A sheep which campaigns for unity with a lion is plainly suicidal!

By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD

October 7, 2010 (SSNA) — The ruling party in south Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement [SPLM] has for very long struggled with its founder’s ideology of the united secular Sudan right from the inception of the movement and up to this moment when southerners are about to head for the 2011, January 9th referendum in which they are overwhelmingly expected to opt for their independent state.

A new secular Sudan – stressing secularity and unity completely on new basis is for all practically reasons incompatible with the current settlement which leaves the zealous National Islamic Front [NIF] system operational and intact. Late Dr. Garang himself was the first to come out openly to declare that the current NIF/NCP dominated system in Khartoum is too deformed to be reformed. For any individual with a bit of grey matter, the logical conclusions would be either to deal away with the NIF/NCP institutions in its entirety and replace it with one where the dreams of a secular Sudan can be realized or better still choose to secede especially offered such an option as it is the case with the CPA.

The one- time pro- unity leadership of the SPLM/A deliberately insisted to have the article on self determination for south Sudan embodied in the peace agreement in a bid to reconcile with its rank and file. One former SPLM official clearly stated it when he said, “ it was necessary to settle this through a referendum which would put to rest the long standing contradiction between the movements leadership who had persistently lectured the new Sudan vision of one united secular Sudan, while the grassroots where but diehard separatists”. He said.

Since then it has been a common knowledge that the dominant Islamist party [NCP] of president Omer al Bashir is bent to abuse the [CPA] agreement that allowed it to share power and wealth with its former foes of the SPLM by continuously undermining the latter in ways that allow for a complete monopoly of power and decision making processes in the centre. However the SPLM aware of its inability to fully implement the CPA provisions on its own due to lack of capacity, it too resorted to survival tactics and eventually retreated to [Juba] the South. To the keen viewers southern secession was seen coming as the SPLM leadership including Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir not only refused to contest against President al Bashir in the general elections of April 2010, but also withdrew Yassir Arman [SPLM Secretary for the northern sector] from the presidential race, thus closing the chapter of a united Sudan in the SPLM political book.

For God’s sake why don’t we just call a spade a spade and get the burden off our backs? It has always been a nightmare between the north and the south even before the so called independence which end the British colonial rule in the country. Every arrangement from federation to confederation was rejected by the northern politicians on the belief that they could lead to an out -right secession of the south. Today the country is battling after the leaders signed an agreement in Naivasha offering the south a right to self determination through a referendum with the hope that the southerners would go there and vote for what they call a voluntary unity. Sincerely speaking even as a SECESSIONIST as I am, I don’t really understand how the rejected options of federation or confederation were actually going to lead to south’s secession, but i am dead sure that the anticipated referendum will just do that.

Khartoum has established a non-government organisation the Popular Board for Support of Unity — that brings together different parties from the North and South for the purpose of enticing the South to vote for a united Sudan come 2011. Stunningly the SPLM as a party has again failed to stand the test of time and come out with a unified vision on the future of south Sudan. The party’s official position is that of a mess where top party leaders are    seen crossing over and joining the NCP in its belated campaign for unity. Ladies and gentlemen, you wasted an entire six-year interim period to make unity attractive to the South but did not. So are you really not making fools of yourselves?

Speaking in Juba during a welcoming ceremony following his return from a special UN Security Council meeting on Sudan in New York, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit had warned that if anyone intimidated or provoked opposing campaigners, they would face the full force of the law. the SPLM chairman also didn’t hesitate to throw it out at his critics, when he in a clear wording declare that he would personally vote for the secession o f south Sudan, as unity with the north is no longer attractive.

But no room was left for further surprises on the contradictions that continues to exist within the SPLM over the years, when Dr. Tabitha Boutros, a former minister for health and a member of the SPLM Political Bureau, was reported in the media [Nairobi based – The East African- 3rd Oct. 2010, under the heading – Khartoum on charm offensive for unitary state] to have joined the doom-mongers and is now out campaigning against the possible secession of south Sudan.

“We have taken off our party clothes to campaign for unity,” said the SPLM senior official from the Nuba Mountains.

Surely Dr. Tabitha Boutros doesn’t intend to tell southerners that the government of national unity in which she served as a health minister has done all that it takes to make unity of the Sudan any attractive to the people of the south and Abyei? Or how much has she done to mobilize the people in the Nuba Mountains to make a sense of the Popular Consultations that she and her colleague in the SPLM- Nuba Mountains have bargained from the NCP?

Dr. Tabitha Boutros of all people should be the right person to enlighten the international community that the problem in the Sudan is persistently misrepresented as it is not a southern Sudan problem, contrary to what the Khartoum based elites insist on saying. The chronic question in the Sudan, contrary to general perception, is neither “the south “nor the Nuba Mountains, the southern Blue Nile, the Abyei or Darfur. Such a way of presenting the matter directs attention to the wrong quarter. The problem in the Sudan is the riveran north; the crucial question in the Sudan is when the riveran north will abandon its Arab expansionist mission? For they insist on taking all of the Sudan into the Arab world; on presenting the Sudan as an Arab country; on Arabising the majority by imposing the political Islam ; on imposing the Arab minority rule on the whole country, even though ethnic Arabs make up , at best , 39% of the population. Muslims may be a majority by now, but Arabs are a minority, yet Sudan is officially an “Arab Republic, and belongs to the Arab League. Why?

