Articles and Analysies
Al-Bashir's threats against the SPLM could be the tip of the Iceberg By: Tut Gatwech, South Sudan
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Jun 1, 2009 - 6:03:52 AM

Al-Bashir's threats against the SPLM could be the tip of the Iceberg


By: Tut Gatwech, South Sudan


The embattled Sudanese president and chairman of the National Congress Party (NCP), Field Marshall Omar Hassen al-Bashir unleashed a clear warning sign, but not surprising, against the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), threatening to ban the activities of the SPLM in the North on the pretext that the latter violates the freedom of other parties in the South.


This threat, given its timing as the general elections are approaching, could be a clear sign of the Sudanese president showing his true color and revealing the secret path his party had intended to take during the last phase of CPA implementation.


This could be part of the NCP's last resorts which it calculated and kept in store since during the time it negotiated the CPA in Naivasha , Kenya .


One could not get surprised in the way the NCP intends to suppress attempts made by its peace partner, SPLM, in the Government of National Unity (GoNU) to review old national laws in order to make them compatible with the CPA and interim national constitution of Sudan , 2005.


The NCP has been using its mechanical majority of 52% provided for by the CPA to block or even re-amend to old fashion such laws that would pave the way for democratic transformation once they reach the parliament.


The cases in point are the press and publication laws and criminal procedure laws which were passed by the parliament despite SPLM's opposition to them. The parties are still at odd with national security laws. The NCP-run security apparatuses are currently let loose in the South to terrorize and intimidate the civil populations.


The NCP secured that majority of 52% in the Naivasha power-sharing protocol in order to use it at the right time in the national parliament to make things happen its own way.


Even if the SPLM, and other parties members it allies with, walk out of parliament in protest, the NCP would still go ahead to use this mechanical majority to shoot down bills they don't like and pass the ones favorable to their party. The result is that even laws drafted well at the party level are either reverted to their old faces in the cabinet in Khartoum or in the National Assembly.


This mechanical majority given to NCP at Naivasha was a big mistake made by the SPLM negotiators on Power-sharing protocol. The SPLM negotiators have armed the NCP to teeth in the parliament.


I believe this new threat by the NCP is real and they may use it soon or when the election month is near to frustrate the SPLM and shoot down the elections. They will ban the SPLM in the 16 states in the North, and of course including the three contested areas of Abyei, Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile , in order to suspend the elections using the SPLM's response to the new situation.


The NCP is convinced that the idea of making unity attractive has failed before it is tried, or would rather not change anything in the minds of South Sudanese voters even if tried come the 2011 referendum.


They ask the question, so why waste time with such a failed unity project or give chance to SPLM to get more seats in the national parliament through elections even if it cannot get the president's post?


The vision, or rather the project, of a new democratic united Sudan is dead and has been overtaken by the rival vision of a separated Sudan with two or more sovereign nations that will work for their own respective democracies and prosperity.


The SPLM is shown the tip of the iceberg by the indicted NCP president and should therefore begin to think of its plan instead of putting all its eggs in one basket of February 2010 elections.


Unless the NCP reviewed its position, the elections may not take place.


But without the elections, can't we go for the referendum, or are elections tied to the referendum as a prerequisite?


If not, the SPLM, and particularly the SPLA should begin to make necessary preparations in case things go from bad to worse!


The ICC-indicted President al-Bashir may drag the nation to painful separation(s) before 2011.


The author lives in South Sudan and can be reached at:

  [email protected]



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