Home | News    Wednesday 15 August 2007

Former Sudan’s PM says CPA is "blockage agreement"

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By Ahmed Elzobier

August 14, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The former Sudan’s Prime Minister and leader of the Umma Party, Sadiq al-Mahdi described the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as a “blockage agreement”. He further said that CPA revision is needed to achieve political stability in the Sudan.

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Sadiq al-Mahdi

In an interview with Sudan Tribune, al-Mahdi underlined that the revision of the CPA should not affect the gains of southern Sudan. However he said it is important to transform this bilateral deal to a comprehensive agreement with the participation of all the Sudanese political forces.

He also said that the CPA reserves 52% in the power sharing protocol to the ruling National Congress ¨Party, adding that this percentage hinders peace achievement in Darfur. "You cannot make any deal in Darfur while you are reserving 52% for the NCP" Al-Mahdi said.

The leader of Umma party explained that besides the need for national consensus, the CPA should be amended to correct some obscure aspects in the deal, and to add some neglected protocols.

With regard to the Darfur crisis, al-Mahdi said the reason of this conflict that the Islamist ruling party tried to change the socio-political map in Darfur. He held the NCP responsible of all the current problems in Darfur accusing it of not seeking genuine solutions.

During the different parliamentary regimes, the Sudanese Islamists failed to gain important constituencies in Darfur. But since the 1989 coup d’Etat, the government started to reshape the indigenous administration and divide localities in order to gives the newly created administrative entities to Arab tribes. It also supported the Arab militia since the nineties in their attacks against the Fur and Massalittes tribes.

Al-Mahdi said the reason of Sudan’s calamity that a minority party — NCP — attempted to implement a partisan Islamist program in a country which is so full of diversity, and several cultures.

The following is the text of the interview conducted with Sadiq al-Mahdi, the former Sudanese Prime Minister from 1986 to 1989, and the leader of the Umma Party:

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Sudan Tribune interviewed the former Prime Minister of Sudan, Mr. Al Sadig Al Mahdi, the leader of the Umma Party, the largest political party in Sudan according to the 1986 General Election. Mr. Al Mahdi is one of the few Sudanese political leaders who truly believes in a liberal democracy and ruling by consensus in a country that is traumatized by polarization and extreme positions. No doubt his political ideas and thoughts are well worth revisiting. The articulate, courteous veteran politician doesn’t mince his words when it comes to describing dictatorship and totalitarianism. Al Mahdi seems like a man burdened by the weight of history – his great grandfather miraculously succeeded in uniting the hopelessly divided Sudanese tribes of the 19th Century in ousting the Turkey-Egyptian rule in 1885, and now Sudan once again faces its greatest calamity (using his own word) since independence. Maybe at this historical juncture of our his words might bring some hope to our increasingly bleak-looking future.

Sudan politics in general:

- How do you assess the current political situation in Sudan?

Al-Mahdi: The political situation in Sudan now is very sad, there are three peace agreements which were signed in 2005 and 2006 and they are not working properly. The idea was that the Sudan, through the Naivasha agreement, would make four main achievements: number one, comprehensive peace; number two, inclusive government; number three, to make unity attractive; and number four, to implement a program of democratization and democratic transformation. These aims are not being fulfilled – there is no comprehensive peace, there is no inclusive government, democratization is stalled and there is no democratic transformation to speak of to make unity attractive. In reality all the factors are pointing in the other direction.

The situation in Darfur particularly is very bad indeed, since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in May 2006, the situation from a humanitarian and security point of view is now worse than it was, in fact the trouble in Darfur is spreading. All claims to the contrary are mere propaganda. The international community is now fast trying to depict the National Congress Party in Sudan as a successor to the National Party of South Africa and to isolate it internationally because of its actions in Darfur. The international reputation of the country is very low indeed. Therefore, we can say the agreement has not fulfilled its targets and Sudan generally is in a very bad state of affairs. The country is being torn apart by different armed groups and is being subjected to internationalization where all the country’s internal problems are now mainly discussed outside the border of this country.

- Many reports now describe this country as potentially a failing state – what, in your opinion, went wrong? Who do we have to blame if this country disintegrates?

Al-Mahdi: Of course, the main trouble that befell Sudan is that a coup led by a minority party tried to implement a partisan Islamist program in a country which is so full of diversity, a country that has got several religions and several cultures, different regional forces, different political orientations. To try to force a partisan Islamist program in this type of country was the main cause of polarization, both inside Sudan, and between Sudan and its neighbors and the international community. I think this set the ball rolling in the wrong direction.

