Haven’t IGAD addressed the root cause of conflict in South Sudan?
By David Aoloch Bion
‘’ John Garang de Mabior, whether he likes or not, will accept the position of the Vice President he is refusing all along ‘’ said SPLA Commander late Kon Mawith after he survived an attack from Sudan Army near Gorial town during 21 year civil war
A week ago, Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the rebel SPLM/A in Opposition in South Sudan refused to sign the roadmap proposal drafted by IGAD to end the civil war in the country. Dr Riek refused to put his signature on the document and he describe it as blank check , on conditions that the draft proposal was biased , favouring dictator Salva Kiir, and failed to address the root causes of the conflict .
What puzzled , confused , headached some of us or if not all of us is what Dr Riek and his 3 spokespersons( Lul , Gadet , mabior) mean by’’ the root cause of the conflict ‘’which have not been addressed by regional bloc , the IGAD .
To be honest, the root cause of the conflict was the disagreement in the SPLM party. That Disagreement in the SPLM party gave us December 15 2013 fighting with it subsequent civil war. The December 15 Event gave two theories,
One theory says ‘’ the disagreement made Dr Riek to plot a coup against Salva Kiir to overthrow him or kill him on December 15 ‘’
Another theory says ‘’ the disagreement made Salva Kiir to fabricate the coup to force Riek out of Juba or kill him on December 15 ’’.
To IGAD as mediators, these two theories are just subject matter of debate but not subject matter of the conflict resolution.
Disagreement came about
1. When Dr Riek wanted to contest in the coming 2015 election
2. When the Political Bureau refused to pass into law the basic document of the party before the removal of ‘’ showing of hand method of voting and the 5% of votes to incumbent chairman of the party’’
In summary , the disagreement , tension , violence , bloodbath originate on these two premises ,
1. Dr Riek want to contest in 2015 election
2. SPLM Political Bureau refused to pass the basic document before the removal of two clause of showing of hands and 5% votes to the chairman .
The IGAD proposed that interim Government will be headed by President Kiir and Prime Minister who will come from Dr Riek group, This will be Dr . Riek choice if he want to contest in next election , he will stay way from this interim government and if he does not want to contest he will serve in the interim government that will be there for 30 months then election will be conducted.
For any open minded person, IGAD have addressed the root cause of the conflict, it addressed first premise which is ‘’ Riek want to contest ‘’ IGAD said after 30 months, there will be election therefore Riek will contest. The second premise which is ‘’ basic documents ’’ IGAD said within 30 months, constitution will be written therefore all other legal document will be written too.
Which other ‘’root cause of the conflict’’ which is not yet addressed?.
Dr Riek Machar, his SPLM/A in O and his supporters and their sympathizers should understand in conflict resolution, you do not get all you want unless you win outright. Your demands of
1. President Kiir must step aside
2. Dr, Riek be interim president
3 . Trial for so called Juba Massacre or genocide
4 . federalism etc.
These demands can not and will not be addressed by IGAD. These demand would have addressed themselves if you have militarily defeated Salva Kiir but not in a win- win situation in which the Government and you rebels are in now. they will not be addressed
Early, in the beginning of this article, I quoted one of SPLA Commander late Kon Mawith , Cdr Kon was one of freedom fighters led by Dr John Garang de Mabior in the SPLM/SPLA 21 year civil war . One of Dr John objective was destruction of whole, old Sudan political establishment and replace with the New Sudan political ideology but after Dr. John did not win outright in the battle to establish his utopian society of New Sudan, the mediators mediating the peace talk then in Abuja with Government of Sudan and rebel SPLM/A to find peace in Sudan offered Dr . Garang the position of the vice president, he refused and insisted on his total regime change in Khartoum , replacing it with his utopian New Sudan. So the peace talk broke down
On the frontline, Commander Kon Mawith was attacked in his base near Gorial , Kon escaped after he was almost captured by the enemy, he ran into forest with about 5 of his men, they found a small river and they crossed it when they did not know it because of panic with their clothes, they walked 100 metres, they found a woman who just fetched the water from the same river , they begged the woman to give them water that they were thirsty. The woman first gave them water. They drunk the water. The woman asked
‘’ my son, you have just crossed the river, why didn’t you drink there?
‘’ Where did we cross the river? We have not crossed any river’’ Cdr Kon argued
‘’why are your clothes wet?’’ the woman asked
Surprisingly, Kon found his uniform wet; he left without saying any words. After reaching sitting under the tree in his new base, he said
‘’ if this is how the war will be fought, John Garang de Mabior, whether he likes or not, he will accept the position of the Vice President which he is refusing all along ‘’
Exactly at the end of the war , the words of Kon Mawith came true, John Garang accepted the position of vice president.
This is what Dr. Riek should understand, the position of Prime Minister, he is refusing will not change to anything bigger than it even if he fight for 50 years as one of his family members said ‘’ we shall fight for 50 years if our demands are not met’’
Dr.Riek should understand that every rebel soldier kill in every battle and every Government soldier kill every battle is lost to the nation and to his own family .they should not keep on losing and finishing because you want to be the president you will not be and you want to overthrow kiir you will not overthrow .
Dr Riek should understand that if he has not got what he want in the battlefield for the last 8 months, therefore should forget about that thing and accept win- win situation and accept the Prime Minister post. for sake of peace
By PaanLuel Wel, Kampala
I dun understand it, bellows Dan Warabek. Ajak Deng Chiengkou has been decreed a rebel. Duonne yi piou be co lo tuk Ajakdit; we are all rebels.
I yam going to illustrate it pireen.
Wende Mabior Atem rebelled against Khartoum when he declared: “Khartoum is too deformed to be reformed.”The implied conclusion was that khartoum was a legitimate candidate for total destruction.
Wende Machar Teny rebelled against Garang when he shouted:”John Garang Must Go.” It meant that Garang would be removed by hooks and crooks, come what may.
Wende Mayardit rebelled against Garang when he publicly sworn that, “Garang never forget or forgive and anyone who quarrel with him end up dead…those who are misleading you will go together with you or suffer together with you.” The implication was that the only way Kiir was to avoid death was to get rid of Garang.
Wende Machar Teny rebelled against President Kiir in December 2013 when he said: “Kiir has lost legitimacy, has failed the country, has killed the Nuer civilians and he must step down.” The reality is that Riek is presently waging a deadly war against Juba.
Let me tell you my pireen, each of these rebel leaders command/ed a sizeable army of supporters, armed or otherwise, from among the South Sudanese people.
It isn’t therefore necessarily a question of who is a rebel; rather, it is a daunting question of who is not a rebel. Let me tell you my pireen, we are all nyageet, whether by declaration, participation or association.
I, wende Warabengdit, is simply asking the army of the self-decreed “patriots”: does being labelled a rebel really matter if the likes of David Yau Yau are the hottest boys in town, the frequent guests of honor within the gov’t ministries, public functions and gatherings, Churches and on SSTV?
Let me tell you my pireen, Yau Yau massacred my relatives in Paliau and Maar and my brothers and sisters in Jalle. Yet, this is the same man President Kiir never fail to praise and acknowledge in public functions.
