The future of the CPA under the current political crisis
By Bona Malwal
December 12, 2007 — “The coming of democracy was over due to South Africa. Every law-abiding adult should have a say in how our country is governed. It is our right and therefore also our responsibility. Each of us should use our vote in a way that will best improve our lives, be good for our country and honour God”, Edward and Mariam Cain, Biblical Democracy; Signpost Press, the Republic of South Africa, 2001.
Judging by the attendance here, most South Sudanese will certainly be disappointed by what I have to say today. The conventional wisdom in South Sudan is the bashing of Northern Sudan, rightly or wrongly. That makes for a good South Sudanese Nationalism. So, what I have to say here, will surely disappoint my fellow South Sudanese. It is not anything near bashing the North. But it is my opinion and I stand by it.
When the famous British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill refused to support his own party Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, over invasion of the Suez Canal in 1956, Eden told Churchill that if he did not support the invasion, then, he, Churchill, would have to eat his words. Churchill responded to Eden, that in his long political career and I quote: “There have been many occasions, in which I have had to eat my words and sometimes I have found them rather nourishing”.
Under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the people of South Sudan had hoped that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) leadership, which negotiated the (CPA) on their behalf, would guide the ship of the South Sudan state, to the ultimate goal for them. The CPA created a great expectation in South Sudan, of a golden era of peace, prosperity, equality and brotherhood. Poverty and hunger would be done away with forever. The sick and the needy would be helped and greed would be replaced by sharing.
The ultimate goal for the people of South Sudan is the exercise of the right of Self-Determination in the year 2011. It is on the basis of that expectation, that the people of South Sudan decided, in their collective wisdom, in spite of their well known political divisions, that they would allow the SPLM to lead the negotiations and then, lead the government of Southern Sudan during the interim period. It was not impossible for the other forces of South Sudan, who were known to be opposed to the SPLM, to rock the boat during the negotiations. Those talks would have failed, like we are now seeing, taking place over Darfur. The SPLM had not united the South under it during the negotiations at Naivasha, in Kenya.
If the National Congress Party (NCP) was not willing to conclude a peace agreement with the SPLM at that time, they could have used these other armed groups within the South, to cause problems, during the peace negotiations in Naivasha. Even now, the situation in South Sudan remains so fragile and the NCP still has the means and the potential of rocking the boat in the South, if it comes to the conclusion, that under the leadership of the SPLM, South Sudan is nothing but a trouble for them. For the people of South Sudan, the question in the mind of many of them these days, must be where the SPLM is leading them to, under the CPA.
The 2005 CPA is an agreement signed by the NCP on behalf of the Government of Sudan and the SPLM on behalf of the people of South Sudan. The participation of the SPLM in the Government of National Unity (GONU), in such an unprecedented way, was intended to complete the participation of the South, for the first time in their national government, since independence in 1956. It was also intended to facilitate the implementation of the CPA in the South; to enable the people of South Sudan to choose, on balance, at the time of the referendum, in the year 2011, whether or not unity has been made attractive for them, to remain in a united Sudan. In other words, the two main parties to the CPA, the NCP and the SPLM, have bound themselves under the CPA, to a Catholic Church type of no divorce marriage, until the people of South Sudan decide in the year 2011. In the Catholic marriage, only death allows parties to part ways. Self-determination referendum in 2011 is the only event that may let the parties depart under the marriage called the CPA.
True, the pursuit of democracy for the people of Sudan is provided for under the CPA. But this is because democracy is regarded as the best natural way of regulating the political life and the development of any people. Nowhere in the CPA, has it been provided for, that if democracy does not take place in Sudan, the SPLM should abandon the pursuit of the interest of the people of South Sudan under the same agreement. In any case, we shall examine in this document, the role of the SPLM itself; its pursuit of democracy for the people of South Sudan under the CPA.
THE ROLE OF THE SPLM IN GOVERNMENT
Under the CPA, the SPLM has 28 percent of the share of government at the National level. This is provided for under the Power Sharing Protocol. This power sharing in government translates into 8 full cabinet ministers; 10 ministers of state; and 20 percent of all the civil service; not to talk of other branches of government, like the legislatures, both at the national and regional levels, where similar percentages are applicable for the South. We will, of course, examine here too, separately, the function of the government of the South, which is an institution that already enjoys almost full independence, even before the people of South Sudan have decided that course.
The eight central government cabinet seats include some of the most crucial seats of government, which the SPLM might have used to make a lasting imprint in government of Sudan during the interim period since it seems that the SPLM is a party keen on the creation of a “New Sudan”.