The second main reason for Sudan’s present calamity is the fact that the National Congress Party tried to change the socio-political map of Darfur in a way which has created four new problems they were not there before. Firstly, politicization of ethnicity; secondly, the insurrection against the central government; thirdly, a major humanitarian tragedy in the IDP camps and their villages; and fourthly, the internationalization of the problem of Darfur. So Darfur now suffers from four new problems. The National Congress Party is responsible for creating these problems and now they are using sedatives, public relations exercises and superficial acts to try to solve problems that need a different approach. I think the coup of June 1989 and the ideology they tried to apply in Sudan, and the way the National Congress Party mis-administered Darfur is responsible for our current state of affairs.

- Do you think since 1956 as Sudanese we have had the right vision of how to run our country?

Al-Mahdi: Of course there is a difference, I think the democratic regimes had many weaknesses. Weakness number one, we needed to make the democratic experience capable of addressing cultural specificity, but this did not happen and we behave as if this is not necessary. Second weakness, democracy is not only about proper voting, which was there, and not only about preservation of human rights, which was also there, but also about balances. There should have been a serious attempt to address the development gap but we did not cater for cultural plurality and the balances that are needed for democracy. And thirdly, we started with a country which was already divided by the apartheid policy of the imperialist regime. We took it for granted that the policies which had been bequested from the colonial period could be simply dealt with without a radical solution to the problem. We should have realized that the apartheid policy had created certain facts of life in Sudan that should have been addressed in a radical way. So we can say the democratic regimes committed faults of omission by not dealing with the inherited apartheid policies of colonialism. However, the dictatorial regimes have committed faults of commission. Firstly, during Aboud’s time (1958–1964) there was an attempt to force Islamization and Arabization in the South, a mistaken policy taken by Aboud’s regime. Secondly, Nimeiri’s regime (1969–1985) committed mistakes when they decided to force an Islamic system on the country which created only resistance. Thirdly, the coup of 1989 committed more systematic mistakes. They decided the identity of the country and they wanted everyone else to acquiesce and accept this particular Islamist–Arabist partisan policy of the “Salvation” regime. I think the three coups that governed Sudan all committed faults of commission on an escalating scale, the first less bad, the second worse, the third is worst of all.

AL-MIRGHANI AND GARANG PEACE INITIATIVE

- Some observers say that some of the problems Sudan is trying to overcome right now are partially a result of decisions and actions taken by you personally, especially during your last term in office (1986–1989). For example, your reaction to Al-Mirghani and Garang’s 1988 peace initiative. Do you agree with these observations and would you, with the benefit of hindsight, have done certain things differently now that you’ve seen the consequences?

Al-Mahdi: This need to be explained. The first political party in Sudan to speak of the need for compromise between the north and the south is the Umma Party, I wrote this in 1964. We were also the only major Sudanese political party in Kokacadam’s declaration in March 1986. However, when I met Dr Garang and his group in Addis Ababa in July 1986 he said, “We should go about applying the declaration of Kokacadam which we are partisan to”. Then I pointed out the contradiction because he insisted on me meeting as the Umma party, not as Prime Minster. I said to him that as Prime Minster I have got other parties’ opinions to consider, therefore as the Umma party we have no problems applying the Kokacadam declaration but as Prime Minister I told him he has to wait for input from others. So, we could not make a success of that encounter because of this problem.

Anyway when Mohamed Othman Al Mirghani (the Leader of Democratic Unionist Party which had the second parliamentary majority in 1986 election) engaged in talks with Granag, I blessed it as Prime Minister as I was keen that any partisan deal with SPLM should be enlarged to include others. I said to Al Merghani that his deal with Granag was welcomed but we needed to make it a national rather than a partisan deal, and within my own party there were some reservations because they considered it as a partisan deal. I was able to contain that disagreement and the Umma Party supported the Al Mirghani/Granag agreement but we needed time to make it national. We also needed to involve the National Islamic Front although they only had the third majority in parliament, we needed to get them onboard. I told Al Mirghani that rather than rush, let us work together to develop it from being bilateral to being national. Because throughout I have always maintained the position that national issues should be tackled in a national way and like our position over Kokacadam, because we have been signatory to it, we have waited to get others onboard. I was personally supportive of the agreement, anyone could quote this. I met the envoys from the Democratic Unionists, Mr. Mohamed Tawfeig and Mr. Sidahmed Al Hussein and I was all the time talking to them as Prime Minister and encouraging them all the way until they reached an agreement. When Al Merghani arrived in the airport I delegated Dr Ali Hassan Tag Aldeen to meet him. But there were problems we had to resolve before we implemented this agreement, we had to engage others. The National Islamic Front had a lot of reservations about the agreement and in fact they were creating a lot of chaos and making a lot of noise about it. I was in the position of being able to contain it and in fact, ultimately, we did contain it. In a meeting convened in the Palace chaired by Ahmed Al Mirghani and attended by myself, Hassan al-Turabi and Al Mirghani, we declared together in January 1989 our blessing on the agreement which was then taken to be part of a transition program which was singed by 29 parties in the Palace under the chairmanship of Mr. Mirghani Al Nasiri. So the delay was only in order to make it national and I believe we succeeded. When the coup makers carried out their coup they said they wanted to express opposition to this consensus because they thought this process was a treason, and against Al Sharia [Islamic Law]. We believe that it was delayed for only two months and the whole thing became national in January.

