Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 10 January 2011

Sudan’s transitional mess starts at foreign ministry


By Steve Paterno

January 9, 2011 — Just before even a first ballot is casted on South Sudan referendum, Khartoum has already taken a unilateral drastic action to summarily dismiss South Sudanese ambassadors serving in missions abroad. The ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a recall on all the South Sudanese who serve abroad to report to Khartoum on a pretext that they are needed to come for consultations. Upon luring those ambassadors in Khartoum, they are told not to report back to their stations. Some of those ambassadors had their diplomatic passports confiscated. This incident is reminiscence of Sudan’s dark days of police state. The action is not only in violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but it also has a far reaching repercussions, as it foretells how disorderly Sudan’s transitional period is going to be.

It has to be recalled that in Sudan’s history, Southerners have barely been represented in the foreign ministry, much less in ambassadorial positions. When Sudan obtained its independence, its first foreign relation statement was to declare Sudan as an Islamic-Arab state, based on the claim that Sudan has “age-long blood” with the Islamic-Arab World. This was to mark the beginning of long history of discrimination, which automatically exclude South Sudanese who are non Muslims or Arabs from representing the country abroad.

However, the CPA resolves this age-long discrimination in a power sharing arrangement, by allowing Southerners to be represented in foreign ministry as well as in missions abroad. Since then, at least, less than a handful of Southerners are deployed to serve abroad. Unfortunately, before their terms of service is over, in accordance with the CPA, they are already being dismissed. According to the CPA, the terms of the interim period must end by July, regardless of the outcome of the referendum. This means, even though the referendum confirms South Sudan secession, still the transitional period must run smoothly and peacefully, through adherence to the law.

The fact has always remains that the National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum is doing its best to frustrate the Southerners in every aspect of CPA implementation. Of late, the biggest fear has been that they will start a war with the Southerners to derail the referendum. Nonetheless, the possibility of that war is at least remote for now and it has become difficult to sabotage the referendum process and outcome. George Clooney surveillance satellite is in the air, watching every move of their troops and war planes. The UN peacekeepings forces are stepping up their monitoring activities. Foreign press swarm the country to report on anything they see. Observers from around the world come in big numbers to witness a free and fair referendum vote. Therefore, the plan to wage a preemptive war and derail the referendum is at least put on hold.

The tactic of this regime now is to turn where there are less focus and attention, such as purging South Sudanese off the ministry of foreign affairs. Few people, including South Sudanese are aware of the fact that the South Sudanese who are serving in missions abroad are being dismissed. That is exactly what Khartoum intents: to operate in dark, where there is no focus or scrutiny of their actions.

Their next strategy will be to capitalize on the remaining outstanding issues of post referendum. The recent silence on the issue of Abyei does not come as a surprise. They prefer the status quo. Negotiations on South Sudan oil wells, transportation and refinery is going to be extremely difficult. Closely related to oil is the issue of border demarcation, which is yet to be resolved. The issue of citizenship is another thorny one, where Khartoum is making it difficult to be resolved. The troubling numerous public statements by top officials in Khartoum on the subject are enough evidents on where the regime stands on the issue. For example, one of such troubling statement is issued by Information Minister Kamal Obeid, who declared that in case of South Sudan secession, Southerners in the North will lose basic rights, including a right to even buy things at the market.

To deal with Khartoum, it requires a multitasking, what some in international community call “robust diplomacy and intense pressure.” These people have been too long in the game and know how to play it very well. They can give-up on one thing and create the problem on the other. The recent history can prove this. For example, as the regime signed the CPA with the Southerners, it then staged another war in Darfur. They then tried to negotiate with Darfur, while at the same time, dismantling the CPA. President Omar al-Bashir was just in Juba, pretending to appease the Southerners, while there was already plan in motion to dismissing Southerners serving in the missions abroad. As soon as President al-Bashir was back in Khartoum, his tone about South Sudanese changed, describing the notion of dual citizenship as “illogical” and Southerners as people who are not ready to govern themselves. One wonders what do the countries that the South Sudanese ambassadors are pulled from will think, let alone whether they even know this action. As for the South Sudanese, this is another reason to opt for an independent state.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com


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  • 10 January 2011 08:35, by mohammed ali

    The CPA is over! Now you have your own Independent State and you will have your own embassies and Ambassedors.You donnot need to represent the jallaba now, you will represent yourself !

