Bona MalualTo: Imam Alsadiq Almahdi,

President of The National Umma Party,


My dear brother Alsadiq,

First of all, since we have just celebrated the feast of the Holy Ramadan, let me once again wish you happy return. I have just received your long note of 3rd October, 2009, which was obviously prompted by my remarks, made in your presence, on Thursday 1st October 2009, to the opening session of the Third General Conference of the National Congress Party (NCP). This is a response to only a few points in your very elaborate memorandum on the current political situation in our country.

I have chosen to respond, only to issues connected with my remarks at the NCP Conference and not deal with all the issues you have raised. Since you have always kindly been open to a personal dialogue with me on these issues, I am sure we will find another opportunity soon, to deal with your memorandum in some detail.

It is humanly natural, that in such political discourse, individuals find occasion to score points at one another. So you had the opportunity to accuse me of "bad faith". Since you and me had not agreed anything on the Juba Conference and then I reneged on that agreement, I do not take this remark of "bad faith" too seriously.

As I said at the outset of my remarks at the NCP Conference, brother ALsadiq, my problem with the Juba Conference is not with you, nor with any other political leader from the North or the South, who attended the Juba Conference. I said it very clearly, that I had no problem with those political leaders of the Northern Opposition, who went to Juba, to pursue political power agenda at Juba. Nor do I have a problem with political parties of the opposition meeting in Juba, as you say and I quote you "to rescue the country". My problem is with the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM), who convened the Juba Conference and invited the Northern opposition political parties to it.

The SPLM doubles all the time, as both the leader of government and of opposition. That is damaging to both credible politics in our country and to honest pursuit of agreements. The SPLM is free to make it clear to the Sudanese public, that it has no confidence in its partner, the NCP and that it will join the Umma Party and other parties of the opposition, to pursue with them, the same objectives of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Whether the SPLM says so clearly or not, the dubious manner in which the SPLM does politics with you and the other parties of the Northern Sudanese opposition is damaging to the CPA.

By all means, the SPLM, as the second party to the CPA, has the right to persuade its partner, the NCP, that it is in the national interest, to seek political consensus with the opposition, so that they can both pursue that line together, as parties of the CPA. But the way the SPLM is doing it with you, the Northern opposition, is wrong. The SPLM cannot pretend that it will pursue politics of opposition to the NCP and at the same time be a partner in power with the NCP.

The SPLM has signed the CPA on behalf of the people of Southern Sudan, with the NCP, because the NCP was the party of the government of the day in Sudan. If the SPLM now believes that it will work with the Northern opposition against the NCP and still keep power, that is a political lie. I say to you, my dear brother Almahdi, that I do not accept political lying.

As always, one of our problems in the Sudanese politics, is that each of us states political events of the very recent past, each in our own way. You have said quite a few things in your memorandum. I need to correct a few important impressions that concern the political history of which I was personally a witness, if not a participant.


1. The 1977 National Reconciliation: I was opposed to the 1977 national reconciliation, brother Alsadiq Almahdi, not because I did not want reconciliation. I was opposed to the national reconciliation, because you and the other Northern Sudanese leaders of the Opposition National Front, who had entered reconciliation dialogue with President Nimeiri, had opposed Nimeiri's signing of the 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement with the South. Up until the time of signing the reconciliation agreement with Nimeiri, the leaders of the Opposition National Front were denouncing the Addis Ababa Agreement, calling it a sell out to the South. Some opposition leaders claimed falsely, that there were secret sections to the Addis Ababa Agreement, which Nimeiri did not make public.

It was clear to me, that without Southern Sudan being part of the national reconciliation talks, to ensure that the Northern opposition first recognize the 1972 peace agreement, the national reconciliation was nothing but an agreement between Nimeiri and the Northern Sudanese opposition, aimed at undermining the rights of Southern Sudan under the Addis Ababa agreement. When no one else in Southern Sudan saw what I saw so clearly, I simply just refused to be part of the national reconciliation.

I resigned from the Nimeiri's regime and paid the price for standing up to him. Nimeiri consigned me to his prison for a long time, for daring to question his judgment on the national reconciliation issue.