- Do you think the army memorandum in February 1989 added some extra complications to the situation?

Al-Mahdi: The army memorandum did not really disturb us because by then we had already developed a national consensus which was then endorsed in the parties and trade union meeting on 29 February 1989, so all the steps had been taken. In fact the coup of 1989 was designed to sabotage these efforts. I sent a delegation to meet John Garang and tell him that the agreement between him and Al Mirghani had been endorsed in a proper way and now we had to develop from bilateral to national, and to think about when we could meet so as to make an agreement. The delegation came back said they had decided to meet on the 3 July to agree on the agenda and to meet on the 15 September 1989 to hold a national constitutional conference. There was a ceasefire agreement in place, Operation Sudan Life Line to continue providing humanitarian relief in the South, so things were gathering for an agreement without any foreign interference. But the coup makers decided this was going to betray Islam and they made their coup and the result is that ultimately we have an agreement with full foreign supervision, including self-determination. All this could have been avoided if the coup did not take place. We delayed the agreement for two months, but the delay transformed the agreement from partisan to a national.

MUBARAK AL-MAHDI ARREST

- Sudanese security services, a few days ago, arrested Mubarak al Fadil al-Mahdi , the chairman of the Umma Reform and Renewal opposition party, over allegations of planning sabotage actions in the country. What is your reaction to his arrest?

Al-Mahdi: Well this is not the first time the NCP has made these kinds of allegations. They have alleged things against the Umma party and specifically Al Haj Nugdallh and Abdel Mahmoud Abu but they fizzled out. They made allegations about the Popular Congress Party which also fizzled out and we are not surprised to still see the same kind of tactics. However, we want evidence. If there is sufficient evidence then they should be tried in open court and Mubarak and the ex-officers should be given the full right to defend themselves. If not, they should be released, this is our position.

DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION

- Do you think the NCP is genuine on the issue of democratic transformation? To put it another way, do you think NCP is capable of transforming its current totalitarian tendency, and embrace true democracy?

Al-Mahdi: I think the NCP itself leans on the state institution and it will evaporate if the state collapses. It’s not a party, it is a group of people holding together because of certain posts and financial interests. They have no ideology and all their ideological sacred cows have been slaughtered. They can’t speak of any kind of achievement and oil production, for instance, is a case where they did not use any oil revenue for the benefit of the people, but only for oppression, not progression. Sudan, since the time of colonialism had enjoyed a kind of welfare state. We consistently supported education, health and provided essential consumer items. There was a welfare state in Sudan and they liquidated it and did not use the resources saved from this to promote development or popular programs, they used it for the intensification of administrative and security institutions and the Army as an institution of oppression. Therefore I think it is clear the NCP has failed.

- What should the Sudanese people do then?

Al-Mahdi: It’s time for all Sudanese to rally together for the salvation of the country and this is possible through the revision of the peace agreement [Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)]. Of course the south has the right to gain a lot from this agreement, to have legitimacy from a deal that’s not just between two parties. You see, we decided in Asmara declaration in 1995 [signed by the members of the opposition National Democratic Alliance] that Sudan needed to review its whole policy and to have a program to build a democratic nation state, and we decided that there should be a proper sharing of power, and the recognition of religious and cultural pluralities. And to establish a civilian state so that there is equality, in foreign policy to rectify the tilt towards the Arab worlds so we become Afro-Arab. All these ideas were supposed to lead to the construction of a modern nation state. Unfortunately all this was betrayed by the CPA because it went towards satisfying only two parties and they forgot about the rest of the political parties. It appears as a blockage to other agreements. What we need now is to review the situation, as I said, and not detract from the gains to the south and to relate the gains for the south to a national consensus. We need an agreement that will give gains to all parts of the country on the proper basis of a democratic transformation through a general election. I think this is possible and it’s possible now since we all realize that the NCP is blocking comprehensive peace and blocking democratic transformation. This blocking should be dealt with by a national consensus to help the country move out of this square.

