Articles and Analysies
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie But Not On the Way of Others: Reply to Dr. Gandul’s Critique of Okuk on the Case of Transitional Areas By James Okuk
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Feb 1, 2009 - 11:50:35 AM

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie But Not On the Way of Others: Reply to Dr. Gandul’s Critique of Okuk on the Case of Transitional Areas


*By James Okuk


I went critically through Dr. Gandul Gandul’s response to the two articles I wrote about the Transitional Areas (Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States of Northern Sudan and Abyei Area that is under the jurisdiction of the interim Presidency of the Sudan) and would like to reply it in the following paragraphs and with due respect to the truth and logic. Let Dr. Gundul know that I follow this principle whenever I find it necessary to write on an issue, a problem, a person or an object: praise what is praise-able and condemn what is condemnable without prejudice or bias on any basis. This principle comes from old biblical teaching of “An Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth” and new one of “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” I apply the same principle when I evaluate myself. Let the doctor know it well that he has provoked the best critical ideas out of a fish eater.


To begin with, I would like to thank Dr. Gandul for taking his time to read my two articles and respond to them elaborately. He presented his critique eloquently but unconvincingly as far as logic and truth is concerned. From some of his statements, it became overt that he is one of the people of the Transitional Areas who do not wish further success of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), especially its eschatological end of Self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan. He successfully proved my point that the patriotic Southerners should never sympathize with the Sudanese who want to spoil the CPA (even if they are black in skin and uncurled in hair) like Darfuris, Nubas and Funjs. From what he wrote, it was clear that the doctor is comprehensively ignorant of the spirit, letter and terms of references of the CPA. This lack of understanding is understandable because this Permanent-Head-Damage (PhD) holder does not value the CPA and he is not happy to see it alive and kicking for a period of four years now. He lives in a world apart from Okuk, the student of Permanent-Head-Development (PhD) who values very much the CPA and finds happiness in it.


Dr. Gandul was uncomfortable with my articles because he thinks they are insultive and provocative to the peoples of Transitional Areas. The author failed to grasp that Mr. James Okuk and the patriotic Southerners have been provoked by “some dull opportunists” who said and who still say that the CPA is a betrayal to Nubas and Funjs and should be adjusted to make them happy in the expense of hard-earned right of the people of Southern Sudan . And if the adjustment is not done, the people of Transitional Areas will create a ‘ Kashmir ’ to become a pricking thorn in the skin of the South. By his article, Dr. Gandul indirectly issued himself an identity card of the “some dull opportunists” I was talking about because he is saying “CPA is a misnomer that needs to be rectified.” I am happy that my net has caught one of the hidden big fishes under the water and I am now more convinced that what I wrote was not idealistic utopia but a realistic pragmatism.


Dr. Gandul forgot that Southerners have categorically spoken out in Machakos in 2002 and in Naivaisha between 2003 – 2004 that they have had enough of cheating about the desire for their independence in 1947, 1972 and 1997 and will never succumb to any further cheating even from the people who were in the same trenches with them, sharing the burdens of liberation struggle. This categorical imperative was supported by the Sudanese Catholic Bishops who wrote a memo to Sudan government that enough is enough for the suffering of the people of South Sudan ; they must be allowed to choose and go for their desired destiny.


If the “dull opportunists” of Transitional Areas want to rectify the CPA to fit their interests, let them go for their own war with Khartoum so that they could negotiate a separate agreement like what the Darfuris are trying to achieve now. But let these ‘former comrades’ get it well into their heads that patriotic Southerners will be in the same trenches with the Northerners who believe in defending the CPA before the divorce time in 2011. The case of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) abortive attempt to capture Khartoum last year is a fresh example to site here. The SPLA and SAF stood together to defeat and chase away the JEM with Dr. Khalil running like a dog with a tail tacked between the legs. He has tasted the bitterness of attempting to become the President of the Sudan , using the barrels of rebel guns rather than civilians democratic ballots. Dr. Khalil lost many young Zaghawas and the astute gentleman (lawyer) of his Islamic rebel movement shamefully.


