South Sudanese Last Supper with President Bashir
WEAKLEAKS: Today, I had a privilege to sit face-to-face with the most significant man in Sudan, President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir in Juba. It was surely his last visit, rather, his last supper with us. I call it a privilege because not only had I scanned him up and down, down and up, but had also got the chance to hand him our position document in a hard copy, not the imaginary soft copy or open letters given through the media to the president. The document (attached herewith), which I authored on behalf of the Coalition for South Sudan Civil Society Organizations for Referendum, contains some of the points you would probably give him were you in our shoes.
PRESIDENT Bashir: “The world has waited to see armed clashes during the recent general elections, but we have let those expectations down and we will let them down again to affirm that the Sudanese people is civilized and capable of dealing with bitterness no matter what.”
“We will respect what the southerners would decide and we will be happy that we have achieved the comprehensive peace. We will not mourn in the north, but we will come to the south again to celebrate the establishment of the new state,” added al-Bashir.
WEAKLEAKS: Unlike the whole South that has unilaterally convinced itself that Bashir, on his final visit, is a prophet of boom, we have a reservation until he recognizes the results to prove that he is not a prophet of doom. This is the man who said this yesterday, says this today, and will say another tomorrow: one topic, three different messages. For example, when he launched a manless bomber plane in a military drill yesterday, Bashir said while addressing celebrations of a drill staged by Sudan Air Forces in Al-Aruus area in Port Sudan on Monday:
PRESIDENT Bashir: “We tell our brothers in the south that they [Darfur rebels] are outlawed fighters and we are in a state with the same law, and the dealing with them is the same dealing with outlaws. If they wanted peace, they are welcome, and if they refuse, they will regret.”WEAKLEAKS: Being a political business man as he is, President Bashir is holding Abyei Ransom in exchange of his ICC case, oil, and the likes. Similarly, it seems like he has come to Juba to hold the CPA at ransom for the expulsion of some imaginary Darfur rebels in the South. Who knows Kiir’s instant confession that he was expelling the Darfur rebel leaders today.
WEAKLEAKS: Whether Kiir will expel Minni Minnawi from Juba (if actually there), and whether Bashir will accept the results of the referendum votes according to the will of the Southerners is what Weakleaks will leak after the polls. Generally, the visit was a success not only because we have given him our grievances direct, but because it is a farewell party. This is according to our media perspectives, but Khartoum Media, which is well known for fabricating news from the South even in their hot comforts of Khartoum, we had feared to be exploiting the numbers of Southerners photoed along the roadside in Juba in favour of unity. Who knows, they may run the pictures of a thousand forced-to-the-streets students and Separation-Oyee singers as if supporting Al Bashir to confirm their claims that only the SPLM is separatist and the southern masses are unionists. As a factfinding mission by the President, the pictures here tell more than a thousand reasons to support our headline that it was Bashir’s last supper with the South. The Northern media, for example, was so positive and supportive of the visit.
MOHAMED Abdel-Ghader, the editor-in-chief of the independent Al Rayaam daily, for his part said in his editorial that “Al-Bashir’s visit to Juba today is a development that harmonizes with the challenges of Sudan which is burdened by coming concerns. It is really a historical visit.”
“The visit will reassure the southerners and reflect to them keenness of the political leadership to fulfill the commitments of Naivasha and implementation of the self-determination item. It will also reassure the citizens in north Sudan on the future relation with the south,” he added.
Unlike Northern media that has nothing to lose, we, (coalition members) who have something to lose presented Bashir this message:
January 4, 2011
Position Document from the Coalition of Southern Sudanese Civil Society Organizations
To H. E. Field Marshal, Omar Hassan Ahmed al Bashir,
President of the Republic of Sudan,
We, the Coalition of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations for Referendum representing 30 civil society organizations undersigned, without exception, welcome Your Excellency to Juba, and wish you a peaceful and prosperous new year, 2011. We unanimously convey to you our gratitude for your timely visit to Juba just four days to the significant event in the beginning of January 2011, the start of the polling for Southern Sudanese peoples to determine their future in a referendum that you agreed on six years ago. We do also appreciate your reassuring promise to respect the will of the people of Southern Sudan and that you will be the first to recognize the new state in the event of a vote for secession.
We, the Coalition of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations for Referendum, stand for peace, dignity and development, which you authored through the CPA, which anchors our hope of a bright future. Therefore, we urge you to help protect it through the full implementation of the CPA, especially the remaining protocols, in order not to return our country to another series of costly conflicts. Aware that you are the final authority championing the drive for peace in Sudan, we hereby urge you to:
1- Keep your word of making January 9th a reality and to recognize the results as true expression of the will of the people of Southern Sudan.
2- Ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful referendum in January, 2011.
3- Ensure that cooperation between North and South in the event of vote for secession.
4- Rein in political extremist forces in the north, who are trying to destroy the CPA and take our people back to war.
5- Guarantee full implementation of the Abyei Protocol, which has been and is part and parcel of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
6- Complete the demarcation of the North-South border as a matter of urgency and not later than the 8th of July 2011.
7- Ensure the that Post-Referendum Arrangements are concluded and implemented immediately after the referendum results and before the expiry date of the Interim Period.
8- Ensure that the Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile Popular Consultations are implemented accordingly.
9- Ensure that the Darfur conflict is resolved speedily.
10- Facilitate the establishment of establishment and construction of the new state in the South in the event of secession and assist the new state to establish good relationship with the international community.
11- Ensure that relationship between North and South contribute to sustainable peace between them and in the region as a whole.
The COALITION standpoint
Having stated our request to Your Excellency above, we, as coalition, therefore declare our position on the Referendum and CPA implementation as follows:
– We respect the will of the peoples of Southern Sudan, which is predominantly for Secession. This stand, according to the people, has been dictated by the treatment that the people of the South have undergone from various successive regimes in Khartoum, most notably the devastating wars that brought about poverty and deaths.
– We also stand for peaceful polling, fair and free voting, declaration and respect the results, which reflects the will of the people of Southern Sudan, through the referendum and in good neighbourly relations between the north and the south.
– The coalition stands for the full and peaceful implementation of the Abyei Protocol, and hereby urges the parties (signatories) of the CPA, the National Congress Party and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLM) to implement the Abyei Protocol in full.
– We urge both parties, especially the NCP, to ensure peaceful, free and fair implementation of the protocols of Southern Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, and other peace processes in the other parts of the country.
– We call for immediate demarcation of the border between the north and the south.
– We also call for speedy agreement on and execution of post-referendum issues e.g. debts, liabilities, assets, oil, nationality, currency, etc.
With due respect, we once again appreciate your courage for signing, and further urge you for the commitment of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brought a final and lasting end to the miseries and destructive wars in the Sudan.
We sincerely appreciate your statements over the timely conduct of the referendum from January 9, 2011, and recognize the results, and respect the will of the people of Southern Sudan. Finally, we urge you to maintain your positive position on all the processes and protocols of the CPA.
Happy New Year, 2011, Mr. President.