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Articles and Analysies Last Updated: Dec 20, 2009 - 3:34:53 PM

Al Mahdi’s Candidacy Shocks All the Marginalized Sudanese. By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.D.

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Al Mahdi’s Candidacy Shocks All the Marginalized Sudanese.


By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.D.


The much anticipated Sudanese general elections has no doubt drawn the attention of the whole world as a very important event yet to happen in this war ravaged part of the world. It is no doubt the first democratic election to take place since 1986 and it could the first to be ever considered as inclusive as far as the southern Sudanese are concerned.


Last week the US administration’s scepticism about Sudan ’s ability to hold a credible election in 2010 as well as the referenda in 2011 was received with mix feelings across all the Sudanese political spectra. Whatsoever that means to the US administration and the international community, one thing for sure is that the Sudanese are not ready to see any postponements again. And even more to that any tempering with the date for the referendum as scheduled for January 2011 would definitely trigger unwanted responses especially amongst the south Sudanese who patience has worn out.


The Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)   partners, the southern Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM)   and the National Congress Party (NCP)   of president Omer al Bashir has according to the US special envoy to the Sudan ran out of the necessary political will   to   allow them finalize their negotiations over the pending issues which are in the heart of the democratic transformation, conducting the elections and later going for the referenda and the popular consultations for the other contested areas.


The SPLM has also more than one occasion already declared that their talks with the NCP have come to a deadlock. Going by the words of the SPLM senior figures like Deng Alor Kuol the Sudanese minister for Foreign Affairs and Pa’gan Amum SPLM’s Secretary General, there is in fact no hope left for any breakthrough in the negotiations unless outside pressure is put on the NCP to reverse is obstructive attitudes.


As usual, the NCP which has finally found its luxury in frustrating the successive SPLM negotiators keeps insisting that the bilateral talks are still on the right tract and given the needed time they are sure to strike a deal with SPLM thus ruling    the need to resort to any external party as premature.


However it can not delude any one that the emergence of the current strong alliance between the SPLM and the other Sudanese opposition parties has had its toll on the last    thread between the CPA partners.


Two days ago in a saga -like breaking news, the whole media came    beaming with   the news that the SPLM and the other opposition are finalizing the nomination of Sayed Sadiq al Mahdi the ex-Prime Minister as their sole candidate   to    run against the incumbent indicted President Omer   al Bashir.


Sadiq al Mahdi’s nomination if officially confirmed will send out all types of signals especially if he is endorsed by the popular Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) founded by one of the most known Sudanese and African political philosophers and revolutionaries’     whose thoughts have so much revolutionized the Sudanese politics for over the last two decades and may continue to do so for a long time to come.


Al Mahdi who is best remembered as the most loquacious Sudanese politician, twice a prime minister and the grandson of the historical Islamic leader imam al Mahdi, has throughout been a controversial figure in the Sudanese politics.


The majority of south Sudanese still hold this Ansar leader responsible for many massacres that took place in southern Sudan in the 1960s when he was the prime minister. He is still remembered by many for a statement whether rightly made by him personally or not, but it is being alleged that he (al Mahdi) declared in the 1960’s that all he wants from the south is the land and not the people.


Although of cause al Mahdi’s nomination to lead the so-called “rainbow coalition” as the sole challenger to Omer al Bashir has not yet been declared officially, but the leakages in the media puts him to be the most likely figure to be entrusted with the task. And the KUNA News agency, stated the selection of al Mahdi came un opposed when FVP, and president of the semi autonomous south Sudan Salva Kiir’s representative declared that, “the SPLM sees no need for his candidacy for the post with just a few months for a referendum on self-determination for the people of the South, thus, ensures he would remain in his current post as first vice president of the country under the peace agreement included in the Constitution of the country.”


Should the above stand true, then the marginalized people of the Sudan should hurry up to come to terms with the new fact that their champion the SPLM has now handed them over to the old master who is no body else but    the historical chief architect of the social and political    marginalization that continuous to been    inflicted on the people of Darfur, Kordufan, the Nuba Mountains, the Eastern Sudan,     and the southern Blue Nile.


The endorsement of al Mahdi’s candidacy by the marginalized people of the Sudan is a serious event as it marks the final nail in the coffin of late Dr. John Garang’s controversial vision of a New Sudan. A united Sudan that is secular, inclusive and governed by the SPLM principles.


However for H.E Salva Kiir who has so far talked bitterly on how it is unwelcoming to be a second class in ones own country is now comfortably turning down his first exposure to run for the presidency of the Sudan , by preferring to fight for the post of vice presidency rather. Doesn’t Kiir’s decision to voluntarily back off and comfortable go for the second position in command confirm his natural instinct for second class positions even when he would have done otherwise?   And here we are made to wonder whether the late Dr. John Garang de Mobior would have reacted differently?


To keep the struggle of the other marginalized people in the Sudan, there is a need for them to line up a candidate in the coming presidential elections, and SPLM should not just give in to the traditional Sudanese parties who either directly or in directly dragged the Sudan to this pathetic situation where we all find ourselves.


Should the SPLM have abandoned their former comrades in the Nuba Mountains and the southern Blue Nile regions, then the sons and daughters of these areas must forge an    alliance with the people of Darfur and line up a candidate for the presidency. It is not necessarily to win in the first attempt, but it leaves a legacy of joint struggle for the marginalised people of the Sudan even when the south finally breaks away as expected.


While on the southern side it seems that H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit has secured the SPLM nomination for the presidency of south Sudan and that is why they went on to declare their acceptance to keep the post of the first vice president in the government of the national unity.


However it shouldn’t really all be butter and honey for Salva Kiir to easily win the presidency in south Sudan . His records have been very poor locally, national, regionally and internationally. The veto provided by the CPA for him in his capacity as the first vice president has never ever been effective at the presidency and sending him back on the same mission is but lack of seriousness in handling our issues.


For the future of a clean south Sudan , there is an immediate call to change the current leadership. The SPLM has a chance to improve its image, should it put forward a different candidate to Kiir, and it would be its last chance    to maintain a constructive dominance over the south Sudanese politics.


Otherwise southern Sudanese opposition parties have a moral and national duty towards the poor people of south Sudan to offer an alternative sound leadership.


We need a new face in south Sudan who can bring an end    to the inter-tribal hatred conflicts, to fight corruption, to bring about accountability and eradicate impunity, to establish the rule of law, to bring about an equal and sustainable developments, to attract foreign investments,   the establish a good governance and strong national institutions that can with stand the test of time , and above all to put south Sudan amongst the civilized world communities.




  Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MB, BCh, DRH , MD. Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). The party that stands for the independence of South Sudan . Can be reached at either [email protected] [email protected]



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