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Sudan Government Squandering Prospect for Peace


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July/August 2003

The Sudan government has defies International community and IGAD mediators once again. There should be no doubt that IGAD, the troika plus Italy and the efforts from international experts for advancing the process to the level previously never been reach in the 9 years of the peace process must be commended. Unfortunately the present Sudan government is arrogating itself to prescribe methods for the resolution of the conflict in way and time it wants. The experiences show that, whenever a resolution to conflict is near, the Sudan government would complicates its position by drumbeating support from non-IGAD regional government particularly Egypt and Arab League in order to frustrate any hope for the resolution of the conflict. In the month of July 2003 they signed reclusive military pack with Egypt and Libya an intention that only threatens diplomatic tenacity on ending the war but an inclination towards war as an option for resolution to the conflict. This comprehend the government un-wiliness to resolve the conflict that has pitted the country for decades and wasted more than 2 million lives.

Given the protracted nature of the negotiations; there was danger of losing the momentum of Machakos achievements specially when the guns of war are still silent. The mediators conceived a new approach called holistic as a way forward, which both parties freely supported. The mediators crafted the Draft Framework Document after extensive work by international expert who carried out wide-ranging lectures on wealth, power sharing, security arrangements and the three conflict areas of Abyei, Nuba Mt., and Southern Blue Nile. Further, Sumbeiywo and his international mediators’ team have engaged intensively and extensively in canvassing of Sudanese opinion both north and south. This was done in daylight not in isolation of both parties and international community backing.

Significantly though, when the Draft Document was presented in Saravo Safari Lounch - Nakuru; the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum rejected it out of hand. Paradoxically this was inspite of the government praises to the new holistic approach as an important means for reaching a peace agreement. The language of the NIF not only contradics the approach but used bombastic terms of rejection, which contains a series of implicit threats to the peace process, supposedly was to resume (July 23, 2003) in Kenya. Besides, there has not been any sober attempt by Khartoum to qualify its critical, rebuke on public characterizations of the International and IGAD mediators.

In a public reaction, the President of Sudan used uncouth language that let the mediators and their international backers dissolve the framework into the water and drink it or go to hell. Omer Bhesir thinks he is the doctor to prescribe medicine to the mediators not the other way round. Is he opting for war?

This comments has put in doubt optimism that has been put toward Machakos Protocol. Indeed, the substantial progress on key issues reached during the intense one-year negotiations following the signing of the Machakos Protocol could now be shelved because of Khartoum strategy of continuous intransigence. International community should not appease Khartoum by pushing the peace agreement towards Khartoum’s unfair position. How can the SPLM/A take seriously a process that has succumbed to the pressure of unreasonable bombast and a point-blank refusal to negotiate in good faith, a best-effort draft of a peace accord? It would also leave open the question of what document will serve as the basis for negotiations. Who should draft it on such short notice quoting Danforth indication in a press conference in Nairobi that he hopes for peace agreement within weeks rather than month?

There should be no doubt in harboring a notion that both parties are equally unresponsive to the opportunity for peace. The SPLM/A has shown willingness to the mediator’s paper and has affirmed it’s position to the Draft Framework as basis for negotiations for a just peace even though it does not satisfies with all the terms of the draft agreement. But Khartoum utterly objected to entire draft. Who should be charged as problematic for derailing the peace process? Is it the willing and down to earth party or the intransigent by inclination - NIF?

International community and IGAD mediators should be bold enough to tell Khartoum the truth for non-compliance. Reading commentaries that says ; "’Maybe the two sides are comfortable with the status quo. Yes Khartoum is comfortable with the statue quo of no peace no war. Khartoum has been allowed to carry out Human Rights abuses in Western Upper Nile inspite of the signed Memorandum of Understanding on cessation of hostilities. It is comfortable with exploration and exploitation oil reserves unabated for its strategy to win the war through military means; it is continuing to build access roads deep into SPLM/A territory as a means of aggression.

