By Justice Deng Biong
February 20, 2013 - Two will never differ in concluding that the fugitive (Indicted by the ICC since 2009) President Omar Bashir of Sudan is known for saying something here and contradicting the same in the next venue. His diplomats in their attempts to reduce the frequent diplomatic embarrassments created by their president are always quoted as saying that the president did not mean that statement or that he made it for the purpose of raising the morale of his Mujahideen or supporters of his scrambling NCP Empire. But for some of us, who command Arabic language and can interpret the connotations his words carry, he is a liar and a hypocrite of first class. He thinks he is ruling in the stone ages, not knowing that the world today is a village in terms of communication.
The recent example of Bashir’s hypocrisy occurred last Friday when he addressed his NCP Shurra (Consultation) Council in Khartoum before leaving for Ndjamena-Chad. His ever censured media was allowed to make public some of his utterances at the conference. These included:
1) That Sudan will not succumb to any decisions imposed on it by the African Union (AU) or by the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) and that Sudan owns it decisions and will never implement anything that does not serve its political interest;
2) That he will not add any word to the terms of the 9 Agreements Khartoum signed with Juba on September, 27th, 2012;
3) That he will not surrender an inch of Mile 14 area;
4) That the solution for Abyei problem lies in the Abyei Protocol (In the CPA, 2005) and the Abyei Referendum Act (of 2009). He went on to say and I quote:
“We signed an agreement (on January, 5th, 2013) with Salva (President of the Republic of South Sudan) that, the (Temporary) Security and Administrative Arrangements of June (20th, 20011) be implemented first. Now we have agreed on the formation of the Executive Council, but we still differ on the formation of the Police and the Abyei Area Council. Unless these bodies are formed, start to function and life comes back to normalcy in Abyei, I and Salva will not start talking about the final status for Abyei.”
5) That Khartoum NCP led government will not talk with the SPLM-N.
Bashir made these statements and shortly proceeded to Khartoum airport on his way to Chad (An ICC Member) to attend the Sahel-Saharan (CEN-SAD) summit in the Capital Ndjamena on Saturday, 16th, where he changed his tone and contradicted what he said in Khartoum the day before, in this statement:
“We and the South (RSS) are capable of resolving our differences and do not need any external interference!”
Suphan Allah (OH God) did the South authorized him to speak on its behalf. If things are smooth between the two countries; why this AU HIP internationally sponsored mediation for almost 3 years now? I do not think the South share Bashir that view, especially at the time when the same Bashir’s forces are building up at Abu Matharig and Meriem to attack both Mile 14 (Kiir Adeem) and War-guet respectively while his war planes continue to Bombard innocent South Sudanese civilians in their villages in Jau area-Panriang County in Unity State.
Many observers, locally or internationally, said or wrote that the independence of South Sudan came not only as a surprise but as shocking to the colonialist minded Sudanese; the likes of Bashir. I believe, Bashir, with this colonialist mentality believes South Sudan is not an independent state, but still part of Sudan! And as the patron or Welli (Ruler) of the Sudan (South included) he continues to assume what the Jinubbiin (Southerners) want and can still speak for them! The question is why the Government of South Sudan is not issuing a counter statement that we are unable to agree with Khartoum to settle our differences! If we continue to keep silent or fail to refute these malicious and misleading statements, the African Union (AU) and international community will presume that it is business as usual between us and Khartoum and therefore would stop their efforts to mediate as they would be looked at as meddlers in the two countries affairs. I know that our President Gen.Salva Kiir made it clear to the mediators (AU HIP) in presence of Bashir himself, that it was futile to continue discussing, inter alia, the issue of Abyei with Bashir. He repeated this when he addressed the AU Peace and Security Council summit last month (January, 25th) in Addis Ababa. But it is not bad for our spokesperson to issue timely responses to such irresponsible and misleading statements to keep our public, mediators and international community abreast of.
Dear valued reader, few comments on Bashir’s statements before his NCP Shurra Council stated above will not only crystal reveal Bashir’s hypocrisy and untrustworthiness, but will, as well, expose to what extent the gap is wide between the two states on the issues at dispute between them.