If Dr. Gandul still does not sense it up to the day, let him rest assured that the ‘Delusive New Sudan Ideology’ has been buried in Machakos Protocol, where the problem of the SPLM/A with the Sudan government was defined as the “Problem between the South and the North” and that of “Un-separated Islamic Religion and Arab Race from the State Affairs.” These were put into details in Naivasha in the form of the “Agreement on Wealth Sharing” and “Protocol of Power Sharing” and “Agreement on Security Arrangements” between the South and the North. Since the NCP refused to abandon their NIF agenda of Islamization and Arabization, they were allowed to keep it alive in states of Northern Sudan only with respect to Non-Muslims rights in the Capital, Khartoum . The Case of the Transitional Areas was only named as “Conflict Resolution” (See the wordings of the Protocols that concern Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States and Abyei Areas in the CPA). Therefore, I expected that the “dull opportunists” would understand the diplomatic wordings and their meanings in the CPA document to prove me wrong in calling them “dull.”


Nowhere is it stated in the CPA that the problem of the Sudan is a “Problem of Marginalization” though the “dull opportunists” like Dr. Gandul continue to say so, ignoring the prudence of the highly diplomatic and conflict resolution experts who mediated the peace talks between the SPLM/A and Sudan Government in Kenya. Do these dull opportunists understand the extent of vagueness of the concept of ‘Marginalization’ if it is not just a perception? ‘Marginalization’ is not an exclusive Sudanese problem because it is found in every corner of the world in many forms (race, gender, age or geography). Thus, it is unrealistic to stick to this fallacious concept. Even if it is attractive ideologically, it is empty practically. ‘Marginalization’ is a concept that the liars are comfortable with because it allows them to deceive the individuals and people who linger in poverty, disease and ignorance, and make these ‘destitutes’ as a ladder for climbing the highest hierarchy of government power in less developed countries. This is exactly what the architects of the New Sudan Ideology wanted to achieve but they have failed to reach their directionless destiny. This proves the wisdom that whoever does not know where he is from and where he is going will just be wandering as a genius for failure! The SPLM/A dull opportunists do not know where they are from and where they want to go and thus they are becoming geniuses of failure.


Thanks to the unwavering stand of the patriotic South Sudan veterans like H.E. Bona Malwal and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin who have stood with the interest of South Sudan and categorically stated it frankly and without any fear from intimidation that “Dignified South Sudan Destiny” is totally different from the ambiguous “New Sudan Ideology,” which is pregnant of equivocation and amphiboly fallacies. I admire and honour these high calibre intellectual veterans of Southern Sudan because of their unwavering political culture of standing on the side of truth and logic whatever the consequences and circumstances; they do not change their colours like chameleons nor do they bury their heads in the sand like Ostriches when there are hot issues and problems to resolve for the good of the people.


Dr. Gandur shamelessly calls the 1991 SPLM/A split as a defection of the separatist to Khartoum when the history of Modern Sudan has recorded it that the Nasir faction negotiated with the National Congress Party (NCP) what was called “Peace from Within” and shared the government with them based on 1997 Khartoum and Pashoda Peace Agreements, where it was recognized for the first time in the history of government of the Sudan that the people of Southern Sudan have the right for self-determination. This right was enshrined in 1998 Sudan Constitution most of whose parts were cut and pasted in 2005 Interim Constitution of the Sudan . However, the process of achieving this right could not materialize because of the sabotage by the SPLM/A mainstream and the international community, exactly like the sabotage the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Darfur are doing for 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, which is suffering from setbacks up to the day, not because it is a bad agreement but as it lacks international support. The sabotage and lack of international support became an incentive for the NCP to dishonour the 1997 peace agreements for Southern Sudan . But because the leaders who signed those agreements are faithful to their vision, they immediately went back to the rebellion bush where they re-merged with the SPLM/A between 2002 – 2003 based on some agreed declarations in Nairobi . This merger gave the SPLM/A the necessary South Sudan boost to be in a stronger and authoritative position during the CPA negotiations. Not only this, but also, the Khartoum and Pashoda Peace Agreements acted as helpful lively references and precedents for the SPLM/A proposals, especially in regard to the hurdle of the status of one country having two independent standing armies (SPLA and SAF) and obliging the Other Armed Groups to join either of the two legitimate sides. This was a new thing for international community to grasp if it were not for Dr. Lam and Dr. Riek.


