An internationally brokered peace deal that was supposed to transform Sudan into a unified democracy could be about to split Africa’s largest country into two one-party states.
In six months time, people from Sudan’s oil-producing south are due to vote in a referendum on whether they should secede and form Africa’s newest nation — a plebiscite promised under a 2005 accord that ended decades of north-south civil war.
Most analysts say south Sudan’s poverty-stricken population, traumatised by the conflict and years of perceived northern exploitation, are likely to vote ‘yes’ for independence.
Many are already looking beyond the referendum to work out what an independent south — and a newly separated north — might look like. The political prognosis is not good, particularly following elections in April when opposition groups say the main northern and southern parties stamped out competition with intimidation and fraud.
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