• On the mediation of AU HIP and decisions of the AU PSC, Sudan agreed to the said mediation and submitted to the jurisdiction of the AU PSC to suggest solutions for its disputes with the Republic of South Sudan.
• On September, 27th Agreements, though the South, for the sake of peace and stability between the two states, made considerable concessions on a number of issues in the 9 Agreements, its stance up to date remains the full and unconditional implementation of the said 9 Agreements. But Khartoum on the other side came up with new conditions; like asking the South to disengage with the SPLM-N (Already voluntary done before independence in 2011) and allowing Sudanese military monitors freely enter and move into the interior parts of South Sudan to ensure implementation of the demanded disengagement! These new conditions were raised during meetings of Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) in Juba, Khartoum and Addis Ababa. Our representatives in the JPSM categorically rejected these new conditions because Khartoum failed to show where they were provided for in the Security Agreement signed on September, 27th, 2012.Khartoum went on to put another condition that no implementation of any of the 9 Agreements shall be carried out until the Security Agreement is first implemented to their full satisfaction. Our position which the last AU PSC Summit endorsed in its Communiqué of January, 25th, 2013, is unconditional implementation of all the Agreements.
• On January, 5th, 2913, Bashir came up with new conditions on Mile 14 by claiming a length of 284 Kms from Western Bahr el Ghazal state up to West of Abyei Area. The response of our President was saved by strong intervention of the AU HIP Chairperson President Thabo Mbeki, who told Bashir, he never heard of such claim before.
• On Abyei: First, Bashir never signed any document with President Kiir on January, 5th, 2013. We were there in Addis where the summit between them took place. What he (Bashir) and his legal advisors, who push him from behind must acknowledge, is the existence or emergence of new legal and political realities:
i. That the Abyei Protocol included in the CPA, 2005, has been superseded by the following legal and political developments: The PCA ruling of July,22nd, 2009, the June, 20th, 2011 Agreement ,the UNSC Resolution 1990,2011 the AU PSC Road Map of April, 24th, 2012, the UNSC Resolution 2046, May,2012, The AU HIP Proposal on the final status of Abyei endorsed by the AU PSC on October, 24th, December, 14th, 2012 and finally accepted by the AU PSC 15 Presidents on January, 15th, 2013, as fair, workable and equitable solution for Abyei issue.
ii. That the Abyei Referendum Act, 2009 cannot continue to apply after the independence of South Sudan. It was passed when we shared one country, passed by one national Assembly under one National Constitution. Now that we have two states with joint sovereignty over Abyei, the old Abyei Referendum Act must be transformed into Abyei Referendum Agreement or Treaty.
iii. Both the June, 20th ,Agreement and UNSC Resolution, 1990 called for immediate and unconditional withdrawal Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from Abyei which they occupied in May, 21st same year. Up to now Bashir still keeps forces in Kec (Diffra) oil fields despite the complete deployment of UNISFA forces in the Area.Bashir needs to do this first thing before asking for formation of a joint administration which Ngok people will not accept this time until Khartoum accepts the Abyei referendum as stipulated in the AU HIP Proposal of September, 21st, 2012.
Finally and despite the frequent explanations some moderate NCP diplomats have been making to beautify the image of their president and harmonize his contradicting utterances, as mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this article, I remain convinced that no peace is attainable under the current NCP leadership in Sudan. Bashir courts Africans with nice words to continue protecting him from ICC and at home, discredits and undermines their mediation efforts. He is not grateful to friends or reciprocates friendship. See what he did to poor late Khazafi who worked hard to convince AU leaders to pass a resolution to protect him from the ICC. He later confessed that he supplied the late’s opponents with arms and money to finish him off. However, what matters much to us now is to enlighten the African leaders about Bashir’s political intransigence and make it clear that he (Bashir) does not speak for the people of South Sudan or wish them any good!
Justice Biong is the current Chairperson of the National Public Grievances Chamber and Member of the Legal Cluster of the RSS’ Negotiations Team. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org