Is Sudan government aware that South Sudanese are now fully awake?

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 08 April 2009 19:40
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manyokNorthern Sudanese have been ruling Sudan for a long time by cheating Sudanese in other areas of Sudan. The elites in Khartoum not only cheated other areas of Sudan in the near past, they also used divide-and-rule strategy by turning Southerners against themselves and fooling the international community that Southern Sudanese were unable to rule themselves. Today, Sudan government in Khartoum still dreams that South Sudanese and other marginalized people in Sudan are still asleep.

On April 3, 2009 Sudan Tribune quoted Sudanese presidential assistant Nafi Ali Nafie as telling the newly appointed U.S. special envoy to Sudan J. Scott Gration that U.S. administration must establish direct channels of communication with the National Congress Party (NCP) because no any other dialogues that the U.S. administration conducts in Sudan will suffice. Analysts believe that Mr. Nafi in his statement was referring to meetings
that U.S. administration occasionally has with officials from Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Ali Nafie’s advice to U.S. administration resembles the advice that Sudanese government gave to Egyptian government in February, 1947 in what is now known as “Cairo Agreement.” Northern politicians in Cairo Agreement excluded South Sudanese from the meeting even though things that were going to be discussed would directly affect Southern Sudan in many ways. Egyptians were keen enough to ask Sudanese delegation why South Sudanese where not in the delegation. The reply that Northern Sudanese politicians gave to Egyptian government was this: “These people [South Sudanese] are still primitive, not educated and have no political parties. Let us just reach any accord and we shall inform them.” That advice really worked for Northerners. They were able to do things on behalf of Southerners and
nobody would question them.

Now Mr. Nafie still thinks that his government in the North would still do things on behalf of South Sudanese because he might still be thinking that Southern Sudanese are still asleep like they were in 1947. This is the reason why Khartoum advised Washington that no any other dialogues Washington conducts in Sudan will suffice.

Sudan government actually clearly showed during the formation of the Government of National Unity (GoNU) that they still think that Southerners are not equal to Northerners in reasoning. That means Northerners can cheat Southerners and nobody would question their actions. It was sheer dishonesty for Khartoum to ignore the complaints of the government of South Sudan in the allocation of ministerial positions during the formation of GoNU. Northerners took almost all the key ministerial positions in the Government of National Unity so that they can do whatever they want to do in Sudan without accountability.

Northern Sudan took the ministry of Finance and ministry Energy so that they can cheat in the distribution of oil’s money, despite the fact that oil in Sudan is in South Sudan. Now the government of South Sudan (GOSS) is not really sure about the percentage it gets in oil’s money. There is no way GOSS will say without doubt that it is getting 50% share as
stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). North Sudan seems to have succeeded in this area.

Northern Sudanese also took the ministry of Legal Affairs and the ministry of Defense so that they can hold Sudanese laws closer to their chest. Now Sudan government commits atrocities in Darfur and nobody questions them. They can even raid SPLM office in Khartoum and nobody questions them. The NCP often silents media and nobody questions them. Northern elites seem to have succeeded in this area also.

Now the next step NCP and its associates in the North are taking is to isolate South Sudanese from the international community. This is the reason why Mr. Nafie advised U.S. administration that the only dialogues that can work in Sudan is between U.S. administration and NCP. Sudan People’s Liberation Movement now is not politically important in Sudan, as Mr. Nafie seems to think, to have dialogues with international community even though South Sudan is a government with a president recognized by both Khartoum’s NCP and international community.

Sudan government must know that what international community wants is a good story to hear. Sudan must have stories that the international community would want to hear. Stories of bad governance are not good enough for the dialogue between the U.S. administration and NCP. Mr. Nafie and his likes must know that nobody will silence South Sudanese today because we have many stories that international community wants to hear. The fact is that we are no longer “primitive” as Khartoum believed it in 1947. We are fully awake.

Zechariah Manyok Biar is a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, Texas, USA. He's a regular contributor to The New Sudan Vision. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." href=" email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.