Home | News    Monday 4 May 2009

SPLM figure says spy service backed Al-Wifaq despite suspending paper


May 3, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – After the temporary suspension of the pro-government newspaper Al-Wifaq, a figure in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) suggested in an interview last week that the intelligence service was not sincere in its crackdown on the paper.

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SPLM figures Ezekiel Gatkuoth (left) and Yasir Arman (right) during a trip to Goz Beida refugee camp, Chad, in October 2008.

Al-Wifaq, which resumed publication Sunday, had shut down a week ago when its editor called for the death of Yasser Arman, chairman of the SPLM caucus in the National Assembly. The editor, Isaac Ahmed Fadlallah, wrote in an editorial that Arman should be killed for comments he made during a parliamentary discussion of the adultery provisions of a criminal law.

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, a member of the SPLM National Liberation Council and representative of the Government of Southern Sudan in Washington, suggested that the newspaper’s threats were so outrageous that Sudan’s intelligence chief, Salah Gosh, was forced to move quickly to close it down.

According to the government-sponsored Sudan Media Centre website, it was Gosh who ordered the closure of the paper.

However, Gatkuoth questioned why the inflammatory editorial had been permitted in the first place, considering the widespread censorship of other material across the media sector.

He also discussed the recent conference of dissident southern political leaders held in Kenana, North Sudan, saying that there was “animosity” between these figures and the SPLM mainstream led in the north by Yasser Arman, but that this was not directly linked to the anger and threats against Arman.

Text from the interview is below:

ST: Have the attacks against Yasser Arman in the media and by other politicians undermined the SPLM position in parliament at all?

Gatkuoth: I don’t think so because what Yasser said is in conformity with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and constitution. According to the CPA there is a commission that needs to be established to take care of the non-Muslims in the capital and even other places in the North.

Of course, at Naivasha we have agreed that the North will be governed by Shari’a but the commission has to be established to take care of the non-Muslims, and the South will be a secular system; that’s why we have one country with two systems. So if we are having a national act then in that national act there has to be a provision saying that these non-Muslims must be exempted from that.

ST: So is there danger now against him?

Gatkuoth: Of course there is a danger to his life as a human being. What they have done is, there is a newspaper that wrote an article editorial line misinterpreting what Yasser said, which was basically that the act itself, adultery, in some tribes in Sudan it is not punished in the way that Shari’a can punish people, like by stoning.

Like in my culture, I am a Nuer, if a lady commits adultery you pay fines, by cows. But in the north with Shari’a they will stone you to death. This is not acceptable. But when Yasser voiced that concern that there has to be an exemption for some tribes of Sudan they took it out of context as if Yasser is saying that adultery is OK. And they are saying that this is against the Shari’a and they are saying that Yasser has to be killed, and he has to be killed by these radical Islamists. So he is actually under threat. And we are telling them that they should not do that and they should not be threatening people.

The newspaper, Al-Wifaq, is run by NCP radicals. And they even went as far as saying that ‘we have people who are ready to kill Yasser, and these are the same people who killed the American diplomat.’ So that’s why Salah Gosh has to move quickly to close it down, because it is actually bringing more problems to the government of Sudan.

ST: Did SPLM request that Salah Gosh close it down?

Gatkuoth: No, we did not request that from Salah Gosh. But I think Salah Gosh is seeing this to save himself and to save his neck, because these are their people. He has to appear as if he is not condoning this — but of course they are the ones encouraging it. Why are they actually allowing this to be published while they are censoring newspapers everywhere in the Sudan? Why are they allowing it to be published in the first place?

ST: Lam Akol, who was a critical participant at the recent Kenana conference, as well as Ghazi Suleiman have criticized Yasser Arman recently publicly. Is such feuding within the SPLM in Khartoum related to the threats now facing Yasser?

Gatkuoth: I would not say there is a link, but there is animosity. They don’t like Yasser because of what he is doing for SPLM in the North. He is a leader who is actually running for the northerners to support the SPLM in the North, and they are seeing this as a threat because they are actually implementing the agenda of the NCP.

Ghazi Suleiman, Lam Akol and Manawa Aligo, they are NCP within SPLM. That’s why Lam Akol was removed from the ministry of Foreign Affairs, because what he was doing is basically preaching the ideology of the National Congress Party and the actual policies of the National Congress Party with our reflection as SPLM.

