Who is Nicholas Kay?
June 07, 2013
Special Envoy of United Kingdom for Sudan Nicholas Kay listens during a discussion at The Fourth Retreat of the Joint Special Representative of the African Union -United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) October 19, 2011. REUTERS
The mission of Dr Augustine Phillip Mahiga from Tanzania, the former UN special envoy, was a milestone for Somalia since it started tackling its problems. This week, Dr Mahiga handed his difficult responsibility to Nicholas Kay, a diplomat from the United Kingdom. Although Dr Mahiga`s responsibilities were very, very difficult during his mission to Somalia, his successor Nicholas Kay will be facing more difficulties in the near future. For many reasons, Somalia is now teetering on a brink of another civil war unless the UN takes a big responsibility for its political and social issues. And if the fighting breaks out again, all UN efforts will fail and Somalia will be sliding down again. The solutions to all these political issues are reflected in the responsibilities of Mr Nicholas Kay.
Who is Nicholas Kay?
Nicholas Kay is a not-so-seasoned diplomat, who has assumed missions in war-ravaged countries like the Sudan and DR Congo – maintaining difficult relations with the locals who often requested his replacement/expulsion.
While he was the Ambassador for the United Kingdom in the Sudan, Nicholas Kay was accused for his “provocative” online writings about Sudan and behaving like a “show-off” and “troublemaker”.
Nicholas Kay was also accused of interfering in the internal affairs of the Sudan, and in this way, he has shown that he is an undesirable element. Many Sudanese writers have warned the Ambassador not to cause inappropriate situations – such as interacting with the locals without telling the national authorities beforehand in order to guarantee “his own safety.”
Describing his writing habits about Sudan, Maryam Abd-al-Rahman wrote: His Excellency the ambassador transgresses on diplomacy and the spirit of hospitality to an extent I may call “nostalgia for imperialism”.
If you think that the new UN Secretary-General`s Special Representative for Somalia (UNSOM) is capable of comprehending the issues of Somalia and can fully understand then have a glimpse to what some Sudanese commentaries have said about Nicholas Kay!
Sudanese writer criticizes UK ambassador`s articles
BBC Monitoring Middle East
February 12, 2012
British ambassador with kids wearing Sudanese costumes
Text of commentary by Maryam Abd-al-Rahman headlined “It is not discord, your excellency the ambassador!” published by liberal Sudanese newspaper Al-Sahafah on 11 February
His Excellency the British ambassador, Nicholas Kay, has been in the habit of writing articles in Khartoum`s daily newspapers in which he speaks in the manner of somebody who contemplates daily life in Khartoum. Sometimes he contemplates them from the eye of history and at other times with the eye of a Western politician who thinks the Third World countries are testing grounds for the concepts of Western thinking.
In both cases, his Excellency the ambassador transgresses on diplomacy and the spirit of hospitality to an extent I may call “nostalgia for imperialism”. Just read with me this paragraph in the ambassador`s article published on page nine of the Friday, 3 February 2012 edition of the newspaper Al-Sahafah to see that what I say is correct.
The ambassador says (as translated from Arabic) “and this is how life continues in Khartoum`s narrow circle: Diplomatic receptions, the International Trade Fair at its peak, the inauguration of new private hospitals, many wedding celebrations, and an urbanization that continues to flourish. But I get an increasing feeling that this picture is not the true one.
Is this a city that pursues its life in a routine manner while being elegant, in cohesion, and with a restful heart even though there is a fundamental aspect that is missing? I cannot precisely specify what this aspect is, but images of discord rather than harmony come to mind.
It appears like an orchestra in which the players quarrel with each other. The singers sing different parts and the dancers do not know what tune they should dance to. At the same time, thieves among the audience pick the pockets of the staff who usher in the people to their seats. They hit the people when they think no one is looking.
Behind this tragicomedy there is another world in which the people face formidable daily challenges. A penniless youth away from home dies. The neighbours and strangers gather and a funeral is arranged. The costs are paid by distant relatives who come to Khartoum. The children find somebody to sympathize with them. The arrangements are completed and life goes on. The deceased is from South Sudan and the neighbours are from the north.
The social fabric appears strong on the level of the street and the village. What unites the people is the daily struggle to get food, transportation, education, and medical care for the loved ones.” (end of the ambassador`s words).
I read this paragraph in the article repeatedly to understand the angle from which his Excellency the ambassador speaks. This reminded me of the British philosopher Hume who thought differently from the other philosophers. Hume said that he based himself on the daily facts of life.
