On Commitment to the CPA and Optimism About Southern Sudan

Further to my posting yesterday, I am excerpting a few lines from President Buyoya’s speech to the summit of political parties in southern Sudan on 1 March:

“During the long years of war, the people of southern Sudan demonstrated that they could never be ruled against their will, and that the destiny of southern Sudan lies in the hands of the people of southern Sudan. This election will be a milestone in making that a reality. The national elections are a major pillar of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It is through democratic participation that the peace agreement becomes truly owned by the citizens of Sudan, and therefore truly national and truly comprehensive. These national elections are held just nine months before the people of southern Sudan will be voting to exercise their right of self-determination. These elections are an important step towards the fulfillment of that central pillar of the CPA. Under whatever sovereign arrangement they choose, the Sudanese people have fundamental democratic rights.”

This, I hope, makes clear the AU’s commitment to the CPA in all its aspects.

On the U.S., consider the following lines from Kate Almquist’s report on Sudan for the Council on Foreign Relations:

“as the principal proponent and overseer of the CPA, U.S. credibility as a peacemaker in Sudan and Africa will be affected by whether and how the United States supports the south’s path to
independence. Without the unequivocal support of the United States and the international community for the south’s right to self-determination, it will have no incentive to seek this peacefully and avoid renewed conflict. Moreover, the rebel movements in Darfur would conclude that the United States and the international community are not trustworthy guarantors of a settlement with Khartoum, thus eliminating the possibility of a political arrangement that restores stability in Darfur and allows the peaceful return of IDPs to their homes.”

One of the points to bear in mind is that the U.S. takes its commitments and credibility seriously. If it is to be regarded as a credible peacemaker elsewhere, it needs to deliver on its commitment to the CPA.

Note: yesterday’s posting was unable to accept comments for technical reasons. Please post any comments in response to this.

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10 thoughts on “On Commitment to the CPA and Optimism About Southern Sudan

  1. As you correctly put it, what is at stake is the commitment of the IGAD Partners, AU, UN, EU, Arab League, to the full implementation of the CPA. The notion of the OAU sacrosanct borders has been watered down or rather repealed by the AU Constitutive Act, Article 4. Besides, Eritrea’s attainment of independence through Eritrean government’s conduct of a referendum has already provided a precedent for the rest of the continent: of-course, Eritrea’s and Southern Sudan’s historical and political underpinnings are somewhat different. Thus, the plea that the African border pandora box should not be opened had been overtaken by the above-cited event with respect to Eritrea.

    Yes, according to the Machakos Protocol, the parties thereto should prioritize and make unity as attractive as possible. However, the same Machakos Protocol accords the North an Islamic legal system and the South a secular legal system. In effect, the Machakos Protocol condemns the country to disunity. In other words, the Machakos Principles are contradictory. Had the parties to the CPA committed themselves to the establishment of the new Sudan, the possibility of attaining unity of the country would have been possible and likely. However, one of the parties thereto works studiously not to realize the New Sudan. It would indeed be unfortunate if geopolitical interests of nations, regional and international organizations are allowed to take more importance than the aspirations of oppressed people. Southern Sudanese should not be denied this historic opportunity to decide, once and for all, whether to remain as citizens of the Sudan or opt for a new entity altogether

  2. Dear Alex,

    They want the South to drop its independence bid — why?

    Maybe it is too soft to describe Mr. Wakabi’s article in the East African a “rumor”. It is a strong argument for unity in Sudan, but for different reasons than a nationalist-unionist, like myself, would accept without comment. The problem with Mr. Wakabi’s argument is that he has not taken sufficient time to screen his reasoning. He appears to have mixed petroleum issues, absence-of-development issues and foreign policy issues, real critical challenges for the Sudan since independence, with wishful statements of ‘strategists’ from countries that are, themselves, among the guarantors for faithful implementation of the CPA, in the first place. Additionally, Mr. Wakabi seems to have overlooked the strict conditionality of the CPA, the cradle of legal, constitutional and political legitimacy for the Government of National Unity since 2005. The CPA is strictly clear and unwavering on the elections and the dual referendum on self-determination for South Sudan and Abyei, currently part of North Sudan, under the Presidency. I will return to a critique of the whole thesis in a second entry to this blog.

