SPLM slams VP Taha’s visit to South Kordofan

18 April, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in north Sudan has criticized the visit of the country’s vice-president Ali Osman Mohamad Taha to South Kordofan State, accusing him of harnessing state-resources to support his party’s candidate in gubernatorial elections there.

Vice-President Taha on Monday visited the central state of South Kordofan, where electoral campaigns for long-delayed gubernatorial and legislative elections are already underway ahead of the voting on May 5, and inaugurated a number of development projects.

Flanked by his ruling National Congress Party’s incumbent candidate in gubernatorial elections, Ahmad Harun, Taha addressed a public rally in the state’s town of Abu Jibiha, renewing his government’s commitment to implement development projects in the state.

Harun, who is sought by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes allegedly committed during a harsh government-counterinsurgency campaign in the western Sudan region of Darfur, addressed the rally and echoed his boss’ pledges to carry out development projects in the grossly-underdeveloped state.

But Yasir Arman, the secretary-general of the SPLM North-Sudan said that Taha’s inauguration of development projects during electoral campaigns was "a clear violation" of the elections law.

In a press release received by Sudan Tribune, Arman criticized the National Elections Commission, the body organizing the vote, for what he termed as its silence in the face of the involvement of state media in the electoral campaign of Harun, citing article number 96 of the national elections act which outlaws the use of state-resources in electoral campaigns.

Gubernatorial and legislative elections in South Kordofan, which lie on the fault line between north and south Sudan, were delayed as the country held countrywide elections in April 2010 due to disagreements over census results and delimitation of geographic constituencies.

Incidents of violence occurred last week when El-feid village in the state was attacked by militiamen who killed at least 17 people and burned a number of houses. The SPLM’s candidate in gubernatorial elections, Abdul Aziz Adam Al-Hilu, accused the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces of carrying out the attack at the behest of Harun.

Al-Hilu said that the NCP was trying to scuttle the elections because it knows that its candidate Harun stands no chance of success.

However, the NCP blamed forces loyal to Al-Hilu of instigating the incidents, saying it had intelligence substantiating its claims.

The NCP’s official Haj Magid Siwar said this week that his party might split South Kordofan State and reinstate West Kordofan State which was abolished following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended decades of civil wars between north and south Sudan in 2005.

Under the CPA, South Kordofan is meant to hold a so-called popular consultation to decide whether the agreement has met the aspiration of the state’s people and resolve any pending issues related to its implementation.


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