Why South Sudanese Should Vote for Al-Bashir

"Of the twelve, only one candidate, Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, has committed himself publicly, to upholding and implement the referendum of South Sudan on Self-Determination."

By Bona Malwal Madut*

(Delivered as a speech)

Let me mention from the out set of this statement, that I am a member of the National Commission for the campaign to elect President Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir as the next President of Sudan, on 11th April 2010. This elect Al-Bashir National Commission, was set up by the Sudanese political parties that are participating in the current Government of National Unity (GoNU). I am one of the founding members of the elect Al-Bashir national commission, because, my party, The South Sudan Democratic Forum, is one of the political parties of Sudan participating in the GoNU in our country. The GoNU is a product of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), set up since September 2005. The South Sudan Democratic Forum is a participant in the GoNU, because our party supports the CPA.

The South Sudan Democratic Forum supports the CPA, because it enshrines the right of the people of South Sudan to Self-Determination. This principle of Self-Determination, is something that has been denied the people of South Sudan, since the 1947 Juba Conference, the first conference that was ever convened to discuss the future of the relationship between South Sudan and Northern Sudan. 

Since 1947, the call by South Sudanese, for the exercise of their right of Self-Determination, has been derogated into some kind of treason, or at best, separatism and therefore unacceptable to the Northern Sudanese political elite. Only the CPA, thanks to its principal parties that negotiated it, the National Congress Party (NCP), of President Al-Bashir, from Northern Sudan and the liberation movement of the people of South Sudan, The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), represented by its political wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), we now have a peace agreement that enshrines in its pages, a special protocol on the Self-Determination of the people of South Sudan.

The CPA, in its political and constitutional wisdom, has stipulated that a general election that should lead to the election of the president of our republic, as well as all the legislative and executive branches of the governments of our state, be elected before the referendum on Self-Determination in the South can be conducted in the year 2011.

This means that only democratically transformed and universally elected institutions of our political state, called Sudan, will carry out the referendum on Self-Determination next year, 2011. This is the election that we are now in the process of conducting and one in which South Sudan has a vital interest in its outcome and its being successfully conducted on time.

There are now twelve presidential candidates in this general election. Of the twelve, only one candidate, Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, has committed himself publicly, to upholding and implement the referendum of South Sudan on Self-Determination.

As recently as on 19 January 2010, President Al-Bahir repeated his commitment to the right of the South to decide its future next year, in a Self-Determination referendum. “I pledge to conduct the referendum for Self-Determination in the South next year”, President Al-Bashir said, in his address to the Sudanese nation from Yambio, the capital of the South Sudan State of Western Equatoria. “If the people of South Sudan choose separation and not unity, I will be the first person to recognise that separation”, President Al-Bashir told the Sudanese people, all of whom he clearly now knows, bear witness to his very solemn commitment. President Al Bashir now regularly repeats this personal commitment to honour the CPA during his current election campaign for the presidency.

If any of the remaining eleven presidential candidates are committed, like President Al-Bashir, to respect the right of the people of South Sudan to Self-Determination, as contained in the CPA, they are not saying so publicly. Indeed, what we know of most of the other presidential candidates, is that they all want to seek a way out of the Self-Determination clause of the CPA. All the other candidates want to ensure, by some political gimmick, that the South votes for unity. Voting for unity is the only choice the other presidential candidates would allow the South to make and nothing else. One prominent presidential candidate has even recently said publicly, that Self-determination was an extremist demand by the South, which cannot be acceptable, nor honoured.

Separation of the South from the North, is acceptable only to candidate Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bahir, if the country fails to persuade the South to remain in a united Sudan. This position of President Al-Bashir, is not shared with any of the other eleven presidential candidates. This puts President Al-Bashir in a unique position. Which is why the people of South Sudan should vote for him.

Finding alternative to separation, was clearly the reason why the infamous Juba Alliance of the Opposition Northern Sudanese Political Parties and The SPLM, was founded last September in Juba. That alliance, with its now numerous presidential candidates, still seeks to find a way out of the referendum on Self-Determination by the South, because they are so sure, that the South will vote for a separate independent state, if the country conducts a referendum on Self-Determination in the South next year. 

South Sudanese cannot permit themselves to be fooled, once again, into accepting that there is anything else, other than the Self-Determination of the CPA, to wait for. The South must always be mindful of empty promises, such as that of 19th December 1955, by the North, which promised the South federation, in order to lure the members of parliament from the South, into voting for independence; only for the North to recant the promise, without even a formal consideration.

