Sudan: South Still to Decide on Independence Day


    Sudan Tribune (Paris)

    2 March 2011

    Juba — South Sudan, which voted in the January’s referendum to break away from the rest of Sudan after 55 years of civil war, is yet to decide on its official Independence Day, says the Vice President of the region, Riek Machar.

    The people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence by 98.83% in an internationally monitored referendum which was provided for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005 between the government of Sudan led by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

    The interim constitution provides that the six year interim period commences on 9 July 2005. Recently, it was said by different officials from the NCP and the SPLM that the Republic of South Sudan will be declared on 9 July 2011.

    However, the Sudanese parliament terminated the membership of Southern Sudan MPs saying the sessions of the two chambers will resume next April without their participation. The two peace partners have yet to finalize talks on a series of pending issues related to Abyei, border demarcation, national debt, and other matters.

    SLM leading member Yasir Arman termed the decision as “a coup from the NCP against the constitution,” adding “The constitution should govern the period until July 9 and more surprisingly the NCP did not consult the SPLM.”

    Machar said South Sudan is already an independent state by the declared vote of the people in that referendum, which he said was supreme over any other decision or law in the process of choosing a final destiny in the self-determination’s exercise. What will happen on July 9, he added, will be mere formalities ending the six years of interim period and celebrating the already achieved independence.

    The Vice President earlier explained that the debate would now center on whether to decide on an official Independence Day based on the revolutionary spirit that sparked various struggles for 55 years, or based on the final decision of the people of South Sudan who chose independence over unity as their final destiny.

    “If the day would be decided based on the revolutionary spirit,” he said, “there would be at least three different dates to choose from. These would include 15th June [1955], which he said initially resulted to the day of 18th August [1955] of Torit revolt that later on gave birth to Anya-Nya I struggle”.

    Another revolutionary day, he added, was 16th May [1983] which gave birth to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA), when the forces under the command of late Kerubino Kwanyin Bol rebelled from Bor town.

    And if the decision about Independence Day will be based on the people’s decision to vote for independence, Machar explained that January 30, [2011], or February 7, [2011], would be the ideal dates to choose from.

    The first initial results of the referendum were announced on January 30 in Juba while the final results, which exactly confirmed the first initial results, were announced on February 7, in Khartoum.

    The issue of Independence Day like the rest on the new state’s flag, national anthem, coat-of-arms, etc., shall end up in the parliament for final endorsement after further deliberations.

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