By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
August 20, 2010 (SSNA) — We will be better off as South Sudanese if all of us as sons and daughters of a people with a common destiny begin to out-grow our today’s tunnel vision and self centred politics. It is undisputable that many people have genuine grievances to air against the current SPLM led GoSS’s leadership style; however as a people still living under oppression that dates back to the very dawn of history, there is a need for us to display a bit of patriotism, well above a level to enable us differentiate between what isnational and what is personal. An average minded South Sudanese for that matter should have no problem distinguishing between SPLM, SSDF, or Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Lotuho, Bari, Moru, Azande etc and that any one of them only represents a small portion of the big South Sudan. For while these political parties and tribal groupings have their specific members, the bigger South Sudan on the other hand is for all of us and it should be understood so.
However sadly enough a great many amongst us possibly out of intentional ignorance and sickening arrogance have at one time or the other taken advantages over others to either maliciously promote their ethnicities or narrow partisan views. The truth is that the time of such irresponsible actions has long passed. Today we know that every citizen’s contribution is needed for South Sudan to become a successful independent state. And although it might not have been yet declared publicly, however even those who cheated and abused the state powers in the last elections, thus throwing us all into today’s undeserved chaos and political turmoil should be better off regretting for what they did, for in reality it represented the epitome of irresponsible politics.
Things were intentionally allowed to go from bad to worse when some, forced or not saw nothing wrong while openly collaborating with the enemy in the north, in what they wrongly thought would restore their rightfully political rights and salvage the whole of south Sudan from the compass-less leadership and an emerging sense of anarchy about to swallow the region in its entirety. At least we are made to think so. However by turning to the traditional enemies in the North, actually nullifies any dream of bringing salvation to south Sudan, and it must rightly be understood as nothing but a right forth sell out.
As sad as it is now, many well intended southerners continue to reach out for political support and financial assistance from the sworn-in enemies in the north whenever confronted with obstacles at personal or communal levels within the jurisdiction of south Sudan. And whether we are ready to hear it or not, this wicked phenomenon is even true amongst personalities and outstanding tribal groups who have traditionally prided themselves as the back bones of the southern struggle. So where does this leave the future of our five decades struggle?
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the issues of south Sudan need to be tackled with sobriety. Many other south Sudanese including myself have written countless articles about the erroneous leadership being offered by the SPLM party, be it today or in the past. However we should all understand that one day the SPLM as a political party will come to go, including its leadership style, but the great land of south Sudan is there to stay. Some of us don’t even see that SPLM which stands for Sudan People’s Liberation Movement is bound to change to something else once south Sudan secedes as the name becomes irrelevant, so is its ideology. For this simple reason anyone who wants an end to the current suffering must thus work hard for Independence of South Sudan.
But out of spirit with what I wrote above, we have been of late hearing all kinds of worrying statements that are attributed to this unfortunate fellow, “Prof. David de Chand”, whose name for long has come to be associated with the NIF/NCP regime in Khartoum since the early 90s till today. De Chand was quoted in the Sudan Tribune to have made Anti- South Sudan Independence statements to the press. Anyone who read those quotations most likely went to wonder how much of an Islamist has this south Sudanese Professor now become. Worse still are his contradictions and deviations from his previous positions on this very issue of the Right of South Sudan to Self Determination – a favourite topic our Professor once spent time preaching worldwide, before he finally mutated to what he is today. His gross negativities towards the south Sudan’s call for Independence at this particular point in time, which is already on record, is bound to remain an issue of grave concern to every Southerner.
Prof. de Chand shamelessly and without any remorse went to declare to the media that south Sudan is not yet prepared for Independence something that without doubt reflects a deeply rooted addiction to serve the Arab Islamic Agenda. He has joined the NIF/NCP ordained Archbishop (name with-held) and many others who are collectively suffering from the “Khartoum Dependency Syndrome” – (KDS). And by declaring to journalists in Kampala, Uganda that it’s still too early for the semi-autonomous region to secede from the north because of what he calls “lack of leadership capabilities", sounds completely weird given his (David De Chand) position as a south Sudanese professor and Chairman of Southern Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF), a south Sudanese political party as the name entails.
"I should now tell you that Southern Sudan is not united at all. It [still] lacks leadership capabilities to govern itself and our experience with the SPLM [Sudanese People Liberation Movement] leadership has been disastrous for the last five”, the soon to be stateless Professor was quoted to have said.
Needless to say that the SSDF Chairman is aware of the obvious fact that the other statements made by him about the possibility of south Sudan’s independence triggering similar actions in other parts of the Sudan or Africa or the world as such was in fact a PR exercise, the supposed to be political guru never saw in it any damage to his so-called south Sudan (Democratic?)Front. A front against whom and to do what?
I quote him here: “Majority decisions in favour of an independent Southern Sudan in next year’s referendum could have serious repercussions not only in the region, but the entire African continent” De Chand went on to say.
He knows that those journalists in Kampala are not going to change the out-come of the south Sudan referendum which is expected overwhelmingly to be in favor of secession. Secondly there is nothing covert about the possibility of an independent south Sudan state. It is legal, constitutional and within the frame work of the CPA which is the making of the IGAD countries whom he is trying to lecture.
What the SSDF Chairman failed to realize is that the Sudanese both northerners and southerners as well as the international observers are fully aware of the fact that both the SPLM and its partner the NCP are guilty of state power abuse in the last April’s general elections. They both “deliberately and wilfully" barred other parties from freely propagating their political ideas to the population, more so in the SPLM controlled south Sudan.