Where are all the “patriots” so allergic to a rebel to publicly shame the President and to deal with the rebel Yau Yau? Do your rules have exceptions? Are you, by any way, selective? Will you commit suicide (declare war/coup) when Prime Minister Riek Machar triumphantly lands in Juba and assumes his powers?
Riek, who sneaked out of Juba in December 2013 like a thief, will make a big deal out of his return: what will you do “patriots”? Where will you go to? Hell?
Yau Yau was rewarded with a new state and a post of a governor. Does it matter being a rebel my dear”patriots”? Riek is rewarded with the post of a prime minister and half of the gov’t. Does being a rebel matter to you my dear “patriots”?
Moreover, is anyone among you my dear “patriots” opposed to the blanket amnesty given to the rebels including the likes of Peter Gadet who is responsible for the death of Gen. Ajak Yen and Gen. Abraham Jongroor, and Kerubino Kuanyin in the not-so distant past?
If people like Yau Yau and Gadet are not legitimate topics for discussion among my dear “patriots”, how could a mere employee of SBS Dinka Radio be? My dear”patriots”, aren’t you unwittingly cheapening the supposedly abominative taboo attached to the word “rebel”? What will you use next if the word rebel loses its bullet-ness?
Besides, why would anyone bother to fish for rebels abroad when they are deadly available in the battlefields across the country? Do “patriots” have more prime ministerial posts (Riek) or a new state (Yau Yau) to manufacture more rebels? Don’t you have enough rebels to occupy your time to fish for more?
Since the best my dear “patriots” can do is to momentarily talk tough only to end up creating new STATES and POSITIONS that run contrary to OUR DEAR CONSTITUTION, my legitimate, constitutional and democratic question is this: what new State or Position you got this time round for the newly minted rebel Ajak Deng Chiengkou?
Of course, you can’t possibly discriminate against him like what you did to George Athor Deng, can you? Be honest. I yam not yet convince that the gov’t of the “patriots” is only against the Dinka rebels, but too readily willing to go to bed with the rest.
Enlighten me please,I may be wrong and we may give rebel Ajak Deng Chiengkou a false hope.
I, Dan Warabek, wanna know how you process and come to your constitutional, democratic and legitimate decisions. It is strangely confusing and very frightening.
Sooner than later, the fright and bewilderment engender in me by your constitutional, democratic and legitimate decisions will rival the terror of the rebels.
I yam Dan Warabek. I belong to the gov’t, I belong to the rebels, I belong to South Sudan. I yam a South Sudanese, you are a South Sudanese, they are South Sudanese too. We are South Sudanese.
By Mapuor Malual Manguen
The hostile behavior of Riek Machar rebels known as Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) towards peace is now crystal clear. They intend to continue their violence objective to overthrow government of South Sudan.
This avenue is against cardinal principal of democracy where regime can be changed through ballot box.The world including regional body, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) or so, is realizing the impossibility of Riek Machar’s dangerous ambitious path to get country’s highest political post.
At its 27th extraordinary summit on August 25, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the regional bloc approved the protocol on the agreed principles on transitional arrangements to end the ongoing conflict. President Kiir signed this protocol as a gesture to end the war in the country.
The summit calls on the stakeholders to conclude, within six weeks, negotiation of the details necessary to fully operationalise the agreed principles on the transitional arrangements towards resolution of the crisis in South Sudan.
However, the opposition group, led by former vice-president Riek Machar, said it is committed to the peace process and to reaching a negotiated political solution which should first address the root causes of the conflict.
Despite regional and international pressure, the SPLM-IO so far failed to approve a regional plan prepared by IGAD mediators to end the more than eight-month-long conflict. This is because it prevents its leader, Dr. Riek Machar from running for presidency after elapse of a two-year transitional period should he occupy position of Prime Minister to co-govern the country with President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
His negotiation Team leader to the Addis Ababa peace process, Gen. Taban Deng Gai later on released a statement to media re-affirming their rejection to power sharing protocol and accused IGAD of bias against his movement.
In the same IGAD summit, both President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar signed Matrix for full implementation of Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreement where they reaffirmed their commitment to cease violence; allow free movement of humanitarian aids to people affected by war; and to end continuous breach and media propaganda.
But, barely two days after Addis Ababa summit, the rebels based in hotspot Unity State allegedly downed a United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) helicopter, 10km from state capital Bentiu. Evidences largely blame a notorious warlord and rebel commander, Maj.Gen. Peter Gatdate Yak for shooting down UN plane. Three Russian crew members were killed and one survived with injuries in this crash.
The helicopter is owned by Russian company, Utair and hired by UNMISS to transport food for IDPs from Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal state to Bentiu where thousands of people are camped in UN compound and where roads are impassable due to floods menace.
A few days earlier, the same rebel commander who is under US and European Union’s assets freeze and travel ban, detained six members of CoH’s Monitoring and Verification Team (MVT).
The rebels tortured to death a government representative in the Team before releasing other members who are foreigners from IGAD member countries. The rebels later on accused MVT of spying for Juba.
Moreover, MVT reports indicate that out of recent five violations since their deployment, rebels are responsible for four of these violations. This revelation touched the nerves of some radical members of SPLM-IO who are used to attitude of “bite and cry” if victim reacted.
As rebels appear to be unhappy with outcome of recent summit which largely favors government side, nevertheless, the behavior of SPLM-IO towards peace agreement exposes their underlying character.
This stance is likely to antagonize international community which has been mounting strong pressure to both government and rebel to reach peaceful settlement and end sufferings.
Apparently, if Riek Machar and his group do not check their violent objective to unseat legitimate regime in Juba, they are likely to be slapped with targeted sanctions by IGAD, UN and the West. This would put rebels to further isolations.
But, sanctions may not work in any way in South Sudan whether on rebel, government side or both. Instead, it might pushed the likes of warlords in the name of Peter Gatdate and Gathoth Gatkuoth of Nasir to take the way of fugitive Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader, Joseph Kony and his followers who refused to sign peace up to now as a result of ICC arrest warrants against movement’s top leadership for crimes committed in Northern Uganda.
Since International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have police to arrest its suspects, Joseph Kony and his group exported their ruthless killings, looting and rape to South Sudan, DRC and Central Africa Republic.
Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO will not be cowed by sanctions as long as they continue to acquire arms and diplomatic support from some IGAD member states and their sponsors elsewhere.
The author is journalist, blogger, social and political commentator based in Juba. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Kur Wel Kur
Missing link in a culture, the history or learning, causes a terrible dissatisfaction; a search for the connecting pieces of the past and the future becomes primary”.
Back in 1980s, we admired and aspired in the Dinka’s wrestling, Dinka’s styles of composing folk songs, storytelling and in growing as Dinka’s men. We were small boys! Dreaming and contemplating those good things, passing in rites of passage, especially initiation and becoming men, men of our forefathers’ tradition, jetted us to do things as elders told us.
However, little did we know, we would end up living for years, thousand miles away from our birthplaces. In eastern Equatoria, lies Palotaka, where 2,500 boys lived, and other 30,000 boys struggled across the border, at Pinyudu in Ethiopia. We spent times learning the art of living or surviving in different ways from the ways we started mastering as Jieng’s boys.
