Why Khartoum should resort to making separation attractive

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Thursday, 25 March 2010 14:56
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THINKING ANTI-CLOCKWISE: John Penn de Ngong

(Kampala, Uganda) - Ours is a marriage of convenience. Marriage of Convenience is not real marriage; it is a situation where p artners or former enemies co-habit for benefits other than love. It is necessary where there is sharing of common interests such as political and economic powers. This is typical of the case of Sudan.

However, when marriage of convenience turns into marriage of inconvenience, say, of discomfort and unrest; characterized by arrests, cheatings and beatings, then why in a man-made hell do you want to co-exist? I am a married man, so I know what is required to make a long-lasting and productive family.

The first of the ills in marriage is cheating. Cheating in marital, legal and biblical language is adultery. In social terms, it is promiscuity, going around slandering your own partner and sleeping with other people's partners. This is obvious with our northern brothers. I got a Facebook  message from one 'brother' in Khartoum writing to his fellow gay guys outside Sudan, "I am one of you guys, a gay and proud Arab man in an Arab country (Sudan)…"  Here, I am not condemning his identity as a 'proud Arab man' or his status as a gay because it does not concern me. What I condemn is forcing me to be identified with him, calling Sudan 'an Arab country'. That, plus his personal religion of homosexuality, is enough to convince the world that our marriage of convenience is calling out loud for a divorce.

As if that is not enough, in a family, all in-laws and other relatives from both sides of the spouses (husband and wife) are treated equal. And if in any way or by any means harassed or embarrassed, the marriage is in question. That is why I put the Sudanese political marriage (call it Comprehensive Peace Agreement or CPA) in question, especially when our friends, visitors and workers of foreign origins are forced to take visas from Juba to Khartoum, while the similar guests from Khartoum are not required to buy visas to Juba. Is Khartoum not now making secession attractive, declaring that Juba is a capital city of a country called South Sudan rather than its region called Southern Sudan?

How about this one: "NCP pinned SPLM on elections as a condition for referendum"? This can be interpreted that should other political parties, SPLM being their ringleader, attempt to boycott the April 2010 elections as they are allegedly threatening, then the NCP is going to boycott the referendum. If this is true as reported on Sudan Tribune website, then it is clear that separation of the South is eminent as implied by the North. And by the way, who told NCP that a non-voter, or for that matter a non-candidate, has the right to boycott the votes? It is like a certain man who told his neighbour's wife, "If you don't help me in my garden, I will not escort you to bed tonight." I mean, if you are not part of that marriage, how dare you tell somebody's wife, as a condition, to abstain from sex on her? Unless they mean it otherwise, the North will, according to Machakos' Protocol, not vote on January 9, 2011, in order to 'assist' Southerners in deciding whether to remain united with them or separate from them. Such political blunders by the NCP are good towards our move to secession.

In addition, it is definite that come April 2010, the NCP will win the presidential elections, but come 2011, the SPLM is the victor. This is what the SPLM had to say in its circular during the voter registration (Nov. 16): "The SPLM believes that there is danger of the South losing one-third representation in the national parliament if the 2008 census results were to be applied in redistribution of power sharing in the National Assembly." Therefore, basing on this SPLM belated complaint and others, somebody should advise the NCP not to waste their time in putting modalities for rigging the elections, . For example, in Kampala, Uganda, one Southern Sudanese student protested against the electoral policy that all Sudanese Diapora groups will only vote for the president of the republic, "Then why should I register? I already know the NCP candidate has won the presidential contest!"  Similar concerns were expressed by Southern Students in Nairobi who poured on the streets and condemned the policies in Kenyan media, especially the policy that first put Arab countries in the list excluding East Africa and countries were Southerners were in concentration.

