Home | News    Saturday 2 October 2010

"I would vote for separation," says South Sudan President Salva Kiir

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James Dak & Uma Julius

October 1, 2010 (JUBA) – The President of the regional Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir on Friday said that he would vote for separation in the upcoming referendum because unity of Sudan has not been made attractive to him.

Kiir, who is also the First Vice President of Sudan and Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), declared his personal choice in advance while addressing thousands of residents in Juba who gave him a heroic welcome upon his return on Friday from the United States where he took part in the special meeting on Sudan hosted by the United Nations.

"If I were to vote as a person and choose between the two options of unity and separation, I would vote for separation," he said, noting that the 2005 north-south peace deal gave priority to making unity attractive, but that this has not been the case for the last five years.

The remark by the First Vice President will likely irk his partners, the National Congress Party (NCP) who have already stepped up their rhetoric on the referendum. Officials in the North issued heated statements lately ranging from threatening not to recognize the referendum to ones saying that the Southerners in the North will be immediately stripped from their citizenship rights if the vote results comes in favor of secession.

What initially began as a chilly morning weather eventually subsided as an estimated close to 1,000 people; waving flags, braved the usually hot mid-day sun to have a glimpse of Kiir.

Shops, schools and government departments remained closed for most of the day, while traffic flow was diverted from the main Juba roundabout, as people started lining up along the road as early as 8 am.

Security at the airport remained tight, only with the Very Important Persons (VIP) section only accessed by accredited officials, protocol staffs, local as well as journalists.

Dressed in his trademark hat and black suit with a red neck tie, Kiir was received at the airport by his vice president, Riek Machar, a host of GoSS Ministers, Undersecretaries, Director Generals and Commissioners, among others.

The President’s motorcade later proceeded to Dr. John Garang mausoleum as he waved to the anxiously waiting crowd that was dancing and chanting slogans in support of Kiir.

“South Sudan Muslims strongly support the government of Southern Sudan in the referendum for self-determination. Salva Kiir oyee, South Sudan oyee, SPLM oyee”, one of the banners, held by a group of Muslims at the airport read.

The Southern leader accused the North of "cheating" the South for all these years in the sharing of oil revenues, explaining that it has been giving only 26% of oil revenues and not 50% as provided for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Kiir said the North has also been taking all the oil and non-oil revenues generated in its territory without sharing it with the South, and at the same time taking most of the revenues from the South, including revenues generated from alcohol taxes, which he mockingly said, the North should have rejected as bad money generated from the sale of alcohol which is banned under Islamic Sharia’a law.

DELAY IN REFERENDUM ’UNACCEPTABLE’

The SPLM chairman stressed that the upcoming referendum must be conducted on January 9th and warned against anybody trying to push it to a later date.

"Anyone who will postpone the conduct of the referendum will be responsible for whatever will happen," he said.

"There are those who want to postpone the referendum…to teach you what to vote for and they say separation is bad for you. Is it true that separation is bad for you, why did you fight for all these years," he asked.

He equally said that the referendum for the people of Abyei must also take place concurrently with that of Southern Sudan on 9th January.

The referendum was a key provision of the accord between north and south Sudan that ended a decades-long civil war, during which about two million people were killed.

The referendum process is already behind schedule and the international community fears that the delay would prompt the South to unilaterally declare independence sparking a new conflict. Voter registration has not started and may now not be ready on time for a January 9 vote. The north-south border have yet to be demarcated.

Another referendum will take place simultaneously in the contested oil-rich region of Abyei, where residents will have to decide whether they want to be part of north or south Sudan. The commission to run that vote has not yet been appointed.

Some international diplomats suspect President Omer Hassan al-Bashir has been deliberately dragging his feet over the referendums.

The southern Sudan president warned against those he accused of beating the drums of war, saying the South is not for war but that the semi-autonomous region would exercise its right to self-defense.

