A leader from the Peoples’ Movement (SPLM/A), Dr. Costello Garang, in an honest interview for “Al-Intibaha”, Published on Thursday, January 20, 2016, 13:50. Interview – Hadiyah Ali
January 24, 2016 (SSB) —- Dr. Costello Garang, one of the most prominent ambassadors of the Peoples’ Movement (Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement: SPLM/A) and (previous) Advisor to the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has demanded that Salva resigns from his post. Costello Garang clarified by saying that the time has come for him to quit, stating that the Peoples’ Movement has failed in governing the South, and cited the random killings and the unprecedented exodus to the North, which is more than what was happening when the country was united. He went on to say that the agreement between Machar and Salva Kiir will not end the crisis in the South, since it is inherently tied to their presence, and asked to allow room for the Southerners to present their choices and for the international community to help the Southerners make a change. He also said that Sudan, with strong support from Western Countries, has to play an important role in helping the South. Al-Intibaha sat down with Costello and asked him about the many issues that matter to the public in South Sudan and in Sudan. Let us then read the interview together.
–In your opinion, to what extent does the Addis Ababa agreement help with solving the crisis between Salva and Machar and do southerners find it convincing?
First of all everyone should know that South Sudan is not the Peoples’ Movement, the Movement is only one of the components in the South and a small part at that. But, unfortunately, the Movement’s leadership has tied the fate of the Southerners to its own, and so, each time they fight amongst themselves, the Southerners harvest death, destruction and displacement. What’s happening in the South is that ordinary, innocent Southerners are dying in these struggles, most of them do not related in anyway to the Peoples’ Movement; meanwhile the people from the Movement are not suffering or dying from these wars like the rest of the Southerners. Unfortunately, the Southerners themselves do not know what they are dying for, I’ll tell you even more than that, some Southerners do not know what the whole point of the Movement is nor can they define it. They had the understanding that life would be better after gaining independence, that there will be schools; clean, paved streets; hospitals; and job opportunities, because [John] Garang was telling people not to move to the cities for he will bring the city to the villages in the sense that he will provide them with all the necessary services the city has and at the same standards and specifications, and that in their own village. But, a few years after independence, the city itself melted away, not to mention the village. Could you believe that the city of Juba is completely finished (means destroyed)? Corpses in the morgue are rotting because there is no supply of electricity. Is anything more distressful to a government than the fact that it’s leaving the corpses of the dead to rot and decay inside the refrigerators and in the hospitals in the capital?! So, talking about the reconciliation of the Movement’s leadership as a solution to the South’s problems is just “empty talk”, because now, after all these wars, strifes, and gaining independence, we went back to war and this means that the North wasn’t the only cause of our crisis in the first place. It also means that the current leadership of the South cannot solve the problems and lead the country to safe grounds. So the agreement does not change anything, because what divides them is greater than what unites them, it’s the same in South Africa and Tanzania and even with Arusha. They (South Africa and Tanzania) have put it in their heads that if only the Movement’s leadership could reconcile, there will be peace and security in the South. Why do people want peace after all?
There is a German philosopher that said peace is not the absence of war, peace is the presence of justice; therefore if there is no justice, there is no peace. If the Movement’s leadership go back to their old positions, vice president, minister and party secretary, does that lead to stability in the situation? Unfortunately, simply put, the situation before the war was not stable. I used to think that the problems that happened in the South provided ample opportunity for the Southerners to sit down and think of fundamental solutions, not superficial ones such as is happening now.
–Do you think the agreement will achieve a certain degree of cooperation between Salva and Machar?
They were not [working] together when Salva was President and Riek Vice President. They did not cooperate. Machar tried to cooperate with Salva, but they (Kiir and supporters) were, and still are, talking about the disagreements of 1991. Machar was Vice President, but he was isolated inside the organization.
(From your experience in dealing with the issues of the South, how do you see the future of the relationship with Sudan and what is the Western countries’ stance on it?