    Pagan Amum was dancing in Khartoum singing "bye-bye Khartoum" and you are still crying over the CPA!

    The CPA is no longer existing and there will be no violation for something which is no-longer exist!

    "Khartoum violatin CPA" is an old fashion son, you better sing with Pagan " Bye-Bye Khartoum!"

    repondre message

    • 10 January 2011 09:35, by Observer

      The CPA does not finish until July 9th 2011 so it is not over and you and the North need to realise that.

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      • 10 January 2011 10:09, by mohammed ali

        You are always very selective on applying the CPA! The SPLA few days ago was calling to release their members of the parliment and give them their salaries! now your calling to keep ambassedors! You can’t have it both ways! It is unfair!Secession is secession and everyone has to manage his home the way he likes.

        We can’t go arguing about the CPAfor another 50 years.Get over it CPA is over!

        repondre message

        • 10 January 2011 14:50, by Genuine Leader

          spla or splm.??
          Genuine leader.

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    • 11 January 2011 06:40, by Nyieth-Aguthon

      The CPA is not over yet you got it wrong my poor countryman.
      There are two more phases remained: Casting of votes which is still going on and an announcement of referendum results. In any classical referendum, the first step is to vote between two provisions separation or unity for instance, then voting outcome follow soon after that.

      But anyway Sudan government has its own ways of doing things. Its government system is upsize down, which is the most challenging aspect in the country.

      Remember that the author of the above article titled "Sudan’s transitional mess starts at foreign misnistry" does not even want existence of CPA (peace) anymore becuase he is sicked of it, too.

      The country is now splitting into two sovereign nations with the hope of each enity forming its own better governace systems, Southerners are not worrying or regretting by their decsions of splitting Sudan, they are more happy to rule themselves.

      Don’t let referedum exercise frustrate your future plans my poor fellow citizen, there are so many opportunies available for you to depend on rather than southern Sudan.

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  • 10 January 2011 11:00, by AAMA

    I quote:

    “It has to be recalled that in Sudan’s history, Southerners have barely been represented in the foreign ministry, much less in ambassadorial positions. When Sudan obtained its independence, its first foreign relation statement was to declare Sudan as an Islamic-Arab state, based on the claim that Sudan has “age-long blood” with the Islamic-Arab World. This was to mark the beginning of long history of discrimination, which automatically exclude South Sudanese who are non Muslims or Arabs from representing the country abroad.”

    I don’t understand why these authors mix up things and come up with these mind turning fictionist scenarios of historical records. In fact, most of these authors don’t have a clear view when it comes to the north, and whenever the north is mentioned, their hearts start beating faster and they stop thinking clearly. They don’t distinguish between what happened, how its interpreteded and its relation with today. Its always been like that with most of the southern intelects, they always jump to the bad conclusions, and its been like that since the British occupation. The north and its history with the south is not all that evil despite the many mistakes but still, there are many, many good things done to those intelects (the Drs) that were overlooked in a classical backstabing and betrayal fashion.

    I am really astonished by how even the brightest of southern minds, the really highly intellectual leaders drop in IQ so much when it comes to judging anything about the north. From 1955, the same misinterpreted bullshit which in return is the main reason of the northern bullshits that follows in which you still complain about up to date forgeting in the process that you have always started the fight.

    So please Mr author, you can criticize the NCP as you like but please, don’t touch our history without providing evidence and strong logical interpretations.


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  • 10 January 2011 22:35, by Facts Check

    Steve Paterno,

    It seems like you work for one of those Southern Sudanese removed under the dark. If not sorry but don’t waste your time. There ambassadors were nothing but place holders.

    Do you remember when Cdr Deng Alor use to be FM and foreign relations new use to pass over his head?! The position for South Sudanese was just symbolic and accomplished nothing. Bashir runs the Government of Sudan out of his brief case like Salva kiir use to accuse late John Garang (God rest his soul) of running SPLM like it was his personal property.

    What I am trying to say that it makes no difference for South Sudan except for personal interests (salaries) of respective ambassadors.

    Otherwise we are need to start our ambassies soon but the Nuer youth need to shut up about complaining on distribution of workers at the foreign ministry/ministry of cooperation.

    I think these youth will be happy if all of them are sent to be ambassadors but for this to happen we will have to send some to Somalia so that we can have enough spaces for them.

    I agree that there is something wrong in the appointment but we can’t be complaining about everything. Another list of ministers which seems corrupt which was filled by only Dinkas who are my own tribe last month was published here on ST.

