The National Congress Party employs a variety of tactics to sabotage January’s referenda. Because a 60% quorum (of a still undefined electorate) is needed and a 51% vote for or against, every NCP move counts.
● Backing militias to destabilise the South. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement now openly blames its ‘partner’ for supporting Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (increased attacks in Western Equatoria), General George Athor Deng’s militia in Jonglei, Colonel Galwak Gai Deng (Unity State), and Lam Akol Ajawin (Upper Nile). It says it has evidence (AC Vol 51 No 12).
● Backing anti-SPLM Southern parties. The SPLM has countered this effectively; many oppositionists have joined the SPLM or agreed to cooperate.
● Creating uncertainty about whether the referendum will be free and ‘credible’. The NCP repeatedly says any fair vote could only be for unity.
● Spreading uncertainty that the referendum will take place.
● Harassing the SPLM in the North, including presidential candidate Yasir Saeed Arman and the Ajrass Hurriya newspaper.
● Refusing SPLM candidates for the referenda commissions. The SPLM, however, cannot refuse NCP candidates.
● Appointing Northerners to both the chair and secretary generalship of the South Sudan
Referendum Commission. The SPLM accepted Omer el Sheikh as SG this week only ‘to break the impasse’, said a source. Omer then reportedly resigned, further delaying preparations. Chairman Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil earlier threatened to resign.
● Turning the SPLM’s insistence on holding the votes on time against it by pressuring it to accept NCP terms.
● Paying Juba its share of oil money in local currency this month, creating shortages in an import-dependent South.
● Using deniable Islamist groups such as Hizb el Tahrir to call for abandoning the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Southern right to independence.
● Failing to agree on voting eligibility or numbers of Southerners in the North.
● Failing to allow a debate in the North but accusing the SPLM of breaking the CPA by backing separation.
● Encouraging interested foreigners to take an even-handed approach (as in Darfur), even though the NCP wants the CPA to fail while the SPLM wants it to succeed.
● Failing to enable the demarcation of the borders of Abyei and between North and South. The NCP can then claim the votes were invalid.
● Fuelling African fears of state disintegration. Even South African ex-President Thabo Mbeki mentioned this danger.
● Convincing Arab governments of a Zionist plot to dismember Arab countries.
● Fuelling Western fears of more ‘failed states’ in the global south.
● Portraying the Nile as under threat.
● Withholding referendum funds from Juba
Source: Africa Confidential