Regarding Sudan, the Western countries are now convinced that it is inevitable that Sudan should have an important role in solving the problems of the South. The countries where this idea is firmly established were not even countries that had any friendly, or otherwise, relations with Khartoum. It’s a political fact that the neighbouring countries, in spite of everything, do not understand the South’s problems the way Sudan does. The Ugandan intervention makes clear that the Africans do not understand the issue because the Nuer understood that the Ugandan army allied itself with the Dinka. They do not believe that the Ugandan army intervened in order to protect the southern state, but in order to protect the Dinka’s reign, and that will pose a problem.
Obviously the Ethiopians have Nuer in Gambella, so they are a bit more cautious than the Ugandans, but the Ugandan President is dominating the game, for you cannot be a party to war and mediation at the same time. This would make it very difficult difficult to mediate. Had Museveni not intervened in the South, his mediation towards finding a solution would have been accepted and his role would have been far much better. That is why we see that the Sudanese chose well when they took a more cautious stance. If the Darfur Movements were not present in South Sudan, Sudan’s role (in the mediation) would have been important and crucial, but the Western countries became convinced that Sudan’s involvement is inevitable, the Americans even said this to the government in Khartoum. It is possible that Sudan will have an active role in [creating] stability in the South, then those who arrived from the states of Aweil, Al-Wahda, the Upper Nile, and all the southern cities and areas in great numbers… I watched the wedding of Sultan Abd al-Baqi’s son in Khartoum, very big numbers all returned (to the North), in fact the Southerners are sorry that they sold their houses. It is a different spirit (compared to the time of Independence).
The Southerner is convinced that his natural refuge is the North, so how can the relationships not be good and how can Khartoum not take upon itself its natural role towards the South. The best thing for all of us would be to speak about these things with transparency and to put things back on their right track. What happened in the South after separating from the North and gaining independence does not bring us honour. We did not expect that with the same degree of fervour for the referendum, war would break out again in the South, and what shocked all the southerners is that the war broke out between decision-makers, the President and his (former) Vice-President. It is possible that the President is the main one complicating the situation and then forcing it upon the Vice-President the way he had.
I know that Machar did not want what happened or the war that killed and displaced Southerners, and in which great numbers were killed for no cause and for nothing. This is a disaster. The southerners have to think now and to think differently about their fate, why are they dying so brutally and to whose advantage? The Southerners are now searching for a new place to live in Khartoum and for stability; the entire leadership prefers that even, why? Is that what the Peoples’ Movement was striving for? Is that all we reap from deciding to get independence? The southerners have to think realistically and strive to change the mental image and the feeling that has sunk in about them being a nation that knows no other way besides war and death. This picture is created and painted by none other than the Southerners themselves. Others might help us get on the right path, but the fundamental things, such as how the South will gain stability and rise up, this the southerners themselves should do.
–Are the Southerners now closer to reuniting with Sudan or to separating in a new way from Sudan?
No, of course not. Unity is a political decision, the citizens voted to separate for the sake of better conditions, instead they entered tragic conditions, but the idea of reuniting, this will be the final decision. One has to start with steps to open the borders so that people could move and work freely, the Southerner that used to live in the North could work there again, and the Northerner in the South could work there too and get all their freedoms. We might also reach a point of cancelling customs between the two countries, and representing each other’s interests among other countries of the world, and have normal relations in the sense that there will be no (armed) Northern opposition in the South, and vice-versa, no (armed) Southern opposition in the North. If these steps are taken, the final step could be creating a confederal system like the one being used in the European Union right now, we could also reach the point of having a unified currency, by doing that we could renew the relationship and at the end do a referendum, go back to the people, because. The president alone cannot make the decision of unity or independence.
–So in your opinion unity is a likely possibility?