These positions in the centre include: Cabinet Affairs, a position in any presidential system, which is tantamount to a prime minister. It steers the ship of government; the ministry for Investment, which, for South Sudan, is crucial in establishing new investments in all fields; the ministry of Transport, Roads and Bridges; this ministry is also in charge of rail roads and river transport systems, which are most crucial to the development of the land locked and deprived South Sudan; the ministry for Foreign Trade, which, for a party so interested in things foreign, like the SPLM, should mean well; the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, was probably chosen by the SPLM, because of what the name suggests; humanitarian concerns for the millions of South Sudanese, internally displaced and the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees abroad. Both of these groups must be returned to their original villages in South Sudan and resettled.
The only ministry of the national government that has now caused so much controversy and has steered so much dust, is the ministry for Foreign Affairs. Some may even say that the crisis is all about the ministry of Foreign affairs. The controversy around this ministry, unfortunately, belies the SPLM leadership ability to recognize and therefore reward success within its ranks. Perhaps, the ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for more than 50 percent of the current controversy – not to use the word crisis, between the SPLM and the NCP.
Under the SPLM’s Dr. Lam Akol, the world has been made to recognise, for the first time, that South Sudanese are truly capable of running their independent state, if it came to that. As minister for Foreign Affairs of the Sudan, Lam Akol carried himself with grace, pride, knowledge and experience, both at home and abroad. We are neither privy to the foreign policy of the SPLM, which this able South Sudanese was unable to implement in his ministry, which has caused such a controversy that rocks the entire government of the Sudan. Nor has his party asked him to resign, so that they fill his place with someone else and he refuses.
In fact, Dr. Lam Akol now stays at home with the rest of the SPLM ministers during the current crisis, in which the SPLM has asked its ministers to stay at home until its demands are met by the NCP. It is, of course, a public knowledge, that dismissing Lam Akol from the ministry of Foreign Affairs remains one of the key demands of the SPLM.
The SPLM leadership does not like its partner, the NCP, to admire one of its own, so, it wants to dismiss Lam Akol from the ministry of Foreign Affairs, in spite of his recognized success there, on behalf of the SPLM.
Ironically, in choosing the ministries it wanted from the central government, the SPLM seemed to have picked on those key ministries of the government that no South Sudanese have ever occupied before the CPA. Foreign Affairs is one such ministry. Unfortunately, the SPLM leadership forgets that it is sharing power with the North on behalf of South Sudan and not just as SPLM. In other words, the SPLM has no mandate under the CPA, to offer a seat of South Sudan in Government, to any of its Northern Sudanese members.
Unfortunately, to the total astonishment of South Sudanese, the SPLM leadership is offering only all Northern Sudanese names in replacement of Dr. Lam Akol in the ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is as if the SPLM leadership is telling Northern Sudan, that we are incapable of running this ministry, so, please have it back and run it for us.
But did Lam Akol fail? And if he has failed, are there no other South Sudanese after Lam Akol, capable of running the ministry of Foreign Affairs for the SPLM? This matter is crucial to the debate on power sharing!
Our interest in Lam Akol, as the SPLM minister for Foreign Affairs, is exactly the same as our interest in all other ministries of the Sudanese state. It is a public interest and not a personal one.
In terms of the CPA’s requirements in government, Lam Akol has almost fulfilled the requirements of South Sudan from the central government. He is very close to fulfilling the 20 percent quota of the South in his ministry. He has appointed over one hundred young South Sudanese into the Foreign Service, including sixteen new ambassadors. This is a performance that deserves back petting, rather than the vilification of this man by his own party that the entire world has witnessed.
By any stretch of imagination, Lam Akol is not a traitor to the cause of his people, country or even his party, the SPLM, to be treated the way we have witnessed. Even Lam himself, expects that he would leave the ministry of Foreign Affairs – indeed the entire government at the time of his party’s choosing. But not with the type of controversy and vilification that we have seen, for a man whose performance towers over all his party colleagues in the same government. The SPLM looks, in this controversy, like a political party that rewards mediocrity and punishes success.
In addition to the participation of the South in the various government institutions in Sudan, the people of South Sudan have gained many more benefits from the CPA, which the SPLM leadership should safeguard and carry out. These include: security for the South in the hands of the South; the government of the South that is almost independent; the revenue of 50 percent of the oil money with which the government of Southern Sudan should get on with giving services to the people of South Sudan; and many more. These are gains that demand of the SPLM to stick with the CPA and with cooperation with the NCP, what ever the disappointment in other areas.
For South Sudan, in whose name the SPLM holds its current reign of power, it must concern every enlightened South Sudanese that the SPLM’s current crisis in government, has to do with its pursuit of policies and events that are not South Sudanese. For instance, as part of the Government of National Unity, we grant that the SPLM must have a say in what goes on in Darfur; in Eastern Sudan; and indeed, in the other two marginalized areas of the North, the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile, where the SPLM has helped these two areas to retrieve something of their rights. Indeed, the two areas are part of the CPA, whose implementation must also concern the SPLM and the NCP. But the role of the SPLM in all these areas has to be in cooperation and harmony with its partner – the NCP, in the GONU and not in confrontation with it, as we are witnessing.
