Home | News    Saturday 9 July 2005

Sudanese crowd streets to greet former rebel

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM, July 8 (Reuters) - Former southern Sudanese rebel leader John Garang arrived in Khartoum on Friday to be sworn in as first vice president in a government born out of a peace agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war.

Former southern Sudanese rebel leader John Garang (R), is welcomed by Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir upon his arrival to Khartoum. At least a million supporters turned out to welcome Garang on his first visit to the capital in two decades, July 8, 2005. (AFP) .

Garang, leader of the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, was greeted by more than one million Sudanese as he arrived in the capital for the first time in more than 20 years.

He was drowned out by joyous crowds chanting his name as he tried to deliver a speech at Khartoum’s main Green Square where people had waited patiently since early morning.

"This is the first time he’s putting his feet in Khartoum in 22-23 years," Norwegian International Development Minister Hilde Johnson told Reuters on Garang’s arrival. "It is a historic day ... which turns a new chapter in Sudanese history."

The SPLM signed a peace deal in January to end Africa’s longest civil war. The deal paves the way for wealth and power sharing and a new coalition government, which will be headed by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with Garang as his deputy.

Both Bashir and Garang will be sworn in on Saturday in the presence of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Arab League chief Amr Moussa, senior U.S. officials and several African presidents, including South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki.

"Welcome to you and to your people, welcome to you in Khartoum, welcome to you from all the people of Sudan," Bashir told Garang at the headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party, which has dominated Sudanese politics since a military coup in 1989.

Garang said he was among brothers and sisters in Khartoum. "I want to say to you all, congratulations to you on the peace which belongs to you," he told people at party headquarters. "It’s not my peace, it’s your peace, the people of Sudan."

The SPLM fought a long guerrilla war to gain more equality for people in the south. The conflict, which claimed 2 million lives, broadly pitted the Islamist government in Khartoum against the mostly Christian and animist south. It was complicated by issues of oil, ethnicity and ideology.

The huge crowd in Green Square briefly turned violent with supporters clashing with police, but all was quickly forgotten when Garang appeared. Both northerners and southerners fell over each other, some people fainting from the heat, to catch a glimpse of the man they consider their hero of peace.

Dressed informally in a red paisley shirt, Garang waved to the people but could not make himself heard over the crowd shouting, "Welcome, welcome, John Garang." People clambered up trees, covered rooftops and a brave few slithered up the 25-metre high poles of the floodlights in the square.

LANDMARK DAY

"This is a landmark day in the history of Sudan. This is a new era in Sudan, an era of peace, democracy and transformation," said Najeeb al-Kheir Abdul Wahab, state minister for foreign relations.

Thousands jammed the streets bringing traffic to a standstill. Music blared and people danced, despite Islamic sharia law prohibiting mixed dancing still in force in the capital.

"Now we have no freedom, we have no places to live, but when he comes everyone will walk in the road not fearing anything," said southerner Peter Kwech, who lives in Khartoum.

Under the deal Sudan’s current ruling party will have 52 percent of government and parliament, and Garang’s movement 28 percent, with northern and southern opposition parties taking the remaining 20 percent. The south is to vote in a referendum within six years on secession from Khartoum.

Garang and Bashir are expected to form the new coalition government by August 9. Garang will also hold talks with southern militias who have not signed the peace deal.

The deal does not cover a separate conflict in the western region of Darfur where tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million driven from their homes since rebels took up arms in early 2003.

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.



Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


What Makes an Uprising? 2021-09-03 17:29:45 By: Dr Lam Akol* In an undated article, Hon. Atem Garang de Kuek discussed what was required for an uprising in South Sudan to succeed as did three uprisings in the recent history of Sudan (...)

Is IGAD partly responsible for current confusion in South Sudan? 2021-08-21 09:41:17 By Bol Khan In April 2016, Radio Tamazuj posted and answered questions about the fainting Security arrangements or demilitarization of the capital, Juba as stipulated in 2015's signed ARCSS and (...)

South Sudan People Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) is to create warlords 2021-08-19 11:06:28 By Steve Paterno In South Sudan, where just about everyone has access to guns (tons of them), and almost every ambitious politician is a potential warlord, any slight destabilization of the (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Statemeny bu Hala al-Karib to UN Security Council on women conditions in Sudan 2021-09-15 11:59:16 Statement by Ms Hala Al-Karib to the UN Security Council 14 September 2021 Madam President, Excellencies, My name is Hala Al-Karib and I am the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative (...)

Joint Communiqué on the visit of H.E. the Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan to Juba 2021-08-23 11:23:26 19 – 21 August 2021 His Excellency Dr Abdallah Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan and Chairperson of IGAD, accompanied by Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Trade, (...)

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2021 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.