Of course, our hope is that all of Africa will unite in one blocks. Community united by interests like South and North, which originally were one country. Separation might not be is to their advantage. The closest country to Sudan is South Sudan, the closest country to Kenya is Uganda, and the closest country to Uganda is Tanzania. Because the current world is a world of the powerful, if you don’t buy or sell anything, you do not exist. You have to buy and sell and we as a country came in late, while (national) countries begin to disappear, people are turning towards united entities (unions). The hope in Sudan might be that any day now both sides (countries) would reunite to the contentment of both sides.
Besides, the years that have passed since the independence have changed many of the concepts the southerners had, the northerners as well, for the South cannot remain in a state of war with bitter memories forever. Inevitably the Southerners have to live their life and contribute their share to humanity.
–But the Southerners wanted separation and fought to get it.
It doesn’t matter. Anyway man only learns from experience, in the very least there are many false concepts and facts missing, nowadays people know exactly what is going on around them and where their future lies.
(With our respect to your point of view, but killing and death have become a distinguishing mark for the Southerners and that takes away the desire of any side to cooperate with them, as [Peter Yak] Gadet mentioned already, what does the killing of 45 thousand southerners in the course of 40 minutes mean? For death was in everything.
Listen sister, there is this old story in the South that the Northerner is the (only) one killing the southerners. In the Southerners’ mind, only the Mandukuru (an Arab from the North) kills (Southners). The matter is now clear to them and they found out the truth, that is why they are angry at the government in Juba. The people in the North obviously knew that the government has to do its work and that it does not have emotions (as government). What happened in the South was that I met a number of Nuer in Nairobi who said to me we’re better off going to Khartoum than going back to Juba, they also told me that if this is “your” (meaning that I am a Dinka) new state, we’re better off in the North, we do not need a Dinka government (they said)… We used to think that the war and random killing will end when we gained independence. The Southerners all supported separation because they were sick of fighting and death, but what is happening now confirms the lack of control of the situation by those in charge and incapability of achieving stability for everyone.
–What does the rest of the leadership in the South, for example Peter Gadet, think of the Salva-Machar Agreement?
I, of course, am accused of being behind Peter Gadet’s position though what ties me to him goes way back, our friendship goes way back (during the liberation struggle). But after the events in Juba, Machar’s dismissal, and what happened later on to Peter Gadet (his dismissal by Machar as Vice Chief of Military Operations), even the Nuer people and the leadership began saying that Costello is behind Gadet’s positions. Machar stood up to them, refuted these claims and clarified the relationship between me and Gadet since he was one of those who knew its details. Anyway, if I wanted to rebel I wouldn’t hide behind Gadet or Machar. I am from Bahr al-Ghazal, an area with high population density, had I wanted to declare a movement and rebel, I wouldn’t hide behind anyone, I would do my own work. But I want to say that Gadet has very clear stances, he is against uniting the Peoples’ Movement (as one political party again) and against Arusha (which decrees this unity). He does not want people to go back to the Movement and he says he will not back Juba with Salva Kiir as President. He also says that if Machar decides to go to Juba with Salva Kiir, he will not back him. He thinks the current situation in the south is in need of an all-encompassing solution, not partial solutions that are supposed to solve disagreements between Salva and Machar because they are part of the crisis in the south… That is Gadet’s stance.
–How do you relate to it?
Coincidentally I agree with Gadet on two things, first I am against uniting the Peoples’ Movement because with the path it is on now, where would going back to it take us? Therefore, I think that Salva failed as President, I cannot possibly go back to a party lead by Salva Kiir, but if Salva Kiir stepped down and new leadership stepped in to discuss changing the path, to repair, and to put in place a plan with clear outlines, then one could take a risk and revisit the idea of how and in what way to cooperate with them.
(There are some, from the South, who think that the South cannot regain stability without Salva Kiir, and the government was and always will be in the hands of the Dinka.