In dealing with the controversy around changes within the government of National Unity, the SPLM leadership has created a public impression that it has the absolute right to change its ministers or representatives in the GONU at whims. This is not the case at all. Annex 2B, of the CPA, stipulates that the appointment of any constitutional position holder in the GONU, including ministers and ministers of state, can only be made after consultation with the presidency. This should mean, in plain language, that the president of the Republic has a say in who the SPLM wants to appoint into a constitutional position.
Besides, article 72 of the National Interim Constitution of Sudan also stipulates that the national council of ministers is responsible for the implementation of the CPA. This means that both the NCP and the SPLM share this responsibility. No one should sit back and expect the other to do the job for them.
THE ROLE OF THE SOUTH IN THE CENTRE
The SPLM is in the government of National Unity and indeed is also leading the Government of Southern Sudan as a representative of the people of South Sudan. The SPLM is not an appointed agent of the North, to run South Sudan for them. It negotiated CPA at Naivasha, in the name of the people of South Sudan and has signed it on behalf of the people of South Sudan. It occupies 28 percent of the central government of Sudan, on behalf of South Sudan. The SPLM must behave and carry out its duties in all these functions as a representative of the people of South Sudan and not as the leader of the Agenda for the pursuit of “The New Sudan”. The New Sudan Agenda must not be allowed to usurp the hard earned gains of the people of South Sudan. South Sudanese must not allow their interest in peace and in government, to be marginalized in the pursuit of new political frontiers elsewhere in Sudan by any of their leaders.
South Sudanese have lost nearly three million people to war and to war related causes. The entire world had recognized this fact at Naivasha and has compensated the South with a peace agreement that if carried out, even with the traditional shortcomings that we all know in the relationship between the South and the North, the SPLM would leave something to the people of South Sudan on the ground, that the people of the South may call “Peace Dividend”.
THE NEED TO COOPERATE
For the last three years of the period of the implementation of the CPA, the people of South Sudan have been treated to an endless saga of confrontation between the leadership of the SPLM and the NCP. Most of the reasons for this confrontation, if not all of them, are due to factors other than South Sudan. That includes even the controversial Abyei Protocol of the CPA, for which we will give our opinion publicly here for the first time.
For the SPLM to help the situation in Darfur, mainly and in Eastern Sudan for that matter, or for the SPLM to pursue the democratic transformation for the people of the Sudan as a whole, it must only do so in fulfillment of the provisions of the CPA and therefore in cooperation with the NCP. To do otherwise, leads to the current controversy, which adversely affects the implementation of the interest of South Sudan under the CPA?
No one else needs to tell the SPLM, that they will not fulfill the interest of the people of South Sudan, under the CPA, without the cooperation of the NCP. Cooperation of a partner, NCP or any other partner will not be achieved, if pursued the way the leadership of the SPLM is currently pursuing it.
The SPLM may drive the South back to war, if that is what they want. This is a course of action that the SPLM leadership can pursue unilaterally, if that is what they are working towards, since they have their own standing army. It is of course, another matter, whether or not, the people of South Sudan are assured, by their own leadership, at this point in time, to follow them to any action blindly, including back to war.
South Sudanese have always volunteered to fight for their cause, no matter who their leadership was. They have never been prompted by their leadership to go to war. The two civil wars that South Sudan had fought – the 1955 – 1972 war and the 1983 – 2005 war, were imposed on the South by the North. The North failed in 1955, to fulfill its pledge to the South, before independence, for a federal relationship between the two. When the North settled for an autonomy arrangement with the South in 1972, at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the South signed the 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement with the North. That agreement ended that civil war. For the next ten years, the South pursued an extremely illusive Northern Sudan that did not want to implement that peace agreement.
The South never threatened the North with war. It was the North, by its refusal to fulfill its role under the peace agreement that always threatened war.
It was the North, eventually, which abrogated the 1972 Peace Agreement in 1983 and forced the South back to war. That 1983 – 2005 war had been popular in the South, because the entire people of South Sudan felt humiliated by the North. The popularity of that war with the people of South Sudan, enabled the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) to fight that war well and to gain for the SPLM, the current power it enjoys in the name of the people of South Sudan, under the CPA. Never had South Sudan ever threatened war against the North, in the manner we now see it being practiced by the SPLM leadership today.
