Today is supposed to be the last day of the 5th national and housing census in the country. Reports that have been received from various regions and areas in the Sudan have been but minimal given the importance of the census. Abyei, Bahr Al Ghazal, Equatoria, Upper Nile and others regions like Darfur have faced setbacks in terms of census success. In Abyei there is fighting going on between the SPLA and the Misseriya tribe. In Bahr Al Ghzal fighting was reported in Rumbek between the people of Lakes and Warrap States. In Equatoria most census forms were reported to be in the Arabic language version whereas the majority of the people there read and write in English; and in other areas like Malakal the opposite as in the case of Equatoria was true. In Darfur, the rebels had warned that they would arrest any census official should s/he dare to enter their areas of control and thus making difficult the entry of census officials into some areas in Darfur.
However, it is the understanding of this author that all did go well despite the difficulties faced by the census officials. There is a need to talk about the importance of the census at least for the benefit of the reader. The census as per this author's vision and understanding is an exercise in which a state or nation undertakes a physical but "official count of (its) population", Collins Paperback (2000:91).
The success of the census work, however, is supposed to help in ensuring the accurate budgeting for service delivery countrywide. The budget each state within the Sudan gets from the federal government will be based on the population of each state. Without census, however, some smaller states may suffer the consequences of estimation. The federal government could simply give a bigger budget to some smaller states and the larger states suffer as a result. Services like health and education, for example, will become unavailable because the federal government may not be able to give accurate estimates of the populations in the states to the ministry of finance and national economy for budgeting. Census is also supposed to reflect the true diversity any country is enjoying, so to speak.
This author was not an exception from those that are supposed to be enumerated. He was visited by the census officials on April 27th, 2008. After the enumerator completed her work he seized the opportunity to ask her the difficulties she personally was facing. This author could not ask why the questions for ethnicity and religion were omitted or ignored because they were clarified by the Vice-President of the republic when he addressed the press to response to GoSS' announcement to boycott the census.
In response to the question asked, the census official, who was a gentle lady from this author's residential area, Kalakla, Ihklas Sa'ad Rahamtallah, said she faced no problems at all except one, which she said was major. Ms. Rahamtallah said women had a serious problem of telling their real ages. She said a woman would say that she is 48 years old. But when you ask the age of her son, he would say 38 years old. Rahamtallah said sometimes you wonder if the 48-year-old mum did give birth to her son when she was 10 years old!
This author also noticed something from the census form: the question on the origin and place of birth. These two were important in the sense that the official census forms in which they were recorded would still clearly identify the enumerated person as from a particular area even though his/her tribe, religion and ethnicity were not recorded.
While the country looks forward for the next population census to come, this author would like to register some of his personal disappointments on the whole exercise of the census. First of all the areas and regions that have made it difficult for the census officials to carry out their work successfully should have themselves to blame should their budgets be based on estimates and not on actual figures of their populations.
On the issue of ethnicity, religion and tribe were omitted from the census forms, this author finds them extremely useful for the country to ignore. Before discussing the seriousness of this omission, it is good to clarify the difference between ethnicity and tribe.
An ethnic group – take the Bantu group as an example. There are Bantus in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Southern, Western and Central Africa, including the Sudan. These are tribes with names like Kikuyu in Kenya, Waganda in Uganda and Azande in Sudan but put them together, they form one huge ethnic group known as the Bantu. Another example is the Semitic ethnic group of people. This group brings together the Arabs and their arch rival, the Jews, in one ethnic group. The Arabs in the Sudan are Semites but that does not make them Jews.
On religion, some Northern Sudanese had, sometimes back, said that the Christians in South Sudan were 15%, animists 20% and Muslims 65%. This statistics are obviously not correct and they can never be corrected by anybody other than census officials. Muslims in the country are put at 75% and this too cannot be officially verified unless it is done in a census exercise.
If the ethnic groups and religions are not known in the Sudan, how are we going to call ourselves as Sudanese in diversity? Are we going to say that Muslims are 75% and therefore the entire country is Muslim and thus has no religious diversity? Or we say that the entire country has no ethnic and religious diversity and thus making the Sudanese people animists and non-religious, what about their cultures?
It would be good for the authorities in the country to take the omission of ethnicity, tribe and religion as an oversight and seriously make sure that it does not happen in the next census. This country's beauty is in its diversity and that diversity, be it tribal, ethnic and/or religious has to be reflected in official documents like census forms. Otherwise, the Sudanese people cannot be a proud people when their cultures which are strengthened by the presence of ethnicity, tribe and religion are deliberately made to vanish by none other than Sudan's own sons and daughters.
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008
Your Excellencies Brig. Aloysious Emor Ojetuk, Guest of Honour, Uncle Bona Malual, Patron of this occasion, Dr Kamilo Oduwa, the Supervisor of this gathering, Your Excellency Mayom Koch State Minister at the GoNU Ministry of Irrigation, Hon. State MPs, State Council and National Assembly MPs, My fellow Otuho community and its leadership, Otuho-Speaking Association (OSSA) Leadership and membership, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
On behalf of the late Joseph Oduho's family and on my own behalf, I greet you in the name of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. Please, allow me to extend my sincere greetings and appreciations to you for attendance and to the OSSA for making this day a success.
As a serious students' body, OSSA has been and will remain to be, with the community's support, the pride of the Otuho-Speaking Community. This being the case, OSSA needs to be seriously cautious of the politics in the South. There are politicians who are bent on dividing South Sudanese people on tribal lines. You do not follow them. Instead, exert efforts against division and all its vices.
Division is so useless that it could earn you nothing but hatred which likely develops into conflict. Joseph Oduho whose commemoration we are marking today did fight for the unconditional unity of his people. Oduho's last mission in politics was to reunify fragmented brothers and sisters in the struggle. The fragmentations being referred to were the splits in the SPLM/A in 1984 and 1991. Please browse the Internet and don't be shocked when you see the amount of information you would get. Thus, as young men and women who have recognised his efforts, OSSA needs to follow one of the noble legacies Oduho left behind: serious effort to unite the people of South Sudan unconditionally. Occasions such as this do unite people and as such must be encouraged in order to perform its wonders.