Power Sharing

The SPLM position is that in order to give unity a chance, there must be opportunities for all Sudanese citizens to be represented in all positions in the national government regardless of race, religion or color. Although the framework came clear on issue of collegial Presidency it has arbitrated the south to be relegated to the Vice Presidency. Paradoxically, should the parties agree on Vice Presidency formula, what would be the relationship between that position to the succession into the National Presidency of the nation? SPLM is aware that Khartoum is trying to change its constitution for the Speaker of Assembly to succeed the President; this will make the position of the Vice President an executive rubber stamp. Ali Taha would find the joke plausible because he will shift his authority to the National Assembly.

On issue of representation to the national government, the SPLM is Movement for the oppressed people of Sudan tables 40% representation of Southern Sudan in all central government institutions (legislature, judiciary, executive and civil service), except the Upper House of the assembly where it demands 50-50 representations between North and South. The core point of a constitutional mechanism to guarantee a Southern representation in national institutions is a valid concern. The South wants to know if there is a change in strategy from northern elites discriminatory system, which has been used subjectively against segments of its population since independence.

The Framework suggests percentages with a split between SPLM and other opposition groups. The SPLM/A has not given its stand on the Southern split, however it should be noted that SPLM/A is a Movement for all oppressed people of the Sudan both in the government-controlled areas and the liberated areas. When the SPLM was formed in 1983, the Movement critically analyzed the Sudanese reality, and came to the conclusion that we must all struggle for a new type of Sudan to which we belong; a united Sudan but united on a new basis; a new Sudanese political dispensation that is based on the realities of the Sudan, on both our historical and contemporary diversities. SPLM call this new political dispensation the New Sudan, as opposed to the Old Sudan, which has cost us 37 years of war out of 47 years of independence. We are confident that various ethnic and religious groups in the Sudan can use the historical and contemporary diversity of the Sudan to forge and evolve a correct Sudanese identity and entity, which we have called the New Sudan, or otherwise, the Sudan would break up into at least two or more independent states.

It is therefore clear that SPLM/A is a Movement not a political party. SPLM is a sunshade for various political dispensations united in transformation of the country into a New Sudan. The New Sudan shall therefore be a Sudan, which lives in peace within itself, with its neighbors and with the rest of humanity. Under these conditions we would have a strong New Sudan, united democratically by the voluntary free will of its people, and achieved through the exercise of the right to self-determination. SPLM calls on all patriotic Sudanese and Southerners in particular who care for their country, to join SPLM/A in this vision and goal, to achieve the New Sudan.

On the status of the national capital: the SPLM stands for the capital free sharia - Khartoum being the choice for secular national capital, which includes the entire geographical centre of Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri as sharia free zone. The SPLM will also insist, logically, on participating in the administration and security of the national capital. The Sudan government is misinterpreting the Machakos Protocol in their quotes to mean national capital to have a Sharia ridden capital. The provisions of Machakos are clear and say: -

3.2 National Government (which would be instituted in Neutral Zone)

3.2.1 There shall be a National Government which shall exercise such functions and pass such laws as must necessarily be exercised by a sovereign state at national level. The National Government in all its laws shall take into account the religious and cultural diversity of the Sudanese people. (Neutral to any specific religion)

3.2.2 Nationally enacted legislation having effect only in respect of the states outside Southern Sudan shall have as its source of legislation Sharia and the consensus of the people. (Laws applied to the Northern states "National government using the Northern hats legislates on issues specifically for the Northern states)

3.2.3 Nationally enacted legislation applicable to the southern States and/or the Southern Region shall have as its source of legislation popular consensus, the values and the customs of the people of Sudan (including their traditions and religious beliefs, having regard to Sudan’s diversity). (National hat dressed to legislate on the Secular Southern Sudan)

The anagram that explains the disparities

Machakos Protocol is clear and does not require interpretation by legal personalities. If in event of Khartoum government objection to envisage a notion of a Sharia free capital; a complacent compromise would be for the SPLM to table the Zero interim period since the option of giving unity a chance is no more attainable.

