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

Too Many Awkward Alliances in the Sudanese Politics By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.

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Too Many Awkward Alliances in the Sudanese Politics

“While the Sudanese masses both in the south and   the north are looking eagerly for change in the political systems, yet it seems they are running out of options which means .! Don’t tell me.”

By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.


The relationship between the various Sudanese political parties has always been marked by manifestations of individual politicians’ quest for power and wealth and sometimes even it comes at the expense of the basic ideologies and clearly set party goals. When they say that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics I personal think that whosoever coined that expression was in fact   describing the Sudanese politics and its fossil political dinosaurs like Sadiq al Mahdi, Sheik Hassan Abdullah al Turabi, Maulana al Mirghani, Bona Malwal,   Dr. Toby Madut and many others   some of whom are   out of the political scene only after they have been abandoned by mother nature in a reminder that how great our positions   may   be amongst our fellow human beings , the glory is actually meant to   be short lived as non of us is immortal.

The Sudan has ever since been a multi –party state, even under those totalitarian regimes of the military generals like Abboud, Jaa’far al Nimeri as well as the first part of the NIF military rule known to its supporters as the “Inkaz”. But as it looks normal for a northern Sudanese to shift political loyalty when a new ruler takes over in Khartoum , the southern politicians are always met by strong disapproval from their fellow southerners whenever any one is understood to have changed political camps or alliances as reminder that he/she has compromised the Southern cause.   But in spite of all this vigilance amongst the southern masses, the number of these political chameleons remains on the rise even after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). It is indeed common that most of our quasi politicians are more prone to be carried away by their new high standards of living that usually come along with the big    constitutional posts.   These fellows later on find it always extremely difficult to resist the temptation of continuing to be on these lucrative    payrolls even when there is a change of government. The explanation here is, once hooked these guys have no choice but to simply turn their backs against the very principles, ideologies and human values that they were brought up to defend.

And to those who keep the statistics well , the author   thinks   that you   can agree with him   that, over the years southern Sudan has became over a washed   by these so – called “all seasons’   politicians” who basically are driven by opportunism to fit in and serve under all regimes. They are well adopted to serve under military rulers with the same loyalty as they would do under a democratically elected government and in    reality they become no different from any of those several countless civil servants who over years have learned nothing but to say, “Yea sir” to whosoever becomes the new boss. So it is obvious that this type of politicians do not   actually operate proactively in the policy making process in whichever government they are in   , and at large they only execute out policies handed over to them thus making them no more than executive officers in any of the   ministerial posts that   they are appointed to.

This takes me to the burning issue that I would like to address here and it concerns the relationship between the various South Sudanese political parties. Though some sort of relationship is expected to exist between the several South Sudanese political parties, yet in reality none of this ever exists, and if any it remains at a very rudimentary level. One such example is the obstacle that constantly stands in the way of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to forge a workable relationship with the other southern Sudanese political parties and visa versa.   

It is the erroneous supposition by our friends in the SPLM based on the influential position it enjoys in the CPA, that it went ahead unknowing or not to wrongly assume that all the people of South Sudan are automatically members of the SPLM. This has more than often harmed the relationship that existed between those southerners who used to sympathize with the SPLA/M during the civil war despite the fact that they do not buy to the full package presented by the SPLM/A leadership at that time especially the controversial New Sudan vision which among manly other things that strongly propagates for a Secular United New Sudan.

Those beautiful memories that were associated with the dominant SPLM because of its role in the liberation war have long    now been replaced by the one of corruption, impunity, nepotism and tribalism. Furthermore the situation has been even made worse by the SPLM’s lack of self criticism that is required of every    party if it is to continue commanding majority and attracting new members. Unfortunately it is now lamentable that this very party that one time claimed to be the voice of the voiceless is now busy intimidating those whose voices are just about to being heard. Worse still, many tribal elements in the party have successfully turned the once strong freedom fights of the gallant SPLA, who were ONCE respected all over the African continent into a mere bunch of tribal fighters whose main loyalties are to their tribal commanders and their own ethnic communities thus loosing the real appeal and pride of being a national army in the eyes of all the various ethnic diversities in southern Sudan.

In order to expose some of the dimensions of the latest developments in the South - South political relation this would in fact be incomplete without commenting on the new Alliance of the Southern Sudanese political parties who are opposed to the SPLM. This group has so far with the help of the dominant NCP of fugitive al Bashir, held two conferences. The first conference was held in the industrial town of Kenana,   south of Khartoum the capital city, while the second one was held a couple of days ago Khartoum with some of its sessions in the Khartoum friendship hall and others in a hotel somewhere in Burri suburb. Of great importance was the speech delivered by the powerful Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie, the senior presidential assistant to Omer al Bashir when he addressed the open session of the conference. Nafie dwelled much on how his party, the NCP views the SPLM as an obstructive partner who has no clear stand on vital national issues and its continuous disruptions of harmonious and productive national dialogue aimed at solving the countries problems.

“Now after all that we have heard from Dr. Nafie and his parental role in this conference, can we still continue to distance this Alliance from the great influence that the NCP has over it”?

This newly emerging South Sudanese political Alliance   that include around seventeen   parties and some prominent south Sudanese politicians, intellectuals   and academicians ( SANU –   SPLM DC - UPFP - South Sudan Democratic Forum – South Sudan Democratic Front – Sudan National Labour Party – USAP 2 -   etc ) according to the London based   Arabic Daily “Al Sharq al Awsat,” finds it more convenient to cooperate with the predominantly northern Islamic NCP in counteracting   the SPLM, the second partner in the government of national Unity (GoNU) ,   as well as the  ruling party in the government of south Sudan (GoSS).   

