By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
August 16, 2010 (SSNA) -- The more things change in the Sudan, the more they remain the same. This is typical of the post CPA era, where policies were supposed to have been changed to accommodate a diversified citizenry for a country already at the verge of collapse and disintegration due to imbalanced policies, marred by racial and cultural prejudices.
Within the Sudan’s socioeconomic and political power house in Khartoum, still exists the mindsets of the 20th century and it continues to dictate the pace of the changes taking place in the country. It will be a sheer naivety should we look at the Sudan only in terms of SPLM, Umma, DUP, NDA, JEM, SLM or NIF/NCP. The country remains polarised to the four geographical directions and nobody knows whether this set up will ever give way to any other module where a better Sudan for all can be envisaged.
Preferring not to talk about how the 5th Population census was intentional manipulated to give the world a false impression of the 21st century Sudan, nor will I waste the readers valuable time in talking about the sham election of April 2010, however there is already a new danger ahead for any peace loving Sudanese, be them from the south or the north. Thanks to the fact that the CPA is never expected to exist forever and as such the people of Sudan must start taking the unfolding events more seriously especially as the peace agreement nears its end.
At this particular juncture president Omer al Bashir himself or his deputy, Ali Osman Taha and the rest of the leadership in the NCP need to cope up with the fact that for them to continue to have a say on south Sudan, they must allow for a timely referendum to take place. It is only when the people of south Sudan have majority so chosen to remain in a united Sudan through that referendum which must be free, fair, transparent and credible then al Bashir and his regime can continue to rule over the south. While they must be reminded that anything else outside this set scenario will only promote secession even if the whole Nile has to run red.
Nevertheless most Sudanese are already aware of the fact that the country can no longer be kept united without risking going back to war, although the minority northern elites who are historically detached from the realities of the Sudan continue to displaying behaviours that only suit those who are hooked up in the world of fantasies away from the facts of life. Nowhere is this malignant mindset well manifested than in the way the northern NCP/NIF has so far gone around putting hurdles in the implantation of the CPA. Foot dragging, intentional delays, lack of urgency to outright reluctance have come to form a typical pattern of NCP’s approach to crucial national issues far from realising that by so doing it has even done more damage to any chance of unity in the Sudan, than if it were to have implemented the agreement to the word and spirit.
To date the referendum to determine the fate of south Sudan is right at the fore front of international politics with dozens of stake-holders absorbed in finding ways on how best the imminent political divorce between the two parts of the country can be achieved and possibly averting any return to war. Unfortunately this same sensitivity in handling this stage of the peace agreement is not in any way shared by the country’s President, Omer al Bashir nor did his hardliners of the Islamic fanatics who continue to dominate the politics of the Khartoum based Islamic regime.
The whole of the international community as represented by the US administration, EU, UN, AU, and the IGAD have all declared their readiness to see that a fair, transparent, timely and credible referendum takes place on the 9th of January 2011. To back up their words, they have all come forwards donating in total 80% of the whole cost for the polling exercise and are still ready to do more should the peace partners request for it. This is totally incomparable to the pathetic situation on the Sudanese side where outstanding issues like the border between the north and the south remain unsolved.
However the failure of the two partners to name a secretary general for the National Referendum Commission (NRC) is one main point that blows the whole drama out of proportions. The NRC is the body entrusted with running the referendum barely four months from now, and for it to remain non functioning up till now signifies a sinister intent especially so from the northern NCP of president Omer al Bashir.
The bizarre position of the dominant Islamist party of Omer Bashir has nothing to do with unity of the Sudan as they would what to mislead the public opinion into believing. The NIF/NCP‘s only interest is to retain their tight grip on power in the centre. The referendum and eventually the secession of the south is bent to deprive them not only of a traditional sphere of influence but may also set a precedent where the volatile Darfur may go to become uncontrollable and possibly opt for a state of its own. Voices are already coming up from the Nuba Mountains and other parts of the country where the people are seriously considering some forms of greater autonomy, if not an outright secession.
It will also be a gross mistake to think that it is only the northerners or even the Islamists for that matter who are seriously concerned with maintaining the Sudan as a united country. The naked fact is that it is the racially Arab oriented and Islamic galvanised policies being vertically imposed by the northern riveran elites throughout the decades following the so-called independence of the Sudan that has directly trigger waves of discontent and disunity the nationwide.
