Cablegate: Splm Diaspora Conference in Juba
DE RUEHKH #1135/01 2040548
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230548Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7952
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001135
STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS,
NAIROBI FOR SFO,
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU AND FOR REFCOORD
USUN FOR TMALY
TAGS: EAID PGOV SOCI SU KPKO
SUBJECT: SPLM Diaspora Conference in Juba
KHARTOUM 00001135 001.2 OF 002
1. Summary: Over 100 Sudanese Diaspora SPLM members participated in
the First Sudan People's Liberation Movement Chapters' Conference.
The purpose of the conference was to familiarize Sudanese Diaspora
members with the reality in Southern Sudan, to mobilize resources
and, if possible, to draw upon them to support reconstruction and
development activities. The Opening Session of the Conference was
attended by Senior SPLM/GOSS Leadership, who strongly encouraged the
return of Diaspora to Southern Sudan. End Summary.
2. USAID and State provided support to facilitate the travel of
members of the SPLM Diaspora to attend the First SPLM Chapters'
Conference that took place in Juba from July 11-July 16, 2007.
Participants from SPLM Chapters in Australia, Canada, the United
States, Europe, the Middle East and other African countries arrived
in Juba to join the conference. For many, this was the first
opportunity to return to Southern Sudan in as much as twenty five
years. Conference participants are actively engaged in their current
home countries in supporting the cause and message of the SPLM and
Southern Sudan to their membership.
3. Minister for Labor, Public Service and Human Resource
Development, Awut Deng Acuil, who also serves as the SPLM External
Relations Secretary, was the central organizer of the conference.
She and other speakers emphasized during the opening sessions of the
conference that the Diaspora must play a key role in the development
of South Sudan. Speakers, among them Rebecca Garang de Mabior, now
the Presidential Advisor for Gender and Human Rights; the Deputy
Governor of Central Equatoria; newly named Deputy Commander in Chief
of the SPLA, Major General Paulino Matip; Pagan Amum Okiech,
Secretary-General of the SPLM and First Vice President Salva Kiir
Mayardit, challenged Diaspora members to lend not only financial,
cultural and advocacy support but also to consider returning to
South Sudan so that the professional skills they gained in other
countries could contribute towards development efforts in South
Sudan and to the transformation of SPLM from a guerilla movement to
a national peace-building political party.
4. USAID Southern Sudan Director Allan Reed also provided remarks in
which he noted the positive experience of the recently completed
USAID-funded Diaspora Skills Transfer Program (DSTP.) Through this
program, 100 members of the Diaspora volunteered their skills in
education and health. Nearly half of the DSTP volunteers have
remained after their voluntary service to continue rebuilding
Southern Sudan, demonstrating the commitment and the potential of
the Diaspora to be involved in reconstruction. Reed also emphasized
the important of increasing the participation of (Diaspora) women as
agents of change.
5. Plenary session speakers covered a range of topics. Key among
them were Professor Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, who noted that recovery
in post-conflict countries often focuses more on physical
infrastructure than on developing institutions needed to sustain
recovery. SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum acknowledged the
challenge faced by the SPLM, which is trying to help change Sudan
from a failed stated to one that embraces a multi-party political
system. Amum warned the SPLM against becoming too comfortable and
relaxed in the Government. Amum stressed the important of the SPML's
vision, mission, and core values and noted the threat posed by
corruption which could corrode the party's foundations.
Representatives of the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front and the
African National Congress shared relevant experiences from their
movement's transitions from rebellion to legitimate political
parties and governments. Both emphasized the important contribution
of the Diaspora to those efforts.
6. Additional themes raised by participants included the need to
explore ways to provide economic incentives for returning Diaspora,
possibly through salary subsidies or business loans; 2) the need to
accelerate women's participation in all levels of government and
development in Southern Sudan, as 25 percent was "the least" but not
the maximum ceiling for their engagement; and 3) the importance of
addressing tribalism in party politics.
6.In follow-up discussions with the Conference facilitator and
Diaspora participants, ConGen staff was told that the Diaspora
members intend to set up a SPLM website to address the lack of
accurate information on party activities. The party leadership will
determine the website content which will be maintained by Diaspora
members. Diaspora participants complained that they did not have
sufficient opportunity to speak on the key issues of concern to
them, as the program was weighted heavily towards GOSS/SPLM
presentations. Overall, however, there was great excitement and
satisfaction with the conference. Diaspora participants expect to
hold follow up sessions in which their concerns will be addressed.
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