Dr. Boutros is well aware of the many agreements dishonoured by the Arabs:   [1947 – 1954 – 1958 – 1964 -1972 [Addis Ababa Agreement] – 1997 – 2005[CPA] -2008{Abyei PCA Ruling] – now hanging in the balance are the referenda and the popular consultations. Not surprising though and it should have been expected if we chose to understand the history of Arabs in Africa. How, for instance, did what is today northern Sudan become Arab in the first place?

As described by Chinweizu, in Decolonising the African Mind, “Do we think that the problem of the Sudan can be understood outside the context of that history- the history how parts of the country has become officially known as Arab land? Given an expansionist policy now 13 centuries old, it is naïve to expect Arabs to respect any agreement which blunts their ambition. They did not respect such agreements between black Nubians and the Arabs in Egypt when the African –Arab boundary was Aswan. Which is why the frontline of African resistance has been pushed 1000 km south to Upper Nile Province. Arabs will never respect any such agreements until black power compels them to do so”. He wrote.

Many out-standing politicians, intellectuals and academicians alike from the so-called “Marginalised Sudan” are already in the bandwagon to scratch a living through the last minute NIF/NCP led campaign for unity. These are the obstructionists to the South Sudan’s freedom. These co-called intellectuals who pose to represent the best interest of their people by contending that the Sudan is Africa in microcosm, should have been the first to acknowledge that this microcosm, is no more than a microcosm of tragedy of Africans refusing to acknowledge what is obvious – a persistent Arab policy of expropriating land, population and power from Africans in the latter’s own homeland.

But because we the Africans of the Sudan refuse to recognise the obvious, we cannot devise measures to counter it. Instead, we aid and abet our own doom with pious nonsense about cooperation between predators and their prey.

Another hopeless and confused African prey is Michael Rot Mayeng, adviser to the White Nile state, who was reported to have said that separation portends more danger than unity.

In The Nairobi based, East African Daily [3rd Oct.2010], Michael Rot Mayeng argued that were John Garang alive, nobody would be talking about separation because he wanted a united Sudan.

“Southerners who fought in the 21-year war are not keen on separation because they are concerned about a possible renewal of war,” he said.

The fact that Dr. Garang is dead would allow for any of us to assume that he would have worked against the broad interest of the south. However he is still remembered for this historical statement:

“When the time comes to vote in the referendum it is your choice to determine your fate. Would you like o vote to be a second class citizen in your own country? It is absolutely your choice.” (Late Garang de Mobior).

Those who listened to the late leader’s above statement will bear witness that our brother Michael Rot Mayeng and the others are falsely claiming to be saying what late Garang would have said. Dr. Garang no doubt believed in the unity of Sudan but on new basis and it could be read in his statement that unless the unity presented to the south during the referendum time is a unity that wouldn’t make them second class citizens, then they must vote responsibly to avoid an otherwise regrettable consequences.

Dr. Garang was himself aware of the fact that the CPA which he signed with Ali Osman Taha would still make him [southerner] a second class citizen in a united Sudan unless something is done to realize the New Sudan Vision. Unfortunately he didn’t live to bring about the vision nor were those left behind successful in doing so. Where then do we go from here? Should we vote to continue being second class simply to satisfy certain people whose interests would be jeopardized if the south secedes or we opt out for our independence and write our own history?

The advisor who paradoxically seems to have ended up being advised by some Islamists in the North,   has no doubt cowed down – or how comes that he is now campaigns for unity by advocating and preaching ‘cooperation and unification’ with the northern predators?!

My dear black Africans of the Sudan, may I draw your attention to a fact that, a sheep which prays for unification with a lion by entering into the lion’s belly is plainly suicidal and mad, and perhaps ought to be abandoned to its chosen fate. Our position on Darfur and the issues of referenda in south Sudan and Abyei as well as the popular consultations in the Nuba Mountains and southern Blue Nile must be to clearly seen in a light that brings life into the implementation of these provisions. But if we don’t have the stomach for what is plainly necessary, let us at least stop fooling ourselves. No one else is fooled by our antics, least of all the Arabs.

“The current united Sudan is too deformed to be reformed,” once said late Garang.  Gen. Kiir Mayardit now says, “We have tried and we have failed”. The general should consider him-self lucky to have lived to confess and applaud secession, an opportunity missed by many who went to their graves as unionists. And while the inevitable secession stares us in the face we strongly hold to the belief that it presents the only and realist way through which the insensitive northern riveran elites can realise the ultimate consequence of their shellfish rule in the Sudan. Above everything else, it also represents a blessing in disguise for the rest of the marginalised populations of the Sudan.

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

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