Commentary

South Africa President Jacob Zuma has no comparison to those of Bona Malual and Dr. Lam Akol

(Edmonton, AB, Canada) -Recently I have come across an article at The NewSudanVision.com titled “The Zumas of Africa:  Perspectivizing the Implicit and the Obvious”. The article was written by one of the most respected columnists and one of the founders of the website mentioned above.  This gentleman is Mr. Kuir Garang.

To begin my point, first of all, I do enjoy reading lots of  Mr. Garang’s writing as almost his general view of today world including his philosophical background that I know of him. Given all those facts  about Mr. Kuir Garang, to day I declare war on this topic alone or call it a jumping into the hot- discussion about the comparison of the current South Africa President Mr. Jacob Zuma to those of Bona Malual, Riak Ghai, Aldo Ajou Deng,   Dr. David Dechand, and Dr. Lam Akol.

 Frankly speaking I was not aware about some of those being known as politicians in Sudan. I thought some of them are just ordinary citizens like my self or call them survivors if I may before comparing any of them to anyone else.  This comparison has outraged me ten times. How we draw lines of comparison between people is  questionable,  otherwise,  if indeed judgments do go  accordingly, then there is no way we can make comparison between fake Zumas, to the real  hero president Zuma of South Africa.  Except educational background alone that is where you can not argue about it, because President Zuma is a pure self- learner with huge credits of experience and heroism during their struggle in South Africa. 

Coming to these gentlemen, they are all educators,  there is no  doubts  or   question about that but their educational backgrounds do not match the characters they have which is nothing of them to compare with somebody.  I call the likes of our own Zumas nothing, because they are so incompetent, selfish politicians with vision of self –sufficiency to their mouths as well as traitors benefiting from our own blood.  

What else can one say about them other than survivors of a no vision in our country? How would I believe the so-called Dr. Bona Malual Madut as a politician when he claimed the late Dr. John Garang‘s death had brought blessing to him after his appointment as special advisor to President Omar El Bashir? That line alone  tells me that Dr. Malual, is not a human being you can compare with anyone else apart from his own self that dance for the death of his own brother who died while fighting for his people’s rights .

Mr. Garang, at no point there is total difference among them and the best way of judging are their long lists of Mr. Malual and Dr. Lam Akol among others of  such horrific and unspeakable records while Mr.  Zuma and his records and characters are the ones made him of who he is now to his people and that is what I mean by something about president Zuma. I call him such because his records show a big contrast as liberator and a long time server or serving of Africa National Congress (ANC) since 1959 to the present day.  Zuma fought against the colonial rule in his country.

 This man was “arrested and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment at Robben Island, along with the famous former president Nelson Mandela among other important figures of the ANC party supporters”.  Our own Zumas don’t have anything available to anyone to say of their records.  I don’t believe Mr. Garang can easily base his argument and comparison of President Jacob Zuma to those confused individuals with fake degrees earned for trouble making among Southerners.   Mr. Zuma did lots of contrast achievements, when “he served on the ANC's political and military council when it was formed in the mid-1980s, and was elected to the politburo of another party on April 1989.”   Here I’m not  trying to write  president Zuma ‘s life back ground but just to share  his achievements, and vision for his country with you and I think you knew all these records do not  exist  for either of our  Southern Sudanese group of  Malual and  Dr. Lam.  That   is the case of my argument against the likes of our Zumas  according to you Mr. Kuir Garang. 

Finally, Mr. Kuir Garang,  I am not in position to ask you to apologize or assigning a big condemnation against your article, but I want to assure you that our Zumas of Southern Sudan have not and will not ever be compared to those heroes who fought their colonialists to bring equality,  justice and freedom to their country of   South Africa.  Where would the comparison match here other than saying a no comparison to those of Dr. Bona Malual and Dr. Lam Akol to hero of South Africa President Jacob Zuma?

