Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 2 November 2007

For collective responsibility in Sudan peace implementation

From blaming to collective responsibility for implementation of the CPA as a model

By Jacob K. Lupai*

November 1, 2007 — The pullout of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) from the Sudan government of national unity (GONU) on 11 October 2997 marked a significant point in the Sudanese table of political events. The SPLM pullout sent some shock waves of worries across the international community which has until recently been very inactive in explicitly monitoring the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the SPLM and the National Congress Party (NCP) as to which party has been fulfilling its part.

For convenience in brief the CPA was the product of lengthy and tough negotiations spanning over a decade between the government of Sudan (GOS) dominated by the NCP and the SPLM. The negotiations were mediated by an African Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) with the United Nations (UN) playing a supporting role while the United States of America (USA) used a carrot and stick approach to keep the tortuous negotiations on track for an eventual agreement between the parties concerned. The CPA was eventually signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 9 January 2005 after 22 years of a destructive war mainly fought in Southern Sudan. The CPA was considered a great achievement for peace in the region. The CPA was also seen as a model of solution to a similar region of conflict, for example in the Darfur region of Sudan.

In the CPA were built mechanisms “to implement and monitor the Peace Agreement ----.” One such mechanism was the establishment of “An independent Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) ---- during the Pre-Interim Period to monitor the implementation of the Peace Agreement and conduct a mid-term evaluation of the unity arrangements established under the Peace Agreement”. The Pre-Interim Period was of six months duration from the date the CPA was signed. According to the CPA, “The composition of the AEC shall consist of equal representation from the GOS and the SPLM/A, and not more than two representatives from each of the following categories: member states of the IGAD sub-committee on Sudan (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda), observer states (Italy, Norway, UK and US) and any other countries or regional or international bodies to be agreed upon by the Parties”. Also according to the CPA, “The Parties shall refrain from any form of unilateral revocation or abrogation of the Peace Agreement”. Here the Parties are the GOS and the SPLM.

It is very clear that there was a provision in the CPA for the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Peace Agreement through the AEC. However, what is not clear, though, is how to resolve a disagreement as it has just occurred between the GOS and the SPLM in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The CPA seems to suggest that a disagreement between the GOS and the SPLM could be resolved “through consultation by the parties to the agreement. Here “the parties to the agreement” may mean the GOS and the SPLM on the one hand and the representatives of IGAD, observer states and other regional or international bodies, which witnessed the signing of the CPA. However, this is a gray area where the CPA seems to be very vague. There seems to be nothing legally binding on those who may dishonour the CPA. There also appears to be no penalties on those who may blatantly dishonour the CPA. This is likely to be the loophole that is being exploited by the NCP.

The NCP as the dominant party in the GONU has the strength and power to implement the CPA in sprit and letter if it so wishes. However, people should not forget that the NCP did not go to the negotiation table in Naivasha, Kenya on its own free will. The carrot and stick approach of the US contributed tremendously to the realisation of the CPA. Given this scenario there are hawks in the NCP who are extreme Islamists and had nothing to do with the CPA. The signing of the CPA was only a relief to ease the concerted pressure made to bear on the Islamists. The untimely death of Dr John Garang de Mabior, the First Vice President of Sudan and the President of the government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and one of the architects of the CPA was probably received with jubilation as the first and the last nail into the coffin of the CPA. However, when the SPLM bounced back from the shock of the untimely death of its leader, the hawks in the NCP had one powerful strategy in their arsenal. The strategy was to systematically dishonour through disinformation the implementation of the CPA as stipulated. Despite genuine voices of concern that the CPA was in danger of collapsing as a result of the NCP’s adamant and uncooperative behaviour, the NCP was informing the world on the contrary. As to whose story was credible a critical analysis was needed of what was actually taking place on the ground with regard to the implementation of the CPA.

