Are southern Sudanese politicians afraid to run against northern politicians?

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Sunday, 06 December 2009 21:01
Written by Panther Kuol, The New Sudan Vision (NSV), www.newsudanvision.com
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(Vancouver, BC) - On behalf of all the ANXIOUS southern Sudanese, whether at home or abroad, I ask this of our leaders, why is none of you stepping up to the plate and declare presidency against the indicted criminal Omar Hassan El Bashir at such a critical moment in our history?”

While I commend the courage of those who have been vocal to speak the truth about the suffering of so many Sudanese people, it is increasingly becoming clear that we have suddenly stopped short of confronting the evil that has enslaved and marginalized our people for several years. We must recall that the reason why our people took up arms was to fight against injustice; they took up arms to fight for equality for all people, whether a southerner, a Darfuri or a Nubian.

When the CPA was signed in Nairobi, several communities danced in joy and one thought that peace would finally come to Sudan. I write this piece today with great sadness that peace may not come after all! There are several indicators to prove that peace will be a long way to come by. It will take sacrifice, renewed sense of patriotism to realize true peace.

I believe that lack of unity among our communities is one of the greatest challenges that could impede the prospects for southern Sudan to become an independent state. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, if there will ever be one, our people ought to understand that despite the tribal rivalries, there is a common (bigger evil) in Khartoum that has the potential to wipe all of us out. Unless all our leaders do something to reverse this fact, there will be no progress in southern Sudan.

Unity of Southern Sudan will not be achieved easily. So long as nobody shows leadership and preaches to the people of southern Sudan that we are sinking and rotting together, we shall remain a divided people for several decades to come.

It is incredible how the cheap fortunes of this world, gained through corruption are quickly eroding an entire nation of “good people.” What a huge letdown to our brave fallen brothers and sisters who died for freedom!

While it is unfair to blame southern politicians for all the problems facing our region, it is a shame that we blame northerners for everything that goes wrong in Southern Sudan. For example, if it is true NCP is paying southern militias to fight, then isn’t this an indication that these people are poor and that they will do anything to survive? If that is the case, then why don’t our government use the same strategies to unite its people? The status quo is simply unacceptable!

If people can be bought to fight and kill, I am sure by the same measure, they can be bought to stay in peace with their neighbors. Mr. Kiir and your government, find money to buy these militias for peace. It is an ambitious project that would win the support of many southerners and friends alike!

The instability going on in Southern Sudan is due to lack of leadership, not Arabs’ money. Since the signing of the CPA, I have never heard of any peace initiatives at government level on behalf of the people of southern Sudan. You must demonstrate to the people that there is a political will for peace as the leaders should be the role models.

Tribalism is a disease amongst our people that must be fought just like other diseases. It has caused lives and it must be rejected at all costs.

The Government of Southern Sudan has a duty to prove to all Southerners that it cares for them. Even though the ‘bigger evil’ in Khartoum is stealing the oil revenue, the government must transparently demonstrate to its citizens that they have used the little they got wisely. Instead, we are busying ourselves in corruption and as long as corruption is not addressed within GOSS, SPLM will have a tough time convincing the people that they are the better party.

Everyone in southern Sudan still appreciates the sacrifice made during the war by many leaders who are now in the government and it will be too naïve to overlook those sacrifices. However, the notion that SPLM (the political party) is synonymous with SPLA (the army) is simply unacceptable. As a political party, you must give other southern parties the same democratic freedom that we all fought for.

Southern Sudan, for several years, has enjoyed sympathy of many people around the world. Nevertheless, our politicians must know that the support of our sympathizers cannot be taken for granted. There is no tolerance for corruption in the world. For Government of Southern Sudan to continue to sustain the generosity and support from the international community, it must win the trust of its own people.

Although the CPA has not achieved much success, it has granted all citizens of Sudan, regardless of religion, an opportunity to vie for the big office. Though this right might be symbolic due to eminent possibilities of vote rigging, I think it is an opportunity any southerner who is eligible to run should not shy away from.

As I argued earlier in this article, the biggest challenge facing every southern Sudanese right now, whether they are corrupt or not, is the government of Omar Bashir which has every intend to frustrate prospects for peace and freedom in Southern Sudan. I believe we must remain vigilant and united regardless of our differences until we settle scores with the monster, just like we stood together during the war. Then leader, John Garang was not a perfect man but he has brought all of us to where we are today.

Corruption and defection to the enemy are both bad for southern Sudan. I urge all southern politicians to broaden their scope when it comes to assessing the problems in Sudan. There are people in Darfur, Nuba Mountain, and eastern Sudan who are suffering just like us. Even though it took some of them long to realize the brutality of successive Khartoum governments, they are now ready to fight for their rights. Let’s try and form alliances with those marginalized people because we share a common cause against one tyrant evil group, which has always thought to take advantage of our inadequacies.

Although winning the presidency for the entire Sudan may be made difficult by the current regime, there is nothing wrong for a southerner to declare candidacy. You all seem to forget that the results of the referendum may turnout to be another disappointment just like the census results. What will all southern politicians do when they are asked to give five solid reasons why they didn’t run for presidency? What if we were forced to unite with the rest of Sudan? Declare your candidacy right now and let history recall that a southern Sudanese once ran for president but it was stolen from him, just like our land!

The NCP has no interest in anyone “CAMPAIGNING” for separation, an example of which can be drawn from its reaction to remarks made by Salva Kiir recently.

Doesn’t everyone get what this means for the outcome of 2011 referendum? It is a democratic right for a political party to choose a referendum side and no political party has a constitutional might to take away that right. The fact that SPLM has shied away from those remarks is a sign of major weakness.

The people of Southern Sudan, Abyei and Nuba mountains had put all their hope on the CPA agreement. There is every indication that those hopes are quickly fading because the enemy who has now fooled us twice in the broad day light is bent on repeating its past tactics.

Just as they imposed war on us, the Government now wants to dictate peace at their own discretion. The people will say no to that type of peace; we are better off without it!

My advice to all our politicians is that the marginalized people of Sudan are ready to rally behind a strong leader who is willing to look Omar Bashir in the eye and stand up for his people. It doesn’t matter what you have decided to call your party, our people are just looking for a leader who is willing to take us to the “Promised Land”.  Even if you don’t take us there, at least we will remember that you tried but the evil was far too powerful than you.

Whether you are leader of GOSS, or leader of SPLM-DC (Lam) or head of National Election Council (Abel), or adviser to President of the republic (Bona), you are still a southerner and we look to you for leadership at such a critical time. Our people have endured so much suffering and cannot afford another let down.

United we stand, divided we fall!

*Panther Kuol is a contributor to NewSudanVision.com. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..