Thursday, October 21, 2010

Focus group results in Southern Sudan

The National Democratic Institute in Washington conducted in February and March 2010 the 11th of its focus group studies in Sudan since 2004. The most recent one consisted of 63 focus group discussions with 779 Sudanese participants in Southern Sudan.

This series of focus group studies has over the years provided a wealth of information on the views of Sudanese. The most recent report, titled "Southern Sudan at the Crossroads: Citizen Expectations, Aspirations and Concerns about the Referendum and Beyond" by Andrea L. Levy and Traci D. Cook is dated Sept. 30, 2010.

Some of the conclusions from the focus groups are:
  • Southern Sudanese participants continue to express an extremely strong desire for separation from the North.
  • This strong desire for secession is being driven by the belief that an independent South will be more prosperous.
  • Southern Sudanese participants support the right of Southerners in the North to vote in the referendum but want them to return “home” to cast their ballots.
  • Most Southern Sudanese participants are strongly opposed to a referendum delay.
  • Participants want the international community to play an active role in the referendum.
  • Participants take an extremely hard line against the sharing of oil revenue with the North if the referendum vote is for independence.
  • There is no consensus among participants about whether they would accept a four-year transition period after a vote for independence.
  • Participants express strong concerns about challenges an independent Goss would face: corruption, ethnicity-based hiring, and nepotism/tribalism.
  • More participants acknowledged more progress in Southern Sudan than in 2009 but are still dissatisfied with levels of development and security as well as corruption within the Southern government.
Image from the cover of the report.

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