SPLM Chapters and GOSS Missions now ' independent of each other ’, minister tells Diaspora

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Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, GOSS Minister of Regional Cooperation, shakes hand with official of USAID

(Omaha, Nebraska NSV) — Over the weekend southern Sudan ministers Dr. Luka Manoja of the Cabinet Affairs, and General Oyai Deng Ajak of the Regional Cooperation briefed  Sudanese living in the the Mid Western United States . The group that attended comprised largely of those in Nebraska, with few representatives who came from the neighboring states of Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri.

The two Ministers were on a mission to New York where the United Nations General Assembly just wrapped up its annual meeting; they were told by president Kiir to visit with Diaspora population in Nebraska.

‘Mobilize international community’

Gen. Oyai Deng AjaK ,formerly the Chief of Staff of the SPLA, and now the current minister of Regional Cooperation, candidly told the elated audience who gave him a standing ovation for his immense role in the liberation struggle ,that  the “mountain we are facing is the implementation of the CPA.”

Despite many  frustrations, he said both Kiir and Machar are trying their best to negotiate with the NCP on key issues. So far some significant headway has been made but given NCP’s hand wringing strategy of delay and kill as it pertains to peace protocols, a lot more remains to be ironed out.

He said the NCP has not yet redeployed over 30,000 troops still stationed in Nuba Mountains, plus its training of the Popular Defense Forces—measures known  to be  ‘against the security arrangements’

The hurdles faced by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement have come down to 2 contentious points after SPLM and NCP deadlocked on Referendum law and the 2008 Population Census which is viewed with suspicion by in the South.

However, Gen. Oyai pointed to areas both SPLM and NCP have agreed upon--question of popular consultation for Southern Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, border demarcation, and security—adding that those points are to be implemented before the end of 2009.

While alerting people to the urgency of 2011, Gen. advised the Diaspora to continue to increase their advocacy saying, “I join you to mobilize the international community” to make sure the implementation of CPA is followed through by the Sudanese government.

Dr. Luka said that when people now hear SPLM  talk of self-determination, they cringe but we tell them that  when SPLA took up arms in 1983, that was self-determination, but they were not believing us, and now we are about to prove that through the ballot come 2011.

Security in the South

Against the backdrop of the many security nightmares that have rocked the south in recent months, Gen. Oyai said much of the insecurity facing civil population comes from availability of guns throughout Southern Sudan.

When GOSS started work in 2005, Gen. Oyai  said the SPLA, under his leadership and with instructions from Kiir , made sure over 66000 other armed groups were integrated into the SPLA, and the process took over 3 years to finalize the logistics of integration since many were coming as officers with bogus lists of ‘officers’. The integration of OAGs into SPLA was done because ‘we needed peace,’ he said.

He also said disarmament was carried out in a number of communities but failed in others---resulting in those who were disarmed to acquire guns again.

Few questions from the audience were later asked of the General about the disarmament and the recent massacres in Jonglei and whether SPLA is protecting civil population as it should be.

But in the end he assured the public that the “SPLA is organized and equipped. “

Governance

Both ministers addressed corruption allegations that are usually labeled against GOSS by saying much of it is fueled by the NCP to portray south Sudan as ungovernable, pointing to an article by northern Newspaper citing senior officials of GOSS, which was later proven false.

While admitting that issues of corruption exist in South Sudan, the two ministers have assured those in the Diaspora that president Kiir is taking steps to eradicate corruption and that those implicated are punished.

Gen. Oyai also talked about the recent revelations by Global Witness, an international non-governmental Organization that works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide.

On the agency’s website, the report, entitled, Fuelling Mistrust, the need for transparency in Sudan's oil industry,is said to have revealed that Southern Sudan has been cheated in oil revenues to the tune of 600 million over the past 4 years. This, Oyai said, will be pursued accordingly by the Southern government.

Tribute to a fallen hero

Gen. Oyai took a few minutes to recognize the presence of the widow of late SPLM hero, Yusuf Kuwa Meki. Mrs.Kuwa was at the meeting with the children.

Amid handshakes with the ministers, the audience gave the family a standing ovation for their long-standing contribution to SPLM and to the causes of the marginalized people of Nuba Mountains.

Separate but equal

Gen. Oyai in his capacity as minister of Regional Cooperation told those who gathered that from now on SPLM chapters ought to be operating independently. The 13 missions will be doing their work seperately. But he added both the chapters and the GOSS missions are serving the same goals.

The ministers were accompanied to Omaha by Southern Sudanese celebrity and veteran Basketball player, Manut Bol, and GOSS Mission representative in Washington, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.


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