Francis Chagai Bol is a Southern Sudanese and a former SPLA member of Red Army Battalion. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Long live the spirit of John Garang!

mbeki
President Thabo Mbeki

After Dr. John Garang's untimely death, then South African President Thabo Mbeki dedicated his page in the ANC Today newsletter to the memory of the man. We reprint his comments here below on this 4th Anniversary since his death:

On Saturday, 30 July 2005, a great tragedy befell the people of Southern Sudan in particular and Sudan in general. On that fateful day, a Ugandan presidential helicopter carrying the First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan, Dr John Garang de Mabior, crashed, killing the Vice President and the Sudanese and Ugandans accompanying him.

On 6 August, we will join the people of Sudan in the Southern Sudanese city of Juba as they lay to rest an outstanding son of Southern Sudan and Sudan as a whole, the late Dr John Garang de Mabior.

 

This will give us an opportunity once more to convey to the Garang family, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army, (SPLM/A), the Sudanese government and people, the heartfelt condolences of the government and people of our country at the tragic and untimely loss of an eminent Sudanese and African patriot.

 

As soon as we received the terrible news that Dr Garang had perished in the accident on July 30th, we conveyed our condolences to the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan el-Bashir, and the new Chairperson of the SPLM/A, Lt Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan.

 

On 2 and 3 August, our Foreign Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and ANC Secretary General, Kgalema Motlanthe, joined the leadership of the SPLM/A at New Site, Kapoeta Country, Southern Sudan, as this leadership met to consider the difficult situation arising out of the death of its late Chairperson, Dr John Garang. Once more our comrades conveyed our condolences and our solidarity with the people of Southern Sudan and Sudan at their moment of grief.

 

Twenty-one days before the tragic 30 July accident in Southern Sudan, we had been privileged to attend the moving ceremony in Khartoum, on 9 July, when Dr John Garang was sworn in as the First Vice President of Sudan, as part of the process of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement formally signed in Nairobi on 9 January 2005.

 

As we parted on that day, First Vice President Garang informed us that he would soon be visiting our country to discuss what we should do next to support the process of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and contribute to the reconstruction and development of Sudan.

 

Fate dictated that this would be our last conversation with a fellow African freedom fighter with whom we had worked for many years. However, his untimely departure has not reduced our obligation to work in solidarity with the people of Southern Sudan and Sudan as they strive to rebuild this important sister African country.

 

The SPLM/A was formed in 1983 to struggle for a new, united Sudan. It said that this unity should be based on the historical and contemporary diversities that characterise Sudan, and must therefore be founded on and reflect pluralism, democracy and secularism.

It therefore sought to correct an historical injustice that had entrenched itself in Sudan especially from 1820 when Turko-Egyptian military invasions of Sudan started, with the invaders carrying our raids to acquire slaves, described as "black gold", ivory, described as "white gold", and gold, described as "yellow gold". The Northern Sudanese, who were Arab and Moslem, joined the invaders in these raids.

 

In 1881 the Sudanese Moslem population, led by Mohamed Ahmed, the Mahdi (Messiah), rose up against Turko-Egyptian rule and defeated the forces led by the British General Gordon, who died in Khartoum. The sovereign Mahdist State was then established. However, the Mahdists intensified the slave trade, which decimated many tribes in Southern Sudan.

 

The Mahdist State survived from 1881 to 1897, when it was defeated by combined British-Egyptian forces, commanded by the British Lord Kitchener. In the aftermath of this victory, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was proclaimed, subjected to what was called condominium rule. In reality this condominium represented British colonial rule, which lasted until Sudan achieved its independence in 1956.

 

During the 58 years of Anglo-Egyptian rule, Northern and Southern Sudan were administered as two different entities. The concept of "closed districts" was also introduced, to protect the African populations in Southern Sudan and other parts of the country from the Northern slave traders and the processes of enforced Arabisation and Islamisation. Passes were required for travel between North and South and other "closed districts".

 

However, in 1947, the British reversed their approach, which visualised separate futures for the North and the South. They now saw Sudan as one single entity. As independence approached, the Southern Sudanese feared that this independence would only mean their colonisation by the Arab and Islamic North, who would take over from the British colonialists.