The people of South Sudan are called upon, in their collective wisdom, to calm down the leadership of the SPLM and to urge them to go back to cooperation with the NCP, in the interest of peace for both, rather than running all over the world, agitating for foreign intervention that the NCP knows and sees so well, that it will never come to be. It is a futile exercise that must not become a practice in the running of government.
Our friends abroad, whoever they might be, are a daily witness to our performance in government. We do not need to alarm them with gimmicks. They know what we are doing and what we are not doing, as representatives of our people in government. Nor should we give our friends the opportunity to use us to achieve their political objectives in the Sudan in our name.
The international community had fulfilled its duties in prodding the two parties to the Naivasha peace agreement, but South Sudan must know for itself, what the international community can do and what the international community cannot do. If the international community were to intervene in the affairs of Sudan today, it would be likely, because they see the window of opportunity to achieve their own interest in Sudan – the change of regime for instance, the pursuit of which some of our powerful friends, have as their main agenda in Sudan.
Perhaps, the SPLM does not accept the fact that under the CPA, it is now part of the regime in Sudan. Unless the SPLM believe that there is some external power that will cleanly engineer a change of regime in Khartoum, that will take away the NCP and impose the CPA on the new regime, including the 28 per cent share of power and the fifty percent share of the oil revenues from the oil wells of the South, then they should think twice, before continuing to play these dangerous games in the name of the people of South Sudan.
Most changes are not clean. Even changes brought about by elections. The SPLM is better advised to be careful about what advice they take from their many foreign friends. Most foreign friends of the SPLM that we know do not share the political aspiration of the people of South Sudan – Self-Determination for example.
We have never come across a foreign friend of South Sudan, who believes in the right of the people of South Sudan to Self-Determination, the way it is contained in the CPA. The SPLM must, therefore, hold on to this very precious agreement and to cooperation with the NCP, with whom they signed it, if the SPLM truly believes in the right of the people of South Sudan to Self-Determination.
THE STATUS OF THE CPA
No agreement under the sun can be carried out in its entirety and at a short interim period like the period of six years, which the CPA provides for its implementation. It is important, therefore, to be rational about what we want out of the CPA and to assess the level of its implementation this far. Not all sections of any agreement are equal, and so, not all sections of any agreement can carry the same weight of breaking it down at any time, if not fulfilled. That is why the CPA itself, is broken down into several protocols. Each protocol was negotiated in time, in consideration of its role in helping progress in the entire peace negotiations. It becomes a futile game of politics, therefore, when the SPLM leadership attempts to change the order of priorities of the CPA, by making protocol number six in the CPA, for instance, a priority number one and to decide on that basis, whether or not, cooperation continues, between them and their partner, the NCP.
The Machakos Protocol was the first protocol. This was so, to serve as a preamble to the whole peace process. The second protocol of the CPA was the security arrangements. This had to be so, because without an agreement on security arrangements, it was not possible to organize a proper ceasefire. Without a proper ceasefire, one could not proceed with negotiations on the other issues.
The Machakos Protocol provides the political framework for the entire CPA. This protocol has three main political features: It conceives of a democratic system of government for the whole country that would make unity attractive to the people of South Sudan; it provides for the constitutional framework for the country as a whole, that enshrines the rule of law.
Finally, the Machakos Protocol guarantees to the people of South Sudan, their right of Self-Determination. This universal right of all peoples was never granted to the people of South Sudan before. It is a good historical context, that the current leader of the SPLM that now threatens to walk out of the CPA, is the same person who signed the Machakos Protocol, on behalf of the SPLM and therefore, on behalf of the people of South Sudan. This fact must clearly rest on his conscience today.
We must always keep in mind, that the CPA is about the rights and the interests of the people of South Sudan first and then about whoever else. Only very few extremely small individuals permit themselves into erasing their own signature to such important documents like the CPA in their own life time. The agonies for such actions are severe on the individual, as well as on the entire community. One must not, knowingly, allow one’s self to be dragged into such terrible agonies of history, by reversing one’s own signature.
No matter what the faltering of the implementation of the CPA, the SPLM cannot and must not lead South Sudan back to war with the North, for a third time. Let the North once more abrogate the CPA, to deny the South its referendum. Nor should the SPLM leadership prompt the NCP to abrogate the CPA by its behaviour.
Whatever the NCP does; however the slowness of the implementation of the CPA; whatever the SPLM’s many foreign friends counsel them to do, the SPLM must not walk away from the CPA. This would be turning one’s back to the long suffering people of South Sudan. Let the North alone abrogate the CPA. The SPLM leadership knows that the South never fails to react, in such circumstances. Such actions forced on the South by the North, have always been noble causes for the people of South Sudan.
