Census results fell short of southerners’ expectations
President Salva to travel to Khartoum to discuss results with President Bashir
Population Census Council (PCC), chairman Bakri Hassan Saleh rejects any amendments to the results
(Juba NSV) - The fallout between SPLM led Government of Southern Sudan and the NCP led Government of Sudan over last year’s national census results continues to spiral from bad to worse.
Yesterday Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, chairperson of Southern Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) and GoSS minister of parliamentary affairs told NSV GoSS ministers held an emergency meeting last Tuesday to decipher the census results.
In the ‘emergency meeting’ the Government of Southern Sudan resolved to send President Salva Kiir to Khartoum for further consultations with his counterpart, President Omar Hassan Bashir.
Lomoro said that the census results were not ‘encouraging’ and fell short of southerners’ expectations. He said that the protocol was violated in the announcement of the census results.
First, the Population Census Council (PCC), the body responsible for conducting censuses, should have presented to the presidency, he explained, adding that the unilateral declaration of results by its chairman, Bakri Hassan Saleh led to results that ‘cannot be accepted by the government of Southern Sudan.’
Chol Aruai, chairman of the Southern Sudan Census and Statistics Evaluation Commission (SSCSE) said that "despite an agreement to hold the official release of the census results until the official consultation and approval of the South Sudan President, the PCC chairman called for a press conference and announced the results.
“It is unfortunate that the PCC chairman Bakri Hassan Saleh decided to announce the results despite our consensus on April 26 that we hold the announcement until we have consulted with President Kiir on contentious issues,” he said.
‘Direct bearing on power sharing’
President Kiir had earlier on said the census results were inconclusive because he suspected figures were being deflated in some regions and inflated in others, and that made the final tally ‘unacceptable.’
Sudan’s last census was held in 1993. In that census Darfur had three million, compared to 8.2 million in last year’s results.
"With all the security instability that the [Darfur] region has experienced [it still] has a total population of 7.2 million people while during the 1993 population census the total was 3 million people," President Kiir said in late April, raising doubt about the accuracy of the projections.
Dr. Lomuro revealed that the results showed 8.5 million people as the overall population in the south while the north tottaled over 15 million.
“The census has direct bearing on power sharing and wealth sharing in the Sudan,” he said.
“The results of the census should determine the resources given in accordance with the population in the region.”
Lomoro explained the disputed census results also affects the elections since the constituencies might not be able to be demarcated in time.
Despite the southern objection, the PCC has rejected requests by the SSCSE to have the discrepancies in the results corrected.
The government of national Unity argues that the national census that took place last year in April was conducted under the inspection of international communities and peacekeepers such as the United Nations which makes the results valid.
However, in Southern Sudan, many citizens were not counted in the census due to bad weather, poor communication and transport networks, and some areas were unreachable, while many Southern Sudanese remained in exile in neighbouring countries, leading to ‘unacceptable results,’ according south Sudanese authorities.