Dr. Toby Madut Parek on: Unity & Struggle's History in Sudan BY Almansour Jaffer
سودانيزاونلاين.كوم sudaneseonline.com 3/11 4:03pm
National Unity between Capital's verssions centrism and people struggle in South & North with special refrance to the history of 60/70 's War & Peace
This a part of Sudanvisson interview with Dr. Toby Madut Parek;
In 1968, I became a member of Parliament and I stayed until Nimeiri took over in 1969. During that time, I had a difficult time because I belonged to a party called Sudan African National Union, SANU. When Nimeiri took over we stayed for a short time out of prison but in 1970 we were arrested and we were detained in Daba and we stayed there for about three months... then we were able to come into agreement with Nimeiri that he would give in for a decentralized Sudan. Nimeiri said he was going to listen to our programme of federal system of Sudan as projected by SANU.
At that time we were also lucky to have very wise and practical brothers from the North, people very qualified... academicians... and they were Dr. Jaafar Mohammed Ali Bakhiet and Dr. Mansour Khalid. They worked with us jointly to bring an understanding between the North and South and they worked very much to push the idea of reaching an agreement in Addis Ababa. Prominent in the list from the South were Abel Alier, Samuel Aru Bol, Hilary Paul Logali, Luigi Adwok and myself. We worked very hard with other colleagues in the provinces and with other colleagues in some institutions in the North and we achieved in 1972, the Addis Ababa Agreement.
Q.: What is the name of your present political party? Is it still SANU?
A.: It is SANU. I believe that SANU should go to the roots. To go back to its history. SANU was the first party advocating this federal system of government in the Sudan. It was the first party to put it in writing in many occasions including the Round Table Conference of 1965.
It was the first party to mobilize particularly the Southerners for this idea. You would remember, even in the bush the founders were later William Deng Nhial, late Joseph Oduho and late Father Saturnino Ohure. The three men were the first to speak about the decentralized system of government and federal system of government, during the time when Southerners were discontented. They left the country in 1960s and established SANU abroad.
Q.: Let us come to the current politics dominating the talks in Khartoum, in the country as a whole and abroad. This is the South-South dialogue. What do you say about this proposed dialogue?
A.: I think South-South dialogue is a good thing. People will come together. We have many things in common. Before colonialism, Southerners had been living together. Whether they are tribes, whether they are religious people, whether they are rural people, whether they are cattle rearers, whether they are farmers, they have been together ever since. What is available today, if there are conflicts among them, most of these conflicts are tribal.
Most of these conflicts are caused by poverty. People are poor. There are no projects. So I personally feel that it is the duty of the government. It is the duty of the civil societies organizations. It is the duty of politicians to bring people together so that they can live together, work together and build common interests. I don't think that this is difficult.
Today, in Khartoum if you could visit the displaced people, Equatorians, Bahr Al Ghazalians, Upper Nileans are living together, even with their own brothers in the North here.
Q.: You have once talked about the need for the Sudan remaining a united country. Is this your personal viewpoint or that of your party?
A.: This is the viewpoint of our party, SANU since it was formed in 1964 by late William Deng Nhial, late Joseph Oduho and late Father Saturnino Ohure. Later on when it was established in the country in 1965 by late William, it was registered officially and the programme has ever since been unity of the Sudan. Late William and other leaders like Samuel Aru Bol and other leaders who lost their lives in the struggle have been working and they brought together many Sudanese groups together.
They managed to bring the Nuba, they managed to bring the Beja, they managed to bring the Southern Blue Nile and they managed to bring even the Darfurians together with us. It is known by people like Father Philip Gaboush, people like Direig and people like Nadi Tanjur from Southern Blue Nile. Direig comes from Darfur, Philip Abbas comes from Nuba Mountains and even those people who come from Beja areas were members from that group.
They were calling to come together. That people who were left backward should come together in order to call for their rights as strong people within a united Sudan... this has been our programme. We feel that the Sudan is for all of us.
This has been our programme... that we must work so that we are equal. We have shared same things during the colonial days, we have experienced and have inherited the same institutions in the government, the executive. So this has been my call and this is still our call today for a federal system of government with more powers.
The call today is that Southerners, people from Nuba Mountains, people from Beja, people from Darfur,... they have been calling that there is every inadequate share in power, inadequate share in building cultures and traditions.
There is cultural marginalization, there is traditional marginalization and there are the three very important issues which we want to solve. We should solve the problem of inadequate share of wealth, inadequate share of power and cultural marginalization.
There must be freedom of religion, freedom of tradition and all must work together as Sudanese. I would like to quote our brother Martin Luther King Jr. from America when he said, "Unless we learn to live together as brothers, we shall die together as fools." And this is what we are saying. "Sudan must learn to live together as brothers otherwise they will die together as fools.
Q.: Dr. Toby, you have survived a lot of historical events in the Sudan after independence. What advice can you give to our present and future political leaders so that they do not commit the same mistakes done by their predecessors, the mistakes you have been enumerating?
A.: I would like the Sudanese, whether they are in the government or in opposition or whether they are in the parties or they are leaders of civil society organizations, they must always work, or have the visions and dreams of the Sudanese people, that they are one people, one Sudan, one nation. These should be the dreams.
In our walks of life are we doing this? I am saying, we are not doing it. We would like to see in the government, all the doors of all the ministries are open to all Sudanese that they have the same opportunities whether they are coming from the west, from the south, from the east, from the north. They should have the same opportunities.
I would like to say also that all these things, whether they are political, economical, social or cultural, are [to be] respected. We should see these spirits, these dreams are translated into action. And this can only be done by us committing ourselves to these dreams and this mission
To get the full speech, please, hit the link: http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=378