After the Machakos Protocol, came the second protocol, the security arrangements. Machakos had set a tone for real serious negotiations to take place between the parties, on the issues of the conflict. With pressure from the international community, the leadership of the negotiating parties were, themselves, beefed up to the top possible levels. The late SPLM leader, Dr. John Garang De Mabior, himself, took personal charge of his negotiating side. Khartoum dispatched its then First Vice President of the Republic, Sheikh Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, to take the leadership of their side. One long year of negotiations, at that highest level possible, has given us the CPA. No one, no matter how powerful they feel they are today, has the right to torpedo this agreement for the people of Sudan.
The third protocol is also very important – all the protocols of the CPA are in fact important. The third protocol regulates power sharing. Perhaps, the draw back of this protocol, is that it is power sharing between the two negotiating parties and not between the people of South Sudan and the people of Northern Sudan as a whole. The results of this draw back – the need for each of the two negotiating parties to draw more power for them from the other, rather than expanding the democratic participation by the people of Sudan, are now being played out in the political saga we are experiencing.
The fourth protocol, wealth sharing, is now central to the current political crisis. One cannot secure anything, govern a country, or fulfill any objective in life without wealth. There is so much talk about what percentages that are being paid out to whom. All we know under the CPA is that the government of Southern sudan is supposed to receive 50 percent of all the oil revenues, received from the oil wells of South Sudan. Both sides look at these things, or are supposed to look at these things, through the National Oil Commission, which their leaders both co-chair, with equal membership for them as partners.
The problem is that, because it is both money and power and none of the two parties to the CPA – the NCP and the SPLM are transparent with the people of Sudan about power and money, the people of Sudan now just watch the saga with amusement and bafflement. The CPA itself provides for mechanisms to resolving any conflict between the parties. Without the need for the type of shenanigans that we are being treated to.
The SPLM should get back to cooperation with the NCP and use all the mechanisms provided for in the CPA, to achieve their objectives. Suspension of partnership in government is not one of the mechanisms under the CPA. It must not be used again, because it is detrimental to the cause of the people of South Sudan.
We consider the implementation of the first three protocols as having gone reasonably well. With power sharing in place, because the system of governments are in place and running, including their legislative systems, the Government of Southern Sudan, which is in charge of the affairs of South Sudan, without any interference from the centre, has a lot to do for the people of South Sudan. It should get on with it, rather than seek squabbles all the time with its partner.
The security of the South is entirely in the hands of the SPLM, as provided for by the CPA. The government of Southern Sudan should ensure that the many incidents of insecurity in the South that we often read in the media are brought under control.
In spite of the SPLM continuing to complain that it is not receiving its full share of its fifty percent of the South Sudan Oil Revenues, we know that enough of that fifty percent goes to the South. This should enable the government of Southern Sudan to provide the people of South Sudan with the peace dividends, in terms of services and security that they so badly need. It should be mentioned that the GOSS received US 3 billion dollars in the period from 2005 to August 2007. Its share of oil revenue in the month of October this year was in excess of US 200 million dollars in just one month. In any case, discussion of these things can and should go on while pursuing what ever is due to the South from the central government, in full cooperation, rather than in perpetual confrontation.
THE ABYEI PROTOCOL
Protocol number five is the protocol governing relationship between the central government of Sudan and the two marginalized regions of Northern Sudan – The Nuba Mountains of Southern Kordofan and the Ingesina Region of Southern Blue Nile. The protocol for these two regions of the CPA is the least controversial, not, perhaps, because there are no problems there, but mainly because those problems seem to being tackled within the rules of the CPA. This is the right approach.
The real shouting controversy, by passing by far, even the controversies over the most crucial issues, is the Abyei Protocol. This controversial protocol has assumed much larger than its proper size and share of the CPA. This may be, thanks to the exaggerated, inflated and extremely unrealistic political influence of the leaders of Abyei within the SPLM leadership.
We have hitherto chosen not to make any public utterances about the Abyei protocol, even though our view on the issue is known to those who are steering this controversy and they have used our view in so negative a manner. But, since Abyei now threatens to return the South back to war with the North, unless its protocol is carried out according to the whims of its proponents within the SPLM and since war is such an encompassing and devastating phenomenon, it is important for those of us, who think that it is not right to be driven back to war without justification, to say our bit here, for the first time, on record.
We wish to say here now, loud and clear, that Abyei alone must not return the country to war. We should seek a peaceful way of implementing the terms of the Abyei protocol, without the threat of war:
Firstly, the people of South Sudan care very deeply about Abyei. This is because; the people of Abyei are the same and part of the people of South Sudan. But in the real world, one does not go to war to return to themselves what was not taken from them by force or by war.
Abyei was never taken from the South by conquest of war. The South must find a peaceful way, therefore, of implementing the Abyei Protocol, under the CPA.