    Trust me many community are discriminated in these appointment even within Gogrial (president Kiir home) late alone Greater Barh-el-gazale let alone the greater Dinka but we will fix this soon.

    So I urge the Nuer youth or those who claim to represent them to shut up...the youth first needs to occupy jobs being taken by Kenyans, Congolese, Ethiopians and Ugandans in southern Sudan. Once we run out of those jobs then we can complain.

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    • 10 January 2011 22:45, by Facts Check

      This one of the things I am referring to from SouthSudanNation.com

      Corruption in the GOSS Ministry of Regional Cooperation Appointments to foreign missions

      JAN.7/2011, SSN; Public Statement: Nuer Youth for Equality and Justice (NYEJ)—January, 05, 2011; below is the list.

      1. Chol Deng Alak, Head of Mission to Russia

      2. Sarah Victor Bol, Head of Mission to Uganda

      3. Adok Akot, Deputy Head of Mission , Uganda

      4. Baak vintino Wuol, Head of Mission, Southern Korea

      5. Gabrial Gai Riak, Head of Mission, Nigeria

      6. Mr. Majak Monrater, Head of Mission to Japan

      7. Deng Ayir, Head of Mission to China

      8. Lual Akol Akol, Head of Mission India

      9. Sibet Bulen, Head of Mission to Zambia

      First and foremost, the Nuer Youth in South Sudan and East Africa are deeply disturbed by the appointments of nine diplomats in the Ministry of Regional Cooperation. On December 1st, 2010, our community learnt that the Ministry of Regional Cooperation (MRC) appointed nine diplomats most of whom hailed from a single ethnic group in South Sudan. The Ministry is under the guidance of Mr. Deng Alor Kuol, a man who fought against successive Khartoum regimes to achieve equality, justice and freedom for the marginalized people of Sudan. CDR Deng Alor Kuol, as he was known back then in the bush, was seen as a reserved fellow who could not fail to uphold the principles of justice and equality. Freedom fighters who served under his command testified that he was a quiet man who could not harm any human being and were delighted with the way he treated men under his command.

      Unfortunately, the current appointments in his ministry shed a different light of his character and people in South Sudan are wondering whether the humble and fair commander they knew in the bush had caught the prevailing fever of Gogrialization of South Sudan which has become the dominant public policy recruitment of the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who hailed from Gogrial County of Warrap State.

      It goes without mentioning that the MRC has been infected with practices which tainted the images of war heroes of the SPLM/A. The people of South Sudan are seriously wondering whether there is no psychological disease in that ministry which affects any newly appointed minister. When Lt. Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak, a war hero, was appointed in 2009 as a Minster of the Regional Cooperation, the entire world was shocked when he appointed twenty three people who hailed from his ethnic group. Such a tribally motivated appointment was received with anger and most Ministers in the Government of South Sudan were disappointed to the point where some of them went to press to express their concerns.

      Among the nine newly appointed diplomats within MRC, eight hailed from Greater Bhar el Ghazal and three out of eight who hailed from that region are from the constituency of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. What worsens public anger further from these tribal appointments is the fact that Mr. John Majak, Mr. Deng Ayir and Mr. Lual Akol Akol, who were appointed as head of missions to Japan; China and India respectively, were not employees of the MRC. But they were serving in different Ministries and the sole reason for their appointment, as revealed recently, was to ensure that the people of Greater Bhar el Ghazal dominate and control Missions in key countries such as India, China, Japan and South Korea.

      It is revealed to people of South Sudan that President Salva Kiir Myardit wanted to ensure the presence of his kinsmen in countries that will have vital relations with the future state of South Sudan that will be born after the referendum. It is also reported that President Kiir Mayardit does not trust diplomats who do not hail from his ethnic group as he is preparing himself to stay in office until 2016. Thus, the appointments of eight diplomats from Greater Bhar el Ghazal will assist him in the long run to persuade the governments of Japan, China, South Korea and India to prioritize trade rather than democracy in their relations with future state of South Sudan.

      What actually caught the people of South Sudan by surprise is the known fact that President Salva Kiir refused to listen to the advice of his Vice-president Riek Machar who warned him about the negative reaction of the public regarding the appointments of eight diplomats who hailed from one ethnic group. We have learnt that President Salva Kiir told Vice-president Riek Machar that the only ethnic group that suffered during the liberation struggle is a Dinka ethnic group and therefore the Dinka of Bhar el Ghazal in particular deserved the lion share of government appointments due to their number within the SPLA/M army.

