Articles and Analysies
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Aug 3, 2008 - 9:10:52 AM






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Tharwat Gassim



To be or not to be ….. this is the question facing Sudan during the coming presidential election. If you want Sudan to be, then vote for Silvakiir. If you want Sudan not to be, then do not vote for him. It is as simple, straight-forward and well-defined as that.It does not need private afternoon lessons to comprehend.The writing is on the wall, for all to see and ponder.


My friend was emphatic and so sure of his position that I was carried away by his enthusiasm in selling his ideas . Words were gushing out of his mouth, like a Darfur flash flood during the rainy season.

We were sitting under the shade of a large Tabaldi tree outside the entrance to the refugee camp in Eltina village in Eastern Chad, a stone’s throw from the Sudanese border. My friend is from the Gezira province in Northern Sudan , who emigrated to France some three decades ago , and made a  fortune in the  business of computerized telecommunication systems.In the autumn of his life, he is spending a considerable part of his time and fortune on humanitarian and relief work in Darfur and South Sudan.


I asked him to be more explicit, and to give me solid reasons why I should vote for Silvakiir in the coming presidential election.He sat straight in his chair, looked me in the face , and started enumerating the reasons why all Sudanese , and not only myself , should vote for Silvakiir.


I will attempt to summarize his reasons in the following points:


First:    The forthcoming presidential election will be held , nationwide , during the year 2009.Both the North and the South will participate in it.However, the 2011 plebiscite on the separation/unity of the South from/with the North, as foreseen by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ( CPA ) will be open to Southerners  only, to the exclusion of the Northerners.In the North, there is an overwhelming majority in favour of unity . In the South, there is an overwhelming majority in favour of separation.Furthermore, the number of Northerners is more than three times the numbers of Southerners, nationwide. We hope that a sizable number of Northerners and the majority of Southerners will vote for Silvakiir in the presidential election in the year 2009.If Silvakiir becomes president of Sudan, it will be illogical to expect the Southerners to vote for separation in the 2011 plebiscite.Even the die-hard secessionists , who are in the majority in the South, will find it difficult  to vote for separation in the 2011 plebiscite.They simply cannot,   with Silvakiir seated in the presidential palace in Khartoum.Therefore , by electing Silvakiir as President in the year 2009, the unity-prone Northerners will block the road to the separation-prone Southerners in the 2011 plebiscite.In other words, the presidential election in the year 2009 is an advance plebiscite for separation/unity , but nationwide. It will be involving, in addition to the Silvakiir-supporting Southerners,   the unity-prone Northeners , who are more than threefold as many as the Southerners. If Silvakiir is elected President in the year 2009, the result of the 2011 plebiscite will be a foregone conclusion.Therefore, if you want to block and defeat the secessionist Bagan Amoums in the South and the Eltayeb Mustafas in the North, just vote for Silvakiir in the year 2009. If ,as a Northerner, you vote for Silvakiir as president in the year 2009, you are actually voting for unity in the year 2011 plebiscite.I think this is a very cheap price to pay to keep Sudan as one country. Otherwise, and if you, as a Northerner do not vote for Silvakiir as president, then the secessionists in the South will win in the year 2011, to be followed by the secessionists in Darfur and other regions.Sudan will distintegrate into several countries, just like ex-Yugoslavia and the ex- Soviet Union.Therefore, as a patriotic Northerner, keep Sudan as one country by voting for Silvakiir as president in the year 2009.


Second: According to the CPA, the 2011 plebiscite is the first and last such plebiscite. No other such plebiscite will be held in the future. It is the first and last chance. Unity-prone Northerners, who are in the majority nationwide should not let this only chance , for keeping Sudan as one country, slip from their hands. They should seize it   and influence the outcome of the once   and for all 2011 plebiscite by voting for Silvakiir in 2009.I   call on the unity-prone Northeners not to miss this historic and only chance, to keep Sudan united. Northerners should therefore look to the 2009 presidential election as a plebiscite for unity ( vote for Silvakiir )   or separation ( do not vote for Silvakiir ).


Third: Religion should not play any role in the politics of a multi-religious country. Otherwise, it will be a recipe for trouble and civil war.The dark and gloomy era of the mujahideens in the South is gone and for ever. Moslems should remember that :

To you your religion, to me my religion….

No compulsion in religion……

He who so wishes may believe, he who so wishes may not believe…..

Religion is a personal matter between the individual concerned and his God. The Sudanese constitution guarantees the freedom of religious beliefs. If Silvakiir, the Christian, is elected President, it will not be the first time in the history of Sudan. Following independence, Sirisrio Iro was President of the Sovereignity   Council for a rotating term, and thus president of Sudan.There are many other precedents . In predominantely Hindo India , the president is Moslem and the prime minister is Sikh. No wonder that India continues to be an oasis of civil peace, mainly because of the peaceful co-existence between its religions.In Senegal, which is 95% Moslem, its first president , after independence , was Leopold Senghor, a Christian.Again, Senegal has never witnessed civil strifes nor wars.In Sudan , we should emulate the example of these two peaceful countries and vote a Christian as our president in the year 2009.