    As a political informed Sudanese, aspiring for election to the General Assembly in 2010, I respect the CPA and strive for its implementation, in good faith. However, I am not a member of the SPLM or the NCP. The National Justice Party, to which I belong, is independent of either of them. When the CPA came into force, it was transformed into a ‘property’ of the people of the Sudan as a whole. Preserving national unity, henceforth, has become the responsibility of the people. I am also aware that, during the six-year interim period, important decisions are crafted and made outside the country mainly because of the multitude weaknesses of the state, sanctions, regional wars, as well as internal and external problems that have plagued the Sudan since the inception of the Islamist regime in 1989.

    Mr. Wakabi’s argument starts from a simple fact that the CPA left door ajar for South Sudan to secede, if 60% of voters so decide. He then hastens to present a piece of advice, that independence for South Sudan should be put-off for a few more years, until such a time that institutional capacity and critical infrastructure have been developed, primarily because: (1) lack of capacity in the South Sudan to run a stable and secure state; (2) Sudden independence for a fragile (Sudan) state, with corrupt and fractious national leadership, a nearly non-existent civil service, a poorly established local police and professional military — immediately disintegrating into civil war; (3) Rush secession could trigger turmoil and instability beyond Sudan borders. Fear that independence for South Sudan, in its present state, could make it slide into anarchy; (4) Threats and risks that call for long time-margin to address; (5) Absence, in South Sudan, of institutional infrastructure and independent communication links to the outside world mean Juba would remain hostage to Khartoum, making it difficult to get energy and other exports to outside markets.

    The logical structure of Mr. Wakabi’s argument is simple, but littered with ‘could’ and ‘would’, such that: (1) Peace is essential to the exploitation of new oil discoveries in Sudan, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo; (2) There is high chance that the country will degenerate into chaotic situation; (3) Chaos would open a ‘corridor of terror’ across the region; (4) The corridor of terror could be infiltrated by Al Qaeda and create instability that would run counter to Western interests; (5) The shaky alliance between SPLM and NCP, as al-Bashir has largely been “contained” by the ICC warrants.

    Mr. Wakabi finds justification for his proposition that South Sudan drop bid for independence in the following: (1) Western strategists believe that even under the best of circumstances the absence, in South Sudan, of institutional infrastructure and independent communication links to the outside world mean Juba would remain hostage to Khartoum, making it difficult to get energy and other exports to outside markets; (2) The West, apparently, would like to see some slack factored into timelines for ambitions of South Sudan independence, until such a time that institutional capacity and critical infrastructure have been developed; (3) Key Western democracies and institutions have quietly urged President Salva Kiir’s government to go slow on secession; (4) Donor circles want South Sudan to drop its bid for independence; (5) The US takes no position on what outcome of that referendum should be.

  3. Abdel Basit is 100% right. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes diplomacy urging Salva Kirr to postpone or go slow on secession, coming from the UN and donor countries as well as the usual culprits like Egypt. They are all doing it for different reasons like the ones he describes but they all want the SPLM to let them off the hook because they know that they are committed to riding the CPA train wherever it goes and only the SPLM can put on the brakes.

  4. Dear Alex and Dr AbdelBasit,
    I really don’t understand the reasons behind those rumours, is it away from the International Community to do a U-turn on their commitment to the CPA as the referendum is the last part of the interim period and because now everyone realised that, unity is not the attractive option for southern Sudanese, that is just like how politicians behave in UK when minster or an official doesn’t like certain policy and what to kill it by leaking the information to the press to provoke the public, and that make it difficult for the policy to be rectified?

    I don’t think a u-turn is an option now because unity is no longer the attractive option, even though there are many uncertainties if the southern decided to vote for secession the most likely outcome of the referendum, I think many southern want to go and try something new, mistrust between the north and the south reach its lowest point in 54 years of unity since independent. For how long can they wait again to see their desired changes which they dreamed with for long to see a county in which northern and southern can leave together peacefully and with respect to each others?