Secondly, since the Abyei area became part of Southern Kordofan – Northern Sudan since 1905, the Abyei issue does not settle easily peacefully as part of the borders of South Sudan. Based on the CPA specification, the borders of South Sudan are as they stood on first January 1956, the day of the independence of Sudan. The Abyei issue, therefore, requires another type of consideration and solution. This, we believe, is what the Abyei Protocol is all about. If it has fallen short of all other considerations in any way, then a way out of the problem has to be found through discussion and never through war.
Thirdly, as an area of Southern Kordofan since 1905, the Abyei area is no longer purely a Ngok Dinka area. There are other tribal interests there, that, unfortunately, the Abyei Protocol of the CPA has not catered for and which must be considered in carrying out the Abyei protocol. Otherwise, the fulfillment of the Abyei protocol, which clearly favours one side and is not comprehensive enough, may not necessarily maintain peace in the area.
We do not see the interest of the SPLM, in reaching peace agreement with the North, only to wish the North to fight a little war of itself, amongst various interests that must be catered for in Abyei. Or for the SPLM, for that matter, to put itself in the situation of having to use force to evict the non Ngok Dinka elements from Abyei by force. That would be war itself all over again.
In any case, there are things that the Government of National Unity (GONU) and the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) can do, in cooperation with each other, in the interest of the people of Abyei, while the discussion of the other issues goes on between the parties, until they reach a final agreement.
The types of things that can be done, in cooperation, is the setting up of the local administration for Abyei, under the leadership of the citizens of Abyei, in their entirety. It should not be too difficult, for the SPLM leadership, that seems so generous in assigning so much of its own share of power in the central government in Khartoum, on behalf of the South, to its own members from the North, to achieve such an objective in Abyei.
Abyei, is such a small area, both geographically and population wise and if it is as the pundits have it, Abyei is floating over oil, then it is urgent, to have that oil extracted, so that the country as a whole benefits. Extracting the Abyei oil, can only be achieved in peace and not in war. The two percent provided for by the CPA, for an oil producing region of Sudan, may be all it would take to develop Abyei, rather than holding it back, in a political controversy that one is not in control of its possible devastating consequences on the people of Abyei themselves.
With their war experiences, South Sudanese must not be too eager to return to war. The current debate, which the SPLM leadership has ignited regarding the issue of Abyei, is not in its interest, nor in the interest of the people of Abyei themselves.
The Abyei Protocol, which is priority number five in the CPA, will not serve the cause of Abyei, or the South, by being now made priority number one in the current debate. This, simply, is to hold the implementation of the CPA hostage to the Abyei Protocol. This is an unacceptable attempt to rig the system.
Not only on the Abyei protocol, but on any other issue of the CPA, the idea should not be to either this or nothing else. Even the weakest of human beings, can sometimes call the bluff of the strongest and the most powerful with devastating consequences. If an agreement is to endure, the parties to that agreement must not threaten each other with return to war.
THE EXARGERATED FOREIGN INFLUENCE
In the period of the current controversy between the parties to the CPA, we have seen how the SPLM has repeatedly tried to use outside threat against its partner. This is an entirely counter- productive conduct. There is no provision under the CPA, except those already provided for therein, such as the work of the Joint Assessment Commission, which have a room for some foreign intervention. There is no harm in appealing to friends to help. But such an appeal has to be only that – an appeal for help, but not an appeal for intervention, which the SPLM threatens all the time.
If the two parties mutually agree to arbitration on an issue of disagreement, then they should also agree on the arbitrator. No one party should threaten that they will invite a foreign power to take over the running of - Abyei for instance.
Partners should not threaten each other with the use of the power of their foreign friends against each other. Partnership means friendship, at least while the partnership lasts. If one partner has a foreign friend, who was an enemy of the other partner before agreeing on partnership, it seems, it is the duty of a partner, to persuade their foreign friends to reconcile with their partner. If the SPLM, for instance, persuade parts of the Sudan, to support the SPLM position in the CPA, that would inevitably lead to the end of the CPA and of partnership.
Even though the SPLM has dreams of creating a “New Sudan”, it is not conceivable that foreign invader of the Sudan, on behalf of the SPLM, would handover the running of the Sudan to the SPLM. The people of Northern Sudan must consent to such a move. We do not detect a sea change the cultural attitude of Northern Sudan towards such an eventuality.
The few Northern Sudanese members and supporters of the SPLM, make a big deal about the popularity of the SPLM in the North. We do not see this type of sloganeering being translated into reality on the ground in Northern Sudan. Besides, we do not see any popularity of the Northern Sudanese members of the SPLM on the streets of Northern Sudan. Any popularity that cannot be translated into votes at the hour of reckoning is not worth all this hullahallo.