But Kiir ruled out the possibility of the South declaring unilateral independence, saying that even if its peace partner, the NCP refused to conduct the referendum, it would still be carried out in the South with the presence of the United Nations and members of the international community.

He said north and south should instead begin to promote good relations as neighbors. Kiir took the opportunity to criticize the remarks made by NCP senior members, who threatened that southerners in the north would automatically lose citizenship, medical care and even lose their property if southerners vote for independence.

"They are saying that nobody will buy the houses of southerners in the north," he said.

Kiir expressed concern that southern Sudanese in the north need to be protected in the north and repatriated back to Southern Sudan.

Last month, Human Rights Watch said that authorities in the North and South should pledge not to expel minorities if the South votes to become an independent nation.

“Both southerners in the north and northerners living in Southern Sudan told Human Rights Watch that they feared retaliation, even expulsion, if secession were approved,”

"The two parties to the peace agreement — the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the southern ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) — should state publicly that they will not expel each other’s minorities," it added.

ABYEI

On cross-border movement, Kiir said that Arab nomads who have been crossing into Southern Sudan for grazing lands will continue in the cross-border movement. "Even if they come up to Juba [capital], nobody will stop them," Kiir assured the crowd.

This week members of the Arab Misseriya tribe staged a march in Abyei region and threatened to block the referendum by force if they are excluded from taking part in it as the SPLM asserts.

Last year the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) redrew the boundaries of Abyei, ceding key oilfields to north Sudan but gave the South most of the land including Abyei town which has huge areas of fertile land and one significant oilfield. The borders have yet to be demarcated to comply with the court’s verdict because of threats levelled by the Misseriya.

The SPLM has interpreted the ruling as meaning that the cattle-herding Misseriya tribe have no right to vote in areas assigned by the PCA to the Dinka Ngok.

The Misseriya fear if the south secedes and the north-south border becomes an international boundary, they will lose grazing rights to the land and their livelihoods. South Sudan president has pledged that the Misseriya will continue to enjoy grazing rights.

The tribe is heavily armed and some tribesmen were recruited by the northern government to fight the south as a proxy militia during the two decades north-south conflict.

Analysts believe unresolved disputes between local communities such as the Misseriya could flare up and drag the north and south back into war.

TRIP TO THE U.S.

The Sudanese First Vice president emphasized that his trip to the US was the last in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) era.

“This has been my last visit to the United States of America before the referendum takes place on January 9th, 2011”, he said, while fully acknowledging the UN Security Council (UNSC) role in what he termed as their timely involvement in Sudan’s final phase of the CPA implementation.

He announced that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members will arrive in Juba on 6th October next week and will meet with the cabinet, parliament, civil society organizations and churches in the region.

A moment of silence was later observed in honor of South Sudanese fallen heroes and heroines, including Dr. John Garang de Mabior, and others who perished in a mysterious plane mishap in 2007.

“Today, we are left with less than 100 days to rich the vital moment in the history of the CPA, the Referendum. This is an extraordinary moment in the history of Africa,” he remarked.

“We must not let the enemies of peace and spoilers to disrupt the forthcoming momentous event. We must be realistic and clear-sighted about what lies ahead of us. The referendum is a golden opportunity when Southern Sudanese and the people of Abyei will make an informed choice of either unity of the Sudan or secession,” Kiir said, amidst chants from the huge crowd.

The GoSS President urged the South Sudan eligible voters to register en masse in order to decide the fate of their in the 2011 referendum.

“At the moment, all signs point to the fact that on January 9th 2011, Southern Sudanese will vote overwhelming for independence. This is what I told the international community in New York and throughout the United States that we must together prepare for this eventuality,” Kiir told a visibly-excited audience.