The Southern dominated SPLM was initially a unionist movement, per the confessions of its founders and senior leaders. However their view of a united Sudan is never shared by the northern and to some extend the other parts of the country. While SPLM continues to stand by its vision of a secular united Sudan, the NIF/NCP and the other religiously oriented political groups in the northern parts of the country are not only keen to maintain the currently Islamic structure, but are ready to use State apparatus to promote Arabism and Islamism, leaving the dream of a secular Sudan impossible to achieve.
It is indeed quite unfortunate for those who stand by the unity of the Sudan that the version of unity to be contested in January 9th referendum is the unity existing today in the country. it is the unity under Omer al Bashir and his Islamic NCP which obviously leaves a non Arab , non Muslim south Sudanese not only totally disadvantaged, but in an extremely inferior position within his/her own country. Anybody in their right state of mind will never miss an opportunity to liberate themselves from this type of a setting whenever an opportunity avails itself. It is an answer to many struggles, prayers and dreams and it will be extremely stupid for people of south Sudan to squander such an opportunity.
On the other hand the ruling NCP is aware that the unity that it is offering to the southerners is a unity that is not attractive in any way and that the momentum picked up by the call for Independence of south Sudan has reached an unstoppable stage. But as one of the party’s senior figure, Speaker at the National Assembly in Omdurman once put it, they (NCP), are going to make it extremely difficult for the south to secede. This is different from making unity attractive, and it is a point I would like Professor Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, the chairperson for the National Referendum Commission (NRC), to understand. He has to know that the ill intentions of his fellow northerners are already made abundantly clear to the people of the South. This already makes his duty extremely difficult if he is to find even a single southerner to fool so that the north gets both the chair position as well as the secretary general on the referendum commission.
Professor Khalil is quick to blame the southern members of the NCR for the fact that they are bent to vote as a block. This begs me to have reservations on the way the Professor intends to tackle the referendum issues. He talks of lack of trust between the southern and northern members of his commission which to him is unhealthy because it would deny a northerner from becoming the secretary general of the commission. Is this the Professor’s main concern? A point well made and Mr. Chairman wants his secretary general to be a fellow northerner, which unfortunately is not going to happen. And as he threatens to quit, I think with his kind of mindset, he better does so. How do we rate a Professor who doesn’t see “lack of trust” being the actually reason that the South is insisting to go to the referendum?
The SPLM secretary general on his side has already declared to the media that unless the deadlock in the NRC is settled within two weeks and a secretary general in named, there is a fear that the referendum will face demise. This is also a point well made and must be taken seriously by the members of the international community. More pressure need to be exerted on the Sudanese Presidency to approve of a southerner for the post of the NRC secretary general, otherwise it wouldn’t go well in the south where a commission to determine their political fate is unfairly dominated by the northerners. Whether it is the Professor’s personal assessment or it is what the President requests of him, the trust between the north and the south can only work both ways. A northerner as the NRC chairperson and southerner as its secretary general is a good compromise.
We will continue to engage the North through the CPA until the agreement finally runs out. What we are not ready for is the renegotiation of the truce. How short a time we are left with, still efforts can be doubled to secure that the referendum is carried out as scheduled and on time. It is understandable that confrontations with our traditional foes in the North will never stop and the possibility of going back to war is all rife; however we will not be dragged into a premature venture. But when we will finally fight, we will do so solely to protect our declared Independent and sovereign state.
Our word to the international community should be clear, brief and to the point. We are not warmongers, but we believe that our Independence and sovereignty are our utmost goals. Although negotiating with the fanatic NIF/NCP Islamists and the North in general can be a nightmare, but as long as we have the International community on our side together with a viable CPA, we will continue to pursue peaceful settlements for the benefit of all. However should we be forced to fight again, we will do so as a people with pride and dignity.
“A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand.” –Plato.
By Luk Kuth Dak
August 16, 2010 (SSNA) -- Have you ever asked yourself the question, why there’re some great leaders and some who aren’t? The answer is, great leaders are those individual politicians who have an informed passion for politics and serving others. And passion is essential because it plays a major role in making tough decisions that might never be popular, but that must be made for the greater good.
