Koko’s winning of South Kordofan governor’s post will repeat Mandela’s case
We have contacted influential SPLM leaders, Carter Center and other parties to release Koko but failed
SPLM is afraid to release Koko as that would affect its candidate popularity
The complementary elections of South Kordofan State acquires a great importance as the state is within the three protocols areas stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in January 2005. The CPA also stipulated conduction of a popular consultation at the state.
The interview, meanwhile, acquires its importance from the fact that the independent candidate Telephon Koko has been detained by the SPLM in South Sudan and has not been released yet at a time the elections kicked off in the state.
Sudanow interviewed Omar Mansour, Koko’s representative, to see how of Koko’s detention undermines his candidacy in the electoral campaign and the reasons behind his detention.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
Question: How do you read the political reality in light of the political move accompanying the elections in South Kordofan State?
Answer: “We are a third party in the run for the post of the state’s Governor and at a critical junction in which the state is shifting to an unpredictable reality that could be worse than the present one. As a third party in this electoral race, represented in Maj. Gen. Telephon Koko, we say that the opportunities are not equal with the National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM. The candidates of the National Umma Party and the Popular Congress Party have withdrawn from the elections due to financial reasons and lack of freedoms as they claim”.
Question: Are you in a better position than them (the Umma and the popular congress)?
Answer: “No, but our cause embodies a humanitarian message for a person who has given much for the man of the state”.
Question: What are your chances in winning the elections at a time when your candidate is detained?
Answer: “We have the experience of Nelson Mandela who by the people’s will, move from prison to the pinnacle of presidency of South Africa”.
Question: What is the effect of Telephon Koko on the candidate of the SPLM?
Answer: “What complicates the matter is that there is a need for an equation in which the release of Koko would not affect the SPLM candidate and at the same time would beatify the face of the movement, and above all else the equation would likely to request Koko to withdraw from the elections so that he could be released and appointed in another post”.
Question: But will Koko accept such a bargain?
Answer: “Telephon will reject any offers touching the principles for which he is fighting and call for”.
Question: The SPLM accuses you of receiving support from the NCP and of being in alliance with it. What is your response?
Answer: “Since Koko has started to advocate for his ideas in the media, some SPLM leaders accused him of inclination to the NCP and that the NCP has hired him an office in Khartoum. However, these allegations have been proved untrue when the NCP criticized Telephon Koko. In fact the NCP and the SPLM are two faces of the same coin and if there is a party which has a relationship with the NCP that party would be the SPLM. Abdul-Aziz al-Hilo has a signed a charter of honor with the NCP”.
Question: Salva Kiir has formed a committee to tackle Koko’s issue, what are the outcomes of the committee?
Answer: “We are concerned with the outcomes and results, but so far there is nothing tangible regarding the release of Telephon Koko”.
Question: Have you filed complaints to international organizations or authorities concerned with human rights regarding the case of Telephon Koko?
Answer: “We have submitted a memo to the Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Sudan and another memo to the United Nations Representative in Sudan besides a legal humanitarian memo to the National Elections Commission (NEC) in which we appealed to the commission to reactivate the elections law which stipulates availing equal opportunities for the candidates and to help in releasing Koko. We have also submitted to the NEC signatures of 7000 supporters of Koko’s candidacy from 12 localities”.
Question: Has the SPLM provided you with any explanations for its detention of Telephon Koko and has the movement set a date for his release?
Answer: “It is hard to answer this question. The victim cannot be asked why injustice had been done to him. That question should be asked to the person who done injustice to the victim. Salva Kiir himself does not have an answer”.
Question: What are the authorities which you have contacted to release Koko?
Answer: “We have contacted Carter Center, influential SPLM figures and leaders and Nuba Mountains’ leaders in parties such as the NCP, the Umma, the National Sudanese Party and the Justice party original”.
Question: What are the most important features of your candidate Koko’s electoral program?
Answer: “We are calling for giving the South Kordofan sons the opportunity to act independently from the north and the south to serve their issues. We want the state to provide equal opportunities for the sons of the region regarding employment in top positions in ministries such as energy, mining and finance in addition to the foreign ministry and the judiciary. We also want the state to revive the social development projects in the region and re-operate, for instance, the Nuba Mountains Agricultural Foundation, Kadugli Textile Company and Babanousa Diary Plant. We are further calling for increasing the state individual’s income and supporting the war victims from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and adjusting their conditions via resolving their social issues”.
Question: To what extend have you made use of the tribal weight in your electoral campaign?
Answer: “We believe that most of Koko’s supporters are from the sons of Messiria and Hawazma tribes and other Arab tribes besides the Nuba tribes. We have suggested that region should be governed by its sons and Telephon Koko is one of the first fighters for this legal and constitutional right”.
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