Articles and Analysies
Sticks Are Deadly To Weak Donkeys: To Pagan Amum By Dr. James Okuk
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Aug 2, 2009 - 4:20:34 AM

Sticks Are Deadly To Weak Donkeys: To Pagan Amum


By Dr. James Okuk


As I write this article, I do not care whether Hon. Pagan Amum is from my tribe and has a close blood relationship with me. What I care about is the truth and the public good that is being negated by his defiance behaviour as a public figure in the Sudan. From his continuous unpatriotic statements, right from the time of his appointment and re-appointment as the Secretary-General of the historic rebel movement transformed into a national political party called SPLM, Mr. Pagan has proven himself an old dog that cannot learn new habits. He has continued to think that the Sudan is synonymous to the NCP and National Islamic Front (NIF) cadres, and so, it could be sanctioned and kicked at whims. Wrong! The Sudan belongs to all the Sudanese, including the SPLM members and all the other Non-NCP and Non-SPLM members. It will never be acceptable that this multi-party and multi-religions country be held asunder for so long because of partisan ideological differences between the NCP and the SPLM.


This arrogant SPLM top man failed to adjust his mental framework and emotional indicators to fit into the context of the peacetime between the South and the North of the Sudan. He couldn’t grasp the wisdom that “sticks are deadly to weak donkeys” that are dying and incapable of moving forward. The case of the fragile Sudan under USA Sanctions is just like the case of an ill donkey that needs carrots to heal it and make it strong to work harder, and not sticks to beat it up and make it weaker or even kill it.


From time to time, and in one place to another, Mr. Pagan Amum, a SPLM cadre who was trained in and indoctrinated into Marxist Historical Materialism, continued to put forward his political rhetoric the same as he used to do it during the time of the SPLM/A’s war with the Government of the Sudan (GoS) under the dominance of the NIF. As he failed to demarcate the difference of the contexts of war and peace, enmity and friendliness, opposition and partnership, and etc, the SPLM-SG often got entrapped into unpatriotic perceptions because of his uncalculated public statements. He has often forgotten that with the globalization at hand, the walls will always have ears.


Those who understand the letter and spirit of the CPA (national and foreigners alike) have often felt uneasy with the SPLM Party SG and categorized him as a dull politician who does not know where the strength and constitutional mandate of his party emanates from. Even an intelligent errand boy who assisted the missed hero of peace (the legend, Dr. John Garang de Mabior Atem as his good Soul continue to rest in peace) would have understood the background and the motives of negotiating the CPA in Naivasha-Kenya with the NCP touchable devils, and signing it finally in Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi with the presence of many dignitaries all over the world who joined the happy Sudanese in celebrating the joy of good news of peace in Southern Sudan and Transitional Areas.


Alas! The very men who sat side by side with the most intelligent fallen Hero of the CPA are the very ones dashing away the good hopes and best expectations from dividends of the CPA implementation. They are the very ones harassing and arresting shamelessly, even within the vicinity of law manufacturer and in the face of Southern Sudan MPs, the objective and courageous Sudan Tribune journalist, Mr. Isaac Vuni.


What am I really driving at with this background? It pains me when the foreigners and outsiders are the ones who care about peace dividends from the full and joint implementation of the CPA by the SPLM and the NCP. It agonizes me more when the very SPLM leaders (especially Mr. Pagan Amum) who have been held very high above the marginalized people’s shoulders are the ones lobbying seriously for not lifting the American Sanctions on the Sudan even in the CPA era. If these Sanctions were levied on the NIF government of the Sudan in 1999 for sound reasons which were understandable by that time even to the very NCP cadres themselves, what are the justifiable reasons nowadays to keep those sanctions when the government of the Sudan has been transformed by the reality of the CPA into a government of National Unity with representation from a rainbow coalitions and partnership of different political parties?


As the SPLM stands to be a native partner with the NCP in the Sudan government with all its levels (National, GoSS, States and Counties) what is the point of lobbying to kill this very government with the appeal for the continuation of the outdated American Sanctions on the Sudan?


Oh my dear God! Does the SPLM SG understands and feels how the American Sanctions has prevented many opportunities that could have helped in the process of the CPA implementation jointly and fully? Does he understand why heavy machines and other equipments for infrastructural constructions have been blocked from entering into the Sudan (including Southern Sudan) because of American Sanctions? Does he feels how people in the Sudan cannot receive money quickly through professional and efficient banks like Western Unions and other financial institutions that use USA$ transactions system? Does the SPLM SG understands and feels how the American Yahoo! Communication Company have blocked Yahoo! Messenger Voice to be accessed by Sudanese (including the SPLM members) who live in the country or abroad and would need to communicate cheaply with their people? Does he understand how American sanctions scare away investors who desire to bring their investments into the Sudan and particularly Southern Sudan in the different functions of the private sector?