(ST)

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  • 2 October 2010 07:32, by Henry Makuei

    Absolutely right I would vote for Separation too and urge all southerners to vote for Separation if they could listen to me.
    Salva Kiir oyee, SPLM oyee, SPLA oyee.

    repondre message

    • 2 October 2010 08:07, by kumkan

      There will be no objection to all of the above statement from the President of the Southern Sudan, unless you are not a real southern who can tell the different between right and wrong. Let united together and send a strong signal to the other people around the globe.

      repondre message

      • 2 October 2010 08:58, by Gatwech

        Bravo President Salva Kiir,

        Congratulations for pointing out the truth. Unity has not been made attractive, and therefore it is separation that has been made attractive.

        It is time to tell the truth and not to continue beating around the bush. We are left only with three months and vote for separation.

        Salva Kiir oyeee!!!

        repondre message

      • 2 October 2010 14:33, by Covert

        More power to you president Kiir, you have to be seen leading the way in order to be trail, there should be not fear, stand up for the facts and what you believed in, regardless of who is holding your feet on fire.

        You should fear no one in the north but be vigilant and that’s what any smart man would do. We Southerners are behind you no matter what.

        The most important task to you is the strength of the SPLA. The more powerful the SPLA will be, the more South Sudan will be respected.

        Let everyone else go to bed hungry by keeping the SPLA strong and I know you’re very much aware of it.

        repondre message

        • 2 October 2010 17:20, by Ahmed Chol

          All this sounds good, But what about Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile? None of them appear in your words Mr. Kiir. They were with us, don’t forget and abandon them before they decide their destiny.

          Ahmed Chol, the future commander of Anya-nya III

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        • 4 October 2010 07:18, by Lokorai

          Oh, what a statement! We need our leaders to talk like Kiir, time to say one thing here and another one there has long gone.

          Mr. Pagan and others like Marial want to be nice boys by saying they aren’t for unity or separation. Shame on the two!

          Long live Mr. Kiir and the Southern Independence vision

          Lokorai

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      • 2 October 2010 17:42, by Dinka Boy

        Million congrate Mr. President Kiir for such a wonderful speeches you gave during UN general assembly. Let truth be told and how we gonna get freedom. That you for declaring your vote for south sudan inpendent. You are not alone there are millions and millions of south sudan who also declared theirs too. Independent of south sudan oyee.

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    • 3 October 2010 03:23, by junub

      Yeaaaap, hi5 president Kiir. This is what we always needed to hear from our respected GoSS president (Kiir) to say. If you did talk like that from day one, for sure no one would have bitter disagreement with you.

      Please keep your saying as you did said them now because we do not want to hear again that you have changed to something valueless hearing.

      Yes the Southern Sudanese can uniletrally declared an independent state if denied to vote freely for separation, and yes, Southern Sudan can resort back to war for all means to separated from Sudan.

      Please, please, don’t change your gorgious words for the separation again. Whether tomorrow or so if you happened to felt been threated because the entire Southern Sudan is behind you for this journey. Love you MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 2 October 2010 08:25, by DASODIKO

    Great Kiir, this is a wise decision at a right time. I am sure no one on earth would accept to live with these racists. However;it would have been acceptable if this venomous hate of was from African tribes in Sudan to Arab, because at leat they own the land. But aliens express hate ro ward the owner of the house is rediculous and unacceptable in all terms.

    Now let them declare war this time Kiir, you have People of Darfur, Nuba Mountains, blue Nile and Beja. I am sure its a time for them to go back where they came in deserts. Man Africa was green as central and South Africa, when the Arabs arrive the green feared them and died away. These are jinks even on the face of their creator.

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    • 2 October 2010 08:54, by Aarai Baka

      ooh yea, if president dont vote for seperation who esle will vote for it? who will lead us to goldent days? only Salva Kiir will do that. Welcome back mr Kiir. my pleasure to hear u saying that. again thank u.

      our seperation is a Train of no reverse. if north drive us in wrong way, they will pay penalty for driving us in wrong way due to incoming cars, which mean denial of Southern people right n freedom.

      repondre message

  • 2 October 2010 09:11, by Butrus Ajak.

