The youths also appeal to counterparts to turn out in large numbers ahead of next years’ national referendum
By Josephat Siror
September 10, 2010 (Nairobi) — Dozens of Sudanese youths assembled in Nairobi yesterday calling for their counterparts to support separation of Southern Sudan from the Muslim-dominated North. The Southerners group of youth also launched their referendum campaign in earnest in the capital city of Kenya where a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was reached in 2005.
While launching the diaspora campaign, a first in Kenya’s political scene, the Sudanese warned against success of ‘unity’ government, saying that it would spark another ‘eruption’ of bloodshed in the fragile Horn of Africa country.
The referendum launch comes amid mixed reactions over the referendum date set for 9th January next year and the raging debate on ‘surprise’ visit to Kenya by Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir during the Promulgation of the new constitution a forth night ago. Mr Bashir’s visit to Kenya fired debate since he is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes that led fleeing of Sudanese nationals most of them seeking temporary stay in Kenya.
But yesterday as the diaspora youths launched the campaign, they appealed to the fellow Southerners to turn out in large numbers and vote for the separation. “We are appealing to our diaspora colleagues wherever they are to come in large numbers and demonstrate their rights by voting during the referendum,” said Luala Abraham, leader of the United South Sudanese youth for Referendum Campaign (USS).
He lamented over the mistreatment unleashed to Southerners by the Northerners, who are mostly supporting unified type of government. These people (leaders) in the North have continuously treated the Southerners in a hostile manner through Islamic Sharia law,” he said adding that the vast country of Sudan is not a Muslim state.
The country has been subject to war-related crimes following a disagreement between the Southerners and Northerners. But the youths waving ‘orange’ T-shirts said they would push on for the separation despite being out of their homeland. “Our launch today exhibits a series of campaigns ahead in Kenya. We will also visit our brothers and sisters in refugee camps in Kakuma and Dadaab,” said Luala.
The number of Sudan nationals has been rising in Kenya, most of them from the South where rebel groups have been fighting the fragile government until the signing of the Peace Agreement between National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Kenya.
Josephat Siror, BSC, is a journalist who has worked in different mainstream media houses. He has been part of Humanitarian Crew during the surge of famine that hit the Horn of Africa in 2007 stretching through 2008, he has worked in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and part of Gulf of Eden, and worked then as a media consultant with International Red Crescent and Red Cross (ICRC). His main tasks have been reporting on humanitarian, political and social issues.