Meanwhile, those leaders who aren’t great, are virtually the ones who have an uninformed passion for politics or serving others. They become politicians purely for individualistic purposes- mostly- in search of fame and wealth. Thus, an uninformed passion is as dangerous as any other form of ignorance.
Certainly, those kinds of selfish individualistic politicians not only are they toxic to their own societies, but they are dangerous to their nations, in that they wouldn’t hesitate or have a second thought, to destroy their people and nation, if it fulfills their personal wants and needs. Therefore culling them should be the duty of everyone in South Sudan.
To prove my point, you shouldn’t look further than the “Jallaba golden boys” Dr. Lam Akol, and most certainly, the purported Professor, David De Chand.
However, the sad truth is, we are all being presumed guilty by association with those individuals. And in David’s case, I’m twice as guilty. Firstly, by both of us being South Sudanese. And secondly, by both being Nuer, even though he doesn’t speak a word of the Nuer language, nor he behaves as a Nuer should behave. Not to mention, of course, that his name “David De Chand” sounds more French than the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Besides, in a recent interview with Al Rayaam, a pro government Arabic daily newspaper, the congenital liar, David De Chand was quoted as saying, “ The time is not right for the South Sudan to secede; We shall not accept to be cut off from Sudan.” Then he was asked about the imposition of the Islamic faith on none Muslims, especially in the so-called Sudan’s national capital, Khartoum. De Chand wasted no time. “There’s no such a thing as Islam’s imposition taking place; And by the way, the majority of South Sudanese are now Muslims; Mosques exist along Churches because there is freedom of worship; Our problem in the Sudan is political. It’s neither racial nor religious,” he disgorged.
Now, that’s as treacherous as it gets. And it had to hurt, especially for some of us, who identify themselves as Nuer. I can go on and on again, but, I think you got the message.
In essence, as an anchorman and a reporter, I was privileged enough to get the sense of what great leaders are all about, and what they all have in common. Based on that exposure, there no is shadow of a doubt in my humble opinion, and that of many other South Sudanese people that, Honorable, Ustaz Pagam Amum, the distinguished Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is indeed one of the greatest leaders in South Sudan and a true patriot, who always has the best interest of the people of South Sudan at heart, and stands up for what is the right thing to do.
Indeed, I’m livid. Instead of thanking the man and extolling him for all he has done, and for waking up every morning, and going to bed every night, thinking about the welfare of South Sudan, he has now become the target of cheap shots bashing, name-calling and character assassination, by the sellout flunkies and NCP Southern accomplices in the so-called SPLM-DC; who are engaging in the king-making of Dr. Lam Akol.
Like most Southerners, I can fully understand the reasons behind the relentless assault and the savage campaign waged by the NCP/NIF bigots, against Ustaz Pagan Amum. That’s their prerogative. But, when the assault comes from some wicket South Sudanese, it can’t be anything less than a treason. And those who commit treason belong behind bars.
Pagan Amum is a hero, indeed.
August 18, 2010 (Juba) -- The semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) on Wednesday unveiled a $10.1 billion ambitious plan for future Southern Sudan cities; the new plan which has already been drawn up bears animal-shaped cities.
In the plan, Juba, the current capital city of Southern Sudan will be relocated to an undisclosed location and will be designed in the shape of a rhinoceros. The new city will be called "Rhino City".
The plan comes in less than five months before ahead of a scheduled January referendum on independence.
"It's very innovative. That's our thinking. It's unique. It's the Ministry of Housing thinking you have to be unique to attract the people," Daniel Wani, undersecretary of Southern Sudan's Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning was quoted by AP as saying.
It is rumoured that all Southern Sudan State capitals will differ in shapes.
The speculation is that Yambio, the capital city of Western Equatoria State will be shaped like a pineapple and Wau, the capital city of Western Bahr el-Ghazal State, will be shaped like giraffe.
It is not yet known where the vastly under-developed region will get the funding from. But Southern leaders are reported to be in talk with some global investors for the possibility of securing the funding.
One regional Observer who asked not to be named said that this new development is a reconfirmation of that Southern Sudan will split from the North one way or another.
"This new development from Juba proves that Khartoum doesn’t have full control over Southern Sudan. This is a smack on the faces of those who are against South Sudan secession, Omar al-Bashir must get use to it, there is no way around it”, he explained.