Fourth: All the problems of Sudan which led to civil strife and civil wars, was a conflict between the fringes and the centre, between the haves and the haves-not, between the marginalized and the power-wielding dominant Northern elites . Silvakiir was a freedom fighter who fought in support of the just cause of the marginalized   in the South, the Nuba mountains , the Blue Nile and Darfur.If you elect a marginalized person ( Silvakiir)   to be president of Sudan, you simply take a pin and pierce the inflated ballon of civil strife, and regionally-based injustices in Sudan.Nobody will dare take arms against the centre with Silvakiir as president of Sudan.The presidency will symbolize the fringes and the marginalized.Civil strife will automatically   cease. Peace will follow with development in its wake. Silvakiir as president will be a harbinger for a peaceful Sudan. In the year 2009 and as a Northerner, you have to choose between peace ( vote for Silvakiir) or civil strife ( do not vote for Silvakiir).


Fifth: In the new Sudan, citizenship is the sole criterion   for rights and obligations. No ethnicity, no tribes, no regional affiliations. All Sudanese are equal. If you , as a Northerner, elect Silvakiir as president, you deal a deadly blow to the black demons of ethnicity, tribalism and regional sectarianism. Who will dare accuse the Sudanese of being ethnicity-aware, or tribally-oriented or regionally-biased   with Silvakiir as their president. Do away with such demons by electing Silvakiir as your president.


Sixth: Sudan has long been in the black list of terror-supporting rogue and demonized states. It is boycotted by the USA and other European countries. With Silvakiir as president, the gates of Sudan will be wide open to American and European investments and tourism. This new bonanza should create thousands of new jobs and jump-start the moribund economy.If you are an idle or semi-idle Northerner, vote for Silvakiir to acces a new job and a dignified life.


Seventh: The election of Silvakiir as president should not preclude Arab and Moslem investments and assistance to Sudan. Look at Lebanon, where the Christians are less than a third of the population, but you have a Christian president, half of the cabinet of ministers are Christian and half the members of Parlement are Christian.But inspite of this strong Christian flavour, the Arab investments and direct   grants pour to Lebanon in the millions. At the ( request ) of the USA , the Arab countries will surely continue and even increase their investments/assistance in the new Sudan under Silvakiir. When President Nemeiri wanted anything from his Arab brothers , he invariably asked his American friends to intervene, on his behalf. And always with positive results. But silence was the answer if he requested them directly.


Eighth: Silvakiir may not have the charisma of the late Dr. John Garang, nor the intellectual vigor and saintly qualities of Imam Elsadig, nor the political cunning of Sheik Elturabi, nor the analytical capabilities of Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, nor the ruthelessness of the Inkaz hyenas, but he has one very rare quality in Sudanese politics. His integrity is intact. He is clean, including all the manifestations of this one magic word. He is CLEAN. He listens more than he talks. He surrounds himself with top-notch advisers ( Elmoalem for one ). He has a quiet temperament and is not prone to confrontations which further complicate , rather than solve problems. He is committed to a one, united , secular, democratic Sudan, where the centre and the fringes are at peace with each other. He is not a maked lame duck, but his face stands very high above his shoulders.He will be a boon to the new Sudan. Vote for Silvakiir to get back your lost dignity and self-respect.Vote for him to bring back , from the deep depths of history, the glories of : the princes of Kerma, the pharaon Tirhagha, the queen Kindaka, Imam Elmahadi and of  his grandfather Ali Abdellatif.


Nineth:   The Abbyei simmering conflict may blow up in the face of the Northerners and Southerners,  and be the start of a civil war that will be worse than the North/South two decades- long civil war , where more than two million died a useless death.Such a new civil war is bound to be more devastating, because of the highly improved killing efficiency of modern weapons.Just look at the Ethiopian/Eritrean after-separation civil war, over a barren stretch of land , where not a blade of grass grows. With the petroleum-rich Abbyei , it will be cataclysmic.But if Silvakiir is president , the /South and the North will be in one Sudan. The problem of Abbyei will just vanish into thin air.Save hundreds of thousands of future deaths in the Abbyei region and in Southern Kordofan  , by voting for Silvakiir.


Tenth: The conflict in Darfur has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of displaced refugees. The Darfur conflict is bound to go from bad to worse   with the possible indictment of President Elbashir, which is now in the offing.The armed Darfuri rebels have confidence in Silvakiir. He speaks their ( fringe ) language.He is one of  them . Darfur will disappear from the international radar once Silvakiir is sworn in as President of Sudan. Save Darfur by voting for Silvakiir as president.


To conclude, if you vote for Silvakiir , you will have the Silvakiir cake with a ( cerise ) on top of it ( Elmoalem ). Two for the price of one. Can you find a better deal ??


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