Mama Referendum, Here We Come!

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki of the African Union High-Level Implementation Penal (AUHIP) is heard of suggesting parallel options besides what everyone knows and the world has done in Naivasha-Kenya nearly six years.

 

Discussions shall commence this week between the two peace partners (The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the National Congress Party), and here comes the question or questions: who authorizes this man to reopen and renegotiate the content of the CPA? What do you think you are doing Mr. Thabo? Please don’t temper with this element in the agreement- referendum! Stop your African integration illusion; our context doesn’t go with it. Leave us alone sir! You are lobbing fire to this country again!

The SPLM party in this juncture should now come out clearly; it must not give a damn hearing to this proposal of confederation, and if it happens, the Southern public will hold SPLM Secretary General responsible for buying in Governor Malik Aggar  who is for confederation. This file to our understanding is in the hand of the big man Dr. Riek Machar, what makes the Secretary General to open this chapter? Time to this matter is wrong, the people behind are wrong ones and the intention is equally wrong. Didn’t we hear the two parties agreeing to allow the referendum to go as planned, why change heart to talk about something different- touching on sensitive thing like referendum without the consent of Southerners?

No confederation at this time, or ever! If the SPLM top has plotted something behind the back of Southerners, someone should tell it in white and black and our people will decide their destiny on their own.
 
But whatever the argument, the referendum slated for earlier January is one big event the country has ever seen before; an event that will determine the future of the country permanently. Southerners in this case are anxiously waiting with their baited breaths that may any god not go in between until the occasion is passed. Fortunately we have men and women at the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) who are true to their words. On top is Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, Ustaz Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and huge Vice President (South Sudan) Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon. Fresh from the people (mandated), the two parties (the NCP & NCP) have huge responsibility on their shoulder to deliver on their promises including this political mama called referendum.
 
The two parties know that referendum isn’t a privilege but a right for thepeople of Southern Sudan to do it. They further know that Sudan will never be at peace unless Southern Sudanese voice is listened to. Contrary to what Governor Malik Aggar would wants the world to believe. To him, it is confederation or no Sudan. Separation to Aggar is akin to disintegration of the country, a dreary argument that doesn’t make sense. Mr. Mbeki irresponsibly rushed to take it raw.

Where does the confederation issue come in at this stage when already the ground is set for the people of Southern Sudan to go for an internationally recognized plebiscite on January 9, 2010 to determine their destiny?
 
Now, let’s take two grand hot theories/cases about referendum; two situationsthat will make if handled well and or break the referendum exercise if not- in favor of no unity, no separation. One is the resurgent of militia project or their organization, armament and support by the NCP. This is a very worrying development indeed. A peaceful loving Sudanese would find this very contradicting to publicly proclaimed positions from the NCP. What’s happening currently in Upper Nile State is a disaster in waiting. Men armed to their teeth, waylaying their own brothers and sisters because one is an SPLM and another is Democratic Change (DC) or George Athor’s Rebellion.
 
We can’t continue to hate each other like that and claim to be one people.  The gallant SPLA force should behave responsibly during the disarmament. But others shouldn’t use the SPLA’s slow to action to mean cowardice or allow someone to slaughter as he wishes. Why holding fire arms when you aren’t a police, prison warder, wildlife or in the SPLA.
 
I understand that DC and Comrade George are still bitter against the SPLM party. To them it is better, the SPLM has robbed itself to power through vote rigging and therefore it is right to claim victory back through clandestine or an open armed struggle. They charged the SPLM of having gone on the offensive to torture, arrest and on some cases killed the DC and Athor supporters in that area. SPLA has its own version of event either. That isn’t the point- to say who should be believed or not- the point is that there is a problem in Upper Nile as we speak. The problem is about other armed groups operating secretly or openly against the government of the people of Southern Sudan. This should stop.
 
There are voices that suggest the need for reconciliation before referendum.That is, a Southerner should sit down and talk to fellow Southerner on baggage or hangovers from April elections. This author however is struggling to understand where to begin. We must produce concrete issues on the table before preaching reconciliation. No prefect election and small issues in the election can’t make a nation hostage. Going back to the polling booths moreover is out of question given many implications involved, and if to talk for the sake of talking, then what time do we have on our hands to do just that? The period leading to January is too short to have another distraction come in between.
 
But, what issues  exactly in the election are we talking about? The election was largely free and squarely fair. Mr. Kiir beat his rival Dr. Lam Akol hand down, and the same is true with Gen. Kuol to Gen. George. What supporters of the two camps (DC and George’s) are saying doesn’t add up, given election facts on the ground? To lose is natural, but to refuse to accept isn’t. When Dutch lost to Spain on Sunday in South Africa, the players on both camp put the pitch fever behind them and quickly gather to greet each other, pain of losing notwithstanding. 

That spirit goes also to politics. Look, even if we have some isolated cases about rigging, there is no way we should focus on them now leaving the picture to slip away before our watch.
 
The task of referendum is too heavy for our leaders alone; we should pick up pieces quickly from our just concluded elections and start to work together toward the achievement of our goal in January 2011. Northerners including those who claim to be fighting alongside us are on the offensive to thwart our aspiration for an independent state. I think others have stated the same elsewhere. 

Referendum as one ECS Priest put it during June demonstration is indeed a matter of life and death. Reconciliation and others should wait, but not referendum. Delaying it to put our house in order first is too expensive an exercise; referendum is one life event and if we lose, its gone forever.
 
Second situation or case that might jeopardize the referendum is the mandatory 60% to declare results in favor of a nation. If the eligible Southern Sudanese that will cast their votes failed to reach the magic number (60%), we will be in trouble with the book, (law). This is why youths are on the streets to enlighten our people on this cause- the need for high turn out. This is an important exercise that must be given its deserved attention! Southerners who are outside the country (South) shouldn’t wait until December to do so. A case in point is the status of millions in the North. Duty has called and beckons deeply on our hearts, a true Southerner should now think carefully and participate fully in the writing of our political history.
 
Mama referendum, a blessed one by the precious blood of our martyrs from 1955 to date, its about time to honor your great name and give us an opportunity to celebrate our hard won freedom in that month of January (2011). H. E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the team led by Guandit Dr. Machar, don’t take any short cut including that of confederation; one thing ought to be done at a time.

If someone claims that we will not rule or govern ourselves alone, let him prove us wrong in January 2012. Let’s see whether the North will surely govern itself well when we are gone. No referendum no Sudan! Southerners, here is a traitor called Malik Aggar, can he resign from the SPLM party now? That is an affirmative!

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