Whatever explanations you and the other leaders of the National Front may have about the events in Southern Sudan, after your national reconciliation agreement with Nimeiri, the truth of the matter is that the destruction of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement by Nimeiri, only took place after the 1977 National Reconciliation Agreement. It is interesting, how the political history of Southern Sudan seems to repeat itself in very close historical sequence.

Now, it seems that without the Northern opposition accepting the CPA, as an agreement that has brought peace to our country, the SPLM has decided to play politics with the CPA, by colluding with the Northern opposition against the NCP, the party of the CPA agreement with the SPLM. Yes, you and the Northern opposition say that you respect the rights gained by the South under the CPA, but you also insist that the CPA was a bilateral agreement between two parties, the NCP and the SPLM and that this agreement must be reviewed. No one who insist on the review of an agreement, the way the Northern opposition is with the CPA, can do so, if grant the review, without demanding changes to it. It is obvious, the main change the Northern opposition wants to the CPA, is the clause on Self-determination. You further say that the Northern opposition and the SPLM must guarantee, through your own separate agreement to the CPA, that the referendum on Self-determination by the South, "must lead to unity". Am I not entitled to suspect that the opposition, which now includes the SPLM, is seeking a way to rig the view of the South on Self-determination?

With the horrendous failure of the SPLM, as the government of Southern Sudan for the last five years, to prepare the people of Southern Sudan for the exercise of their right to choose between unity and separation, Self-determination itself, is now a critical point of debate amongst Southern Sudanese. With the rampant insecurity that the SPLM has allowed to become part of its mismanagement of the affairs of Southern Sudan, why does the Northern Sudanese opposition still find it so difficult to refrain from playing guardian to the South on the unity of Sudan?

You have taken some space in your memorandum, to critique Nimeiri's dictatorship to me, in a way that implies that, because I was a member of the Nimeiri's government, I supported dictatorship. You know very well, brother Alsadiq, that I came into the Nimeiri's regime as part of that regime's 1972 peace agreement with the South. I am also in the current government of National Unity today, because of the CPA.

This is a rather mute point, but let me make it all the same. You know, dear brother Alsadiq ALmahdi, that you and me are political contemporaries. We both entered politics at exactly the same time. We first encountered each other at the October 1964 events that followed the overthrow of the Abboud military regime. We became better acquainted with each other at the March 1965 Round-Table Conference. You, as the leader of the Umma Party and me, as one of the founders of The Southern Front. I had just been elected Secretary-General of The Southern Front. The Southern Front held its first National Convention in Malakal, in February 1965, to prepare for The Round-Table Conference. I entered parliament for the first time after the 1968 general elections. I have not lost my Gogrial North Constituency seat to anyone since 1968. I have won that seat over and over, whenever there were elections all over the Sudan. Why on earth, would I favor dictatorship over democracy? I have had many instances in my political life, in which I have had to stand up to dictatorship. But when a dictatorship resolves the political problems of our country, where the so-called democracy had failed, as the current government of National Unity has done through the CPA, I regard it my supreme duty to support and cooperate with such a regime.


2. My Criticism of the CPA: Yes, I had criticized many aspects of the CPA, when it was first agreed upon. Indeed, I have written a booklet of some 180 pages, in both English and Arabic, in which I have critiqued the CPA. But my conclusion in that book is very clear. It is that since the CPA enshrines the right of the people of Southern Sudan to Self-determination, this is an agreement worthy of my support. You can see, brother Alsadiq, the divergence of our two positions.

You most probably believe that the weakest point of the CPA, is that it allows the people of Southern Sudan the right to Self-determination. That is why you are looking for a way out of this clause of the CPA, even by recruiting the leaders of the SPLM, who signed the CPA with the NCP on behalf of the people of Southern Sudan.

My position is that Self-determination is the strongest point of the CPA, which must be upheld. If the people of Southern Sudan, who have never had a say until now, about their future in Sudan, should confirm unity, inspite of everything else that has happened to them over the years, I will be the first to recognize and respect that unity.


3. The 2009 Juba Conference: Yes, I have said that the 2009 Juba Conference threatens the peace we now have under the CPA. How can that not be the case, when the SPLM, the second partner to that peace agreement, is searching for alternatives to the CPA with you, the North opposition parties? You call my view about the Juba Conference "a disinformation". But you proceed to say and I quote: "As you know, the Agreement is already in trouble, with both parties expecting a breakdown and preparing for unilateral action. The Juba Conference was about a National effort to avoid such contingencies." The above quotation may be an inside view about what the SPLM leaders may have told you at that Juba Conference. The SPLM may be looking for a uniteral way out. That much is clear about that party's behavior, not just towards its senior partner, the NCP, but towards all others as well.

