The right of people of South Sudan to decide their political future through an internationally monitored referendum, which many Southerners consider to be the cornerstone of the CPA, is now under severe threat. The National Congress Party views the right of self-determination as a curse and a threat to their model of the Sudan, the old Sudan. They feels that the people of South Sudan, if given a chance to exercise their rights in a free and fair referendum, will overwhelmingly vote to secede. Hence, they are resolved to undermine the Referendum, either by legislation or any other mean possible. In this short article I will only concentrate on how the NCP has been trying to use the legislation to derail the referendum exercise. First, the NCP was reluctant to enact the South Sudan referendum act since July 2007, the time stipulated in the CPA implementation modalities for enacting this act. They hoped to delay the referendum bill as much as possible. The speaker of the national assembly, Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tahir told the UN-radio, Miraya FM, early this year that the referendum bill will be passed only by an elected parliament. That was a very dangerous view as delaying […]
The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) yet again delivered on its thousand and one vows to boycott sessions of the National Legislature last week. The reason this time was parliamentary debate over the Southern Sudan Referendum Bill, which specifies legislation for the 2011 referendum, meant to determine whether or not the South secedes from Sudan. The Referendum Bill has undergone intensive debate between all political parties for the past eighteen months. It was subject to several evaluations, beginning with the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC); the Trilateral Talks brokered by the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, Gen. Scott Gration; and, finally, the Political Committee between the NCP and SPLM, co-chaired by Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar. But eighteen months of efforts to marshal national consensus have been squandered by the SPLM in one fell swoop. As a result of disagreement over a single sub-article the SPLM has sentenced Sudan’s referendum bill to death by firing squad. In this brief article we are not concerned with political correctness, or with what the mechanical minority should or should not do. We are not concerned with the criticism leveled at […]
Why does the U.S. have so little influence over political outcomes in Sudan? Earlier this month, I made a presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in which I argued that the U.S. Administration can only influence political outcomes in Sudan at the margin, and moreover that its leverage is diminishing. Some in the audience were puzzled by this. It is axiomatic for many in the policy world that the international community (usually defined as north America and Europe) not only should fix difficult problems, but can successfully do so. There are five main reasons why the U.S. has less influence in Sudan than it did a few years ago. 1. Credibility. The Bush Administration made several promises to Khartoum, and failed to deliver on them. The Sudan Government expected normalization of relations after it signed the CPA, after it signed the DPA, and after it allowed UN troops into Darfur. There are good reasons why the U.S. didn’t make good on its promises. The Obama Administration inherits that legacy. But, from Khartoum’s point of view, any U.S. promise is heavily discounted. 2. Coherence. Khartoum will only listen seriously to a promise or a threat from Washington […]
Documents from the UN Security Council discussion of the AU High Level Panel on Darfur are available here: The speech of President Thabo Mbeki: Speech of Pres Mbeki The speech of Chairperson Jean Ping: H.E. Jean Ping statement The press statement of the UN Security Council: Security Council Press Statement Eng
When Sudan’s fifth population census was recently completed, many Sudanese citizens rejected the results, arguing that the population of Southern Sudan was significantly higher than the census showed. One of the worries is that southern states will be given fewer seats in the National Assembly, because most of the seats are allocated according to population size. For this post, I have used the census data to calculate the distribution of the National Assembly seats in order to highlight potential election problems in the coming months. How the Seats will be Allocated: The National Assembly has 450 seats. Sixty percent of the seats will be divided to represent geographical constituencies. This means that 270 seats will be allocated according to the population of each state. The formula for determining how the seats will be distributed is as follows: 1. Calculate the national dividend: Divide the total population of Sudan by the number of seats to be filled. Population (39,154,490) / Number of Seats (270) = Dividend 145,017 2. Calculate the number of National Assembly constituencies in each state. Divide the total population of each state by the national dividend. I have calculated the allocation for each state below: The other forty […]