Detailed architectural drawings of Rhino City show that Central Equatoria's police headquarters would be situated at the rhino's mouth, an amusement park at the ear, an industrial area along the back and residential housing throughout the four legs, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed in 2005 ended the bloody civil war between North and the South. The CPA allows the people of South Sudan to decide in next January whether or not they want to remain part of the united Sudan or form their own independent State.
August 19, 2010 (Khartoum) -- The Sudanese government on Thursday warned against any move by the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to declare Southern Sudan as an independence state, saying the ruling party in the South will commit “political suicide” if it (the SPLM) chooses parliamentary vote without a referendum.
The warning comes just one day after Juba unveiled an ambitious plan for future cities of Southern Sudan - a plan designed to transform the war-torn region into animal-shaped cities.
“The SPLM wanted to divide Sudan. If the movement decided on declaring South Sudan's independence by a parliamentary vote without a referendum it would be committing political suicide”, Sudan’s ruling National Congress party deputy chairman Nafie Ali Nafie told reporters in Khartoum.
Dr. Nafie, who is also senior advisor to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, defended his party stance on the referendum process saying the NCP will agree to hold the referendum on time if it serves the best interest of the people of Southern Sudan.
The special advisor to the president accuses the SPLM of working against the unity of the Sudan.
The US special envoy to Sudan Major General Scott Gration (Ret.) is in Sudan for several days visit amid fear that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) may turn to a new North-South civil war.
Before Gration departure to Sudan, the US State Department expressed "concern and dissatisfaction" over the upcoming referendum vote which is an important part of the CPA.
"We believe that keeping the referenda on track is part of building a lasting peace and our ultimate goal is, obviously, full implementation of the CPA. So we don’t want to see any delays”, Acting Deputy US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said.
The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission tasked with day-to-day operations of the referendum is deadlocked over the selection of its Secretary General.
The two main peace partners formed the nine member commission in June as part of their commitment to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
The people of South Sudan are expected to choose secession over unity by January 2011.
August 22, 2010 (Khartoum) -- Sudan is planning to build a nuclear reactor for electricity purpose, Sudan’s state run media SUNA reports.
“The government had begun to plan in early 2010 to develop nuclear energy”, Mohamed Ahmed Hassan el-Tayeb, director-general of the Sudanese Atomic Energy Agency, was quoted by SUNA as saying.
The director of SAEA said that officials from IAEA are expected to arrive in Sudan this week for further discussion.
SUNA said that Sudan will build its first nuclear power plant by 2010 with assistance from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"The Ministry of Electricity and Dams has already started preparing for the project to produce power from nuclear energy in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and is expected to build the first nuclear power plant in the year 2020," SUNA reported.
Iran is thought to be helping the Sudanese government build its first nuclear power plant.
However, some global experts on security believe that Iran may be using Sudan as a “scapegoat” to funnel weapons to Iran-sponsored terrorist organizations in Africa and the Middle East.
In May, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, was accused of operating a secret weapons factory in Sudan. But Sudan dismissed the charges as a “smear tactic” by the west.
Sudan is a member of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1958.
By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
No postponement of the referendum.
August 23, 2010 (SSNA) -- Many international observers including the Sudanese themselves have since long warned against the slow pace at which the Sudanese Presidency is moving around implementing the different parts of the CPA. Time and time again it has also been brought to the notice of the Khartoum NIF dominated government that the referendum cannot be delayed as the interim constitution has no room for any such extension, all to no avail.
However on the other hand it cannot be overstressed that the CPA has brought them much closer than ever before to their national dream of an independence south Sudan nation. At this particular moment in history as a struggling people, there is a need to stick together for the timely implementation of the remaining issues on the paper. There is also a need to show to the international community that we are doing our best until we reach the 9th of January 2011. The GoSS and the SSLA and the entire population of south Sudan are clearly against any postponement to the referendum, how little that maybe. Worrying though is the conceding pattern that has come to dominate Salva Kiir’s leadership records.
My sincere hope is that the SPLM and the NCP realise the fact that a delay to the referendum is not an option for the south, and that the hopes and expectations of the people of south Sudan are so pinned on that date that it would be dangerous to postpone it because the level of frustration and disappointment would be too high for anybody to manage. I also hope that the President Omer al Bashir appreciates the protection that he enjoys as a result of the CPA against his crimes committed in Darfur. However his recent behaviours may cause this protection to wean out faster, thus making him more vulnerable to appear before the ICC before long.