Wealth Sharing

Substantial progress has been made during the previous rounds on Wealth sharing discussions. The Draft framework tries to capture all what has been agreed but extensive work is still required to avoid future return to arms due to economic imbalances. The issues which took allot of time under discussions were ownership of land, subterranean resources, Petroleum commission, Existing contracts, Oil revenue stabilization account, Future Generation fund and sharing oil revenue, fiscal and financial policies etc. The paper went on to cover areas formally agreed by the two sides in order to create the holistic approach.

Issues on Central bank and monetary arrangements; the subsidiary of Central Bank to delegate powers for the established Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS). The Draft Framework recognizes the array of banking system in the Sudan. The sharia based banking system with it pecuniary denomination the Diner as preferred by Islamic North, while in the Southern Sudan, which uses the convectional system of banking with its liberal financial system do prefer New Sudan pound as its currency. However, the Draft Framework outstandingly suggests introduction of new currency as a compromise between the Dinar and New Sudan Pound that is yet to be seen.

The Draft Framework is drawn from the premise of Machakos protocol, which commits the South Sudan to establish its separate government during the interim period leading to exercise of self-determination. The Southern Sudan legislature, judiciary, executive and civil service will draw sources of laws from non-religious (secular laws). This is an entirely opposed to the system in Northern governments, which want to continue with as much Islamic Shaira in their system as they require. The point to be noted here is that the government of Sudan is still resolute against secularism, which SPLM has been advocating for the last 20 years of struggle. Now this has become a point of departure, the SPLM has succumb to the reasonable argument by the Northern Muslims who want the Islamic Laws in their systems, so be it. That is why we had to sign a Machakos Protocol of agreeing to disagree.

Land and related issues on wealth sharing must then be harmonized given the divergence of these geographical entities. Land and natural resources through out history is governed by communal and traditions ownership in African traditional beliefs and customs. The system of cultural pattern of tribal ownership exists in Southern Sudan, (South Sudan including Abyei, Nuba Mt. and Funj Region) is being protected and governed by tribal spiritual leaders. Let us asked the Brit and Missirin where are the so call secret lands of the Southern Sudan which were known as native lands, curved and protected by close "district ordinance"? This terminology only exists in the Dictionaries of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The intention of this ordinance was to exclude the Jalaba Arabs (slave raiders) from adulterating Southern territories. However, the Framework never ventured to open the can of worms in this matter. But it is clear that the land issue will fall in accordance to the divergence of laws governing the lands. That is why there is the provision of concurrency signed in Karen Memorandum of Understanding

In subsequent discussion at Machakos, land was defined to mean the surface and subsurface rights. Land Rights includes but not limited to ownership rights. Subterranean natural resources mean minerals naturally occurring in the subsurface.

With the renaissance of oil resources, the government of Southern Sudan will exercise all rights in all lands in Southern Sudan to be consistent with national environmental and African land tenure systems prevailing in Southern Sudan. Without prejudice to the present contracts on development of subterranean natural resources, the SPLM affirms that the community affected, the level of governments and developers must negotiate to reach amicable agreement on temporary tenure of land rights to the developers for the development of subterranean resources. The terms for compensations to be embodied in any of the agreement reached. If this has not been the case, the parties would be forced to renegotiate the terms of the contracts even if peace is attained.

Communal owners affected by future appropriation of land for subterranean natural resources development should have compensation on just terms. The Sudan government delegation still refers to existence of previous layers of dictatorship rule when the country was ruled by decrees. These are laws promulgated by former President Jaffar Nimeri representing a few northern cliques decreed the grapping of all un-registered land of the Sudan to be government owned lands. The same President also decreed the extension of Northern territory into far South grapping areas like Kafia Kingi, Harfur Nahas, and other territories in Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazel. All those areas previously taken would now revert to Southern Sudan as per Machakos Protocol, which has legitimated Southern boarders as from 1956.