I may say that Mr. Pagan Amum does not understand and feels the disadvantages many Sudanese people and their friends have been undergoing because of the continuous unjust American Sanctions on the Sudan’s economy where the SPLM and the GoSS get their budgets. This is, perhaps, because his wife and children are hidden in Australia and elsewhere abroad for the reasons best known to him. But even if given so, I thought that people who run private business in whatever form and proxy should know best what affects their interests negatively? However, and I am not amazed here, such types of businesses sprang up without sweat as they might have been set up mysteriously with stolen money from public coffers. Wisdom says thieves don’t decry the loss of their stolen properties because they did not exert labour efforts to own them in the first place.


What makes me to say all these any way? Because on 29th July 2009 before the House Committee for Foreign Affairs in the USA Senate, Mr. Pagan Amum buried live his dear country; the Sudan that gives him money and other privileges to enable him travel anywhere around the world as he wish or as he is invited; and the Sudan that made him live comfortably in luxury in the midst of mass poverty of the marginalized people in the periphery and city slums. The man was so naïve and dull to realize how the intelligent USA Senators laughed secretly at his unpatriotic behaviour while claiming to be a leader of a patriotic registered national political party in the Sudan, the SPLM. Such kind of betrayal cannot happen in the USA because its cost would be so dear to a politician who is or who intends to be a leader of the country in one way or another.


Even when Mr. George W. Bush and other unpopular American Presidents messed up American foreign relations and created unnecessary enemies, no single leader of a political party in the USA called for bilateral or multilateral sanctions on their liberal country though they understood that “sticks and carrots are good for strong donkeys” to borrow the wisdom of Mr. President Barack Obama’s Envoy to Sudan, Mr. Scott Gration. Even the Former USA State Department Special Envoy to the Sudan and a long-time rival of the NCP government, Mr. Roger Winter, tried to speak sense in front of the USA Senate when he rightly said: “In my view there are only two general directions that are supportable by the people of South Sudan at this point.....the South will vote overwhelmingly for separation in the Referendum provided for by the CPA or it will be forced into unilaterally declaring its independence because its CPA-mandated Referendum is frustrated by Khartoum’s actions and/or the hollow commitment of the International Community. [Thus], it is mandatory that the Washington supports the Southerners to achieve a soft-landing as the results of a successfully-held Referendum.”  


Because Mr. Winter has a heart that cares for the beloved people of South Sudan whose majority continuous to live under the red fangs of poverty and insecurity despite the revenues gleaned from Oil and other Incomes, he categorically called upon the USA Administration to craft a full-blown partnership with the South to improve its governance quality so that it could deliver services to and inspire the hopes of the people of South Sudan and Abyei Area. This real concern has never been shown by Mr. Pagan Amum in front of the USA senate or elsewhere. Shame on this wrong SPLM-SG!


It has never come into the right conception and perception of the inferior-talented SPLM-SG that Mr. Obama has been elected by the majority Americans to bring the change out of the bad status quo, and clear the mess that was accumulated and left behind by the former President W. George Bush and his likes. Part of this change is the normalization of the tainted American relations with the Sudan. This corrective task has been given to Mr. Gration and his team and they have done great, so far and so best.


Honourable Gration and his team believes that engagement, and not arrogance, with Khartoum is the way forward but keeping in minds that “Engagement is not something we pursue for its own sake, and is not about accommodating the status quo. Engagement does not mean the absence of pressure, or doing out incentives based on wishful thinking. On the country it is about working to change conditions on the ground.” I wish Mr. Pagan Amum had the right mind and good heart to emulate this wisdom and concern from a foreigner whose family and parents do not live in the sanctioned Sudan!


Unlike the former USA Envoys, Gration has started and continued his duty, so far and so good, as a fair-minded cowboy who means to achieve what he has been tusked with as the mediator between Obama’s Administration and Al Bashir’s Government. That is why he clearly recommended before the USA Senators the erasure of the outdated and unjust American Sanctions on the Sudan so that their bad effects can be removed from the CPA implementation process.


Mr. Gration categorically told the USA Senate that the sanctions are hurting the process of development needed to be achieved in Southern Sudan as the expected peace dividend for promoting economic opportunity and autonomy of this war-ruined region. What a right man! I admire his superior intellect and lovely feelings for the common good and rights of the Sudanese people who have been suffering for so long because of biased approaches for resolving Sudanese differences internally and externally.


If the fair-minded and superior mediators like Mr. Scott Gration are to be SPLM cadres, then I would have been a very happy man to vote them into the highest government offices, comes the general presidential, governors, and parliamentary elections in April 2010 in the Sudan. But since the SPLM has been left loosely to be run and zigzagged by unpatriotic and uncaring cadres like Mr. Pagan Amum and the likes, I will not waste my vote on them if they happened to be imposed on the Sudanese people as the candidates in that elections. May God (not humans) forgive me if I erred in my judgement?


Dr. James Okuk is concerned Southerner and recently awarded PhD candidate at the University of Nairobi. He can be reached at [email protected]


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