To paraphrase the question, why does His Excellency Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit abandons his First Vice Presidency position in
Khartoum? Well, the war that ended officially on the
9/1/2005 known as South-North Conflict has provisions that are so dear to the Southern Sudanese and the Marginalized in general. One of them is the position of the First Vice Presidency of the Republic among others. The SPLM Party as a negotiating body on behalf of the Marginalized people in the country got away with this slot. Dr. John Garang de Mabior who was hacked was made second to Sudanese President, Omar Hassen El Bashir on
July 9, 2007. After the accident (not incident) Gen. Kiir as nominee of the Movement (now party-SPLM) assumed same roles as his predecessor per the Interim Constitution of the
Sudan (Article 62: 1).
That was as derived from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) -Article 2:
). Gen. Kiir in the Presidency in that position fulfilled the obligation for the party and it was fantastic seeing our dear leader sitting close to the President of the Republic, as this is for the first time for the black man. Our people were very excited that their son is just a breath away from power (Presidency).
But wait a minute. What had happened thereafter is everybodyís guesses. We donít know up to this point whether Gen. Kiir has abdicated or simply abandoned his constitution duties where he took an oath and pledged allegiance before God and the Sudanese. He has conspicuously but also dangerously refused to stay in that position and had since moved to
Juba in another hat named as Southern Sudan Presidency. According to his aides and big shots around him, the head of our Government is heard loudly as protesting against what he called isolation in the Presidency. If we are to believe this story, then we have to answer this question: in which big way? I think we donít want to patch up stories that could just tell us about Abyei and oil production issues or differences over
Darfur as to peace and war. Everyone anywhere knows the SPLM position and the position of the National Congress Party (NCP).
Gen. Kiir and his team of advisors are playing out this for our disadvantage. If Gen. Kiir feels he couldnít stay in that position because of pressure from El Bashir and his Lieutenants then he better give it up and the party picks up another candidate to fill it up, period. There is no logic behind this underground withdrawal (decision) that leaves His Excellency Nafia Ali Nafia and His Excellency Dr. Mustafa Osman Ishmael to run the country under strict Islamic bigotry disciplines. There is no mandate from our laws that allow Islamic fundamentalists to poke their unpopular dirty policies unto our people. The position was bitterly negotiated and if at any point we want to give it up then we ought to see the following implications.
One, there is no justification to shout change, change and reform when ones sits outside the fence. Where will this change come from? If we feel like we couldnít change anything, we better be honest to ourselves and say enough is enough; its better we go separate ways. If that is the message from our President then he got it that wrong. The Interim Period is legally binding and anything like this would jeopardize our quest for freedom. This period prepares us for our good. Itís better we be honest.
We thought our man was only a lapse away to go as to power (Sudanese Presidency) where the majority of the Sudanese could shape their destiny without fear and intimidation. But we got a rude shock from our man in his unannounced withdrawal. Secondly, our people shall remain in an awkward if not in unstable state as decisions from the top would be forced on our throats without any query or objection. There is no absolute guarantee that all the laid out opportunities in the CPA are going to come our way when we run away from where decisions are being made. Take for example the Abyei Protocol. The National Congress Party (NCP) stalled it through their deadly tactics that would keep it unimplemented and therefore disqualify it to vote in 2011. Shouting at the top of our lungs wonít change the minds of the belligerent Islamists (NCP).
There is little hope through dialogue or peaceful settlement unless the SPLM goes for help somewhere. Going down on our knees to beg the NCP to relent, had made the NCP instead so hardened even to other provisions in the agreement. But how many times should the SPLM begs the NCP to honor this part of the agreement? Hundred times, thousand times? No! Abyei remains big stuff the party (SPLM) has shown us its true color-weakness. When people suggest an international arbitrary, the SPLM chose to casually sing it in rallies and press conferences as if people donít know their predicament to the same. Please our leaders, if you donít care about this land and people our people are tired of your lip service without any action as to Abyei. You are not doing much, you are like the NCP! Imagine if it was Abu Sala (Garang), he could have chip in one card (plan b or y) among his several. Oh, how I love this man in live and in death! We are beginning to loss a sleep something we havenít been used to. Our future is at stake.