This, where our brains starved to death in respect to our traditions. Seeing and doing things we shouldn’t see or do, erased the traces of our tradition! Those life coachers pushed us into maturity in days contrary to our traditions, where elders encourage the systematic and accumulative growth; we became men, brutal machines overnight. Brutal in what we say or write, has transported us to a frontline, another battle we must win! Unhealthy debate of issues close to our hearts is a war we must fight in a brave and an intelligent way.
This, the issue I usher you in, my dear brothers and sisters. So let’s dissect this issue (unhealthy debate) in the following sequence: causes of hatred (identity issue, name), losing or gaining ministerial seats in the national government, Dr. Riek Machar’s fake democracy campaign (active and passive supporters who bought Riek’s fake democracy), debating and defending sides with politicians of both side, and women versus men (misandry versus misogyny).
Causes of hatred: Name identity (to be or not be Bor)
During liberation struggle, we picked up some hatred among communities, in this regard, Bor, Duk and Twi East community. However, the hatred lingered in the low boiling point in the course of struggle; it increased post-independence as people crawled for cheap politics.
Name identity, ‘to be or not be Bor?’ became a primary and urgent question to answer. Members of all sides struggled in either accepting or rejecting the issue. They scribbled articles and posted opinions on social sites, where children born into internally displaced and refugees’ camps, and who know nothing about the history, hurdled into debating this critical issue.
Who in their right minds would blame these children? I blame those irresponsible writers who think they mastered it all; I point a finger towards the war because the flashbacks, nightmares and traumas of surviving and growing in the war dented our learning and thinking. Too many spongy holes in our brains for missing our traditional teachings.
I gave the liberation and those who led it a full responsibility for smearing campaigns in every issue we try to tackle. However, we must rise above all these mediocre debates and heal our souls by debating or writing in positive moods. We can solve our problems because no problem too great and far more dangerous than to fight for a country of our own!
Remember, we have a country so think like free persons and live it (freedom) because when pressures and frustrations blur visions, we act like we have nothing to lose but our country and thousands of generations to come, need our contributions. We can’t contribute a thing if we can’t coexist!
In the height of name identity hatred, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir (Mayaardit) Kuethpiny dissolved his cabinet; he reappointed some old ministers and appointed new ministers. The former vice president Dr. Riek Machar missed to secure an appointment and the president appointed none from two communities (Duk and Twi East) members. He rekindled a burning coal.
Some of Bor’s members praised and sided with the government for ‘gaining three ministerial seats’ and some of both Duk and Twi East communities’ members criticised the government and withdrew their support for ‘losing ministerial seats’ in the national government.
So all the demonic writings came from the above realities; some writers took this issue into their own hands so they wrote articles as if they own a patent (intellectual property) on communities (Bor, Duk and Twi East. They wrote on behalf of the communities as if commissioned with absolute right but no one must takes a communal blame or credit. It belongs to all of us.
With our relationship shredded and many members edged away from Kiir’s administration, Dr. Riek Machar launched a campaign of fake democracy, which started with the holding of press conference. He convinced some high profile figures including the wife of late Dr. John Garang in SPLM Party; all those founding members of SPLM made redundant by Kiir, automatically bought Riek’s argument of demanding a reform, democracy in the party. Whether the goodwill fuelled the conference or their redundancy geared it, remains unknown.
The president, on 13th of December, 2013, pushed buttons of war and backstabbing during the liberation as a retaliation of the press conference held on the 6th of December, 2014. The war came. Riek raced into the bush with the 85% of his tribesmen and a chunk of other communities just support him politically and morally. His supporters fall into two groups: active and passive supporters.
Active supporters who say openly that they support Dr. Riek; passive supporters who relinquish in the fear of judgement (in western countries) or death (in South Sudan) so they imply their support of the rebellion with their dictions. This, where the debate went sour because some members in Bor community generalised and labelled all Duk and Twi East members as rebels’ sympathisers!
And some Duk and Twi East labelled all Bor’s members as government supporters. I believe we got it wrong because no one community, which can support one thing, even in western countries, you find some people supporting Liberals, Greens or Labor, in regards to Australians’ politics or voters who hold Democrats’ or Republicans’ policies close to their chests if I rocketed you to the States(US).
My cousins support Riek and we debate the disabilities and abilities of both Salva and Riek always but we relax every time this debate sneaks in. However, when we go astray, I blame it wholly on the war, trauma eats us blindfolded.
Misogyny versus misandry
In the course of debating and defending sides and politicians, the debate took a wrong (unintended) turn: women versus men____feminism or now call it, misogyny versus misandry_____ this, when I want to invoke our long gone forefathers to move their ground bones in their graves because our tradition forbids the airing of humiliating insults against women.
Some persons can’t understand that you can’t win a debate from a woman; no insult that sits permanently on her, without her turning it around. It all comes back to you! You howl this abuse; and she points to your mother. You say this… or that, and your mum? She retorts. We must debate public issues without dragging in, our personal issues.
In conclusion, no one can force us to accept name that has nothing to do with us and no one can erase the name that has done so much under it; we can partition and separate in peace without scratching old scars. The president directs his thoughts so he chose to dissolve his cabinet and appointed ministers in his liking; nobody forced him or collaborated to appoint or not to appoint some as ministers.
This must not block the need for coexistence and intermarriages, we practiced for 100 of years. Supporting a course, Party or a politician reflects a choice or responsibility you take as a person so we must not intimidate others for their choices.
The nightmares, flashbacks and traumas of war, come to light whenever something of our current conflict emerges. We must respect one another especially women; you never know your one wrong word might close someone’s life chapter.
PaanLuel Wël, Kampala, Uganda
On the 30th of August, 1991, the BBC World Service and the BBC Focus on Africa Program both announced the purported ousting of the SPLM/SPLA leader, Dr. John Garang, in a military coup.
The 1991 Nasir coup was engineered by Lam Akol, led by Riek Machar and backed by Gordon Koang Chol.
The coup had been initiated two days earlier, on August 28th, but many people, both within and outside the movement/country, were not aware of it until the BBC announcement on the 30th of August.
Today mark the 13th year of that fateful announcement.
As South Sudanese are once more mired down in another self-defeating fratricidal war, it would be prudent to revisit the reasons for and against the 1991 Nasir coup.
History being the best teacher, the lessons of the 1991 Nasir coup could prove critical to the unraveling of the current politico-military quagmire in the republic of South Sudan.
Below are some of the three vital documents chronicling the coup and the arguments advanced for/against it.
The first document was the official press release from the Nasir leaders announcing the dismissal of Dr. John Garang from the leadership of the SPLM/A.
The press statement was written by Lam Akol and released in the name of Riek Machar on August 28th to all the members of the SPLM/A except Dr. John Garang, William Nyuon and Salva Kiir Mayaardit.
The three leaders, being the most senior members of the movement above Riek Machar, were dismissed, while rest of the movement were told to duly follow the directives issued from Nasir.