This philosopher who was raised near Edinburgh said that no philosopher can take us far from our daily experience or give us rules for behaviour that differ from the rules we derive from our daily lives. He also stressed that all impressions and ideas were either simple or complex.
In my belief, the ideas of his Excellency the British ambassador in observing daily life in Khartoum are “extremely complex”. This is natural because he observers life in Khartoum with the eye of the philosopher and the politician.
The politician wants to see logical events to build on them certain or semi-certain conclusions. Consequently, if his excellency the ambassador wants to see Khartoum`s daily life proceeding in a logical context to build on this he will be exhausted.
This is because Khartoum and the people of Sudan exhausted his predecessors in the 19th century since complex phenomena cannot be reduced to external observations. This is what led to the failure of military plans and predictions by the biggest military commanders in their time.
Look with me, Your Excellency the ambassador, at the predictions of Valentine Baker, one of the leading military brains who lived towards the end of the British empire. As described in history books, he was a tough cavalry officer who participated in many battles in all parts of the empire in quest of adventure, medals, and military glory. He assembled his forces in the form of a square and advanced towards Toker. He was experienced in combat with tribal and irregular forces.
The British forces were confident in the square formation which they used for a century in various parts of the world. But the forces of Uthman Duqna (Al-Hadandawah) stunned Baker and his forces and broke the square, forcing them to flee towards the ships and take cover under artillery. The matter was not just an unexpected defeat but was a surprise for humanity which the then famous British poet Kipling immortalized.
I salute you as a puny and ignorant person but as a warrior of the first degree, with your rough “fuzzy wuzzy” hair, you broke the British square, you great penniless black man.
Do you not see with me Your Excellency the ambassador that ignorance, poverty, and puniness did not prevent us from being great and defeating predictions?
The second surprise which proved that the Sudanese are above predictions and are not as simple as they appear was the surprise of the army of Hicks Pasha about which Lord Fitzmorris said in the House of Lords in November 1883 “no army perished this way since the army of Pharaoh perished at the Red Sea”. (From the Mahdi Wars by Robert Nyland, page 96).
The Hicks army was in fact that army of Great Britain, the superpower with a population of 400 million extending over all parts of the world. This meant it was an army backed by the queen, the prime minister, the defence ministry; an army that owned money and communications etc. Those who defeated it were not a state or government in the known sense of the word.
So, Your Excellency the ambassador, what sounds to you like discord is not so but is a complicated phase. Because your mental and cultural background is different, your impression is not aided by the criteria that are unique to the cultural and mental Sudanese composition. We are only different, not discordant!
I do not wish Your Excellency the Ambassador to reduce your monitoring of Khartoum`s diary to the impressions of a philosopher or a politician. There is also the humanitarian side in your observations (as mentioned at the end of the paragraph). You were surprised by the tolerance of the northern neighbours and their generosity towards their southern neighbours.
If you are surprised Your Excellency by our social cohesion in breaking the military predictions of the biggest empire, we cannot be gauged on the humanitarian side by any concepts from material philosophy, the socialist theory, or even Arab values. This aspect of mercy and solidarity, Your Excellency, cannot be explained by language or anything else.
If this cohesive society as you describe it has treated you and still treats the southern brothers with generosity and fraternity, the Sudanese did it before with the British in World War II. Sir Douglas Leopold testified to this in a message he sent to Lord Gard (names as transliterated) on 14 June, 1941, saying:
“The Sudanese - the soldiers, villagers, and tribesmen - were amazing, patient, and trustworthy in these bleak days when we were short on soldiers, aircraft, and artillery and when our long borders were without protection. They showed courage and generosity when the fighting started and spared no money, men, or material to help the army of General Platt.
The Sudan Defence Force also won the admiration and appreciation of all British officers and soldiers and the Commonwealth and Indian units” (from the life and communications of Sir Douglas Leopold, Chapter Nine, page 14).
The Sudanese did this for the British despite the massacres, wars, invasion, and heavy taxes - only because they are Sudanese who harbour no hatred and abide by their principles and values.
As to your question on whether this is a city that continues its life in a routine manner while being elegant and restful at heart, even though there is something fundamental that is missing; “something I cannot precisely define but which brings to mind images of discord”, I tell his excellency the ambassador that all Sudanese in the government and people are not satisfied with their political, economic, and security conditions.
They are trying in a way characterized by much precisely-measured harmony to find ways to avert what happened in Iraq and Somalia and even Egypt and Libya. Thus there is no discord - do not worry - all capitals are now in a state of anxiety.