 

Four months before the proclamation of independence on January 1, 1956, the Southern units of the colonial Sudan Defence Force rebelled. The Anyanya guerrilla army formed by the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement after this rebellion waged a protracted war for the independence of Southern Sudan. This war only ended with the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement of 1972, which was facilitated among others by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and the All Africa Council of Churches.

Relative peace returned to Sudan for about 10 years thereafter. However the North worked to undermine the provisions and the intentions of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement. Understanding this, the Southerners prepared for the resumption of war. Finally, in June 1983, the Sudanese Government under President Jaffar el-Numeiry abrogated the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement.

 

On May 16, 1983, the Sudanese Army had attacked its own units composed of former Anyanya guerrillas who had been integrated in the Army, accusing them of rebellion or the intention to rebel. These units took to the bush. Thus was born the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

As the military conflict continued from then onwards, various initiatives were undertaken to find a peaceful solution to the historic confrontation between the Sudanese North and South, starting with the 1985 call by the SPLM for an all-party National Constitutional Conference that would negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement.

 

Ultimately, after a number of failed attempts, the mediation process was taken over by the regional Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), whose conflict resolution sub-committee was chaired by Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi and subsequently President Mwai Kibaki.

 

The IGAD peace initiative was formally launched in Nairobi on 17 March 1994. It concluded its work with the formal signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A in Nairobi on 9 January 2005. Given its critical importance, the ceremony was witnessed by many representatives from across the world, including our then Deputy President of the Republic, Jacob Zuma.

 

The historic task now facing the Sudanese people is the full, speedy and unequivocal implementation of the CPA, bearing in mind all the complex challenges that Sudan has inherited from its past.

 

The last census conducted by the British before independence said the Sudanese population was 61% African and 31% Arab, with 8% being West African Moslems who had settled in Sudan while on their way to or from Mecca.

 

The North is predominantly Moslem and the South adheres to Christianity and traditional African religions. Sudan is said to have more than 500 ethnic groups, who speak more than 100 distinct languages. We have presented this brief social profile and truncated history of Sudan since 1820 to indicate the challenges this sister country faces as it works to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and build the new Sudan.

 

One document that sought to describe Sudan, to explain the difficult road ahead, said: "Sudan is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual. The North-South divide in identity has always been significant due to differences in, for instance, religion, culture and ethnicity. These identity differences were shaped and manifested in violent clashes, and became a tendency in the long-lasting conflict.

 

"The formation of Northern identities is centred on a strong sense of being Arab and Muslim, two pillars of personal identity that have been used to unify communities in the North. Furthermore, the Northern view of Southerners as inferior and often as slaves, created a social hierarchy in which the Northerners have often imposed their political and economic superiority on the South.

 

"On the other hand, the Southern identities have been shaped in response to the often violent exploitation by dominant forces since the early 1800s. In certain instances territory or region overlapped with questions of identity, for political power, material resources or values and ideology.

"The present conflict in Darfur is an example of this, where large segments of the local population assumed a different consciousness or identity, i.e. that of opposing the central government through taking up arms, as a response to marginalisation. This happened despite having the same religion and culture as the ruling elite in Khartoum.

 

"Civil war and failed peace processes thus happened in the context of political and economic marginalisation of the periphery, and in the absence of inclusive constitutional negotiations to address the political and socio-economic needs of diverse groups."

 

To create the basis for Sudan to break out of its tortured past, as early as 20 July 1994, the Government of Sudan and the then two factions of the SPLM/A agreed on a Declaration of Principles, which they said would "constitute the basis for resolving the conflict in the Sudan."

 

The Declaration said: "The right of self-determination of the people of South Sudan to determine their future status through a referendum must be affirmed. Maintaining the unity of the Sudan must be given priority by all parties provided that the following principles are established in the political, legal, economic and social framework of the country: Sudan is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society. Full recognition and accommodation of these diversities must be affirmed. Complete political and social equalities of all peoples in the Sudan must be guaranteed by law."

 

The CPA signed on 9 January 2005 also contained Agreed Principles. These reflect the 1994 Declaration and say, inter alia, that the Parties agree: "That the unity of the Sudan, based on the free will of its people, democratic governance, accountability, equality, respect, and justice for all citizens of the Sudan shall be the priority of the Parties, and that it is possible to redress the grievances of the people of South Sudan and to meet their aspirations within such a framework.