The BBC reporter, Colin Blane, who was invited by Lam Akol to Nasir, took the plane back to Nairobi, Kenya, and the press statement was then faxed to London, UK. This was why it took two days for the BBC to make the announcement.
The second document was Garang’s message to all the SPLM/A units following the failure of the Abuja-I talks. The document is very important because it highlighted the SPLM/A position on the question of self-determination relative to the political stance taken by the Nasir group.
Most crucially, Garang, having clarified the movement’s position on the question of self-determination, made a divinatory declaration (see part 9-B) on the fate of the Nasir leaders.
The third document,the Beden Falls Resolution No. 3, revealed SPLM/A leaders’ comprehensive assessment of and official respond to the Nasir coup leaders as per their declarations of August 28th.
The last document was Dr. John Garang’s statement at the conclusion of the peace and reconciliation process between the SPLM/A and the Sudan People Defense Forces (SPDF) of Dr. Riek Machar, January 2002, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The main relevant part of that document was the reason offered by Garang for his reconciliation with Riek Machar, the man who had, 11 years earlier, declared a military coup against him:
“So the situation as of now, as we said in the signed reconciliation document, it is our survival that is at stake. Therefore, survival itself, if nothing else, will force us to fully implement this document.”
The hope is that President Kiir and Riek Machar, both of whom were present when this statement was issued in 2002, should once more realize that—to paraphrase Garang—it is the survival of South Sudan that is at stake andtherefore, survival itself, if nothing else, will force them to fully adhere by and implement the recently unveiled transitional arrangements, leading to permanent cessation of hostilities and durable peace in the country.
THE PRESS STATEMENT THAT ANNOUNCED THE NASIR COUP ON THE BBC ON August 30TH, 1991
August 28th 1991.
Top Secret: Message 299/8/91
From: Sennar To: Alpha Beta
R): Merowe, Kush, Amara, Napata, Soba, Ivory, Yormuk, and Matata
Info: All Units
A. For the last eight years, John Garang has been running the Movement in a most dictatorial and autocratic manner. He oppressed, humiliated and degraded the people and turned a popular struggle into a war-lordism and a reign of terror. A big number of the members of the Movement are under detention for many years for no reason other than differing with John Garang. A consummate liar, Garang’s deeds do not match his words and what he preaches at home and abroad are contrary to the reality on the ground. The direct result of Garang’s one-man show is a simmering discontent among the rank and file of the Movement. His megalomania and misguided policies alienated many and marginalized a wide cross section of members and potential members of the Movement. Garang was leading the Movement to doom.
B. In order to save the Movement from imminent collapse, it has been decided to relieve John Garang from the leadership of the SPLM/A. He is no longer the leader of the Movement. An interim leadership composed of the High Command members listed in this message will as of today 28/8/1991 take charge of the Movement affairs. The struggle will henceforth be waged with a clear sense of purpose to achieve equality, justice and freedom under a democratic set-up.
C. The following immediate steps shall be undertaken:
1. The interim leadership shall call and make arrangements for the holding of a convention, which will be attended by the members and sympathizers of the Movement from inside the country and abroad. The convention will discuss and adopt the policies of the Movement, define its structure and elect its leadership. The Zonal Commands are hereby directed to prepare themselves for this convention.
2. Strict adherence to the respect of human rights and the rule of law. In this respect, all those detained by Garang will immediately be released.
3. The militaristic policies of John Garang will be thrown into the waste basket. There shall be an immediate demarcation of military and civil administrations.
4. The SPLM shall give more impetus to the relief effort provided by Operation Lifeline Sudan, ICRC and other international relief agencies in Southern Sudan.
5. The SPLM together with the concerned parties shall promptly address the question of returnees who recently fled from Ethiopia and are now in Southern Sudan.
6. To strengthen and delegate necessary powers to the SRRA so that it can operate as a purely humanitarian organization.
7. The indigenous and foreign church organizations are called upon to double up their spiritual and relief activities in the SPLM-administered areas.
8. We call upon the international community to help us with the provision of education and health services to children in the SPLM-administered areas.
9. The SPLM offices abroad shall be revamped to reflect the new polices of the Movement.
10. The SPLM shall pursue a foreign policy that shall seek friendship with other countries.
11. The SPLM shall relentlessly strive to attain a peaceful settlement to the present Sudanese conflict. All options shall be kept open provided they lead to permanent peace.
12. The SPLA shall be reorganized in order to persecute the armed struggle more effectively. It shall adhere to the respect of the Geneva conventions and the international laws.
13. We appeal to all who could not join the Movement because of the misguided policies of John Garang that the doors of the Movement are now wide open for them. In particular, the Anyanya-2 and the government militias are welcome to join hands with the rejuvenated SPLA.
D. We assure all friends of the Movement that there is no split whatsoever. Whatever noises being made against the change are nothing more than a storm in a teacup and have no foundation on the ground. Like any other dictator, John Garang has surrounded himself with a coterie of opportunists, simpletons and flatterers. It will take him and them some time to realize that their dream world is at an end.
E. Finally, we reiterate that our move is for renewal and democratization within the Movement. We cannot remain behind when the winds of democracy are blowing all over Africa and the world at large.
F. All are cautioned not to victimize or persecute anybody because of previous association with dictator John Garang. However, resistance to the change must be dealt with promptly and decisively.
G. All are hereby ordered to respond to this end in writing within 72 hours. Aluta continua!
1. CDR. RIEK MACHAR TENY-DHURGON
2. CDR. LAM AKOL AJAWIN
3. CDR. GORDON KOANG CHOL
DR. JOHN GARANG’S MESSAGE TO ALL UNITS OF THE SPLM/A AFTER THE FAILURE OF THE ABUJA PEACE TALKS
From: The Chairman
To: All Units
1. Our Abuja delegation came to brief me from July 1-4. All of you have been hearing all sorts of information over the BBC, Radio Omdurman, Radio Juba and other news media concerning the Abuja Talks. It is necessary that you are concretely briefed about Abuja.
2. There was unfortunately a lot of loose and inaccurate talk over the BBC by some members of our own delegation and this might have created wrong and false impression that the Movement had changed its principle objective, that of Southern Sudan and other marginalized areas. I want here to correct this false impression created over the media and to affirm to all units, and rank and file of the SPLM/SPLA that the Movement has not changed its position on unity of the country.
3. The position of the Movement at Abuja is that the SPLM/SPLA stands for a united Sudan with the following five parameters: secular, democratic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual. The issue of self-determination does not come in unless and until the realization of this type of united Sudan that we stand for is frustrated by those who trade in Islam.
4. The above is what we said at Abuja and this has been our position ever since 1983. It is those who refuse a secular, democratic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual United Sudan that could be the separatists, not the SPLM. Clearly if the Islamic Fundamentalist government of Beshir and Turabi is overthrown and replaced by those who stand for a secular constitution and freedom of religion, there will be religious tolerance and peace.
5. It is true that the issue of self-determination for the South and other marginalized areas of Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile was highlighted at Abuja more than any other time before. But this still doesn’t change our position. The end of the talks was the result of the NIF hard and intransigent position that they were not prepared to discuss secularism, a position which is objectively separatist. By rejecting any discussion of secularism, it was actually the NIF that was calling for separation at Abuja.
