Cablegate: Goss Minister On Census, Elections, Darfur and Chad, And

DE RUEHKH #0288/01 0590550
P 280550Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GoSS Minister on Census, Elections, Darfur and Chad, and
Governance in the South

REF: Khartoum 262

1. (SBU) Summary: Juba CG Christopher Datta met with Government of
South Sudan (GoSS) Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional
Development Michael Makuei Lueth on February 27 to discuss Makuei's
involvement on the NCP/SPLM Executive Committee of the CPA and on
the state of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA). Both
are in trouble according to Makuei's analysis. END SUMMARY.

"If there is no census, so be it."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) CG Datta began the meeting by asking the Minister about his
impressions on the latest round of NCP/SPLM Executive Committee
talks in Khartoum. Makuei responded that the work is not going
well. The NCP, he said, has no interest in or will to solve the
outstanding problems faced by the committee, and uses it strictly as
a PR platform with no outcomes wanted or planned. As far as the
census goes, the GoSS, he said, is very unhappy with the forms that
were printed because they do not contain questions of critical
importance on religion and ethnicity. In fact, the SPLM will insist
on the inclusion of these questions, because without them there is
not much point to the census, and it will not be a major blow if it
never happens. The reason the questions are so critical is that the
NCP maintains that Sudan is an Arab Muslim country. They do not
want these questions asked because the census will show that Sudan
is certainly NOT an Arab country, and probably not even a majority
Muslim nation, which will undermine the NCP and show its Arabization
program to be the sham that it has always been.

Elections Important, But Referendum Vital
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) In addition to the census being important but not critical,
the Minister said he had severe doubts the elections in 2009 would
actually take place. He did not believe the NCP was interested in
holding elections and would find an excuse to delay or cancel them
unless some deal favorable to it could be worked out. Again, he
thought it preferable to hold the elections, but it would not be a
make or break issue in the end with the GoSS. What was a make or
break issue, he said, was the 2011 referendum. That, he said, could
not be delayed or canceled under any circumstances. (Note: Septel
reports on SPLM initiative to draft a Referendum Bill in Sudan's
National Assembly. End Note.)

4. (SBU) CG Datta asked if it would still be necessary to hold the
referendum if a Southern SPLM candidate won the Presidency in 2009,
assuming that the elections actually did take place. The Minister
answered that the 2011 referendum must still take place in any
event, although he also said that if the SPLM won national elections
he did not know how the South would vote in the referendum. However,
if it did vote for separation then he would expect a Southern
president of all Sudan to resign his post and return to the South.
(Comment: This tracks with another GoSS official's statement to CG
Datta (reftel) that were Kiir to become President of all of Sudan in
2009, he would resign the post if the South voted for independence
in 2011 and he would return South. End Comment.)

NCP to Support Another Rebel Attack in Chad
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) The Minister next turned to the situation in Darfur and
Chad. He stated flatly that the NCP was arming the rebels in Chad
to mount another attempt to overthrow the government in the very
near future. Taking proxy control of the GoC was essential to NCP
plans to subdue the rebels in Darfur, which had to be accomplished
soon so that the NCP could turn its full attention on Southern
Sudan, which it had no intention of giving up in 2011. The NCP, he
said, understood that it could not fight on two fronts, in both
Darfur and in the South of Sudan, at the same time. It lacked the
capacity. Therefore, it was looking to finish the war in the West
so it could turn its full attention to taking on the South.

Weak Parliament Eroding the Constitution
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) The Minister then gave a readout on his views of the
progress of the SSLA, which on the whole is not performing well.
Laws are discussed, but almost nothing gets passed and the
bottleneck gets worse and worse. Many legislators do not even show
up to participate, often making even getting a quorum difficult, and
there is little effort made to discipline the rank and file to make
them do their jobs. The result is that the Presidency is forced to
issue laws by decree in order to move critically important
legislation forward. This process is destructive to the division of
powers envisioned in the constitution.

"The Rock of Good Government"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) Lastly, the Minister said that the GoSS needed to work

KHARTOUM 00000288 002 OF 002

harder to build a professional civil service. Politicians come and
go, he said (Comment: We can only hope that he is right. End
Comment.), but a professional civil service is the rock of good
government. Without one, the bureaucracy could not function
properly and it hardly mattered what laws the assembly passed if
they could not be properly implemented.

- - - -
8. (SBU) The Minister's views on the state of the census were
alarming, but his cynicism concerning the intentions of the NCP is
widely shared. This is not the first time the CG has heard it said
here that the NCP will try to end the conflict in Darfur one way or
another in the near future, since it knows it cannot fight a war on
two fronts and it never intends to let the South go peacefully.


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