What I know and see, is that the NCP continues to play as a committed partner to the SPLM on the CPA. Not a single time has the NCP walked out on the SPLM, over the implementation of any section of the CPA. The NCP is committed to the elections process, for instance. The SPLM is not committed to the elections. That is why it is looking for a way out of the elections with you, the Northern opposition political parties.

Elections is one of the most crucial steps of the CPA. Without elections now, there will be no referendum on Self-determination for the Southern Sudan in 2011. If as I believe, the SPLM is looking for a way out of the elections with you, the Northern Sudanese political parties of the opposition, then this cannot be right.

Now, the SPLM has signed with you, that if the NCP does not do the opposition bidding over the five conditions of the Juba Conference by November 30, 2009, the SPLM and the opposition parties will boycott the elections. This is for a party that has enjoyed partnership with the NCP at the National level and which has totally enjoyed exclusive power in Southern Sudan, over the last five years. The SPLM is always violating its own constitution and the principle of fair and free democratic practices.

With the help of the Northern opposition, the SPLM now seeks to run the NCP out of town, perhaps to reach a new interim period of another six years with the Northern opposition over the South. That may not be so bad for Southern Sudan, brother Alsadiq Almahdi. It might give the South an opportunity to correct some of the terrible failures of the SPLM, over the last five years. The problem is that the Northern opposition seeks, by its tactics with the SPLM, to erase Self-determination from the CPA.

The implementation of the CPA has not gone on as well as one might have liked. The CPA is a very difficult peace agreement. All difficult agreements, like the CPA are like that. The answer to the difficulty in the implementation of the CPA, is not for the SPLM, the principal signatory of the CPA, to join the Northern opposition parties, whose acceptance of the text of the CPA is not thorough nor complete. Which makes that acceptance very dubious indeed, especially when these parties make it so clear, that they seek an agreement with the SPLM leadership "that will ensure the unity of Sudan"!

Unity of Sudan, brother Alsadiq Almahdi, is assured by the CPA. This agreement gives the people of Southern Sudan a choice between unity and separation. All we need to do, is to ensure, through the proper implementation of the remaining sections of the CPA, that we have made unity attractive to the Southern Sudanese, before they vote in their referendum on Self-determination, rather than seek to recruit the SPLM into a team of Northern Sudanese Political Parties, intent on undermining the CPA.

4. You are entitled to expound the Umma Party value on free elections the way you have done in your memorandum to me. But the elections that you and I should be concerned about now, are the elections provided for in the CPA. The CPA states very clearly, that only an elected national government in Khartoum and in Southern Sudan, will conduct the referendum on Self-determination in the South in the year 2011. If the Northern opposition parties and the SPLM say at their Juba Conference, that if the NCP does not do their bidding by the end of November, then the parties to the Juba Conference will not go for what is a mandatory elections, then that undermines the CPA itself. The entire exercise at the Juba Conference was, in my view, aimed at undermining the implementation of the only two remaining items of the CPA before the end of the interim period. These two remaining items of the CPA are:-


· The running of the general elections on time: This is the most crucial item of the CPA, as far as Southern Sudan is concerned. Only an elected government will run the referendum on Self-determination in the South in the year 2011. If you cannot elect a government that will run the referendum in 2011 on time, then you will not have a referendum in 2011. If the Northern Opposition succeeds in committing the SPLM against the running of elections on time, then the Northern opposition has succeeded in putting off the referendum on Self-determination. One does not have to be too clever to figure that out.

The political agenda of the opposition Northern political parties is clear to me. I say again, that I have no problem with the Northern opposition parties pursuing their political agenda. I just cannot understand how the SPLM, as the agent of the implementation of the CPA, on behalf of the people of Southern Sudan, can allow itself to be manipulated by the Northern opposition into undermining the CPA!