6. A second factor that had caused disinformation is the noise made by the Nasir group about separation for South Sudan since their abortive coup in August 1991. Many people, deliberately or innocently, have confused our highlighting of the possibility of self-determination at Abuja with the Nasir grouping’s August 1991 call for separation. There is no connection at all.
7. Our agenda for the Abuja talks was given to the Nigerian mediators and the Sudanese government in July 1991, one month before the Nasir coup and that agenda contained the possibility for self-determination if the SPLM/SPLA agenda for New Sudan as defined above becomes frustrated by NIF intransigence. The same position on self-determination was again reaffirmed in the Torit resolution in September (6th-12th) 1991 for the same reason and principle.
8. I therefore assure all members, supporters and sympathizers of the SPLM/SPLA that the position of the Movement with respect to the principle objective of the New Sudan has not been changed by the Nasir incident nor by the Torit resolutions and neither by the recent Abuja peace talks. The SPLM/SPLA still stands today as we did in 1983 for a united New Sudan that is secular, democratic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual. It is those who refuse this type of Sudan that are the separatists not the SPLM/SPLA.
9. On the other hand, the Nasir grouping’s call for separation and the Abuja talks have incidentally driven home and clarified these important points:
A. For Southern separatists in the Movement and beyond, it has become crystal clear that separation is not some piece of cake that will be given to them by Beshir NIF government or by some foreign delegation at Abuja. Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa, the head of the NIF government delegation at Abuja peace talks, made it plain to the Nasir group that if they wanted separation they could get it only at the barrel of the gun, not at the negotiating table at Abuja.
B. The disinformation that it was the SPLM/SPLA mainstream that stood on the way to separation has thus been removed and buried in Abuja and has presented the Nasir grouping with three stark choices:
• To rejoin the SPLM/SPLA in the fight against Beshir regime and sort out the issue of separation or no separation later on.
• To fight Beshir on their own to achieve their objective of separation.
• To end up without liberation agenda at all and to reveal some hidden agenda such as throwing their lot with the NIF as has been known or feared all along by the SPLM/SPLA and some independent observers.
10. At Abuja, the SPLM/SPLA maintained its historical position on the unity of Sudan. But by raising and highlighting the possibility of self-determination, the SPLM/SPLA has thrown a challenge to the Northern Sudanese elites that have been opportunistic and hypocritical in the present fight against the Beshir government. Do they want the type of Sudan that the SPLM/SPLA has advanced since 1983 or do they prefer no change and instead thereby break up the country? That is for them to answer.
11. The above is for your information and to brief all under your command about the position of the Movement at Abuja. The SPLM/SPLA leadership will never let you down and will always keep you briefed and correctly informed as well as seek your views on vital matters such as the issue of war and peace.
THE BEDEN FALLS RESOLUTION
SPLM/A ASSESSMENT OF AND RESPONSE TO THE NASIR COUP MAKERS, BEDEN FALLS, 24 MILES FROM JUBA
AUGUST 7-9, 1992
Resolution No. 3: The Issue of Reconciliation and Reunification with the Nasir Faction.
In its second session, held on 8 July 1992, the SPLM/A’s PMHC discussed and examined the issue of unity and reconciliation with the Nasir grouping in the light of the first Nairobi reconciliation talks and as initiated at Abuja by SPLM delegation and continued in Nairobi by William Nyuon. The PMHC observed that the Nasir Coup was unnecessary, distractive and destructive. Time has shown that the three main issues raised by the Nasir rebels were intended to raise support for coup makers who had a different agenda from the declared objectives and policies:
1. The first issue raised by the Nasir faction was about human rights. On this issue, the PHMC noted that many SPLA officers who opposed the coup in the affected areas were murdered while some still remain languishing in detention up to the time of the Beden Falls meeting. The PMHC also noted that the Nasir coup makers collaborated with the enemy, combining their military operations with the NIF forces and invaded Kongor, Bor, Yirol and Panaruu counties, causing death to thousands of innocent citizens, pillaging these areas of heads of livestock and causing the displacement and destitution of civilians from these areas. Given this atrocities and mindless vandalization and victimization of innocent persons, the Nasir faction had shown a very bad human rights records, which will continue to haunt them. The talk by the Nasir faction about human rights as a reason for their coup was, as events had shown, a ploy.
2. The second issue raised by the Nasir coup makers was democracy and structures of the Movement and their alleged absence. Again, time has shown that the Nasir faction had nothing positive to show on these. When they announced their sinister coup, the Nasir faction promised and circulated leaflets that they would hold “National Convention” before the end of 1991 to elect the Movement’s leadership. It had been a full year since the coup; there had been no elections. All that happened was that Dr. Riek Machar appointed himself president and Dr. Lam Akol his foreign secretary. With respect to structure, the Nasir faction had not evolved any structures superior to what they left. The impracticality of holding elections in a war situation proved itself. It was equally clear that structures were designed to achieve given goals under given conditions; they were not an end in themselves and couldn’t exist in vacuum. The issue of what type of structures the Movement should adopt could not have been a reason to rebel, cause a distractive and destructive split, cooperate with the enemy, attack innocent citizens, prevent the capture of Juba and attempt to destroy the people’s Movement, the SPLM/SPLA.
3. The third and last issue raised by the Nasir coup was that of separation for Southern Sudan. This position was based on false assumption that the NIF was willing to grant separation to Southern Sudan and that, therefore, armed struggle must be abandoned and the Movement should sit down to negotiate separation with the NIF. On this issue, the Nasir grouping got some international support not so much because any of those supporters believed the NIF could grant separation but rather because of their interest in the Nasir declaration to abandon the armed struggle. In any case, the illusion that the NIF could, through peaceful negotiation, grant separation to South Sudan had been put to rest by the Abuja negotiations. At Abuja, Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa, the head of the NIF government delegation, made it crystal clear that their government did not go to Abuja to negotiate separation or self-determination. According to Khalifa, separation or self-determination could be achieved only through the barrel of the gun; this was officially recorded in the minutes of the Abuja proceedings. A negotiated separation was therefore no longer an issue of contention; the Abuja conference had settled that. In addition, the Frankfurt Agreement and the continued association and collaboration of the Nasir faction with Khartoum until the time of the PMHC’s meeting could hardly be viewed as representing separatist sentiments. The Nasir slogan of separation was a ruse.
In summary, the SPLM/SPLA’s PMHC observed that time has shown beyond doubt that the Nasir grouping was not about human rights. It was not about democracy and it was not about separation. The Nasir coup aided the enemy to recapture liberated towns, caused great damage to the SPLM/SPLA, denied the Movement capture of Juba, caused incalculable loss of lives and properties and caused unprecedented misery to people of Southern Sudan, particularly those of the Upper Nile. History will continue to record the destruction, suffering and betrayal caused by the Nasir coup.