CPA IS COLLAPSING

- Few days ago the International Crisis Group warned against the potential danger of the CPA collapse. What do you make of the implementation of the CPA so far?

Al-Mahdi: I think the CPA has already collapsed. The security arrangement has been unworkable, the Abyie protocol is not working, and north-north dialogue is not working. You cannot make any deal in Darfur while you are reserving 52% for the NCP and so on. Already, the assumption of the CPA has been completely defied and rather than thinking of it collapsing it should be revisited so some aspects of it can be upheld and some aspects can be rectified. You see, from the beginning we said that there are four points concerning the CPA:
– Firstly, it must be made a comprehensive, not a bilateral peace agreement. This needs a forum and could be done through getting other stakeholders involved.
– Secondly, there are 20 points of ambivalence that need to be elucidated and defined. The national forum will help defining the 20 points of ambivalence.
– Thirdly, there are certain protocols that have been neglected and should be added, such as a protocol for an inter-religion relations cultural charter. We also want a protocol for foreign policy, a protocol for accountability such as the truth and reconciliation in South Africa, and we want to add seven new protocols.
– The fourth point is that there are contradictions. For example in one point it says that all human rights according to the international human rights charter will be observed in relation to all political forces, irrespective of religious differences or racial or gender differences. They made this commitment and then they say whoever does not accept their share in the agreement will be deprived of political freedom. This is a clear contradiction and there are several other contradictions. We will have a general election but only if the south favors unity will this arrangement continue for the future, so it negates the point of the election.

In general we say that we welcome the agreement in terms of stopping fighting in order to make it work, but to make it sustainable the four points have to be addressed. We think we should develop the agreement further to make it viable.

SPLM IS A MOUTHPIECE OF AN ARMY

- In an interview last April with Sudan tribune Pagan Amum SPLM SG, said, "SPLM is the only political party that could guarantee the unity or separation of Sudan". How do you respond to that?

Al-Mahdi: The SPLM should not make such wild claims because the first challenge of the SPLM is to become a party. It is not a party. It is a mouthpiece of an army. This is what we have been telling them all the time, they need to move on to become a proper political party and wheel themselves away from that role, because it will continue to be dictated to by the generals unless they make this transformation now, before any talk about unity or separation. Then they have to decide, really, on an issue still in the balance – there are many, especially in their rank and file, who believe in an independent south, and many others who think of the new Sudan only in terms of unity – this has not been decided and is still in the air. They also need to develop as a democratic party that is convincingly so. Of course, if they can do all this they could play a significant role either in unity or the separation of Sudan. It’s also possible that if they do not resolve these problems they will not be able to play their role in unifying the country or governing an independent south, they will have problems. So I think they could aspire to what Pagan said but they need to fulfill the transformations I mentioned above. Then they will be taken seriously in a united Sudan or an independent south.

CPA ENCOURAGES SECESSION

- What will make unity attractive, in your opinion?

Al-Mahdi: You see, I think the CPA committed a major mistake in making unity repulsive, why? When you say from southern Sudan oil the south will be given 50%, this is a very bad way of putting it. This means that southerners will say, “We will secede in order to have all our oil, 100%”. This a major mistake in the agreement. They should have related southern wealth to a national wealth, not only to southern wealth. There are possibly oil and minerals and a lot of wealth in the north and what they should have done in the agreement is to relate the southern share as a percentage of the national resources, this will have encouraged unity by making southerners interested in their share of a national wealth. It was the most stupid way to put it. The second stupid aspect: the party which has been regarded as the most repulsive by southerners is the National Congress Party. If you read Al Intibaha newspaper it really represents the conscience of the NCP, whatever they claim this is their heart. Now to give political authority, legitimacy and controls to this group means that the north will be very repulsive to the south, the north will be characterized as much as possible by the ideas and the ideology associated with this group, this set-up is only going to work for secession of the south.