I quote him again: "The elections were not democratic because they were rigged by the SPLM and the way the SPLA [Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army] behaved during the elections showed that they are partisan and not a national force," he said.
The Professor no doubt has a point to argue which might be shared by others as well, but I don’t think that this can be best tackled by hanging to an otherwise a sickening unity with the North. What does the Professor expect to happen to SPLM should the Sudan remain united? Does he think that in a united Sudan, the SPLM party will become relegated to something of less significance? I beg to disagree as I fail to see his point here. But for one thing I am sure that with unity, every wicked south Sudanese opportunist can enjoy the freedom of running between the north and the south creating all sorts of instability while prostituting in politics. The secession of the south is essential to curb this filthy political phenomenon which has detrimentally retarded our struggle since days of the chiefs in 1947 and throughout the five decades that followed.
We have to face our own responsibilities as south Sudanese and only us who can change the dirty realities on the ground. Nobody can weed the unprofessionalism within our rudimentary institutions except us the southerners. The same is true of any changes that are expected to take place within our different communities. Without the least exaggeration many things in our midst have become too deformed to be reformed under the present status quo, but hopefully with independence, most of the irrelevances will be rectified under completely a new and healthier setting by southerners and for southerners, far from all those hand outs and degrading alms come from the north and to which some of our politicians are already addictively hooked to.
The fact that De Chand went on to declare publically, probably on behave of his sponsors in Khartoum that unity remains the only option in the forthcoming referendum, and that an independent Southern Sudan could undermine efforts to achieve the East African integration, is enough to tell how obsessively the professor has come out to abuse the image of south Sudan. However the question that continues to beg is, “how on earth does our professor want to achieve his dream of a united Sudan in order to justify his incurable Khartoum Dependency Syndrome”?
This Professor is now an issue of concern for his role in leading the distractive, anti-south Sudan’s Independence crusade. He has decided to act on behalf of President Omer al Bashir, Ali Osman Taha, Nafie Ali Nafie, Salah Gosh and the whole Islamic National Congress Party (NCP), by launching a fierce and malicious campaign to abort the Independence of his own people, the ten million or so south Sudanese.
“Dr.de Chand holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (international relations) from Atlanta University (1987), M.A. in international Affairs from Drew University (1978), in M.P.A., Public Administration & Public Policy (intergovernmental relations) from University of Maine at Orono and B.A., in Modern History & Government) with emphasis on African and European governments from University of Liberia (1975). Professor de Chand taught international relations/law, political economy, comparative politics and government/politics of the developing nations with focus on Africa and the Middle East and worked as a consulted in governance, democratization, human rights as well as capacity building in Africa for Associate and Rural Development (ARP) sponsored by the World Bank (IBRD) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, DC, USA.” Source: Date: Sun, 6 Aug 1995 23:04:28 +0300 From: MEER MEER@TT.SASA.UNEP.NO Subject: South Sudan claims for right of self-determination.
Obviously I do not intend to step on the Professor’s and for that matter any South Sudanese unionists’ Rights and Freedoms. They are entitled to make public speeches and air their views on all topics that they see fit. However an individual of Dr. De Chand’s calibre should be aware that there are millions of people outside there who keep track of their political and Academic activities. I am just saying it here, but otherwise that is the obvious. So before anyone reaches any verdict on what I have presented here, I would like them to go to this connection and read for themselves what our newly converted ‘unionist for convenience ‘, believed in and see the disparity with what he claims to represent now. www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/de_chand.html.
A quotation from some of his several writings: THE RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION: A LEGAL AND POLITICAL RIGHT FOR SOUTH SUDAN. By: Professor David de Chand, Ph.D. UNIVERSITY of PENNSYLVANIA – AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
“For generations it has been impossible for the North and South to coexist as one heterogeneous state because of historical animosities such continue to prevail today such as slavery, genocidal war and the inculcation of religion into the political theatre of a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-political, multi- religious an multi-political society. Actually, it would be far better off for them to live apart in more than one heterogeneous state, even if this necessitates population transfers”.
Now I want the reader to compare the above statement that was made by this Professor of contradictions, confusion and controversy to what he said in Kampala barely a week ago as quoted by the Sudan tribune 17/08/2010.
“De Chand maintains that unity remains that only option in the forthcoming referendum and that an independent Southern Sudan could undermine efforts to achieve the East African integration”.
Many other similarly faint hearted Professors, Academicians, Businessmen, Politicians, Religious Leaders and the kind are all out there practising an out-right political cannibalism by feasting on the blood of their own people. But the point I what to make here is that it would be a civilized behaviour if they (the Prof and the rest), could kindly make statements distancing them from what they propagated for in the past and at least respect the intelligence of their audience before engaging in roles which by all means contradict all of their previously spoken or written words.
Those who believe in the independence of south Sudan have a responsibility to vividly bring this noble goal into its rightful place which is in the centre of the Sudanese politics. When we go to vote in the referendum come 9th January 2011 – it is not about choosing between unity and secession. It is about liberty – and walking out of servitude and second class citizenry. It is to raise the flag and sing the anthem. Our choice is what we were born with and what we are born to be. Referendum day is just the declaration day.
The author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MB BCh DRH MD is a concerned south Sudanese residing in the UK. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com