As a family of the late Oduho, we would like to reiterate to you, OSSA members and today's honourable presence that we have missed our father; and have done so for the last 15 years and – God knows – we will continue to miss him forever.
However, there is one thing that encourages us as a family to live on as we remembered our father: his unresolved fight against those regimes in the Sudan that thought they would continue unabated to suppress the Sudanese people, especially those from the Southern part of it.
We are aware that our father was a friend to the late Philip Khabbush; with whom he was detained at one time by Numayri's regime. We are also aware that our father supported and encouraged both Philip Khabbush and Yusuf Kuwa to sustain the struggle of the Nuba people.
We strongly uphold our father's ideals and shall continue to cherish his legacy of unity. Therefore, on behalf of the Oduho family, I assure you who gathered here today that the Oduho family will continue to fight for the unity of the South Sudanese people.
Even though we are aware that our father was killed by fellow comrades in arms, trying to avenge for his death is foolish. It is only a fool who would think that such an action would bring Oduho back to live. An "eye for an eye" theory is unacceptable because it would leave many without eyes, and one could just imagine how disastrous that would become!
The least we, as family members could do, is to ask those who ended his life to remember him and colleagues like Fr. Saturnino Ohure, Ferdinand Adiang, William Deng, Alexis Bakumba, Martin Majier, Benjamin Bol Akok, Akot Atem de mayan, Nashigak Nyashulluk, Samuel Gai Tut, Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, William Nyuon, Peter Kidi, Garang Agwang, Mario Muor-Muor, Joseph Malath, Martin Kajivura, Pierre Ohure Okerruk, Kizito Omilluk Oduho, Philip Khabbush and Yusuf Kuwa whose forces participated in the liberation of South Sudan, and Dr John Garang who delivered all of us home, just to mention but a few of our heroes.
On behalf of the family once again, I appeal to the authorities in the GoSS to transfer the resources necessary for a serious campaign, that has to be instituted by them with the aim of promoting unity of the South Sudanese people, dealing with tribalism and introducing heroes' day in the South to appreciate and commemorate the efforts of those who gave their lives for Southern Sudan.
The Oduho family concludes by earnestly urging OSSA to join hands with the rest of the other students' associations in the South and Sudan as a whole to remember the heroes of this country; those who shed their blood to make the Sudan a country others could emulate.
The peace agreements signed between the government and the Western and Eastern Sudan rebels and between SPLM/A and the Sudan government, especially the Comprehensive Peace Agreement spearheaded by the late Dr John Garang de Mabior, the most unique, I must say, of our contemporary heroes, did offer hopes for a comprehensive Sudanese peace and unity.
Finally, I would like to appeal to all the South Sudanese to forgive each other so that we could concentrate on the development of Southern Sudan.
Thank you very much and May God Bless You all?
Col. Ohiyok David Oduho
Khartoum, April 4th, 2008.
Dr Lam Akol's vehicle came under fire from unknown gunmen who shot at the vehicle and instantly killed three people who apparently were Dr Akol's staff in his own vehicle. This incident took place during an SPLM Upper Nile State convention on March 22nd, 2008.
Incidents such as this cannot go without opponents capitalizing on them and friends crying foul. It is not long since Dr Akol was fought tooth and nail by the SPLM leadership and its supporters. It is only human that those who are pro Dr Akol would have to cry foul and point fingers at the SPLM for being behind the attack. The pro SPLM, however, would be quick to judge the situation in order to clear SPLM's name of any wrong doing.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the SPLM in the South, Dr Anne Itto, in a press briefing said SPLM Secretary-General, Pagan Amum was not involved in the alleged assassination plot against former Foreign Minister, Dr Lam Akol Ajawin, that left three people dead in Upper Nile State. She said the incident along Panika road, 15 miles from Malakal, was carried out by cattle rustlers, (Sudan Tribune Newspaper, March 30th, 2006, p.1).
This concern was also echoed by the SPLM peaceful march held in Malakal town. The march which held sometime in March 2008 dismissed the allegations that SPLM was behind the assassination attempt, (The Citizen, April 3rd, 2008, p.2).
A supporter of Dr Akol, a Juba University Student, Julia S. Othow, did not hind her true feelings on what she analyzed as a person. She said, Mr. Editor, let me air (out) my views on Anne's Statement: We thank God for the statement of Anne Itto which made us know the hidden plot against Dr Lam. She said that despite SPLM's none condemnation of the assassination attempt, it is clear to her that SPLM office has shown up the filthy deeds against the democratic transformation and unity amongst Southerners.
All the three reactions are indeed wrong. Dr Anne Itto did not carry any investigations and she was already holding some imaginary cattle rustlers responsibility. What Dr Itto could have done was to condemn the incident first and then urge the SPLM leadership to carry out an independent investigation into the incident. But trying to clear the name of H.E. Pagan Amum from involvement in the assassination attempt raises eyebrows. Cattle rustlers do not rustle vehicles, they do cows and anybody coming between them and the cows would obviously be killed. Dr Akol's staff were certainly not chasing cows by their vehicle.
Those who were marching in support of the SPLM in March should have realised that Dr Akol is an SPLM unless there is a plot to expel him from the party like it was the case with Brig. Aleu Ayieny and Telar Deng. For the marchers to uphold the unity of SPLM members in the State, they should have called for investigation into the assassination attempt.
Julia Othow, meanwhile, asked valuable questions like, who mandated Dr Anne Itto to talk on the incident at a time SPLM leadership did not condemn the act? But she, too, did draw some conclusion like "We thank God for the statement of Anne Itto which made us know the hidden plot against Dr Lam."