One of the rigging policies was that the registering electorates should present two passports: a Sudanese passport with a Ugandan passport in case of a 'dual citizen' or a resident cards in case of a resident or student. One of the worst policies was a letter from the Sudanese Embassy in Kampala instructing all Sudanese to move to Northern UgandaUganda! So all old women, children, sick people, examination candidates and other students attending their classes were expected to be patriotic enough to abandon their business, book tickets and travel to Northern Uganda, to make themselves eligible to vote for 'their president' only. What a political miscalculation! What a daytime insult on the Southerners! All unto our justification for separation. (Gulu) for registration. Why? Because the Sudanese Embassy was relocated or decentralized to the country side of

If we are one family struggling to be one forever, why should marriage wealth, such as bride price and food be stolen, embezzled or confiscated altogether? When it transpired through the foreign companies last September and this month of March that figures of our '50 percent' were not rhyming both in Beijing and Khartoum, according to a credible Global Witness and others, our CPA partners were cowed into suggesting a solution but to themselves, silently. By the way, it is worth noting that the 50 percent of the Wealth Sharing Protocol is only on oil, and only on oil from the South! For a marriage or relation to be more attractive, a husband or wife should not indulge in stealing their own dowry. If so done, then it becomes marriage of inconvenience, and calls for conjugal operation, to remove the bad part, or in that case, the bad party. From this analogy, Sudan really needs a political surgery, call it secession if you like.

Another indirect blunder our peace partner is using to make unity very unattractive is threat or intimidation. For instance, apart from handcuffing and taking our SPLM leaders to prison, how dare a senior presidential advisor, and for that matter, an 'assistant president', shout a war cry over a peaceful demonstration of the opposition parties. Declaring "40,000 to 100,000 martyrs" by the person of Nafie Ali Nafie (see Sudan Tribune) is a direct abrogation of the CPA. However, using propaganda of gunboat diplomacy, that is, announcing imaginary figures and displaying military hardware this time is counter-productive to NCP. We in the South, they in the North, as well as the whole world know that war is no longer a good option to solve our problem this time.

Mr. Advisor should be advised that exploiting the name of Islam (Jihad) to fool Sudanese people back to war is fooling oneself, because of the following: One, the current government is no longer NIF (National Islamic Front) that used to trick the youths and students into Mujahedeens or 'martyrs'. Two, the Southern Friendly Forces "Guot as Sadhiq" and the Darfuris that were used to fight the SPLA are no longer there, and even if there, they are still regretting and recovering from the shame of the war, if not busy in their other wars of liberation. Three, the NCP has lost trust both inside and outside SudanKhartoum and ICC in The Hague. Therefore, any war cry at the moment will be interpreted by the Masses as a desperate resort to keep themselves out of reach, after they already know they are not our leaders after 2011. But for them, as I see, the best way is not to de-friend but to befriend the South. as their party leaders are both candidates for Elections in

To put it in a nutshell, let's look back to 2005. Closing to years now. What and how much has been achieved? Between north and south, from which point of the border will Southerners start their voting? When was elections supposed to be conducted? Why are the census figures not consumable in the South? When will Abyei border assessment team report its findings? There are so many whens, whats, hows and whys to put in this Sudanese marriage of convenience. But the only undeniable fact, a bitter pill for Khartoum to swallow, is that the South is not impressed with the way Unity has been made attractive for the last five or so years. Therefore, my last advice to our partners (NC P) is not to waste the remaining 12 months on trying to impress their 'girlfriend', rather they should resort to making Secession, which they have indirectly shown us, very attractive. As to why they should make separation for the South attractive has no space here, but it has the space on their minds. Of course, after 2011, will the oil pipeline continue snaking, call it sneaking, away oil from the South to the north? Will they, with their colonial masters-cum-brothers, the Egyptians, install enough thermal power generators in the South to divert our attention from damming the damn Nile for our hydro-electric power? Someone from there should complete our dictionary of questions, to satisfy the litany of complaints.

*John Penn de Ngong is a Southern Sudanese journalist, a founding editor of The Younique Generation Magazine (a youth, fashion and art monthly printed in Kampala and distributed in Southern Sudan. He is also a poet (over 300 poems under one title 'The Black Christs of Africa') and an essayist. He is now doing his BA. Education (English language and Literature) at Makerere University, Uganda. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.