The other is that,
Southern Sudan would not experience meaningful development if leaders chose to hide among Ďvulnerableí or Ďminorsí. When we have Dr. Lam Akol in Foreign Ministry we are now represented in more than 10 countries in the World and over 6o junior officers around several embassies around the world for first time. This is true to many other projects that are coming up from our very men and women in the Government of National Unity (GoNU). Dr. Tabitha Butrus Shokoya of Health and Dr. Peter Nyot Kok of Higher Education are leading in this process (charity begin at home).
Had it not for clear malevolency the road between Kosti- Nimule could have been started. Lt. Gen. Kuol Manyang isnít giving up yet. That is a fight worthy our time. But generally, we still complain of slow pace of development in the
Southern Sudan and other war affected areas in the
Sudan. Nothing is happening from Government side, be it Government of Southern
Sudan (GoSS) or GoNU. I will not stop saying it always. The limited change we could see in our major towns come from private players whether genuine or fake. Nothing virtually is about to happen as 50% goes straight to our back pockets in terms of salaries/payrolls.
Fifth, Gen. Kiir stay in
Juba shall generate him more personal enemies than when he shuttle between
Juba; he should allow the heaps of blame for governance to fall on his Vice (Dr. Machar) too. If anything, the recent rumor of his death indicates his insecurity as there couldnít be anything so vilest than wishing a leader death. But calling it forces against Peace is a burden to our thinking. Why? Because we are like equating an individual to this Godís given process (Peace). I think peace is larger and therefore we were right keeping our eyes fixed on our future other than Dr. Garang. Gen. Kiir is our leader and we pray for his safety and good physical and mental health.
The same is true to other key leaders such as Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Nhial Deng Nhial, James Wani Igga, Pagan Amum Oketch and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin etc.
Unless we resigned ourselves to fate and say the General Election wonít come to pass. If we think otherwise, then there is need for one our own to prepare for big things and Gen. Kiir could try it. You canít be in
Juba and hope to win an election on a silver plate.
Six, there is no ground to allow the NCP to go around claiming that our people abandon the position that has been allocated to the marginalized. Our decision to leave that position is itself violation of the CPA.
Khartoum is where election policies are drawn and that is also a place where policies of the country emanate. Majority of votes in the North is much larger than that of the South. How safe is the South, West and the East if we allowed others to decide for us? Therefore being there is strategic and crucial in many ways. If he thinks this isnít going to work, then he must answer this question: why did he accept to be nominated as Chairman of the SPLM when he knew he wouldnít match this position? CPA isnít dead/about to die or that there would be war, as him and others see it. Handlers of this document (CPA)-the party SPLM on top- are playing their cards very badly. Right approach and patience pays. We are two systems living side by side and there is no magic anywhere to change this now or after 4 years.
If Gen. Kiir leaves his
Khartoumís seat what of his other colleagues in the same Government? Why didnít he take them too- mass protest or resignation? Leaving them there isnít helpful. We wonít gain anything from isolating ourselves but constant engagement is the key. Our people paid heavy price for this seat and therefore mind boggling and unfair on the side of our dear leader. Hon. Yasir Saeed Harman suggestion for his Excellency visit to Northern States to assess damage caused by flood is another little diversionary meant to divert attention away from realities surrounding Gen. Kiirís position in the National Government.
Analysts or people on the know are saying Gen. Kiir persuasion didnít just come out of the blue. He had genuine grievances or bone to pick with the NCP, especially officials closed to President El Bashir. Gen. Kiir had at some point proposed his visit to
Darfur but the group bends the Presidentís mind to block this from happening. The other is the relationship between the United Nations Mission In Sudan (UNMIS) with the NCP on one hand and the NCP negative general view of the West on the other. The SPLM had at in some situations left to play no role in any of the decision pertaining in this relationship. The expulsion of the UNMIS Chief (Jan Pronk) had tremendous impact on this relationship. There is no space to highlight every issue in the CPA that have not been implemented. We are all aware of everything there, right? But to many Southern Sudanese, UNMIS is doing beautiful job in this country. They struck with their lines of work and never interfered in anyway in the affairs of the Country. They managed to handle professionally last week siege our gallant forces in
Southern Kordofan. It was a humiliation but a pointer to good things for our men/women in uniform (SPLA). Again it happened on Monday in
Khartoum where some SPLA men in the offices there were rounded/disarmed by police and some ended up in the cells. UNMIS has always been there. All those symptoms nevertheless must not discourage anyone, they are bound to happen.