Today the panicky NIF/NCP gurus and ideologues can be seen crisscrossing the whole length and width of the Sudan as if it was only in the August of the year 2010 that lastly the Self Determination clauses in the CPA are beginning to sink into the bigoted northern mindset. It is all about keeping up appearances, which is well summarised in Ali Osman Taha’s speech to the members of the Ansar Al Sunna Islamic Sect in Khartoum when he said, “We are never going to surrender to the campaigns that portray the secession of the south as inevitable. We will continue to work to retain the unity of this country till the last minute”, (al Sharq al Awsat).
Somewhere in a report written Nurelddin Satti (ret) UNISCO consultant, he was quoted to have said that the NCP are will to cooperate more in avoiding any return to wars with the south should the result of the 2011 referendum come anything short of secession. (Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars –AFRICA, August 2010). In another similar development as if the south needs a reminding on how the north have thrived through the political bullying of the other Sudanese, Nafie Ali Nafie, a senior advisor to president Omer al Bashir, wasted no time in warning the SPLM against any unilateral declaration of independence by the South Sudan legislative Assembly (SSLA) as an alternative to the referendum. He emphasized that such an attempt by the SPLM would amount to "political suicide".
Considering the common background from which these bigoted and chauvinistic Islamists of the NIF/NCP crept into the mainstream of Sudan’s politics, the fate of this country will continue to exist on the balance. Anybody of average sensibility can never fail to see the apparent justification to conclude that these guys’ understanding of the rest of the country has been negatively prejudiced by a false sense of superiority which unfortunately is built of the evils of the gross Socio-economic disparities of the Sudan, which gave the Arab riveran’ elites their present day status quo.
In line with the aforementioned reasoning, the NCP Secretary for Organizations Qutbi Al-Mahdi, found it completely uncomfortable to accept the newly adopted position of the SANU chairman who changed from championing a campaign for unity barely two weeks ago to a new position that is supportive of the independence of the South per the press release signed by Dr. Toby Maduot Parek Machar personally (Sudan Tribune 20th august 2010).
"This party has lost the road since a long time ago and its current leadership is unable to continue to walk on the line adopted by the party founder, William Deng and his colleagues who argued that the federal system is the best solution." Qutbi AL-Mahdi said.
However Qutbi himself was quick to acknowledge the overwhelming support for secession and Independence that exists in the South, when he went on to say.
“SANU leaders could not walk on with the idea and finally gave in to the general atmosphere prevailing in the south”, Qutbi further stressed.
From what can be gathered so far, it is clear that the SPLM and its slippery partners in the NCP are so much getting consumed most of the time in keeping up appearances. Many things are already happening which are primarily intended to compromise the outcome of the referendum if not straight away deny the people of south Sudan they constitutional right to Self Determination as stipulated in the 2005 CPA.
On August 23, 2010 the online Sudan Tribune Daily runs this report: — “The Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) has agreed to let a Northerner hold the post of the Secretary General of the referendum commission, multiple sources told Sudan Tribune”. This though is a disappointment to the southern masses, however it serves as a reminder first as to what SPLM can and cannot do. Secondly it also teaches us a lesson to vividly see what unity with the Arab north entails. They get the top positions and the rest are forever resigned to lower jobs.
Every peace loving nation of the world and their silent citizens may be held accountable as they stand by while the NCP and their fellow Arab allies are allowed to openly conspire using the states’ manipulative machinery with the sole intent of rigging the will of the people of south Sudan. It is nowhere more apparent that the NCP is working to pre-fix the results of the referendum more than when it resorts to engage in psychological warfare with the SPLM over the latter’s position on unity.
However the realities of things are beginning to surface one by one proving that the North – South confrontations were wrongly assumed to have been brought under control by the power and wealth sharing agreements between the two traditional foes. The more we approach the end of the CPA period; the more the truth about the truce is undoubting beginning to reveal every bit that was taken for granted while the two sides were hurried up in 2005 to seal a deal.
