South Sudan needs political independence, not the presidency

(El-Obeid, Sudan) - Allow me to share my personal opinion on the approaching 2011 referendum versus unity of the Sudan. In my own reading, I have come across some articles posted on various websites on whether South Sudan will go its separate ways or for unity of the Sudan in the forthcoming referendum after general elections in 2009.This question has different answers from Sudanese people depending on individual predictions and the past experiences. The war in Sudan claimed million of lives; women were raped, children were abducted, houses and shops were set ablaze and a huge number of people were forced to seek refuge within and outside Sudan. Economic resources were deregulated and confiscated as well. Despites all these atrocities committed by the Sudan Arm Forces under the directives of the current Islamic regime in Khartoum, there are still some South Sudanese, especially the elites who are currently benefiting materially from the NCP. There are also a few individuals within South Sudan benefiting from NCP who are being driven by their ill-hearts against others who want to realise a peaceful South Sudan. In addition to the above categories, there are some SPLM politicians who believe that as soon as a South Sudanese son or daughter becomes president of the Sudan, there would be changes in the Sudanese constitution. Yes, of course, there might be changes but at the expense of victimising the right of Southerners to self determination. We as Southerners need to remember that Arabs would not like us to separate from the republic of the Sudan due to economic resources in the South. For them to achieve this goal the northern political parties will automatically make a coalition to support SPLM against the NCP candidate and as a result, possibilities of enthroning the First Vice-President of Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit to become the next president of Sudan are very high. Nevertheless, I would like to assure southerners that even if one of our own becomes the president of the republic today, it will never change anything at all because the Arab opposition political parties in the north will re-group to ensure that a president from the South does not get the necessary constitutional prerequisites. This environment will only work to statistically make a southerner sit in a palace as a guided statue. Northerners will try by all means to substantially sabotage the term of office to pave way for their leadership. The late Dr.Garang once commented on the suffering of the South Sudanese thus; “Islamic Arab agenda is the cause of the war and the source of the suffering. It is a choice between slavery and freedom. What is life worth being at peace when you are a slave in your own country?” Such remarks should not be ignored and forgotten. It is our ultimate right to tellingly articulate to them (Arabs) frankly that all we need is political and economical independence and not the presidency! On the other hand, the SPLM as a political party in the Government of National Unity must be warned not to haggle away our natural right to dignity and freedom for the post of the president in the name of United Sudan to be determined. This is because the quest for unity is already out of the question since the unity of Sudan has been made unattractive by the National Congress Party. The presidency has terribly failed to resolve many items at their limits according to the CPA. For those who may think that Southerners’ separation will not favour our brothers in the then struggle, I assure you that the right to self-determination of the South does not discriminate the South Kordofan as well as South Blue Nile. This is because in the CPA, these regions were given specific durations to conduct wide consultations and form an informative decision on whether to join the South or North. It is up to them to determine where they would belong as the two regions can decide to join their African brothers in the South if they so wished and nobody can question their decisions. Alternatively, Sudan can split into various ‘Sudans’; Darfur, Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile can become an independent state like the South provided that they have material and military resources- what is wrong with that? It is a choice between slavery and freedom. If I may borrow from the words of the late Dr. Garang: “What is life worth to be at peace when you are a slave in your own country?” Our verdict now determines our destiny unless we prefer to be second class citizens in our homeland! **The author lives in El-Obeid, Sudan. For comments or questions, he can be reached at: