Commentary

THE ROAD TO REFERENDUM: The forthcoming elections as prelude to referendum

(Nairobi, Kenya)- According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Sudan will carry out nationwide elections in 2009 to elect leaders that will guide Southern Sudan towards the referendum of 2011 and organize the referendum itself according to international standards. The referendum is an important event in the history of Sudan because for the first time it will enable the marginalized people in Southern Sudan to decide voluntarily whether to remain in united Sudan or separate to establish their own independent country. To Sudan it is a watershed milestone because it may result in having two countries that have to be good neighbours or a united Sudan where the political system has to fundamentally be changed to create a new political dispensation in which all Sudanese are seen and accepted as equals before the law and freely practice their cultural, religious beliefs and customs without any fear or restriction. This Sudan must be a country governed by the rule of law and must be a secular democratic country in which people can have leaders of the people, chosen by the people and for the people. Otherwise it will be an unacceptable Sudan again. The Sudanese people have not only endured enough but have actually suffered beyond any known suffering in the world and therefore they should not risk to have a united Sudan for the sake of a magnanimous country while it is a rotten entity that cannot hold the diversity of its people in tranquility and progress.

As far as Southern Sudan is concerned, the referendum marks the only event in history where the people of Southern Sudan have been asked honestly and frankly without any fear to determine their own destiny and destiny of their own children. Sudan has been locked in protracted wars because the people were not given this opportunity to decide their future and so leaders have always tried to coerce Sudanese into unworkable unity that has proved devastating not only to the nation but also to the people. At last this chance is knocking on the doors in Southern Sudan and it means the Southern Sudanese will determine their own future and the future of their children that day and I must hasten to say any wrong decision taken that day should not be blamed on anybody except the Southern Sudanese themselves because the international community has given the people the chance to decide for themselves and must decide rightly. After this referendum, no one should expect that for any wrong decision taken the international community will again come to help them to find another solution to the Sudan problem.

Having said this, one is tempted to ask; what should Southern Sudanese know in order to decide rightly in the forthcoming referendum? First and foremost, in the next general elections, Southern Sudanese should elect politicians based on their quality, calibre and political stand on the issues of Southern Sudan but not on either blood relation or ability to bribe the electors using the very money that should have been used for development in Southern Sudan. The people should elect politicians who have high moral integrity, honesty and proven track record in relentlessly pursuing the cause of the people of Southern Sudanese. They must elect fearless and determined politicians even in the face of great adversity. This is crucial because Southern Sudan needs guarantees for transparent and truly democratic elections. Southern Sudanese should elect politicians who can guarantee level playing fields during the campaign for the referendum because both unionists and separatists in Southern Sudan should be given the opportunity to express and woo voters without intimidation or harassment. They should elect politicians who cannot be bought using the oil or non oil money in Sudan. We have always seen politicians drifting away from the path of the people because of their personal gains. In order to guarantee the future of Southern Sudan, Southern Sudanese should desist from electing politicians who have tribal traits, inherent tendency to nepotism, corruption and usurpation of either public or private property. They should elect politicians who can accept the rule of law and respect the rights of others as equal human beings. Indeed these are tenets and qualities that are essential to guarantee transparent and credible democratic referendum in Southern Sudan.


The second point is to decide what to vote for during the referendum. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on the 9/1/2005 provided for two options on which Southern Sudanese will vote.Quoting from the final document of Agreement, the two options are:
1. “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 is and 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”
2. “That the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia, through a referendum to determine their future status”.

To clarify the referendum option, the Agreement goes on to state;” At the end of the six (6) year Interim Period there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, organized jointly by the GOS and the SPLM/A, for the people of South Sudan to: confirm the unity of the Sudan by voting to adopt the system of government established under the Peace Agreement; or to vote for secession”.

Therefore, the Agreement gives the Southern Sudanese not only the right to an internationally supervised referendum but also an option to either choose to remain in a united Sudan or to quit
the Sudan and establish an independent state in Southern Sudan. To a Southern Sudanese, there are several reasons why quitting the Sudan for an independent South Sudan is the best option. First the
Sudan has been in default unity since its independence in 1955. For these 54 years the Sudan has remained united but peace never existed except for the relative 10 year period after the 1972 peace
agreement. During this period Southern Sudan was involved in two tragic wars aimed at determining the destiny of people of Southern Sudan. In the first war that lasted for 17 years, thousands of Southern Sudanese were killed and many were exiled as refugees in many countries. During the last 21 year war, 3 million lives were lost while other thousands were either internally displaced or sent to exile in many countries near and afar. Indeed it took Southern Sudan to wage two violent wars that led to sacrifice of nearly 4 million lives to gain the right to self determination. This was a monumental loss that the Southern Sudanese should not afford to entertain any more and to avoid such great loss of gallant young men and women; some of whom did not get the chance of even decent burial and remembrance, it would be the greatest political blunder and life time error in our history that the Southern Sudanese will vote for unity of Sudan. The reason is because the unity of Sudan, that they will have committed themselves to, will not be viable or sustainable. The armed struggle of the people of Southern Sudan has already demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that if Southern Sudanese want permanent peace and that they want to forge ahead in peace, so that the long yearned for development and progress in socioeconomic development can begin to be realized in Southern Sudan, then succession is the only option for the people of Southern Sudan. Thus the forthcoming referendum is the only way to guarantee Southern Sudanese right to independence democratically without future bloodshed.

The second issue to consider in the referendum is the current state of development in Southern Sudan. Indeed when war is being waged, development may not take place but what remains at stake is whether the successive regimes in Khartoum from the time of independence in 1955 to date had any slightest thought of developing Southern Sudan. If one compares the two parts of the Sudan one can easily notice that despite the wars in Sudan, the northern part of the country is way ahead of the Southern Sudan because all the regimes concentrated the national resources in Sudan for building the northern Sudan in disregard for Southern Sudan. Taking the recent economic boom in the Sudan since the discovery of the oil; much of which is certainly in the Southern Sudan, the government in Khartoum spurred a lot of development in northern Sudan, making Khartoum one of the most wonderful cities in Africa yet the towns of Malakal, Wau and Juba that remained under the government of Sudan during the war never witnessed a construction even of a single pit latrine leave alone the tall buildings towering the skies of Khartoum. Four years have now elapsed since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which mandated the two parties to the agreement to make unity attractive. Since then, the government in Khartoum has not only dragged its feet in the implementation of the agreement but in effect has done nothing in terms of initiating developmental activities that could have been seen as making unity attractive. Therefore, what really remains there for Southern Sudanese to trust the government in the northern Sudan that if Southern Sudanese remained in the ugly Sudan, they will now change their ways to develop southern Sudan?

The third thing to consider is the attitude of our northern brothers towards the people of Southern Sudan. If one is to have an actual judgment as to whether the people of northern and Southern Sudan are really brothers, the best time would have been during war because during war, brothers tend to really rally and lend strong support to one another. However, during the decades of the two wars in Southern Sudan, it became apparent that there is no love lost between the northerners and Southerners. The mistreatment meted out on Southern Sudanese who were displaced to Khartoum cannot be compared to dealing with refugees in Sudan. In fact the Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees in Sudan had a better treatment than the Southern Sudanese. Southern Sudanese internally displaced were thrown to the outskirts of Khartoum where one can hardly find sanitary, health, educational and social services. They had to depend entirely on humanitarian organizations, which were also being constantly interfered with by the government functionaries in Khartoum. In addition to that, the government developed a policy of ever displacing them on pretext of opening up areas for development. They became the clearing tractors for new areas and when these areas became stable the government comes to displace them. Southern Sudanese languished in abyss of disillusionment, dejection and abject poverty while the government was milking the cow (the Southern Sudanese oil in Bentiu and Abyei) for the development of northern Sudan and for buying weapons to kill and maim those southern Sudanese who were fighting for the rights of the people.

The third aspect to consider is the existence of segregative laws promulgated on pretext of implementing Sharia laws in Sudan. The sharia Laws enacted in Sudan since President Nimeiri unilaterally declared Sudan as an Islamic State in September 1983,automatically placed the Southern Sudanese into a second class citizens and made them to be considered as khafirs in their our country. This was clearly manifested during the war when the Khartoum government waged the war in the Southern Sudan in the name of fighting infidels. It was also clear during this period that thousands of Southern Sudanese women were subjected to inhumane and degrading punishment of flogging because they were caught brewing their own traditional drinks in Khartoum. Shamelessly Southern Sudanese in Khartoum were often committed to legal judgment using the Sharia laws; laws which they do not subscribe to as they were not Muslims. On the other hand, by implementing the sharia laws, the Southern Sudanese were discriminated politically by excluding them from attaining certain political positions in Sudan because they were Khafirs and not mullahs. Of course Muslims cannot be ruled by khafirs or infidels. Likewise, Sharia Laws discriminated Southern Sudanese against social unions such as marriages and socioeconomic establishments because the economic system in Islamic state is absolutely different from the one in secular state. Therefore, why should Southern Sudanese now think of returning into the second class citizenry after tasting the real freedom ushered in by the Comprehensive peace Agreement in 2005?

In conclusion, time has come for southern Sudanese to determine their destiny and that of their children. The choice is between saying no to war through peaceful means, saying no to marginalization and exploitation, saying no to slavery and servitude, saying no to arrogance and discrimination based on religion, and saying no to second class citizenry and being regarded as khafirs and infidels. In order to avoid this gross blunder of life time, Southern Sudanese this time round must desist from being bought, intimidated or manipulated by northern Sudanese. There are abounding facts that during elections Southern Sudanese have always succumbed to tokens or pressures from northern Sudanese. This has often led them to forget the struggle of the people and voted with their stomachs instead of the peoples’ interest.

Dr. Sindani Ireneaus Sebit is based in Nairobi, kenya and a contributor to The New Sudan Vision, exploring the topic of Southern Sudan referundum and independence. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Are “Arabs” killing “Black Africans” in Darfur?

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Carina Ray, New African

African newspapers have followed the war in Darfur closely over the last several years. Yet, much of the reportage casts the violence as a race war perpetrated by “Arabs” against “Black Africans”. This racialised language clouds, rather than clarifies, the complicated nature of this deadly conflict, in which a brutal government counterinsurgency strategy has mobilised Arabised African nomads in its fight against a just armed uprising by Darfur’s settled population. Just as it is widely acknowledged that the media in America and Europe have forcefully kept Darfur on the international agenda, so too has the African media kept the issue of Darfur alive. Since the escalation of the war in 2003, African newspapers have increasingly featured news and commentary on Darfur. Indeed, Africans all over the continent have been writing and reading about Darfur on a regular and increasingly frequent basis. A recent search of the allAfrica database, for instance, turned up over 1,500 articles on Darfur published between 2004 and 2007 in English-language African newspapers alone.