The CPA remains threatened and vulnerable given the worrying fact that President Omer al Bashir and his dominant NCP are beginning to feel uneasy towards the anticipated pro- secession victory in the coming referendum. Even more disturbing is their irritating attitude in engaging with the citizens of the south in what clearly says that unless the north is sure of maintaining the unity of the Sudan, otherwise it won’t allow the conduct of the referendum to proceed. This confirms the scepticism of many who never trusted the NCP to live to honour the CPA especially that it declares in the most an unequivocal terms the Right of the people of south Sudan to Self Determination.
‘Political Suicide’, or not, it is imperative for Nafie Ali Nafie to realise that the real suicide about to be committed by his NCP is if the Presidency fails to secure an on time referendum. This is equally important for his boss president al Bashir and his several aides that any return to north-south war will see an all out war in the whole Sudan. With the different people of the South, the Nuba Mountains, the Southern Blue Nile and the Beja Eastern Front, all confronting Khartoum, the northern Arab riverans should be prepared to fight in the four geographical directions if they are to retain power in Khartoum. Never again will Khartoum thrive in the luxury of killing two birds with one stone when it used the people of Darfur, Kordofan and Eastern Sudan as war fodders in its Holy War against the South.
By Deng Riak Khoryoam, South Sudan
Quote: “It’s not the strongest, neither the most intelligent species that survive the possibility of extinction over the history; but the species that is responsive to change” (Charles Darwin, 1809-1882)
August 23, 2010 (SSNA) -- At the outset of this piece of writing, I would like to make it crystal clear that I am not out there to criticize for the sake of it. My aim is to criticize constructively by offering suggestions/solutions to the problems facing our government in the south, and I do so objectively. I have got no ulterior motives too. I am not out to crucify personalities but challenging them (the leaders) to change their behaviors, which could have negative effects on people. Above all, I am advocating for a policy change to be more accommodative and subject to public scrutiny. We have to be honest to ourselves before we can demand from our northern brothers to show honesty on issues of concern. Although I know that sometimes honesty is not synonymous with the truth, but at least, we can set it as the one that should never get compromised.
In the past couple of months after the general elections, the focus of Sudanese politics shifted immediately to the referendum by Southerners for self-determination of the new status of South Sudan. This is generating lot of public debate about the two choices (unity and separation), especially when the compass tend to indicate that southern independence is inevitable. I have been following closely the events as they unfolded, and continue to unfold. I read a lot of nonsensical comments made by different northern figures denouncing southerners opting for secession as it’s practically the case now because southerners are fed up with northerner’s unwillingness to abolish Islamic laws, which are discriminative in nature and coupled with other countless undesirable things. They’ve blown things out of proportion and now it is dawning on them either to respect and accept the outcome of the forthcoming referendum or prepare for an eventuality that they might not enjoy.
But now in addition to this, there is something much more disturbing; is that the regional parliament in the south. This parliament has not really been up to the duty expected from law-makers. The members there are not speedingly doing their business in the August house in light with this upcoming referenda in the south and Abyei. Some reports were obtained that the MPs are going up to three months without sessions or sittings because apparently there are no agendas that have been set to deliberate on, and that the acting speaker (who is the deputy speaker) is unable to do the job since the speaker is on long holidays.
But here comes the questions: why are there no agendas in parliament to discuss when there are a lot of things that are supposed to happen as a prerequisite for the referendum to happen on time and to avoid the worst case scenario of like what happened to the previous population census and general elections? Is it because there are no agendas or it’s because the MPs are incapable of carrying out their duties as expected by the electorates? Were these MPs really voted in by their constituents or were just rigged in by SPLM on people’s behalf as a kind of political patronage?
You will certainly agree with me that most of the 171 MPs currently in the Juba parliament are just masquerading as people’s representatives, yet in actual sense, they are not. They are either there to represent and protect the interest of their appointing authority or their own selfish- interests. The wise ones had managed to woo their constituents to vote them in using unrealistic promises, which they knew will never be fulfilled except in ideal circumstances. A government institutions where there are no checks and balances, is as dangerous as a car on high speed without a brake. The implications are dire. This is the case in our parliament as well as the GOSS. With this, the South could be emerging into troubles as we watch it scaringly!!!
