South Sudan claims Abyei
The disputed area of Abyei was defined as part of Warrap state in the South Sudan election bill, last week in a parliamentary session, the Minister of Justices Mr. John Luk Jok disclosed that Abyei citizens will participate fully in the South Sudan coming elections like any other South Sudanese with rights even for governorship in Warrap. He said that Abyei will have representatives in the National Legislative Assembly and Council of states. “Abyei citizens will not be observers in the parliament anymore, but participates in both the National Parliament and Council of states” Luk said.
Abyei was kept as observers in the Council of states during the Bashir Government. And Abyei was defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but the CPA Abyei protocol remained un accomplished because the two parties to the CPA did not reach any agreement on their signatures.
The CPA stated that the people of Abyei will have chance to determine their fate through referendum, but later South, North Sudan did not agree on who should vote the Abyei referendum. Abyei is a territory of South Sudan belonging to the nine clans of the Ngok Dinkas which was annexed to Southern Kordufan in North Sudan with orders made by the former President of Sudan Mohamed Nimeri in early 1960s, there after some North Sudanese moved to the site, particularly the Misseriya cattle keepers. The Misseriya did not even defined themselves as residents, because they move to the area on seasonal basis.
According to the Government of South Sudan, Misseriya nomads have no rights to participate in the Abyei referendum because they don’t even permanently resident in the area, rather move to the area in dry session searching for water and pastures for their cattle.
The election bill has also put many things that regulate the conduct of the elections. The Minister of Justice urged the MPs to review the election bill critically; he said that the general bill was based on the Sudan previous elections. The bill categorized the Parliamentary sits in to three categories, Geographical, Women constituency and part list. The Geographical constitutes sixty percent of the sits, women list constitutes twenty five percent and Party list constitutes fifteen percent. Luk said that the criteria give chance of inclusiveness and that it’s a general principle in the country.
The bill also stated that all post holders contesting must resign from their positions. According to the bill, the President will dissolve the cabinet and may appoint care takers as it was done in the last elections. “Even governors must resign from their position during the campaign to give their opponents room for campaign” Luk reiterated. He said that if those post holders did not resign, then they will use powers and Government properties for their campaign. The review process impressed many MPs.
The bills states that people will be voting by residence not region “you can vote where you living not where you come from” Luk told the MPs. He said that policy is introduced to encourage unity among the people. People who had been in Juba three months before the registration kicks in entitled to register and vote in Juba, it applies to all parts.
The bill states that Governors will be elected by simple majority and the same applies MPs, and Council of states. It also stated that the President will be elected by fifty percent plus one (50%+1), if the election runs and none of the candidates scored 50%+1 votes, then the best two candidates will run for second election to make sure that a candidate scores the needed percentage as stipulated by law.
Luk said 50%+1 is an international standard. He also said that a presidential candidate must be nominated by at least ten thousands (10,000) supporters and the supporters must be from different states, the concept was brought to cut down opportunities to the tribal based political parties. The further bill stated that out the 10,000 supporters, the candidate must have at least 200 supporters from each state with minimum of seven states; Luk said that the election commission will not recognize candidates below the above requirements.
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