While the SPLM has made such a big deal about foreign intervention, in their dispute with the NCP, we cannot see how a foreign power can intervene in the domestic affairs of Sudan, unless that was provided for in the CPA. We have not seen such provision in the CPA. There is not even a follow up role for these foreign powers in the CPA. There is no mechanism for it in the CPA.
So much good-will between the two parties was assumed by both the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), who successfully mediated the CPA and the IGAD Partners’ Forum, the consortium of foreign powers that supported IGAD mediators and supported the negotiations that there is no role for them in resolving any disputes arising from the implementation of the CPA. The SPLM leadership must refrain itself from being carried away too much, by its own wishful thinking. This is a world run by realism and not by fallacies.
If the SPLM wanted the foreign intervention by either the IGAD or the IGAD partners, it should have sought the same at the time of negotiations. Such an intervention, clearly, might have been included in the agreement at the time of the negotiations and the SPLM would now have the right to refer to that in the event of a real impasse in the implementation of the CPA
At the moment, all that the SPLM has is the persuasion of its partner, the NCP to cooperate, to complete the implementation. There is not even a room allowed for failure in the CPA. The two partners had such confidence in each other at the negotiations in Kenya, that they wanted no role for a third party.
If things have not gone the way the SPLM had bargained for, then the thing is to stick to the CPA, until 2011, when the people of South Sudan decide in their referendum, about their future. For now, we believe that there is enough that is being done, or can be done under the CPA, for the people of South Sudan to hold on to this agreement. The SPLM, as the representative of the people of South Sudan under the CPA, has no mandate to threaten war in their name.
THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTHERN SUDAN
The people of South Sudan have gained an impression that the SPLM leadership believe that making unity attractive for the people of South Sudan, before they cast their vote on Self-Determination, is only the responsibility of the NCP, or the North. This could only have been true, if the North controlled the Sudanese state government and machinery, to the exclusion of the South, the way it used to be. But the CPA has changed all that. We have already pointed out in the preceding section, that the SPLM occupies 28 percent of the state government and machinery and is therefore at least 28 percent answerable to the people of Sudan, for making unity attractive or otherwise. If the SPLM ministers in the centre deliver, they will not only have made unity attractive, they will have shown themselves capable of running the Sudanese state. To sit back and blame the NCP is a role of an idle opposition party, not of a partner. It will change nothing.
Besides, if the SPLM ministers in the centre were efficient and affective, they would show the public in the North, as well as the South, that the South is capable of running an efficient Sudanese state. This may allow more room for Southerners to occupy more space in the state machinery. Nothing stronger than this would make unity with the North more attractive, at least as far as the North is concerned.
On the government of Southern Sudan, the SPLM now suffers from an issue of its own making. The SPLM opted for an absolute control of the affairs of the South and got that in the CPA. One feels that the North conceded this point at Naivasha, because the SPLM has always claimed that it is a unity party, seeking to create a “New Sudan”. The NCP, therefore, felt that it was handing over the South to an ally, as both a partner in peace and a unionist. This contention is responsible for the fact that the NCP allowed, even persuaded some of its allies in the other armed groups of the South, to join the SPLM in the South. It did not want to be seen to harbour armed groups that may be a problem to the SPLM, even though the SPLM does not seem to appreciate this.
There are only a few of the armed groups from the South, who refused, either to join the SPLM or the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), as provided for by the CPA. It seems it is the contention of the SPLM that, either the NCP disarms these groups by force, which would in effect mean another war for a country that is seeking peace with everybody, or the SPLM simply concludes that its partner is harbouring these armed groups against it. But there are, indeed, also other armed groups in Southern Sudan – Equatoria and Upper Nile, which the SPLM has not disarmed by force. The NCP has not accused the SPLM of harbouring these groups against them.
It makes a great deal of sense that both the NCP and the SPLM deal with these armed groups with gloves in hand, rather than gloves off. It is so easy, in a country like Sudan, to inflame any shoot out into something nastier than just a gunshot.
More important for us, is how much is the SPLM making unity with the North attractive. Local Sudanese newspapers are full of news coming from the very few northern Sudanese still in the South. These are not news that inspire confidence in the unity efforts of the SPLM. Even the South Sudanese who had not joined the war and who were all along members of the SPLM, even though they lived in the displaced peoples’ camps in the North, are being called “black Arabs” and other names in the South by SPLM elements.
It is difficult to deal with numbers in the current situation of South Sudan, where statistics are difficult to come by. But if the nearly five million people of South Sudan, who were displaced by war to the North, many of whom are now returning home to the South, were to register to vote, in the referendum on Self-Determination, while they are called black Arabs, then, perhaps, the SPLM is working in that strange way, to make unity attractive to these South Sudanese.
