Youth rally in Kauda in protest against sacking of Finance Minister

By Wasaka Koja

Kauda, South Kordofan
14 October 2008

More than five hundred youth including girls and women attended a political rally at Kauda in protest of the sacking of the Minister of Finance Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Rahman Saeed (SPLM) by the Governor of South Kordofan Omer Suleiman (NCP).

The rally was addressed by two senior SPLM members: Mr..Anour Bertail, member of the SPLM/A National Liberation Council and Mr. Mustafa Jamus, Deputy Secretary of the SPLM Nuba Mountains.

The rally was opened officially by Mr. Anour Bertail who briefed the youth on the current situation in the state. He explained that the decision to fire the Minister of Finance was made by Governor Omer Suleiman without the knowledge of Deputy Governor Daniel Kodi (SPLM).

Mr. Bertail said the NCP Governor had deliberately sought to divide the SPLM leadership by consulting First VP of Sudan and President of South Sudan, His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, rather than his own Deputy Governor.

In recognition of the danger an internal division would present, the SPLM Nuba Mountains has formed a committee to review the decision and to see whether it upholds in the light of the CPA arrangements. Talks between NCP and SPLM representatives have not yet resulted in a solution.

The SPLM supporters in Kauda believe Dr. Ahmed was relieved from his position because he made a strong stand against corruption and would not be denied access to information of the State’s expenditure and revenues that his position required to have.

The SPLM stance is that the Governor must decline from his decision to fire the Minister of Finance. The position of the Finance Minister is so crucial to the Nuba in the SPLM that Dr. Bertail openly spoke about the possibility that failure of the negotiations between NCP and SPLM could take the Nuba to muraba wahed: square one.

Square one is the common euphemism used for a return to war.

Mr. Bertail continued his address to the rally by talking briefly on the issue of Popular Consultation that will be held following the National Elections in 2009.

He said the Nuba people will have to consider their future carefully, and that the representatives in the South Kordofan Assembly will have to act wisely on behalf of the Nuba people. Mr. Bertail expressed his confidence that both the SPLM and the NCP would respect the opinion of the Nuba people regarding the CPA.

Mr. Bertail urged the youth to join hands and he ended his speech saying the future belongs to the youth. “Soon our leaders will reach a moment when they end their services to the people and hand over their responsibilities to the next generation.”

The second to address the rally was Mr. Mustafa, who began by saying the decision to fire the Minister of Finance was wrong. It is creating doubt and mistrust among the SPLM leaders, which in turn might lead to defeat in the upcoming national elections.

Mr. Mustafa continued to discuss recent police integration. The former SPLM police officers had been scattered in the northern states of Sudan for the purpose of training. Some were sent to El Obeid; some to Khartoum; some to Atbara; and some to Aljazira, while the higher ranks were left in Kadugli.

Mr. Mustafa told the crowd that he received a phone call from Khartoum one day: “it was one of our police officers asking me if the policy had changed: he had been told that they were not coming back to South Kordofan after their training.”

Mr. Mustafa then alerted Deputy Governor Kodi, who eventually settled the matter with the Minister of the Interior: all the police officers would return to South Kordofan.

Speaking about the recent integration of the civil administration, Mr. Mustafa said it is progressing well. Addressing potential civil servants who had not yet filled out their application forms, he urged them to go to Kadugli and apply there for a post in the civil administration.

The youth at Kauda were not alone in their protest the decision of Governor Omer Suleiman to fire the Minister of Finance.  There were similar demonstrations in Dilling and in Kadugli.

It was the first time the youth in Kauda united in protest. Insufficient means of communication made it difficult to respond promptly to the news of the dismissal of Dr. Ahmed, that took place weeks ago. The number of participants in the rally was also limited by the means to inform youth across the area.

However, the youth in South Kordofan are beginning to organize themselves. Last August witnessed a youth conference conducted in Kadugli by Pact-Sudan. The aim of the conference, attended by representatives of ten different youth organisations, was to unite the youth in a joint effort to work for development in the state. 

Following the conference in Kadugli, a delegation of youth from Kadugli paid a visit to Kauda. They returned with a sense of confidence that it would be possible to live peacefully with their brothers and sisters in the former SPLM areas.

Personally I believe that the various stipulations regarding youth and education from the CPA should be implemented and that the youth of South Kordofan should somehow be involved in decision making in the state. This way they will be better prepared to be good leaders in future.    


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