Given that French, Arabic, and African-language newspapers were not searched, these articles represent only a fraction of actual reportage. Nonetheless, they unequivocally demonstrate that vigorous discussions about the conflict have taken place throughout the continent, and by all indications will continue to do so until a just and lasting resolution has been put into place. As I surveyed the articles, I was struck by the fact that most African newspapers posited race as the primary causal factor of the obscene violence in Darfur. The war was regularly described in oversimplified racialised terms that reveal an anti-Arab bias and construct Darfur’s so-called Arabs as foreigners. Indeed the complex identity politics involved in the conflict have been largely reduced to a narrative of “good versus evil” or “African versus Arab”. Strikingly, the racial labels that have been used to demarcate the fault lines in this conflict are often the same as those used by the Western media. Typical of much of the reportage on the violence in Darfur is the following description found in a 6 July 2004 New Vision (government-owned daily newspaper in Uganda) article: “ . . . thousands have been killed and more than a million black Africans have fled attacks by Arab militiamen [emphasis added].” While the article focused on various African Union, United Nations, and United States’ pronouncements on Darfur, the only causal factor given to explain the violence was racial difference. This point is reiterated later when we are informed that “UN officials and human rights groups have accused Sudan of backing the Arab militias, engaged in a campaign to expel African farmers [emphasis added].” Given the absence of any other explanatory tools for understanding the multiple sources of the violence, and most especially the central government’s longstanding practices of marginalisation, underdevelopment, repression and neglect of its “peripheries”, the reader is left to conclude that what is occurring in Darfur is a race war perpetrated by “Arabs” against “black Africans”. Racial antipathy is therefore posited as the reason why groups that historically lived, traded, intermarried, and interacted with one another, for the most part, in a synergistic fashion, are now in the midst of a deadly war in which the obscene imbalance of power between a well-armed brutal government and its ruthless militias on the one hand, and the Darfurian rebels on the other, has led to the unconscionable deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Darfurian civilians and the displacement of millions more.

Opinion pieces also expressed the view that the root of the violence was to be found, as one headline put it, in the fact that “bigotry still assaults black Africans”. The most extreme example of this trend appeared in 2004 in the popular Nigerian daily newspaper, ThisDay, under the title “Genocide in Sudan”. In the course of criticising “Black African nations” for re-electing a Sudanese government delegate to represent Africa on the UN Commission on Human Rights, the author B. A. Akwiwu described the perpetrators of violence in Darfur as “rabid Arab militias” and “murderous Arabs”, and the victims as “Black Africans”. Akwiwu concluded his lament with the following assertion: “It is bad enough that the black nations have not done anything to defend their people in Sudan but that we should be locked in a cosy embrace with these Arabs who have turned our people into hunting game is soul destroying.” Even if other opinion pieces were less extreme in their characterisations, like much of the news reportage on Darfur, there still emerged the sense that many perceive the conflict in Darfur as being primarily motivated by anti-African racism, on the part of “Arabs”. But who are these so-called Arabs? Are they not also Africans? Ironically, this false dichotomy, which implicitly relies on the old trope of a geographically-cum-racially divided North and Sub-Saharan Africa, is being used to describe a conflict in the African country that perhaps best defies, indeed obliterates, the idea of two distinct Africas. The way in which Sudan’s heterogeneous population often gets characterised as if it is bifurcated into two distinct groups (Arab and African) is exemplified in the following excerpt from a 26 July 2004 editorial in The East African Standard: “Sudan, the bridge between black and Arab Africa, should lead in rewriting the historical script between the two peoples.” What this fails to miss is that the historical script was rewritten long ago when Africans and Arabs in the Sudan first came into contact with one another and began intermixing. The idea that Sudan’s “Arabs” are not “Africans” and that its “Africans” are not also, in many cases, “Arab” is what is in need of being rewritten. This should not be taken as a denial of Sudan’s heterogeneity. After all it is one of Africa’s most linguistically, religiously, ethnically, and racially diverse countries; rather, it is precisely this intense heterogeneity that flies in the face of the idea that Sudan is inhabited by two distinct geographically bounded racial groups: Arabs in the North and Black Africans in the South. The demographics of Darfur, alone, make nonsense out of this notion.What is all the more striking about the application of this formulation to Darfur is that it absolves the government of its leading role in the conflict.

