Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 5 February 2006

Will the Southern leadership stick to its principles this time?


By Simon Yiep Mayiik *

Feb 3, 2006 — Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, some of our citizens and politicians alike have been casting doubts on whether the parties of the Agreement are serious, and will honor it, by fully implementing its terms. In this case, there are reasons, when looking back to the political history of our nation, besides what is currently happening on the ground.

In reality, the current, Northern political parties have been dealing with the Sudanese Conflict in the same way through the last 50 years. And we must highlight, and keep in mind what they say and do when they in power, and when they are not.

Sadiq al Mahdi missed opportunities in 1966 and in 80s, when his governments could not implement what he based his opposition against generals Abbud and Nmeiri towards the South, mainly the Abbud’s Southern policy and the Islamic Laws’ imposition by Nimeiri. The Umma leader has been back and forth, agreeing with the South’s political movements at times, and vise versa at other times depending on what he perceives to be for, or against his interest. It’s the Sadiq al Mahdi’s responsibility to explain why he could not understand, or accept the word “Identity” in his nine-hour meeting with the Late Dr, Garang in Addis Ababa in 1987, ( Sudan Arab, Sudan African, or both?).

The Democratic Unionist Party rejected the Koka Dam declaration of 1986, because it called for freezing of Sharia, among other SPLM/A demands. but it was the same party, which later signed the November Agreement of 1988 with the SPLM/A, agreeing for the same demands previously it rejected. Why? Because it was uneasy with power-sharing with other partners of the coalition government of that time.

As to the National Islamic Front (NIF) (both Bashir and Turabi wings), it has been clear all along; that it can not and will not give up their Arabic and Islamic values even when it leads to separation of the South. And because they are not convinced yet, the Bashir’s wing has been acting as a moderate one in recent years, when they are in fact working to maintain the unity of the Old Sudan. Overall slow in implementing the CPA, and their latest military move to attack our troops in Hamesh Koreb, are all signs of their unfaithfulness to the Agreement. It’s the same Omer, who came to power to stop a peace agreement meant to end the war, and to guarantee unity of the country in 1989. Therefore, our people have every right to deny him trust until he proves otherwise.

Another Northern-based little guy, but with some sincerity, is the Sudan Communist Party (SCP). Since this party was founded, it has been committed to changing the Country to where all its citizens would enjoy equal opportunities. Meaning that, any divisive and discriminatory issues, such as religion and other cultural values, should not be part of our political system of the government. Most of the Southerners believe that, and agree with them. The problem with this sincerity is that the Party is not influential in the North, and will not bring change in the face of the NIF, at least, at this time.

And here we are again, three of these political leaders, with different political ideology, and from extreme far right to far left, al-Sadiq, el-Turabi, and Ibrahim Nugud, have recently attempted to join forces against the government of National Unity (remember! Nothing changed here, but power). Al-Sadiq is still occupied by his old dream, that he is el-Mahdiya of today, and able to rule over our people. Jokingly, he said, “Even without peace agreement with the South, I am still better qualified for the job over Omer, because I know how to talk Arabic language very well”. For el-Turabi, no unity without Islam. He said, “You Omer, be careful, I brought you to power, to work together for Arab, Islamic Republic of Sudan. For Nugud, and as usual, the Communist Party’s guys of Sudan scare to death when they hear, or read the word “separation”. They know very well that they can not win a fight for a secular state in Sudan without other Sudan’s secular groups, mainly the Southern groups. They will always attempt to fight for Sudan’s unity of their own way. And the only way to do this is to fail the Bashir-(SPLM) government’s efforts to implement the Peace Agreement, because it allows the Southerners to choose between unity and separation.

As to the other side of the Peace Agreement, (the SPLM), and the South in general, let’s remind ourselves of why we should remain skeptic until the CPA is fully implemented. Our ethnic/personal differences and financial motivations have been used by the Khartoum’s governments to create situations, where the Southern representatives lose sight and work against the Southern interests. The following are some of the damages some of our leaders have inflicted on the struggle of the people, and as a result of their connections with the Khartoum’s governments:

During our first civil war, and after the movement was badly devastated by ethnic and political divisions, general Lagu was praised and credited for his ability to unite the South’s armed struggle against the Sudan’s government in early 70s. It was still the same Lagu, when I personally saw him, heard him, and with unquestionable patriotism addressing troops at the military HQ in Juba in 1976. But, general Lagu was appointed vice president of Sudan, came to Khartoum, and unexpectedly turned his back to an agreement he himself signed for the South’s self-governance and unity. He became an advocate and one of the influential figures used by Nimeiri to divide the South in early 198s. And since then, Lagu has been working with the Sudan governments, and opposing the SPLM. Other Southern leaders were there before and after Lagu at the Khartoum’s Presidential Palace, but did harm, or nothing to support and promote the Southern interests.

