A three-day conference for women legislators of both Southern Sudan Government and Central Equatoria State Legislative Assemblies is taking place in Juba city. The conference aims at developing capacity of female legislators to effectively contribute to good governance in southern Sudan.
The President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, met on Wednesday with the Southern Minister of Energy and Mining, Garang Deng Akuong, to discuss issues related to oil industry in the region.
The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) has accused the National Congress Party (NCP) of delaying the announcement of South Kordofan census results. The SPLM Secretary in the state, Arnold Lodi, told Radio Miraya that delaying census results is an attempt from the NCP to block the conduct of the Popular Consultation as scheduled before Southern Sudan Referendum.
The National Congress Party and Juba Declaration Coalition said they have failed to reach any commonalities regarding the referenda issues, support for unity, Darfur and price hikes. This came following a meeting held on Thursday between the NCP's Political Secretary, Ibramin Gandour and Coalition's delegation.
The Chairman of the Local Administration of the Messiriya, Nuer and Dinka tribes, Bashtana Mohamed Salim, said that the Messiriya welcomed the organizing of the Peaceful Coexistence Conference in Abyei area. He added that the conference is an initiative from the African Organization-main stream. Salim told Miraya that the purpose of the conference is to discuss the disputed issues and how to solve them.
By Dr James Okuk
August 16, 2010 (SSNA) -- For the separatist the postponement of the referendum is an evil because it will lead to the delay of the democratic declaration of South Sudan Independence, and for the unionists too the conduct of the referendum when some crucial issues remain unattended is a greatest evil because it will lead to undesirable breakup of the unified Sudan. Thus, the two options pose some bad news, depending on the side of the angle one looks at each of them.
However, postponing the referendum is part of the CPA deal but declaring the independence of South Sudan unilaterally (UDI) is not and, thus, a violation of the CPA; meaning invitation of war if both the divorcing partners are prepared for it. Is the SPLM/A prepared for a victorious war? Is the NCP/SAF prepared for a war of invasion too? For how long will that war go on before another peace deal is reached? These are the critical questions a wise and a strategic person or a group could ask at this critical stage, and I believe it is the very questions the SPLM PB are delivering on now before coming up with a final decision on the matter of the postponement of the referendum.
Arrogance and hard-lining is not the best option most of the time. After all it is better late with slowness of assurance than never with rush of uncertainty. Also we have to acknowledge what the Christian Jesus said that if your enemy demands that you carry him for one mile, take him for two miles instead and he or she will hate it more as it become boring.
If I were the SPLM PB, I will accept the request of the Referendum Commission to postpone the issue for one year instead of the six months demanded so that next time they don't get any chance to play the tricks of timing and procedures. Meanwhile in the year, I will demand from the NCP and Khartoum to carry on some developmental projects in the South since those of the USAID and World Bank failed to do anything great development in the South so far and so good.
Meanwhile as the postponement thrives, I will also try to rally the world support at the UN and lobby for a quick decision from the International Arbitration Court of Justice, incase the South opt for a UDI after having tolerated the postponements of the referendum and tricks of the NCP and Khartoum on the issue. Not only this, but also I would have unified all the Southerners under the cover of reconciliation from the South-South dialogue for any eventuality in the aftermath of 9th January 2012.
This is my take in brief and I hope it gets a hearing hear in the SPLM PB. In truth and sincere wisdom we should trust!!!!
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.