By Julius N. Uma
December 11, 2010 (JUBA) – The two parties’ signatory to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) should ensure that the accord is fully implemented and the January 9 referendum on southern independence should be timely-held to reflect people’s will, Daniel Arap Moi, the former Kenyan President has urged.
Moi, who addressed the media a day before Kenya’s 47th anniversary celebrations scheduled for December 12, said it was important for both the Khartoum government and its southern counterpart to see that the pending issues within the 2005 peace accord are accomplished in letter and spirit.
The CPA ended over-two decades of a bloody civil war fought between the Christian dominated south and the mainly Muslim north.
An estimated nearly 2 million people, according to UN estimates, are said to have died, while over 4 million were displaced.
But the ex-Kenyan leader reiterated his country’s commitment towards supporting the January 2011 referendum, saying the process should be closely monitored and reflect the will and decision of the population.
“We should expect the people of Southern Sudan to exercise their will and peacefully participate in the process of their self-determination,” Moi told an impromptu press conference held in Juba, the Southern Sudan capital.
Moi however said he remains optimistic that the referendum will successfully be conducted, instead appealing to both the north and south to concentrate on establishing good relations for a strong future economy.
According to the ex-Kenyan President, a free, fair and transparent referendum will help bring an end to many problems in Africa’s largest nation, including conflict and human rights violations.
Moi lauded members of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is currently chaired by his successor, Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki, and the African Union (AU) high level implementation panel, for what he described as their tireless efforts in Sudan’s post-referendum negotiations.
The former Kenyan leader urged all south Sudanese who had registered to vote in next year’s referendum to ensure that they fully participate so that the process is meaningful.
“All registered voters should ensure that they turn out in large numbers to support the referendum process by voting. For me, I think peace will prevail if south Sudanese are given the opportunity to fully exercise their will,” he said.
A 60% turnout and a vote of over 51% in favor of separation is needed for the vote south to secede.
Voter registration officially ended on December 8. About 3 million people are believed to have registered in the south alone, while northern figures stand at around 11,441.
There were 2,623 and 165 registration centers located in the south and north of the country respectively.