The “dull opportunists” think that I am joking when I say that the people of Southern Sudan are so determined now than in any other point in their history to make sure that the “Brown Skinned and Curl Haired Northerners” do not divide and rule them infinitively any more. This is to prove the point that the “South Sudan Question” is not a good governance leadership, prima facie. Lexically and according to priority rule, this question is, first and foremost, the question of dignity of the people of Southern Sudan, which has been mystified by the chauvinistic Islamic and Arab elites at the echelons of Sudan government. If Dr. Gandul does not know how the black African Americans feels dignified and proud of having Obama in the Oval House in the Capitol Hill of the Washington DC, then he should go and conduct interviews with the “black garbage inhabitants” in USA to see how they feel good about black leadership without necessarily referring to good governance. They know that Obama will not give them food, drink, clothes, houses, education and other necessary basic services, but they are happy to have him as the first black President of the United States of America who have fulfilled Martin Luther Jr.’s prophesy. No more superiority or inferiority complexes because both the blacks and whites have become equals! So dear dull doctor, get assured that South Sudanese will know how to put their messed house in proper order once they have made sure that there are no strangers from the North (including Nubas) in the dark corners of Southerners home. If you think that having a colourless and hairless President in the Sudan is a dream of every Sudanese, then you have committed a fallacy of generalization because this is not my dream; unless you want to exclude me from the word ‘every.’


If the Dr. Gandul is not dull, how comes he fails to differentiate between the dissatisfaction of many people in Southern Sudan about the implementation of the CPA as a process and their satisfaction about the CPA as a document. Without doubt, most Southerners are very happy with the CPA document; it is only people like Dr. Gandul whose nerves hitch when they hear separation talks, who are unhappy about the CPA and happy to see it not implemented jointly and fully by its native partners (SPLM and NCP). For most Southerners, the CPA is a whole ladder to be climbed from its beginning up to its logical end and not only a step within a ladder as the “dull opportunists” look at it. The last step of this ladder is the Self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan that shall be exercised in a referendum under joint organization by Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A and international monitoring at the end of the six-year of the interim period according to Machakos Protocol of 2002. It is only after the last step that Southerners will kick off the CPA ladder. So, where is the dull doctor getting the guts to say that the issue of Self-determination is not yet settled?


The common citation of the dishonest title of Abel Alier’s book “Too Many Agreements Dishonoured” does not amuse me because I know that many of those who cite this title do not know exactly what the content of the book is. In that book Alier have not mentioned how many “too-many” agreements were dishonoured in the Sudan except the three known peace Agreements ( Addis Ababa , Khartoum and Pashoda). Are three agreements “Too Many Agreements”? Oh my goodness! The veteran judge and politician need to be taught additional mathematics. In my evaluation, Abel Aliers’ book suffers from factual fallacies of “Weak Induction” and “Unfounded Exaggeration,” especially the “Straw Man Fallacy” which is blindly used as ‘Slippery Slop’ by the antagonist of the Sudan government.


Of course, Southerners shall be very happy to welcome back their run-away brothers of Nine Ngok Dinka Chieftaincies of Abyei Area if they managed with other residents of this Area to attach it to the geography of South Sudan Country (if they choose so in their simultaneous referendum for self-determination). Once the “dignified destiny of the South” is achieved, surely the Southerners will invite their African brothers (including those who are citizens of the country of North Sudan or whatever name it will be given by its owners by then) to the feast of the new-born baby, but with a caution that the invited guests are not persona non grata. In African tradition of baby-feasts, you do not invite witches and evil-eyed people who are fatal threat to the life of a born child; you only invite neighbours with good hearts.