These South Sudanese “Arabs of the South” were victims of the SPLM war. They fled the South for their lives and were never comfortable in the North by any stretch of imagination. They were assumed to be straight separatist voters in the referendum on Self-Determination. Now, they are being turned around by their own as unionists. Not only because they are being insulted in the South, but because they also feel insecure; because of the threats against them from their own people. One may endure an insult forever, because insults do not kill. But no one can vote themselves into permanent insecurity.
While the performance of the Government of Southern Sudan may not constitute a crucial point of judgment by the voters of South Sudan at the time of the next elections in the South, unless the performance of that government improves drastically during the coming year, many South Sudanese are likely to ask themselves whether or not they should vote for an independent South Sudan that may be worse than what they have endured under the North. After all, South Sudanese would vote seeking a better system of government for themselves rather than vote for independence for independence sake.
The SPLM leadership have just a year to retrieve themselves. One does not just receive the confidence of one’s own people because one has fought for the cause of one’s people. One must also show that after the war, one is also capable of efficiently running the affairs of their people as a government.
SPLM AND DEMOCRACY IN THE SOUTH
The SPLM leadership has been very successful in portraying themselves in Northern Sudan as the champions of the new democracy, as provided for under the CPA. But they are also the leaders of the government of Southern Sudan. A look at how the SPLM conducts its political business in South Sudan, will inform us about how democratic this party is. Like in Northern Sudan, there are other political parties in South Sudan, other than the SPLM. Some of these parties are members of the Government of Southern Sudan and participate in the other institutions of the Government of Southern Sudan. The SPLM continuously seeks to marginalize and to muzzle the opinion of these parties. No political activities are allowed for these parties, except with the expressed permission of the SPLM. Which means, they are vetted, to know that they will toe the SPLM line? Representatives of some of these Southern parties to the governments of the states of South Sudan have not been appointed up to now – three years after the institutions for these regions were set up under the SPLM. Where appointments were decreed by the head of the government of Southern Sudan, some Governors of some of the regions of the South have refused to implement the decrees of the President of the Government of Southern Sudan. Some leaders of the Southern political parties have been forbidden to travel to their own areas of birth in South Sudan.
In the circumstances described here, few South Sudanese, who are not members of the SPLM, have any confidence, that South Sudan can have free and fair elections in the year 2009, while the SPLM is in charge of the South. The Government of Southern Sudan does not make even a pretence that it will attempt to be fair. How, then, does a party like that, make such a big noise about democratic transformation in the North, when it has a good chance to show the same in the area under its control, like the South and has not done so?
By the time this document is made public in mid December, it is hoped that the SPLM would have ended its boycott of the Government of National Unity and the political situation will have returned to some kind of normality. But this paper is an expression of frustration of nearly three years and of what we believe to be a public responsibility. The conduct of government business in the glare of the public media, with threats, is a public concern. So, we make this document public, in the hope that it will serve as a public caution about how we conduct ourselves in the future, more civilly and more cooperatively.
Winston Churchill once said of one’s conscience; I quote: “The only guide to a man conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life with out this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour”.
One important question needs to be raised to the SPLM leadership, it is this: Even if the SPLM was now prepared for war with the North, does the SPLM propose to invade the North? There are no more Northerners to fight with in the South. Would invading the North then be the beginning of the war for the “New Sudan”?
The SPLM owes it to the people of South Sudan, to persevere on with the implementation of the CPA, without further boycotts or threats. We all now know that there is no external intervention to be encouraged by our boycott of government in which we have such a large stake. If the boycott was meant to scare the NCP, then the NCP knows what we have and what we do not have. With such a public knowledge about our ability and inability, it is unlikely that the NCP will respond to these so many empty threats in any positive way.
More importantly, the people of South Sudan have had enough of war. They like and support the CPA and want it to continue. Even though the people of South Sudan are not satisfied with the performance of their government under the SPLM, they want it to continue, because their options in this regard are very tight. At the very least, the people of South Sudan want the SPLM to safeguard, through its performance in government and cooperation with the NCP, that they will have the chance to vote peacefully, in their Self-Determination Referendum, in the year 2011.
At the end of this trumped up crisis, it will take sometime for the dust to settle down, because the SPLM has gone over the top, in the pursuit of its grievances against its partner, the NCP. Perhaps, it was the best way of attracting something, which has proved not to be available. Perhaps, these lessons will sober the SPLM leadership and prompt them to behave differently and better.
The late American President, John F. Kennedy, once said: “To be civil in dealing with important matters of state is not a sign of weakness”. The SPLM leadership can truly benefit from this very wise counsel.
This paper was presented by Bona Malwal in a symposium organized by the South Sudan Democratic Forum on the future of The CPA under the current political crisis, held in Khartoum on 12 December 2007