Pagan Request For Alternatives If Sudan Complicates Oil Agreement Should Be Treated As A Matter of Urgency
(Gurtong Edited and Published)- I commend Pagan’s continuous struggle for the freedom of South Sudan from the ever hostile North Sudan that has never come to an end despite our overwhelming decision to secede during last January referendum and the eventual attainment of independence on the 9th July, 2011. I also commend the people of South Sudan under the leadership of H. E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit for downplaying their social, cultural, tribal and political differences and individually casting their votes in the ballot boxes to free us from the bondage of slavery and marginalization.
During the referendum, people expressed their joy to exercise their freedom to determine their destiny without obstruction that has been experienced from the Jalabas. For instance in the Gudele Primary School polling station, women especially expressed their joy openly as soon as they emerged from the polling booth. One woman particularly declared that, “If I die today, I will go to heaven”.
Having failed to stop the south from seceding because of gross inhuman atrocities inflicted on us, Khartoum employed delaying tactics on post referendum issues such as border demarcation, wealth sharing, Abyei, etc. in order to continue blackmailing the south. This is the situation faced by Pagan Amum Okiech, the Secretary General of the SPLM as the Chief Negotiator to resolve the post referendum issues with Khartoum and hence his request for alternatives if Sudan complicates oil agreement. He said and I quote:
“At the closure of the meeting between South Sudan and the oil operating companies held on the 19th of December in Juba, the Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the South Sudan Chief Negotiator of post – referendum arrangements, Pagan Amum urged for alternative means if Khartoum continues to create complication on South Sudan oil transportation through Sudan.”(Juba Monitor, Wednesday December 21, 2011).
Recently, one of the rebel leaders sponsored by Khartoum and reported in one of the newspapers was reported to be opposed to South Sudan intention to transport the oil in pipeline through Uganda and Kenya claiming that they should be consulted lest they will destroy it. He said that the South Sudan oil should be transported through Sudan. This is really a blackmail orchestrated by Khartoum to keep milking our resources even if we are separated as an independent country.
South Sudanese citizens in the Sudan are being harassed and intimidated to put them in a situation where they become venerable to exploitation such as confiscation of their properties, subjecting them to unhealthy inhuman conditions and forced recruitment to the rebels to come and destabilize the South Sudan with the hope that unity might be achieved. Khartoum is behaving like a person who exploits the situation of a drunken neighbor who goes on a drinking spree and “concubining” leaving the children scavenging for food from the dustbins. He then recruits them to do dirty errands for him since the children are helpless and at his mercy.
The question asks by Pagan Amum is directed to the Government of the Republic of South Sudan in particular and the South Sudanese citizens at large to give alternative suggestions in order to facilitate his negotiating power. This is a welcome move in a country struggling to build a democratic political institution. The Government should therefore, treat Pagan Amum’s request as a matter of urgency and quickly find an alternative solution to this issue since our economy depends mainly on oil which can easily be sabotaged by Khartoum. This is where Pagan Amum is very much concerned.
Equally, any South Sudanese with bright ideas can forward them to Pagan Amum for consideration by our Legislators.
However, some of the suggestions could be top secrets meant for our own consumption before being put on the table as negotiating tools. This is because our enemy can easily counteract it once it learns of it. I would therefore suggest Pagan Amum gives us an E-mail through which these suggestions can be forwarded to him.
• The Government of South Sudan should quickly create an emergency fund to transport all South Sudanese in the Sudan who are willing to come home. The Government should coordinate with the UNHCR for their transportation and settlement in their respective areas of origin. The fund should be strictly monitored to avoid any embezzlement by those in charge.
• As for the students who are finishing their courses in the Sudan, the University of Juba should be enabled by the government to incorporate these courses in their program. There are I hope many South Sudanese who are qualified to teach Arabic at the University level will be deployed. This move would deprive Khartoum of sources of recruitment for its evil designs against South Sudan.
• The Government of South Sudan and the international community need to put pressure on the Sudan Government to desist from aggressing South Sudan whose consequences will be unpalatable for the two neighboring countries.
• If Khartoum does not listen, then the only alternative is to intensify Bashir’s arrest and hand over to the ICC since he is the biggest obstacle to the normalization of relations between the two sister countries. This requires a diplomatic campaign to convince countries whose members of the ICC would get him arrested once he steps foot in their countries.
The above suggestions and contributions from other fellow citizens can be presented to Pagan Amum and our Legislators for considerations. The struggle to defend our hard won sovereignty from Khartoum must continue against perpetual enemies like El Bashir.
Mark Otwari Odufa