      With the advent of the referendum, the people of South Sudan had hope that President Salva Kiir Mayardit would work towards equalizing sixty three ethnic groups of South Sudan rather than telling his Vice-president that the people who should always have the lion share of his government must come from Dinka ethnic group. When the people of South Sudan took up arms in 1983, all ethnic groups of South Sudan, including marginalized Sudanese from Nuba and Engessina Hills, joined the Movement.

      As Dr. John Garang narrated in his first interview with Sudan TV in July, 2005, the SPLA/M Movement was largely dominated by the Nuer from 1983—85 until Dinka Bhar El Ghazal flocked to the Movement in large numbers beginning from 1985. It should be born in mind that when it comes to ethnic representations within the Movement, the SPLM/A was largely dominated by Nuer, Equatoria tribes, Dinka Bor, Dinka Padang, and the Shilluk. Before Dinka Bhar el Ghazal joined the Movement in big numbers, the first Dinka who supplemented the number of the Nuer in the Movement were Dinka Bor and Dinka Padang. If contribution of the people is to be taken into account in the appointments of the GOSS, there is no way that Dinka Bhar el Ghazal should have a lion share more than all Southern ethnic groups combined because the number of Nuer, Shilluk, Equatorians, Dinka Bor and Padang in the SPLM/A Movement outnumbered the number of Dinka Bhar el Ghazal. If President Salva Kiir doesn’t know this, perhaps he should consult the records of SPLM/A battalions from 1983—2005.

      With such a negative attitude President Kiir Mayardit had shown towards the need for equality among the people of South Sudan, we may begin to wonder whether the future state of South Sudan would be viable given the indifference of Lt. Gen. Kiir Mayardit to uphold the principles of justice. It is our firm belief that in order for a newly independent state of South Sudan to survive, full ethnic equality in all government appointments needs to be enforced. If the people of the South are to avoid ethnic conflicts similar to ethnic power struggle that wreaked havoc in Ivory Coast, Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir has to start taking courses in ethnic equality. History has taught the people of Africa that in any nation state where there is ethnic domination, violence does always prevail. The symptoms of ethnic violence in South Sudan had already manifested themselves with the rebellions of Lt. Gen. George Athor, Col. Gatluak Gai and Maj. Gen. David Yau Yau. Should President Salva Kiir continue to pay no regard to ethnic equality in all positions of the government of South Sudan, the world should not be caught by surprise if more conflicts emerge in the near future.

      For contact:

      Ngundeng Wiyual Deang,

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  • 11 January 2011 01:26, by Paul Ongee

    Facts Check/Ngundeng Wiyual Deang,

    Why don’t you desist from propaganda campaign? How can GOSS president tell his Deputy that the people of Bahr El-Ghazal suffered a lot during the war? Leave alone a teenager, a three years old (if the history of SPLM/A is properly narrated to him) would never agree with you because it lacks intellectual logic.

    I don’t want to dwell on the history of contribution of each and every Southern Sudanese community one way or the other. But there are some elements within us who just never get it when it comes to the issue of giving credit to the leadership style, strategic vision and approach to to what brought us to this historic January 9, 2011.

    Let’s just go to the polling centers to vote then later we will appoint our Southern sons and daughters to represent our new nation abroad. Everybody is born a leader but everybody cannot be a leader of a community or a nation or force him/herself to be one if the history of intellectual judgment keeps proving negative on both domestic and global scale.

    Somebody may be good at mobilizing people to go hunting but not a good target shooter. The latter may not be good at mobilizing people but every contribution is acknowledged. Somebody or a leader may lacks honesty, consistency, and integrity and above all a vision but can do a good job when somebody else created the good working environment for him with written instructions to follow. That is how individual contribution is important and appreciated.

    Paul Ongee
    Khartoum, Sudan

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  • 11 January 2011 05:04, by Samir mahmoud

    Dear Steve
    You may be surprised to know,that I am really happy for the brothers and sisters in the South,to have their say,even though I am a unionist,who still believes in the SPLM/A as a national movement with respomsibilities for the whole of Sudan.
    As for your articel two things:
    1-At no time did any government declare Sudan"An Arab State",it has always been an arb/african state.
    2-Who are these Ambassadors who have been recalled?

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