The parameters of the CPA are power and wealth sharing, the resolution of the Abyei conflict, and the conflict in the two states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and security arrangements. According to the CPA document and without going into details, the power sharing arrangement at the national level is that the NCP is represented by 52, the SPLM by 28, other northern political forces by 14 and other southern political forces by 6 per cent respectively. At the Southern Sudan level 70 represent the SPLM, the NCP by 15 and other southern political forces by 15 per cent respectively as per the borders of Southern Sudan of 1st January 1956 at independence. On the power sharing deal there seems to be no serious complaint by the SPLM that may be of major concern. However, one of the main reasons the SPLM pulled out of the GONU is the alleged lack of transparency in the wealth sharing deal. The allegation of the lack of transparency in wealth sharing seems to be confirmed by the GONU’s State Minister for Energy and Mining who has called “for the appointment of representatives from the Government of Southern Sudan in the team assigned to market and sell Sudan’s oil on international markets”. To further confirm the alleged lack of transparency in wealth sharing the GONU’s State Minister for Energy and Mining said the GOSS “was not allowed any presentation at the strategic stages of oil production and overseas marketing. GOSS is only represented through the so-called [oil accounts committee] which divides the quotas based upon figures”. This clearly suggests a problem in the wealth sharing arrangements, perhaps a symptom of the underlying problem of poor implementation of the CPA.

In the CPA under wealth sharing it is stipulated that during the Pre-Interim Period a national petroleum commission (NPC) would be formed with the President of GONU and the President of the GOSS as co-chairs. The membership of the NPC would consist of 4 members each from the GONU and the GOSS respectively with 3 representatives of oil producing state/region. One of the main functions of the NPC is to “Negotiate and approve all oil contracts for the exploration and development of oil in the Sudan”. For existing oil contracts “The SPLM shall appoint a limited number of representatives to have access to all existing oil contracts. The representatives shall have the right to engage technical experts”. Also, “a Fiscal and Financial Allocation and Monitoring Commission (FFAMC) shall be established with one of the main duties and responsibilities to “Ensure transparency and fairness in the allocation of funds to the GOSS and states/regions according to established rations or percentages stipulated in this Agreement The FFAMC is composed of 3 representatives each from the GONU and the GOSS, and all Finance |Ministers in all states/regions of Sudan”. This shows that if indeed the NPC and the FFAMC were formed and functional in the spirit of the CPA we would not have witnessed the uncalled for public confrontation between the NCP and the SPLM from 11 October.

For the resolution of the Abyei conflict a number of steps were taken as stipulated in the CPA. In the Interim Period among other things, “Abyei will be administered by a local Executive Council elected by the residents of Abyei. Pending the election of the Executive Council, its initial members will be appointed by the Presidency; Net oil revenues from Abyei will be divided six ways during the Interim Period: the national government 50 per cent; the Government of Southern Sudan 42 per cent; Bahr el Ghazal 2 per cent; Western Kordofan 2 per cent; locally with the Ngok Dinka 2 per cent; and locally with the Messeriya people 2 per cent”. For the determination of geographical boundaries “There shall be established by the Presidency, Abyei Boundaries Commission (ABC) to define and demarcate the area of the nine Ngok chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905, referred to herein as Abyei area”. According to the CPA, “The composition and timeframe of the ABC shall be determined by the Presidency. However, the ABC shall include, ----, experts, representatives of the local communities and the local administration. The ABC shall finish its work within the first two years of the Interim Period”.

Indeed the ABC promptly finished its work and presented its report to the Presidency for action but unfortunately the report was rejected, aggravating the Abyei conflict instead of resolving it. It was not clear how the Presidency rejected the ABC report. The Presidency may consist of three members, the President, the First Vice President and the Second Vice President. By the virtue of the NCP being the dominant partner in the GONU the President and the Second Vice President are NCP representatives while the First Vice President is the SPLM representative. In democracy the majority may rule. This may explain how the ABC report was probably rejected by the Presidency. The First Vice President as the SPLM representative would not have rejected the ABC report to dishonour the CPA. The President and the Second Vice President could reject the ABC report because the NCP is having second thoughts about the ABC. The main reason seems to be nothing other than to tap the Abyei oil resources so that the South does not get any share at all. According to the CPA the South should get 42 per cent of oil revenue from Abyei oil fields. For now the GONU has secured 100 per cent of oil revenue from Abyei that it is not ready to lose. If this is not a violation of the CPA in resolving the Abyei conflict it is difficult to know what it is.

