By Hafiz Mohamed
After the acceptance of Sudan Call Alliance to sign the Road Map each of the four parties to the alliance came out with a scenario trying to sell that out to their constituency, instead of putting brave face for their retreat from their first position which denouncing it, and try to get the best out of it.
In the build up to the 8th August 2016 the date in which they supposed to sign there are many activities and moves to give the signing some sort of inclusivity and portrayed it as a national event, such as the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) on the 9th January 2005, as everyone knows there is no comparison.
I don’t understand why all this fuss is about, it is just a signing of a road map not a framework agreement or an agreement which is going to immediately end Sudan multiple crises and elevate the suffering of millions of Sudanese people as life become untenable due to the failed policies of the National Congress Party (NCP).
The opposition groups with their two components civilian and military still have a long way to go in terms of negotiating the terms of their engagement in the National dialogue, the interim security arrangements and the terms of delivery of humanitarian assistances, for Darfur and the two areas, the political arrangement which supposed to lead to the final status of those areas.
Sudan call alliance wanted to turn its signing of the road map into a victory with big signing ceremony by inviting some national Sudanese figures to make it look as a national agreement but I don’t think the signing deserve all that row, and doesn’t worse it to spend all these amount of resources now, they better wait until they reach a final agreement and if it put Sudan in a pave to genuine peace and democratic transformation all Sudanese will celebrate with them.
The signing will take place on the 8th August but the hard work will start on the 9th with the negotiations of the terms of cessations of hostilities, delivery of humanitarian assistance and the monitoring mechanism between the government of Sudan (GoS)and Sudan People Liberation Army – North (SPLM-N), and that will not be an easy task taking into consideration their five years negotiations for delivery of humanitarian assistance and cessation of hostilities , many rounds of talks regarding the terms of the ceasefire failed that include the implementation of the tripartite agreement ( UN, AU and the Arab League) and the UN resolution 2046, disagreement over from where the assistance supposed to be delivered , as that prevented the two parties from reaching agreements denying millions of people from humanitarian assistance at the same time denying children the high needed vaccination.
The remaining question will still be, will the government accept an agreement in line with the terms of Switzerland 19th January 2002 cease fire agreement which managed to opened access for delivery of humanitarian assistance, allowed freedom of movement, people and trade at the same time established a joint monitoring mechanism (JMC) headed by Norwegian General.
The parallel tracks of the negotiations for the two areas and Darfur, will not be the easiest parts as GoS will insist on not giving any ground for a new negotiation on Darfur because according to them the Darfur Doha Peace Document (DDPD) has achieved its objectives and concluded the only offers they have for Darfuri armed movements is allocation of ministerial posts and some others positions, and that will not be acceptable for them.
With regards to the two areas negotiations in the last 5 years the chief negotiator of SPLM-N has wasted great opportunities to address the roots causes of the conflicts in the two areas instead he insisted on focusing the discussion on national issues, by signing the Road Map all the National Issues will be address through the National Dialogue, at the same time the road map already stated the ceilings for the negotiations of the two areas and I don’t thinks that up to the expectations of the people of the Nuba mountains at least I can’t tell about Blue Nile because I simply don’t know.
The problem which has been deliberately created by SPLM-N leadership and led to the current state of mayhem because they insist on not consulting the people and trying to impose settlement through military orders that can only work temporary with the army but not with the people, ignoring other sectors of communities and trying to force through settlement which is not acceptable will not lead to sustainable peace. They are ignoring SPLM own practice, immediately after the signing of Machakos Protocol in July 2002, an all Nuba conference was held in Kuda South Kordofan state in October 2002 , attended not only by members of SPLM by civil society activists and communities leaders at the same time attended by the late Dr John Grang , at that conference people gave SPLM a mandate to negotiate on their behalf , but when it came to the two areas negotiations Dr John delegated the political leaders of the areas to negotiate the terms of the two areas protocols and promised to accept any outcome of that negotiation,, I think the process which SPLM leaders adopted in 2002-2004 regarding the two areas was correct and look more democratic even though many people from the Nuba mountains were not happy about the outcome. But since the start of the current war no single consultation is carried to the people of affected areas but even with senior members of the movement, everything is run by Arman selecting the majority of his advisers from outside these areas, and when senior members of the movement such as Ramdan Hassan, Ahmed Balga others voiced their concerns the got the sack.
I do understand that there is national dimension to the conflicts in Sudan peripheries, as the conflicts are centre-peripheries mainly created by the central political elites through deliberate policies of marginalisation, but SPLM-N policies of not allowing even leaders from these areas to voice their concern on issues which they carry arms to fight for will replicate and deepen the same problem instead of working towards resolving it.
The negotiations for the two areas within the road map must be assigned to SPLM-N leaders originate from the two areas with consultation with others people from their areas because at the end they supposed to oversee the implementation of any agreement in partnership with others in these states, and must not allow Arman to run the show, dictating his views on the people of these areas as that will waste other golden opportunity to address some of the concerns of these people , he can lead SPLM- N negotiations with others members of Sudan Call Alliance on issues related to national dialogue and its process. But insisting in imposing Arman on people specially from South Kordofan/ Nuba Mountains will be an insult to these people as they are well aware that the majority of the people in the Nuba mountains don’t want him and that will have very serious ramification in the future.
The voice of the people of the Nuba mountains must be heard in this very critical juncture of their history at the time when half of the population either Internal Displaced People (IDPs) or refugees, collective effort is needed to rebuild the region from the shattered, destitution, prolong wars, marginalisation and discrimination.
The war has run its course and the case of fighting Khartoum from the Nuba mountains and making the people of these areas pay the price of change in national level is neither fair nor moral, as they need tenth of years to overcome the impacts of the last two wars. We hope the two parties to war sign a cessation of hostilities agreement at least to stop the killing, immediately after that we need to mobilise the people to build a wide civic coalition for activists, communities/tribal leaders, women, youth so they work together through civic struggle to restore their rights and rebuild the region from the ruins of the wars, learning from the 6 years of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) interim period (2005-11) which ended with more destructive war.
Hafiz Ismail Mohamed is CSOs activist and can be reach at: firstname.lastname@example.org