For SPLM/A to clear its name from being marred by speculations, it is extremely important to investigate the assassination attempt of Dr Akol. It's an important exercise for the State and the country at large. If the investigations find that there are criminals involved, then it's a menace that has to be dealt with before our country becomes infested with terrorists. Should the investigations also find that Dr Akol's opponents within the SPLM/A are behind this, they have to be brought to books in order to face the law. No one is above the law – this should be the motto of SPLM if it is serious about democratic transformation in the country at large. Today is Dr Akol; does anybody know who might be next?
However, those behind the arrest and possible lynching of Maj-Gen। Mamur, who has been in detention for nearly a year now, cried foul. They went to H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the C-in-C of the SPLA, to reverse the reshuffle order. It was reported that the C-in-C heeded to them and four judges were alleged to have been composed to try Maj-Gen. Mamur in a military tribunal.
When Maj-Gen। Mamur appeared before the four judges, his own lawyer made his submission and said: "I didn't know that the South was made up of only one tribe, Dinka from Bor।" He said that the trial will never be fair; especially that Maj-Gen। Mamur does not come from the judges' tribe। Maj-Gen. Mamur's lawyer refused to continue with the hearing citing possible bias in the verdict. Maj-Gen. Mamur's lawyer did ask his client to leave the courtroom. But before they did leave the courtroom, one of the judges allegedly said: "go as of now and we will call you later."
When Maj-Gen। Mamur's lawyer tried to respond to the judges' questions, Maj-Gen. Mamur intervened again and begged his lawyer to answer the three questions. His lawyer did allow him to answer the questions.
Firstly, Maj-Gen. Mamur said, the grader-tractor did grade a number of roads and he mentioned the particular roads and their locations. As for the Generator, Maj-Gen. Mamur said it is in the general headquarters of Ikwoto County, in Eastern Equatoria State, and the Commissioner of Ikwoto could be called to verify the information
What do the good people of Bor say? Could this kind of a bad overture be played by some canning person or persons within the SPLA/M rank and file? Could the motive behind be a mission to cause maximum damage within the SPLM/A with a view to igniting another war between comrades-in-arms?
Could it then be possible to assume that the above speculations are inappropriate and what is appropriate is that both the Dinka Bahr Al Ghazal and those from Bor are resolved to end Maj-Gen। Mamur's career as well as live? Is it just Maj-Gen. Mamur they are after and not his entire community? God forbids, because the people of Bahr Al Ghazal did play a role that balanced and continues to balance the behaviour of the Dinka Bor people in the SPLM/A during and after the days of the late Dr John Garang de Mabior.
This author should not be gotten wrongly that he is against the Dinka Bor people। There are some extremely good people from Bor. But the misbehaviour of the majority in the SPLM/A from Bor then and now, is commonplace.
SPLM/A is calling for a democratic transformation in the Sudan and that includes the South। Democratic transformation has got one very important ingredient: rule of law and its accompanying values like the protection of civil rights. How could SPLM/A transform this country into a fully democratic one when it is detaining people for years without trial? How could somebody like Maj-Gen. Mamur account for things that were not the reason for his arrest in the first place? On what legal grounds is he being detained if what happened to him and others languishing in the jails of SPLM/A in the South is nothing but a direct violation of human rights?
This author would like to appeal to H।E। the President of the GoSS and C-in-C of the SPLA, to release Maj-Gen। Mamur। The C-in-C has the power to form an impartial SPLA committee to scan the SPLA thoroughly and remove the bad seeds within it। SPLA has some people within it who are bent on discrediting H।E. the SPLA C-in-C. Otherwise, by trying to hurt Maj-Gen. Mamur very badly, these people know that H.E. the C-in-C would be held responsible for their own crimes and that is unfair.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2008
The month of January 2008 witnessed a number of useful political debates in the Sudan – at least according to http://ohiyok-newsanalysesonline.blogspot.com/ and http://ohiyok-oduho.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-articles-2003-2007_07.htmlrespectively. The first one is the decision by the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) to appoint a Mayor for the town of Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The second one is the proposal for confederation in the Sudan made by Lt-Gen. Malik Agar, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), Northern Sector, and Governor of Southern Blue Nile State (SBNS). The latter was already discussed and could be found in any of the above Blogs or simply follow this internet link:Separation as an Option in South Sudan Versus the Dangers Presented by Kenya and Need for Confederation. This, thus, leaves us with the former, appointment of Mayor for the town of Juba, to discuss.
Mayor is quite a common term, especially in countries formerly colonised by the British Empire and that includes the United States of America. It is doubtful that everyone in the Sudan, though a former colony of the British Empire, knows what the term Mayor means. For this good reason, a definition of the term is important to help Sudanese readers of this website to follow this analysis.
The term Mayor is an English noun that denotes head of a Municipality (Collins Paperback Dictionary & Thesaurus (386:2000)). Translated in our African or South Sudanese context, Mayor could be defined as 'an elevated position of a Paramount Chief to whom all senior chiefs in the territory report.' The senior chiefs are elevated to the positions of Counselors. The Paramount Chief, who chairs the elevated Counselors, becomes Mayor of the Mayoral Territory.
Mayoral territory in the context of this discussion refers to an entity called City or Municipality with a local self-government. In countries like Kenya and Uganda, the government decides, from time to time and after thorough evaluation, to elevate provincial capitals to Municipalities (cities) that are governed by Mayors independent of the Commissioner. In this elevated province, the chairman of Provincial Town Council becomes Mayor (Governor of the Municipality) and his/her Counselors or Provincial Town Council MPs elevated to the status of City or Municipality Counselors (MPs of the local self-government). It should be noted that in former British colonies, there are District, Provincial and Municipality Town Councils.
The position of Mayor links the grassroots to the executive supposedly through the commissioner to the ministry of local government. The whole process is a full swing local government whose parliament is the council and the executive is the mayorship with a cabinet of counselors in charge of various local responsibilities and one deputizing the Mayor. The Municipality also has a local police force called in Kenya as 'Askaris.' The City Askaris in Kenya have the power to arrest anyone violating the regulations or laws of the Municipality.
