Articles and Analysies
Imagine a southern president in Khartoum long after the south is gone. By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.
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Jan 3, 2010 - 4:31:46 PM

Imagine a southern president in Khartoum long after the south is gone.


  By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.

The Islamist Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Sheikh Hassan al Turabi has nominated the well known south Sudanese Islamist politician Abdullah Deng Nhial to run for the Sudanese presidency in the coming elections.

However the notion expressed by the Islamic cleric,     that the biggest crisis facing Sudan is the North-South one and thus putting forward a candidate from the Dinka tribe, the largest tribe in the south, could bring an end to beliefs that there is marginalization because major posts are limited to Northerners, is rather a bit    unfair in relationship to a person of Nhial’s calibre.

However I came to know this gentleman, Deng Nhial Abdullah, a fellow colleague from the university days when we first met in Cairo . He was by then studying at the famous Islamic Seminary University of Al Azhar, while I was also at the time studying Medicine at Kasr Al Aini School of Medicine. Probably it was our interest in students’ politics that brought us together and once served a term together when I was the Chairman of the South Sudan Students Association (SOSSA).

Sheikh Nhial is a very social and jolly individual with a great sense of humour as well as a brilliant academician, and of course a devoted Muslim. Nhial who taught in Juba University in 1985 went to occupy   several constitutional posts under the Ingaz Coup plotters (Turabi – al Bashir), when he became   the   minister of Guidance and Endowments following the 1989 coup, then the   minister for peace and reconstruction, then the White Nile governor in 1994 before siding with Turabi in his 1999 major fallout with Bashir.

I would think that the leading Islamist dissident   Hassan al-Turabi  failed to project the true potential of his deputy chief by only highlighting his tribal origin assuming that such a mention could influence the southerners vote when it comes to the election in April.

I don't know, but it could be attributed to old age and bad memory, otherwise al Turabi should have reminded himself of the verbal attacks that were directed to him and his brother – in- law Sayed Sadiq al Mahdi, a couple of months ago in the South Sudan Legislative Assembly in Juba. Now that Sheikh Nhial is running on the Islamist Popular Congress Party ticket, his Dinka heritage can do nothing to influence the southerners’ view on his core die hard membership of the National Islamic Front (NIF).

Turabi’s party that openly advocates for the establishment of an Islamic state in the Sudan remains a threat to the south Sudanese who are aspiring for a secular independent south Sudan . Again the choice of Sheikh Abdullah Nhial who strongly believes in political Islam can be the way towards south Sudanese demise should they (southerners)  ever chose   to walk with him in that path.

Far from any exaggerations, I would just want to refresh our collective memories about the fact that Sheikh Nhial once led a south Sudanese Islamic Fundamentalist organisation known as “Munazamat Al Sahwa al Islamia l’el Janub al Sudan” which drew vast membership amongst the south Sudanese students in the Egyptian Universities, and whose members latter on came to be prominent figures of the political Islam in south Sudan over the last two decades.

Political Islam as such amongst many other things strongly believes in the use of Jihad to promote its goals and it also holds fast to the application of the Islamic Sharia Law worldwide regardless of the religious demography. This in short is not what the southerners have fought to achieve after these five decades of struggle.

As if to champion himself as a struggler for the southern cause, Sheikh Nhial  unfortunately fell into  the trap    laid ahead of him when he said    that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) did nothing to Southerners except gave them the post of First Vice President currently held by Salva Kiir.(Sudan Tribune 03/01/2010). Believe me, I wish he didn’t say that, because the CPA did give southerners much than that.

The CPA stopped the two decades of war and amongst other beautiful things the CPA as well gave the southerners the right to Self – Determination. But if our Sheikh thinks that the CPA has only given us the vice presidency and his becoming the first southern Sudanese to aspire for the Presidency should be rated above the whole of the CPA, then it is crystal clear that the Sheikh belongs to his other Sheikhs and I don’t see how he could appeal to the southern grassroots, even amongst his own in Jonglei State.

However with my very deep respect to a former colleague in the person of Sheikh Nhial, I uphold to the fact that he has the right to chose his political vision and I am only prompted to air my views here because of the fact that, he has chosen now to run for the presidency of the Sudan, otherwise I have no any personal grudges against the Sheikh.

Other Sudanese may    see what they want in this Islamists’ candidate. The majority blacks of the African origin in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Khartoum , Kordufan and the Muslim communities of south Sudan, may find Sheikh Nhial appealing to them more than the incumbent president al Bashir. Should all these work properly well for our Sheikh, then his dream to become the first south Sudanese to make it as the    boss in the Republican Palace would    be accomplished.

But in a bid to highlight a few things, without the least intension of planned disregards, I am made to believe that, should the majority projections come to pass, the southern Sudanese would overwhelmingly vote for secession come 2011 in spite of an Islamist southern head of state in the Palace.

The current situation that the whole Sudan finds itself in is an accumulation of several decades of wrong doings and injustices. An Islamist, who disillusions himself in the establishment of a religious state in Sudan , should lay assured that south Sudan would never be a part of that state.

The south is bent to go come 2011 with or with a southern head of state, in which case should Sheikh Nhial be elected to the Palace; the north must be ready to continue under his rule when the South is    long gone.

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 either [email protected] or [email protected] NB: those who read this article also visited and blog http//














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