Sudan Running Out of Options

By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.D.

January 9, 2010 (SSNA) — It seems that the Sudanese politics has settled for the two camps following the SPLM and Opposition interrupted demonstration held on Monday December 2009. The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) well situated amongst the northern opposition parties of Umma (Sadiq al Mahdi), the Popular Congress Party (PCP – Turabi), Sudan communist party (Nugud) and the others are now building on their lessons learned during the one day rally and whatever is said after the speeches delivered by the leaders of the Juba Declaration Forces, their intensions for a total regime change stares everybody in the face.

The Sudan that prides itself for successively replacing two military dictatorships in the past are no doubt planning to repeat the old remedy of popular up rising however this time against a better organised group. The National Congress Party (NCP) of the indicted incumbent president Omer al Bashir which has been in power much longer than any of the previous military governments, seems to have prepared itself for all the possibilities and is no doubt willing to fight the power battle to the last minute. And should the system collapse and give in to the street pressure, nobody knows better than president al Bashir himself that his trip to The Hague will be certain.

The opposition seems to be gaining strength and momentum since listening to the classical tale of Mini Arkoi Minawi while declaring his support for the ‘Juba Declaration Forces’ and the Monday demonstration. Minawi went on to expose the outdated NCP policies of neutralizing their opponents by giving them positions with bigger names and titles while they are in fact being kept without assignments. This same trick has been tried with many opposition leaders in the past once they were deceived into signing usually non honoured peace deals. In Arkoi Manawi’s case, he laments for being a marginalized participant in the government and that his post of the so-called chief presidential assistant could even be more inferior to “an assistant driver, usually a minor entrusted only with preparing meals for his boss (the lorry driver) and hardly participates in any driving or mechanical duties”. This was the same post occupied by Dr. Riek Machar following the doomed Khartoum Peace Agreement.

As time passes by the ‘Juba Declaration Forces’ continues to get closer to the conclusion that, it is not going to easy for them to topple the NCP through any elections to be held while the regime practically dominates almost everything and is more than prepared to rig both the elections and the referendum.

However on a more closer observation yet one sees no any possibility of the NIF/NCP giving in to the popular demand of democratic transformation, while considering the ‘Juba Declaration Forces’ possibility of not participating in the elections should a conducive and democratic environment not be allowed to prevail, just a mere threat. Whether the SPLM& Opposition are still bent to appeal against the widespread breeches which tracked down during the voters’ registration and are also well documented by other foreign observers like the Carter Foundation …etc, all remain to be seen.

What is apparent now is that the Juba Declaration Forces’ that has raised the hopes of the Sudanese traditional opposition parties while suggesting an imminent victory through demonstrations and popular up risings ( true or not ) are now working hard to broaden their power base. Their intensions to stage yet another nationwide popular march seems to have won the admirations of the leaders following the worldwide condemnation directed against Omer Bashir’s government for its barbaric actions against the protesters on Monday the 7th December 2009.

The way ahead is still full of many uncertainties for the whole Sudan. More street demonstrations will mean more confrontations between the two camps and obviously more international disapproval. This if anything, will result to more isolation of the Khartoum regime, more economic crisis and increased instability.

And if we are to be a bit braver, we would have just said that the struggle now is towards a regime change before the anticipated elections, as seen by the ‘Juba Declaration Forces’ as a guarantee to holding a free, fair, transparent and credible elections and referenda in the Sudan.

This might not be exactly what the US administration wants, but the fact remains that it is convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that any elections to be held on the terms put forward by the NCP will surely never ever be neither fair nor credible and this also applies to the referenda.

The US administration may continue to engage NCP in order to create a friendly environment necessary for credible elections, but should they fail in that, they will not also be fools to spend their tax payers’ money on an election that will only complicate matters.

Now as it unfolds the initial eagerness to hold a timely election is getting watered down by the real situations on the ground. Of course not all these situation were there one week ago, but we must come to appreciate the ability of the Sudanese politicians on how easily they can manipulate an already complicated situation. Otherwise how do we expect leaders like Sayed al Sadiq al Mahdi or Sheikh Hassan al Turabi to creep into the fore front again if they do not succeed in creating the necessary environments where even their very dirty past would still look trivial in the eyes of the Sudanese masses when compared to today’s NCP of Nafie Ali Nafie and company.

I will not rush to the conclusion that all is satisfied with the voter’s registration which has so far been received by many mix feelings, as some praises it to be the highest in the history, while others hold high on the many irregularities that were uncovered. But should the general atmosphere continue as tense as it is, no rational mind will be surprised again should the whole voters registry becomes another area of dispute amongst the political forces. If this so happens, then the tremendous exercise would have only complicated matters as did the disputed Census Results. And eventually it will become an additional problem itself, seeking attention and solutions at the expense of the limited time availed to mark the end of the CPA.

This far it should have also become apparent to all, that no force be it internal or external will ever push the NCP into implementing to the letter and the spirit what is left of the CPA. They (NCP) had long seen their own demise craftily written in the agreement when the democratic transformation was clearly elaborated in the agreement as an important CPA dividend that must precede the general elections.

And now if the NCP’s survival means not implementing the remaining articles of the agreement in the way that is perceived by the other political forces, the NIF/NCP will prefer to risk the whole agreement, thus pulling the entire country into a creative chaos rather than committing itself into following this agreement, which they know if well implemented will for sure see them to its best , out of power, and send them packing thus leaving all the security and the luxury behind while they make their final journey into the unknown.

As anything is possible in politics, I thus appeal to all concerned south Sudanese nationals to view the coming period with some broadness of vision. Though we are hearing people high in the GoSS talking on how seriously they would want the Self Determination of south Sudan taken, yet election is not everybody’s cup of tea. Many of our top political stars do not have the records to bring them back to political power should there be fair, transparent and credible elections. Such individuals can easily join any camp that can guarantee their stay in power regardless of their deafening revolutionary slogans.

Should the current wave of demonstrations lead to a regime change in Khartoum, we should not allow any self centred groups to compromise out Independence by taking us back to square one , where we will start to renegotiate the CPA all over again in order to reach a version that can be accepted by the new comers in Khartoum. However the SPLM chairman’s reassurances to the Sudanese president Omer al Bashir, in an attempt to distance the SPLM from any attempts to regime change could have a knock on effect.

The SPLM must have had something in mind when it decided to champion the ‘Juba Declaration Forces’, thus distancing itself from the arranged marriage with the NCP. This demonstration obviously as a planned strategic event needs to be taken into consideration by H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit whenever engaging the Sudanese Presidency or any other join forum that involves the NCP. And it should be clear to the SPLM negotiators that now whatever statement they intend to make will be viewed in the context of the Monday December 7th March and all that which followed from the arrests, harassments, detentions, humiliations, slogans, chants, burning down of premises…etc.

The SPLM that has already crossed to the opposition side will never ever function effectively as an integral part of the government of National Unity. Not when its icons had to under go all those humiliations under these Islamic bigots who look at all non Muslims as unworthy infidels.

While Kiir rushes to condemn those genuine voices who shouted, “Down …Down with Bashir, ………..”, in Juba. The question here is will Omer al Bashir ever bother to condemn the humiliating calls of his loyalists in the “Council of Islamic Scholars”, who issued the infamous “fatwa”, ordering Muslims not to SPLM, which it labelled as a group of infidels and power hungry instigators whom Islam forbids any associations with.

The Sudan as a whole is now under the international focus as its pregnant situation waits to surprise the world which ever way the outcome might lead to. Will it be another return to a tragic war that would engulf the whole country, or a forced unity or the much awaited birth of a new nation?

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]

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