I do not call it discord. Look at Athens, Rome, Madrid, and even London and Paris. There is the anxiety of the economic crisis which extends even to Washington. The American people, like many Western peoples, are now struggling to free themselves from the grip of petroleum and industrial interests, just as the peoples of the Islamic world are trying to apply the concepts of social justice in Islam and translate Islamic values in their political, economic, and social life.
If we have lost the Islamic concept in the daily practice of governance, the West has also lost the concepts of democracy and ethics. It lost the possibility for offering itself as a model for the world when it attacked Iraq. The most painful aspect in Iraq`s case was the violation of Baghdad`s heritage and how it was burned and destroyed.
The photos of US Army soldiers burning and shelling the Museum of Baghdad and selecting the precious items leaves no opportunity for any one to talk about discord in any part of the world. You were all silent and UNESCO was silent. Only Chirac commented that this was a crime against humanity.
Your Excellency the ambassador, the entire world is now in a state of discord because as Al-Mahdi al-Mangarah said in his book “Al-Ihanah” (The Insult), page 841, “we now live in the world and accept insults. No place is left for beauty, emotions, family, the ecology, and animals. I think this is a fundamental turning point in human civilization.”
I shall return Your Excellency the ambassador, to comment in a later article on another point in your article about the north and south and petroleum. This is the point you started by saying that everybody is at a loss to understand the logic behind the conflict over petroleum between Sudan and South Sudan. I shall explain the reasons for the suffering of the north and south and who caused it.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Source: Al-Sahafah, Khartoum, in Arabic 11 Feb 12
© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Sudan editor calls for expulsion UK envoy over ``secret`` SPLM meeting
BBC Monitoring Middle East
May 31, 2011
British Embassy Ramadan Iftar
Report by Editor-in-Chief Mustafa Abu-al-Azayim: “Akhir Lahzah Reveals Details of Unannounced Meeting between Arman and Kay”
It never occurred to any politician, journalist, or observer who follows the Sudanese political scene in general after the developments seen in the region of South Kurdufan and the Nuba Mountains that a meeting arranged in full secrecy would be held between any of the leaders of the Sudan People`s Liberation Movement [SPLM] and any of the ambassadors of the Western nations in Khartoum. There may be other channels for communications and contacts between the SPLM and its Western allies. But the surprise came from South of Khartoum, the capital of the North, the mother nation which will see next July 9 the secession of a part whose independence will be announced on that date to become another State with a flag and sovereignty of its own.
The surprise came from the district of Arkuit, south of Khartoum, where the SPLM has its offices in North Sudan. It was a secret meeting between the leading SPLM figure Yasir Arman [head of the SPLM`s Northern Sector] and the British Ambassador in Sudan Nicholas Kay.
Akhir Lahzah`s sources inside the SPLM confirmed the meeting and revealed that it was arranged by SPLM official Ali Abd-al-Latif who holds a British passport and who works as director of Yasir Arman`s office in Khartoum.
Akhir Lahzah sought to get the most intimate information on what was exchanged during the secret meeting. Its sources were not miserly in providing accurate details. We try in this review to highlight the main points of what went on at that meeting.
Yasir Arman started the meeting by welcoming the British Ambassador. He offered him a summary of his and the SPLM`s view of the general political situation in the country. He claimed that Sudan was currently going through an extremely sensitive and delicate political situation because of the policy of “exclusion” by the [ruling] National Congress Party [NCP] through which it succeeded in distancing all political forces and armed movements from the political arena and hampering the peace process in South Kurdufan. This has brought Sudan to the brink where it can slide into a real danger threatening an explosion at any moment.
Arman said according to Akhir Lahzah`s sources that this is the wont of the NCP in shirking agreements it signs by circumventing them and emptying them of content. He said that all segments of the Sudanese people reject the NCP policies and that the average citizen is preoccupied with earning their livelihood. But this does not mean that the NCP does not feel the restlessness that is beginning to sweep the intellectual class which understands the danger of the situation and the need to move to remedy and contain that situation so that the country does not fall into the precipice.
Arman said in analysing the political situation in the country that the political forces have always rejected the NCP escalatory policies and sought to abort them through political activism among the masses. This has prompted the NCP to create artificial and successive crises. Sometimes it enforces an economic siege on the South and at other times it supports the rebel militias against the authorities in Juba and it auctioneers with the Abyei issue.