The issue of national anthem being drafted or handled by army personnel instead of parliamentarians shows how dysfunctional and empty the parliament is in its dealings, especially on public affairs. In my view, just like any other southerners who have expressed their opinions and bitterness on this, the work of military personnel in the likes of Kuol Deim Kuol and Malaak Ayuen is not supposed to be in direct interference into the civilian politics. They can only be invited to give a helping hand to the civilian executive or legislative branch of GoSS if at all they are proven to be having useful experience in composition of national anthems, but not doing the other-way-round as if they are above those powers.
In my opinion, a special committee should have been formed by parliament to draft and handle the national anthem and try to get the views from the masses to see whether it represents the conscience as well as the diversity of all southerners. This brings me these questions: when did the MPs declare themselves as obsolete in their duties so that other could do them on their behalf? When did the constitution legalize army generals to get involved in civilian politics or is it because they know that the Southern Sudan parliament is not able to do its duties? Which system of government do we want to have or adapt; is it parliamentary and presidential or military one? Now the Juba parliament is just quiet and reluctant even after the thing came to light a couple of months ago.
In conclusion, the South Sudan parliament should reconsider its position again or be educated on what they are supposed to do if they think they represent people in that August house. Otherwise, I hold an opinion that majority of the SSLA MPs don’t know their responsibilities and duties as the people’s representatives; they only know to cause havocs and intimidations like stripping off the SPLM-DC members of their immunities on no substantial grounds. The committee that was tasked to look into this found no reason to implicate the four innocent SPLM-DC MPs in the murder of the Shilluk Paramount Chief and those accompanying him in the GoSS donated new brand Toyota Double Cabin Hilux last May. But funny enough, some malicious SPLM's MPs insisted that they were involved in whatever circumstances surrounding the incidence even if there are no legal evidences found? It is like saying "whether it flies it is still a goat."
What kind of a parliament is this in the whole world that does not respect the rule of law when its members are supposed to be law-makers!!!. I am tempted to say here that I can only have confident on those MPs who went to the parliament either as independent candidates or from other political parties' tickets, because they really have the real mandate from the people. Change will happen one day.
South Sudan Youth Association in Ethiopia
August 23rd, 2010
August 25, 2010 (SSNA) -- We, a group of Southern Sudan Youth, have come together in Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa to organize ourselves to consider the contribution of youth in the upcoming referendum and to have a brainstorming on difficulties and issues faced by the GOSS to deal with post-referendum situation. We have come to realize that massive diplomatic campaign is required to promote the separation of South Sudan should the people vote for separation.
Despite our volunteer contribution to promote the cause of South Sudan people, the youth have decided not to work under the GOSS Liaison Office in Addis Ababa due to the following points:
1. The Southern Sudanese in Ethiopia have come to conclusion to work with the Bureau of South Sudan Referendum Commission in Juba to organize eligible voters in Ethiopia to exercise their right of self-determination. Refugees in Gambella, Addis Ababa, Jima and various refugee camps have gladly welcomed the position of the youth to work directly with Justice Chan Ariic in order to mobilize South Sudan refugees to vote in the upcoming referendum as stipulated in the South Sudan Referendum Act.
2. To demonstrate the seriousness of our campaign to let the people of South Sudan vote for separation, we protested and matched at the African Union building to show to Africa that South Sudanese in Ethiopia want to vote in the upcoming referendum as stipulated in the South Sudan Referendum Act. We appreciate the support from the Ethiopian people during our protest at Africa Union building to condemn the attempts of the NCP to postpone the referendum.
3. The youth have concluded that referendum must be exercised on time as per the provisions of the CPA. We call upon the SPLM Political Bureau not to waver in this to promote complete implementation of the CPA. We congratulate the SPLM Political Bureau, which met from August 13-16, for taking a firm position that referendum shall not be postponed.
4. We call upon the people of South Sudan to vote for separation in the upcoming referendum to maintain the human dignity of the upcoming generations. Voting for separation is reasonable given the failure of the NCP to transform the country from its current racist status to a more inclusive country for all.
5. We call upon the international community to condemn the ongoing genocide in Darfur and should prevent the NCP from turning the South into another Darfur in the making in January, 2011, as signs of the NCPs refusal to implement the CPA have become visible.
6. We call upon the African Union to allow the International Criminal Court to establish an office in Addis Ababa to bring to justice the perpetrators of Darfur genocide and to become a witness to NCPs activities of destabilizing South Sudan to create genocide.
