Last week the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced the timetable of procedures necessary for the conduction of the awaited plebiscite on 9th January. After a tiresome exchange of accusations regarding troops builds up on the North-South border both NCP and SPLM are slowly settling for a combination of procrastination and commitment, procrastination over pending issues yet to be resolved and repeated commitment to the timely conduction of the referendum.
In the SPLM camp Northern disillusionment at the demise of the New Sudan shot to a peak with Mohamed Yousif Ahmed al-Mustafa’s sharp criticism of Kiir’s pro-secession statements. The former SPLM minister described the position as a violation of the SPLM manifesto and an intellectual and political defeat of Northerners in the SPLM. In apparent response Atem Garang, the SPLM vice speaker of the national assembly, politely told the Northerners to buzz off and fight their own battle.
|Nafie Ali Nafie, NCP vice chairman|
After a period of singing the president’s tune of ‘no separation for one nation’ NCP top ranks are now popularising reconciliation with the ‘inevitable’ secession, however in a vein akin if not identical to al-Intibaha’s spin. The NCP vigilant Nafie Ali Nafie speaking to al-Ray al-Aam Sunday seemed more grateful than bothered at the South’s departure. Repeating al-Tayeb Mustafa’s very notions Nafie described the SPLM’s favoured ‘attractive unity’ as a plot to seize the North, and argued that oil revenues were anyway either transferred to the South or invested in security to shield the North from the predatory South. Slowly turning to victimology Nafie twisted political options to become either a Northern exodus from Sudan in case of a united Sudan à la SPLM or secession of the South and retention of a flourishing and virtuous North Sudan free from the Southern thorn.
Nevertheless, in the likely event of South Sudan’s secession it is quite unlikely that the NCP can quickly resume business as usual. Faced with a slump in revenues the government is already intent to repeat the concluded. The council of ministers directed all government-owned enterprises to prepare for a – final – phase of privatisation next year in order to generate needed income. Sudan’s privatisation guru and ex-Finance Minister Abdel Rahim Hamdi optimistically warned of a minimum 5 years economic downturn, and suggested a quick economic fix with the South instead of the preoccupation with border demarcation, a matter he considered of little significance since none of Sudan’s borders with neighbour states is demarcated anyway.
Despite the anti-US rumble of the foreign minister Ali Karti the NCP is quite in a drool over promised US prizes for good behaviour. The Americans’ spy friend, Salah Gosh, responded with reconciliatory phrases to John Kerry’s carrots in Khartoum. Probably the NCP looks forward to US stabilisation assistance in the event of secession, and the US can already celebrate two ‘new’ friendly regimes, but whose friends?