Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 22 August 2017

The New Sudan’s battling leaders


By Salah Shuaib

Following South Sudan’s recent miserable transformations, a large segment of Sudanese elites is greatly disappointed by how the New Sudan project ended in failure, bringing a disaster to the people of the new country. On the other hand, our political elites have been disappointed, too, by the emergence of hostility and feud among the SPLM’s leadership members, which may weaken the political movement in the long run.

It seems that all this happened because of the failure of the SPLM’s elites in both countries to work in a collective spirit, to give up the tactical for the sake of the strategic, and to consider the suffering of the masses living in the conflict areas- who have always been both the fuel and victims of war for more than half a century.

Upon considering Sudan’s People Liberation Movement’s success in achieving some of its core goals at the time of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), leading to the independence of South Sudan, one observes the lack of an inspiring leadership, which can creatively work for the country’s bright future. This is evident in the heavy death toll during the short period that followed independence, the split of the leadership, the near-loss of the international community’s assistance, and the rupture of the national social and tribal fabric.

Here, we could see the negative impact of the absence of the late John Garang on the leadership of SPLM and the new country, which is mainly a product of the struggle for justice, equality and progress.

No doubt, President Salva Kiir and his aides are directly responsible for producing obstacles of maintaining the South Sudan’s political and economic gains. Yet, they have failed in dealing with political mistakes and achieving peace accords with his opponents, who are now diversely engaging against him-whether militarily or peacefully.

There is no something disgusting more than that allied comrades wage war against each other, as we have seen in South Sudan since the early stages of the nation-building processes. South Sudan’s bloody battles have brought destruction to the meagre infrastructures, displaced the citizens over neighbouring countries and made it difficult for peace to be restored. Thus, we have been puzzled over how peace negotiations could be urgently held amid such a stubbornness of all sides.

As for Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM/N), the situation of leadership is not differed from what we have witnessed in South Sudan. This leadership crisis is almost a warning sign that the SPLM/N is on the verge of losing its strength and constituency in the Sudanese political scene. Now, Abdul Aziz al-Hilu is Arman and Aqar’s enemy and vice versa. The two parties only possess a bitter grievance against each other. This acute leadership conflict does not leave any hope that SPLM/N will overcome these difficulties, and retains its well-being. The movement will never be the same, while the three leaders are conducting their affairs in the shadow of their discordant differences.

Indeed, the geopolitical complexities facing South Sudan require that all its elites to bear a full national responsibility to preserve the state, which has been made with great sacrifices. Contributing to achieving the aspirations of the citizens of South Sudan, the Western countries have a moral duty to pressure all the warring parties to reach an implementable peace agreement, which would bring order back to normal in the country.

Also, all this should exert more pressure on Sudan so as not to interfere in Juba’s internal affairs, especially that the current crisis going on in South Sudan has inevitably resulted from Khartoum’s relentless attempt to undermine the establishment of the new state. One believes that without this support that Khartoum had offered to some of armed forces opposed to Salva Kiir, the situation wouldn’t have reached such an extreme extent.

With the accusations that Juba supports his opponents, Bashir used all the pressure tools, under the watch of the so-called international community, to tear down southern Sudan in such a way as to diminish the capabilities of the Sudanese armed opposition- which Khartoum alleges that it is supported by Joba.

Unfortunately, Bashir’s regime, which represents the major obstacle to the unity of South Sudan’s political elite, still finds support from Western countries, particularly the United States, which is, in the meantime, keen to achieve peace in the new country.

The American administrations’ contradictions in resolving the new country’s conflict do not only harm its stability in the near and long term, but also harm the stability of Sudan and the rest of the countries in the region. At another level of a political estimate, one opines that there is no possibility of creating a safe neighbourhood between the two countries except by ending the Bashir regime, which first has contributed to the disruption of the unity of Sudan- before it destabilized South Sudan.

For all this, the United States and Western countries should rethink their handling of Bashir’s regime, which threatens the interests of the West, through its covert support of terrorist organizations for a long time.

As for the situation of leadership in SPLM/N, the quarrelling comrades are in need to be more prudent when it comes to the unity of the movement. The road has not been totally lost to overcome the personal bitterness among the three leaders. for the interest of the Sudanese cause as well as the cause of our people in the Nuba Mountains, it should be well- known that Al-Bashir’s regime always almost takes huge advantages from the split in any opposition force.

It is inevitable that both sides should make concessions to reach a common understanding that avoids the fragmentation of SPLM/N. All opposition forces have the interest to help create reconciliation between these two camps of the historic leaders who have participated in an honourable legacy of national struggle. Now, there is a wide space for our opposition to contribute, in a good faith, to end the two parties’ political dispute, if this will enhance all the means of the unity against the regime. More than this, Sudan’s opposition leaders also can accelerate their efforts to help South Sudan’s political rivals to reach a historic compromise that ends the miserable situations in the country.

*The writer is a Sudanese journalist, he can be reached at salshua7@hotmail.com

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