A number of South Sudanese did comment on the appointment of a Mayor in Juba town. One of them said: "Southern Sudan does not need mayors at the moment", (Khartoum Monitor, January 13th, 2008, p4). This analytic piece is not discussing those who are for or against the appointment of a Mayor for the town of Juba but looks at how could this work in South Sudan. However, it is worth mentioning that the Sudan has a very well-established local government system. This system is represented by the ministry of local government renamed the Federal Rule Chambers (Ministry).
Why not 25 Mayors instead of one?
As mentioned above that the Sudan has an established system of local government, it is tempting to say that the Sudan is ripped for 25 Municipalities and Mayors. Like in Kenya, the Federal government of the Sudan had issued executive orders or decrees to create 26 states (now minus one state). Since these 25 states have the three arms of the government, including the local government led by the commissioners who represent their affairs in the State Council of Ministers, the states, as sovereign as they are, deserve one Mayor each. The capitals of the 25 states in the Sudan are more than Municipalities. In the UK and Kenya for example, except London and Nairobi, any other Municipality does not have a sovereign government. But it should be realised that only 25 commissioners in the Sudan head the States' capitals and represent the Municipalities in the States' Council of Ministers.
Financial constraints in appointing Mayors
One South Sudanese did already express his disagreement with the appointment of a Mayor for the town of Juba. He said: "instead of paying additional salaries to a Mayor, the South needs the cash targeted for its development", (Khartoum Monitor, January 13th, 2008, p4). He is absolutely right in the sense that the South needs development at the moment and not Mayors. It should be noted, however, that Municipalities are not only beneficial but are good sources of income that would help in the development of South Sudan. There are resources at the local levels but most of it gets siphoned by the central government and the local people are left helpless. Thus the creation of Municipalities led by Mayors in the Sudan should be encouraged as they would offer the local people the opportunity to participate in their own development.
The creation of Municipalities and appointment of Mayors first and foremost means further devolution of power from the centre to the periphery. The more power is devolved by any central government to the people the more such government moves towards a democratic transformation. The power to choose own local leadership and the actual participation in the management of local affairs is by itself a useful transformation of any country into a democracy.
The positions of Mayors throughout the country would obviously need lots of Sudanese pounds to be instituted. But this would only be for a short term. In the short term the Municipalities would not have enough cash to manage their affairs but once they are established they would thrive like the cities of London, New York and Nairobi. They will make enough money from local revenues, especially ticketing of parking lots and other Municipal land-related charges throughout the state(s). The Municipality of Metropolitan London makes enough money from revenues that could run it almost independently on annual basis. Instead of raising more than £100 million during the congestion-charging scheme’s first year, congestion charging contributes £50 million of net transport benefits to London’s economy per year, mainly through quicker and more reliable journeys for road and bus users, (http://www.citymayors.com/report/congestion_charge.html).
The decision to appoint a Mayor for the town of Juba is indeed a welcome one but should not be left at the level of Juba alone. It should be applied to all the cities in South Sudan. This is really important, especially in the wake of corruption that reaping apart the South Sudanese society at both GoSS and States' levels.
It is important to look at the creation of Municipalities and appointment of their Mayors as an investment rather than a burden to the people of South Sudan. It should also be viewed as a democratic transformation and not hegemonic extension. South Sudanese, known for democratic inherence within them, will succeed more in Municipalities than in GoSS and State governments. Thus, let lack of money be the reason for not establishing Municipalities and appointing Mayors in the Sudan or South Sudan for that matter.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2008
Annan stated on February 12th, 2008, that he had struck a deal between the government of Kenya and the Opposition. The deal, he said, is for both the opposition and the government to form a coalition care-taker government, which is supposed to prepare for election after two years. A coalition government is an open option when a country is in a crisis and right now we are faced with a serious political crisis. The two sides come together and commit to sort out issues such as constitutional reforms and then organise an election, Annan told Kenyan MPs during an informal sitting at Old Parliament Chambers, (http://politics.nationmedia.com/inner.asp?pcat=NEWS&cat=TOP&sid=1472).
The statement that Annan didn't influence any deal between the opposition and the Kenyan government was made by the Kenyan Minister of Justice, Martha Karua. She said that there is no such deal between her government and the opposition. She referred to Anan's statement as 'weakening the government side in the negotiation.' Kenya's Justice Minister, Martha Karua, leading the PNU negotiating team, accused Annan on Tuesday (February 12th, 2008) of weakening the government's negotiating position and causing it embarrassments in the ongoing mediation effort, which has moved to secret location, (http://www.africanews.com/site/list_messages/15762).
My team is alarmed at some serious inaccurate statement made by Your Excellency at the briefing of parliamentarians today. Namely you stated that 'the dialogue team had agreed to have a transitional government for two years after which we shall hold Presidential elections’ which position has not been discussed or agreed upon,” Karua told Annan, (http://politics.nationmedia.com/inner.asp?pcat=NEWS&cat=TOP&sid=1472).
What would such a contradiction really entail? In simple terms it would mean that the government would want to speak from a position of strength. In serious terms, it means that the crisis and that, which accompanies it, call it killing of innocent Kenyans, would continue unabated. If it continues, the government and the people of Kenya irrespective of their party affiliations will continue to suffer.
Why must a country like Kenya, admired by many developed and underdeveloped countries, including its own neighbours, continue to fight with itself? For whose interest is the fighting? Is it in the interest of its people or selfish individuals who want the presidency in Kenya regardless of whether or not blood spills?
The statement of the Kenyan Minister of Justice seems to have been made in a rush – before confirming from Annan what he really meant by what he said or it is simply adamancy – that which recognises strength as the only way to resolving the political crisis in Kenya. Annan said he was thinking loud, meaning that what he said could be a suggestion Kenyans need to look into and evaluate whether or not it would help them end the deadly political crisis.
