Speech of SPLM/A leader at the 21st anniversary
of the Movement
May 19, 2004 (Sudan Tribune)
Following the speech of the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/A Dr. John Garang on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the creation of the Sudan People`s Liberation Movement/Army :
I. Today, 16/5/2004, is our 21st anniversary. As we begin the 22nd year of our heroic struggle, I salute all our heroes and martyrs, who have fallen in the struggle for Sudanese dignity before and after independence and throughout our history and now in the struggle for the Ne..
NAIROBI, May 19, 2004 (Sudan Tribune) -- Following the speech of the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/A Dr. John Garang on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the creation of the Sudan People`s Liberation Movement/Army :
I. Today, 16/5/2004, is our 21st anniversary. As we begin the 22nd year of our heroic struggle, I salute all our heroes and martyrs, who have fallen in the struggle for Sudanese dignity before and after independence and throughout our history and now in the struggle for the New Sudan of democracy, freedom, justice, human rights and prosperity for all Sudanese. I salute these heroes and martyrs as a reminder that they did not die in vain. The legacy and spirit of their struggle will always guide us, and all generations to come.
II. On the occasion of this 21st anniversary, I congratulate all officers, NCOs, men and cadres of the SPLA, SPLM and CANS for the many successes of the Movement over the past 12 months. I greet all our people everywhere in the Sudan and in the Diaspora. My anniversary message to you this year is in the following seven points: -
1. Firstly, like in my last anniversary statement, my first message is again on the need for forgiveness, reconciliation and unity of the Movement (SPLM/A) and unity of the people of New Sudan so that we are best able to face the challenges of peace that are ahead of us. As you are aware the past year, 16th May 2003 to 16th May 2004, was a year occupied mainly by the Naivasha negotiations. As came in my messages of briefing to all units, we achieved and signed two major documents, one on Security Arrangements (in September 2003) and the other on Wealth Sharing (in January 2004). In order to implement these two agreements and the Machakos Protocol of 2002, the unity of the SPLM/A and of the people of New Sudan is of paramount importance, indeed unity is a necessary condition for successful implementation.
2. Secondly, in this context of peace, unity and reconciliation, I take this opportunity to congratulate our brothers and sisters who re-joined the SPLM/A over the last few months. I congratulate Dr. Lam Akol, CDR Akwoc Mayong Jago and all officers, NCOs and men of the former SPLM/A-United, and I congratulate Dr. Theopolus Ocheing and CDR Martin Kenyi and all officers, NCOs and men of former EDF for their patriotic decision to merge forces and become part and parcel of the SPLM/A. We are achieving merger and unity of the Movement, and this process will continue, so that we manage the coming Interim Period in unity and deny our detractors their wish of dividing us and reversing the people`s gains. We shall also expedite South-South dialogue in all its phases. We plan to hold several conferences of South-South dialogue and several conferences of the SPLM over the next few months, so as to achieve full unity of the SPLM and unity of the people of New Sudan.
3. Thirdly, regarding the ongoing peace talks in Naivasha, we will continue to negotiate in good faith and take the regime to the brink of peace. We are willing and ready to sign a fair and just political settlement. We hope to sign three protocols in the coming few days: (a) Protocol on Power Sharing, (b) Protocol on Abyei, and (c) Protocol on the Two Areas (of Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile). These three protocols plus the three agreements that we have already signed (Machakos, Security Arrangements and Wealth Sharing) will constitute the core Peace Agreement. In addition there will be two Annexes: (a) Comprehensive Cease-fire Arrangements Agreement and (b) Implementation Modalities. I take the opportunity to thank General Sumbyeiwo and his IGAD envoys and the international community for their assistance and perseverance in the talks, and congratulate the SPLM and GOS delegations to the Naivasha talks for their patience and achievements.
4. Fourthly, whereas we are fully committed to the peace process and will continue to negotiate in good faith, we must make the necessary contingency plans in case the talks collapse. That would of course be tragic, but it is always wise to plan for the worst possible outcome and to be pleasantly surprised by the best possible outcome. In the event of resumption of war, it would cover all of Southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan, Darfur and maybe other areas. The war could even reach Khartoum itself. Resumption of the war might result in the disintegration of the country and it is therefore a prospect both sides should be best advised to avoid, but for which we must obviously and definitely be prepared.
5. Fifthly, I once more urge you to implement the SPLM vision and program of Peace through Development. While we negotiate with the GOS to achieve a political settlement or while we fight in the absence of a peace agreement, we must start and continue with socio-economic development in all areas under our administration. Our children cannot wait for peace in order to go school; they must go to school now. And considering that this war has gone on for 21 years while the Anyanya war lasted 17 years, we would lose more generations of our children to illiteracy if we wait for peace for them to go to school. I said the same thing in my last anniversary statement which anticipated a peace agreement, but it is already one year and we have not signed the final agreement yet. Children who were born 21 years ago when the war started should be completing their university studies by now, and so we must exert all our efforts, despite the difficulties, to ensure that our children go to school.
6. Sixth, although our National Convention has delayed, we are determined to hold our 2nd SPLM National Convention this year. Should there be a Peace Agreement the National Liberation Council (NLC) will have to ratify it. The primary aim of the 2nd National Convention will be the building of the SPLM as an effective political Movement, so that the SPLM becomes firmly established all over the Sudan. We will reorganize, restructure and qualitatively and quantitatively build the SPLM and SPLA, while the CANS will be revamped and transformed into the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) as we prepare for governance, and we will do this whether there is a peace agreement or not.
7. Seventh and finally, at the international level, the SPLM/SPLA will continue to cultivate friendly relations with all the countries of the Region and with the wider international community in general. I take the opportunity of this anniversary statement to appeal to the international community for humanitarian relief assistance to all affected areas the Sudan, especially to Darfur and Northern Upper Nile, where GOS militias are devastating and shattering the lives of innocent people, and to Northern Bahr el Ghazal, where we are receiving hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people from Khartoum and various parts of Northern Sudan now even before a peace agreement is signed - there will definitely be a major influx once peace comes.
III. Again, on the occasion of this 21st anniversary, I once more salute our martyrs to whom this day belongs, and I greet and congratulate you all wherever you may be this anniversary day. I assure you all that the Movement will be faithful and loyal to the objectives of the struggle. The SPLM/SPLA will never betray the cause of our people, and our track record is known to all. I assure you that, while the SPLA wages armed struggle, the Objective is political, to achieve freedom and ensure justice and dignity for all our people, that is, to achieve the New Sudan. I assure you that the SPLM/SPLA is sincerely committed to peace and reconciliation among our people and to their unity, and to the unity of the Liberation Movement. I wish you well all as we begin the 22nd Year of our struggle. God bless you all. SPLM Oye!
New Sudan Oye!
Victory to the SPLM/SPLA and to the people of New Sudan! Sincerely, yours in the Struggle,
Dr. John Garang de Mabior.
May 16, 2004