Home | News    Tuesday 17 April 2012

Sudan example of how not to manage diversity - Uganda’s Museveni


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

April 16, 2012 (BAHIR-DAR, ETHIOPIA) - Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, criticised African leaders who by rejecting diversity cause insecurity pointing to Sudan as a prime example of how failing to manage political, religious and ethnic differences can result in conflict.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter mediated a peace accord between Sudan and Uganda on Dec. 8, 1999, in which the two countries agreed to take steps to restore diplomatic relations and promote peace in the region. Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir (left) shakes the hand of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni. Kenya President Daniel arap Moi and President Carter witnessed the signing. (Photo: Carter Center)

Sudan has been at war with itself for most of its independence after colonial power Britain left the country politically and economically in the hands of a small elite in Khartoum. Since 1956 various governments of differing ideologies have neglected the country’s peripheral areas causing conflicts in South Sudan, Darfur and other areas.

Speaking at a conference on African security in Ethiopia, Museveni said that the attempt by a ruling class in Khartoum to declare the whole of what was Africa’s largest country an Arab and Islamic state was illustration of how not to foster peace.

In July last year South Sudan separated from the rest of Sudan after a six year peace deal failed to convince South Sudanese voters in a referendum that they would be better off ruled by Khartoum.

Since South Sudan seceded Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir has indicted that he wants the country’s new constitution to have a stronger link to strict Islamic Shari’a Law and insisted in a speech last year there will be no space for cultural and religious diversity.

Although other issues have played major roles in Sudan’s conflicts, identity has been a key issue for rebels who have fought the government in the western Darfur region since 2003 and in the southern border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile since last year.

Identity was also one of the main factors behind Sudan’s north-south conflicts, which ultimately resulted in the country’s partition.

Museveni said: "If the African leaders and those who love the continent do not address ways of ensuring economic prosperity of the continent and her people and only engage in the African people’s diversity, ethnicity and all forms of their social and religious differences and regard these as the main cause of insecurity to the continent, then they either don’t know the continent well or they are enemies of the African people."

The Ugandan president argued that issues of ethnicity should only be addressed in cases where fanatical patriotism occurs or at times when the leading political class exercises sectarianism, as he says Khartoum’s government’s have in the case of Sudan.

Museveni, was speaking at the first High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, which was held in the Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar from April 14-15.

The forum’s organiser, Professor Andrias Eshete from Addis Ababa University’s Peace and Security Institute, said the objective of the forum is to promote dialogue as a fundamental means to resolve African conflicts between heads of state, politicians, civil society, academics and other representatives.

According to Eshete, the peace forum intends to pave the way for effective “African-led solutions” to the continents peace and security challenges. It was underscored in the forum that diversity in Africa is a strength, and should not be a source of conflict.

Forum chairperson, the former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, in his address said that there had been a decline of conflicts in Africa and called for more collective efforts to build a united continent.

The former chairman of the African Union said: “For many years the African continent has been ravaged by wars and conflicts. In recent years, however, extended thanks to the efforts of the African Union, regional economic communities, member states and partners, we have seen the number of conflicts decline, even though there continues to be flare ups in different parts of the continent."

The last month has not been a good one for security and peace in Africa:

  • Sudan and South Sudan are moving dangerous close to all-out war as fighting continues along their contested-oil-rich border;
  • A coup in Guinea-Bissau has brought a military junta to power;
  • Mogadishu was rocked by a suicide bomber at an event attended by senior officials from Somalia’s transitional government;
  • And in Mali Tuareg rebels wanting an independent state are now in control of the north of the country.

In his key note, Obasanjo said diversity was a source of conflict in Africa because “leaders fail to identify those diversities, accept them and attend to them in their form”. He called on African leaders to ensure recognition and respect all forms of diversity in order to promote peace and stability.

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, said at the occasion that Africa’s 54 nations should firmly exercise a political system that entertains diversity of ethnicity, languages, religion and culture equally. He stressed the need for political will and committed leadership to avert security challenges in Africa and also to realise prosperity and development.

The forum was organized by the Addis Ababa University of Peace and Security Institute and will be held annually from now on, according to organisers.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 17 April 2012 05:20, by Msudi

    You are right, but the losers here are the so called Arabs in the Sudan. They have tried to wipe out African tribes in the Sudan for the last 200 years but their plan never materialised.

    We children of south sudan question the wisdom of the AU, UN, US, EU and UK in their support sudan by condemning our move to protect ourselves and our territorial integrity.

    • 17 April 2012 06:01, by dengtaath

      Museveni, is one of the African leaders who is able to speak out the reality, Sudan is a clear example of failure of how to deal with diversity, calling the Africa’slargest state Sudan as an Islamic state that should be ruled with Islamic Sheria laws and marginalising African tribes was a great recip for war and cause of independent South Sudan. And in the reality, there will be more states follow

      • 17 April 2012 08:48, by Lango2010

        wise people talk wise words always Museveni knows all the problems facing African countries. Indeed if we don’t address the root causes of those problem always than we shall end up in creating more problems.

  • 17 April 2012 05:45, by talentboy2

    Islam really need modernization and reform! You don’t please God of the Universe by bringing pain and sorrow to your fellowman, His Creation. We want peace in Africa! Arab and their religion has brought nothing to Africa but pain and sorrow and dessertation! We Africans, especially the Christians, want to get along with our African brothers and sisters, irrespective of their religion.
    To be still.

