, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – The 14th Extra Ordinary Summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority (IGAD) Heads of State and Government has resolved to ensure democracy prevails in the elections and referendum scheduled to take place in the Sudan.
The leaders present and representatives of the United Nations and the African Union called for defined mechanisms to ensure free and fair elections and referendum scheduled in the Sudan.
“It is my recommendation that this Summit comes out with a set of deliverables touching on both the pending elections and the subsequent referendum,” Eng Mahboub Maalim who is IGAD’s Executive Secretary said.
The summit was attended by Heads of States and governments from various countries in the region, who included Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki, South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who is also IGAD’s chairperson and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
Retired President Daniel arap Moi, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula were also present at the high level meeting at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
“It is suggested that we have a set of activities with specific timelines in the run down to the elections and referendum,” he added.
He urged the leaders to consider mechanisms which will help in maintaining peace in the Sudan, both before, during and after the two important activities which he said, would mark an important calendar of the Horn of Africa country.
Peace in the region
“We must ponder its seriousness and implication on the regional peace and security, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as well as the general welfare of people of Sudan,” he said.
In this regard, he said: “My recommendation is that a mechanism be formulated that can ensure trust and complementarily between the two parties.”
President Kibaki who is the current chairman of the IGAD Sub Committee on the Sudan peace process urged the Summit to make sure that the 2005 Peace agreement that was signed in Nairobi is fully observed.
“Our gathering here is of particular significance as it will enable us to take stock of the achievements made and the challenges faced in the implementation of this important Accord,” President Kibaki said and added: “I trust that the meeting will also provide fresh impetus to the process and ensure a smooth and seamless management of any outstanding issues.”
South Sudan President Salva Kiir hailed the upcoming referendum saying it holds the key to long term peace in the South.
“I would like to remind the summit that the conduct of the elections is not a pre-requisite to the conduct of the referendum, the people of the Southern Sudan even attach more importance to the referendum than the elections. For them, the right of self determination is one of their political achievements in the CPA and they will defend it at any cost,” General Kiir said.
Kenya’s former President Moi who was in Sudan a week ago said he was satisfied “with the political climate prevailing in that country.”
“I was in Sudan last week and I held meetings with a number of leaders. I am satisfied with the political climate in Sudan,” he said.
The leaders held an open forum up to 1100 GMT before they retreated for a closed-door session to chart the way forward on how to ensure peace prevails in the Sudan.
The Sudan peace process was launched in 1993 when a standing committee was established to assist with negotiations to end Sudan’s Civil War.
The efforts culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi in January 2005.