However the SPLM was quick to criticize the Khartoum , South – South dialogue conference and described it as “a laughable agenda,” in the words of its Secretary General for the Northern Sector, Yasir Arman. Mr. Arman also went further to say that the National Congress Party is behind the idea of the conference and supported it logistically and financially.  

While those who participated in the Khartoum South - South dialogue made it clearly that it is the SPLM that they would want to hold responsible for obstructing the timely and full implementation of the CPA as can deduced from Bona Malwal’s comments.

“Southerners should free themselves politically, economically and security – wise from the SPLM rule”, Malwal was quoted to have said (Sudan Tribune).   Though the author do not know what this veteran politician is exactly up to, but on the face value he seems to be calling upon the citizens of South Sudan to break ranks with this once very popular political movement. And the fact that he finds comfort in occupying his controversial post of the presidential adviser at the Republican Palace to a regime that he once accused of supporting the enslavement of fellow southerners by Arab tribes of the North. Malwal obviously has a strong case against r the otherwise corrupt SPLM, but these are in many occasion overshadowed his past and current position where he stands to be accused of representing the NCP views or at the best the advises that he is being paid to give to al Bashir where in reality both of them end up being advised by stronger Islamists like Ali Osman Taha, Dr Mustafa Ismail, and the kinds of Dr Ghazi Sulahaldeen.  

Is it not what Malwal is paid to say as pro-al Bashir man when he says that, “The NCP has satisfied all its obligations under CPA and deserves all thanks from us”?   And does it surprise any one any more when he further accuses the SPLM for pursuing a hidden agenda of regime change when it held the Juba Conference that was attended by some twenty Sudanese political parties mainly the northern opposition parties  

Furthermore, Dr. Lam Akol of the SPLM – DC continues in an irreconcilable tone to be critical of the SPLM rule in the South as he consistently describes them as a bunch of incompetent and corrupt administrators. He added that the mismanagement of the huge sum of US $ 8.0 billion by the SPLM remains a clear proof of its corruption and mismanagement coupled with its continuous crackdown on the opposition which in his view does not qualify the SPLM led government to be in office to oversee an important political event like the forth coming Referendum.

However the Major General Gissimalla Rassas who according to the writer,   started well when he was quoted by the Sudanese   official news agency (SUNA) as saying that Sudan’s problems cannot be resolved by two parties only but rather all political forces.   But immediately he wasted no time in showing his true colour when he criticized what he described as “separatist voices” and called on them to resort to the “voice of wisdom and work for the country”.

Though our retired Major General is entitled to his opinion, but the way he thinks that the separatists lack the voice of wisdom does not in any way reflect any wisdom in itself. No one ever in their sound state of mind would expect a military officer who spent a good chunk of his life at the military college producing trained officers to win the successive civil wars over to the side of the various regimes in Khartoum who fought against the very southerners whom he (Rassas) would want now to identify with. Shame on you and on all those who shared the conference with you!

 It is completely unfortunate that when we are only left with no more than a year for the referendum, yet our visions towards the future of South Sudan is still being kept on the balance by a handful of old fashioned politicians who are stuck in their love and loyalty to their mentors and masters in the North. Even the SPLM in its attempt to assume an over all representation in the south seems also have fallen in love with some northern political parties which it trusts even more than it trusts other fellow southerners. It is now crystal clear that those Southerners   who have joined the two opposing political alliances with their northern counterparts   are more than willing to sell the southern cause in an exchange for remaining in power and wherever that maybe.

If the southern group that was initially established as a result of the “Kenana Conference” is labelling the Southern Sudanese secessionists as people of no wisdom, then what is preventing us from clearly identifying them as the “Unionist” who are paid to pollute the southern politics and obstruct the realization of an Independent South Sudan Nation in line with the broad aspirations of our people.

It is not true that the people of south Sudan can only choose between the two southern championed and yet Arab dominated awkward alliances. The alliance of SPLM – Umma – PCP – Sudan Communist Party ……etc; sure has no south Sudanese independence at heart. And why should it? At the same time the sugar boys of Kenana as led by Bona Malwal, Dr. Lam Akol, Major General Gissimalla Abdullah Rassas and others in their alliance with the ruling NCP even though it may send strong signal to the corrupt SPLM in Juba that a change is about to happen, yet one asks the simple question that ,” where does the secession of south Sudan fit in if our hands are stuck together with clear enemies of south Sudan like Dr Alamin al Tahir the speaker of the Omdurman based national parliament who has on more than one occasion vowed to make the secession of the south difficult if not completely impossible.

Allow me to conclude by saying that those who are looking for the answers as to why there is a low turn up at the voters registration all over South Sudan, they can comfortable go to sleep with one fact if they just read the above paragraph which actually captures the dilemma of a wider sector of the eligible southern Sudanese voters. Our people have been put off by the extremely bad performance of the corrupt SPLM led GoSS in Juba and all over the ten states. And in the absence of new credible faces who have not been contaminated by the current mismanagements and the poor governance, the masses are more likely to go about doing their daily business in order to secure food for their already underfeed and malnourished children rather than walking to the registration centres. Do you blame them! Plus where are these people who were all over the place shouting the slogans of having liberated the other southerners?   What have become of them? Have they all registered or are they equally bewildered    by the general disillusion?

The bottom line is that, our people should still trust in their capacities to bring about the much needed change. Those running our affairs now and with their own admittance and confession, have really messed up everything. They have failed us economically, politically, socially, locally, nationally, internationally and even morally. They must go and they are unfit to be part of the post 2011 administration in South Sudan lest they continue to contaminate our nation building process.

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