Land Claim Commission shall be established by appropriate levels of governments to adjudicate on land disputes arising from property rights in the land. Procedures for resolving Land disputes shall be done through procedures consistent with the provisions of land tenure systems prevailing within the jurisdiction of that level of government. The government of Southern Sudan shall administer National lands if so exist in the Southern Sudan. Any disagreement with National Land Claim Commission on government owned land in the South shall be resolved by the Constitutional Court.

The SPLM advocates the establishment of National Petroleum Commission, which shall be constituted by equal representation by the National unity government, the government of Southern Sudan and the oil producing community representatives. NPC shall be a decision making body to formulate national policies and guidelines relating to the development and management of the petroleum sector consistent with national environmental laws, biodiversity conservation, petroleum export, and cultural heritage protection regulations. The argument is that the Southern oil wealth shall not be handed under the domain of Islamic North if they continue to advocate the policy of exclusion, due to insistence on Islamic Laws.

The new contracts shall be negotiated and administered by Southern Sudan government with the consent of the communities affected by oil contracts. While the GoS thinks it should apply to all existing and new oil contracts, wrong, the self-determination buck has beaten the Southern to run national affairs without glitches from North. The GoS of Sudan still lives in an illusion of the past, the country has lost credibility for the reason of medieval law - sharia. The south will not tolerate the entry of sharia to its territory through backdoors.

Security Arrangements

The IGAD sponsored talks on Security Arrangements as reflected in the framework reveals the principle of two armies during the interim period pending the results of the referendum, which may have domino effect to the country or otherwise.

The principle of two armies conceived by the mediators is to correct the past historic embalances between the North and the Southern Sudan, which is littered with broken promises and agreements. The dismantlement of the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 is one in the litany of dishonored agreements. The Anyanya army, although absorbed was to be stationed in the South but not to be integrated into the Sudan army until after 5 years. But what happened? Nimeiri and cronies ignored the Addis Ababa Agreement on military protocol, which sparked off the Akobo mutiny barely three years in 1975. Things began to fall apart dating from 1975 till the final abrogation of the Agreement in 1983.

The SPLM/A contends that there is nothing called the National Army of the Sudan? The present army, which is viciously fighting the SPLAM/A, is a partisan army of the National Islamic Front (NIF) created to uphold and protect the principles of the Party of God. It is engaging in advancement of radical Islamic ideology all over the world. It is therefore a Jihad army, which need to be restrained during the interim period. It is known they would not be brought out of Islamic cages and learns to tolerate people they are hate as infidels. This is still true given the wide range of residual fanatism in the northern population and the GoS, which still maintains guidance and strength from Islamic sharia

Presently the GoS is misreading the mood with its outdated so-called creation of one National army at the beginning of interim period. The GoS strategy is to repeat the absorption trick of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement. Creation of national army in principle is critical for the defense and protection of the national territory. But this can earnestly be done by recognition of political divergence of the two Armies renown to have battled themselves with outmost bitterness for 37 years. They require a healing period, the six years interim period would provide an era of peace and reconciliation to the civil population and the armies of the two geopolitical divide. A hardily doggy solution may constitute a far-reaching consequence to the peace agreement. Therefore, the two armies can only coexist on demarcated lines supervised or guaranteed by the agreement.

Indeed the Machakos protocol talks of two parallel administrations one in the Northern Sudan where Islamic Sharia laws are applied, and the administration of Southern Sudan, which is secular and democratic in nature. It is therefore illogical to absorb the SPLA into the NIF army, which is following a different set of culture, traditions and religious bearings.

In conclusion, the only guarantee the South has is the implementation of the right of self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan and having the SPLA with a union of other southern forces as an organic army in Southern Sudan. The war need not to be prolong because of intrigues, the suffering of the people should be brought to a halt. It is not anybodies wish to enter into an agreement that suspends fighting for a while to be resumed by another generation. The SPLM/A is aiming at a final resolution of the conflict so that our children hold up their heads with pride and dignity in their country. That is why SPLM/A supports the Draft Framework as basis for discussions.

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