There are, of course, other traitorous acts by the Northern Sudanese politicians against the South, which should indicate that the repetition of this behaviour cannot be ruled out. Even as we campaign in these 2010 elections for President Al-Bashir, we need to hold him to his word and commitment to Self-Determination. This is because, we know that it is possible, that President Al-Bashir, himself, could be pressurised by the Juba Alliance of the Northern Opposition Parties, to recant his commitment to Self-Determination and to abrogate the CPA. That was exactly what some of the many current presidential candidates from the North did, with late President Gaafar Mohamed Nimeiri and the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement. 

However, the CPA is not Addis Ababa Agreement, which was managed, controlled and manipulated, only from Khartoum. Under the CPA, the South is in charge of its own affairs. Such a step has a strongly built in incentive for the North not to abrogate the CPA, in the same way President Nimeiri did to the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1983.

Once again, we need to repeat our reminder to the South Sudanese voter, that as matters stand today, only presidential candidate Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, is strongly committed to the CPA and the right of the people of South Sudan to Self-Determination and no other candidate else. No other presidential candidate, has said publicly, that if elected, they would conduct the referendum on Self-Determination in the South. The position of President Al-Bashir, on the right of the people of South Sudan to Self-Determination, could not be any clearer, from that of the other presidential candidates.

The people of South Sudan, should keep faith with their own very long struggle, by voting for Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, for the president of the republic. This is the individual, whose party, The National Congress Party (NCP), negotiated and signed the CPA into law. President Al-Bashir also ratified the interim National Constitution into law, which embodies the CPA. These are the concrete reasons, why I urge the people of South Sudan, to vote for citizen Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, rather than witch-hunting in the darkness for alternatives that they do not know.

Another extremely important reason, why the electorate in South Sudan should vote for Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, is the fact that any of the other presidential aspirants, could postpone the last step in the CPA, if elected to the presidency. Only President Al-Bashir has emphatically insisted, that he will conduct the referendum on Self-Determination on time, in accordance with the provisions of the CPA. All the other presidential candidates have called for the postponement of the elections and the referendum on Self-Determination. The referendum on Self-determination follows the on going elections, almost immediately. So, it is important, to be prudent and elect Omer Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, as the next President of the republic. 

Electing someone other than President Al-Bashir, as president in the coming elections, risks the postponement of the referendum of the South on Self-Determination. It could not be any clearer, that a presidential candidate, who debates the postponement of the referendum on Self-Determination, during the election campaign, if elected president, such a candidate, can justifiably argue, that they have received the mandate of the Sudanese electorate, to postpone the referendum.

Furthermore, all the other presidential candidates, with the exception of candidate Al-Bashir, have attempted to link the implementation of the remaining items of the CPA, to the attainment of peace in Darfur. While we pray and hope that our country attains peace in Darfur soon, the problems in Darfur are an after event to the CPA. There is no connection between the two. The CPA is a solution to the long political grievances of the people of South Sudan that were repressed for a very long time. 

The people of South Sudan now have their grievances addressed by the CPA, after which the grievances of the people of Darfur erupted into a new war in our country. To argue that we suspend the implementation of the remaining items of the CPA, such as the elections this year and the referendum on Self-Determination in the South next year, is to subordinate the cause of the people of South Sudan, already answered by the CPA, to Darfur. This will be rigging the system of peace-making in our country. 

Only candidate Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, wants to get on with the implantation of the CPA, while at the same time negotiating a separate peace for Darfur. This is another strong reason why the people of South Sudan should elect President Al-Bashir, as the next president of Sudan, in this year’s presidential elections.

I want to conclude this personal plea to the people of South Sudan, with a small reminder, of an event in our recent political history: In 1977, I found myself in a personal predicament. Late President Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri, had just concluded the very infamous National Reconciliation Agreement with his Northern Sudanese political opponents, the leadership of what was known as the National Front. Very typical to where we are today, the National Front was opposed to the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, between the Nimeiri military regime and the South. Like the CPA today, that 1972 Peace Agreement, also ended a seventeen (17) year long civil war in the country. Typically, again like the CPA, leaders of the Northern Sudan Opposition parties, who formed the National Front against Nimeiri, were opposed to the Addis Ababa Agreement and sought all ways to end it. The 1977 National Reconciliation Agreement came in handy for that opposition purpose. 

