Southern Kordofan’s anxiety

Leaders of Southern Kordofan should dislodge anxiety and usher a road map for elections and prospects for post referendum than delimit the concept of popular consultations

By Nyalika Ngado

October 17, 2010
(published on Sudan Tribune)

On October 10, ten leading Sudanese-Arabic dailies carried a joint article outlining the expectations from the exercise of popular consultations for Southern Kordofan state. The article which was co-authored by the two top leaders of the state representing NCP and SPLM came at a time when all the citizens of the state wanted answers to the fundamental questions pertaining to the complementary census result for the state that was delayed for three months so far without any given reasons. Moreover, the citizenry are concerned about the build up of troops in the state witnessed over the last few months and the ramification of Southern Sudan referendum results scheduled for January 9, 2011.

Anxiety on the future of Southern Kordofan is at high stake given the uncertainties regarding the elections-which according to many-is crucial to happen before the referendum vote for Southern Sudan. Nevertheless, the people of the state are seeking answers over the extended absence of SPLA General and deputy governor Abdulaziz Al hilu from the state and the worries over the continuous accusations that there are reinforced deployments of forces in the state. Various pro-Nuba civil society groups submitted memos and letters of complains to foreign centers inside and outside the country requesting for action to dislodge fears of expected renewed fighting.

Given the aforementioned situation, the joint article that appeared at this particular time is a political statement ushered by both actors to signal messages to different circles to bring about mutual benefits. What I do not understand so far is how both parties are working together and there are clear benchmarks and timelines they should adhere to and they are not accounting each other over breaches of commitments.

This connote one reality that has been advocated for by some political forces in the state that both parties in the state SPLM and NCP suffer an election phobia given the uncertain unpopularity of their candidates for the gubernatorial position as both leaders have problems with their constituency at their backyard.

NCP gubernatorial candidate Ahmed Haroun has an uphill task to convince many voices in both the Western and Eastern sections of the state or rather Nuba and Misseriya to accept his candidature, Alhilu is not different. Alhilu is considered an imposed leader on the Nuba who question his ethnic background and the way he is treating Nuba patriots in the SPLM. Maybe it is easier to say that Ahmed Haroun would impose his candidacy after he raised a green leaf to influential Misseriya leaders who could easily endorse him in Misseriya areas, Al hilu is yet to redress problems related to some of his predecessors such as Brig Gen, Daniel Kodi, Ismail Jalab and the controversy surrounding the arrest of Brig Gen Talafoun Kuku.

Al hilu in a way is having a battle to fight within his own party before facing any rivaling political party. His predicaments are manifested in the way his opponents in the SPLM view him as someone who is quick to reach concessions with outside foes before reaching an internal concession within his party. His manner of addressing dissident voices goes way back to the way he reached an agreement for the area back in 2003. He sidelined major forces from within and some foes think this prompted him to dessert the region immediately after the CPA was signed.

Later this year he dismissed about 62 leaders from his party- barely a month before the April elections. This has greatly affected the party leaving it with a disjointed top of the pyramid structure. It could be disputed but the fact remains that those dismissed have considerable grass root support and they would definitely corrode the political broad base of the SPLM lest elections are held. This is vivid in the lean representation of the SPLM in the April elections. If what is said in the joint article that during the negotiations both NCP and SPLM reached popular consultations due to that they were not sure who commands massive support in the state, then the results of the elections is a clear indication that SPLM have to seek practical means of turning emotional support to electoral victory. Moreover, SPLM in the state need to question the capabilities of its cadre who continue to offer lip service of delivering votes for the party. A discordant emotional support that could not materialize into votes is a serious problem that requires a mechanism by the SPLM to usher in acceptable leaders.

With the uncertainties in holding up the elections and the consequent conduct of popular consultation, it is easier to deduct that the infamous well circulated conviction that Alhilu and Haroun stroke a political charter for coordination that goes beyond the CPA is real. It goes without saying that to transcend the logic of things is to have things move without been subjected to the will of the people. Appointment to public office through an individual is a curse that would hover in the state till real popularity is subjected to the will of the people of the state. Threats to resort to violence to maintain the status quo would not foster peace. Both leader should come out and subject their popularity to the test as soon as required and should refrain from putting the citizenry hostage to the will and greed of individuals.

Southern Kordofan SPLM chairman is requested more than ever to come out openly to his constituents and dislodge any element of doubt. The people of the state are not concerned about the varied expectations of the popular consultation as explained in the joint article mentioned earlier. The people of Southern Kordofan are keen to know the positions of both leaders on the recent developments of troop’s redeployments and delayed census to dislodge unnecessary anxiety and fear. If such is not said then what is not said is worrisome because the public article failed to conceal the deals behind closed doors to overcome the election phobia by both leaders.

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