The bad hearted dull opportunists of the Transitional Areas wishes death for the CPA and South Sudanese desire for the dignity and pride from the independence from the old Sudan, where the Nuba people have been mocked by the former Sudanese socialist president as the people who are not fit to become leaders of the government except carries of toilet buckets. Hence, the name ‘Nuba’ in some towns of the Sudan carries bad connotation. It has been precipated in the sub-consciousness of some people of Transitional Areas that none than Jellaba in the Sudan are capable of ruling the country (including the forthcoming South Sudan) and so I am not surprised to see Dr. Gandul saying tacitly that Southerners are incapable to rule their own affairs without being unified with the North. If the truth is interpreted as an insult by the dull doctor, then their no point for me to feel guilty or irresponsible for having stated it in my own style of expression.


Any alliance with the people of Transitional Areas for the sake of democratic process for the independence of South Sudan is just an untenable aimlessness for a Southerner who understands what the CPA says and demands. Unless, it is an alliance for war of liberation for separation (which has been dispelled by diplomatic and political will for negotiation and implementation of the CPA), then it is just a useless and idle talk. Nubas and Funjs are not needed in the self-determination ballot boxes for Southern Sudan and Abyei Area; so why waste energy and resources of South Sudan for a needless alliance that has no significance at present or in future for the interest of South Sudan. If the dull opportunists of Transitional Areas do not know how to identify the North from the South, Islam from other religions and Arab race from African races in the Sudan as Dr. Gandur says, then let me assure him that the intelligent and prudent Southerners know how to do it.


Yes, it is known that the majority of the inhabitants of Northern Sudan are from African origins but unfortunately, most of them have already been Arabized and Islamized (including so many Nuba and Funj ethnic groups). It is an observable fact that many of their men wear Jellabiyas and most of their women wear Tobs with their names spelt exactly as Arab names (like Gandul, Yousif, Malik, Abdel Aziz, Mohamed, etc). Nonetheless, Southerners will not have a problem with northerners doing their best in the North; but they will have a problem with Northerners coming to meddle with the affairs and resources of Independent South.


If the Nuba and Funj Northerners chose creation of instability in their Northern Sudan and ran to the South for refuge, the people of South Sudan will welcome them as refugees and put them in camps until their insecurity problem is resolved. The UNHCR will also be there to assist them in the South Sudan country as long as they are unarmed civilians. Also the politicians and VIPs from troubled Transitional Areas who will seek political asylum in the South will also be welcomed as long as their case is justifiable. Not only this, but whoever will come from the north to the south and qualifies for South Sudan citizenship in accordance with the constitution will be allowed to become a Southerner by naturalization.


In conclusion, what I know so far is that the Delusive New Sudan Ideology has been buried in Machakos and Naivasha and whoever is attempting to dig the dead out from the grave is a witch looking for a curse. The New Sudan Ideologists wanted to remap the borders of the Sudan but they found it unrealistic and abandoned the attempts by allowing 1956 borders to pre-dominate. In one way or another, this is a respect for the African Declaration of Human and Peoples Rights and the AU Charter that respects the colonially drawn borders of independent countries. Mr. James Kok (nicknamed as We-the-Women and Whether-Chicken-Or-Egg) is not a deep Southern Sudanese thinker to cite for justifying the case of drawing new borders of the Sudan according to ‘Marginalization’ criterion. If the doctor is not dull, he would have better cited late Dr. John Garang de Mabior or any other astute liberation thinker. I wish all the Nuba and Funj people the best to survive in Northern Sudan in whichever way they choose; blessing of peace or hell of war. Southerners will not choose for them nor sympathize with them foolishly without any noble strategic reason. To end the debate, rest assured that Okuk does not write out of resentment or cynicism for anybody. He strongly believes that it is better to pour salt or any antiseptic into a wound even if it pains in the beginning, since this marks the beginning of healing process.


* James Okuk is a concerned Southern and a PhD student in the University of Nairobi . He can be reached at [email protected]


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