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t the Dinka who brought about Salva Kiir to govern. It was Salva Kiir who tipped the scales and made it look like the Dinka rule, and he wasn’t elected as President of the South. He was first elected as (First) Vice-President to the Republic of Sudan and Head the Government, the regional government, in the South. In order to become President, there were supposed to be (new) elections in South Sudan after independence. What happened was that the Parliament, under his (Kiir’s) pressure, extended his term. , People said we’ll give him a second term. After those four years, They (Kiir and the group around him) said he needs four more years. If things were normal and I were to meet him, I would ask him, what is he still sitting on that chair for? It is enough that in this period that passed he did not do any tangible for the south or for the region; on the contrary, he took the South to war again. The Dinka are merely victims of Salva Kiir’s reign.
–But the tribes play a big role in the south.
We didn’t say they don’t, but does Salva Kiir represent the Dinka tribe’s leadership? The Dinka have their own leadership, which is a historic and well known leadership.
–What is Salva Kiir then?
He is the Leader of the Peoples’ Movement, the Peoples’ Movement is not only Dinka.
–Does he lead the Dinka from inside the Peoples’ Movement?
On the contrary, that is not true. The Dinka as a tribe (people) are different from the Peoples’ Movement, they have other parties that differ from the Movement.
–So how does the South get out of its current crises?
The way out is by Salva Kiir stepping down from government (presidency), leaving and giving the southerners the chance to choose a new president through elections. He (Kiir) does not represent the South after independence. There should be free and fair elections without the Peoples’ army being used to rig the elections as happened before when electing Governors. In the elections of 2010, Paul Malong (current SPLA Chief of General Staff) used the army (to rig the elections to become Governor of NBGS); he brought the army, dressed it in policemen’s uniform and used it to rig the elections. They took the ballots by force and went off with them.
–Dr. Costello, right now, what is the wager regarding the oil reserves’ role in reviving the economy?
The oil reserves in the South are not that big… Not as big as the reserves in Saudi Arabia or Iraq, besides the sums they (Kiir & Co.) received for the oil were not invested in developing the area, that is why there is no progress or services. The South has to prepare for the period of post-oil since the South’s oil reserves will not go on for a long time. This is what the Southerners should know. Because the wager on independence was built entirely on the idea that the oil reserves will cover the gap and bring about growth, but the truth is there are no such big oil reserves (left). The wells is in the State of al-Wahda (Unity), except for Block 5A, the rest have water in them and production has decreased. There is Block B in Jonglei, which of course belongs to the French company Total. This block was given to Total by President Nimeiry in 1983 (in fact 1980); to this day not a single well was drilled in it. The agreement with the French company should be re-examined and the block taken away from them. That block has a big size of around one hundred sixty-seven square kilometres; there is no other block of its size in any other area. All interested parties should re-examine the allotment and partition it to three blocks. There are also oil reserves in Palloich, which is a distinctive oil field, it contains big reserves of oil, and right up to this moment it produces around one hundred sixty-five barrels per day (<was higher before the crisis). I think the south government receives three and a half USD for every barrel (currently), so this is the source of income for the government of the South currently. It lives on it. Most of these sums go towards buying arms.
–Where does he gets the weapons from? There are no officially, known sources for the South Government in the area.
Obviously if you don’t buy weapons through official channels, you pay higher prices. This is what the South government is suffering from right now, it bought arms from a deal from China, but then the Chinese President intervened and stopped the saless after protests from the citizens and the opposition led by Machar. Right now they bring weapons with the help of Paul Malong from some of the countries in Asia (Russia for example).
–This is the reality as it pertains to the oil revenues and its size, what are the other sources for the economy in the South in the future?
I think our economy’s future is in agriculture and minerals. We focused on the oil and forgot agriculture and minerals, which is why we are in a difficult situation right now. We could have used some of the revenues from the oil to build up the mineral sector and marketing it to big global companies in that field. But the oil money was lost and squandered on somethings that do not benefit the Southern people in any way.
–The issue of Abyei still lacks any direction, in the time period after the independence during which you became Southerners, what do you think the solution for Abyei is?