However, one sincerely hopes that the Minister does not feel offended by this analysis. Because H.E. the Minister needs to know that her party is running the affairs of Kenya – a government which by itself is strength. In other words, whoever runs a government, will always be in a stronger position. Nonetheless, any ideas suggesting that the government will only be strong after crushing the opposition, and hence discuss with it from that position of strength, is far from the basis of peace-making.
Peace-making requires a heart that recognises own mistakes and accepts to conciliate, but never one that fuels conflict. It is the government that should have interest to make peace and not the opposition. The government is responsible for everybody in Kenya, including the opposition. The government cannot blame the opposition for the crisis taking place in Kenya; because it appeared that the government did not apply equal justice as it tried to address the serious accusation of vote rigging made by the opposition and supported by many, including the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. Following three days of rioting and hundreds of deaths, Kenya's Elections Chief has admitted that he doesn't really know who won the election. "I do not know whether or not (Mwai) Kibaki won the election," Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman, Samuel Kivuitu, told The Standard newspaper, (http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/kenya-poll-chief-admits-pressure/2008/01/02/1198949900272.html).
A just government should have formed a committee comprising of both the opposition and government officials to investigate the allegation of vote rigging. Should vote rigging be established, fresh presidential election should have been called for. This did not happen. Why, if someone is to ask very seriously? Is it because President Mwai Kibaki feels he may not win the election again? If the latter question is in the affirmative, then President Kibaki is unpopular and should honourably step down and allow the winner and his party to rule the country. That is the essence of democracy but not clinging on to power even through undemocratic means and the killing of innocent civilians in the name of democracy. Perhaps all these political intrigues put together are what have made the opposition feel cheated because it could not see the difference between a just government, willing to investigate the allegations of vote rigging and the ruling party, which is using government machinery to suppress the people's right to fair exercise of democracy.
The opposition in Kenya is calling for fresh Presidential election as a matter of principle. This is a clear message which the government is to address. Should government accept election rerun and the opposition loses for the second time, the opposition would have no right whatsoever to continue fanning the political crisis in Kenya. If they persist on refueling the current crisis, the government then must use its power of the law to arrest their leaders and charge them with treason against the Kenyan people.
The Kenyan government needs to be advised that it is fully responsible for the current situation in the country. Failing to resolve the current crisis as a government would in fact make it worse: it would amount to a crime against humanity. Unless both warring parties in Kenya have agreed to form a coalition government to prepare for fresh election in two years' time as hinted by Annan, the crisis in Kenya may not be nearing any end.
The Transition from one party rule to multi-party democracy in Kenya did not take the dimension of the current situation. President Daniel Toroitich arap-Moi did recognise then that any vote rigging would plunge Kenya into civil war and as such deployed troops to safeguard the interest of the Kenyan people. Thus, Kibaki did not find any resistance when taking over the reigns of power in Kenya. Why should Kibaki accept to work with greedy leaders, those who do not have the interest of Kenyans at heart except their personal interests? Does Kibaki want the world to believe that he is not democratic but Moi, who was regarded by the opposition, including Kibaki himself during the transformation of Kenya into a democracy as a dictator, has now emerged a better democrat in Kenya?
It should be noted that there is no amount of force that the government would employ to take away the rage of the opposition and their supporters. But dialogue, the path of which the warring parties in Kenya agreed to follow, under the mediation efforts of Annan, must continue no matter how long it takes. This would also require open hearts, the hearts that recognise the magnitude of the crisis and sincerely accept to conciliate.
The Kenyan government and people have assisted many countries in the East and Central African regions to settle their conflicts, including the very popular Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The CPA especially had earned the Kenyan people and government a good reputation, a reputation that could have lined Kenya up for a possible winning of a Nobel Peace Prize had it not been for the current crisis, which has tarnished Kenya's good image regionally and internationally.
The Kenyan government and people need to give Annan all the assistance he needs to help them end the current political stalemate. Hatred developed from tribalism should really be put aside by the Kenyan people, especially the Kikuyu and the Luo tribes. Otherwise tribes that believe in their sizes and feel that they must suppress the rest of the country make true the Swiss people popular believe that a smaller tribe would rule with justice as compared to a bigger tribe or ethnic group. Take for instance the Swiss identity – made up of French, Italian, German and Rumantch speakers: the Swiss identity is diversity. We don't like each other so much, but have stayed together for centuries, (Conradin Perner (Kwacakworo), Seminar on Good Governance in South Sudan, Aberdare Country Club, Kenya, November 1st-3rd, 2000).
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2008
Separation as an Option in South Sudan Versus the Dangers Presented by Kenya and Need for Confederation
South Sudan, the subject of this news analysis, has now turned north for help, something its leaders truly believed was not necessary at least initially. Its leaders are the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) and their allies from other political parties in the South who are currently running the Government of South Sudan (GoSS).
This news analysis looks at separation as an option in South Sudan – landlocked as it were – and the dangers presented by Kenya as a country with a useful port, Mombassa, accessed by GoSS and the people of the South. It supports confederation of the Sudan as an alternative option to maintaining the unity of the Sudan as envisaged by Lt-Gen. Malik Agar, the Governor of Southern Blue Nile State (SBNS).
Lt-Gen. Agar was attacked by various political groups in the South, including his own SPLM/A colleagues. They accused him of trying to undermine the right of South Sudanese people to self-determination. This proposal is meant to undermine the right to self-determination for the people of South Sudan and its implementation in an internationally-supervised referendum in the year 2011, (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article25655).
Lt-Gen. Agar understand the CPA and cannot work to abrogate it, but it appears that he is reading into the signs of time and trends through which separatists in the Sudan are going and identifies a serious danger: a possible fragmentation of the Sudan.
Sudan is facing a lot of pressures from separatists who have no hidden agenda on their intentions to breakaway from Sudan. This includes the majority within the SPLM/A and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Darfur. The head of one of the three rebel groups in Darfur has mentioned the possibility of his group seeking independence for the western Sudanese region after it failed to sign up to the recent peace deal, (http://sudanwatch.blogspot.com/2006/06/darfurs-jem-rebel-leader-says-were.html).