On the resolution of the conflict in the two states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile so far there seems to be at least on the surface no problem of the magnitude seen in Abyei. Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile appear to have the structures needed as stipulated in the CPA that the SPLM hardly mentions the two states as suffering from the NCP’s dishonour of the CPA. However, the two states will not be immune to the simmering problems of the lack of implementation of the CPA in spirit and letter.

The security arrangement is the one protocol of the CPA the SPLM is very critical of the NCP. According to the CPA protocol on security arrangement, “As part of a peace agreement and in order to end the war, the Parties agree that the two forces, the SAF and the SPLA shall remain separate during the Interim Period, and further agree that both forces shall be considered and treated equally as Sudan’s National Armed Forces during the Interim Period ---“. On the redeployment of the two separate armed forces the CPA stipulates that, “Except for those deployed in the Joint/Integrated Units (JIUs), the rest of the forces of SAF currently deployed in the South shall be redeployed North of the South/North border of 1/1/1956 under international monitoring and assistance within and up to two and one half years (21/2) from the beginning of Pre-Interim Period”. The CPA is absolutely clear on troops redeployment in which by 9 July 2007 all the forces of SAF should have been redeployed from Southern Sudan to the North under international monitors. The SPLM therefore has every right to ring the alarm bells that something was not right with the implementation of the CPA when its partner had been flagrantly uncooperative. What is not clear, though, is the extent to which the international monitoring and assistance has been effective regarding the redeployment of the SAF to the North of the South/North border as it stood on the 1st January 1956 on the independence day. Has the SPLM consulted on international monitoring and assistance to resolve the lack of will on the part of the NCP in the redeployment of the SAF from the South? It may be convenient to know of the results of such consultations if any for the international community to take responsibility. The CPA clearly states that the redeployment of the SAF from the South should be under international monitoring and assistance.

The security arrangement for the redeployment of the forces of the SAF North of the South/North border brings to the forefront the issue of the demarcation of the South/North border. However, it is not clear why the South/North border has become a major stumbling block in the implementation of the CPA. First of all Southern Sudan had a well marked out border with the North according to the map of Sudan as it stood on the 1st January 1956. The main exercise should have been to ascertain the South/North border on the ground as observed on the map by experts. African countries during their independence respected colonial borders as drawn in the scramble for Africa. No country would claim a piece of land from another without a serious crisis. Southern Sudan would not claim and occupy any piece of land in the North. Why should the North be allowed to play all the available games and tricks to claim and occupy any piece of land in the South? It is not a secret that the NCP is dithering in the so-called demarcation of the South/North border because it wants the North to grab some of the lucrative oil fields in the South. If left unchallenged the North will occupy southern oil fields with brute force making war inevitable despite the diplomatic niceties. The IGAD, observer states, and regional and international bodies should be aware of the NCP dirty games and tricks.

Other issues equally of high significance to the implementation of the CPA are the extent of consultations between the Parties to the Peace Agreement and the timely conduction of the 2009 and 2011 election and referendum respectively. It is clear that the Parties to the Peace Agreement were not consulting with each other, as they should have been for the smooth implementation of the CPA. For example, the immediate reshuffle of ministers in the GONU was prompted by the SPLM withdrawal from the GONU, which was accused of dishonouring the CPA. The NCP in an apparent cosmetic surgical operation to uplift its face wanted to woo back the SPLM to rejoin the GONU. As it emerged the reshuffle was not as the SPLM had wanted. This demonstrated seriously the lack of consultation between the NCP and the SPLM in governing the country. By all means Lam Akol should have been completely out of the GONU but it seemed the NCP had special relationship with Lam Akol who was more of the NCP representative that of the SPLM. For the expected 2009 election and the 2011 referendum this will depend on the extent of the implementation of the Peace Agreement protocols. The slower the implementation of the CPA the further the election and the referendum may be pushed to a later date or the election and the referendum may hardly be conducted at all.