    For those in the international community who believe that unity is the best option and they don’t want the south to secede, what type of united country are they looking for, do they think Sudan is going to change and if that the case when, will the northern elites going to change by recognising the rights of others to leave with them in same country with equal rights irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and culture, or are we going to have a country which come out of one war and go straight to another one, with few elites controlling everything and marginalising the majority, I don’t think anyone has straight forward answer to those questions.
    I think it is better for everyone to work hard to make the south a successful state, if the southern decided to secede.

  5. The motives behind a Kenyan newspaper alleging that international parties are secretly reneging on a southern vote to secession is pretty obvious to me. The Kenyan and Ugandan government have always been hostile to the North and vice-versa. Both countries have been, for the most part, hospitable to Southern Sudanese IDPs, so it is not unreasonable to conjecture that the aim of the article was to capitalize on its audience’s sensitivities. However, the risk of “shaking things up” can have negative consequences.

    The Southern Sudanese face a landmark choice: to reaffirm unity and continue playing more cards towards regional autonomy and the federal government’s reformation, or seek independence and face the risk and rewards of having an independent state. No need to add dogma.

  6. Dear Hafiz,

    No one is contesting the fact that mistakes were done in the past,that led to the marginalization of not only the South, but the West,the East, and specially the East, to the extent that the late Dr. Garang once said “after what I saw in East Sudan, I can say it is even worse than the South.”

    The SPLM/A was formed and developed as a Sudanese National Movement for all the Sudanese, West, East, North and South, and there is nothing to stop from doing that, though some want to withdraw from it’s national responsibilities.

    You would however note that ever since the signing of the CPA, most people inside and outside Sudan tended to treat the referendum or self-determination as synonymous with Independence or Secession, many in this blog referred to the situation of South-North as occupation.

    It is not my intention to go into details or to the whys and whynots. I even think that the East African, with such a scanty, sketchy report is unnecessarily agitating the Southerners in a pre-emptive move, because many of the papers in Kenya,the East African included, were in favour of an independent South Sudan, and many in South Sudan have clearly stated that “they belong more to the Africans in Kenya and Uganda.”

    I wish the East African quoted the Statement of Miss Jendayi Frazer, Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, if the paper was interested in a more substantial reporting.

    However real politics seem to be different, and one cannot ignore the ambitions of other countries that seek and independent South Sudan for their own interests. These ambitions might very well clash, You may very well recall that Sudan and Uganda were on the verge of war, when, in !974, the then President of Uganda, General Idi Amin declared some parts of South Sudan as part of Uganda, and made the same claims about some territitories of Kenya.

    It would be naive of all those who follow issues with vision to ignore such latent issues, that may crop up after independence of the South.

    The call here,dear brother is not for a “U-TURN” as you say. It is not even a call to drop Secession as an option,for that would mean rewriting the CPA or amending it. It is,instead, a call for the rationalization of issues, the preparation for statehood and the consolidation of institutions, in the South.

    No one, the international community included, will tell the voter in the South how to vote and thus he is very free to chose from two options (Unity or Secession).

    However the voter should also know and deliberate, the basis of his vote, and the objectives of that vote, and realize that if he votes on basis of the sentiments and feelings that spring out of the injustices of the past, he will only vote to condemn the past,that is not necessarily securing the future.

    I hope that those who are seeking the same option for Dar Fur, will come out with their own options and not agitate for the secession of the South to have a precedent to augment their arguments.

    My question to you is :do you really think that secession can be the be all and end all to the problems of the Sudan or will it be the beginning of a process for Africa as a whole, a process that many in the world want and have been working for? And all Africans are seeking to avoid?

    Like Abdel Baset, I am in favour of the unity of the Sudan, for the sake of all the Sudanese, East, West, North and South, and not for the reasons that the East African is advancing, but for those historical,cultural and geographical characteristics that made the late professor Altigani Almahi call it the “MICROCOSM OF THE MACROCOSM”, and because of those characteristics that made the late world famous historian Arnold Toynbee says “THE SUDAN HOLDS THE DESTINY OF AFRICA IN ITS HANDS.”

