Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 18 October 2007

The collapse of the CPA a disaster to Sudan


By Jacob K. Lupai*

October 17, 2007 — Observers of Sudan’s political scene may not be at all surprised about the turmoil and the mess that seem to have become part of the Sudanese culture. Sudan seems to be earning itself a place in the Guinness Book of Record as a perpetually chaotic nation for forty-one out of fifty one years of its independence and a nation that is utterly incapable of addressing elementary issues of nationhood. Sudan as a nation seems to be living on borrowed time before it finally disintegrates. However, the Sudanese have a choice either to remain as hostages of tyranny or to be bold enough to free themselves from the shackles of tyranny.

In Sudan today the political heavy weights are the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Any violent clashes between the two are likely to bring a disaster to Sudan. The recent pullout of the SPLM from the Sudan government of national unity (GONU) should be worrying. Despite assurances that either side will refrain from escalating the situation to an open warfare, the signals are that the NCP and SPLM are miles apart in their perceptions of a peaceful and prosperous united Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 9 January 2005 is the cornerstone of peaceful co-existence in Sudan. The CPA was hailed as a model for similar problems in Sudan. However, it is now emerging that the CPA was not signed in good faith. All indications are that the NCP was never serious in signing the CPA. It seems the sheer African and international pressure dragged in the NCP while kicking and screaming, as it were, to sign the CPA.

It is not a surprise that the NCP is not honouring the CPA. This is the nature of Southern Sudan neighbour north of the border. It is their way that always counts but not the other signatories to an agreement. The NCP strategists fooled Africa and the international community into believing that there was a comprehensive peace agreement ending a 22 year war that had brought nothing but misery to millions. Barely two years after the signing of the CPA Africa and the international community have now become aware of the untrustworthiness of the NCP. The government of Kenya that witnessed the signing of the CPA recently has to appoint as an envoy the former President of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi to bolster the peace deal between the NCP and the SPLM. Daniel Arap Moi visited both Juba and Khartoum to speak with the SPLM and the NCP respectively. However, it is not clear what has become of the efforts of Daniel Arap Moi in bolstering the CPA. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also aware that the CPA remains fragile, as the NCP is too slow in the implementation of the CPA. The whole world seems to know that the NCP is the main culprit in the near collapse of the CPA.

The NCP claims that 90 per cent of the CPA has been implemented without substantiating the claim. The NCP claim is clearly a white lie and naturally misleading. How on earth could the US Senator Barack Obama call on the White House to intervene and prevent the collapse of the CPA if it was implemented 90 per cent? The SPLM would not have withdrawn from the GONU if the CPA were implemented 90 per cent. The NCP seems to have been caught red-handed in its dirty tricks of undermining the SPLM and torpedoing the CPA. This would not have been possible without the courageous step taken by the SPLM Interim Political Bureau to expose the NCP tyranny. The SPLM has outlined clearly the contentious issues in the implementation of the CPA. According to the SPLM outline the NCP is the main culprit on all counts in sabotaging the implementation of the CPA. The following is the evidence.

- The lack of transparency in the entire oil sector.
- The NCP does not want the demarcation of North/South border, which should have been completed by 9 July 2005.
- The NCP rejected Abyei boundary commission report leaving Abyei without an administrative set-up.
- The NCP has not withdrawn all the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the South. The SAF should have been withdrawn completely from the South by 9 July 2007.
- The NCP refused the SPLM request to reshuffle its ministers in the GONU.

All the above are clear indications of the violation of the CPA by the NCP in addition to the undermining of the First Vice President of Sudan who represents the SPLM. It is evident that the NCP has all along been lying to Africa and to the international community that it is serious about the implementation of the CPA. Many have expressed concern on the NCP poor implementation of the CPA. The special envoy of the US President to Sudan has been voicing concern about the delay in the implementation of the CPA. The UN has also reported that the Sudanese army has not redeployed troops from the oil rich Upper Nile state in Southern Sudan in accordance with the CPA. This obviously makes the NCP claim that it has implemented 90 per cent of the CPA a mockery to say the least. As though to camouflage its own failure, the NCP is now struggling hard to blame the SPLM. The NCP blame of the SPLM is anecdotal that does not add up much. The only honourable way to do is for the NCP to stand up with raised hands and admit failure to gain some semblance of respect. The NCP should not think it is the smartest in trickery on planet earth. The old game of dishonouring agreements with impunity does not work anymore as is evidenced by the SPLM response to the poor implementation of the CPA.