With this background in mind and despite the great damage to SPLM/SPLA, and people of Southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains and the Ingessena Hills caused by the Nasir coup, the PMHC deferred judgment to the people and the posterity. Whereas rebellion could not be rewarded and with the greater interest of our people in mind, the PMHC, in its second session held on July 8, 1992, resolved the following:
(a) For the common good of our struggling people, in order to avoid further suffering, and in order to unite the ranks of the people of Southern Sudan, the PMHC commended and endorse the unity and reconciliation initiated by the Abuja delegation, and in positive response, the SPLM/SPLA gave general and unconditional amnesty and pardon to the Nair grouping and called on them to rejoin the Movement without further delay.
(b) Consistent with the amnesty and pardon in resolution 3.1 above, all officers who had rebelled or rejoined the Nasir grouping including the three members of the PMHC are here reinstated to their former ranks, positions and their seniority in the SPLM/SPLA.
The PMHC called for the Nasir group to denounce the Frankfurt Agreement and to delink themselves from the NIF before it destroyed them, and instead to revert to the SPLM/SPLA command and start fighting Beshir’s forces. It was on this, whether the Nasir group fights Khartoum forces nor not, that the rest of the SPLA forces and the mass of our people will judge their seriousness and indeed, whether they have delinked themselves from the NIF in the first place. The Nasir groupings should not waste more time talking about elections, structures, and so on. Those vital issues will eventually involve all the people including those not engaged on combat struggle; they are not the monopoly just of the so-called Torit and Nasir factions.
THE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION ADDRESS
DR. JOHN GARANG’S STATEMENT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESS BETWEEN THE SPLM/A AND THE SPDF OF DR. RIEK MACHAR TENY
NAIROBI, KENYA, JANUARY 5-6, 2002
Well Mr. Oduor, with respect to your first question whether we, Dr. John Garang and Dr. Riek Machar, have resolved to fight for an independent South Sudan or a Transformed Democratic New Sudan, as you can see from the principle that we have agreed on, the first one says ‘the administration of the Sudan as a Confederate/Federal United Secular Democratic New Sudan’ during an interim period as a form of an interim unity.
That’s a mouthful of an objective, but that is because of the complexity of the Sudanese political situation. That is why it is incumbent upon us to articulate our objective in a, should I say, in a military formulation, in a combat form. And so we have a triple objectives combined in one; if you can stomach the idea of the Trinity, if you believe in the Trinity, I think you can easily understand what I am driving at here. God is a Trinity, and I think the Abuna [the pastor] that gave us the prayers before would agree with me on the mystery of this and the simplicity of this divine concept as well.
So what we are saying on the multifarious Sudanese political situation is that let us have a Sudan that belongs to all of us, the Sudanese people, whether we are of the Arab origin or the African origin, whether we are Muslims or Christians, whether we from the South or the North, whether we are Zande, Dongolawi, Dinka, Nuer, Fur, Beja, Shilluk, Taposa, Missiriya, Nuba, Bari or any other nationality found within the geographical borders of the Sudan.
We are not alone on this phenomenon because nations all over the world are formed as result of the historical movement of the people. People do move for whatever reasons: in search of better opportunities and there is now a big brain-drain scenario taking place in Africa because better educated youngsters are moving to the West in search of better opportunities; people move to escape religious or political persecutions or sometimes even to spread their religious and political ideas too; people move even for curiosity, what is behind that hill, what is over that mountain, that valley, that river, that sea, that ocean etc.?
As you move from you place of origin to a new place, you find yourself in a new geographical, or even political, space where you interact with others whereby, over time, a social political entity is formed, which in modern jargon is called a Nation State—a country. And so if you go to Brazil today it is the typical case, you go to the United States, it is the same case, you come to the Sudan, it is the case and even in Kenya here, it is the same case, because all these nation states are populated by and formed of different nationalities and tribes, of diverse religious beliefs, of varied geographical origins and of assorted racial backgrounds.
Thus, we are simply saying that it is wrong for anybody in the Sudan to impose his nationality, or his nationalism, on others. And so it is fundamentally wrong and outrageous for any government that has come and gone in Khartoum to have defined the Sudan as an Arab state because we are not all Arabs.
Yes, it is true we have people of Arab origin in the Sudan, just as there are people of the Dinka or Beja or Fur origins in the Sudan. In the Sudan, the government say Sudan is an Arab State, [Arabic] yet if you say today that the Sudan is a Fur state or a Dinka state, for example, they will say this man is mad, take him to the hospital.
Moreover, it is wrong to say that the Sudan should be an Islamic state because we are not all Muslims, for there are Christians and people who respect their African traditional beliefs, and even majority of the Muslims do not agree with this brand of political Islam imported from Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. So we are saying that let us be inclusive, let us not be exclusive because racial and religious exclusion is the source of our discords in the Sudan.
We therefore want to form a Sudan that belongs to all its people, all its citizens, and on this we are very consistent, we have not deviate from this goal and we will not accept, for example, some form of Sharia Law. They have tried this many times claiming that ‘you will be exempted from Sharia Law’. But the hard truth is that if you are exempted from the supreme law of the land, that makes you a sub-national. How many Kenyans are exempted from the supreme law of Kenya, the constitution? Which part of the constitution is not applicable to certain section or region of Kenya?
It doesn’t happen anywhere and that isn’t the kind of invention, of innovation, that we yearn for to solve the fundamental problem of the Sudan, to achieve political settlement, long lasting peace and sustainable development. We equivocally reject it because it is totally counter-productive as it is reactionary. And so, that is the kind of the New Sudan we are advocating for, one that belongs to all its people irrespective of their racial, regional and religious backgrounds or differences. A Sudan that belongs to all of us, the Sudanese people, so that when I go to Khartoum or when somebody from Darfur goes to Khartoum or someone from Beja, in the Eastern Sudan, goes to Khartoum or someone from the Far North comes to Khartoum, they should say a Sudanese has come to Khartoum.
That is because under the current political system, if and when I go to Khartoum, they say a Junubi has come to Khartoum, not a Sudanese; a Darfuri has come to Khartoum, not a Sudanese; a Beja has come to Khartoum, not a Sudanese. But if an Arab goes to Khartoum, they say a Sudanese has come to Khartoum. For me or someone from Darfur or Beja or Nuba Mountains, they say welcome to the Sudan, welcome to Khartoum, as if I am from another country. It is absurd in essence and contradictory in principle because first I am a Sudanese, not a Rwandan or Congolese and so there is no reason whatsoever to say welcome to the Sudan.
Secondly, it is contradictory because in their mindset you are not a Sudanese and yet if you accept that premise like we did in Anyanya one and call for a separate country so that it would make sense to say ‘welcome to Sudan, then they refuse and accuse you of breaking up the country and of being against the principle of the OAU that calls for the maintenance of colonial borders.
So what am I suppose to do, where do I belong if I am a foreigner to be welcomed to the Sudan by THESE SUDANESE in Khartoum who can’t even tell me which country they think I am from and who can’t grant me the country that they subconsciously think I am from—the Southern Sudan? It is absurd, it is confusing and it is a big contradiction: we must change it because it is unsustainable in practice and in principle.