For contact: South Sudan Youth Association
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
August 26, 2010 (Khartoum) -- Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir will attend the ceremony of Kenya’s new constitution, Sudan state run media SUNA reports on Thursday.
SUNA initially broke the news saying al-Bashir will head to Kenya on Friday at the invitation from his Kenyan counterpart president Mwai Kibaki to attend the celebrations of the declaration of the new Kenyan constitution.
However, during a briefing to the media, Kenya's secretary to the Cabinet Amb Francis Muthaura indicated that presidents of Tanzania, Rwanda, Comoros, Somalia and Government of Southern Sudan as among those who would attend the occasion, according to the Daily Nation-Kenya.
“President Al-Bashir will be accompanied during the visit by the Minister at the Presidency of the Republic, Gen. Bakri Hassan Salih, the Presidential Advisor, Dr Mustafa Osman Ismail, the Foreign Minister, Ali Karti, and the Director of the National Security and Intelligence, Gen. Mohamed Atta”, SUNA further explained.
It is not clear as to why the president would only choose top government figures who are from his ruling National Congress party (NCP) without including anyone from his main peace partner, the SPLM.
Khartoum has increasingly becomes furious after al-Bashir was charged in June by the Hague-based court with three counts of genocide.
Omar al-Bashir who consistently refused to recognize court rulings went to Chad in June to attend three days summit of the Sahel-Saharan states – a move seen by many analysts as collective effort by Khartoum the defy the court.
The Sudanese president is wanted by International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Kenya is a member of Rome Statue and can implement the warrant if it chooses to do so.
The South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has not independently confirmed the report whether or not president al-Bashsir flown to Nairobi to attend the ceremony.
The plan in the war-torn region comes ahead of a scheduled January referendum on independence, which most people here believe will lead to the creation of the world's newest country. The south is rich in oil, but poverty and hunger is high throughout the region, which is struggling to recover after a civil war more than two decades long.
The $10 billion concept will take decades to carry out, officials concede, though it may never escape the planning stages. The southern government's own 2010 budget was only $1.9 billion, and the U.N. says more than 90% of Southern Sudan's population lives on less than $1 a day.
The plans have evoked bemused smiles — or outright laughter — in Juba, a town that until two years ago barely had any paved roads.
"It doesn't seem like the (Government of Southern Sudan) should be using its resources or staff time when the people of Southern Sudan lack basic services like health care and water," Nora Petty, an aid worker in Juba with the Malaria Consortium.
Government officials concede that a lot of money is needed to finance the project, which includes a plan to transform two state capitals into the shapes of a giraffe and a pineapple.
Juba — the capital of Southern Sudan — is to be reshaped into a compact rhino with two pointy horns. The new area will be called "Rhino City."
Officials said the plan would bring order to the city's chaotic layout.
"Juba is made up of slums," said Jemma Kumba, the minister of housing and physical planning.
Detailed architectural drawings of Rhino City show that Central Equatoria's police headquarters would be situated at the rhino's mouth, an amusement park at the ear, an industrial area along the back and residential housing throughout the four legs.
"It's very innovative. That's our thinking. It's unique. It's the Ministry of Housing thinking you have to be unique to attract the people," said Daniel Wani, undersecretary of Southern Sudan's Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning.
If the animal-shaped towns come to be, they will join other famously shaped cities around the world. Dubai created several palm-shaped residential islands off its coast. In Argentina, planners shaped the town of Ciudad Evita into the form of Eva Peron, an actress and wife of former President Juan Peron who was known as Evita.
Of course, per capita income in the United Arab Emirates, where Dubai is located, is around $42,000 a year. In Sudan, it's just $2,300.
And unlike well-developed Dubai, Southern Sudan still lacks basic infrastructure such as roads to connect its state capitals. Outside the southern capital Juba, structures aside from mud huts are rare, and in Juba, services such as electricity and sewage are a luxury.
The Minister of Roads and Transport, Anthony Makana, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he needed up to $6 billion to pave 8,000 miles of roads in the south.
Makana said the project would connect all of the southern state capitals, but he noted that funding is a concern, given that the government has not finished paying the contractors who built 4,350 miles of red clay and gravel roads since 2005, when the landmark peace accord between the north and south was signed.