Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bashir and Bakosoro

In Juba on Tuesday President Bashir was hard to categorise, somehow the breed between a foreign dignitary and a deposed head of state, he was neither and he was both. The two leaders Bashir and Kiir, exchanged very serious courtesies though. Bashir reiterated his commitment to recognise the outcome of the referendum, namely to recognize and even celebrate the independence of Southern Sudan. He further promised to resolve the pending post-referendum issues between the NCP and the SPLM before the end of the interim period on 09 July. Kiir on his behalf ordered the expulsion of Darfur rebels from Southern territory saying “no opposition to the north shall take Juba as a base”. In Khartoum, Vice President Taha made the reciprocate pledge not to host opposition to the South. 
The global trade-off between the NCP and the SPLM apparently also involves directives to the Northern sector to tone down on the anti-NCP enthusiasm. Pagan Amum, the secretary general of the SPLM, speaking in Khartoum last week asked the political forces in the North to seek accord with the government rather than attempt to overthrow it. Amum seemed to be rebuffing Yasir Arman, the deputy secretary general of the SPLM for the Northern sector, for his overzealous remarks about taking arms against the NCP. The Northern sector, as announced by Amum and Arman, is to evolve into an independent political party in the North with only ‘intellectual’ links to the mainstream. Of course, the claim that the NCP will pull out of Southern affairs and that the SPLM will surrender all influence in the North is courtesy pure, Sudanese mujamalat at its best.
The NCP in Khartoum and the SPLM in Juba, if somebody has forgotten in the fanfare of secession, are essentially ‘military’ governments with security software. For the two capitals the most sinister security threat will for the foreseeable future be the plots and counter-plots devised in the other. The immediate in-house political challenge facing the two rulers, Kiir and Bashir, post-referendum will obviously be how to curb any exaggerated expectations of a permanent referendum, or infatuation with this act of freedom. The governor of Western Equatoria, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, is already training. On Tuesday he declared Jehovah Witnesses to be ‘traitors of the freedom of Southern Sudan’. Apparently acting out of belief the Jehovah Witnesses in the state have committed themselves not to participate in any political activities whatsoever, and have thus refrained from registering for the referendum. Bakosoro obviously irritated by such unpatriotic behaviour issued an order suspending the churches of Jehovah Witnesses in ‘his’ state till further notice. Of course, there is understandably only one right choice ‘yes, separation’. What is worse in Bakosoro’s state, I wonder, not registering or voting wrong?


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This work by Magdi El Gizouli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.