An issue like that of Abyei is solved through mutual agreement or military power, but we are not in a situation that allows a military solution, nor do we want another Kashmir in Sudan. The Dinka in Abyei, with Salva Kiir’s agreement, held a referendum, but finally he (KIIR) did not acknowledge the results without Sudanese participation because he knew that if he did, there would be war. Are the Southerners ready for war with the North? Of course not. No one is. The people of Abyei are also not willing to fight the North because most of them currently live in North and West of Kordofan, with some living in Khartoum.
So the final solution for Abyei has to be a mutual agreement. The people could say we signed an agreement, but it could be similar to the Oslo agreement (of Israel with the Palestinians). Maybe in a thousand years the people will say we signed an agreement but its implementation is a challenge. No sane southern president will acknowledge a one-sided referendum.
–We in the South who fought in Abyei were Dinka and Nuer. If the Nuer fight the Dinka (like now), could you imagine (now) a day when Nuer forces will enter (Abyei) in order to defend Dinka-Land?
For me the solution is peaceful and mutual, it will most certainly contain a special clause for Abyei, and we will give the Massiriya a chance, incase they want to come and live in the South as citizens, just like the Southerners who went back to the North freely. I think it is better for the nations and tribes that are on the frontlines and border areas to co-exist rather than be at war. Both countries should make great efforts on that.
Ambassador of the Peoples’ Movement (SPLM/A) in an honest interview with “Al-Intibaha” Published on Thursday, January 21, 2016, 13:50. Interview – Hadiyah Ali
Dr. Costello Garang, one of the most prominent ambassadors of the Peoples´ Movement and (former) Advisor to the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has demanded that Salva resigns from his post. Costello Garang clarified by saying that the time has come for him to quit, stating that the SPLM has failed in governing the South, and cited the random killings and the unprecedented exodus to the North, which now exceeds what was taking place when the country was united. He went on to say that the agreement between Machar and Salva Kiir will not end the crisis in the South, since it is inherently tied to their presence, and asked to allow room for the Southerners to present their choices and for the international community to help the Southerners succeed in making change. He also said that Sudan, with strong support from western countries, has to play an essential role in helping the south.
Al-Intibaha sat down with Costello and asked him about the many issues that matter to the public in South Sudan and in Sudan. Let us then read the interview together.
⎯How do you see the future of the Sudanese armed movements without their popularity?
These no longer have a cause and they have completely lost direction. If you had a cause you wouldn’t leave Darfur, enter the South and interfere with Southerners’ issues. They participated in the massacres that happened in Bentiu and they murdered Southerners. Personally, if I had the choice, I would banish them from the South because they have become mercenaries. The problem is the people have no idea how independence came about. The people who decided that the South gains independence, did not intend for the South to separate so as to become a centre of opposition to the North. Independence has a price, if you open a centres like that, you will exhaust yourself. Besides, they don’t know what Khalil (Khalil Ibrahim, founder of JEM) wanted. Khalil and I organized the conference for the Marginalized Groups with directives from John Garang. Khalil did not want the South to separate, he wanted a confederal system consisting of the former nine (Sudanese) Provinces. The Presidency would be (in such a case) rotational. The first president would be from the South, Khalil said. Garang would be president for two terms, and afterwards the presidency will go to Darfur. Khalil’s ideological stance was more Islamic than tribal. I discussed his views with (John) Garang demanded that Khalil should give up the Shari’a if he wanted the rotational presidency (to be taken seriously, but Khalil refused saying that his constituency was Islamic. I helped Khalil enter the Netherlands (mistake: Meant was France).
⎯As far as you know their relationship, how true are the reports about the tensions between Ali al-Hajj and Khalil Ibrahim Khalil?
