Detention of SPLM-DC Members in Wau and Aweil.
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Democratic Change
Date: 22 September 2010
September 22, 2010 (Khartoum) — On Saturday, the 18th September 2010, a delegation of the Alliance of South Sudan Political Parties, who went to educate the Southern people on Self-determination and the necessity to create a conducive atmosphere for a free, fair and transparent referendum in January 2011 arrived Wau town. Mr. Ismail Yangama SPLM-DC Supervisor of Greater Bahar el Ghazal, and member of the delegation, was singled out by the Governor who told the delegation that he cannot meet them in Yangama’s presence. Due to this uncalled for behaviour of the Governor, Mr Ismail Yangama, reached the conclusion that his presence in Wau was serving no purpose and decided to come back to Khartoum. On Monday the 20th instant, he was arrested by the State authorities when he was about to board the plane back to Khartoum. In the same vein, Mr. Amour Piok, Assistant Secretary for Youth and Students in the party, who went to Awiel on a similar mission, was harassed by the State authorities there and had to leave Awiel for Wau in a hurry to avoid arrest.
It is clear that the SPLM is playing double standards with the South Sudan political parties, especially with SPLM-DC in Greater Bahr El Ghazal States since the time the authorities of Western Bahar El Ghazal officially prevented in March the launching of the elections campaign of the SPLM-DC Chairman for Presidency of Government of Southern Sudan, and meting out intimidation on the officials of SPLM-DC to defect to the SPLM. Up to date one of the SPLM-DC cars had been commandeered, and is still with the Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal without shame. In Wau, the office of SPLM-DC remains closed and the car and other properties of the party remain confiscated by the State authorities.
Another trouble spot is Unity State where the State authorities took over the office of SPLM-DC, seized its car which is being used by them now and threatened any person who dares to declare publicly that he was an SPLM-DC member!
Where is the Rule of the Law if those in charge of its imposition are the ones flouting it?
All these violations of personal freedoms and freedom of Association are taking place at a time when the noises coming out of Juba sound like good music, as far as Democracy and Southern unity are concerned. About two weeks ago, the SPLM-DC was allowed to assume its rightful place as Leader of the Opposition in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in accordance with Article 71 of the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan 2005. Not very long ago , the President of the Government of Southern Sudan issued a statement saying that all political parties without exception are free to campaign in the South for either of the two options of the referendum, unity or separation, so that voters exercise their right consciously when the referendum comes next January 2011. In addition to the above, H.E. Salva Kiir Maryardit issued a decree, just before leaving for the United States of America, on South-South dialogue which is scheduled to take place in the middle of October 2010. Therefore, we are really dumbfounded as to why the SPLM-DC members are still being targeted in the South especially in Greater Bahar El Ghazal and Unity states by SPLM Governors. Is it the case of the left hand doing what the right hand is not seeing, or is it a division of roles? In either case, this does reflect well on the image of the SPLM. It must rein in its recalcitrant members in authority if it wants to be taken seriously.
Respect for Democracy in some States:
In contrast to what was happening in Greater Bahr El Ghazal, a different and a bright picture was emerging in other States in the South. Similar delegations that were dispatched to places like Malakal, Bor and Torit, were warmly received and enjoyed the protection of the State authorities in those places. They came back to Khartoum having accomplished their mission.
The Insecurity and Unlawful Arrests:
The comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provides that at the end of the interim period of six years and half a year, Southerners should be given the opportunity to choose between unity and separation. It is to the interest of all sincere South Sudanese to leave no stone unturned to have a free, fair and transparent referendum in January 2011. Those who today pretend to be overzealous for a separation vote while ignoring the requirements of a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of an internationally acceptable referendum are the very enemies of the cause of separation because they are walking into a trap. We must eliminate the current political uncertainty and physical insecurity in large parts of South Sudan, especially the greater Bahr El Ghazal and Unity states. How will South Sudan go for a historic and momentous vote divided? Look at the continued detention incommunicado and without investigation since May 2010 SPLM-DC members in Upper Nile State (Hon. Mustafa Gai, member of Upper Nile State Assembly, Dr. Odol Ochai and others), new arrest of SPLM-DC members in Wau ( Ismail Yangama) and intimidation and harassment of the SPLM-DC member (Mr. Amour Piok) who was on the delegation that went to Awiel and was not allowed to take part in the referendum educational campaign and had to leave Awiel for his personal safety.
We hereby condemn in the strongest possible terms the continuous actions by SPLM/A against our party and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all of our detained comrades because they are being held unlawfully. We also appeal to the countries witnesses to the CPA, such as the USA, UK, Norway, Italy and EU, that stood with the Sudan to end the war that lasted over twenty years and helped bring about the CPA, to bring pressure to bear on the SPLM/A and the Government of Southern Sudan so as to address the issues of insecurity and arrests of political opponents, to enable the referendum take place as scheduled in a tranquil atmosphere.