The rectification should be: firstly, whatever goes to the south should come from the national wealth of the country, not from southern resources only; secondly, to feel the north is governed and characterized by moderate Islamic opinion, not by extremism. Moderate Islamic opinion can do business with other religions and cultures, which is not the same with extremists. The majority of Muslims in the Sudan are moderate and they want to characterize the north in a different way which will be open to the south. However, the CPA as it’s now formulated is marginalizing moderate Muslims and Arabs and empowering extremists. This is going to encourage secession.

Darfur

- Looking ahead, do you have a sense of when and how the war in Darfur will end?

Al-Mahdi: As soon as the National Congress Party addresses the reality in Darfur everything will be resolved. I put it this way, what we really needed in Darfur is the following, without any dithering, humbug or bluffing: Firstly we want the United Nation forces to oversee the ceasefire, the protection of civilians and protection of humanitarian relief organizations; this is a very necessary measure. Secondly, a total change in the higher echelon of administration in Darfur, because the current administrators either have been party to the atrocities in Darfur or they cover them up – in order to make any progress in terms of building confidence, this a necessary measure. Thirdly, we need a clear commitment to compensating the victims and punishing the culprits – this needs to be very clear. Fourthly, we need a clear commitment that Darfurians will be entitled to share in power and wealth commensurate to their population. Also, we need to get all Darfurians (not only the rebels) in terms of their civil societies, tribes and political parties, to endorse this agreement.

Then all these to be presented to a national forum to approve and ratify, so that it’s not a gift from the NCP. To give any agreement on Darfur legitimacy these are the steps that must be done. All our neighbors and the international community should be part of this mechanism as observers, under UN supervision.

- Sudan will hold parliamentary and regional elections in 2009. Are you planning to take part in the election and do you think the political scene will change as a result of this election?

Al-Mahdi: If it is a fair and free election we will be very keen to take part in it.

- Finally, what is your personal hope for the future of Sudan?

Al-Mahdi: I think Sudan will make it, Sudan has got qualified people and huge resources. Unfortunately we have a ruling party now in Sudan that does not recognize this potential, but ultimately we will make it.

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  • 17 August 2007 17:14, by Bob Tata

    In my opinion, Mr Sadiq al-Mahdi and his collaborators are not better than Omer’s NCP at all; yet they used to be the biggest obstacle to peace in Sudan! So in my judgment, Sudanese, especially Southerners should at least give some credit to NCP for their readiness to make peace with south even though they might have done that for different motives ( e.g. as an exit to avoid international intervention) Or perhaps they genuinely meant to rescue the country from the verge of collapse or further destruction. Whatever their motives are; NCP has managed to dig the south’s petroleum (oil) for the first time in the story of Sudan! And for better or worse, right or wrong, NCP has utilized the oil revenue to stabilize the economy of north Sudan, and for the modernisation or transformation of their armed forces, and eradication of corruption that engulfed the country during Mr Sadiq’s regime! So my question to Mr Sadig is: what have you done during your regime that deserves remembrance (other than corruption)that might make your Umma better than NCP? Please remind me about that; maybe I forgot! No return for the old houses to rule Sudan again! simply because Sudan is not a Madi’s property Mr Sadiq, no single Sudanese wants you back to ruin the country once more!

    Thanks

    Bol

    View online : http://http://www.sudantribune.com/...

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  • 17 August 2007 23:59, by David Mayen Deng

    When one goes through the interview with former premier Mr.Al-Sadiq Al-Mahadi, one can understand some of the reasons why the country had lived in a protracted period of wars since independence. For example, in response to his reflection on the past, acknowledging failures during democratic episodes was positive. There is nothing wrong with that, what is dangerous is seeking so many chances to rule over the Sudanese people. Both military and civilian administrations in Khartoum have committed appalling human rights violations in South Sudan- and tried to force the South into submission. Southerners have never been deemed equal citizens by any administration in Khartoum, including that controlled by the Umma party. Mr. former premier is therefore not in a better position to criticize the gains of the CPA.

    I beg to disagree with Mr.Sadiq on whether oil revenues are put to good use by the NCP controlled government or not. Economic development in the North has reached levels unprecedented in the history of the country, and the South has received billions (with nine zeroes) worth of oil revenues. Its incompetence in translating that in the Southern economic front should not have anything to do with the NCP (controversy over 50% of what? is irrelevant in this regard). The South should have experienced economic growth if it were not for repugnant officials who made its wealth a private property – and their administrative incompetence. If the South had utilized what it has received (still receiving) the picture would have been different.