As a partner in power with the NCP, the SPLM had the opportunity to do something about the demands of the Northern political parties in the five years the SPLM has been in power in Khartoum and in Juba. The SPLM could even have invited the Northern Sudanese opposition parties to Juba for a Conference, to alert the nation that something need correction while there is still time, rather than wait to create a crisis for Southern Sudan, when it has no time left for it to exercise its referendum on Self-determination. The Northern opposition should now wait for the outcome of the referendum on Self-determination in the year 2011!

It is interesting, that the Northern opposition parties are so concerned that Darfur should become part of the elections. I clearly understand the reason for that. Most Northern opposition parties think that the electoral seats of Darfur belong to them. But it is this same Northern opposition parties, that have always argued in the past, in the case of the South and the elections, that one disturbed part of the country, cannot hold the entire country hostage. The North, twice and not just once, ran elections without the South. The governments that were elected in those elections, in 1965 and again in 1967, became the most atrocious governments of Sudan, against the people of Southern Sudan.

It would be ideal to have found peace in Darfur by the time of going for elections. But if we cannot find peace in Darfur before the elections, then let us go for partial elections, in the same way we have done before, with Southern Sudan, in order for our country to fulfill its constitutional obligations under the CPA.

At the risk of confirming your accusation of me as a supporter of military regimes, let me say that the problem of Southern Sudan has seen all the national governments of Sudan, be they military or civilian. It is the judgment of most Southern Sudanese, that civilian governments of Sudan have always performed worst for the people of Southern Sudan. It is incredible that the only peace agreements between the South and the government of Sudan, were made with military led governments in Khartoum. Not a single agreement with a civilian government exists. Is this not a very severe indictment of all the civilian governments that have run the Sudan since independence, more than fifty years ago, my dear brother Alsadiq Almahdi?


· Whether we are talking of the 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement or of the 2005 CPA, these agreements came after the Northern Sudan democratic parties had tried their hand of repression in the South, when they were in power. These parties forced the military to takeover power, because they used the military to repress the South on their behalf, while enjoying power.

You refer to the events of 1965 in your memorandum and how the government of Prime Minister Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub neglected the 1965 Round-Table Conference resolutions; I quote: "It is true that Sayed Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub neglected the Round-Table Conference and the Twelve Man Committee's recommendations. This neglect was one of the points of disagreement within the Umma Party, which led later to a split.

Prime Minister Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub, my dear brother Alsadiq, was the elected Prime Minister of the Umma Party, after the 1965 elections in the North - elections which did not include the South. You were, my dear brother, the president of the Umma party then, as you are now! How could your appointed party prime minister ignore his party policy and carry on as prime minister in a democratic party? What I know and want to say, as someone who followed those events and was personally involved in some of them, is that the Umma party government of Prime Minister Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub, did not involve itself with any peaceful politics towards Southern Sudan. When the Mahgoub Government took power in 1965, after the elections in the North, the only policy towards the South was to conquer the South militarily. That was the policy of the Umma Party, led by Alsadiq Almahdi. The Umma Party took all the security portfolios: defense and interior, which was responsible for both police and security; besides the premiership, from their coalition partner, the National Unionist Party of Ismail Al Azhari. This was to ensure that the war policy of the Umma Party over the South was pursued successfully.

Of course, the NUP, of Islamil Al Azhari accepted the very hardline military approach of the Umma Party to the South. If they, the NUP did not approve of the Umma Party policy towards the South, how could they have given all the security portfolios to the Umma Party, or how could they have remained in such a coalition government? It had been sufficiently demonstrated at the Round-Table Conference, by all the Northern Sudan political parties, that the approach of all the Northern Sudanese political parties towards Southern Sudan is the same!

The war policy statement of the Umma Party Prime Minister Mahgoub, to the parliament and the country in 1965 was explicit. "Every educated Southern Sudanese is a rebel. They work in the government offices during the day, as government officials; but at night, they are the Anya-Nya commanders against the same government that pays their salaries. We will get rid of all of them." The security directives to the army and to the other security forces in Southern Sudan was a free hand to kill any educated Southern Sudanese. There was no room for politics, including the resolutions of the Round-Table Conference. The results of that Umma Party policy of 1965 towards Southern Sudan, were the well documented horrendous atrocities that were committed by the "National Army" against the civilian population of Southern Sudan. There were the killing of more than 1,400 civilians in Juba town on the single night of 9th July 1965; the massacre of 76 Sudan Government officials at a wedding party in Wau town, on the night of 11 July 1965; to quote only two such atrocities against the civilian population of Southern Sudan. 1965 was a truly nightmarish year for the people of Southern Sudan in the hand of the Government of the Umma Party.

