies will be based on population.

Alor criticized Al-Mahdi statements saying the NCP fears the SPLM in terms of popularity in the elections. Moreover he said that the electoral commission cannot begin dividing constituencies until the dispute is resolved.

But a member of the NCP leadership committee Qutbi Al-Mahdi closed the door in front of any possible compromise saying the census was monitored by international observers with participation of the SPLM.

He described the SPLM position as ‘political comedy’ saying “the numbers don’t lie”.

Al-Mahdi also rejected allegations of NCP controlling power saying the SPLM is dominating in the South and violated freedoms and rights of Muslims and restricted political activities.

He urged the SPLM not to violate the CPA for fear of the upcoming 2010 elections.

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