The SPLM approach is the most appropriate response to a tyrant. The NCP has been a thorn in the flesh for the last 18 years. Nowhere has there been such an outrage from all corners of Sudan. The South may be a special case. However, Sudanese in the East, West and North are all up in arms fighting against the NCP. Clearly there must be something unacceptable with the NCP. It is clear that the collapse of the CPA will likely be a disaster to Sudan. There are already voices from Darfur questioning the legitimacy of the NCP in case the CPA collapses. There is already discontent in Nubia in the North with the claimed formation of what is known as Kush Liberation Front. In the East the Beja Congress and rebels are actively campaigning against the NCP. With the collapse of the CPA Sudan may disintegrate completely. In the final analysis the NCP is more of a liability to Sudan than the SPLM. However, the SPLM is most likely to be firmed in dealing with the NCP as an untrustworthy partner. It may also be true that the other movements in the West, East and North will be firmed in dealing with the NCP.

There is already a talk on mediation between the SPLM and the NCP. The mediator is considered to be Mr Abel Alier. Mr Abel Alier is a statesman held in high esteem. He was the First Vice President of Sudan and President of Southern Region after the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972. Abel helped brokered the Addis Ababa agreement. His credentials are impressive. This may explain the choice of Abel as the mediator between the SPLM and the NCP. One may only hope that Abel is not chosen because he is a southerner. Mediation between the SPLM and the NCP does not necessarily need the mediator to be a southerner. The issue is not for a southerner to convince the SPLM to rejoin the GONU. An independent mediation committee of IGAD and the UN who witnessed the signing of the CPA should have been formed to determine the extent to which the CPA has been implemented and to identify the party responsible for any breach in the implementation of the CPA. This approach is likely to make the world aware of where the problem lies.

Mr Abel Alier mediated between the Sudan government and the Anyanya in Ethiopia, which resulted into the Addis Ababa agreement. Abel’s efforts were commendable. However, what Abel mediated was unsustainable in the long term. Abel served the ultimate objective of the Sudan government in that the Anyanya was neutralised and would be finally destroyed never ever to cause a problem to any other oppressive Arab Islamic government of Sudan. The Addis Ababa agreement disarmed the Anyanya that was formidable in the battlefield in return for jobs to southerners as ministers, directors, captains, majors, and generals in the Sudanese army and so forth. As for the Anyanya soldiers integrated into the Sudanese army some would be retired while others might die natural death with others scattered all over Sudan as individual soldiers with no effect as defenders of Southern Sudan from marginalisation. The main objective of the Addis Ababa agreement was to get rid of the Anyanya as an army that could pose a threat to the oppressive regimes in Khartoum. This might have been carefully planned for a southerner to have his fellow southerners disarmed. There must be a very good reason why the NCP finds Lam Akol, who is an SPLM member, an asset while it finds Manshur Khalid also an SPLM member a liability.

The SPLM position that it will not be the first to start a war is noble. Those who rely on half-truth and at times advertise their ignorance of the complexities of North/South dichotomy can continue to live in their ignorance. Some are lured to blame the SPLM for the failure of the NCP in implementing the CPA. These can only be either diehard NCP agents or opportunists who have seen a ray of light to advertise their presence for attention. The NCP seems to be very generous in rewarding opportunists. However, one thing which people should not forget is that the SPLM is there to stay as long as it takes whether the NCP diehard agents or the greedy and hungry vultures like it or not. The SPLM is the voice of the marginalized majority. Those who prefer to support the NCP wanton campaign against the people of the South, West, East and the North is their own choice. However, it is the SPLM that has the guts to stand up against the NCP tyranny. When one backs down from a bully the bully will continue to bully with impunity. The NCP seemed to have been bullying the SPLM until the SPLM could not take it anymore, hence the pulling away from the GONU. All seems to suggest that the SPLM in all aspects will not tolerate to be undermined as it has happened in the last two years after the signing of the CPA. The action the SPLM has taken resonates well with the majority of the marginalized of Sudan. The NCP should not under-rate the support the SPLM enjoys among the down trodden.

It is important that the NCP should not do anything foolish because Africa and the world is watching and more so the marginalized of Sudan. The SPLM has legitimate grievances and these should be addressed properly. Those who blame or talk against the SPLM are nothing but people with agenda of their own devoid of the common interest. The SPLM is standing up against the might of tyranny in representing the voiceless. One would naturally be very ashamed to make derogatory remarks against the SPLM at this moment in time when the solidarity of all Sudanese, South, North, West and East is a prerequisite to rid Sudan once and for all of the NCP tyranny. The majority of Sudanese are agreed that the NCP is more of a liability to the democratic transformation of Sudan. It is only a pity that the Sudanese seem to have lost their revolutionary zeal. As a schoolboy in Khartoum I witnessed in October 1964 how the Sudanese took to the streets to bring down the military regime of Ibrahim Abboud. When Abboud resigned it was clear that the Sudan Communist Party was the only with a programme for Southern Sudan. The others were too traditional and out of touch with the objective realities of Sudan as a multi religious, racial and ethnic nation. If the Sudan Communist Party had the chance to govern probably we would not have the turmoil and the mess in which we now find ourselves.

*The author is a researcher and can be reached at jklupai@yahoo.co.uk

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