At the last meeting [of the SPLM Political Bureau], it has been actually passed that a committee is going to be formed by the chairman [Salva Kiir Mayardit] to investigate them and dismiss them from the SPLM.

ST: Kenana participants welcomed the decision to hold the elections in February 2010. Is the SPLM also satisfied with this delay and when will it select a candidate?

Gatkuoth: The SPLM is welcoming the date, February 29, since it will give us time to prepare ourselves. And it’s also during the dry season; we were worried about July because it is actually rainy season in the south. As to the selection of our candidates, we will do it soon.

The National Liberation Council will sit very soon, maybe June and we will discuss this but we are also having a committee to work on elections headed by deputy chairperson of the SPLM, James Wani Igga. He is the one who is actually in charge of the election committee within the SPLM. So we are going to identify some candidates soon. But the first resolution of the SPLM Political Bureau this year came out clearly that the SPLM will contest elections at all levels

ST: In the more recent meeting of the Political Bureau, is it true that Salva Kiir Mayardit was reluctant to run for the position of President of the Republic of Sudan?

No, the election was not discussed at all. Yes, we generally discussed the date, February 2010, but who is going to run was not discussed. That’s why I’m telling you the National Liberation Council will discuss it soon.

ST: The Kenana participants had also agreed to make some recommendations to Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir, for which they formed a committee. Have they presented those recommendations?

Gatkuoth: No, we just actually read about it in the media.

Generally what I would say about Kenana is that it is a sell-out to the South. Why have it in Kenana if they are actually southerners who are intellectuals and they are concerned about the south? They say ‘corruption, insecurity, whatever.’ Having this meeting in the North, financed by the NCP, encouraged by the NCP is basically a sell-out to the South and the cause of the SPLM.


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  • 4 May 2009 04:08, by Abuoi Jook

    Well done Mr Gatkuoth Lol!
    That’s exactly how the realist and leading figure of the party should select his words when interviewed by media on issues relating to more complex politic in the country.

    Gatkuoth, you presented the SPLM party with clarity of its stance on elections and with southern dissidents of likes Akol, Bona Malual and the rest. You however hit the nail to the point by mentioning that the Kenana conference by the so-called southern intellectual is the real sell-out of the south by the group, hence their recommendations are of NCP interest.

    The SPLM party must not welcome their petty recommendations simply because Lam Akol belongs to SPLM and would have presented his views in the meeting of SPLM liberation council or political bureau in that matter.
    Thanks once again Gatkuoth and well done cayy on the vision of southerners.

    SPLM Oyee! SPLA Oyee!!!!

    repondre message

  • 4 May 2009 04:52, by Nal Dit Kum

    Gatkouth or whatever your name is. It is your SPLM that will sell out the South as your activities go in the country. You need to understand that majority of southern Sudanese do not believe in the New Sudan ideology anymore since many are inform now.

    repondre message

    • 4 May 2009 05:21, by junub

      Well said Gatkouth. Please do not let yourself be swayed away from the mission by those notorous tribalists out there even if they are trying hard to dirt your reputation by calling you an alien from Ethiopian, and a person the family of Ngondeng have rejected to be one of our missionary leader. Just keep up with your job because one day the people of New Sudan reward you for that. Thanks!

      repondre message

    • 4 May 2009 08:45, by jmnda me

      TO: 1-MOTO MOTO
      9- AXAN
      MY dear brother southern sudanese.i know you can do a lots of good think to our conutry with your very voluvol time you spaned tearing dwon one another.it is not that i think iam better then you’nour i thouht that i know more then you do.in fact i lerned so mach from you in very littel time.i totaly understaned the councern of ach and evry one of you.
      but there are so many think that we need to take in to uccont here.
      1-our tribe are not all porpact.there for we must do our homework farst befor we jup to attac our other respactive trib.
      2-we must know that our enmey could be well bhained all this tribal conflict’cince they are going to be the banfcuir of any outcome.remember the enmey is too smart to acknower.some of them can even use our tribs name in oraer to meniupelit our discoution’so we can just spaned most of our time talking about tribalsim issue. inset of the real new sudan issue.
      brthers and sisters,if you love your trib’’then you should love all the other trib.because your trib alone can not be the south sudan what so ever
      dear brothers.your leadership is wanted in south sudan now more then ever.
      let us think and servce for coause of something greater then our self.
      thanks may god bless you all,may god bless south sudan.(jmnda)

      repondre message

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