As mentioned above, the separatists in the Sudan both from South and North have never hidden their intention to break away from each other. A good number of Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) from the South voice their intention to break away and as such have influenced the GoSS to operate independently from the federal government in Khartoum. They call the South or SPLM/A-controlled areas of Southern Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains and Abyei as "The New Sudan." This group of separatist South Sudanese argues that they have tried unity and it did not work, because the northerners are intransigent. Now, it says, it is time to try separation.
Meanwhile, separatists from the North like Al Tayib Mustafa, the Editor-in-Chief of the Al Intibahah daily newspaper, and others like Sherif Al Hindi, a factional leader of the breakaway Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), say South Sudanese must take their bad habits of alcohol drinking and others back to the South once and for all. Sherif Al-Hindi, the leader of the DUP here in Khartoum was quoted in one of the dailies as saying that "those who want to drink alcohol should go and do that in Juba, (http://ohiyok-oduho.blogspot.com/). Some northerners who do not want to be identified say there is a plot against the minority Arabs in the Sudan and express genuine fears that they may become homeless like Palestinians if they don't breakaway the North from the South. Other extreme Muslims say the faith, Islam, is endangered and would prefer the South to go instead.
Given a critical look at the reasons given above by each of the separatists group, one would clearly understand that they are in a very serious situation of mistrust. This mistrust originates from a serious resistance to accept the status-quo. It requires dialogue to address the reasons for resisting the status-quo because it was a choice made within which the CPA is based – it doesn't require continuous conflict, which may wrongly be aimed at victory that cannot be achieved.
South Sudanese do have a good reason to mistrust the North Sudanese. The North Sudanese who previously led this country, including some in the current government but hiding underneath their official desks, did more harm to the people of the South than good. One needs not to discuss what the South suffered from as a result of bad governance in the central government in Khartoum. However, the SPLM/A did present those very sufferings in form of grievances as reasons for ending the conflict on the negotiation table.
The former Inqaz government (now the National Congress Party (NCP)), under the leadership of H.E. President Omar Hasan Ahmad Al Bashir, for the first time in the history of the Sudan, did agree that indeed there were problems in the Sudan that need its own sons and daughters to resolve them once and for all. This was Inqaz's priority programme: finding a lasting solution to all the problems in the country. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in order to demonstrate that seriousness of finding a lasting peace in the Sudan to the Sudanese people.
The separatists in the South may only be a little unfair to those it signed the CPA with; because they failed to consider the living reality of the CPA; in that without the NCP there would be no peace and certainly CPA in the Sudan. Instead of giving the NCP the benefit of the doubt as any good-willed person would in a situation like that of the Sudan, the majority in the SPLM/A did call for separation ahead of the agreed upon plebiscite after the Interim Period (IP).
The question one would seriously like to ask is: do the separatists in the South know that the South would be in an economically-awkward position if it decides to breakaway from the North? The IP is nearing end and surely concerned politicians would always envisage the future correctly and make wise decisions.
Another important question is: does the South have wise politicians? Well given the trend in which the GoSS is going through, it is easy to say; may be that there are wise politicians in the South but not in decision-making elite team. Wisdom, in the simplest traditional understanding, is known to fight corruption and encourages the distribution of God-given natural or other resources equally. Wisdom is usually accompanied by other virtues like moderation, courage and justice. The four cardinal virtues — justice, wisdom (prudence), courage (fortitude), and moderation (self-control, temperance) — come not just from Plato or Greek philosophy. You will find them in Scripture. They are knowable by human nature, which God designed, not Plato. Plato first formulated them, but he did for virtue only what Newton did for motion: he discovered and tabulated its own inherent foundational laws, (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0017.html).
Even though GoSS has been fighting corruption unabated, it appears that corruption itself is entrenched in GoSS and unless fought, it cannot go – it is a disease that spreads easily and it attacks vulnerable members of the public: the greedy and the poverty-stricken ones. South Sudan's anti-corruption commission will launch a wide-ranging probe into the semi-autonomous government's contracts after allegations arose that millions of Sudanese dinars had disappeared, (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L24918293.htm). It should also be noted that even the idea to separate the South from the North may be influenced by greed rather than patriotism, in that those who are fighting for it have seen how easy it has become to access money and enjoy leadership benefits and perhaps say; why quit the habit?
Very many of these separatists do not know economy works, as trying to visualize and articulate the economic variables that make any country prosper is not an easy exercise to venture into. The few within the SPLM/A who understand how economy works scientifically do not care because if they do, many openings through which they survive may be closed. Another question avails itself: how does the leadership in the South aspire to improve the economy of the South?
To answer the question above in the affirmative would be an understatement. That is because from taking over the South, SPLM/A discouraged GoSS, State governments and the people, including the traders from cooperating with the Northern Sudan people and government. This could be seen true in the GoSS' decision to use the Port of Mombassa in Kenya to get into the South its imports, especially heavy machinery and vehicles civil and military. Today, 80% of the goods in Juba come from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and very soon, may be the DR Congo. This is possible because once there is an identified market that demands there will always be supplies coming from all corners of the world.
This perhaps was a choice given to GoSS by the CPA, but is it necessary to apply it, and how practical is it economically? Using the ports of Dar El Salaam and Mombassa need hard currency – may be payable exorbitantly compared to Port Sudan, which either takes something symbolic for, or absolutely nothing, in terms of levies from government goods and other stuff like heavy machinery, including vehicles destined for South Sudan. The hard currency paid in any of the above ports, if calculated annually, could be a lot of money intentionally lost due to misunderstanding of the CPA itself. The CPA allows economic interaction with the neighbouring countries but it doesn't distort a wise mapping out of a sound economic planning. The usage of such foreign ports in economic terms has two major economic consequences on the South.
