Chairman's 19th  Anniversary Message:

 to all SPLA, SPLM and CANS

Units and to the Civil Population of the New Sudan












1. Today, 16/5/2002, is our 19th anniversary. As we begin the 20th 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.

2. On the occasion of this 19th anniversary, I congratulate all officers, NCOs, men and cadres of the SPLA, SPLM and CANS for successfully resisting and repulsing the enemy 2001/2002 Dry Season offensive that is now just ending.

3. As came in my various messages to all units, this year’s enemy Dry Season offensive was concentrated in Western Upper Nile (oil region) and Bahr el Ghazal. In Western Upper Nile the enemy mobilized up to 7,000 troops composed of regular forces, PDF and various tribal militias all supported by tanks, helicopter gun ships, MIG fighters and Antonov bombers. The aim was to push our forces and population far away from the oil fields and thus continue to exploit the oil to build their economy and military capacity. In Bahr el Ghazal, the enemy planned to captured all of Gogrial, Warrap, Thiet, Tonj, Rumbek and Yirol and thus to control the whole of the Region and also add more protection to the oil fields.

4. The enemy offensive in Western Upper Nile ended about two weeks ago in a major disaster with the enemy suffering over 2,000 men killed over the three-month period of the offensive, and a lot of equipment captured. Two Oil Companies, Lundin of Sweden and OMV of Austria, suspended their operations and pulled out their personnel to Khartoum as a result of the enemy defeat. In Central Upper Nile, the enemy sent a mixed force of 1,000 men under John Kulang Puot, a renegade former SPLA High Command member to establish a meaningless NIF provincial Government in Ayod, with him as Commissioner. The force was annihilated with John Kulang himself killed in battle defending the NIF regime. Meanwhile in Eastern Upper Nile our forces combined with forces of the 5th Front to make steady progress towards establishing control over the area and moving towards Nasir. Millions of congratulations to all the CDRs, officers, NCOs and men and to CANS and civil population of Western, the Central and Eastern Upper Nile for these great victories.

5. The most ambitious enemy Dry Season offensive was in Bahr el Ghazal. The enemy aimed at capturing the whole Region, beginning with Gogrial Town. Our gallant forces of the 3rd Front gave us a glorious 19th anniversary present and gave the NIF a lesson they will never forget. The enemy attack on Gogrial was finally and decisively repulsed yesterday, 15/5/2002, when the enemy was forced to withdraw back to Kuacjok, and this at the eve of our 19th anniversary. The enemy convoy, Shahiid Kakum and that which reinforced it will both be destroyed eventually, and that defeat will turn into the Mother of all disasters for the enemy. Millions of congratulations to all the CDRs, officers, NCOs and men, and to CANS and the civil population of Bahr el Ghazal for this magnificent victory of repulsing the enemy offensive from Gogrial.

6. In summary, our overall military situation is firm with great prospects in all the Fronts. Now that we have repulsed and defeated the Government Dry Season offensive, the enemy deserves a strong SPLA counter-offensive, and they will get it.

7. On the political side, we scored significant political victories as came in my various messages to all units. The past year was rightly declared as the year of peace, reconciliation and unity. We achieved merger and unity with the SPDF and SAF, and this process will continue, and will be translated into victories on the ground. At the international we launched a very successful diplomatic campaign in UK, Europe and USA. Everywhere we went, I delivered one and the same consistent message that consisted of five points as follows:

(a) The NIF regime in Khartoum has not changed, cannot change, and will not change despite their cooperation with the USA on issues of international terrorism. They are cooperating with the USA out of fear that after September 11th they might be hit like the Taliban. I argued that the NIF regime could not be reformed, that they were too deformed to be reformed and must therefore be removed not improved. I called them the “Taliban of Africa”, and this was all over in the media.

(b) The second message is that there is an alternative to the NIF regime, and this is the NDA, which consists of the SPLM/A and Northern opposition parties whose views of Islam are moderate. We therefore appealed for support to the NDA so that it is built into a robust and viable alternative to replace the NIF regime.  

(c) Thirdly, despite the above two messages, we as a Movement (SPLM/A) are willing and ready to negotiate with the NIF regime through the IGAD mediation and based on the DOPs. We suggested that the most viable solution is to have a confederation during an Interim Period as a form of Interim Unity to solve the problem of religion and state (Sharia), to be followed by exercise of the right of self-determination at the end of the Interim Period to choose between (a) maintaining the confederate union, or (b) full independence. In the Confederate Union there will be two constitutions, one for each state, and a third constitution for the Confederate Authority, and this is the constitution that shall be the subject of negotiations. The Confederal Model will be a fair and just solution, since we will not be required to accept some form of Sharia, e.g., “exemption from Sharia” or a so-called “Special Status” for the South. It would also be fair and just for the NIF because they will not be required to drop Sharia, except for the Capital, which must necessarily be secular. The confederate model also gives unity a chance during the Interim Period, as well as providing the option of separation at the end of the Interim Period, and so this model should satisfy all the stake-holders.