"That the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia, through a referendum to determine their future status;.that the people of the Sudan share a common heritage and aspirations and accordingly agree to work together to establish as democratic system of governance taking account of the cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic diversity and gender equality of the people of the Sudan."

After a deeply troubled history that covers many centuries, Sudan has now set itself on a path that should lead to peace and friendship among its diverse people. Given its enormous economic potential, the new Sudan also has the possibility to provide a better life for all its people, eradicating poverty and underdevelopment.

It has the possibility to serve as a shining example of the success of Africa's renaissance, a model for all our countries, which, in the main, are as diverse as Sudan is. It can lead our continent in cementing the unity between its Northern and Sub-Saharan parts.

Consistent with our internationalist character as a movement and given our national responsibilities towards the rest of our continent, we have the responsibility to work with the Sudanese people to help them achieve the noble goals they have set themselves. Together, as South Africans, we must make the commitment that we will not fail them.

The new beacon of hope for the Sudan and Africa represented by the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement will forever remain an indestructible monument to the memory of a great Sudanese and African patriot, the late Dr John Garang de Mabior. As we lay him to rest in Juba on August 6, we will also pledge to pursue the noble goals to which he dedicated his life. His spirit will not die.

*Thabo Mbeki is former President of the Republic of South Africa  

Biotechnology - Africa Must Not Be Left Behind

 

Kampala — Africa must embrace agricultural biotechnology or risk being excluded from a major technological revolution that has had increased food production in the Europe, North America and Asia.

Professor Diran Makinde, director of the West African Biosciences Network and NEPAD Biosciences Initiative says that "Africa missed the Green Revolution, which helped Asia and Latin America achieve self-sufficiency in food production. Africa cannot afford to be excluded or to miss another major global 'technological revolution' especially with the increasing population."

Participants at a May conference organised in Entebbe, Uganda by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Uganda's National Council of Science and Technology noted that climate change, crop pests and high production costs require urgent investment in developing Agriculture biotechnology for Africa if the challenges are to be addressed.

Mark Rosegrant, director of the environment and production technology division of IFPRI said, "In the coming years, growing populations, stagnating agricultural productivity and increasing climate change will make it more difficult for Africa to fight poverty and malnutrition. To confront these challenges, many African countries are assessing a range of tools and technologies, including agricultural biotechnologies which hold great promise for improving crop yields."

Rosegrant told IPS that Africa's crop production per unit area of land is the lowest in the world. "The production of sweet potato, a staple crop, is 6 tonnes per hectare compared to the global average of 14 tonnes per hectare. China produces on average 18 tonnes per hectare, three times the African average."

Professor Norah Olembo, executive director of biotech lobby group African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum (ABSF) told IPS that biotechnology is also a way to avoid environmental damage caused by conventional methods of agricultural production.

"We are still languishing in poverty, hunger and devastation in Africa. Every year, you will hear one part of Africa is starving. And even if we are not starving, we are poor. But crop and tree production can bring wealth in several ways. In Kenya, the demand for tree seedlings reaches 14 million per year. We can use biotechnological techniques to stop deforestation and boost reforestation by developing fast growing trees suited for given parts of the country," she said.

The ABSF is a platform set up to promote the use of GM crops in Africa by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. ISAAA, in its turn, is sponsored by - among others - GM multinationals Bayer Crop Sciences and Monsanto to match biotechnological solutions with agricultural problems in developing countries.

Despite the multiple efforts to push biotech in African agriculture, Rosegrant said its adoption of has been slow in most places, due to what he described as "highly organised and effective organic and effective opponents of the technology" as well as the limited profit opportunities for GM products in Africa.

Biotech promoters believe most African countries lack appropriate regulation to guide agricultural biotechnology applications and research.

