By Gordon Buay
September 29, 2010 (SSNA) — This article is in response to comments regarding the formation of national anthem and the current affairs in the South pertaining to campaigns for referendum.
When it comes to the issue of national anthem–leave alone the rushing of the national anthem by the SPLA army officers–it is illegal as per the terms of the CPA for the South to have a national anthem prior to separation vote. I talked to some politicians about it two months ago and they acknowledged that such an exercise was not good because it would even ruin the relations between the SPLM and the NCP further.
During the negotiation in 2004, Dr. Garang discussed the same issue with Ali Osman Taha. But the two sides resolved it that the South cannot have a national anthem prior to referendum vote that will determine the fate of united Sudan. This reasoning makes sense because the South is considered part of Sudan until it is proven otherwise by the referendum vote. What Kuol Deim Kuol and Malaak Ayuen did could not have happened under the leadership of John Garang.
I learned that Telar Deng, the Presidential advisor on Legal affairs, was not even consulted regarding the legality of having a national anthem before referendum vote. Kuol Deim Kuol and Malaak Ayuen appointed themselves as legal advisors of Salva Kiir and formed a committee of national anthem. I don’t know the current official duty of Telar Deng if army officers could be the ones providing legal advice to the President of the government of the South. It is intellectually mind-boggling to say the least!
Nobody per se is against the South having a national anthem. But two things have to be cleared first. Number one is the legality of it as per the CPA. Second, if the generals insisted on ignoring the CPA, then, it should have been the executive and parliament that should select experts and competent people to come up with the national anthem. The second condition is significant because eventually, it would be the SPLM party that will be responsible for the violation of the CPA should there be any question from the international community. One may begin to wonder why our politicians in Juba are driven by emotions.
I doubt that the SSLA will accept Kuol Deim Kuol and Malaak Ayuen’s national anthem let alone the legal questions surrounding it. It is childish on the part of our government to contribute to the violation of the CPA. If the NCP is the one violating the terms of the CPA, then, we should not follow suit. Reasonable members of the international community will not accept the argument that two wrongs make right because it is a logical fallacy to violate the terms of the CPA because the North is not implementing the agreement. Any rational being who wants to score more points must live up to international moral standard and should not copy the actions of the NCP in order to persuade the World that it is indeed the NCP that is violating the agreement.
The legitimacy of the SPLM’s position before the international community is that it is the NCP that is violating the CPA. But if it appears to international community that both the SPLM and the NCP are violating the terms of the CPA, the South will lose legitimacy to convince the international community to discipline the NCP. The language of the international community will shift to calling on "both parties” to respect the CPA.
It is also childish on our part to arrest individuals who campaign for unity in the South. If the South is arresting people campaigning for unity, the message it is sending to the international community is that the SPLM is violating the CPA making referendum process unfair. In that regard, the referendum will never be peacefully implemented on the ground that "favorable environment" condition stipulated in article 7 of the South Sudan Referendum Act is violated. In that case, the NCP will be justified in the eyes of the international community to reject the exercise of the referendum leading us to war.
The commissioners, governors and politicians in the South should not behave like kids who think that two wrongs make right. Those campaigning for unity in the South must be protected by the police from the angry mob of youth if at all we want peaceful exercise of referendum.
If we lost our common senses and want war, then, let’s equip the SPLA army knowing quite well that the NCP will never accept the exercise of peaceful referendum if there are widespread intimidations against unionists in the South. I hope the Southern leaders should be adult enough to make right choices of which path they really want to take. If they want peaceful exercise of the referendum, then, they must control the youth and protect those campaigning for unity. If they want war, then, they should invest in war.
Rational individuals need to acknowledge that war may bring unforeseen situation. It may not be the NCP alone that may lose power if war resumes. It is probable that even the SPLM can lose power in the South should there be full scale war. War is a gamble because nobody knows what George Athor, David Yau Yau and unknown individuals will do in a situation of conflict.
The author is a former Secretary General of SSDF and the signatory of Washington Declaration between the SPLM and the SSDF. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org