Sudan has entered a critical stage of its history, a situation where Southern Sudanese are poised to break away through an internationally supervised referendum on January 9, 2011. The process has been difficult but steady. The two partners for their credit did their best to calm storms along the way to this stage. We are only left with few weeks to go, and the eyes of the world are on the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) leadership. The two principals to be specific are under tight political scrutiny in everything they do or say.
So far, the two leaders (Al Bashir and Kiir) kept their cards close to their hearts, at least publicly. Their foot soldiers however are on the ‘havoc’; daggering swords against one another, for good or bad reasons. The media is in the lead doing dirty job for either side. Credible leaders have pitched camps there, howling tough positions in an attempt to woo the other for war. The NCP particularly has sharpened the art of bullying and blackmailing for the sole purpose of escaping from the agreement they have signed in the Kenyan city of Nairobi.
The world peace loving forces therefore should double efforts to frustrate the NCP from disrupting the democratic rights for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei. There will be no excuse on the side of the NCP, and even so of the SPLM to walk away at the zero hour. The march to January must be respected, because it’s almost sanctimonious to Southerners.
When we lined up on November 15 to register, it was scintillating like never before; we thought our leaders would do what gentlemen could do, honour their own words. It was a rare opportunity for an ordinary man like me to decide his destiny other than someone else doing it in Parliament or in the State House.
Unfortunately, the antics from the NCP made it now abundantly clear that trouble awaits the Sudanese people in January/February 2010.
If Dr. Khalil Ibrahim reopening of bidding for referendum material saga is anything to go by, then much need done to stop this old man from stoking fire in this country again.
The spy man (Gen. Salah Al Gosh) earlier maligned our people and his statement has awaken us! Political bickering yeah, are natural for parties curbed out of different orientations. But on the expense of choice for freedom, this is unbecoming and the Sudanese peace partners should give our people a break. People don’t want war but peaceful divorce. To fight because of a divorce is not thinking right. War ravages and no right minded leader would want to accept his people to slip into that situation once more.
Presidents Al Bashir and Kiir, you have sovereign obligation to reign in your lieutenants to allow Sudanese a chance to vote on the designate date in January. You can just do that through the followings: moot the ill fate idea of inviting Sudanese companies in an already charged and tense political environment. Southerners (including this little author) won’t accept an extension even by one day. The invitation of Sudanese companies affects the tight deadline leading to January 2011, because technically, it takes few weeks for production of the materials and another week for distribution. External bidders conversely will do it conveniently and on time. SPLM opts for this position and they got it right.
Secondly, you got to clear the air and make a decision on the status of Abyei. Messiriya future is a done deal; they aren’t voting and this position should not be negotiated. Why? Because they aren’t owners of the land, and the land is in dispute between the North and the South. Someone looking for water and pastures for animals can’t put a claim to a land of somebody through the barrel of the gun. Don’t take serious any threat from Messiriya Arab. If they are going to look for trouble after your decision, let them do it at their own risk without your blessing.
The Abyei issue remains a thorn in the presidential ‘flesh’, and you must gather courage and say no to that blood nosed tribe known as Messiriya. They will suffer if they insist of antagonising Southerners, as their animal grazing land shall turn into battle fields.
Third, debts impasse can be diffused. No one denies that Southern Sudan has ever been part of the larger Sudan and anything that affects the entire Sudan ultimately affects the South; but debts from war ashes are tricky to be shared. The aircrafts and bombs have destroyed the South, and the environment has been the casualty, why on earth should this debt be shared? The SPLM during the war had also borrowed, and they can’t now suggest to the NCP to take portion of the debts. No debt share and the presidency can take easy decision on this matter.
Forth, the citizen issue can be resolved by allowing citizens from both side a ten year period without a necessity of a passport between the two emerging countries. Southerners have invested a lot in the North, unlike Northerners in the South. The later never roofed one storey building in any one of the ten state cities. But that isn’t an issue, we need each other on commercial basis. A Northerner as our dear President said it, is free to move and do business anywhere in the South after independence. No citizen rule about him staying in the South and our ‘brothers’ in the North should do the same to our people there. Children are in schools and colleges, people have somewhat adapted some living there, why not give them enough time, even that of the South to pick up and then after ten year time, they will have reason to come home and permanently settle?
Dear Presidents and the entire leadership of the two parties (the SPLM & NCP), the hope of the Sudan is on you. Don’t make a fool of yourselves and get tempted to stop in the middle of nowhere without finishing the good job. You brought smiles on the face of many Sudanese and the time to finish everything is next year in January. Swallow any bitter differences and think about the future of the two nations. The task is heavy, but with will, you can deliver the country out of the crisis. More importantly, spend less time in the media on issues to do with ‘us’ against ‘them’; narrow differences on post arrangement agreements. Let referendum go on as planned!
To wrap up, the Western countries must cease from conspiracies against the Sudanese President. He is a great man and his job isn’t finish. Give him space to stabilize the country. Your scheme to humiliate him will not stop him from serving his people. He’s a principled and disciplined person who wants to finish what his hands has done. Our President will continue to complete the CPA journey unperturbed. By the way, what do you want done in this country, that he didn’t do? Darfur is one piece and there are others here.