    In Defense of the CPA:

    The CPA did not go “towards satisfying only few parties” but the promotion of a comprehensive peace and good governance in the country. It is not the role of any ruling party/parties to include all others in the governance of any country – even in the most developed democracies. The promise of peace in the country brought by the CPA is unprecedented. Your technical exclusion from governance can never be a defect in the agreement (except in your own minds). Saying that “the CPA has already collapsed” would be an erroneous statement if said by a laymen; if said by a former premier then sincerity and goodwill towards the interest of the Sudanese people by leaders like Mahadi is our true problem. Never before has the country stood on a firmer foundation of such complexity and farsightedness. Which source has furnished Mr.A-Mlahadi that “the security arrangement is not working”? Has he been visiting the South to verify for himself or is he depending on media reports and analysis or Khartoum based journalists? The security arrangement is the most successful aspect of the CPA Mr. former premier. In the South, we have incorporated most consequential armed militias so far, and redeployments across the 56 South-North border lines have been in greater extent implemented (except in Upper Nile)

    Our central government is, for the first time in our history, controlled by Northern and Southern elements. The South has the vice presidency and more sovereignty, economic, and services ministries (i.e. Council of Ministers, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Investment, Transportation, Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Higher Education) than any time in our history, including your days- what did you mean by “dialog not working”? One would think, as a former premier, you should be aware more than others that dialog between ruling parties work through ministerial allocations, not hugs and smiles. It is our role in the South to outmaneuver attempts to prove us incompetent failures by the NCP. Hence dialog (I mean it in poetical terms) has worked since Naivasha, and the continuous presence of Southerners in control of those ministries means dialog is still holding and working. In fact, to put it more accurately, we should not care much about dialog but implementation. The Abyei protocol is facing some bottlenecks. There is no reason to think that it has collapsed except through the wishful thinking of such people like our former premier.

    Mr.Al-Mahadi should be in position to understand the political differences between comprehensive and inclusive, and not apply linguistic definitions out of context. Never in any definition of terms within the CPA was it mentioned that comprehensive meant inclusive. Comprehensive, actually, meant: able to address all the root causes of conflicts (in retrospective and prospective terms) in Sudan; and provide feasible remedies through sound socio-economic, political and military arrangements (mechanisms) which would build a more durable foundation for a peaceful and prosperous “New Sudan” for all Sudanese irrespective of region, religion or ethnic background- Mr. former premier. Hope you get the difference now, so that you should not make the error of weighing comprehensive against such irrelevant considerations as unilateral, bilateral or multilateral.

    Protocol “for an inter-religion relation cultural character”? What do you mean!? We need another interview with Mr. former premier to exclusively explain the relationship between his inter-religion relation….with good governance and sustainable economic growth that we so urgently need. In addition, many of you have mentioned (7 new protocols) are actually implicit elements of peace agreements much inferior to the CPA. For instance, truth and reconciliation or accountability for historic wrongs (or even contemporary ones) follow after peace has been cemented. In which country were they concurrent to the process of consolidation of power and peace – Mr. former premier?

    You spoke about contradictions between human rights concerns addressed by the CPA and current governance practices and statements by Khartoum rulers (NCP-SPLM). The CPA’s commitment to respect for human rights is not related to the inclusion or exclusion of other political forces in the governance of the country. Writers of any peace agreement should, rational, have the prerogative and greatest opportunity to implement their vision. And, here, your share is no way intended to make you an effective player in the governance of Sudan – simply because your party/parties is/are not part of the SPLM-NCP coalition. Accept you share and wait for the days of democracy being prepared by the SPLM-NCP (i.e. CPA), or reject your share and deprive yourself of political participation. You exclusion would therefore be self-inflicted Mr. Mahadi, no where close to be defined as a human rights violation, or, for that matter, a contradiction with the CPA’s promises and provisions.

    The SPLM is not a political party? As a former student of political science you should know that party means: a group of like minded citizens encompassed by similar political thoughts and beliefs; who together strive (fight) for attaining political power. The SPLM has, therefore, always been a political party- Mr. former premier. Moreover, a stronger party in this context, because of its incarnation of not only the political aspirations of an entire region (the South), but of the entire country. So, yes, the SPLM is a political party, and a party in power. “We have been telling them all the time”? That is exactly the problem! It is your time to listen but you are still talking and telling people; not only people, but tested men in power. Freedom fighters and liberators. Why not give them the chance to change what you have failed to change and set right what you messed-up? “then they will be taken seriously”!!?... no comment.

