Finally, the Sudanese government announced the census results yesterday. Population number is announced to be 39.154,490, out of which 21 percent are said to live in the south (8.260,490). Although the SPLM chairman Salwa Kiir announced the endorsement of the results before he went to attend the inauguration of South African President Zuma last week, this number is highly contested by other SPLM members, and even by the chairman himself in a meeting in Bentiu 2 days ago, as all percentages in the CPA (for power sharing etc) are based on the estimation, that Southerners are 1/3 of the population. The census of course is also most relevant for the upcoming elections, and boarder demarcations...
Reservations against the census results have been also expressed by the Beja congress and voices from Darfur.
Sudan announces details of contested census results
Friday 22 May 2009.
May 21, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government announced today the detailed results of the fifth national census that SPLM former rebels have threatened to reject. Counting the results was considered crucial to prepare next year’s elections.
The total of Sudan’s population is 39,154,490, with 8,260,490 living in the south, 21 percent of the national population, Central Bureau of Statistics head Yassin Al-Haj Abdin announced today in a press conference.
Khartoum’s population is estimated at 5,074,321 followed by South Darfur state at 4,039,594; Al Jazeera state is in the third place with 3,575,280 followed by North Kordofan with 2,920,992.
According to the announced census result, some 520,000 southern Sudanese are living in the north.
Sudan conducted its fifth Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), from April 22 to May 6, 2008. It was the first all-inclusive census for people of southern Sudan since Sudan became independent in January 1956.
The conduct of the census-taking had been hindered by many problems in southern Sudan and South Kordofan. Moreover, political forces and rebels in Darfur called on the government to postpone it until the settlement of the armed conflict in western Sudan.
In southern Sudan, Jonglei State has the highest population with 1,358,602, followed by Central Equatoria State with 1,103,592, Warrap State 972,928, Upper Nile State 964,353, Eastern Equatoria State 906,126, Northern Bahr El-Ghazal state 720,898, Lakes state 695,730, Western Equatoria State 619,029, Unity State 588,801 and Western Bahr El-Ghazal State with 333,431.
Abidin told reporters that the reservations held by the Office of the Census for Southern Sudan on the results of the census had no basis and that these had been superseded by the approval of the presidency.
Southern Sudanese officials say they account for one third of the total population.
The Sudanese presidency in a meeting held on May 6 approved the result of the fifth census. However, the First Vice-President and head of the semi-autonomous government in southern Sudan Salva Kiir Mayadrit said he is unhappy with the results of the census conducted last year and called for it to be excluded from wealth- and power-sharing formulas articulated in the 2005 peace agreement.
The SPLM chairman, speaking on May 18 to the Southern Sudan Sultans conference in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, said he is "unhappy and unsatisfied with the census results." He also suggested reverting back to the old constituency system in the elections to avoid controversy.
The head of the Southern Sudan Commission for Census, Statistics and Evaluation Isaiah Chol had complained that the numbers of Southerners in the North turned out less than expected. He also expressed surprise regarding the increase in the population of Darfur since the 1993 census.
Chol said that the Southern commission did not get the chance to document the information on the North due to lack of cooperation with the central office.
The fifth census was conducted under the supervision of an independent multiparty stakeholder body that included foreign monitors. Pali Lehohla, from South Africa and chief adviser of the Monitoring and Observation Committee assessed the census operation as a "success."
In a letter obtained by Sudan Tribune dated April 11, he suggested that Sudan’s census was a "unique experience that is worth replicating in other census undertakings especially for countries that are in conflict or emerging out of conflict."