Talking of the resolutions of the Round-Table Conference and the recommendations of the Twelve Man Committee of that conference, brother Alsadiq, you must recall that the recommendations of the Twelve Man Committee were presented, not to Prime Minister Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub, but to the new Prime Minister of the Umma Party, Prime Minister Alsadiq Almahdi. You had then become of electable age; someone of your party vacated his parliamentary seat for you; you were elected to parliament in a bye election from that White Nile constituency and you immediately became Prime Minister. When you became Prime Minister, the Twelve Man Committee were still working at their report. The Round-Table Conference had given the Committee six months to complete their work. By the time they completed their work, you had become Prime Minister. The report of the Twelve-Man Committee was presented to you as Prime Minister.

If the government of the day had respected The Round-Table Conference, the government should have reconvened the Conference, which had any way, adjourned for only six months, to allow the Twelve - Man Committee to do their work and to bring their report to the next round of the full Round-Table Conference. We might have found a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the South, with an elected democratic government. Unfortunately, we did not.

It was you, as Prime Minister, brother Alsadiq, who ordered that an all Sudanese Political Party Conference be convened, instead of the recall of the Round-Table Conference, which had 15 African observers. Clearly, this was not a decision that was aimed at finding a political solution to the political demands of Southern Sudan.

The political parties of Northern Sudan in 1965, were exactly the same political parties of the Northern Sudan Opposition Parties that were invited to Juba in 2009, to plot with the SPLM, about how to undermine the CPA. This is history repeating itself over and over again.

It remains very vivid in my mind, how the Northern Political Parties were so opposed to the idea of Self-determination for the South in 1965. They called it treason. My party, The Southern Front, for instance, suffered enormous persecution, for tabling Self-determination for the South at The Round-Table Conference. With all the Northern Political Parties: Your Umma Party, brother Alsadiq; The National Unionist Party (NUP); The Communist Party of Sudan; and The National Islamic Charter Front, of Dr. Hassan Abdallah Al Turabi, who became the official spokesman of the Northern parties at the Round-Table Conference; all these parties were negotiating with the South in "bad faith", if I may borrow your phraise. They were all one team. The North did not make a single proposal for the solution to the political problem of Southern Sudan. They simply waited to reject any proposal the South made. It was clear, even to the fifteen African Observers, that the Northern Political Parties were simply humiliating the Southern Sudanese side at the Round-Table Conference.

With the Anya-Nya delegation under Aggrey Jaden having walked out of the Round-Table Conference on the opening day, after putting forward the simple and straight forward idea of peaceful separation between the South and the North, there was absolutely no military threat or any other deterrent the Southern side could deploy to counter the Northern humiliation of the South.

I cite these events, brother Alsadiq Almahdi, not to simply rehash history, but to show that the Northern political community has not tried to accommodate the political view of the South in any serious way. The Northern opposition political parties would do well now, if they support the implementation of the CPA, between the SPLM and the NCP, rather than seeking their own political agenda with the SPLM within the CPA.

After all, the CPA has provided for a democratic transformation. The political process under the CPA is clear and straight forward. Political transformation is part of the interim National Constitution. Why do we not all promote that, until we achieve full democratic transformation and achieve political power for any of our parties through this process, rather than actively seeking to undermine the CPA, through recruiting the SPLM into the opposition?

Yours Sincerely,

Bona Malwal,

South Sudan Democratic Forum,

Khartoum, October 4, 2009

Copy to the following organizations:-

· President of The National Congress Party (NCP) Field Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir;

· President of The Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement(SPLM)Lt.Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit;

· The South Sudan Democratic Forum Chairperson: Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö

· United Democratic Front (UDF) Chairperson: Advocate Peter A. Sule

· Union of Sudan African Party 2 (USAP2) Chairperson: Eliaba James Surur

· United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF) Chairperson: Engineer Joseph Malual Dong

· South Sudan Democratic Front Chairperson: Prof. David de Chand

· Sudan Labour Party Chairperson: James Andrea.

· Secretary General of Juba Conference Mubarak Al Fadil

· Secretariat of The Kenana Forum Rudolf M. Zungadi