Arman did not stop at this. He accused the President of the Republic Field Marshal Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir of paving the way for occupying Abyei in his latest address at Al-Mujallad. This was planned in a very meticulous way to divert attention from the principal issues on which the SPLM and other political forces focus and enable the NCP to find a way of refusing to recognize the Southern State on the ninth of next month. It wants the pending issue to remain without solution because a solution would mean weakening the State authority which is held by the NCP in the North. This is what prompted the NCP to change its battle with the SPLM from a political battle to a military battle in order to win internal public opinion and accuse the Western nations of working against Sudan. The SPLM opposes this and objects to it because the NCP does all this to serve i ts objective which it will never give up, namely to remain in power.
Arman went farther to say that the SPLM has explained more than once the way the governance in the North should be pursued and how to manage the relationship between the two States after the separation of the South. He told the British Ambassador that the SPLM has demanded that the NCP should solve the crisis in the North which hinges on the continuation of the peace agreement in the areas of the Nuba Mountains (South Kurdufan) and the Blue Nile after July 9 so that new security arrangements may be reached to deal with the status of the Sudan People`s Liberation Army which can represent “a threat” to peace in the event that the process of popular consultation is not fulfilled. Arman said that the SPLM has demanded “a real” democratic transformation acknowledging liberties and full respect for human rights. This can happen only under a transitional government which supervises drafting a Constitution enshrining international treaties and covenants and citizenship rights so that the wishes of the opponents of the NCP Government could be fulfilled. There is also a need for the SPLM and other political forces to take part in the Darfur negotiations because the armed movements trust them but do not trust the NCP.
Arman said this should be followed by guarantees for ensuring “justice” and “commitment” to UN Security Council resolutions, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and settling outstanding issues in full cordiality and fraternity between the North and South. He said efforts must be made to establish two States linked by economic agreements and good neighbourliness.
Arman accused the NCP Government of forging the results of the South Kurdufan elections. He said that they in the SPLM reject these forged results and that the political forces agree with them in this rejection. The political forces also agree with the SPLM on rejecting the NCP tactics which aim to revive war in the Northern areas where the SPLM has influence. He said the SPLM has demanded a radical solution to the Abyei problem to ensure peaceful coexistence between Al-Missiriyah and the Denka, especially since Al-Missiriyah accept this principle and since the SPLM has solid understandings with Al-Missiriyah on the problems in the region. Requirement from Britain
Akhir Lahzah`s sources said Arman told Kay that his country, as a member in the EU and a principal and founding partner in the Commonwealth and other regional and international organizations, should help the SPLM and exert pressure on the NCP from all directions to ensure the establishment of the Southern State and reorganizing the power structure in the North through new Constitutional arrangements and an agreed solution to the pending issues which must include implementation of the two protocols and implementation of The Hague court`s verdict on Abyei. Darfur and the SPLM Presence in North
On Darfur, Arman told the British Ambassador that peace must be in line with the internal solutions in the North. There must be a halt to the referendum on dividing the provinces on an ethnic basis and the NCP must stop its involvement in violence in the North and South.
On the continuation of the presence of the SPLM in the North Arman told the British Ambassador that the SPLM was now seeking disengagement between North and South and that it has actually started to establish an SPLM in the North after the Provinces of South Kurdufan and the Blue Nile became affiliated to the sector [the Northern Sector of the SPLM which Arman heads] because these two provinces represent the hope for change in the two States. He said that plans and programmes were continuing in this direction. He said the SPLM needs for this financial and moral contributions as well as training to continue its activities in the North until it remedies the problems it was established to address. He said the SPLM presence in the North serves many causes, most importantly separating religion from the State to reduce religious fanaticism and the polarization of the citizens. Arman concluded his statements to Ambassador Kay by telling him: “We are partners with Britain on all issues.” What did the British Ambassador say?
Akhir Lahzah`s sources inside the SPLM said Arman presented a verbal report on what took place between him and the British Ambassador. He said in that report that the Ambassador told him his country would work with its partners to work out a comprehensive solution to the pending issues and will oppose terminating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on July 9 while seeking to create a new mandate for the United Nations in South Sudan and the three areas. He said that the methods followed to achieve these requirements would be announced in due time. He said Britain was fully informed about what is taking place in Sudan and that London will be among the first capitals that recognize the State of South Sudan.