Khalil did not want Ali al-Haj and there were disputes between them. Ali al-Haj is against war and prefers diplomacy. Some Western boys, generally speaking, do not want him. Some did not even want Ali al-Haj to attend the conference. He had disagreements with Khalil regarding the issue of the war in Darfur and Khartoum, and the armed opposition from Darfur’s leadership. We made great efforts, first (due to our long termed rich experiences) we helped them understand what the international community wants. We also encourage them to sit down with the government in Khartoum and try to reach a solution. We (SPLM/A) fought the North for twenty-one years, but at the end we did not win through war or weapons alone. We told them that they would achieve nothing with war alone. I (together with my wife), for example, talked to Abdul Wahid [Nur; it was in Paris] to pass Machar’s message to him for them to come to South Sudan and get a chance to talk with Khartoum, but Abdul Wahid refused. I told him that war was a lengthy business and he and his people (Fur) were not fighters. He answered that they would learn to fight. I still have my conviction; I call on the leadership of the armed groups (in Darfur) to listen to the voice of reason (and try a peaceful solution). No war could ever be beneficial (at the end), as long as there are peaceful alternatives and big opportunities for dialogue like the effort done by the regional leadership with the government and the movements. What is preventing discussions for a final solution? We hope that our brothers in the armed movements will look at what happened to the South after the independence with consideration and learn from these lessons.
⎯You are accused by the left, why?
I am accused by the left, some accuse me of being Islamist, and the Kenyans said that I am friendly to Sheikh Hassan (Turabi), though I am a Catholic Christian. My knowledge of Islam and Christianity made me moderate. I matured in Germany; there they don’t treat you according to your religion, which is why Merkel opened the borders for Syrian refugees. She did not tell them, “Go to Saudi Arabia. Why are you coming to Germany?” I also grew up in a Muslim family. I was for many years in the house of Paramount Chief (of the Rezeigat Arab Tribes) Mahmoud Moussa Madibo because of his friendly relationship to my (late) father, Sultan Ring (Lual). I had other good experiences where I was treated just like he treated me, and that formed my personal views about Islam differently. I don’t care what those who surround me say, I react according to my conviction only.
⎯How did Costello receive his experience in politics and what is the secret behind the historical relationship between you, the National [Umma] Party and Sadiq al-Mahdi?
When I was 12 years old I used to accompany my father, Sultan Ring (Lual) from North Bahr al-Ghazal (to his political meetings in Khartoum). I was his translator in his meetings with the former Sudanese Head of State, Al-Azhary, the former Prime Ministers, Mr. Mohammed Ahmad al-Mahjoub and Sadig El-Mahdi, as well as minister Al-Shareef al-Hindi and Imam al-Hadi (El-Hadi). Sometimes my father would send me on special errands to the greatest of leaders Sadiq, Al-Azhari and Zarouq. I would enter the Republican Palace and meet the President (on my father’s behalf) with my father’s ring (as entrance ticket). Back then I did not know that I was at the heart of politics of Sudan and I remember that a well-known crisis happened. Back then, the Umma Party was yet united, Aweil (District) had six representatives, all from the Umma Party, amongst them were Sultan Abd al-Bagi and Hammad Saleh, who represented our constituency. My father nominated him. Then the Party got divided (into Sadig’s and Imam’s Wing). In parliament, Al-Imam al-Hadi wanted Aweil’s delegates to back him (and Al-Mahjoub); he used to hold meetings at Al-Mahdi’s Centre (a house opposite to Dairat Al-Mahdi at Al-Jumuriya Street). At his invitation my father and I visited him at night and he spoke to my father about the vote (to elect the Prime Minister) in the parliament asking him to back him (his candidate Al-Mahjoub against Sadig El-Mahdi). My father did not answer yes or no… Al-Imam talked to Paramount Chief Madibo (to convince my father to vote for his candidate), but the group of our delegates from Aweil voted for Sadiq and they played an important role in making Sadiq prime minister.
⎯Do you think there are Southerners who played a central role with the (Central) government whom the agreement did some injustice to?
