The UN Must Immediately Take over the Responsibility of Organising South Sudan’s Referendum

Yassir Arman, the SPLM deputy secretary general for the northern sector who suddenly rose up to represent the SPLM for the top office in the country then abruptly relinquished his candidacy to most of his supporter’s disappointment, was a clear indication of what changed hands between the two CPA partners.   Arman did not boycott the presidential elections, but everything was done on the request of the SPLM party without any consideration for the aspirations of the millions who looked at him  (Arman), to bring the salvation.


Of interest is the fact that the four-point document between the NCP and SPLM was signed by none but the former minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Alor Kuol, on behalf of the SPLM and signed on behalf of the NCP by the former spy chief, Salah Gosh, who was head of National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and former Presidential Advisor on National Security. This sends a clear message that in the run off for the referendum and thereafter  south Sudan will be under the tight grips of the notorious NISS.

Somewhere also in the report, it is said that, “however the NCP pledged to run the referendum and respect its outcome but said it would work hard to maintain the unity of Sudan and vowed that it would defeat “separatists within the SPLM”.

I hope that the unfolding scenarios can help us see the right pieces of the jig saw as the SPLM political bureau that is inclined towards a ‘united Sudan’, did all that it could and succeeded to weed the party’s representation from most of the separatist elements, while completely barring off all those southern Sudanese parties who openly raised the slogan of separation. To seal the deal, we are now being informed that the NCP is determined to finish off with   the remaining influential SPLM separatist.

We are also being told that Ali Osman Mohamed Taha who negotiated the CPA on the behalf of the NCP would move to reside in the South to work for unity and supervise the   projects to be implemented by the national government there. This raises eye brows and we clearly smell rat in this newly unfolding events and it has to stop. What is he becoming, a foreman,   a head labourer or a contract inspector? 

It is also regrettable to learn that the National Congress Party (NCP) has not changed its position on its request to deploying the federal police forces in Southern Sudan to monitor the referendum process.  It is said that the NCP has no confidence in the capacity of the Southern Sudan police, although the same police were allowed to managed and  secure the census and the polling processes without any criticisms.

Anyway let us be frank to ourselves and the truth be said. Neither the south Sudan police, nor Sudan’s Federal police are forces to be entrusted with very sensitive issues that need a high level of integrity, neutrality and professionalism like the referendum to determine the fate of a nation. We have tested them on many occasions, and the last time was during the April 2010 elections, barely six weeks ago.

The decision to persuade the people of south Sudan to vote for the unity of the Sudan, completely violates the voluntariness of the unity they intent to achieve. And the huge northern involvement through the federal agencies at this time will never guarantee the freedom or the fairness of the referendum to come.

The voices of the grassroots in south Sudan needs to be heard if the Sudan is to avoid reverting into another civil war in the south. The fact that it was through a fraudulent elections (read reports prepared by the Carters Centre for Democracy, the EU observers and the Sudanese political parties joint statements) that Salva Kiir Mayardit got his 93% to become the president of the south, while Omer Al Bashir went unchallenged after the planned withdrawal of Yassir Arman to get 68% for the presidency of the Sudan, and by the same fraud the SPLM and the NCP each got their unprecedented majorities in the South and the north respectively, is enough to say how the partners can never be entrusted to conduct any credible referendum.

How much have we to say it to prove that the two CPA partners are more bent to cling to power than allow for a true democratic process to take root in the country. What does it signify, if after even the international community has openly declared Sudan’s April elections as a farce, but yet the NCP and SPLM are both adamant in rejecting that any such frauds did take place.

How on earth can the fate of the people of south Sudan continue to be left in the hands of a government that clearly came as a result of a massive fraud? SPLM and the NCP are obviously bent to rig the 2011 referendum and that is a clear recipe for a bitter war, where the entire region risks being dragged into.

There is of course a huge cause for concern, because even if the people of south Sudan were to freely vote for independence, which is what they actually fought for over the last fifty years, and thus refusing to remain as second class citizens in their own country, but following Salva Kiirs approval while Deng Alor puts his initials besides that of Salah Gosh (for all that the man stands for) signifies how the two gentlemen have allowed themselves to be a party to a possible sell out conspiracy.

The only way forward is to involve and engage the international community in each and every step of winding up the remaining CPA provisions. As for the referendum, the need for the international community to immediately step in take over the whole process starting right from the identification of the eligible voters, the registration, the actual voting process, the counting, endorsement and declaration of the results cannot not the stressed any further. If it is done in this way, no doubt both the south can be expected to honour the outcome. However should things be allowed to go the way the NCP is preparing itself for, I am afraid to say that the south may be forced to seek other routes to determine its fate.

The people of south Sudan are not begging for a northern favour nor do we want Ali Osman Taha’s development. We are not idiots to allow him to fool us that he can develop us while the money he is boasting with is in fact ours as it comes from our own Oil fields. It is shameful, that he can think of doing such a thing, but it is even more shameful should we allow his into fooling us.

As for the NCP that represents the ‘unity of the Sudan’, the southerners have already passed their verdict. The number of votes got by Omer al Bashir from the southern electorates is enough to tell him that, he and his party (NCP), and all that they stand for including the ‘united Sudan’ are issues not popularly shared in the south. For the NCP to turn and come around to play the key role in deciding the fate of our people is nothing but a mere continuum of the northern supremacist Arab racial ideology, that they must continue to rule us and decide what is good for our people. This pathetic state of affairs must be stopped immediately.

The people of South Sudan know that they are not choosing between unity and separation. We are in fact about to choose between a peaceful separation and a violent one. It is important that the whole world including our neighbours in the north is brought to clearly understand what we intent to do. South Sudan, where people are already dying in their hundreds every month   and at the verge of a full blown rebellion will never hold back from sacrificing more lives if that is what is needed to seal our final independence from the northern bigots.

The result of the referendum can only be binding if it is free, fair, voluntarily and without any coercion, which can only be achieved if organised by the UN. In event of any tempering with the referendum process from A to Z, south Sudan, as we as the region may see yet another instability and the international community will only have itself to blame.

Dr.  Justin Ambago Ramba, M.B, B.Ch, D.R.H, MD. Can be reached at either [email protected] or [email protected]

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