    CPA Encourages Secession:
    In relation to oil, 50% given to the South by the central government means that a portion of national wealth (controlled by the central government) is given to a regional government in order to enable it implement policies that would rectify economic imbalances which led to war in the first place. What will push the South towards secession is not a hope for the control of all oil revenues (100%). Why should a man of your caliber make such a statement? The South did not go to war because of oil (which was discovered in the late seventies and just recently extracted and utilized) but many other reasons that you, of all people, should be aware of. Why not address the genuine causes of the now possible secession of the South, instead of dwelling on relatively new factors in a war fought by different generation in South Sudan.
    Who told Mr.Al-Mahadi that Southerners regarded the NCP as the “most repulsive” party in Sudan? Does he really appreciate how his party (The Umma) is rated in the South? It is not rating parties that will count for the separation of the South either. Southerners looked at Khartoum as controlled by a regime, not a party- listen to Dr.John’s statements and speeches; and it is the regime in Khartoum that the Southern-based national movement (SPLM) with its military component (SPLA) south to change. Regime means system Mr. former Prime Minister.

    I totally agree with you comments on how the Darfur Genocide should be stopped. I lived in Khartoum during the nahab al-musalah in your times in power. I believe the Darfur crises has its roots way back, then just a creation of the NCP. The CPA is positioned to accommodate and provide solutions for the Darfur conflict (this can be discussed in another forum).

    Finally, it is not for good leaders to oppose for the sake of opposition. If you and your party/ parties wish good for the Sudanese people, uphold the CPA as a Bible or Quran, if we all should reach the shores of peace in one piece.

    David Mayen,
    The Centre for International Human Rights Advocacy, The University of Denver

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  • 18 August 2007 01:19, by David Mayen Deng

    When one goes through the interview with former premier Mr.Al-Sadiq Al-Mahadi, one can understand some of the reasons why the country had lived in a protracted period of wars since independence. For example, in response to his reflection on the past, acknowledging failures during democratic episodes was positive. There is nothing wrong with that, what is dangerous is seeking so many chances to rule over the Sudanese people. Both military and civilian administrations in Khartoum have committed appalling human rights violations in South Sudan- and tried to force the South into submission. Southerners have never been deemed equal citizens by any administration in Khartoum, including that controlled by the Umma party. Mr. former premier is therefore not in a better position to criticize the gains of the CPA.

    I beg to disagree with Mr.Sadiq on whether oil revenues are put to good use by the NCP controlled government or not. Economic development in the North has reached levels unprecedented in the history of the country, and the South has received billions (with nine zeroes) worth of oil revenues. Its incompetence in translating that in the Southern economic front should not have anything to do with the NCP (controversy over 50% of what? is irrelevant in this regard). The South should have experienced economic growth if it were not for repugnant officials who made its wealth a private property – and their administrative incompetence. If the South had utilized what it has received (still receiving) the picture would have been different.

    In Defense of the CPA:

    The CPA did not go “towards satisfying only few parties” but the promotion of a comprehensive peace and good governance in the country. It is not the role of any ruling party/parties to include all others in the governance of any country – even in the most developed democracies. The promise of peace in the country brought by the CPA is unprecedented. Your technical exclusion from governance can never be a defect in the agreement (except in your own minds). Saying that “the CPA has already collapsed” would be an erroneous statement if said by a laymen; if said by a former premier then sincerity and goodwill towards the interest of the Sudanese people by leaders like Mahadi is our true problem. Never before has the country stood on a firmer foundation of such complexity and farsightedness. Which source has furnished Mr.A-Mlahadi that “the security arrangement is not working”? Has he been visiting the South to verify for himself or is he depending on media reports and analysis or Khartoum based journalists? The security arrangements is the most successful aspect of the CPA Mr. former premier. In the South, we have incorporated most consequential armed militias so far, and redeployments across the 56 South-North border lines have been in greater extent implemented (except in Upper Nile)

    Our central government is, for the first time in our history, controlled by Northern and Southern elements. The South has the vice presidency and more sovereignty, economic, and services ministries (i.e. Council of Ministers, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Investment, Transportation, Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Higher Education) than any time in our history, including your days- what did you mean by “dialog not working”? One would think, as a former premier, you should be aware more than others that dialog between ruling parties work through ministerial allocations, not hugs and smiles. It is our role in the South to outmaneuver attempts to prove us incompetent failures by the NCP. Hence dialog (I mean it in political terms) has worked since Naivasha, and the continuous presence of Southerners in control of those ministries means dialog is still holding and working. In fact, to put it more accurately, we should not care much about dialog but implementation. The Abyei protocol is facing some bottlenecks. There is no reason to think that it has collapsed except through the wishful thinking of such people like our former premier.