I was the only South Sudanese citizen in the cabinet in Khartoum. In those days, just like now, most South Sudanese wanted to be in Juba, rather than in Khartoum. South Sudanese always feel like rulers in Juba, whereas in Khartoum, no matter how high up in the government, South Sudanese feel at best, just as representatives of the South in the government in Khartoum, dominated by the North.

Sitting lonely as a South Sudanese in Khartoum, I read the writing on the wall correctly, about the intention of the National Reconciliation, between Nimeiri and the Northern Opposition. I went to Juba from Khartoum, to try to convince my friends and colleagues in Juba, to see what I was seeing. When three days of my efforts to persuade my colleagues and country men in Juba, to see the true meaning of National Reconciliation between Nimeiri and the National Front failed, I returned to Khartoum and submitted my resignation to Nimeiri, as Minister of Information. I paid for my action, by being detained in prison by Nimeri for many months. To me, being detained for that considerably long time, because of my political position, was far better than killing my conscience.

Nimeiri got into an alliance with the National Front. And in no time, Southern Sudan was divided into three small and ineffectual provincial governments, rather than remaining a united single autonomous region. Within a very short time after, Nimeiri abrogated the 1972 peace agreement with the South. Unless one knows one’s own best interest well, one can be deceived, not only twice, but many times over and for a very long time to come!

I am confident that the electorate of South Sudan will keep faith with their gains under the CPA by electing Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, who intends to go through, with the implementation of the referendum on Self-Determination, which he has already signed into law. 

Of the twelve presidential candidates, only President Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, is committed to upholding the referendum of the South on Self-Determination. The South has no choice among the presidential candidates to choose from. The South only has President Al-Bashir to vote for as the next President of Sudan, in order to protect and to preserve the CPA.

*Bona Malwal Madut is a South Sudanese and an Advisor to President Bashir 


Posted in: Opinions, Speeches
RSS comment feed
16/03/2010, 9:32 AM
 - Posted by Daniel Mathiang
Dear Bona,
I think this time around is for South Sudanese to vote for someone that keep promise.
Since President Bashir’s Government signed CPA with SPLM, I have never seen all the promises made by Pre. Bashir and you are there as advisor.
South is still suffering as you have seen during your campaign with al basher. How was Rumbek,Tonj,Kuajok,Unity state when you visited? Compare to Khartoum.

South Sudanese need action. No proper roads,water and health care.
21/03/2010, 10:05 AM
 - Posted by Magdelina John
Bona has gone crazy not even because of NCP money but really went out of his sense. Southern Sudan must vote for someone else that will further their independency as well freedom for all the Sudanese. why would you want to preach for the dictator?
11/04/2010, 9:45 AM
 - Posted by Tethloach Rout
I gree about your command off course we need a parson should bring south
1. I am pleased that you are looking at our country to be a good opportunities for I all of us God bless you for command

14/04/2010, 4:52 AM
 - Posted by Bendera Garang
Bonna malual,during SPLM's struggle he has been hatred to Dr. Garang particularly and he has been trying many ways to destroy the SPLM vision,but he does not won until Dr. Garang signed CPA and passed. However,at this time, he is not conncerning about the people of Southern Sudan,although you are in undeveloping region because he has to favor the right of his party rather than his people in the Southern. As result the CPA implementation is under question in the next year for self-determination government.
20/04/2010, 2:51 AM
 - Posted by Macar
Bona Malual's argument make sense. The only trouble is that his argument is politically biased toward Omar Bashir -- no surprise there as he is the chairmperson of this campaign to elect Al-bashir. No wonder Bona doesn't think that Yasser Araman would allow the condcut of referendum.

Of course Bona Malual can say, as his argument goes, that Yasser hasn't publicly committed himself to the conduct of referendum. But then again, you can say that SPLM chairman, Salva Kiir, has publicly told IGAD gathering this year that he wants the referendum conducted and conducted on timetable; the SPLM is the partner of NCP and SPLM has told the people of South Sudan severally that the choice of unity or separation (through referendum) is in their hands. So why is Bona ignoring this part of the argument?

If Bona Malual's argument is that the people of South Sudan should vote for a candidate that supports the conduct of referendum and do so on schedule, then Bona Malual should make it clear that there are at least two parties that have implicitly or explicitly committed to this position. If, on the other hand, he wants Southern Sudanese to elect Bashir for other reasons, then Mr. Bona Malual Madut hes to add or clarify these other qualities that distinguishes Omar Bahsir to bolster his (Bona's) argument.
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