The first one is that these ports need hard currency to serve the people and GoSS; and this hard currency must come out of the reserves in the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS). Using hard currency to access Dar El Salaam or Mombassa ports drains hard currency and such drainage of hard currency makes continued international transactions very limited if not impossible, especially in the absence of industrial development, which is the case in the South.
The second one is that instead of saving the money spent in the use of the two parts, Port Sudan could be used and the money saved to help in the development of the South, especially in putting in place light and heavy industry machineries. Even though it requires quite a lot of hard currency to develop light and heavy industries, once they are operational, the products they would supply throughout the South would reduce lots of hard currency that would otherwise be spent on importing items produced by the light and heavy industries elsewhere in the countries neighbouring South Sudan and across the world.
The other important aspect of using Port Sudan is that the CPA partners are in control of the Government of National Unity (GoNU). This means that GoNU, GoSS, State governments and the Sudanese people will have no interruption in importing their items as it is the case in the South currently. It should be noted that the political crisis in Kenya has affected many neighbouring countries like Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo. The South, which is being steered towards separation from the rest of the Sudan by its current leadership, has turned north.
In January GoSS had made an official request to the Northern Sudanese leadership to help rescue the South from serious shortages of many essential commodities being faced by the GoSS and people of the South as a result of the election crisis in Kenya. Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan and DR Congo economies have also been adversely affected by the chaos, which is likely to affect their turnover this year, (http://allafrica.com/stories/200801210741.html).
It seems that the separation of the South from the North would plunge the people of South Sudan into being helpless dependents. Giving it a hypothetical approach that the South is an independent state that seriously favours no relations with Northern Sudan, and taking the current situation in Kenya into consideration, seeing how blocked are the Kenyan and Ugandan roads that lead to important ports of Dar El Salaam and Mombassa, what would the situation of the people in the South be? Miserable, one should imagine. This is a fact which can now be seen very clearly by those advocating for the separation of the South. Therefore, those advocating for the separation of the South need to know that work has to be done in order to tackle some problems, including reconsidering the confederation as an alternative before it is too late.
The South Sudanese who are interested in separating the South from the rest of the Sudan should now see some sense in what was earlier stated by the Governor of Blue Nile State, H.E. Lt-Gen. Malik Agar. Agar, the Deputy Chairman of SPLM, Northern Sector and Governor of SBNS, proposed that confederation is the only solution to unify the Sudan which is standing in a crossroad and is facing dangers against its unity, (http://www.k2-media.org/jubapost/go/record.php?cat=17&recordID=359).
Instead of fighting for personal interests and egos, SPLM/A leadership holds the card that would either unite or disunite the Sudan. This should not be misunderstood by cheap politicians as strength and thus a reason to separate. It should be considered as strength that is likely to offer the people of this country what they truly deserve: unity based on new basis. This new basis should not be searched from afar – it is confederation which is the new basis, which wise leaders like Lt-Gen. Agar have seen as the only viable alternative for the unity of the Sudanese people.
Even if separation is what is popular amongst those from the South in the SPLM/A, it really doesn't mean that once the South separates it would be difficult to confederate with the rest of the Sudan, should confederation be accepted by the political forces in the Sudan.
South Sudan can separate but such separation needs to be preceded by serious renegotiations that should prepare the people of this country to confederal arrangements, because such would truly ensure the unity of this country based on confederation as a new basis for coexistence between all the peoples, races, religions and cultures in the Sudan.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2008
Most of the English daily newspapers in Sudan have been publishing congratulatory messages to the First Vice-President and President of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, on the occasion. Khartoum Monitor, The Citizen and Sudan Tribune newspapers published congratulatory messages from a variety of organisations, including investors that could sincerely be seen as congratulating Lt-Gen. Kiir and, upto a certain extent, the Sudanese public for the achievement of the CPA.
One of these congratulatory messages said: "Congratulation to the President of GoSS and the people of Sudan for the 3rd commemoration of the signing of the CPA", (January 12th, 2008). Another message said: "Congratulations to 1st Vice-President of the Republic of Sudan and the President of South Sudan(,) H.E. Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the entire cabinet, State Governments and the people of South Sudan for efforts exerted to bring about a realistic peace in South Sudan", (January 15th, 2008).
Some of the readers would beg to disagree with this author and say he is trying to make a 'dome out of a spot' (an Arabic idiom: "beyes'aa an yakhliq min 'al habbah gubbah।'" This may be true in the sense that thinks like congratulatory messages are ignored by many readers. They are regarded by some readers as a waste of their reading time.
However, conflict resolution and management does take minute details like this into consideration। It normally advises for consideration of statements before they are made and respecting each other's values in those statements for mutual respect to thrive. This generates 'respect of each other's official positions in trying to resolve a conflict.'
"Values are beliefs or principles we consider to be very important. Serious conflicts arise when people hold incompatible values or when values are not clear. Conflicts also arise when one party refuses to accept the fact that the other party holds something as a value rather than a preference", (http://www2.ctic.purdue.edu/KYW/Brochures/ManageConflict.html).
Some statements do breed mistrust in communities and in our case, partnerships. Congratulatory messages are official statements made by important members of the public; be they in government, civil society organisations, multi-national national investment companies, the public and private sectors, political organisations and individuals within the community. Statements like the two quoted from the daily newspapers are considered by conflict managers as structural conflicts in the making.
Observing the two quotes, however, one would realise that the President of the Republic and his 2nd Deputy are not congratulated for this important CPA achievement. This would obviously raise more questions than answers; because the CPA came into existence through the efforts of both the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM/A) and the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). SPLM/A cannot claim victory over the achievement of the CPA in the absence of its partner, the NCP, with whom it negotiated and signed the Naivasha agreement.
Viewing such incomplete public messages from the conflict resolution and management point of view, there is inconsistence with the laid down rules or procedures that guide the process of conflict resolution and management. In conflict management and resolution, once a conflict is identified, an appropriate method of resolution is sought out from those laid down for practice. In the case of Sudan, the conflict was identified long ago, an appropriate method(s) chosen and an agreement now known as the CPA was already negotiated and signed. Any signed agreement, thus, has its own unique basis for management.