This is our aim, our objective, to force Khartoum to recognize the stark realities of their absurd policies and for them to accept and embrace the reality of the Sudan as it is—a country that belong to all of us. That is non-negotiable for you don’t negotiate over matters to do with life and death. Now if that is not feasible, then we should adopt Confederacy, within the interim period, with two separate supreme law of the land—two constitutions. As we have been arguing, that the only way you can achieve the New Sudan is for the constitutional separation of religion and state.
This is a contentious issue that has bogged us down in the IGAD peace talks. The other side, the government in Khartoum, says that Sharia is the source of legislation in Article  of their constitution. We say NO, rather, we should have respect for all religions in the country, and that in terms of the state, religion and state should be separated. But that is not acceptable to the NIF regime in Khartoum. Because of this intransigency from the NCP government, we shift gears tactically and say that then let us have a confederate arrangement.
A confederation in which those in Khartoum who want Sharia in their constitution, they can have as much Sharia in their constitution as they want, as they seek, for it is their right. In the past, we used to insist on secularism all over the country, but then we say let us be realistic and call a spade a spade. These people want Sharia in their constitution, who are we to say that it should not be in their constitution? And so we say OK, have it in your constitution but not in ours and only under a Confederate Arrangement—two systems, two constitutions under one country. Having conceded that point to those in the North hankering for an Islamic constitution, there will then be a separate constitution for the rest of the country.
Hence, a confederate arrangement presupposes a call for two sovereign constitutions so that the issue of religion and state is constitutionally resolved. Thereafter, we can sit to negotiate on how to live together because in the Western World there is something called come-we-stay, that is, living together without getting married. This is what we proposed in the confederate arrangement, that ‘please don’t let us get married but we can live together.’ But we must first agree on the rules of living together under one roof, otherwise, the roof might get blown off by domestic bickering.
The third part of our proposed Political Trinity is, if we cannot have the New Sudan in which we are all equal irrespective of our various God-given and locally manufactured differences, and if we cannot achieve the Confederate Arrangement, then for goodness sake, let us agree to partition the country peacefully. That is, if the people say so, as you cannot achieve an independent Southern Sudan without the people saying so.
We the SPLM/SPLA see ourselves as agents, as a catalyst to create the necessary conducive environment for the people to exercise the right as to what they want, as to what they demand. Do they want the New Sudan? Even the New Sudan, if the necessary parameters are put in place, will come about as a result of the exercise of the right of self-determination. Is that what they want? Are they satisfied with the Confederate Arrangement of living together without getting married? Or should we partition the country? That of course needs everybody to dialogue and to discuss, because it is the failure of dialogue to arrive at one of these three options that bring about wars and suffering in our country. And that is why people are fighting because the other side is imposing its dogmatic vision of the country on others.
The other question of whether or not we, Dr. John Garang and Dr. Riek Machar, have resolved to cease fighting amongst ourselves and declare war on the Sudan, and this is our joint question I think; and so I will only answer my part of the question and Dr. Riek Machar will tell us about his part, whether he has declared war on the Sudan.
NO, we in the SPLM/SPLA have not declared war on the Sudan, not really on the Sudan as such but rather on the government of the Sudan, the NIF regime in Khartoum. Let us be specific here, because Sudan includes all of us and so I cannot possibly declare war on the Sudan, for I would be declaring war on myself. So we are fighting the Sudan government, not the Sudan as a country, and we have not declared war even on the Sudan government. It is the Sudan government that has declared war on us. We have not declared war on anybody, it is us that the war has been declared upon by the various governments that have come and gone in Khartoum, of which the present NIF regime is the latest and the worst face of them all.
Let me elaborate, in 1993, for example, the government organize a conference in El-Obeid in Central Sudan and they declared Jihad on the people of Nuba Mountains and Southern Sudan. This is a very serious issue because once Jihad has been declared on you, it becomes a matter of life and death because it only ends by either you succeeding to resist it or you surrendering. And indeed they say ‘peace is surrendering’ and you must surrender if you want peace under jihad.
And so when I went to Geneva in 1998 and asked the pointed question to the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, for I thought that was the right forum to ask such questions, whether Jihad as it is declared and being fought in the Sudan is a religious right by those who declared it on others or is it the human rights of those against whom Jihad is declared that are being violated. The Al-Qaeda has declared jihad against the American people in New York City and Washington DC. That is an international Jihad and ours is domestic Jihad, and there is no difference between domestic Jihad and the International Jihad.
So Mr. Oduor, to your question, it is the Sudan government that has declared war on us, and it is not just a war, it is Jihad. The government has declared war on us and they don’t mince their words, they say they want the land without the local people on it. And so in Bentiu, around the oilfields, they are literally evicting local population from their ancestral lands and homes, from the oil areas. We are merely defending ourselves, and self-defense for life is a natural right, and it is a natural right to all creatures, not just human being alone. If you scratch a cat, it will fight back furiously, leave alone I, the human being.
And so Mr. Oduor, it is a war on us, not the war by us; it is a defensive act, a defensive mechanism for survival, because I think you yourself would agree with me that we have the right to defend ourselves, we have the right to survive, much the same way that Kenyans fought back against the British colonialists through the Mau Mau war of independence.
As for the question about whether there is any distinction between IGAD peace talks and the Joint Egyptian-Libyan Initiative (JELI), and whether we remain committed to the IGAD peace process: I think there is no much distinction between the IGAD and the JELI peace processes. This is because at the end of the day, it is the will of the Sudanese people to make peace amongst themselves that is paramount. It is what counts above anything else since these other initiatives only facilitate by helping us to achieve peace.
So when Ghazi Salahuddin, the envoy of the Khartoum government came to Kenya recently and told IGAD that ‘we give you one more chance’ to achieve peace in the Sudan, I was amazed because that is like the patient telling the doctor that ‘I give you one more chance to cure me.’ And it is unfortunate that Salahuddin is a medical doctor as well and one can imagine how he would react were the patient to tell him that ‘I give you one more chance to cure me.’ I believe it is we the Sudanese people, the Sudan government and the opposition, that should be pleading with the IGAD mediators ‘please help us to achieve peace in our country’ and not an ultimatum to the mediators, threatening them ‘we give you one more chance’.
Such kind of obtrusive outbursts show that there is a problem in Khartoum with respect to the IGAD peace process. Indeed, it is known to us that the Khartoum government walked away from the IGAD peace talks in 1994; they came back only in 1997 and sign the Declaration of Principle (DOP) that they had been disparaging since 1994 when we assented to it. They had been trying to get out of the DOP since then. The problem that is bothering them is the issue of the New Sudan in IGAD that Dr. Riek Machar referred to before but it is an option. It is the issue of the right of self-determination in the DOP, which is an option too.
And it is these options that we must look straight in the eyes into each other and take bold decisions on both sides, ourselves in the SPLM/SPLA and the Khartoum government, in order to move the peace process forward. So, the short answer to your question is that we remain committed to the IGAD peace process.