Makinde told IPS that the New Economic Partnership for African Development had begun addressing the challenge. "It is true the adoption of biotechnology has been slow in Africa yet we have seen the benefits of this tool in the rest of the world, especially the Asian developing countries like ours. We feel we need to drum it into our decision-makers that we are losing a lot of benefits by not adapting these technologies"

He added that "We at NEPAD and other regional biosciences networks are involved in strengthening the capacity of our policy makers to have that confidence, to have the knowledge and ability to process applications. Because what is happening is that when an institute - public or private - makes an application to conduct a trial, it takes them a lot of time, because (governments) don't know how to do it (review an application).

"We are training our regulators so that they can approve or disapprove any project they think is good or not good for the countries".

The fact that genetically-modified crop varieties and biotechnology research are largely owned and controlled by transnational corporations which develop products which promise high returns is also felt to be a hindrance to Africa benefiting.

Dr Theresa Sengooba, of IFPRI's Programme For Biosafety Systems said, " We are looking at multi-lateral trade reforms to see how the African farmers can benefit from the research to increase food production. Of course we know that research is expensive and that seed companies have to make money . But they have the social responsibility and to me I think this can be done through negotiations like what has happened in a recent deal between Monsanto and Ghana government."

Rosegrant told IPS that the situation is gradually changing, with corporations like Monasnto showing interest in researching products that could suit African conditions.

"The private companies that have been developing the best GM technologies have now realised that African market is growing, so they are developing crops conducive for Africa. If the public sector can work with private companies, they could enter joint research arrangements to make the technology available. But I think none of those is possible with out a strong public sector in terms of regulatory framework, to ensure that the technology is safe and to set prices that are profitable to farmer."

African farmers will be watching developments with keen interest. There is lots of work ahead for promoters of biotechnology to develop varieties, regulations and safeguards that can satisfy government and popular demands for biosafety, as well as overcome small farmers' shortage of credit to purchase new proprietary seed every year - and perhaps a natural instinct to guard seed sovereignty.

* This article was first published by allafrica.com

Abyei ruling: Apocalypse from The Hague?

(Western Kordofan, Sudan)--In the weeks leading up to the historic PCA ruling, many were off point and found it hard to predict the Abyei arbitration ruling as The Hague was preparing to render its verdict on July 22nd. Now that it is already announced, it is important to share the basics about Abyei and the Dinka Ngok who proudly call it home. The much anticipated award-rendering of Wednesday 22nd July is a landmark occasion for the region and its people and it is going to dominate our thinking in the weeks and months to come. July 22 2009 is the day south Sudanese and entire world poured encomiums on Abyei. A town described as ‘dusty’, but for 300,000 Dinka Ngok, Abyei is where each soul yearns to be buried in: near the cold mud at the banks of Nyimora, Kech, Todoj, Malual Aleu, Rumamer, Mading Acweny etc.

 But understand this folks! Abyei ruling this time does not mean that the Abyei area that was transferred to Kordofan in 1905 will be ruled by the court to belong to the south or the north. That question shall be answered by Dinka Ngok concurrently with the south Sudanese in January 2011. What we should know from the current court ruling is that, the court has weighed if Abyei Boundaries Commission experts rightly or wrongfully gave out Abyei Area to Dinka Ngok that is composed of the nine chiefdoms in the area, they are ever since headed by Abior clan. Misseriya and NCP insistence was, “The area from River Kiir, Abyei town, Todoch, Nyama, Tebeldia down to Sitep and Meiram does not belong to Ngok absolutely.” Above all, “the experts exceeded their mandate!” NCP and Misseriya claimed.

 Their argument remained “Ngok were south of Kiir but were only invited to be north of the river in 1905.” A strong reason for them to reject ABC Report.  “Dinka Ngok are guests that should not be handed the areas stated.” Many tricks and delaying games are employed by NCP to implement CPA and her sibling protocols. “These Ngok villages float on oil” to use the words of our legendary leader Dr. John Garang to Ngok people on 26th June 2004 in Agok. Oil has become a curse and threat for the existence of Ngok as a nation. Cdr. James Ajing Path (RIP) was right. The importance of surveyors and engineers and demarcation of Abyei Area as defined by CPA will always be talked about.

