How political prostitution might cost South Sudanese their hard-earned freedom

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 19:16
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Penn de Ngong

(Kampala Uganda) -“Now that I have voted, I am relieved and even I am no longer afraid of death, because I can just die a dignified citizen,” said an old woman in Kolmarek polling station of Jalle Payam in Bor County. When she was corrected that the voting exercise was just a rehearsal for the real freedom vote coming in January, the wrinkly, rugged, ragged and raged mother of five, three of whom died during the liberation struggle, retorted, “Just let me go. Who said they will allow you to vote for separation?” She and every Southerner know the reason behind her hopelessness.

One of the first reasons is in this statement made in 1985 by Late P.W. Botha, a former Apartheid architect, which is nowadays exploited by the Arabs in Sudan: “You’ve seen that Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other.” If this is not true, then let Dr. Lam Akol, General Tanginya and General George Athor explain how irrelevant it is in our post-elections and pre-referendum situations of the day.

 

Another bitter fact for us, Southerners, to swallow is in the same South Africa’s statesman’s statement: “Secondly, most Blacks are vulnerable to money inducements. I’ve set special fund to exploit this venue.”

 

Need I explain this? If you were one of the electorates who participated in the general elections campaigns and voting, you would know this trick by default. In fact, the votes the National Congress Party (NCP) garnered in the South were a clear indication of how money inducement can let you sell your precious child to a witch doctor in a desperate attempt to make more money. Yes, I have witnessed a man who made more money, and whose money in turn made mad, because it was acquired illegally.

 

As if what Botha said wasn’t enough, I love, and then hate, this man’s quotes, because his system of the White versus the Blacks has been (is being) duplicated in Sudan here. “The old trick of divide-and-rule is still valid. Our experts should work day and night to set the Black man against his fellowman. His inferior sense of morals can be exploited beautifully. And here is a creature that lacks foresight. There is a need for us to combat him in long term projections that he cannot suspect.” Indeed, does Gen. Athor. knows…., I mean, are we able to suspect that the engineering of new political parties for the South, such as the SPLM DC, headquartered and funded in Khartoum, is a long term projection by our self-proclaimed superiors? And why are there more than 30 rebel movements in Darfur? Did they start as numerous as that in 2003? Just rush back to the SPLA/SPLM days in the bush. How many rebel movements sprang out of the mother movement in the early 90s? All in the name of liberating the very marginalized Blacks of (South) Sudan, whom they are using as tools against one another. All these are being engineered by our Apartheid masters and implemented by our very literate leaders, whose names begin with Dr. (Doctor of philosophy, if not General)!

 

This title, ‘political prostitution’ was not meant for Southern Sudan alone. Now, as we are busy sorting ourselves out internally, we are wasting away externally! Our neighbours who once were our symphasizers have started stabbing our backs. If this is not clear, then look at this statement from a Zarghawi man of the other side of the western border of Sudan, "I say it loud, I’m against this referendum (separation) and against the possibility of division." he added, as if in an insinuated incitement. "Do you really think that the Khartoum government would agree easily on the loss of the south with its oil and minerals?" said President Idris Derby of Chad in a magazine interview last month. Since we do not know or are trying to know his motives behind this betraying statement, let us add another from him: "We all have a north and south, part Muslim and part Christian.

If we accept the disintegration of the Sudan, how do we confront attempts to break the other?"

 

Surprisingly, this is the same man who has been fighting a proxy war with Sudan, now all of a sudden speaking Bashir’s mind. Perhaps he sees the South as the only hope for his tribesmen, the Darfuris’ survival, just as the way the other non-southern tribes think about the impact of the South’s breaking away. Maybe, because President Bashir has visited his country the way he (Bashir) did to Isaias Aferwoki of Eritrea, who has suddenly, according to Khartoum Monitor’s Alfred Taban’s interview with him in Asmara, is singing the same chorus against our referendum, “It will be a disaster if the South secedes....” A disaster! How? Could this have been explained in details in Bashir’s March 2010 visit package to Aferworki, making him shout aloud for a two-year postponement of the South’s referendum? This is contrary to his 2009’s position? What a political prostitution in Africa!

 

The same prophets of doom echoed their message of delaying the South’s referendum in the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Summit in Nairobi in March this year.  Another heavy-weight heartbreaker of Southern Sudanese future is none other than the UN Chief, Ban Ki-moon, who said (either in a tongue slip or misquotation, it escaped into the air anyway) in a joint interview with AFP and RFI radio, "The UN has a big responsibility with the AU to maintain peace in Sudan and make unity attractive… We’ll work hard to avoid a possible secession."

 

The UN chief did not negatively pre-empt our fate-bound future alone. There is the AU’s Jean Ping: “Will the independence of Southern Sudan not lead other players in Darfur and in other places, which are currently not asking for independence, to seek independence as Southern Sudan will have done?” he added. "We have a feeling that we are sitting on a powder keg," Ping said. And what does Egypt and the Arab world say about our possibility of making our own nation? And what is so (or not) special about us?

And why are Kenyans, Ugandans, Congolese, etc. shifting their border posts deeper into Southern Sudan this time than last time? Why the military confrontation at our borders of Nadapal (Kenya), Moyo (Uganda), Bazi (Congo DR)? Now with the discovery of oil and other minerals in our land (South), be afraid, be very afraid! Or else be prepared, be very ready! Unless you have never ever experienced any childhood achievement that was robbed by a grown-up. For me, I know, especially when I found a golden necklace at the scene of an accident in my village.

As I celebrated my God’s donation, cattle camp bullies swooped on me, knocked my forehead, pulled my left ear, twisted my right arm: all at a go, and then made away with the gem…! Watch this space for how and how long I later struggled to reclaim it.

*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.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots.