November 11, (YAMBIO) - Hundreds of citizens from Western Equatoria state in Southern Sudan, converged at Yambio Airstrip on Wednesday morning to welcome retired General Alison Monani Magaya, a former senior member Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party who has joined the SPLM.
- Former NCP member, retired Major Gen Alison Magaya Monani, being received at Yambio airstrip after joining the SPLM, Western Equatoria, South Sudan, Nov. 10, 2010 (ST)
Maj. Gen. Alison Manani Magaya and 60 NCP members had announced they had joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the former rebels who govern southern Sudan, at in Juba.
A former minister in the Government of National Unity, Magaya is the second senior politician from Western Equatoria to join the SPLM in recent months, following the footsteps of Charles Kisanga the former Secretary General of SPLM breakaway movement SPLM Democratic Change.
As part of a 2005 peace deal, in which the SPLM and NCP agreed to share power and the south’s oil wealth, the south was granted a referendum on independence to be held before January 9, 2011.
This was Magaya’s first visit to Western Equatoria since turning his back on the NCP last September. On his return Magaya vowed to fight for togetherness.
"What we noticed is that the reception was not politicized, there were artists, authors, politicians and many people representing all classes of the Egyptian community coming here to show support," he said.
- Women performing a traditional dance to welcome retired General Alison Monani Magaya, a former senior member Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party who has joined the SPLM, to Western Equatoria, South Sudan, Nov. 10, 2010 (ST)
People carried banners and signs saying "Magaya is the whole Southern Sudan’s hope" and "Yes to Magaya." It is hoped that his return will help unite Western Equatoria state’s (WES) politicians.
Commissioner of Yambio county Angelo Bakote said the “decision taken by Magaya is a sign of political maturity – he reasoned strongly and acted bravely.”
Upon his arrival Magaya said “I am thrilled by the cordial reception accorded to me by own people and WES government more especially the SPLM State secretariat.”
Magaya revealed that during his recent meeting with southern President, Salva Kiir, who is also the First Vice President Sudan and head the SPLA said, “WES is strategically important to SPLM as during the murky days of SPLA, WES was leading in food contribution, fighters and WES was tolerant to all tribes.”
He added that, President Kiir plans to visit WES until security improves. The state has been badly affected by the presence of the in Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The nomadic Ambororo tribe are also blamed for instability in the region and have been instructed to leave.
Magaya used his speach to separate himself from his former allies in the National Congress Party.
“I could not stay in corner isolated from my people only to serve the interest of northerners, let me tell you there is no reality in them,” said Magaya to applause.
He further said, “I have come to fulfill the wishes of my people, because of ahead of us is a serious turning point which needs all of [us] to be part of the driving engine.”
“We must tighten our belts to respond to enormous challenges of Africa’s new nation.”
- Southern Sudan’s Minister for Transport Anthony Lino Makana (Left) and retired General Alison Monani Magaya listening to speeches to celebrate Magaya’s defection from NCP to SPLM, Yambio, Western Equatoria, South Sudan, Nov. 10, 2010 (ST)
GOSS Minister for Transport and Roads, Anthony Lino Makana, who had accompanied Magaya from Juba to Yambio told the crowd that, “the coming of Magaya has energised and rejuvenated WES political spectrum, hence WES will emerge as number one in voting for the total separation of southern Sudan from northern Sudan.”
Western Equatoria’s governor, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, whose speech ended the rally said “we are joyful to receive our lost sons, they have made us proud".
Since 1983 the SPLM fought against various Khartoum governments – including the NCP since 1989 – over political and economic marginalization, resources (oil and water), religion and identity.
January’s referendum is expected to see the south vote to become independent from the north.