It may be convenient to highlight some confusion. The Peace Agreement was between the government of Sudan and the SPLM. However, the prominence given to the NCP is because it is the major ruling partner in government. It may be advisable to talk of the GONU as dishonouring the CPA. The pullout of the SPLM from the GONU was a sign that the SPLM did not want to be associated with a government that did not honour commitments while the NCP might have no worries and could have even been jubilant behind closed doors. In a democracy where the government was an elected one, the GONU would have fallen followed by the formation of a new caretaker or a coalition government of all political forces representative of south, north, east and west to be truly a government of national unity with the mandate to adopt and implement the CPA as a model of conflict resolution in the region. However, Sudanese nationalism may have been brushed aside while religious bigotry and racism have the upper hand. Sudanese have divided themselves up into Muslims and Christians, Arabs and Black Africans, and may be also into angels and devils. It is difficult to see how the Sudanese may rise above such entrenched divisions. However, it is not impossible to consign religious bigotry and racist overtones to the shelves of history. The National Democratic Alliance and professionals, youth, women and other political forces may need to be proactive to see the back of the NCP. The Sudanese must be sick and tired of witnessing destruction, consuming Sudanese precious souls and livelihoods. It is a high standard of living that we all aspire in the south, north, east and the west but not the hell of religious bigotry and racism.

The GONU and the SPLM have traded accusations and blames before and after the pullout of the SPLM from the GONU on 11 October. When the SPLM snapped in utter frustration with the NCP, it pulled out from the GONU with a stern warning that it will not rejoin the GONU until the violation of the CPA is rectified. The NCP, the major partner in the GONU, in turn lashed out furiously at the SPLM accusing it as the main obstacle to the implementation of the CPA in resolving the North/South conflict. The NCP in defence of the GONU claimed that, “the government was on track in delivering on its commitments” with regard to the CPA. However, in an apparent tactical diversion from the core issues in the implementation of the CPA, the NCP accused the SPLM for its alleged record in the South “of neglecting citizens and funnelling funding towards party members”. In a strategic move to exonerate itself of any blame, the NCP narrated what seems to be a hurriedly developed agenda “as of the meetings of the Presidency of the Republic up to the end of the year 2007 with regard to the follow-up of the implementation of the CPAS”. Some of the items on the said agenda include the “Nomination and endorsement of nominees for the Commissions for Evaluations of the Agreements of South Kordofan and Blue Nile; Administrative, financial and security support for the field of the borders’ committee; Progress in the implementation of the Security and Military arrangements Protocol: of completing deployment of the joint unit; of redeployment of Armed forces and the SPLM Army; of steps for the integration of the joint forces; of The Flow of financial support; Political Partnership: The joint political committee:- The Issue of Abyei; ---“. The agenda is nothing but misleading. First of all the NCP should not have only provided the agenda but also the minutes of the meetings covering the items on the agenda discussed and the resolutions made if any of the issues raised. Secondly the agenda seems to be a ploy and a very cheap way to show the NCP was serious about the CPA two years on when the implementation of the CPA should have been in full swing. Most importantly there was no mention of one crucial mechanism in the implementation of the CPA, namely the establishment of “An independent Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) during the Pre-Interim Period to monitor the implementation of the Peace Agreement and conduct a mid-term evaluation of the unity arrangements established under the Peace Agreement”.