    Mr.Al-Mahadi should be in position to understand the political differences between comprehensive and inclusive, and not apply linguistic definitions out of context. Never in any definition of terms within the CPA was it mentioned that comprehensive meant inclusive. Comprehensive, actually, meant: able to address all the root causes of conflicts (in retrospective and prospective terms) in Sudan; and provide feasible remedies through sound socio-economic, political and military arrangements (mechanisms) which would build a more durable foundation for a peaceful and prosperous “New Sudan” for all Sudanese irrespective of region, religion or ethnic background- Mr. former premier. Hope you get the difference now, so that you should not make the error of weighing comprehensive against such irrelevant considerations as unilateral, bilateral or multilateral.

    Protocol “for an inter-religion relation cultural character”? What do you mean!? We need another interview with Mr. former premier to exclusively explain the relationship between his inter-religion relation….with good governance and sustainable economic growth that we so urgently need. In addition, many of what you have mentioned (7 new protocols) are actually implicit elements of peace agreements much inferior to the CPA. For instance, truth and reconciliation or accountability for historic wrongs (or even contemporary ones) follow after peace has been cemented. In which country were they concurrent to the process of consolidation of power and peace – Mr. former premier?

    You spoke about contradictions between human rights concerns addressed by the CPA and current governance practices and statements by Khartoum rulers (NCP-SPLM). The CPA’s commitment to respect for human rights is not related to the inclusion or exclusion of other political forces in the governance of the country. Writers of any peace agreement should, rationally, have the prerogative and greatest opportunity to implement their vision. And, here, your share is no way intended to make you an effective player in the governance of Sudan – simply because your party/parties is/are not part of the SPLM-NCP coalition. Accept your share and wait for the days of democracy being prepared by the SPLM-NCP (i.e. CPA), or reject your share and deprive yourself of political participation. Your exclusion would therefore be self-inflicted Mr. Mahadi, no where close to be defined as a human rights violation, or, for that matter, a contradiction with the CPA’s promises and provisions.

    The SPLM is not a political party? As a former student of political science you should know that party means: a group of like minded citizens encompassed by similar political thoughts and beliefs; who together strive (fight) for attaining political power. The SPLM has, therefore, always been a political party- Mr. former premier. Moreover, a stronger party in this context, because of its incarnation of not only the political aspirations of an entire region (the South), but of the entire country. So, yes, the SPLM is a political party, and a party in power. “We have been telling them all the time”? That is exactly the problem! It is your time to listen but you are still talking and telling people; not only people, but tested men in power. Freedom fighters and liberators. Why not give them the chance to change what you have failed to change and set right what you messed-up? “then they will be taken seriously”!!?... no comment.

    CPA Encourages Secession:

    In relation to oil, 50% given to the South by the central government means that a portion of national wealth (controlled by the central government) is given to a regional government in order to enable it implement policies that would rectify economic imbalances which led to war in the first place. What will push the South towards secession is not a hope for the control of all oil revenues (100%). Why should a man of your caliber make such a statement? The South did not go to war because of oil (which was discovered in the late seventies and just recently extracted and utilized) but many other reasons that you, of all people, should be aware of. Why not address the genuine causes of the now possible secession of the South, instead of dwelling on relatively new factors in a war fought by different generation in South Sudan.
    Who told Mr.Al-Mahadi that Southerners regarded the NCP as the “most repulsive” party in Sudan? Does he really appreciate how his party (The Umma) is rated in the South? It is not rating parties that will count for the separation of the South either. Southerners looked at Khartoum as controlled by a regime, not a party- listen to Dr.John’s statements and speeches; and it is the regime in Khartoum that the Southern-based national movement (SPLM) with its military component (SPLA) south to change. Regime means system Mr. former Prime Minister.

    I totally agree with your comments on how the Darfur Genocide should be stopped. I lived in Khartoum during the nahab al-musalah in your times in power. I believe the Darfur crisis has its roots way back, than just a creation of the NCP. The CPA is positioned to accommodate and provide solutions for the Darfur conflict (this can be discussed in another forum).

    Finally, it is not for good leaders to oppose for the sake of opposition. If you and your party/ parties wish good for the Sudanese people, uphold the CPA as a Bible or Quran, if we all should reach the shores of peace in one piece.

    David Mayen, The Center for International Human Rights Advocacy, The University of Denver

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