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Articles and Analysies الصفحة العربية Last Updated: Feb 13, 2011 - 7:24:29 AM

Khartoum stuck in denial over south Sudan’s inevitable secession By: Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.

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Khartoum stuck in denial over south Sudan’s inevitable secession

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.


The northern Sudanese politicians have throughout the last half a century lived in a denial of what is clearly a growing southern nationalism, and as such they have failed to learn their lessons all this time. Their only outstanding investment in the south have been nothing more than the handful agents they have so far recruited with the primary tasks of facilitating the infamous cultural and religious assimilation programs.

Whatever the whole thing is supposed to mean, but clearly it can be seen that the traditional northern Sudanese politicians are already struggling with their own fate in the north itself, leave alone their rhetoric on maintaining a united Sudan. The long history of those failed attempts by the Arab and Muslim northerners to force the people of the south to join them in what is clearly a new wave of political Islam must be a concern to the peace loving in the region, the continent and the whole world. This all makes the support for the secession of the south much compelling and every peace loving individual’s struggle.

There might have been some success stories of Arabisation, Arabicization, and Islamisation amongst some black African south Sudanese through the use of political positions and financial benefits.  However there is more evidence to support that not all are roses with the assimilation program as many who were forced to walkover their cultures and religious faiths have on most occasions reversed those decisions and sought reconciliations. And the number of southerners leaving the dominant NCP/NIF party is now at its peak, more than any other time before, with almost none going the other way. THIS IS THE SIGN!

What I have here is a true story and I want all the readers to have an open mind going through the lines before rushing to conclusions.

On one occasion some Islamist politicians paid a surprising home visit to a south Sudanese, “position-seeker”, who was recently stamped and had secretly converted to ‘Islam’ in return for a permanent ministerial post in the NCP/NIF government.

However after the guests were seated, they  were shocked when  their friend’s wife and children announced that they were on their way  to attend the Sunday mass in the cathedral and might not return till late.

“We thought that this issue of the ‘church’ was already settled, am I right”, commented, one of the guests.

“Yes of course. But what do one’s family, wives, and children got to do with the work of politics?” the position-seeker responded.

“Please fellows, don’t bring issues of work into house business”. He added.

But was this politician being in anyway sincere to himself, his family, the southern Sudan or even his northern benefactors? Obviously not. He was more of a gold digger and was capitalising on the civil disobedience in the south in order to extract a living from those equally confused and shallow minded northern government.

This was how the South–North politics was during the early 'Ingaz' period (1989-2005) and before the 2005 CPA. So what is it that we are going to see now? 

It wouldn’t be a total surprise again to see or hear about politicians who in their crazy quests for power, become too adventurous and easily buy into the NIF/NCP version of a united Islamic Sudan. These are the  kinds who would willing go an extra mile with the enemies to sign treachery documents allowing their families, wives, children and their local communities to be persuaded into voting for a unity which even by the northern Arabs standards isn’t at all attractive.

However, in reality there is a south Sudanese nationalism, it has come a long way and it is here to stay. Let nobody mistake our people’s determination for an independent state to be  a thing that can be compromised in an exchange for a handful of rudimentary developmental projects from the government of Khartoum or some second hand technologies from Egypt which are being promised for  south Sudan.

Omer al Bashir, who chooses to distract himself from the naggings of the ICC with the arrest warrant hanging over his head, has been busy these days issuing all kinds of last minute morale lifting statements. He says that, he would personally supervise all the developmental projects that he promised for the south in the run off for the elections. This is a typical Jallaba PR stuff.

It also came as a no surprise when he went on to announce that he might  give the energy portfolio to the SPLM so that they know the exact deals and figures of the Oil industry which has seen an area of huge disagreements recently. Obviously this last minute talks about the Ministry of Energy will never make any impacts on the outcome of the referendum. The people of south Sudan already know that they are only six months away from controlling 100% of the Oil revenues when they finally vote to secede. 

Besides, there are all sorts of scepticism surrounding the possibility of the NIF/NCP emptying the Ministry of Energy from most of its powers to decide on the country’s crucial Oil industry’s issues before it is finally passed-over to an SPLM minister, just repeating the scenario of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, when it was only allowed to be headed by a southerner after its powers were moved to the Presidential Palace under a presidential advisor, non but the regime’s former Foreign Affairs Minister during the peace talks, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, who in reality remains to be the true foreign policy boss.

However the south may justifiably be happy to have this important ministry at this particular moment as it relies on the Oil revenues for 98% of its financial budget. This may also offer it a real opportunity to review and possibly revise all the alleged corruption and lack of transparency in the Oil marketing as well as the transfer of shares of the revenue to the South. It is also an opportunity for the South to acquaint itself with the Oil industry as it prepares for its new state, where it will need to construct pipelines through the East African neighbour of Kenya as well as prepare the future man-power needed to independently run this industry once it secedes.

Sudanese President Omar Bashir has also warned of an “explosive” situation between north and south Sudan, should the south choose to break away.

“Parts of the border could be explosive.....like in the case of Ethiopia and Eretria, or even India and Pakistan,” Bashir was quoted to have said during a meeting of his ruling NCP.

It is good that Al Bashir openly acknowledges that the arising border issues will not be unique to the new Sudanese states, should the South opt to secede. However the northern Sudanese themselves are aware that it is their government’s greed for the South’s Oil fields and agricultural lands that is making the borders difficult to demarcate in the first place before possibly becoming explosive after the inevitable secession of the South. 

The same way that we look towards avoiding a return to war by asking the international community to take over the organisation of the referendum, we also believe that the demarcation of the north-south borders can equally only be acceptable if it is done by the UN. The drawn borders may need to be under a UN patrol until such a time that the two sides are matured enough to respect it, then and only then can the responsibilities to transferred to them.

On the whole no any logical human being will ever fail to see that none of those projects to be started in South Sudan will in anyway influence the way the southerners intend to vote in the referendum. The gaps between the two parts have been there for the last five decades and were only made worse by the brutal civil wars. These are issues that can never be over-turned in a few months’ period. With due respect to what others think, but I hope that they can agree with me that what couldn’t be achieved in fifty years, cannot obviously be achieved in five months.

There is a lot to be learned from the demonstrations staged recently in Juba, the capital of south Sudan. The youth of south Sudan came out in huge crowds chanting: No.... No for unity: Yes..... Yes for separation.

In short, it is a no to Omer al Bashir, Ali Osman Taha, Salah Gosh and those southern SPLM officials who signed the infamous document with the evil intension to persuade our people into a unity that if given a fair and free  choice, they would opt to vote against.


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