Will SPLM and GOSS ever resist the incessant humiliations by the NCP and unflinchingly assert their Prerogative in the rickety Partnership in Sudan?
Br Peter Lokarlo Marsu
The NCP-NIF have more often demonstrated bellicose temperament towards the CPA, right from the start of the rickety partnership with the SPLM. It is extremely hard to envisage the future viability of this political joint venture in the form of the government of National Unity in Sudan, given the prevalent turbulent settings between the two parties running the country. It is far too numerous to enumerate instances in which the NIF government has been more obdurate and less positive in ensuring the implementation of the peace Agreement in Sudan. I would like to point out a number of regrettable situations that amount to a clear breach of the peace accommodation by the NCP-NIF.
The recent ambush and killing of the thirty-nine SSDF soldiers by the regime's secret service agents and highwaymen on the way to Abyei is unmistakably a flagrant infringement of the Agreement on the part of the NCP-NIF. The SSDF had already merged with the SPLA in line with the Agreement's stipulation. Khartoum has no right to dictate on the allegiance of the SSDF forces or their commander, Paulino Matip.
The government of Sudan has so far declined to comment on the incident and refused to allow the UNMIS to institute any investigations on the matter, yet GOSS and SPLM seem timid and oblivious of their role as the legal authority and guarantor of security in South Sudan. The culprits behind the dreadful crime are at large and are unlikely to face justice given the feeble disposition and stance of the Movement in the government of National Unity.
In his interview with the Qatari Al Jazeera satellite TV on the 28th March 2006, when asked about the CPA, and its functioning, Al Bashir had this to say, We do not want to violate the agreement. The 1972 agreement was excellent and well accepted. It achieved real peace in Sudan, but violating it took us 20 years back to war. Does this statement make sense and does it tally with the reality on the ground?
The SAF troops are still strategically deployed in and around Juba, which is the seat of the government of South Sudan, an undeniably blatant violation of the spirit of the CPA. Khartoum still maintains huge forces on the ground as revealed by SPLA's senior military officer, Major General Thomas Cirilo. Those SAF troops and intelligence personnel are kept there for potential future confrontation with the South.
A sensible person would wonder why GOSS is so coy that it can't even remind Omar Al Bashir about this defiant mindset when Al Bashir had ordered his troops last year to evict SPLA from Hameshkoureb in Eastern Sudan for falling behind schedule to meet a deadline for withdrawal and re-deployment in the South as specified in the peace Agreement. Is the government of South Sudan failing to assert its prerogative and accepting to live with incessant humiliations and denigration?
The Abyei border report, documented by the panel of experts has been damped in garbage by the president. The NCP-NIF has obstinately refused to execute the recommendations of the panel of experts. This is a direct challenge and insult to the authority of the government of South Sudan and a contravention of the CPA and the colonial border demarcation understanding. Minister Deng Alor in the government of National Unity is on record for exposing the regime's obstinacy and callous behaviour towards this issue of vital concern.
What is restraining SPLM and the government of South Sudan from making official protests to the NIF government about this provocative and confrontational attitude, do we need to interpret that the invincible Movement that once fought gallantly against oppression is now turning frail and scrawny as a government?
This is a defining moment for the SPLM and the government of South Sudan. They must live up to expectations and aspirations of the Southern Sudanese people. We have yet to prove that SPLM is a vehicle without a reverse gear as stated by the president of South Sudan, though we saw the reverse gear in action in the wake of the futile contest for the Ministry of Energy and Mining last year.
The White Nile Oil and Exploration Company is now fully operational in Block Ba as stated by Phil Edmonds, the Company's chairman. It won't surprise me at all if Omar Al Bashir and his intelligence gangs in the South mount a sabotage mission to disrupt work in the field in order to starve the South of the oil resource which is highly needed to put in shape and rehabilitate our dilapidated infrastructures. The NIF government has long opposed the SPLM for what it terms illegal endeavour. Maintaining a strong and visible security presence in and around the Oil area to protect the company and its workers from attacks must be prioritised to deter any NIF-sponsored spoilers.
Any captured LRA bandit must be dealt with in accordance with the law. It is senseless to transfer them to the UN. The UN in Juba does not dispense justice, and of course you don't expect the thugs to be flown to The Hague for trial. The five LRA rounded up at the camp near Jebel Kujur in Juba must be prosecuted by the law enforcement agency and awarded exemplary punishment. To hand them over to the UN local authorities in Juba after interrogation is tantamount to denigrating GOSS's justice system.
Sadly, SPLM has to go a long trek to profoundly discipline maverick members among its ranks. On the 19th March 2006, SPLM's member and Sudan's Minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Lam Akol, addressed the 5th IGAD ministerial meeting in Nairobi stressing and insisting that his government was satisfactorily implementing the CPA Agreement and that the government of National Unity had addressed substantial ground.
This is a lie that appears simple and harmless on the periphery but quite misleading and catastrophic to the South in the long run. SPLM is castigating and holding the NIF-NCP responsible for deliberate procrastination of the CPA while Lam is preaching to the international community that everything is fine in Sudan. I am not interested to draw up Lam's political Curriculum Vitae (CV), which is indeed very filthy. Every average and keen political observer is sentient of his egocentric and negative inclinations.
A person of substance and integrity should rigidly adhere to values, principles and actions that have positive bearings on his people, regrettably Lam Akol is not, despite approbation he secures from his myopic admirers. In future we could hardly put our country in the right track with the involvement of persons like the likes of Lam Akol.
In the wake of the Daen Massacre of Southern Sudanese in the late 1980's during Sadiq Al Mahdi's rule, which was elaborately documented by Dr. Ushari Mahmoud and Ismail Ali Baldo, distinguished lecturers at the University of Khartoum, the late Dr. Walter Kunijok, who was serving in a ministerial position in the government of Sadiq Al Mahdi, and also a former senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the same university, immediately tendered his resignation, and quitted accusing the government of killing his own people.
I still admire Dr. Kunijok's rare courage and conviction. Does Lam Akol belong to such high-calibre group? You've to make shrewd judgement and not blind support.
Finally, GOSS should put to an end the continuous humiliations by the NCP-NIF by learning the art of saying NO when necessary.