Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 21 July 2003

Honour peace deal or Sudan ’goes to hell’



The Nation (Nairobi)
Monday, July 21, 2003

Thousands of pampered characters from various countries roam the world. They know nothing about paying taxes or duties. They have enviable legal protection, too. When they commit murder, getting them to court is right out of Kafka. These people are known as diplomats.

Officially their job includes making their countries look good, prosperous, stable, solid bases for investment and, in Africa, fountains of wise leadership at state and government houses. Unofficially, the real job for these men and women is to tell those who doubt the existence of these virtues to go to hell and make the lot happy doing so.

Diplomats were invented because it’s considered a declaration of war for a head of state or government to tell another to go to hell. That’s why a recent statement by Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir amounts to abundant diplomatic impudence.

A week ago Mr El-Bashir commented on proposals by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development on how to end what is inaccurately described as a 20-year war in southern Sudan.

"We welcome a new acceptable draft framework by IGAD," Mr El-Bashir told a crowd at Wad Medan. For strange reasons, Wad Medan, a town 175 kilometres southeast of Khartoum, has seen outrageous happenings. "Otherwise, let the IGAD and those with it go to hell," Mr El-Bashir thundered.

IGAD is a grouping of six states, Sudan included, in eastern Africa. Each has a president. Like all human beings, these gentlemen presumably have feet of clay, possibly heads of gold, but truly other metals in between. But when it comes to Sudan’s woes, they mean well.

There are other governments, including members of the European Union, which IGAD leaders have roped in to help Mr El-Bashir out of quite a mess. These countries have leaders. According to Mr El-Bashir’s reasoning, these, too, can go to hell.

Apparently Mr El-Bashir doesn’t want peace. Otherwise his foreign minister and ambassadors should have suffered heart attacks.

Mr El-Bashir’s frustrations are understandable, although not the outburst. Dr John Garang’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army controls a third and prosperous chunk of Africa’s largest country. Mr El-Bashir’s sheikdom is split. But even if Mr Garang were to be struck by lighting, Mr El-Bashir will, territorially, remain less of a president.

The war in southern Sudan isn’t 20-year-old. That’s the latest round. Accompanied by afflictions of war, it has claimed more than 2 million souls. Millions of dollars have gone down the drain. Foreigners, some out to make fortunes out of misery, have perished.

The war began long before the Mahdists butchered British Gen. Charles Gordon in 1885. Before then hordes of northerners plundered the south. That they were Muslims and Arabs is immaterial. Plundering was the rule. The British, Egyptians in tow, bungled the job, too, up to independence in 1955. Dr Garang was 10 years old. No one loves everlasting oppression. The southerners rebelled.

Nobody enjoys fighting for ever, either. In 1972, the southerners accepted a deal brokered in Addis Ababa. Six years later, President Gaafar Numeiry scuttled it. Southerners squabbled and helped Mr Numeiry along and were at war again in1983.

The southerners have always said they want a share of the country’s wealth, which includes oil revenue. They don’t want to collectively be made to face Mecca. They hate Islamic law. A majority only want to be accorded, by their country, what every Sudanese is entitled to. A few don’t care about Khartoum. After all when the British and Egyptians began disengaging from Sudan in 1953, southerners wanted and were promised a federal government. They’ve seen only plunder.

The IGAD-sponsored talks haven’t been useless. But a few key issues remain, including the make-up of the armed forces, details on wealth and power sharing and percentages of southerners in national institutions.

No imagination is needed to know the SPLA wants to remain intact until a referendum on self-determination is held. After all, who will physically protect the southerners from Khartoum’s machinations?

Abel Alier, a lawyer and southerner, wasn’t a very enlightened politician. But in a book titled Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonoured he wrote: Distrust has begotten distrust, which has virtually been built into mutual bad faith.

Dr Garang would like to be president of a united Sudan. He even has a martial swagger. Mr El-Bashir is president of a divided nation. Both are in a dilemma.

Wee-wee knowledge of southern Sudan indicates if a tight-knit deal to block future "too many agreements dishonoured" isn’t in place, the southerners shall, in a referendum, tell Khartoum to unhappily go to hell.

That’s what IGAD is trying to avoid, Mr El-Bashir.

Mr Mbitiru, a freelance journalist, is a former ’Nation’ Managing editor.

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Remembering Par Chongriah Nong of Greater Fangak 2021-06-12 06:22:51 By Bol Khan On 9th June 2020 South Sudan's Jonglei State lost a great; fair Father, a true legend and traditional leader. A leader with an enthralled and untold legacy worth shared, globally. (...)

South Sudan should reduce checkpoints, regulate taxes 2021-06-06 05:04:03 by Bol Khan The number of checkpoints across South Sudan has had inestimably increased during the recent past—deferred civil war. This includes a number of both legal and illegal checkpoints (...)

Remembering Abraham Chol Marial and William Ater Lual 2021-06-04 19:17:05 Ngor Arol Garang On Wednesday morning, I woke up to two nerve wrecking news. It was the passing of Abraham Chol Marial, a colleague and a longtime friend and William Ater Lual, a friend of my (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2021 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.