Article by: Markus Virgil Hoehne, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Note: For more detailed analysis, download the full version of this essay on the Crisis in the Horn of Africa essay forum. Somalia has made international headlines for almost two decades now, first as a state of civil war characterized by clan warfare and humanitarian catastrophe, then as a failed state, and finally as a potential safe haven for Islamic terrorists. Contrary to the assumption about ‘black holes’ and ungoverned spaces voiced by politicians and some academics, the Harmony Project of the Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point has recently shown that the absence of a government in Somalia did not automatically provide fertile ground for Al Qaeda terrorism. Its researchers, who had access to declassified intelligence reports on Al Qaeda activities in the Horn in the early 1990s concluded that the foreign Islamist activists faced similar problems as did the UN and US humanitarian and military intervention in Somalia (1992-1995): they were partly distrusted as ‘foreigners’ who adhered to a version of Islam that was not popular in Somalia, they ran into problems with always changing clan and sub-clan alliances, they suffered from the weak infrastructure of […]
A new publication by the Small Arms Survey, “Supply and Demand: Arms flows and holdings in Sudan,” provides the most up-to-date assessments of the military capacities of Sudan’s contending parties. The briefing documents the ongoing supplies of weaponry to the governments in Khartoum and Juba. Among the major supplies to the Sudan Government are Belarus, China, Iran and Russia. The major supplier to the SPLA is Ukraine, via Kenya. It estimates that despite an estimated 470,000 arms in the hands of the Sudan Government security forces, the majority of small arms–a further 1.24 million in the north and 720,000 in the south–are in the hands of private citizens. The Small Arms Survey finds that the UN embargo on weapons supplies to Darfur is ineffective, and that European arms suppliers circumvent the EU prohibition on arms supplies to Sudan by providing weapons indirectly. The briefing also provides estimates for the numerical size of the various armed groups in Sudan.
Sudanese cannot agree on their common identity, but up to now they have not disagreed on who counts as a Sudanese. The first disagreement may yet divide the country. But partition should not be a reason to tear up the precious and under-appreciated consensus on who is a member of the Sudanese community. Since the independence of the Republic of Sudan half a century ago, the identity of the Sudanese nation and state has never been clear. Independence meant different things to different people. Was it a prelude to union with Egypt? Was it a prelude to a federal system of government? Was it Sudan’s second independence–a resurrection of the 19th century Mahdist state? Was Sudan to be a secular modern state? These questions, unresolved at independence in 1956, were not resolved by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and remain unresolved today. Despite all the internal wars which the Sudanese people have fought in their search for a collective identity for their nation, and the fact that some ideologies have been inherently discriminatory, no political party has ever mobilized to try to exclude another group from being Sudanese altogether. Sudanese do not disagree on the fact that they are all Sudanese. […]
Recent research in Burundi on the repatriation of refugees has highlighted the strong link between land and citizenship. The research tracked the experience of refugees returning to southern Burundi and (re)claiming their citizenship. Most had been living in exile in Tanzania – some since the early 1990s, and others since 1972. Some were born in exile and had never been to Burundi before. Others left when they were children. But all of them had a strong notion that returning to Burundi signified an end to exile and an opportunity to finally become citizens of their homeland. And the measure of that renewed bond between citizen and state was their ability to recover land.
The media profile of Darfur shot up enormously once the label ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’ was applied, although technically the phrase used was the “world’s greatest humanitarian and human rights catastrophe.” This is commonly standardised to ‘world’s worst…’ In a press conference in Nairobi on 19 March 2004, with the 10-year anniversary of Rwanda approaching, Mukesh Kapila, the then-United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, applied the label to Darfur, and added: “The only difference between Rwanda and Darfur is the numbers involved of dead, tortured and raped.” Dr Kapila had been part of one of the first British government medical teams into Rwanda in 1994. This is strong language, which USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios was to describe the following month as “very apocalyptic” in a special State Department Briefing (27 April 2004), but it had the desired effect: to gain the media attention that was needed to counteract the lack of diplomatic interest Kapila felt he was getting in publicising Darfur. One explanation for this points towards the fact that the situation in Darfur conflicted unhelpfully with the more upbeat direction that the North-South was heading in. Around four months earlier, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland […]