Postpone Elections to November 2010, not again!
‚ÄúIs it true, what we are hearing‚ÄĚ? Do they really want the Elections postponed ‚Äú?
By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.
It has long been said that there is no smoke without fire? However we the Sudanese would always want not to believe any rumours when they don‚Äôt reflect our interest.
And I am not going to hide my concerns as I find myself in the state of disbelieve and uneasiness when I read that there are some suggestions from very influential circles to postpone the Sudanese elections for November 2010.
It might by now be everybody‚Äôs knowledge that the International Crisis Group (ICG) has recently declared, ‚Äúthough the CPA provides the overall political framework for the Sudan, yet it lacks inclusivity‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúParties must negotiate an additional protocol to address a number of issues as a matter of urgency. The Khartoum government must also implement a number of legal reforms to ensure a free and fair national election process‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúA Darfur peace agreement that allows all Darfuris to vote in the national elections is a priority. The elections, due in April 2010, should be postponed to November to allow all this to take place. Crucially, the NCP and SPLM must negotiate framework arrangements early in 2010 for how the two highly interdependent states will relate to each other‚ÄĚ, they added.
The declaration as presented by Fouad Hikmat on behave of the ICG, went on to suggest that the progress should be monitored so a decision can be taken no later than July whether the full agenda can be maintained. If not, it will be necessary to concentrate on achieving the minimum needed to prevent new deadly chaos: the South‚Äôs referendum on schedule, with a day-after arrangement in place, he added from Brussels.
The challenge is to craft a process that produces credible and fair elections, an on-schedule referendum and, if its decision is independence, two economically viable and stable democratic states,‚ÄĚ says Fran√ßois Grignon, Crisis Group‚Äôs Africa Program Director.
Democratic transformation should remain a key goal, as ultimately only this can entrench peace and stability‚ÄĚ,
To achieve the above, the group suggests that the international community should support selection of a prominent lead mediator to facilitate negotiations that reconcile the several peace processes. He or she should mobilize commitment to give the parties economic and political incentives to cooperate but also to isolate and sanction recalcitrant parties.
It is just a pity that the people of south Sudan should find themselves in such a critical situation where the most crucial decisions in their lives are heavily burdened with too many external players. Because right now we are beginning to see many last minute forces joining in when our traditional leadership is already showing signs of fatigue and exhaustion from
this long nerve wrecking marathon that started since 2001.
However despite all these brilliantly coined and displayed arguments, the international community must acknowledge its role in all the delays in the timely implementation of the CPA. It was quite obvious from the first time that things were not fine when the southern SPLM withdrew from the government of the national unity back in 2007 after it reached a deadlock with its stubborn partner, the NIF/NCP over a range of issues that included the Abyei Protocol, the withdrawal of the Sudanese Armed Forces behind the 1956 lines and the other issues that Al Bashir was intentionally refusing to implement.
Why is it only now that the world is suddenly shouting out for democratic transformation when they allowed NCP enough time and space, by letting a loose
for this tyrant regime to continue dominating, monopolizing and ruling over the Sudan for the last five years in a non democratic way? What has now changed that awakens the International Community to suggest a full force involvement to bring about the last minute democracy?
We on our side as south Sudanese, of course we do appreciate all that others have done and still continue to do to
walk towards the realization of our dream for an Independent south Sudan nation come 2011. However we are deeply concerned when certain issues that can only delay matters are brought in knowing that they can clearly
slow down our independence process.
Most people in south Sudan are looking for a democracy no doubt, but because that democracy can no longer be availed to our people by the northern Arab rulers, we are now more than ever determined to find it elsewhere and hopefully in an independent south Sudan.
It is acknowledgeable that many people would want to draw our attention to the fact
that a democratic northern Sudan would make a better neighbour to our much anticipate and evolving independent state of south Sudan. Well this could be theoretically true, but who are those Sudanese democrats? Are they Al Sadiq al Mahdi or Hassan al Turabi, or who else? All these with no exceptions took turns in fighting the South throughout our one hundred years plus with them. They know us and we know them.
All the genuine Sudanese political insiders know pretty well that, the politics in northern Sudan will continue to be glued to Islam, though changing from one form to the other (Muslim Brotherhood, Wahabis, Salafis, Sunni, Khatmiya or Ansar Sufis ....etc)
as conditions allow, however those rosy dreams for establishing the western style liberal democracy was long burned with Gordon Pasha in 1885.
The guarantee to our South Sudanese independence lies in our gallant SPLA soldiers, and no any beautifully coined agreements with the tricky Arabs can ever see light should we be militarily weak. Unless we make it completely unbearable for them, they will continue to find reasons for occupying our Oil fields.
It will be a total naivety on our side to expect the greedy NIF/NCP led northern Sudanese
to pullout voluntarily from the Oil rich territories of south Sudan that they currently occupy. They will never ever reach that level of civilized behaviour not even if we are to delay the elections and sign
other thousand agreements with them just to stress this point.
In short though we would want to separate peacefully from the north, yet we very well know that there is a great possibility and almost an unavoidable one that a bloody farewell is a likely event. As such delaying the much anticipated elections already scheduled for April 2010 in the name of working out a democratic transformation and allowing inclusiveness of Darfuris, would in fact just be a waste of time on the side of the southerners.
However should the international community want to step up its engagement to guarantee a fair, and peaceful elections and referenda, it can still do so without postponing any of the scheduled events. Because although al Bashir is seen to be very keen on having a credible
elections that can pave the way for him
to overturn the International Criminal Court‚Äôs (ICC) arrest warrant, his party (NIF/NCP) as a whole would benefit even the more by buying time should the elections be pushed to a later date and still at the end no democracy can be expected as there is no way that the NIF/NCP can become democratic and no elections in the Sudan whatever its nature, can settle the Darfur crisis.
The Darfuris and all the other marginalized Sudanese for that matter, who still want to continue to be a part of the united northern Sudan, should have by now known better that anything short of a complete revolution in the centre of power in Khartoum, will never resemble the type of solution that would guarantee them a genuine and everlasting settlement that could provide for their dreams of Justice, Equality and
noble values that they believe
are enshrined in the Holy Koran, an inspiration shared widely amongst most Muslims
of the political north.
While we in the South Sudan have come a long way to the unwavering belief that our destiny lies outside that united Sudan and as such we must see to it that no more delays on the implementation of the CPA is to be tolerated. Elections must remain as scheduled for April 2010 and the referenda in January 2011. All other issues can be negotiated, agreed upon, arranged and event executed in simultaneous
fashions without further interruptions of the two most vital benchmarks of the CPA, which are the general elections and the referendum on self determination.
Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.B, B.Ch, D.R.H, MD. The Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). The party that stands for the independence of South Sudan. Can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]