NDI releases results of focus groups in southern Sudan

Oct. 21, 2010, 1:29 p.m.

NDI has released a report, which explores the results of the organization's focus groups in Southern Sudan.  The report examines the population's perception of various issues ahead of the upcoming January 9, 2011 referendum. In total, NDI conducted 63 focus groups that assembled over 779 Southern Sudanese citizens: men and women. Discussions and inquiries ranged from individual’s perception of the state’s governance, development, security, as well as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Additional issues of concern revolved around control over natural resources, fears of potential delay tactics instigated by GoNU as most Southern Sudanese citizens have expressed a strong support for secession, and the creation of a more representative and reliable government. Others have highlighted slight distress over security surrounding the date of the referendum itself.

Key recommendations pertaining to the referendum outlined: informing the public about the structure of the voting process, significant ways in which a proper government can be established, enforcing reliable security measures and promoting a high level of civic engagement.

Despite the enthusiasm for secession, participants express strong concerns about challenges an independent GoSS would face: corruption, ethnicity-based hiring, and nepotism/tribalism. Apprehensions about the economy, as well as concerns about insecurity along the North-South border, are also widespread.

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