The NCP has deliberately stopped the process of transforming the country into democratic country where all interests of everyone are considered regardless of their social or religion backgrounds. This is another place of contention. Everything has come to a stand still including that of our future prospect of the country (Elections and Referendum). This is so, because there are clear indicators of NCP dragging its feet in an attempt to scuttle the agreement (CPA). They are wrong and must not be allowed to get away unchallenged. Gen. Kiir got it right during his Secondly Opening of Southern Assembly, by focusing on the negative part of his Government. He goes ahead to carefully postulates fears surrounding peaceful political settlement of the
Sudan. It was good. Look we have just received last week a promise of fund for fifth Census from National Treasury. It remains as a promise and hence no guarantee. The border issues and the General Elections are not insight as far as preparations are concerned. The committee charged with this responsibility is under strict guidance from the NCP. He was at a point.
Here though comes the question: where do we go from here? Gen. Kiir is not alone as to these situations but his action of leaving all together his
Khartoum seat doesnít make sense; it may aggravate the situation far worst. Someone call it a pressure but I doubt whether it will yield anything fruitful. Running away/chicken out isnít the solution but staying put is.
It has been said always Ďwinners donít quit and quitters donít winí. Gen. Kiir shouldnít go back to
Juba but instead he needs to takes up his seat in
Khartoum and work together with Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed El Bashir. President El Bashir isnít a bad man.
His (Kiir) message last night of being in
Khartoum to quell potential unrest because of his theoretical killing wasnít satisfactorily.
For the party, the SPLM needs to bring on board Lt. Gen. Nhial Deng Nhial, Hon. Dr. Stephen Ali, Gen. Edward Lino Woor, Gen. Isaac Obote Mamur Mete and Gen. Abdul Aziz Adam El Hilu. I will talk a bit about the first person however. This is not the first time for this writer to highlight something about those men. These gentlemen represent seeds and face for the future. If they had faithfully stood behind the cause of our liberation in thick and thin, what would make them this time round betray the same objectives/causes they had proudly endured suffering, ridicules and hardship in the hands of those who have gone ahead of them now to buy land, businesses, houses and grow fat bank account and stomach overnight? The coming of these men (Nhial, Ali, Mamur, Lino and Aziz) on board would provide perfect change for the better. How and why? The said gentlemen have more than enough to put back live in to the CPA. Our current leaders to be exact are time maximizers and not future organizers. You know what I mean there, donít you? Everyone strives for an individualist outlook. Collective care is lost. I mourn for our lost opportunities under the current leadership!
There is an urged need for Mr. Nhial and his team in the SPLM National systems and they will definitely bring this difference.
Therefore Mr. Nhial should be appointed to any of the Sovereign positions if the NCP still refuses to release Dr. Lam Akol from Foreign Affairs Ministry. Not because Mr. Nhial is well educated, delectable but also heís an upshot of this struggle. Mr. Nhial has what it takes to balance between losing and gaining. He knows how this agreement came about. He has been in this field of diplomacy and knows how to go about things for win-win scenarios. But if someone says ĎMr. Nhial refuse to take it up then, will he this time round accept ití?
Mr. Nhial will accept this position since what he didnít like (corruption) has been exposed; and he knows better than anyone else that there are problems associated with leadership styles or big gap of mistrust and suspicion pervade itself among the same family of the SPLM. Again people who have been baying for his blood are also made known as simple busy bodies. Furthermore his constituency needs him most. It then goes without saying that our President (Kiir) should initiate this process to make this son of great man (Deng Nhial) joined the train that snatched away from him happiness/lives/fatherly love when he was a teenager.