Khartoum is regarded as a supporting actor: “backing” Arab militias, but not directing them. For instance, a 10 August 2004 article in Nigeria’s Daily Champion argued that Darfur would not be in such a “grim situation” had the Sudanese government “not given full support to the Arab militias called the Janjawid, who have taken free rein to rape, rob and kill the black Africans.” This places the cart before the horse. Accordingly, instead of being held responsible for empowering and financing the Janjawid to do its bidding in Darfur, the government is simply accused of not doing enough to reign in the renegade Janjawid. Indicative of this is the fact that the government’s use of its own officially recognised troops and military equipment in perpetrating the violence is rarely mentioned. In short, the de facto reliance on “Arab versus Black African” as the basis for understanding the fault lines of the conflict is reflective of the profoundly reductive nature of much of the reportage on Darfur and what amounts to an almost willful denial of the historical relationships and overlaps between Darfur’s so-called Arabs and Africans. Indeed, “Arab” and “African” are falsely constructed as mutually exclusive categories – once someone is labelled “Arab” he/she ceases to be African and vice versa. Based on this formulation there is, moreover, almost no recognition of “Arab” indigenity; rather those who are defined as “Arab” are conceptually relegated to being permanent outsiders and usurpers of the land, while those labelled “African” are conceptually defined by a static and timeless rendering of history in which their ties to the land are primordial rather than shaped by patterns of migration, state-building, and ecological change. One need only look at photos of the so-called Arab Janjawid and the so-called Black African rebels to see how these categories cloud rather than clarify our understanding of how identity factors into the war in Darfur. The deceptive power of these labels is simultaneously made possible by the fallacy of race and the steadfastness with which people invest in racial categories as explanatory tools. Yet, we must also acknowledge the very real role that local actors have played in the internal racialisation of this conflict. The Al Bashir government in Khartoum has both invoked and evoked Arab supremacy in its efforts to garner regional support and to mobilise the Janjawid to carry out its dirty war. Members of the Janjawid, despite their African ancestry, have willingly bought into this ideology as a means of securing their own interests in a time of increased competition over diminishing resources. So too has the Africanisation of Darfurian identities among the rebel movements and their citizenry emerged as a powerful means of coalition building within Sudan, especially among the SPLM/A and its broad base of supporters. It has also been an effective strategy for eliciting support within Africa and from the international community in the context of the current conflict. Beyond this, however, we must ask about the wider political agendas that are being promoted through the constant deployment of such problematic and obfuscating categories as the primary lens through which the violence is explained. In his essay “The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, and Insurgency” (London Review of Books, March 2007), the respected Ugandan scholar, Mahmood Mamdani, underscores how the twinned processes of depoliticising and racialising the war in Darfur have enabled various international actors to paint it as a genocide perpetrated by “Arabs”. One needs little education in the politics of fear and anti-Arabism in the post-9/11 world to understand that demonising Arabs has been a critical component of legitimising America’s “war on terror”. We must be equally critical in asking ourselves what is behind the apparent anti-Arab sentiment that characterises so much of the reportage and commentary on the war in Darfur in African newspapers.

Sudan president should not resign on his own, but must be forced to leave

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Garang Ayang Kuoi

(Vermont U.S.A ) - As the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been slowly but surely making its case against Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, the arrest warrant against him seems to be looming and coming closer to Al-Bashir’s backyard than ever before. Mr. President’s future is looking more gloomy and somber than ever before. It looks like the president’s days are in a shadowy bracket with unpredictable future but grievances, imperative justice to be done and the sorrow surrounding his national Congress Party (NCP) palace. The world has been acknowledging the suffering of not only Sudanese people, but the marginalized from the South, West, North and the East. The fact that the Sudanese head of State has not only been an anti peace for the people of Sudan is becoming the reality of one being an anti peace against oneself. The president has been a rogue and a weapon of mass destructions against himself so unknowingly.