To your question about whether we, Dr. John Garang and Dr. Riek Machar, are now really reconciled and reunited and whether we are therefore going to honor this peace agreement unlike the 1993 Washington Agreement that you said to have been dishonored by us: well, maybe you have a point to doubt, but at least your doubts should start to go away because here we are in front of you and in front of the international media: these are not your eyes deceiving you, for I can assure you that you are not dreaming. It is a good thing and we have every reason to celebrate and be hopeful for better things to come, to materialize out of this peace process, whether among Southerners themselves as being witnessed here or between the SPLM/SPLA and the Khartoum government as it is in IGAD peace process. We are moving in the right direction and every step, and each day that passes, bring us closer to our goal of a fair and just peace for our suffering people.
With respect to whether we are going to honor this agreement, unlike the 1993 Washington Agreement, my answer is YES, we are serious to abide by it. The agreement does not belong to us, both leadership of the two movements, it belongs to you; it belongs to the people. And so in its implementations, honoring or dishonoring of the agreement, it will be your responsibility as well to hold us to it, as well as it is our responsibility to give guidance with respect to its implementations. Otherwise, as Dr. Riek said, we have suffered long enough, eleven years of suffering, of confusion and of aimless infighting. So the situation as of now, as we said in the signed reconciliation document, it is our survival that is at stake. Therefore, survival itself, if nothing else, will force us to fully implement this document.
Someone wonder if we are exerting enough effort to make peace with other armed groups that are not party to this peace and reconciliation process and merger, between the SPLM/SPLA and the SPDF of Dr. Riek Machar. Yes, we are in contact with other armed South Sudanese groups and even with those groups that we may not be in contact with, we will be in contact with them. Not only groups, even individuals. The Bible says if you have a hundred sheep and one of them get lost, you leave the 99 and you go in search of the lost one. So we will gather all our people under one roof because there is more strength in the 100 than in the 99.
To achieve this, to bring all our people together and that is why we declare this year, 2002, the year of Reconciliation, Peace and Unity among Southerners. If you know any group, any individual that should be included in this reconciliation, peace and unity process, then let us know so that we include it in our baggage of ammunition against the enemy.
By Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA
“Coffee is about white people,” was the statement recently unleashed by a Chinese cafe owner, in his self-defense as to why he refused to hire a black Brazilian as a barista in Sydney. It echoes a racialized remark spewing out of the harsh times of the segregated Deep South, isn’t it?
To decipher the hidden meaning of his statement, one would think he also meant coffee holds a significant value to the Western culture; sort of like a pleasantry they consume while enjoying the immense wealth of their civilization.
On the other hand, black culture doesn’t value coffee to the same exalted status as it is in the West; black civilization is still mired in its crippling malady, refusing to straightened up to realize its full potential. In coming to realization as to what this signifies, we refuse to let the East becomes the new heavyweights of prejudicial mythologists of imperialism.
In colonial Africa, explorers were the first fabricators who fictionized Africa to a mere land empty of people but a place where anyone can make a name for himself, or see a grandiose specter of bountiful safaris ever found on planet earth. The first task of the explorers was to exaggerate the truth about Africa; they did so to generate future sponsorships and business deals for maintenance of their already established colonies, and for creation of the new colonies.
Even today, in our 21st century, people are still sleeping on this fictioning of Africa: My Samoan associates at work only talk about going to Africa to hunt animals; and in today’s Hollywood’s animations such as the Lion King, Madagascar, and so on, you only see the animals without a single African soul making it to the screen.
I have to admit that part of the reason of why we get to see animals getting animated every so often is blatant racism; the Western world doesn’t want other people to compete with them in the film industry, especially films that are designed for their audience, because in doing so, it would be tantamount to glorifying other people’s cultures, leaving them in the dust; and the other partial reason is filtration of past colonial myths that turned Africa into a land devoid of people, where adventurous vacationers got to see copious safaris without any human interruption.
During my college days, one of my friends, who happened to be Eurasian (actually he was half Caucasian and half Chinese), reiterated to me that Asians and Caucasians get along very well. Going back to the above statement, one would walk away fully satisfied that his reiteration wasn’t far from the truth; that they are cabals clandestinely working together to mold the world to their liking.
Even today, at this very second, there are some social milieu in the Western world who think blacks and Hispanics, are the bottom pit of the global hierarchy of power, while the Asians and Caucasians are at the foreground leading the pack with a tantalizing authority.
Thus, when a Chinese entrepreneur says coffee holds a monumental value to white people, he is merely giving a laudatory complement to another camaraderie who he sees hold a sweeping exalted statutory culture to his own.
So, what is the answer to the million dollar question; “When are we going to stop writing about Africa, and black people in particular?” That is the question that Chinua Achebe thought hit the target on the nerve when he was asked by an Australian student during one of his lecturing tours about washing our hands clean from imperialist practices and racism.
And the answer to that question is precisely clear: We will interminably keep on writing until we run out of ink. Writing as an art of expression keeps on changing dimensions from one era to the next. Black people write to educate people who refuse to look at them from the perspective who they truly are.
We keep on pushing pens to cut the umbilical cord from the new generation of imperialists who wish to recycle old practices of racism, and let it dictates our futures. In addition, writing covers vast medium of cultures, epochs, and places, for example, in my country of South Sudan, people have been going through almost interminable humanitarian disasters for three generations and counting.
So, from an era starting in the 1940s up to until now, all kinds of writers have been conditioned to become news writers; it didn’t matter, and our time still doesn’t give a hoot about whether you were born to be a fantasy, adventure, or an entertainment writer; time will come when everyone involved in this art will take his or her rightful place of expression.
The East doesn’t have to go through that sad route again; it won’t do an absolute justice to the rest of human race who happened to be none other than Asians or Caucasians, if they become the new torch bearers of prejudicial imperialism.
The East have gained greater strides in the international mercantile system in the last three or so decades. Western racism on their people has fastidiously been on the decline once after they rose to the helm of the global socioeconomic ladder; there are some few pockets of Europe that still racially harass Asian students every now and then, but other than that, things are looking bright for Asians at the moment.
Meanwhile, Asians other counterparts, the blacks, still face widespread racism in Europe: In football stadiums usually populated by over 70,000 people, you can see some sections of the fans chanting monkey, and throwing bananas at the black players; and these things happen right before our very own eyes in our today’s highly social media platforms and live television programming.
The reason why European racism is lenient against Asians and heavily targeted against blacks is simple: Our economic influence in the global playground is lightly concentrated, while the Asians have a heavily clouded influence to air their grievances to whoever is mistreating their lot.
Globalization is moving heads as we speak: countless populations from many different parts of the world are moving from one part of the globe to the other, seeking new opportunities to improve their lives; and it is in this spirit of this global phenomenon that we should let something that is beyond our control takes its course to a new world order.
Be it the Westerners, Asians, Africans, or Hispanics, we ought to play it safe to the ever-demanding tune of “cultural diversity.” When that day of reckoning comes, each and every one of us will have to contribute its share to the future ambitions of humankind, since we don’t know what the future will look like, and catering to the needs of a diverse world, wouldn’t require the ideologues of a selected few; stagnation would ensue on their part.
That is why it is very important now more than ever, to give chances of life improvisation to everyone involved so that we can approach our problems on a leveled-playing field.