According to the CPA, “The Parties shall work with the AEC during the Interim Period with a view to improving the institution and arrangements created under the Agreement and making the unity of Sudan attractive to the people of South Sudan”. The pertinent question to ask is has the AEC been established and if so are the Parties working with the AEC to ensure the implementation of the CPA according to the calendar of activities? It is worth reiterating that, according to the CPA, the AEC should be composed of the NCP and the SPLM, IGAD, members of observer states and of regional or international bodies. The composition of the AEC strongly suggests that there should be an international monitoring of the implementation of the CPA. However, the NCP through the President of the Republic said, “The call (by the SPLM) to resolve the crisis through regional and international mechanisms boils down to a rejection of the CPA”. This is very interesting. Either the President is not aware, which is a very serious omission, of one of the principles of the CPA that calls for the involvement of IGAD, observer states, regional and international bodies in monitoring the implementation of the CPA through the AEC or this is the way the NCP has already thrown out the CPA into the dustbin of history. The SPLM was definitely within the CPA in reminding the IGAD and the African Union (AU) or the UN of their role in the AEC to monitor the implementation of the CPA. In addition the IGAD, the AU and the UN witnessed the signing of the CPA by the NCP and the SPLM. What is therefore strange to remind the IGAD, the AU and the UN as per the CPA if not to throw out the CPA altogether? The SPLM has a tough decision to make in the face of the blatant denial of the highly significant role of the AEC only for the NCP to kill and bury the CPA unceremoniously.

One issue of interest is whether the SPLM had first consulted with the IGAD, observer states, regional and international bodies before the meeting of the Interim Political Bureau and the subsequent public announcement of the pullout from the GONU. It is hoped that the SPLM had indeed consulted first with the members of the AEC before the public announcement of the pullout. However, the AEC might not have been ignorant of the obstructive and uncooperative behaviour of the NCP with regard to the implementation of the CPA.

It was obviously not helpful to see the NCP and the SPLM locked in blames and counter-blames with differences widening. It may be appropriate to step back a little and have a hard look at what does the future hold for the Sudanese. Sudan is burning in the west and sooner the flames from the west may engulf the east, north and the south, igniting more flames that may be too much for Sudan to cope with and survive as a nation. There is no magic wand to the crisis but experience shows the Sudanese have the ability only if there is a collective will and responsibility to lift themselves out of the simmering flames of destruction. The Sudanese did it before and there is no, reason why they cannot do it again in their hour of need. In time of crisis taking sides my even aggravate the situation. Taking collective responsibility for the situation and tackling issues arising may be the appropriate approach. The stand off between the NCP and the SPLM does not bode well for Sudan while Darfur is burning. As a model the implementation of the CPA may offer hope to millions in utter despair, which in every minute may turn into a national crisis of unprecedented proportion. The adoption and implementation of the CPA as a unique model will not only address the North/South conflict but also the problem of Darfur and so forth. To be realistic the present GONU dominated by the NCP can hardly be a GONU when it hardly honours any peace agreement. However, others may argue that dissolving the present GONU is rejection of the CPA. This type of argument may be flaw. When in 2009 an election is conducted there will be a new government replacing this present GONU. Will it be concluded that the CPA will be thrown out through the window because of a new government in 2009? It is unlikely. The new government would inherit and implement the CPA according to the specified and articulated principles of the Peace Agreement witnessed by the international community.

In conclusion it may be helpful for the NCP and the SPLM to agree to form a truly new government of national unity that will include other political and professional forces as equal partners to resolve immediately the stand off and to implement the CPA without feet dragging as the stand off between the SPLM and the NCP has demonstrated. We have to move from blaming each other to collective responsibility for the adoption and implementation of the CPA as a model solution to the Sudan problem that is tearing the country apart. Military solutions to political problems are costly as by now many Sudanese should have learned through the hard way. The CPA could be adapted as a model for the troubled regions of Sudan according to their unique circumstances.

*The writer is a researcher on household food security with focus on smallholder agriculture. He can be reached at jklupai@yahoo.co.uk