Of course many. Ali Osman (former Vice President who negotiated CPA with John Garang) had people working for him in the South, then he dropped the Southerners who backed the North (Central Government) during the war just like Numeiry did in Addis Ababa. Numeiry dropped his Southerners, became closer and went to prefer Joseph Lagu to them. They gave up their people from the South (SPLM kept its people from the North) and hopped that SPLM promises to achieve unity and New Sudan would bear fruits. This was to the point that some amongst them started repeating the slogan of “New Sudan”, which was Garang’s alternative project (to unity as it was or Old Sudan). If they were serious about unity in the first place, they would have come with all their weight to the South and propagate for it, but no one came. They expected the Southerners in the Movement to back them (Unity). If they wanted the South to separate (as it seemed to be able to keep Sharia), they should, at the very least, have arranged a way for their (former) supporters to get integrated smoothly into the new state without any conflict. Had they allowed them to negotiate directly with Garang, they would’ve come out with results in favour of their new situation in the South. This is one of the problems that came up afterwards and spread even inside the SPLM/A. Anyone who was in the north was later on marginalized, even me too, their most senior ambassador (from the struggle becoming ambassador in September 1983), was marginalized (they tried) because some (SPLM Leaders) have this belief that if someone did not fire a gun, he really contributed nothing and could therefore have a role.
⎯To what extent does the West accept the agreement between Salva and Machar?
The West does not want the SPLM. This is something that affects even the Movement’s leadership because the West does not see the Movement as a (political) party. They think the Movement is police, security, and army (which is true). They want the Movement to become a political party and to see other parties created in the South with things discussed in a democratic atmosphere. If they leave only the SPLM in power, there won’t be any kind of future democracy in the South.
⎯Does this mean shrinking the SPLM’s role even though the Movement thinks it is the one, which brought independence and they are the leaders in the South?
The SPLM is not capable of governing the South. Personally, I think they didn’t bring independence on their own, there are other people who voted for independence too. Even if we were to argue, that the SPLM did that alone, independence did not come about through war only, but mainly through diplomacy in the Naivasha negotiations (and elsewhere) in which many sides played an important role. The army did play a role, but not the only one. Sudan was not defeated militarily (only weakened), they were forced to allow the South exercise the right of self-determination. The SPLM did not win without diplomacy and dialog. If it would have done that, it might not have been necessary for its leaders to embrace others (which they are rejecting now). But the result is that the Naivasha solution happened through dialogue and in it there was very strong foreign influence. America (and the West) said if the North wants the implementation of Sharia, it should let the Southerners go, that is why the SPLM needs to understand that they won’t be able to govern the South with this mentality (of exclusion), and choose a different path with the Southerners, which will be inclusive and considers everyone (all citizens even none member of the SPLM).
⎯Do you think the current situation allows the creation of other political parties?
We hope so, but there is no political maturity. Meaning if, for example, there is a (political) disagreement between you and another, he would talk to you. The person you disagreed with, becomes your enemy. So in a situation like that, how can there be democracy. Your opinion (they believe) would lead people to hell.
⎯Do you think that right now Salva Kiir is capable of leading the South and carry on?
Salva Kiir offered all that he has and could. People should not blame him for he offered all that is possible to him, which is too meagre to rule or lead a country with. Personally, I also see him as a victim of lack of leadership capable of running the South (or helping him). ⎯No, there are leaders, doctor, and they are capable, but they are staying away. Example? ⎯Lam Akol. He is (intellectually) an exceptional man, put him aside. But I’m telling you, not all who could talk well could rule well. People used to talk about a New Sudan, that they will do this and that, but experience has shown that they are incapable of doing anything of value and that they have no idea how a state is supposed to work. Looking from the outside you think it is easy (to run a country), but on the inside it needs a vision, and capable women and men and far-sighted thinkers. Right now there is no evidence of any kind, that shows there is a capable government in the South.
⎯What is your evaluation of the current situation in the South?
To be honest, it’s tragic. Like I said there is a great exodus to the North, even from Juba. Some people went back to the North because life is difficult, the money goes towards weapons, the USD jumped in value from three pounds per dollar to twenty. South Sudan hardly produces anything, and no one can pay now for anything (because our currency is valueless). That is why they prefer to go to the North, there they pay with the local currency, there are good opportunities, they are still treated as citizens (better now than during unity), and the Southerners have found some opportunities there