By: ZACHARIA DHIEU BUL KIIR
The Southern Sudanese referendum resulted from an agreement between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005. After Anya Nya I (the First Sudanese Civil War) there was the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972. However, this agreement failed due to Khartoum Regime’s actions and the political climate between the North and South. In 1983, civil war erupted again (Anya Nya II), this war was basically a continuation of the Anya Nya I conflict.
In 2005, the above mentioned parties signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South. This ended the 21 year civil war which destroyed extensive amounts of southern Sudanese property, separated families and took 3 million lives.
During the Comprehensive Peace Agreement the SPLM and NCP agreed that after six years the Southern Sudanese people would be allowed to determine through referendum whether they would remain one country or secede.
The Southern Sudanese people were looking for assistance from the international community to ensure the referendum would be conducted on time, fairly and peacefully. The Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, said he appreciated that the southern Sudanese Referendum Commission, who conducted the ballot, achieved this peacefully and on time. He was also pleased to see the Sudanese community in Australia taking part in great numbers, a task which is not easily accomplished. Through the financial and moral support of the international community, particularly in places like Australia, USA, UK, European Union and other countries in Africa, the referendum was able to happen.
During the southern Sudanese referendum vote, I experienced many things. For example, one woman started crying when she deposited her ballot in the ballot box saying “if this nation is not going to be separate then do not blame us again because we’ve tried our best to separate the country”. Because of the experiences of the generations, from our grandfathers and mothers to young children, this vote will mark a historical day which we will all remember.
Considering all the problems and challenges that the southern Sudanese people have been through, the vote will result in separation. The southern Sudanese people are hoping to celebrate a new nation. These celebrations will be conducted around world, anywhere where Southern Sudanese people are, and the event will take place after the general announcement in Khartoum on 14 Feb 2011.