, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on the people of Southern Sudan to deliver a decisive vote that will leave no room for doubts and disputes in the referendum set for Sunday.
Mr Odinga who is engaged in the Ivory Coast conflict, on Monday dispatched Lands Minister James Orengo to deliver his message to President Salva Kiir Mayardit of Southern Sudan in Juba.
The PM said Kenya is prepared to take and live with the results of the referendum but is keen on "a decisive vote," he said.
The PM also said Kenya would support the will of the people of South Sudan.
He also expressed hope that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement would ensure Southern Sudan gets what it deserves after the referendum, including sharing of resources should the country vote for independence.
"My message to the people of Southern Sudan is; you have had a long struggle. The time has come, and this is it. There is light at the end of the tunnel. In the end, the blood that has been shed in your country will not count for nothing," the PM said.
President Salva Kiir praised Kenya as a true friend for providing unwavering support to his country during challenging times and called for further strengthening of relations between these two neighbours.
He thanked the government and the people of Kenya for standing with South Sudan in its struggle that ultimately led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
He said he is keen on a transparent, peaceful and credible vote on Sunday.
Mr Kiir said that Kenya continues to provide support to his country through capacity building and training of its workforce especially in the civil service. He explained that his country looks forward to enhanced co-operation for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
"We are thankful to those who stood with us. We are grateful to the government and the people of Kenya. We owe them all that they have done for us," he said.
Among citizens who have registered to vote abroad, the highest number is in Kenya, the President said.
He called on the international community to be prepared to accept the decision voters make on Sunday.
"The decision of the people of Southern Sudan must be respected after the vote. If they vote for separation, it will be their choice. If they vote for unity, that will also have to be respected," he said.
"If the people vote for unity, it will have to be a different kind of unity, not the type that has kept us fighting for close to 50 years," he added.
The President said that Southern Sudan as a semi-autonomous region is undergoing a difficult moment as it prepares for referendum on the 9th this month, to decide whether it should remain as part of Sudan.
Noting that Kenya successfully carried out a referendum that ushered in a new constitution, President Kiir said that Kenya can provide the necessary support to his country so that the exercise goes on smoothly.
He said that this referendum is part of 2005 Naivasha Agreement between Khartoum central government and Sudan People\’s Liberation Army (SPLA) that ended a two decade old civil war in Sudan that left over two million dead.
Mr Kiir noted that a simultaneous referendum will be carried out in the oil-rich Abyei region which bestrides north and south that will give the residents a chance to decide on whether they should be part of Southern Sudan.
He revealed that voter registration and other logistical arrangements had been completed and his government was making all necessary arrangements to ensure that transparency was exercised during the process.
While presenting the government\’s goodwill message, Mr Orengo said that the Kenyan Government would support the will of the people of Southern Sudan and will also respect the decision they make in the referendum.
He said that the delegation had been sent to the region to deliver a message of peace.
Mr Orengo said that the government had been a key player in the efforts to promote peace in the region and was asking the people of Sudan to uphold peace during the referendum.