Critique of the Sudan Government’s Darfur Strategy (I)
Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin has released a near-final draft of the Government of Sudan’s new strategy, entitled “Towards a New Strategy for Achieving Comprehensive Peace, Security and Development in Darfur.” He has announced that although it has not yet been finally approved by the Cabinet, it is already being implemented. It is available here: Office of the Presidential Advisor – Darfur strategy
To do “comprehensive analysis” of this strategy will be a huge task and way beyond inserting reflections and observations. It is a document that should not be taken lightly and should not be dismissed emotionally; albeit political rhetoric that is common between adversaries. We do not see it as Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin’s document, but the 9 members committee on Darfur as it goes way beyond an advisor’s role. If GOS manages to have a true “Whole-of-Government” Approach with teeth and if they can set up an implementation “Architecture” that works, the landscape in Darfur may be different in 8-10 months.
Reading the document, it clearly has the following:
1- A strategy based on domestication of the Comprehensive Political Settlement for Darfur.
2- A strategic direction based on 9 out of 10 bullets on pages 3 and 4 of the document starting with “Enhancing security….” And ending with “Working with all partners….” See Part II when posted
3- Well-defined “Guiding Principles” as template for programming represented by: Re-orienting the peace process, commitment to previous agreements, security, reconciliation and justice, from relief to development adjusting perceptions and reality.
The document is also heavily based on the Sudan People’s Initiative resolutions (SPI) as declared by President Beshir on October 18th 2008. That document enumerated 11 deep-rooted causes of the conflict in Darfur, but fell short of adding a 12th and an important reason which is the habitual “security lens” through which Darfur has been addressed since 1916. That document as well, enumerated from “Thaneian or second” to “Sadesan or sixth” 5 pillars for the resolution of Darfur conflict. It has greatly diluted and curtailed “Sadesan” which is the “political Settlement”; most certainly dwarfed intentionally.
In “objectives and priorities” the document has endorsed all other resolutions of the SPI and added: domestication, working closely with UNAMID, re-orienting humanitarian operations and mobilizing regional and international support to consolidate gains.
The document is a tall order. Very tall order. It is also very diverse in scope and objectives and that makes its realization a challenge under the current and foreseeable circumstances of Sudan; both financial and political.
What is clearly lacking in the document is any hint or clear indication of how the complex “architecture” for such a Strategy will be developed, financed and implemented; in other words the “how”. Under “Implementation on page 9 of the document, it indicated that it was work in progress.
This is of particular importance (and challenge) as the office of the Presidential Advisor and Chief of Darfur Dossier (PACDD) in its present structure, is an advisory and coordinating one and not an executive one. Looking at the 9 entities that form what looks like “Whole-of-Government” Approach to the “Strategy” (Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, 3 Governors of the three States of Darfur and the Interim Regional Authority of Darfur-IRAD) none of them is a hard-core implementing agency within GOS. Coordinating programming without the institutional structures and resources is a task impossible.
A major observation and concern over the document is that GOS has shifted the “centre of gravity” may be too much and too soon from “negotiation” to “domestication”. This is, and shall be, to the great displeasure and resentment of the Rebel Movements and Political Formations of Darfur, let alone the internal opposition parties; as weak as they are.
While we observe that GOS have carefully considered the response of the International Partners and External Stakeholders to the document, their expectations of them may not be forthcoming. This will either result in a “gap” of support and/or funding and may also result in obstruction and new measures to be taken by the so-called International Community.
We see that the Council Of Ministers has allocated $1.9 billion for the strategy. GOS explained to Subsahara Centre that the $1.9 billion are for 4 years 2010 through 2013 inclusive. Out of that amount $600 million are now available for the strategy’s programming. $300 million of that will go to complete the “Western Salvation Road” (WSR). Additional $300 million shall be available to the “Strategy’s Projects” over the next 6 months. GOS further explained to Subsahara Centre that the shortfall up to $1.9 billion ($1.3 billion) is expected to come from loans and Arab Funds. We see that the $1.3 billion is “money on paper” as the entire reserves of Sudan at this moment are about $350 million. The Bank of Sudan has not been able to transfer South Sudan’s due oil share in $$ for two month now and needs to jack up the foreign reserves in Forex and gold to $950 million within 4 months as agreed with the IMF. That puts a big question mark on the resources that can be made available for the programming component of the Strategy.
Added to that will be the implementation “In Conflict” as the Strategy is suggesting and which is very expensive; and not “Post Conflict Reconstruction” (PCR) that has failed even in South Sudan in spite of the intervention of the International Community.
If Darfur and Western parts of Kordofan are to enjoy tranquility, about 200 Haffirs of 100,000 Cubic Meters capacity and over will be needed. That is $100 million. Possibly about 10,000 KM of cleared “massarat” and fire lines will also be needed and that may be another $100 million.
The document seems to be aware of the “nomads” or “pastoralists”. It did not mention any specific allocation of funds for them in the $1.9 billion.
The document also ignored specific mention and specific allocation of funds to sedentary farmers of which the Fur are the largest tribe.
In general, the whole approach needs more work, more thinking, more sensitivity, more consensus and above all GOS must do Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment or (PCIA) while the “project” is still on the “Drawing Board”. This is a very useful tool that points out the “Unintended negative impacts” on communities resulting from the implementation of any project. Such a study, if properly and independently done, may alter or even scrap the strategy altogether.
Part II of the article will deal with the current draft of the Strategy document bullet by bullet and article by article and analyse them.
