By Mangar Amerdid
OPINION – In mid-2010, I was appointed secretary of the committee in charge of negotiating agreements and conventions that were signed by the region of Southern Sudan and the government of Sudan since independence in 1956.
This specialized committee was among four committees responsible for negotiating the separation of Southern Sudan from Sudan. The four committees were formed by H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, who was the President of the government of Southern Sudan. The committees were under the auspices of the Post Referendum Arrangements and Negotiation Committee, chaired by Pagan Amum.
In the committee I participated in, we were tasked with the responsibility to study and analyze all the agreements and conventions that were signed by the Sudan government to determine its applicability to Southern Sudan. This meant determining if the overall structures of the agreements were suitable for the national identity and political setting for the government and people of Southern Sudan.
The composition of the committee members was as follows:
- Deng Alor, Chairman
- Michael Makuei, Deputy Chairman
- Mangar Amerdid, Secretary
- Late. Amb. Charles Manyiang, Member
- Ellias Nyamele, Member
- Lorence Korbandy, Member
- Plus others
To minimize delving at length on the minute details from the study conducted by the committee, I would like to highlight several key areas to inform our citizens and which undoubtedly history will judge. During the negotiation process we only had two options; desolation of Sudan into two countries or secession of Southern Sudan from the rest of the country.
Desolation meant the government of Sudan would be dissolved which would result in Southern Sudan and Sudan separately applying for membership into the United Nations, African Union, IGAD, among other organizations. By then, the likelihood of Sudan being readmitted into any of the mentioned institutions was almost nil due to such issues as request for President Omer Al Bashir to be handed over to the ICC and Sudan listed as a country harboring terrorists.
After many months of intense back and forth negotiations by the two governments, a decision was reached and it was decided that the best available option at the time for the government of Sudan was to allow for the secession of Southern Sudan. Thus, we succeeded and became the Republic of South Sudan.
The recent suggestion made by H.E. Dr. Riek Machar to rename the country is not problematic as long as it is conducted through the constitutional process. In 2010, when Southern Sudan was negotiating with Sudan on the possibility of secession, H.E. Dr. Machar was the Vice-President of the government of Southern Sudan. He also chaired the Oversight Committee which supervised all the committees that were negotiating with Sudan. It would have been an opportune time to advise on the best option of naming Southern Sudan.
Thus, what l find puzzling is waiting over a decade to bring up the renaming proposition, why now?
The author is a former Secretary/Committee for Conventions and Agreements signed by Sudan Government Post Referendum Arrangements and Negotiations committee.
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