27 November 2012

Sudan: Khartoum Though Has a Case Must Give Peace a Chance

opinion

Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to disagree. The two countries were made to sign an agreement known as Cooperation Agreement two months ago in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the very agreement sponsored by the African Union. The agreement at the moment is running into trouble when the devil (s) emerged in the details. The Security Agreement in particular is overshadowing others in the process of implementation.

Each country has struck to its old school of finger pointing. The euphoria that was created as a result of the deal (Cooperation Agreement) is quickly turning to anxiety, apprehension and uncertainty. South Sudan is being denied oil transportation through the Republic of the Sudan as there are reports of aerial bombardments by Khartoum against South Sudan. The United Nations Mission on the ground is conspicuously in the hiding, while the African Union is lip tied on accusation and counter accusations between the two countries of the Sudan.

Chronically, the Sudanese leaders from day one have all along charged that South Sudan is supporting and harboring their dissidents and are arming rebels fighting their government. The world has also stack odds against Juba on this matter of SPLA-North; that Juba should severe its link with the rebels fighting Khartoum regime. The United States of America in (USA) in particular was critical, a confirmation of which that led to scandalous alleged apology written by President Salva to President Barrack Hussein Obama of the USA. South Sudan Information Minister has since attempted to undo the damage to no avail. What on earth could it be that a leader of another country will have to kneel down to another leader in another part of the world? South Sudanese conscience was wounded if the purported letter was indeed written and dispatch to Washington.

But the sequence of theories helps us understand where did things go wrong in the first for the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. Before any jumps to poke blame against the Republic of the Sudan for A and B matters and condemn it, there is an urged need to reexamine our approach toward Sudan and see whether there is somewhere we can find accommodation for our needed relationship. We should also be active solution oriented partner than struck in our comfortable closet of being dismissive of Khartoum. Therefore the charge that our country is supporting SPLM/A-North must not be thrown out of the window just because Sudanese were our enemies.

By the way, I don't like this name call 'South Sudan', it confuses us with the Sudan. Who are the Sudanese and who aren't. After July 9, 2011, I should have name my country something else. Nile or Azania remains my favorites name, not amorphous thing call 'South Sudan'. Anyway we are straying.

Our differences with Khartoum were all about our political destiny and that was squarely achieved on July 9, 2011. It was the hardest part of it all! The Sudanese to their credit made a bold move to recognize us, and the rest of the world joined them. We parted ways in a manner that was decorum something that surprises many. We are no longer enemies with the Republic of the Sudan but just neighbors. They need us and we need them. Differences that are there are normal between and among neighbors. Neighbors quarrel and still maintain their socio-economic ties. Even Israel is doing the same with Egypt and others. We must not let SPLA-North spoil our relationship with the Sudan.

For the sake of peace between the two countries, time to ask the rebels fighting the North to stop their activities is now. Someone has alluded in writing something closer to what am saying here- the other day. We want borders open and movement of goods, people and services to flow. We need South Sudan and Sudan relations to thaw; we are historically one people divided by politics and ideologies.

The argument by South Sudan leaders that the matter of SPLM/A-North is an internal matter doesn't hold water. It is not enough in itself. How about our charge that Dr. Lam Akol of the Democratic Change and Major David Yau Yau are supported by Khartoum, isn't that not an internal affair of our country? Why do we call their differences with their rebels 'internal affair' and never call ours the same? We must choose between peace and war and not both. Peace is what our people want, not war.

Khartoum will continue to find a reason to disturb our hard won peace. They will go for feeble hearted ones and apologists like Dr. Lam to press their case against us. Khartoum might not be realistic in their demand on disarmament of their dissidents, but we aren't being truthful . One of the Azania's (South Sudan) strategic goal is peace and development so to improve the living standards of our people. Our leaders must demonstrate to Khartoum their willingness to open a new chapter, so for our people to enjoy peace and development after ages of neglect.

Denying must be flavored. South Sudan isn't doing its diplomatic right. Khartoum has stolen the show there. Everything is upside down as we chase after rotten image. The United Nations Mission in our land is breathing fire on our necks. They are everywhere wiring nasty things against us. When it comes to issues like the bombardment of South Sudan unfortunately they are nowhere and when it comes to negativity on anything against South Sudan they in hand to report to New York and Brussels. But also the United Nations Human Right Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) decried one moment when they spotted soldiers of Revolutionary Forces in Yida Camp. No single leader from South Sudan who came out to deny or refute what the UNHCR was saying, a proof that something is indeed going on right there.

Our leadership in Juba should not live the lie that the world doesn't know who arms rebels fighting Khartoum. UN Mission is informing them about every activity in our land. Moreover Khartoum has their own informers, Southerners whose loyalty is divided, especially those on the payroll of Khartoum, those that claim to be opposition groups but they aren't. The Democratic Change of Lam Akol is on top of things. We have also many Northerners around that are doing the dirty job against the Republic of South Sudan. What is more or new?

May be there is no hard proof that Juba is in indeed supporting rebels, but the simple truth that we never severed our link with the SPLA-North more radically keeps some doubt hanging that South Sudan is backing rebels fighting the regime in Khartoum. It will be painful to do just that radical however; these people (Nuba Mountain, Fur, Masalit, Zangawa, Funj etc) are closely associated with South Sudan. We will have them on matters of peace and development. The world should have helped them in their political predicament.

But we are also not any better; we ought to talk to Northern rebels to join the march for peace and stop using our territory as spring board to topple our neighbor. We can go further to pledge material support for their development and not guns and ammunitions (if that is the case). Through force a change will not be meaningful in Khartoum, after all rebels have no unified agenda for change there. Dr. Khalil Ibrahim outlook was more unifying than our current tribal warlords. South Sudan would have been available then if they had joined our struggle to effect change in Khartoum. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) particularly after independence of South Sudan, we have evolved into a different entity.

As for Khartoum, they must show maturity and patience against the Republic of South Sudan. They got to kick out Lam Akol and stop supporting David Yau Yau or any other clandestine groups. Time for harmony is here. They got to respect the agreement they have signed with the Republic of South Sudan. They should cease fire on the air against innocent civilians. Their rebels aren't Southerners and our people can't die again like that. They should allow oil production to resume and stop their rogue media from inflammatory remarks against South Sudan leaders or the ruling political party (the SPLM). The President of our Republic however must not join Khartoum belligerency path, but go for peace where he may find it. I was glad that he wanted to pursue it, and if that is the case then he should talk less and work hard for it. If Juba is wrong Khartoum must not go wrong also.

Isaiah Abraham writes from Juba

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