Timely Referendum, a final test for the Sudanese Presidency

By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD

No postponement of the referendum.

August 23, 2010 (SSNA) — Many international observers including the Sudanese themselves have since long warned against  the slow pace at which the  Sudanese Presidency is  moving around implementing the different parts of the CPA. Time and time again it has also been brought to the notice of the Khartoum NIF dominated government that the referendum cannot be delayed as the interim constitution has no room for any such extension, all to no avail.

However on the other hand it cannot be overstressed that the CPA has brought them much closer than ever before to their national dream of an independence south Sudan nation. At this particular moment in history as a struggling people, there is a need to stick together for the timely implementation of the remaining issues on the paper. There is also a need to show to the international community that we are doing our best until we reach the 9th of January 2011. The GoSS and the SSLA and the entire population of south Sudan are clearly against any postponement to the referendum, how little that maybe. Worrying though is the conceding pattern that has come to dominate Salva Kiir’s leadership records.

My sincere hope is that the SPLM and the NCP realise the fact that a delay to the referendum is not an option for the south, and that the hopes and expectations of the people of south Sudan are so pinned on that date that it would be dangerous to postpone it because the level of frustration and disappointment would be too high for anybody to manage. I also hope that the President Omer al Bashir appreciates the protection that he enjoys as a result of the CPA against his crimes committed in Darfur. However his recent behaviours may cause this protection to wean out faster, thus making him more vulnerable to appear before the ICC before long.

Today the panicky NIF/NCP gurus and ideologues can be seen crisscrossing the whole length and width of the Sudan as if it was only in the August of the year 2010 that lastly the Self Determination clauses in the CPA are beginning to sink into the bigoted northern mindset. It is all about keeping up appearances, which is well summarised in Ali Osman Taha’s speech to the members of the Ansar Al Sunna Islamic Sect in Khartoum when he said, “We are never going to surrender to the     campaigns that portray the secession of the south as inevitable. We will continue to work to retain the unity of this country till the last minute”, (al Sharq al Awsat).

Somewhere in a report written Nurelddin Satti (ret) UNISCO consultant, he was quoted to have said that the NCP are will to cooperate more in avoiding any return to wars with the south should the result of the 2011 referendum come anything short of secession. (Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars –AFRICA, August 2010). In another similar development as if the south needs a reminding on how the north have thrived through the political bullying of the other Sudanese, Nafie Ali Nafie, a senior advisor to president Omer al Bashir, wasted no time in warning the SPLM against any unilateral declaration of independence by the South Sudan legislative Assembly (SSLA) as an alternative to the referendum. He emphasized that such an attempt by the SPLM would amount to "political suicide".

Considering the common background from which these bigoted and chauvinistic Islamists of the NIF/NCP crept into the mainstream of Sudan’s politics, the fate of this country will continue to exist on the balance.  Anybody of average sensibility can never fail to see the apparent justification to conclude that these guys’ understanding of the rest of the country has been negatively prejudiced by a false sense of superiority  which unfortunately  is built of the evils of the gross Socio-economic disparities of the Sudan, which gave the Arab riveran’ elites their  present day status quo.

In line with the aforementioned reasoning, the NCP Secretary for Organizations Qutbi Al-Mahdi, found it completely uncomfortable to accept the newly adopted position of the SANU chairman who changed from championing a campaign for unity barely two weeks ago to a new position that is supportive of the independence of the South per the press release signed by Dr. Toby Maduot Parek Machar personally (Sudan Tribune 20th august 2010).

"This party has lost the road since a long time ago and its current leadership is unable to continue to walk on the line adopted by the party founder, William Deng and his colleagues who argued that the federal system is the best solution." Qutbi AL-Mahdi said.

However Qutbi himself was quick to acknowledge the overwhelming support for secession and Independence that exists in the South, when he went on to say.

“SANU leaders could not walk on with the idea and finally gave in to the general atmosphere prevailing in the south”, Qutbi further stressed.

From what can be gathered so far, it is clear that the SPLM and its slippery partners in the NCP are so much getting consumed most of the time in keeping up appearances. Many things are already happening which are primarily intended to compromise the outcome of the referendum if not straight away deny the people of south Sudan they constitutional right to Self Determination as stipulated in the 2005 CPA.

On August 23, 2010 the online Sudan Tribune Daily runs this report: — “The Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) has agreed to let a Northerner hold the post of the Secretary General of the referendum commission, multiple sources told Sudan Tribune”. This though is a disappointment to the southern masses, however it serves as a reminder first as to what SPLM can and cannot do. Secondly it also teaches us a lesson to vividly see what unity with the Arab north entails. They get the top positions and the rest are forever resigned to lower jobs.

Every peace loving nation of the world and their silent citizens may be held accountable as they stand by while the NCP and their fellow Arab allies are allowed to openly conspire using the states’ manipulative machinery with the sole intent of rigging the will of the people of south Sudan. It is nowhere more apparent that the NCP is working to pre-fix the results of the referendum more than when it resorts to engage in psychological warfare with the SPLM over the latter’s position on unity.

However the realities of things are beginning to surface one by one proving that    the North – South confrontations were wrongly assumed to have been brought under control by the power and wealth sharing agreements between the two traditional foes. The more we approach the end of the CPA period; the more the truth about the truce is undoubting beginning to reveal every bit that was taken for granted while the two sides were hurried up in 2005 to seal a deal.

The CPA remains threatened and vulnerable given the worrying fact that President Omer al Bashir and his dominant NCP are beginning to feel uneasy towards the anticipated pro- secession victory in the coming referendum. Even more disturbing is their irritating attitude in engaging with the citizens of the south in what clearly says that unless the north is sure of maintaining the unity of the Sudan, otherwise it won’t allow the conduct of the referendum to proceed. This confirms the scepticism of many who never trusted the NCP to live to honour the CPA especially that it declares in the most an unequivocal terms the Right of the people of south Sudan to Self Determination.

‘Political Suicide’, or not, it is imperative for Nafie Ali Nafie to realise that the real suicide about to be committed by his NCP is if the Presidency fails to secure an on time referendum. This is equally important for his boss president al Bashir and his several aides that any return to north-south war will see an all out war in the whole Sudan. With the different people of the South, the Nuba Mountains, the Southern Blue Nile and the Beja Eastern Front, all confronting Khartoum, the northern Arab riverans should be prepared to fight in the four geographical directions if they are to retain power in Khartoum. Never again will Khartoum thrive in the luxury of killing two birds with one stone when it used the people of Darfur, Kordofan and Eastern Sudan as war fodders in its Holy War against the South.

The author of this article: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MB, BCh, DRH, MD is a South Sudanese residing in the United Kingdom. He can be reached at: [email protected] or [email protected]

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