According to what Arman told a number of SPLM members, the British Ambassador affirmed that Britain rejects the results of the South Kurdufan elections. He told Arman “it is your right to demand changing the result ... this is a legitimate right according to the Constitution and the peace agreement signed by the SPLM and the NCP. We stress the need for the people of Nubia and the Blue Nile to live in dignity in their areas. Because of this, and on the basis of these premises, we shall lead major political and diplomatic campaigns to pressure the NCP to honour the obligations of the agreement. We shall contribute in political action for the continuation of the SPLM`s work in the North. We are partners with the SPLM in all domains and affirm that we are ready to provide any assistance in the North or the South”.
Arman indicated that Kay told him the Darfur problem would not be solved unless justice is ensured in a solution. He said Britain believed that justice follows peace and that the accused must be taken to account and must not be allowed to escape punishment.
Arman said the Ambassador told him Sudan`s external obligations, especially those related to debts, sanctions, and human rights and the Cotonou agreement are all contingent on fulfilling the peace agreement and Darfur, and that the EU will provide a grant of 200 million euros in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement. International humanitarian organizations will be invited to provide aid to the victims of conflicts in Darfur, South Kurdufan, and the Blue Nile. Akhir Lahzah Comments
We have detailed above what went on at the secret meeting between Arman and the British Ambassador, without introducing any key amendments in what our SPLM sources gave us. We fully trust the information of these sources. We want to highlight some points raised at that meeting which was kept away from the media. The first point is the mediation carried out by Ali Abd-al-Latif, the director of Arman`s office, in arranging the meeting. He is a carrier of dual nationality, being of British nationality and Sudanese origin. We point out that the carriers of dual nationality are acting as agents under the eyes of the sleeping Sudanese Government which is treating them irresponsibly. This is particularly true because the SPLM has a large number of persons like Ali Abd-al-Latif who hold foreign nationalities and who play such roles. They include Ali Khalifa Askuri, the SPLM head in the Nile River Province, and Anwar al-Hadj, the SPLM head in Al-Jazeera Province. This requires a study by our sleeping government that opens its eyes only when it is too late because of the contacts between those persons and the embassies whose nationality they hold. These meetings are now held openly and in broad daylight.
Secondly: We believe that Nicholas Kay, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Sudan, has exceeded the boundaries of his diplomatic prerogatives by going publicly to the headquarters of a political party to meet persons who oppose the existing regime which came to power through general elections. This is the regime of the State which accredited him as Ambassador. As observers of public affairs we consider this a clear defiance of national sovereignty. Consequently we demand that this sleeping government and its sleepier Foreign Ministry should ask this ambassador for clarifications on why he should go to the headquarters of a party which is in a state of clear hostility with the ruling regime.
Thirdly: It is not the right of Britain or any one else to reject an electoral process in which it was not a party except through windows of observation via its organizations, mechanisms, or agents in Sudan.
Fourthly: It is not the right of Britain, the EU, the United States or any other nation to support the continuation of the work and presence of the SPLM in [North] Sudan. This is because the most important obligations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the self-determination referendum, have been completed successfully by the admission of the entire world. The SPLM chose separation instead of unity, meaning that it has chosen a flag and an entity that has no relationship with the North.
Fifthly: Blatant interference in Sudanese affairs is rejected, especially concerning what the British Ambassador described as “taking the accused to account” in Darfur who should not be “allowed to escape from justice”. Sudan is not one of the signatories of the Rome Charter of the International Criminal Court. Actually, what the Ambassador said aims at undermining the conviction and trust of the Sudanese people in the symbol of their sovereignty as represented in the President of the Republic who is accused “politically” in connection with alleged cases of human rights violations and genocide. This also comes at a time in which the State is seeking to solve the Darfur problem through the Doha forum while acknowledging the rule of the mediators from the sisterly State of Qatar, the Sudanese national forces, the AU, and the UN.
Sixthly: The Ambassador or any one else is not entitled to interfere to amend what has been agreed upon between the Sudanese Government and the United Nations on the termination of the mandate of the joint forces - except if the UN is a “branch” or “arm” of Britain and the Western allies. Neither Britain nor any one else is entitled to create a new mandate for the UN in the South because this is something that concerns the Government of Sudan. It is not the right of Britain or any one else to create a new mandate for the UN forces in South Kurdufan, the Blue Nile, and Abyei. Conclusion
Our sleeping Government and its leaders have to wake up, open their eyes, and act as a sovereign State which is in charge of an independent State. It should prevent this anarchy promoted by the test-tube political infants in the SPLM. It should take the proper decision in such cases if it is really a responsible Government. This is to expel the British Ambassador from Sudan immediately and give him 24 hours to leave.
Source: Akhir Lahzah, Khartoum, in Arabic 31 May 11
© 2011 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.