(d) The fourth message is our vision and program of Peace through Development. The argument is that while we negotiate with the NIF regime to achieve a political settlement (Track 1), and while we build up the NDA (Track 2) to replace the NIF government, we must start and continue with socio-economic development in the areas we control (Track 3). Our children cannot wait for peace to go school; they must go to school now. And considering that this war has gone on for 19 years while the Anyanya one lasted 17 years, we would lose more generations of our children to illiteracy if we wait for peace for them to go to school. USAID, through the STAR and other programs has accordingly committed 42.5 million US dollars, 20 million of this for education and 22.5 million for agricultural over the next five years, and this may double or triple, depending on developments. The EU may also commit half of the EU-ACP Contonou Agreement development assistance money.

(e) The fifth message is the growing unity and strength of the SPLM/A as exemplified in the South by the merger and unity with the SPDF, and in the NDA by the merger and unity with SAF. This growing unity further goes to show that the NDA as a viable alternative to the NIF regime. Related to this growing unity is the growing role of the Sudanese Diaspora, which I declared as the 7th Front. In the USA, we addressed during the visit not less than 20,000 Sudanese Diaspora in some dozen cities across the United States. The Sudanese Diaspora will need to be organized to play their full role in the struggle.

8. Finally, Dear Comrades, I am confident that major developments will happen in our struggle during this 20th year of our struggle, and I want to end by summarizing the SPLM/SPLA program over the next one year. This program is similar to the one I outlined in my last anniversary address. The SPLM/A program for the next 12 months consists of the following high-lights:

(a) The SPLM/SPLA will work hard to convene the Second National Convention before our next anniversary despite the difficulties. This should be an SPLM Convention with the primary aim of building the political wing of the Movement, so that the SPLM becomes firmly established all over the New Sudan.

(b) The SPLM/SPLA will continue to struggle to achieve reconciliation and unity of our people, to consolidate internal unity and cohesion within the SPLM/SPLA, to reach out to our brothers and sisters who left the Movement from 1991 and to welcome them and any others to re-join or join the Movement in the spirit of the Lafon Declaration, Wunlit, Liliir, May 2001 Agreement and the January 6th 2002 Agreement.

(c) The SPLM/SPLA will continue to pursue peace through all the three tracks, with special emphasis on Track (3), Peace through Development, so that we build a viable liberation economy by enhancing civil structures of good governance, and encouraging and empowering civil society, and by creating the necessary conducive environment of peace and stability in the countryside. The Third Track program should enable our people to produce sufficient food for themselves as well as cash crops, and thus generate incomes for themselves and their families. Ox-ploughing in particular will be a main pillar of peace through development, and all SPLA units and civil authorities must take this seriously.

(d) In the context of Peace through Development, the New Sudan should see its own currency during this its 20th year of struggle. Our currency the New Sudan Pound (NSP) should have been in circulation by this present anniversary, but this has not been possible due to technical difficulties including raising the necessary funds for printing the money. Our Economic Commission is working hard to solve these problems. I am aware of the controversy generated by the issue of the currency. I assure you that the decisions as to the use of the currency will not be made by a few people, but will involve broad-based discussions.

(e) The Movement will continue to build the Civil Authority of the New Sudan (CANS) in all the liberated areas, as the executive organ of civil society responsible for implementing polices of the SPLM and the New Sudan. This will develop into the Government of the New Sudan as we acquire more sovereignty.

(f) The SPLM/SPLA will continue to reorganize, restructure and qualitatively as well as quantitatively build the SPLA into an organic Liberation Army that will have sufficient capacity to achieve its mandate and participate in the building of the New Sudan during both war and peace. In this connection the Movement will continue with its policy of opening SPLA Fronts in any parts of the Sudan where this is feasible. The SPLA will develop into the standing army of the New Sudan as we acquire more sovereignty.

(g) We will continue to build the SPLM into an effective political Movement that will lead the struggle, now during the war as well as after the war in a peaceful and stable New Sudan. In this regard, we will operationalize SPLM political presence in Khartoum and other urban cities in all parts of the Sudan. In this context, Radio SPLA will finally be on air during the course of this year, and it will help greatly in the consolidation of the SPLM.

(h) We will continue to work in the NDA and its Unified Military Command (UMC) with our other partners to build these structures up into strong and robust organizations that will be able to coordinate and converge the two principal means of struggle, armed struggle and Intifadha, to remove the NIF regime and achieve fundamental change.

(i) 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. The Movement will continue to seek humanitarian relief assistance, while doing everything necessary to achieve food self-sufficiency in the New Sudan, as well as seeking development assistance and access to regional and international markets. We will continue to cooperate with the United Nations and other international organizations in the areas of human rights, humanitarian relief and other areas of benefit to the Sudanese people.

(j) The SPLM/A will continue to negotiate with the NIF regime in the various initiatives on the basis of the IGAD Declaration of Principles (DOPs), and we will continue to respect Senator Danforth’s four confidence-building measures on the basis of reciprocity.

9. Finally, on the occasion of this 19th anniversary, I once more salute our martyrs to whom this day belongs, and I greet and congratulate you all wherever you are for the victories achieved over the last twelve months. 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. I assure you that, while the SPLA wages armed struggle, the Objective is political, to achieve freedom and ensure justice and dignity for all, 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 20th Year of our struggle. God bless you all. SPLM Oye! SPLA Oye! NDA Oyee! New Sudan Oye! Victory to the SPLM/SPLA and NDA and to the people of New Sudan!