    President has made his choice. So is every Southerner. But, guarding such promise from the prey of Separation is what should follow.

    NCP made very clear, Southerners shouldn’t go, not knowing our freedom is nobody business. We are taking it by ourselves, not anybody goodwill!!!!

    There is doubt many if not most Southerners will cast their votes for Separation. And thereby, their verdict must be protected by GOSS army.

    Butrus:

    repondre message

  • 2 October 2010 10:19, by Abraham Majur Lam

    Many thanks and congretulations to H.E. Salva kiir.
    You had played your part and remain ours to show NCP our position regardless of their threats. We are not scare in any way at all. let us be united within us as we face the NCP regime. If we took Bashir gov’t 22 years and we gurillars but now as gov’t Am not perturb by NIF threats. Let us keep eyes properly on our borders.

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  • 2 October 2010 13:49, by Samir mahmoud

    Mr.First Vice-President
    You are of course entitled to your opinion,but in all honesty,what have you yourself done to achieve "unity" in the Sudan?What did you do to all those people in the North whom you saw the day the Late Dr.Garang arrived in Khartoum?All those whom you knew supported the SPLM and were ready to vote for the SPLM?
    I must say Sir,that you have also disappointed millions in the North.

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    • 2 October 2010 14:23, by james nyoma

      When those of Yasir, Amun and the rest of SPLM were beating the drums of unity by demanding some amendements in the laws, you were laughing at them and said that they were doing communist tactics. They went to jail to make unity attractive; they were shouting to demand everybody’s right in front of the National Assembly but they were taken for fools and communists. The SPLM and most Southerners have given the unity a chance to be made attractive but all was in vain. Now the time to make that unity attractive is gone.So no more cry for unity. Let the drums of seperation beat in every city, town, village and the forest of South Sudan. We are not waiting for seperation but we are going for it.

      God bless the South Sudan.

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  • 2 October 2010 16:17, by Padiet Deng Alony

    Thanks thanks alot for the patriotic word H.E president of Southern Sudan, all ten states of Southern Sudan are behind you. is time for eye for an eye, teeth for teeth. is time for Southern Sudan to say better to die on person feet then to live on his knee.

    Get the Southern Sudan National Anthem ready for the final hisorical event Jan-9-2011.

    Long Live SPLA/M
    long Live Southern Sudan
    Long Live South Sudan Youth for Separation

    repondre message

  • 2 October 2010 20:47, by stephen

    I think your chioce is a right chioce, because you can;t vote for voluntary slavery(unity), since separation give your right , freedom, and am also going to vote for separation, southern sudan oyeeeeeeeeee

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  • 3 October 2010 11:04, by AUGUSTINO DENG

    In fact, the Southern Sudan President Mr. Salva Kiir is really confusing himself. During an Election time,Salva Kiir Miyardit casted his vote to Omar Beshir box and now he is trying to retreate back his own ideology that he will vote for Separation. Salva Kiir need to use one word like the way he always used the word "Reshuffling". That is what he really needs to do. We Southern Sudan people, we don’t need a leader who just keep flactuating his own ideas from every since and then.

    When Salva Kiir Miyardit casted his vote in Omar Beshir’s box, he means Unity, otherwise there is no point of putting his vote in the box of his enemy. Salva Kiir Miyardit needs to learn otherwise Arabs will gain advantage on him. Second, Salva Kiir, said that he did not see any Unity attractive from the North. First of all, what Salva Kiir needs to understand is that, Arabs have never a single show Unity attractive since 1955 rather than they can show the Unity attractive to the SPLM/SPLA right now. Why they don’t do it from the very beginning? As it is obviously known, Arabs don’t need Unity at all. So, if Salva Kiir kept his words on Unity and Separation always, instead of dealing with one thing either to joint Unity or to Separate, then he is in a wrong direction and Arabs will deceive him very easily.

    By Augustino Deng

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