  • 17 April 2012 05:48, by talentboy2

    Continue... practicing religion as it was in the Dark Ages don’t make any sense at all. I CALL FOR REFORMATION OF ISLAM IN AFRICA IN ORDER TO BRING PEACE, JOY, HAPPINESS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH TO AFRICA. May God Bless you all. AMEN

    Mawut D M

  • 17 April 2012 05:54, by talentboy2

    At one point it used to be civil wars caused by tribal differences, the future of all wars in Africa is all about the 2 middle eastern religions.
    I say we stop ignore all religions and follow African religions only.
    We can have our own ‘jerusalem’ and ‘mecca’ here itself.Regarding this issue to be political, I say if the continent does not develop then they shall always be seeking help from

  • 17 April 2012 05:55, by talentboy2

    West and China

  • 17 April 2012 06:01, by talentboy2

    Ye ku Nhialic col, ci men theer bi deng col ateny ku ye koc pur kecin dier. yeku Nhialic col bi mith thukul col ke lau nhim bik lo tueng ke kuenden apath ku bi africa ya debelop apath ne a long tekinologi.
    ee Heen Mawut De Mathuou

  • 17 April 2012 06:24, by Madina Tonj

    Uganda president Yoweri Musveni maybe right

    Those Arabs African have lacking of diversity, because their agendas was to turned Africa continent in to Islamic nations this is why all North Africa nations were supporting indictment Omar al Bashir and denying these African Black which were being murders by Arab in the Sudan.
    AU and UN were all silent for 21 years in Sudan and they said nothing

  • 17 April 2012 06:32, by Secondat

    Africa’s countries are inorganic anyway. Random groupings of people with ruler drawn borders.

    The rest of the world doesn’t have this problem because most of them have a common identity with their countrymen.

    • 17 April 2012 06:56, by zulu

      Indeed, you have poked the devil right in the eye. senseless patrimoneous regime of Sudan simply distroyed what the british built. their insistance on useless religious believes, identity and patrimony is ubiquitous and there is no near end to this trend. only regime change with New Sudan ideology of the SPLA.

  • 17 April 2012 09:30, by mohammed ali

    Musevini is a dictator and assisinator. His only way to face his opponents is by killing them. The same which he did with Garang.His dream to extend his " totsi" kingdom in Rwanda, Brundi & Congo were stopped by Angola, Nigeria and the UN.Now he found a new brain-washed leaders who can invest in their ignorance while he was occupying there land, something he would never dare to do when we were the

    • 17 April 2012 10:51, by Dinka Aliap Chawul

      M. Ali

      M7 is a dictator no doubt about coz anyone who stay in power to unreasonable limite and centering power to his yes men is a despot.assinator? Garang wasn’t kill by M7,we know who kill him and we cant tell now.However,we cant compare M7 with Basir who failed to adress diversity,kills the complain voices dat led to south go.Olusiguan is a wiseman,he says African leaders fear of unknown.

  • 17 April 2012 10:29, by Morthon Akol

    comrade President Yoweri Museveni, out of 54 African states how many of them are the members of Arabs League?

  • 17 April 2012 11:00, by Rising of the Sun

    When it comes to standing up to oppressors and radicals, Museveni is one of Africa’s pride; for he speak without fear.
    He understands Africa very well as a true African should.

    There are plenty of lessons to be learnt from Khartoum’s failure to manage diversity.

    Sudan should certainly go into the Guinness book of records as one country that has miserably failed to manage national diversity.

    • 17 April 2012 16:57, by mohammed ali

      You come to Khatoum pple. Twice today I passed by the Embassy of SS.Everything is quite not even single police officer. Go to the Khartoum Main open Market. ALL pple from different parts of Sudan including Southerners are interacting normally & peacfully. Sudan is small Africa.Nobody is touching southerners and they are in every corner of Khartoum. Don’t mention the case of the Police Academy.

      • 17 April 2012 17:01, by mohammed ali

        It was a very stupid reaction. You can be my guest and inside my house to celebrate my death. It is good that Sudanese police students didn’t react the same way; they were prudent & didn’t respond to their provocation.Hate & war are not going to solve any problem.SS now is in big trouble. Internal fighting will erupt as soon as the dust of Heglig settles! Mark my words!

        • 17 April 2012 20:25, by Elijah B. Elkan

          Mr. Ali,

          I feel your pain dude. I am glad you see north Sudan as an African country but not an Arab state. Being a Muslim does qualify you to be an Arab. Can you imagine a black christian calming to be European ... that’s joke.
          Mr. Ali, your people in the north has killed 2.5 millions southerns and almost 1 million Darfurians. How would you justify that?. Bashir/Hussein are the world’s criminals

  • 17 April 2012 15:20, by Smith

    Museveni is 100% right that some of the African leaders or countries have failed to recognized diversities which has created insecurity and Sudan is on the top list of these failed states...there is nowhere certain small group wants to turn a country into their own culture and religion.....Sudan will never be peaceful until all the ethnicity, religions and culture diversities are restored and reco

  • 22 July 2012 00:19, by Northern Sudanese

    i know its a late reply, but why do all youth blame sudan and speak about sudan this way? its you who divided the nation, not us!

    we signed cpa and were planning to build Africas largest and strongest nation, yet you divided it!

    seperation to us means another 2 decades to reach our goal but for you it means alot more

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