 Fighting over Abyei has not yet started. Belonging to the south or north shall be determined by upcoming referendum.  With or without Abyei Arbitration, Abyei will always be for Ngok Jieng, the legitimacy of belonging rests with them come 2011. But one maybe tempted to argue why Abyei should be spared of referendum? The Misseriya, through SAF’s 31st Brigade forcefully voted Abyei and Ngok out of Kordofan from 13th -21st May, 2008. Ngok paid by the precious blood of their martyrs and life-time earned property. Both NCP and SPLM are witnesses! Dinka Ngok will not dispute the ownership of Heglig, Kharsana, Keilak and Meiram. Let the Nuer, Nuba people and Malual Giernyang initiate arbitration in The Hague or elsewhere come 2011. Dinka Ngok at the moment are in dire need of settlement and development and progress. 

 As south Sudanese in general were urged by GoSS to turn to supernatural through prayers, fasting and refrain from 18th-21st July, here came at eleventh hour, one Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, UN Secretary General’s representative to Sudan; shamelessly agitating NCP and Misseriya that "Over the past weeks, we have received several reports and confirmations of the presence of SPLA soldiers and elements of the Southern Sudan Police Service in the area, especially in and around Agok. It is a clear violation of the Abyei Roadmap Agreement and could lead to escalation and violence if it remained unchecked." (ST). And my question to you Gazi: was it lust for money or your Islamic fundamentalism? If it was for money, know that 70% of Sudan’s oil is pumped from Kech (Difra) in Abyei.

 If it is because of Islam, you might have discovered that Abyei is the last frontier of the African land. Mr. Ashraf Gazi, you are a pain to us! Remember when you ordered all UN agencies to evacuate Abyei town on 14th May 2008? When all UN staff left, Misseriya descended in drowns in Abyei. Zambian contingent and few Asians watched at broad day light on 20th May 2008 SAF’s tanks and heavy artilleries being ferried at the banks of River Kiir. Antonov hovered over Abyei UNMIS Sector VI. Ashraf did you stop the carnage that followed? Lives lost, property carried and auctioned in Mugled! Weakened UNMIS personnel watched Abyei in deep inferno; days later they covered their noses not to smell rotting corpses from Mulmul. Gazi, do not make us vent fire on you! Tell us if your paymasters are in Khartoum than New York! We are trying to heal our war wounds and understand ourselves as people with destiny.

Why are you trying to decay current relations between Misseriya and Ngok, south and north, NCP and SPLM after Kiir’s successful first visit in the region? Go back and save your Taliban-infested country of Pakistan, or else incite your grandfather’s people in Afghanistan to plan more roadside bombs and produce tons of cannabis till the end of time. Ashraf Gazi, do not take side in our war with our adversaries at the eve of our victorious entrance to the Promised Land.

Let’s put things straight, just for those who did not know Abyei’s geography and history. When Abyei Roadmap was signed on 8th June 2008, it was a great blow to SPLA gallant forces. The SPLA wept that day! Gazi and his cronies should have known that, after 8th June 2008 SPLA forces were evicted from Manyang to Ajak Kwac in Twich County, Warrap State. Today the frontline leaves Dinka Ngok susceptible to any aggression because of renegotiation of Abyei Protocol done in Khartoum after the destruction of the town in May 2008.

Kiir’s words to the Misseriya leaders in Mugled on 9th July were the best peace missile we needed. Major Generals Ismail Khamis Jalab and Daniel Kodi Angelo paved ways for you since 2005 with the Misseiya. Debib an hour’s drive east of Mugled town hosted thousands of Misseriya SPLA recruits till Issa Besheri and his SAF humiliated SPLA  platoon in September 2007 under  Major General Ayuen Alier Jongroor and  Brig. General Malual Majak while on their way into Mugled from Ed Daein in Darfur.   Kiir was right both in his speech and action of good heart with Misseriya. Politicians build bridges where there are no rivers. Kiir promised and encouraged Misseriya to grace as far as Wunrok valley far south or go further south west till Nyamlel. Kiir knows how much his people of Awan suffered trying to settle in Dar Misseriya. Awan-Agwok of Gogrial are only welcomed in En Nahud, Qubeish and Alait; the lands of Hamar and Berti of Darfur. 

