Kiir stood to his pledge of no reverse gear/
BY MAJOK NIKODEMO AROU
The speech delivered by First Vice President, President of GoSS and SPLA/M Chairman Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit at Juba stadium on Jan.09, to mark the second anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), was historic as he boldly made public more aware about enormous challenges facing the implementation of the CPA.
But the truth is the masses were not actually living in a fool’s paradise. They already knew that the ruling partner, the National Congress Party (NCP) is being steered by hawks who cannot at all breed doves unless under sustained genuine international pressure. They are dead set to stifle the CPA gradually but slowly in adept manner to avoid the international wrath.
Kiir categorically cited the security and demarcation of the north-south borders as main issues plaguing the CPA.
“The first dividend of peace is security and development, which so far has not been achieved”, Kiir added.
He disclosed that the continuous military support from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to various armed groups in Southern Sudan, including the Ugandan rebels, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) is still alarming.
This support culminated in tragic confrontation between the SPLA and SAF in Malakal town, where more than 130 people were killed and several others injured.
Other sporadic incidents in which several civilians were also killed occurred along the Juba-Torit, Juba-Nimule and Juba- Bor roads. The SPLA stepped up security at those roads. They arrested 15 members of SAF, who are members in the Joint Integrated Units.
Kiir noted “The security situation in Western Bahr El Ghazal (WAU) remains volatile and can erupt at anytime due to SAF’s logistical support to the pro-Khartoum militia commander Tom El Nour’, he said, indicating “The People Defence Forces, Fursan and Ambororo militias are settling in Raga area, displacing the citizens from their land”.
He said, “The oil fields in Bentiu area and Eastern Upper Nile are increasingly becoming breeding grounds for inevitable military show-down between the SAF, its proxy militia against the SPLA forces, given the policy of Ministry of Energy of creating the so called “Petroleum Police Force”.
Observers and the SPLA/M were quite aware that the NCP stooped to conquer when they signed the CPA in Naivasha in 2005. Hence, it is the culture of “Too many agreements dishonoured”, at play.
They (SAF) swiftly pulled out from Equatoria and many parts of Bahr el Ghazal states to leave the proxy militias complete the job! But the SAF instead beefed up their presence at the oil zones and Darfour.
The tactics of the NCP hawks are NO surprise to the SPLA/M. May be at best they are settling an old score and at worst they are adamant to see the SPLA/M “Fray at the edges”.
However, pro NCP press did not spare a chance to criticise Kiir bitterly as they maintained that the differences between the partners should have been tackled and dealt with by the parties in indoor meetings. On record, the NCP at the highest level, openly rejected the Abyie Borders Committee (ABC) report compiled by the experts, claiming that they had exceeded their powers. The findings were not discussed in indoors meetings as they claim now, but they went immediately to the press when late SPLA/M Chairman Garang was still alive. He then replied “the ABC report is binding and other political issues could be settled by the partners”. A policy followed by his successor Kiir.
Smear campaign against the SPLA/M has been a common issue in the Sudanese press, particularly pro NCP press. Do all these depict spirit of partnership and promotion of peace?!
Recently a fabricated press released has been carried by sudaneseonline in the name of the SPLA/M, flaying the speech delivered by Kiir. Just guess who wrote it!! They are firing on all cylinders.
Angered by the logical charges made by Kiir in a rally at Juba stadium, GoNU President Omar Hassan Ahmed El Beshir put his original speech aside. Then he began to slam and put the blame squarely on the SPLA/M, citing that they have delayed the implementation of the CPA.
Beshir who just visited mausoleum of late Garang, pointed out that he paid $US60 million to late SPLA/M leader Dr. John Garang De Mabior to accelerate arrival of the SPLA/M members in Khartoum to commence the implementation of the CPA. In fact, Beshir was actually insinuating that Garang had embezzled the amount- a charge that angered the SPLA/M leaders and supporters as well across the globe. Immediate probe was ordered by GoSS to substantiate the claim and whether Garang had actually embezzled the amount.