Thanks for posting this report. Dr. Ghazi is surprisingly complimentary towards UNAMID’s efforts, calling them “positive” and “constructive” and praising UNAMID’s contributions. This is quite different than the head-to-head standoff being portrayed by Reeves, Prendergast, etc. The report also calls for working “closely” with UNAMID to consult with the communities of Darfur. It looks to me, if Ghazi’s report reflects the sentiment of the GOS, like the looming ‘breaking point’ between GOS and UNAMID relations is only another doomsday prediction by media/activists eager to sensationalize the current Darfur/Sudan trajectory?
I will address your comments and enquiries on the two articles on Darfur Process and GOS Strategy and the media role.
I refer you to my article “Why is Doha Process Failing and who is Responsible”, Part III, first section “On Mr. Djibril Bassole, bullet # 10. State Actors and Media are among the worst enemies of any complex mediation process. Why?
Let me take you to John Burton who is one of the contemporary fathers and mothers of Experiential Conflict Resolution. John came up with the concept of “re-entry” in his book “Conflict Resolution: Its Language and Processes”-The Scarecrow Press. Reentry is when the delegated negotiators stop and go back to their constituency with what they are about to commit to on their behalf. That glitch burned Minnie Minnawi. He did not consider, or underestimated the response of acceptance or rejection of the Darfur Community to what he signed to or was forced by Hilary Benn and Robert Zoellick to sign to.
What has that got to do with “Media”? Media can “poison” the perceptions of the constituency. They can present half facts and half realities in manner that the leaders would have done otherwise. Mediation is a process of balancing “wishes” and “wants and needs”. Negotiators may concede in one file and gain in another. If only what they “concede” comes out in the media without waiting for the :”gains”, the negotiators and the their Movement lose.
For whatever the East Sudan people got out of Asmara, Yamani Gabriab was able to keep the media at bay and was able to push Mustafa Osman to keep them at bay as well until the “agreement” came out.
Gen Lazarus Sumbeiyow was also very balanced in having media muddle in his Process waters.
Can we differentiate between responsible and constructive media and between media bent on sensationalizing events? May be, but we will be taking a risk. In all my 40 years of engagment in inter and intra boundaries conflicts and community-based conflicts, I kept th media out.
I guess it was Shakespeare in Henry VI who said “The first thing we do, let us kill all the lawyers”!!
I know it sound perfect on papers but the question is ” Is it implementable?” and if it is implementable, do you think the NCP is really serious about it? NCP is very concerned over the issue of ICC and how save president Bashir’s and i guess this is the only reason why such an initiative emerged now. as soon as it serve its purpose they will go back to their old tricks. the CPA is a good example.
The Strategy is not perfect on paper and will not be perfect in reality. GOS/NCP know that. Please read my Part II of the analysis to be posted in the Blog tomorrow.
Is it Implementable? Yes it can be implementable. If the institutional capacity is developed. If the resources are made availed. If a Whole-of-Government approach is coordinated. If other stakeholders (International Community and Armed Movements) remain passive and do not counter with Doable Strategies. If people like Jean Ping continue supporting President Beshir/NCP as he did in Addis Ababa these day in the Conference of the Federation of the African Journalists. UNAMID is REALLY AU based and manned. If the External Stakeholders remain as uncoordinated as they are now.
If GOS can dismantle Kalma and Humeidiyya half of SLM/Abdulwahid’s power base will be gone and all of LJM power base will be wiped out.
Unless there is something brewing that we do not know, I do not see any effective Strategic or Tactical counter for GOS/NCP Strategy. Rhetoric and condemnation shall not derail the Strategy. If GOS/NCP have the space of time and can flex their muscles in Darfur, time is in favour of their plans. The Groundwork that the two noteworthy Movements (JEM Khalil and SLM Abduwahid) need to do is monumental. Rebuilding their “think tanks” and “military tanks” are prerequisites to any new ventures.
While the status quo is an option for GOS, it is not an option for the Movements.
I do not believe that the ICC issue is a direct factor in the Strategy. But may be others or Alex can address that better than me. I also do not see how the CPA can be an example either. The CPA has been implemented and the end result for South Sudan (Referendum) is close to reality. How did that happen?
What Dr. Garang called “The safety valve” was his demand that “security” during the interim period was to be in the hands of the SPLA. NCP agreed. I carried the message and carried back the acceptance by NCP. But there will be a day for those stories.
It is Darfur that “Caught the wind” from all the feeble and ill-conceived and ill developed agreements that have been signed. The comparison is not there. Security arrangements shall remain the crux of any durable agreement relating to Darfur.
Darfur Movements need to rethink what they want and HOW they intend to achieve it. The road is still long. 21 years of resistance made South Sudan ripe for settlement. Do we have that in Darfur? That is if we want to be objective, do reality checks and be honest with ourselves. Humanitarian crises and their time span (on their own) do not necessarily render a conflict ripe for resolution; neither by default nor by design.
In Kosovo, Haiti and Bosnia Herzegovina the humanitarian crises were short, but the collective international political will was massive and solutions were found.
I heard about college students doing â€œdie-insâ€ to bring awareness to the situation in Darfur. Iâ€™m so glad to see people getting together and standing up against this atrocity. Even the NYIFF gave its Best International Film award to the movie Attack on Darfur. The images are haunting, but its definitely an important movie to see for as long as you can stand it. I canâ€™t wait for its release.