Kiir might have definitely known the generosity and kindness of these tribes from the testimonies of his own people who lived there during the war. A researcher shall one day document the hate tales and anecdotes between Jieng and Jur-mathiang (Maram).  Well, Kiir Mayar, what you said to the Misseriya will change their attitude towards Jieng, the immediate neighbors then the whole south Sudanese. After all, Misseriya do not know the land beyond Kiir-Kou, Majok or Biemnhom. During the 2nd CPA memorial, President Omar Al Beshir promised to build Juba as a modern city with water, electricity, tarred roads etc.

Early than that, on 10th January 2005, President Al Beshir flew from Nairobi to bid farewell to Juba. He publicly promised, “We shall make Juba the bride of Africa!” Today the people of Juba have learned to listen to their president attentively then roar in unison, “WELE, WELE”.  Political promises are necessary. Kiir Mayar, go allover the north and make promises to your citizens. No one will force you to reveal what lies deep at the bottom of your heart. You are beginning to be a good student in the art of our northern brothers. They have mastered it since 1821 when Mohamed Ali Pasha arrived here. The British validated for them the treachery and tricks of irony of longevity of rule.

Back to Abyei. Time had become the enemy of Misseriya and NCP in the days leading to the ruling as all ears and antennas were turned to the Peace Palace in The Hague. 22nd July 2009 was that one day that bore traces of celebrations as precursor to independence of south Sudan. Well why was a domestic case in the flesh of Abyei people taken first to Permanent Court of Arbitration?   We are all saturated with the answer that NCP’s intransigence and stubbornness not to implement Abyei’s Protocol is the sole factor that led both SPLM and NCP to seek justice for Dinka Ngok who have occupied Abyei Area since 1700 AD. 

The award of PCA on Abyei case is already a parting step towards nationhood for the people of south Sudan. It was insincerity and aggression that led the NCP not to fully implement Abyei Protocol since 9th July 2009. For the first time GoSS took the suffering of Abyei people as a national concern. A step to educate those who still look at Dinka Ngok as those who sold their land to the ‘Arabs’ in the north and got back Arab culture and religion into their homeland they are being helped to reclaim.

While Ngok will be joining their kinsmen in the south and concentrating on development of their shattered villages in basic services; Misseriya on the other hand shall be devising new methods for survival in the desert. If Ngok, Nuer, Nuba and Rizeigat were to close their doors for interaction, they would migrate en mass to major towns in northern Sudan. Misseriya have already lost considerable number of cattle from November 2008 to May 2009. Lack of grazing pastures and water will definitely change Miseeriya’s survival techniques.

Two men have stood out of their skins, denying the pleasures of their mid 40s, prestige of their revolutionary achievements, and vigorously fought to reclaim what their grandfathers lost, return of Abyei Area to Bahr el Ghazal. Dr. Luka Biong and Deng Alor, this is your second liberation war you have fought in your lifetime! What could you do if your father’s house was in shambles? You fought a great fight. Asking for a sabbatical is appropriate at this time. Abyei’s arbitration is a strike at the back. Just think of the resources used to transport witnesses from both sides to The Hague. That money could have built better facilities for the locals, hospital, schools, water points or vet clinics. Misseriya wanted it that way, so it is. Abyei will always be the land of the Ngok, a town north of River Kiir in Bahr el Ghazal.  

Abyei’s immediate VIP neighbors and benefactors like Taban Deng Gai (Western Upper Nile), Tor Deng Mawien (Warrap) and Paul Malong Awan Anei (Northern Bahr el Ghazal) rest assured, Abyei shall no longer be a nuisance at your backyard. Thanks to another political born-again in the region, Maulana Ahmed Mohamed Haruon, South Kordofan governor. One more day, one more time, comes 2011. For those who for centuries antagonized Ngok people, the day of your judgment has come; you saw stars at 12pm as the torches held by Ngok martyrs flashed into your eyes. Finally can you answer this question?