Even before the commencement of probe, authentic reports are surfacing that Garang didn’t embezzle the amount.
These series of posthumous claims were first initiated by veteran politician Bona Malwal Madut, for a reason or another, when he alleged in London weeks in the wake of Garang’s death that he had embezzled $US400 million paid to him by Beshir and Ali Osman.
Figures, however, fluctuated months later when Ali Ismail Al Atabani, of Sudanese local daily Al Rai Al A’m (Pro-NCP) alleged that Garang was carrying $US50million aboard the ill fated plane. He (Ali) argued that either the amount got burnt during the chopper crash, or were snatched by Ugandans!
In fact, Beshir for the first time revealed to the Sudanese media persons working abroad gathering (NCP talk show) at the Friendship hall in Khartoum on Aug.26, 2006, that he had ordered payment of $US60 million to Garang to accelerate the CPA implementation process. He made that posthumous charge when he was asked by a Sudanese journalist a (southerner) about glaring delays in implementation of the CPA.
Five months later, Beshir became similarly furious when Kiir put forward violations of militias, serious delays in the implementation of CPA, intentional delay of the borders demarcation to establish actual oil share of South Sudan and delay in the implementation of the Abyie protocol.
Exactly as he declared at Juba stadium, Beshir told the media-persons working abroad at the Friendship hall that the experts had exceeded their delegated powers in regard to the ABC report.
The attitude shown by President Beshir is not only worrying, but it is the tip of the iceberg. Whenever reminded about the delays in implementation of the CPA, he became furious.
Al Dirdiri Mohammed Ahmed, an MP and former diplomat, told the media different story, saying the implementation of the CPA got delayed because Kiir stays frequently in Juba!! Another NCP official will soon come up with another version.
No doubt, the campaign being waged by the NCP hawks and press is a systematic character assassination that targets the SPLA/M leadership and legacy. Let’s wait, Beshir’s grand uncle, El Tayeb Mustafa, of Al Intibaha local daily (pro-NCP) will soon come up with fresh issue to tarnish the SPLM. Known for his blatant racial propagation, Mustafa has vowed to wipe the floor with the SPLM (reports say he doesn’t sleep before cursing the SPLM).
This is happening at a time of unjustified absence of the SPLA/M in the Sudanese media. Kiir himself groaned that the media is totally controlled by the NCP. Wonders will never cease, what on earth is the Ministry of Radio and Television being headed by Samson Kwaji, was set up for. Will the party preach its vision across the country without owning its own media? How would our local people across the south, the Nuba mountains, the Ingessna and other marginalised areas of Sudan, whose the SPLA/M rose their hopes perceive such an absence.
As population census and elections are approaching, setting up of formidable media body would be extremely required otherwise GoSS efforts will end up in vain.
Leaving the political arena to the NCP, has spurred them to draw nearer to wreak havoc around our capital city Juba.
Let’s hope the speech delivered by Kiir at Juba stadium would be a wake up call to the trumpeted SPLA/M whose NCP hawks unceasingly seek to take flourish off from them.
Yes challenges facing our infant GoSS are huge, but having strong media machine will help GoSS tremendously as it will get messages across to the grassroots. The SPLA/M know what it takes to leave our masses being constantly fed with fabrications of the NCP!!
As Kiir was concluding his historic speech at Juba stadium, the State Minister for Presidential Affairs, Telar Deng, was telling pro- NCP, Sudan Media Centre that the CPA was implemented by 90 per cent (sudantribune/ Wednesday 10 January 2007).
If that percentage was at all true, Kiir would not have delivered that speech at Juba stadium.
The SPLA/M supporters were perplexed why Telar was downplaying frank historic and much applauded speech made by the Chairman Kiir. Now crunch queries are being made whether Telar has a foot in both camps!!
The author can be reached at [email protected]