Instead of having a unified voice that would fight and defend the interests of our suffering citizens the South Sudan’s political leaders were fighting for their personal and financial ambitions in Khartoum during the Sudan’s third democratic period (1985-89). Political smearing against each other and unnecessary divisions at parliamentary sessions, and at other political institutions encouraged Sadiq al-Mahdi’s governments to ignore, peace initiatives, aimed at ending the war and suffering of the Sudanese people.

Military and political defections on the (SPLA/M) in early 1990s, encouraged the Bashir government to reject all (SPLM) demands in Abuja I, Abuja II Talks. On the military front, the Bashir’s military campaign was able to retake some key cities from the (SPLA). Setbacks and delays were noticed on the advancement of our struggle.
And this time around, they are trying again, despite the signing of the CPA. Gordon Kong and his group are making another mistake, by allying themselves with the Khartoum’s government and against the unity of the South.

The CPA almost includes everyone’s demand: Attractive unity or independence of the South; as well as each disputed region is given a chance to choose between the North and the South. And it’s the responsibility and role of each group to make their dream come true, by working hard for it, and with their respective regions and supporters. Defecting and coming to Khartoum, while you call yourself a Southern defender has not and will not solve any Southern problem, because you go there and collaborate with the enemy of the South. Should you have political objectives, or principles you think they are of interest of the South, then the only and appropriate place to make them known, accepted/rejected, and implemented is the South itself, where your concerned citizens are. Otherwise, you could be judged as a hypocrite and illegitimate, not only by the people of the South, but also by the Khartoum’s regime.

We in the SPLM will not judge Mr. Matip’s thoughts and actions this time as being driven by a family, clan, county, or geographical location influence, but by the fact that the CPA contents include their demands too, and no more reasons to oppose the SPLM, and the will of the people. So, to say that those, who joined the unity of the South, are from western Upper Nile and in your attempt to play down the importance of their action is ridiculous and irresponsible.

Therefore, I congratulate the SPLM and SSDF leaderships for their courage and understanding that led to the signing of the Juba Declaration. They realized that the attractive unity of Sudan or independence of the South will not be gained except through a true, strong Southern unity. It was a matter of time for them to join the Southern will, and against all enemies of our struggle, and not because he was bribed as you may think. Let’s the people of the struggle judge, who is really being bribed, the one who joined the free South, or the one who defected and came to Khartoum? And forgive me, if I am mistaken, Have you changed your group’s name from SSDF to SDF, the Sudan Defense Forces Mr. Gordon Kong? Think again, the children, women and elderly of the South need you for our nation’s building, and is never too late for the SPLM, and people of the South to welcome you back, and with open arms as always. Don’t give the enemy another chance to destroy peace and the future of our people.

In this respect, I applaud those, who reminded and alerted the Government and the people of South Sudan through their open letter, concerning Dr. Lam Akol’s past and his current direction. The Sudanese people know that he joined the Movement after he lost the election in 1986, which implies that he would not go to the movement, had he won that election. We all warn and urge Dr. Lam, that our people suffered enough, and it’s time to stand firm behind them, and in defense of their interest, not for personal gains.

The other party, which played a considerable role in achieving the CPA, was international community, namely, the so-called world super powers (the permanent members of the UN’s Security Council). Make no mistake about it; they intervene for their own interests, and peace they bring for a country is always temporal. Do you think The USA and other powerful countries were incapable of doing something about the Apartheid of South Africa, Rwanda, Somalia, and other similar problems in the Continent of Africa? If the answer is no, then we must take care of our own problems first, and call for their support second, and with honor for our sovereignty as a nation.

To the SPLM/A leadership, the President Salva Kiir, and all representatives in both National and Southern Government: You have already earned confidence and trust of our Nation through firm, clear principles, which were the source of strength and guidance during our armed struggle. After the CPA was signed, these precious values - freedom, equality, and democracy - are being again tested by our internal and external enemies. The unclear circumstances, surrounding the death of our Hero and Leader, Dr. Garang, unsatisfied distributions of governments’ posts in Khartoum and in the South, and the Sudan Government’s planned delays of the CPA implementation, and with no immediate, appropriate responses are being seen as a departure of the SPLM from its principles, not only by the Sudanese People, but also by the Movement’s broader base. Ethnic and individual connections played a key role in the formation of the Governments, instead of political affiliations. We can not have it both ways and succeed in building unity of the South at the same time. Let’s remain fair, democratic, and faithful to our Party’s principles, and to the future of our people, not for a family, county, ethnicity, or region.

More importantly, the God we serve is a just, forgiving, merciful one. No one will bring a lasting peace and stability of the South except the South itself. And in order for the South to do so, we must justly and truthfully govern our people in order to receive His blessings, peace, stability, and prosperity for our people. With no Southern unity, there will be no independence, or attractive unity either, and the state of Southern Sudan will be far worse than it was 22 years ago.

* Simon Yiep Mayiik, is based in the USA. He can be reached at : smayiik1@bellsouth.net

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