    I shall return with further comments.

  7. They Want South Sudan to Drop Bid for Independence, Why (2)

    The Wakabi thesis upholds the advice that independence for South Sudan should be put-off for a few years, until such a time that institutional capacity and critical infrastructure have been developed, because of lack of capacity in South Sudan to run a stable and secure state, and because of unaddressed threats and risks that call for long time-margin. Wakabi should suggest timelines he expects for building capacity, institutions and infrastructure for the South. Students of history would recall that similar arguments were put forward by Egyptian elites in the newspapers in Cairo, in the mid-1950s, advising the leaders of the Sudanese nationalist movement ‘to go slow on secession’, just like the way Mr. Wakabi is doing. This is a dead-end.

    The counter-Wakabi advice would be: let the CPA wade its course to reach the ultimate call for the people of South Sudan to decide in 2011, for-or-against the attractiveness of the system created in 2005. Let South Sudanese decide on the basis of their free will. The result of the referendum decides which course the New Sudan would take: one country or two countries. It is not the western strategists, western democracies or the donors who should decide on behalf of the people of South Sudan, as Wakabi seems to imply.

    That is, it is the internal political dynamic that should have the upper hand during the referendum. The Sudan needs to be relieved of the persistent tensions: sustainable stability or the threat of relapse into violence. Whatever that may transpire at the point of a clean referendum must be accepted and respected, as a legitimate outcome of the CPA. Any issues that remain unresolved by the end of 2010 should be carried-over into the post-referendum phase. Such issues require a Preventive Declaration on Non-belligerency, ascertaining that residual items of the CPA will be negotiated in good faith and settled in the collaborative spirit that made the interim period (2005-2011) a relative success; i.e., a durable settlement, compared to other agreements in Africa, bearing in mind that the North-South War of the twentieth century was the longest war in Africa.

    If such a course is sustained by the elected governments in the North and in the South, there would be no rationale for the chaos that Wakabi anticipates. The people of the Sudan are fed-up with conflict-and-war that had persisted from independence to 2005. They will respect the verdict of the people of South Sudan, if they choose to be independent. The international community will respect the will of Southern Sudanese, whichever way they deem appropriate for building their future. Let us not forget that they were integral part of the architecture of the CPA. They cannot be expected to be part of the unmaking of the CPA. Recalling ‘things’ like al-Qaeda is a wild call, in wakabi’s thesis. Al-Qaeda, and associated violence, cannot thrive in a democracy, such as the one anticipated after the 2010 elections. Al-Qaeda, in the Sudan, was an illegal off-spring of a fundamentalist upsurge that had died on the day the CPA was born. Al-Qaeda, worldwide, is equally an illegal deliverance of vulgar globalization of the ‘New World Order’ of the early 1990s.

  8. Dear AbdalBaset Saeed,

    With all due respect you cannot compare the situation of the then Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, under the famous Condominium Agreement, to that of the North-South Sudan.

    The fact remains that Egypt and the British Empire launched an invasion (what they called the Reconquest of the Sudan), by attacking, and occupying an independent state.

    In no case, can one claim that the North occupied the South, when both were under Anglo-Egyptian Rule.

    This certainly is not what the SPLM/A stands for.

    It remains to say that this is not the time to debate the past, but rather think of the future.

  9. Dear David
    You are absolutely right. The idea of comparing the Anglo-Egyptian plundering of Sudan to the current issue never occurred to me. The point to drive is much simpler: Why ‘go slow on secession’, since the CPA timelines are set for self-determination through referendum that bears the possibility of unity as well. I have no intention of overhauling the past, as I am not a student of ‘history’. I am an anthropologist with a slightly different emphasis, on future accent, equitable partnership and peaceful coexistence for all peoples and cultures of a New Sudanese formation that is just and fair for all.

  10. Dear Abdelbasit Saeed,

    It is true that the CPA set timelines for the elections and the referendum but please, remember man was not created for the Sabbath, as Jesus Christ (Peace Be on HIM) said, the Sabbath rather was created for man.

    If there are objective and sound basis for delay, then a step backward is the best to take ten to the front.

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