The world, which has been a bystander for so long as it has been watching Sudanese innocents being indiscriminately killed by Al-Bashir’s Khartoum based government is finally standing up to speak for the poor, famed, the dead and the living Sudanese people. The ICC indictment against Al-Bashir on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide should have taken its place long time ago; he was supposed to go on this quest by the time he committed genocide, war crimes, and crime against humanity almost twenty years ago, but because we live in a world of the “strong must do what they will, and the weak must suffer,” president Al-Bashir had a nerve to kill; he had a nerve to stay in power, and he had a nerve to wait until this very moment to be charged, put on trial and finally face the justice which he denied the people of Sudan for so long. The world and Sudanese people know that this is only the beginning of justice process to be pursued against Al-Bashir; however, the optimism is that late justice is way better than never justice. There is a hope that justice will finally prevail as the world is ready to say enough is enough. Long time ago, right after the inception of Sudan People Liberation Movement and Sudan Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA, 1983), the call was made by the SPLM/SPLA founder, late Dr. John Garang de Mabior who was killed in a plane crash on July 30, 2005, just two weeks after he was inaugurated as first vice president of the Republic of Sudan, and the president of autonomous government of South Sudan which was brought about by comprehensive peace agreement (CPA); signed between

Al-Bashir’s government and Sudan people liberation movement in Nairobi Kenya on July 9th, 2005 after more than two decades of bloody war over religions and self identity between the South and Khartoum. John Garang then called for a “search for dialogue among the equals.” As a warrior with compassionate vision, and a well defined mission around common purpose, John Garang argued that in order “to end present and future crisis in Sudan, there must be unbiased, honest and serious discussion by all Sudanese political forces on all the nation’s challenges in order to find significant mechanism on how to tackle the outstanding issues.”

In away, John Garang had a vision for unlimited bright future of our nation in which he believed the road to democracy in Sudan was uneasy, and it is a task which needs collective Sudanese effort to bring a just peace and freedom to all. He had foreseen the consequences of mismanagement, dictatorship, human imparity, and divided political ideals and theories of a failed nation.

As a soldier and a politician, John Garang knew that in order for Sudanese to overcome the odds, there has to be a military pressure to protect the marginalized while on the search for solutions, but there also has to be a political willingness to pave the way for discussions which could lead to possible reconciliations among Sudanese people. His called for war against Sudan government meant the determination to prove that the SPLM/A meant the business of freedom for unfortunate Sudanese who have been denied justice for so long and to pave the way for those who have been seeking justice and peace; a called for political dialogue among the equals meant the determination to proved to Sudanese people that the South took arms against the government for the purposes of what Sudan out to be, that is a diverse, multicultural, multi lingual and multi religions nation. He made his argument loud and clear to Sudanese government and Sudanese masses that his defection from Khartoum government was something bigger than what Khartoum had once called “Southern problem,” but a vision in which a well educated young John Garang with PhD from Iowa State University believed that it must be address at national levels because Sudanese from all walk of life were marginalized. This called however, was simultaneously ignored by Khartoum elites who were in power before Al-Bashir came into power in 1989. Again, when Al-Bashir came into power by force, Garang renewed his called for a dialogue among the equals in Sudan to address outstanding issues, like his friends in Khartoum;

Al-Bashir had refused the path to dialogue and chooses to kill Sudanese people. This dialogue among the equals was the SPLM/SPLA strategy as a way forward to attain the so called “New Sudan,” which the movement had defined in no certain terms that it is a diverse nation with multi cultures, religions, ethnicity, languages, and socio-economic as well as political status. John Garand had predicted that our nation is an isolated State from its people, and that it was never too late to rescue the country from what was tearing it apart. This SPLM vision which was mysteriously ignored and still ignores by Khartoum government has been slowly but surely an emerging political realism and prospective that has been finding its way to national and international stage; no matter how long it has been taking to have negative impact on bigots and positive impact on Sudanese citizens. During the South-North war in Sudan, more than two million citizens were killed, both at gunpoint, hunger, diseases and other war related circumstances. More than four millions of which I am one of them were forced to flee their homes and became refugees especially in East Africa and other countries in the world.

During two decades of civil war between the South and the North, the Sudanese government was busy killing innocents people without knowing that one day one time, the world will say wait a minute, somebody has got to do something about Sudanese government atrocities against its people. Unfortunately, the Khartoum government did not have a nerve to caution itself over massacre and evaluate its political activities in the country. As a result of a lack of vision, the war began once again in western Sudan region of Darfur in 2003, between the rebels groups and Khartoum government. Instead of solving Darfur problem, Al-Bashir had once again refused the “dialogue among the equals” to address Darfur problem and other marginalized regions in Sudan. Darfurians were forced to leave their homes, innocently kills, women and girls being rapes in daily bases, yet these folks in Khartoum are busy drinking their tea, and developing war strategies on how to kill in Darfur, and how to dodge the international community.

Fortunately, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo has been also busy in his office, filling three counts of genocide, five war crimes against humanity, and two murder counts against president Al-Bashir and his boys. So who is to blame now as the ICC and the international community are making their case against Al-Bashir? I think there is no one to blame but Al-Bashir should blame himself because his government has been a big failure of Sudanese society, and he has brought shame on to himself and the entire nation. Therefore, the Sudanese rival political parties against Al-Bashir’s party should and must seize the momentum and opportunity by pledging their full support to the ICC to carry out its work and allow justice to prevail. The ICC indictment against Al-Bashir is the most valuable opportunity the Sudanese people have ever had. Al-Bashir’s trial will unite the country and achieve the goal of New Sudan through meaningful “dialogue among the equals.” He and his Gangs in the NCP palace must not scare the Sudanese people and the world over false vision that the ICC indictment and possible arrest warrants will complicate the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) in the South, and the conflict in Darfur. In fact, this is a totally political propaganda meant to scare marginalized Sudanese people; but the reality is that Al-Bashir’s absence in Sudanese government will mean two things. First, it will allow the nationalists in the north two think twice, and consider the realism of John Garang his dialogue among the equals strategy, which shall enable them to convince the South by creating attractive unity among Sudanese people which Al Beshir has been unable to accomplish. The other marginalized regions will therefore follow the path to a new change which will create the window of opportunity for Sudanese people to work hand in hand and solve their differences, work together to find a political mechanism that should bring us to gather and have our nation undivided over religions, ethnicity, and cultural differences. Secondly, the politicians in the South will have a new faith in term of reconsidering the idea of New Sudan within the framework of smooth transition which rests within the dialogue among equals with a theme of tackling the nation’s problems because the South has not only been interested in separation, but chooses separation over the unity of Sudan because of what seems to be perpetual of leadership in the North.

Furthermore, Al-Bashir is a one man, and his absence will not mean the end of the system that allowed him to emerge and dictate the nation; instead, there are northern elite with the same kind of mentality, and of course who will try to lobby against the ideology of real dialogue among Sudanese people. But at least the moment he will be gone, the Sudanese masses will have an opportunity to immediately elect their chosen leader such as the SPLM party which is a party with the vision of keeping our country to gather. Those are the benefits of letting Al-Bashir go through international due process as he faces justice. The reason why I think that the ICC must be allowed to carry out it international obligation and duty on international figure who has breached the international law by killing millions of people in his own country is because I am sure that there is no any Sudanese who is afraid of federalism, power-sharing, and freedom of religions in Sudan.

The problem is that the people have never had a chance to politically persuade each other around common purpose without dictating each other as it was once said by John Garang. Hence, now is the time for Sudanese people to do everything they can to push Al-Bashir into hell as fast as they can so that freedom will come at last. I also believe that there are Sudanese who thinks that Sudan is bigger than one man with blind ideals, and that Sudanese people themselves ought not to divide their nation, but they have no ways and means of uniting the nation since the system is monarchy and tyranny, dictated by one man and few selfish and narrow minded politicians whose vision is dominated by religion and corruptions.