 When Abyei Boundaries Commission experts presented their findings to Sudan’s collegial presidency in 2005, to please Misseriya, the NCP forced the Ngok people to soak the ABC report document in water, and Dinka Ngok drank the bitter contents with their liberation feet firmly rooted in Sudanese soil. Now, can the NCP and Misseriya soak Abyei Arbitration ruling document from The Hague and drink the contents?  Please understand the apocalypse in good faith like the Nigerians, Cameroonians, Ethiopians, Yemenis and Eritreans understood Bakassi, Badme and Hanish disputes.

John Oryem is The New Sudan Vision Bureau Chief in Sudan.He has written many articles on the plight of people of Abyei. For comments, he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zuma is out of Step with History

29 June 2009/guest column--Just ahead of this week’s African Union summit in Libya, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has advocated an old and discredited approach for dealing with African heads of state facing international justice, write Comfort Ero and Piers Pigou.

When a leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress speaks on such critical issues as impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations, the rest of Africa listens. We listen because we recall with passion how apartheid was dismantled, ushering in a new era of democracy for South Africa.

So it comes as a shock that President Jacob Zuma used the recent meeting of the World Economic Forum for Africa to call for a continental policy favouring impunity. Sharing a roundtable conversation with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Zuma proclaimed that the “world has changed” and that we must “do things differently and … not emphasise punishment” in dealing with leading perpetrators of serious crimes.

His statement is embarrassing and retrogressive, especially because the world has indeed changed – but not in the ways Zuma assumed.

What has changed is that over the last two decades a global consensus has grown that amnesty for violent crimes is morally and legally unacceptable. Africa led this change in many respects, and the newly-democratised South Africa enthusiastically supported the  creation of the International Criminal Court in 2002.

What Zuma now proposes is not a “new” approach but an old and discredited one that would reinforce outdated visions of an Africa which resists human rights and is willing to tolerate the worst forms of brutality.

At a time when Radovan Karadzic is being brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, Charles Taylor faces justice before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Peru has tried and convicted Alberto Fujimori, Zuma has chosen to make the worst kind of rationalization for African exceptionalism.

Even worse, Zuma’s statement was made just ahead of this week’s African Union summit in Libya, which has on its draft agenda at least two reports dealing with attempts to bring to trial African heads of state. Zuma’s “new” approach, coming just as the continent faces pressures from some of its leaders to thwart justice, threatens to undermine the legitimacy of international humanitarian law.

Zuma’s approach would protect the perpetrators and architects of violence at the expense of redress for their victims. Not only is no thought given to providing reparation to victims of such violence, but their right to see justice done would be extinguished. When societies fail to make victims’ needs a priority, those societies risk new cycles of violence.

President Zuma did not distinguish between short-term peace processes and durable peacebuilding. His “bold approach” would do more to promote political violence as a means of gaining power than promote peace. He would invite leaders of political violence to look forward to impunity and a mansion in a neighbouring state.

Zuma presents this position – a safe retirement home for African despots – as being “for the sake of our people,” when clearly this protection is antithetical to the public interest. His position suggests that domestic, regional and international legal commitments can be airbrushed away, cloaked under the rubric of the pragmatic notions of what best serves Africa.

Many commentators assume Zuma’s remarks refer mainly to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Zuma is indeed faced with a serious problem in Zimbabwe that is likely to be resolved only when Mugabe is persuaded to step aside.

Mugabe’s decision to leave the scene will likely depend on guarantees of impunity being extended to members of his inner circle. That is all the more reason that accountability should not be bargained away. Prospects for sustainable transformation in Zimbabwe require more, not less accountability, extending to economic crimes and corruption.

Perhaps Zuma’s public remarks are a tactical gamble, presenting himself as “on side” with the recalcitrant leaders while knowing full well that Africa’s political leadership can provide no meaningful guarantees of impunity. If this benign interpretation is true, is it worth the egg that has landed on his face as a result of appearing an apologist for the continent’s perpetrators?

Comfort Ero is deputy director of the Africa Program of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Piers Pigou is a senior associate at the ICTJ.

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