Pagan Amum has tried to juggle between making quick friends but in the process goaded quick enemies. He has marvelously stepped in to fill up some gaps. But his sharp tongue and aggressiveness cloned with ambition makes him susceptible soft target to eventualities including temptation for power. He doesnít know (knows) that other big guards around power arenít amused by his ever ready jibes. But for his credit he maintains warm relationship with his boss and people on the expense of his relationship with others on the same line. Humble word of wisdom to him is this: he got to use the Ďladderí otherwise others are already out to cripple him politically. I donít know how! Popular opinion is deceptive in the Military set up. The two (Nhial and Pagan) could team up and make old guard run for their money.
Mr. Nhial is an intellectualized figure who curbed out this image throughout the lives of the struggle in a big way and somehow bred him opponents who are now happy heís out. They might shiver seeing /hearing him coming back to his people. They made a lot of stories after him. For power stability of His Excellency (Kiir) in
Khartoum, he needs the support from Nhial, Edward and Abdul Aziz. The likes of Nafia Ali Nafia would always be a threat though Mr. Amum has tried to stand in. There are no sharp guys around him at the moment. This is sad news others donít want to hear. Gen. Kiir must not be afraid from competitors; they are eye openers.
Gen. Abdul Aziz is another incase if we care about future alliance with
Southern Kordofan). He got short changed for no apparent justification. His juniors such as Malek Agar and Tabitha Butrus got prestigious positions and he was left in the cold. He was placed after Mr. Amum which in my judgment was belittling given his personality. Gen. Kiir ought to give this hero a place even in his Southern Government. Gen. Kiir got to dispose of nominal party members at National levels. Somebody remarked carelessly by saying Gen. Kiir administration is faltering. That is too much of it. Our Government(people Government) will stand the test..
We may extend the list of what could make his
Khartoum seat stronger as to the release from prison of Gen. Obote Mamur Mete. Unless we forget heís the same man who entered Nimule at an afternoon break and disarmed Government Armed Forces without a single shot or bullet. His arrest doesnít argue well with his contribution in the struggle; since his charges turned out to be just an exaggeration and fabrication (at the face value of running daily news). If anyone knows this man, you could laughs off those charges. We are not going back to our dark ages when opponents rot in the prison under flimsy charges. We have been saying it aloud that if heís on the wrong side of the law please charge him and we shall sing Ďcrucified himí. We are at serious cross roads of uncertainty and therefore prudent that we set up our house in order, based on justice, equality and freedom. Anything short of this is an infringement to our basic individual rights. He will protect
Southern Sudan from our perennial enemies nearby.
But what could happen if he (Gen. Kiir) refuses to go back to
Khartoum to play his roles as First Vice President of the
Sudan? In another word what if he stays in
Juba and directs his Vice Presidency work there? The followings situations shall emerge: His position would be filled up or shoed up by anyone, say may be Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin or as itís now Ali Osman Mohammed Taha. If that situation happened, we are likely to witness more rivalry for power from within SPLM party as the NCP would go on the offensive to use their old age divide and rule policy. Power corrupt personalities; this is on reality check. Gen. Kiir could be targeted and if heís targeted we are likely going to reap the bitter fruits of his short temper. We donít know what he could decide and hence very ominous. Secondly and very importantly, the processes leading to the Referendum in 2011 would be affected as leaders shall be engaged in Ďpowerí and personal supremacy.
Third, Gen. Kiir knows better than anyone that the NCP is one strategic partner Southerners never had and wonít have. If this situation (protest of taking up
Khartoum seat) occurs the NCP has all the machines and tactics to thwart our hopes for good. Forget about the International Community or the West (US in particular), donít bank to them for help; we could be disappointed. This is not unthinkable, itís right here, unless we pretense. But also we need not underestimate power! Recall Pan Africanist Kwame Nkarumeís words on power.
How about this? This seat isnít personal and therefore uncalled for to our leader to throw it away without prior consultation from the people or our Parliament. Our people need to know why this seat becomes unoccupied when one of the sons is at the top pinnacle of leadership in the country.
In all, there is hope and there is peace and by large we shall have Referendum. It needs right approach, commitment and endurance coupled with strong character to make it happen. Our people are tired of war and if there is a way to avoid war in order for our rights to be guaranteed, so there our leaders should go!
Isaiah Abraham is a Southern Sudanese living in
Southern Sudan; he could be reached on [email protected]