I also think that the African and Caribbean leaders who are attempting to stick their noses on Sudanese affairs are wrong, and must be warn both by the international community and Sudanese people to refrain from backing Al-Bashir; and allow the justice to prevail. Those who are claiming that the ICC indictment against Sudanese president is politically motivated are plainly lying to international justice system; and as someone who was born and raised in war in Sudan, I find it very selfish of those leaders to ignore the suffering of Sudanese people and trying to fulfill their political ambitions by pledging their supports to one of the world notorious menace and the most brutal leader of our time. Al-Bashir’s indictment and possible arrest is in Sudanese national interest, and I see no one to object to millions of voices in Sudan which are crying for justice, and need international collective effort to grand them their freedom.

One reason why African people are still behind is because we fail not to condemn wrong things, instead, we encourage them and that is why we are victims of bad governance. This is a good example of what happened in Rwanda in 1994, when Rwandans were committing genocide against each other over ethnic differences, those African and Caribbean countries were there but did nothing. No one condemned or event committed troops to go and rescue Rwandans from killing each other. Where were those African leaders when Sudanese government was busy bombing Sudanese children and elderly persons during two decades of civil war between the South and the North? This kind of ignorance has to stop, and one way to stop it is through international justice which shall be allowed to carry out its obligations. The Sudanese people have suffer in the hands of tyrants for so long, therefore, they deserves every possible opportunity they can have to get rid of current leadership and allow themselves to redefined their destiny. This is why it is crucially and even critically important for outsiders to remain vigilant and allow the ICC to prosecute the president. It is really amazing sometimes when you see weak and poor countries like Sudan rules by realists; the mentality of realism is what is been making our continent unfruitful, greed and selfishness are made priority by African leaders whose theme is to get by with life but not to produce for the future. You consider yourself realist when you have a better nation with quality life for all, but not only when you powers and prosperity in your backyard while millions are suffering. To summarize, if the Sudanese people really need to be free and have a united Sudan, they must stop looking at all aspects from point of fear because fear in God do not occupy the same space. Hesitation not to unite against the common enemy of peace is what has been killing us innocently for many years. It is therefore necessary to get rid of what seems to be an obstacle to peace and unity in Sudan: Bashir.

*Garang Ayang Kuoi is a student of history and political science at Southern Vermont College Bennington Vermont, U.S.A. Could be reach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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:

Being Sudanese in America

Since 1993 till now many Sudanese have been emigrating from Refugees camp in Ethiopia, Kenya, and some of them come from Cairo Egypt. Here in the U.S many Sudanese boys and girls have been so motivated by the African American cultures. Many Sudanese youth have formed gang in places like Australia, U.S.A, Egypt. This subject of course isn't new to some of you guys so if you live in Egypt, U.S.A, Canada, and Australia you most have experienced Sudanese dressing as African America etc.. The problem is I wonder why can't Sudanese be themself and know the main point why they're in the place they're in today. We all know that of course there is a big different between a Sudanese and someone who's an African American..

For example, going to High School in the U.S I see many Sudanese being laughed at by those AFrican American because of their Dark skin and being African etc.. For example, once there is this African American kid arguing with a Sudanese guy while arguing he start harrassing him and telling him "You chocolate looking mother******".

You all know that those African American do not want anything that have to do with Africa they hate Sudan so bad that in many cities here in the U.S there have been cases of Sudanese's houses, cars, vandalized just for being Sudanese.. The point is this.. Why do Sudanese want to be like them since those people do not like them either. Why you want to act like them if they do not want anything to do with you. Once in school there is an argument about Africa and stuff then one African American got up and said "Dude I'm black not an African American.. Then I asked him where does black people come from? till this day he won't answer my question. My opinion to this subject is that.. African American hate anything to do with Africa because of the way Africa is today and how bad is the condition some of them see it as embarrassing to be in that race, some of them just hate being catograzied as an African American etc.. For example, it's like me not like my real family because I haven't know them for long time and just because I think I'm better than them.

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