Managing an already settled conflict is different from managing an on-going conflict. In management an on-going conflict, there are five steps. These steps are: Analyze the conflict; Determine management strategy; Pre-negotiation; Negotiation; Post-negotiation", (http://www2.ctic.purdue.edu/KYW/Brochures/ManageConflict.html).
But managing an already settled conflict as in Sudan's CPA, there are a number of CPA organs developed, including the Government of National Unity (GoNU), GoSS and State Governments. These include commissions and institutions and they are all charged with the duty of protecting and implementing the CPA. Protection and implementation of the CPA is the management of the settled conflict in the Sudan. The CPA dominates the country's Interim National Constitution (INC) and the INC empowers the governments to establish law and order, including Special Forces in the country now known as the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs).
The duty of these forces is to defend and respond to any threats – internal or otherwise – against the people of the Sudan, GoNU and the CPA. The law enforcements agencies which are supposed to be developed by the governments are supposed to maintain law and order and report any local and/or national violations to the CPA. This is management of the settled conflict in the Sudan.
These violations to the CPA could come from any of the partners: SPLM/A or NCP, depending on who decides to take the first move to do so. The supporters of both parties, too, could send serious messages across the public aimed at bringing about mistrust between the partners to the CPA. If they did, like it was witnessed by the Sudanese public when the SPLM/A withdrew from the GoNU, the partners had to resort to dialogue as one of the method(s) they chose before the negotiations. "Former southern rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement on Thursday suspended their participation in the national government because of Khartoum's failure to implement a peace deal. 'Our participation in the government is frozen until we can find a solution to our differences with the north', adds a Senior SPLM/A official in Khartoum who refused to be mentioned by AFP, (http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/15385.html).
However, the most important aspect of the CPA in the Sudan is that it sustains itself and overcomes all kinds of stubbornness and such would be – as it were already said – 'an agreement to emulate.' This did not come out of nothing but through very serious and genuine efforts made by the conflict resolution and management experts and capable mediators like the East and Horn of Africa Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its friends.
Conflict Management mechanisms should have been reactivated by the partners to identify the reasons for SPLM/A withdrawal from GoNU and reasons for NCP's failure to implement the CPA? This could be managed by forming a committee or committees from both parties to investigate the allegations and those found guilty must be brought to book, made to apologise and forgiveness adopted by the leadership of both parties for the CPA to move ahead. One hopes that forgiveness, the basis for reconciliation, must have been exercised by the CPA partners to overcome their differences that cracked deep into their relationship.
Assuming that forgiveness was indeed exercised during the resolution of the conflict between the CPA partners, one question is important: why on earth should anyone, head of an organisation or private investor in his/her normal brains try to discredit Al Bashir as the President of the Sudan from the success of the very agreement when he gave orders to his Deputy at the time to reach an agreement with the SPLM/A rebels?
With the CPA there is no First Vice-President without the President. Those who are encouraging the existence of the First Vice-President and President of GoSS in the absence of the President or SPLM/A in the absence of NCP are doing this deliberately and this deliberate act of trying to disassociate or discredit the President of the Republic and his 2nd Deputy from the CPA success could develop into another constitutional problems: another tension unnecessarily created by what could be understood as 'disrespect to the partnership' that could likely lead towards another constitutional disaster.
The chiefs of those organisations and private investors whether based in the South or in the North and are bent on widening rather than narrowing the gap of mistrust between the CPA partners should live up to the responsibility of considering themselves as partners in the CPA implementation. They should use statements that promote good relations between the CPA partners. This is a duty call, which all the Sudanese people must accept if the CPA is to be fully implemented.
It was made clear by the architects of the CPA: Dr Garang de Mabior and Ali Osman Muhammad Taha that the CPA has become a property of the Sudanese people. "I would like to offer my congratulations, not only to the good General, but especially to Vice-President Taha and Dr Garang for their determination, their patience, their dedication to making sure that there was a successful outcome to this negotiation", Colin L. Powell, US Foreign Secretary, Inter-continental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, January 8th, 2005", one day before the celebrations marking the signing of the CPA. (http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2005/40461.htm).
Indeed, the CPA has become part and parcel of the country's INC. Having become the property of the Sudanese people, the CPA cannot be implemented by the partners alone. Instead it is the CPA partners' duty to provide guidance and resources for CPA implementation by the Sudanese people, the Church, civil society organisations and certainly the press.
It is not long ago since this country passed through one of its difficult constitutional crisis: the withdrawal of the SPLM/A from GoNU. This crisis has come to an end after the CPA partners sat down and ironed out their differences. This thus means that the resolution of the crisis had addressed the problems that caused the differences in the first place. This also means that the partnership is now in a position to learn from its past mistakes and do all that it has within its power to discourage those Sudanese who are bent on disappointing the NCP as a partner with the aim of discrediting it from within what it is already a player: the CPA.
Those who really want to congratulate H.E. Kiir on the achievement of the CPA and intend to discredit Al Bashir or his 2nd Deputy, Taha, should know that the positions that are being enjoyed by H.E. Kiir, that of the First Vice-President and President of GoSS are products of the CPA. In other words, the positions came as a result of the CPA, except that of SPLM Chairman and SPLA C-in-C.
Thus, those who want to discredit Al Bashir and Taha from the CPA may do so but without mentioning the entire Sudan as a country, First Vice-President and President of the South. That is to say, President, First Vice-President and President of GoSS and the Vice-President positions form the presidency that runs the Sudan as a country. They should use other titles of H.E. Kiir like Chairman and C-in-C of the SPLM/A. But trying to use positions created by the CPA, a document which was produced by two parties while totally disregarding and ignoring the other party, is nothing more than chaos. Disrespect to the CPA and INC is chaotic and should be avoided always. If not, it could reignite the fires of mistrust that the partners are trying day and night to put off.