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Towards sustainable peace and structured and institutional relations between Southern and Northern Sudan

By Elwathig Kameir

Northerners in the SPLM: Transforming Liabilities into Assets!


January 31, 2011 — This article examines the status and future of "northerners" in the SPLM in light of the criticism and disapproval to which they have lately been exposed to, whether motivated by retribution and "gloat", or out of compassion and support, and in view of the confusion and uncertainty experienced by the northerners themselves, at a time when secession of the south has become almost a fait accompli. On the one hand, many believe (erroneously) that the establishment of an independent state in southern Sudan will implicitly put an end to the political future of northerners in the SPLM, while some has gone even more extreme to explicitly call for banning and outlawing their political activities in northern Sudan, and on top of that holding them responsible for the separation of the south. It is both naïve and dangerous to call for or promote such wishful thinking, obnoxious as it may sound, which does not stand on a firm footing and defies the truth! Those critics seem to mix between, and confuse the "northern sector", as an organizational structure, dictated by the nature of the historical development of the SPLM to regulate the political work of the Movement in the thirteen States of the north, with northern Sudan as a "geographical" concept, which we have come to understand since independence in 1956 to include all of northern Sudan except for the three southern Provinces (Upper Nile, Bahr Elghazal, and Equatoria). Thus, not all northerners in the SPLM are organizationally attached to the "northern sector", while the membership of the "sector" is not confined to northerners from the centre and riverain areas only, but constitutes an organizational structure that accommodates all the membership of the Movement in the thirteen northern states, including all residents in these states from the South, the Nuba Mountains, and Inqesna, except those residing in the south or these two regions, as they organizationally belong to the SPLM "southern sector".

Therefore, the Movement has two essential pillars in the "geographic" north of Sudan, «Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile», as substantial areas of these two regions had formed part of the land controlled by the SPLA during the war period, however, the constituencies and social bases of the SPLM in these two states will remain in northern Sudan, following the separation of the south. So, do the quarters that repeatedly make reference to the "northerners" in the SPLM harbor an ethnic definition of the concept, and are skeptical of the people of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile affiliation and belongingness to the north of Sudan? This is merely an innocent question! What reasoning, argument, right or law, do these quarters advance to justify their vehement call for banning (for that matter, the sheer thinking of) the political activities of all northerners in their own country on the pretext of separation, and the democratic and constitutional right of southerners in the SPLM to choose secession and independence of the south as their preferable option in the self-determination referendum? The issue, in my opinion, is not the future of the northerners in the SPLM following the separation of the south, rather the most urgent and important question is the fate of all northerners who will remain in the north, in particular the northern "nationalists"? As a corollary, the million-dollar question, however, is: what are the long-term strategies of the various sectors of the forces of change in the north in the aftermath of separation? What is the nature of the state they will be aspiring to build in the north?

On the other hand, the SPLM grassroots and supporters of the country’s unity among northerners (ethnically and geographically) and southerners harbor many questions searching for answers, and find themselves helpless, and feel embarrassed in responding to the endless queries of both friends and foes about the position of the Movement on issues of unity and separation, self determination and the referendum, and the fate of the two transitional areas (Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile). Indeed, in the wake of the predicted separation of the south an intricate and complex situation has transpired, resulting in an observed confusion and ambiguity in the vision of some northerners in the Movement, which in turn have pushed them to narrowly restrict the challenges they face, and confine their concerns, only in the SPLM leadership’s position on whether southerners should vote for unity or secession! In terms of the approach and proposed solutions, they look at things from the perspective of a "zero-sum" game that only tolerates the victory/gain of one party (advocates of unity), and the defeat/loss of the other party (advocates of separation), and vice versa. Thus, it seems as if they do not contemplate a solution save for the SPLM leadership to unambiguously instruct the southerners, especially the Movement’s members and supporters, to vote in favor of "unity", otherwise this leadership deserves to be stigmatized by betrayal and breach of promises, which calls for severing any sort of links between northerners and this leadership.

Within such a context the aim of this modest contribution, therefore, is: first, to clarify that such a perspective would only lead to disillusionment, frustration, and the feeling of disappointment and defeat. The separation of the south, even if it is a curse, it remains to be a perceptible political reality that could be turned positively, while transforming its cons into pros, and its liabilities into assets, through the perseverance to continue the struggle to achieve the ultimate goal of building a true citizenship-state. Indeed, this is an objective that is not precluded by the aspirations of southerners in the establishment of their own independent and sovereign political entity, a challenge that they themselves have to confront!

However, sincerity and objectivity of the analysis obliges one not to overlook the objective criticism of the SPLM leadership regarding its retreat from steadfastly moving forward with building the united Sudan on new bases, its disappointing political performance at the national level, lack of strategy, and disregard of the Movement’s institutions in the decision-making process. Secondly, the exercise of all northerners, who are a part of the overall organizational structure of the SPLM, of their political activity, represents an added–value that would enrich the pluralistic political life in the context of a viable, coherent, and stable, "new" political entity in northern Sudan. Thus, the separation of the south should by no means distract our attention from the overriding objective of achieving sustainable peace and building the citizenship state both in the south and the north.


During the past three years, I wrote a series of articles that dwelt on the Vision of the New Sudan and the call of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) for building the Sudanese citizenship state, and the Movement’s strategies for translating this “theoretical” concept into reality whether at the federal, or regional level in southern Sudan. The conclusion reached in these contributions was that the actual political practice of the SPLM following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), particularly after the departure of its historical leader in late July 2005, carried many indicators of the Movement’s observed retreat from the Vision it had been preaching for more than two decades. Furthermore, it has abandoned the struggle for achieving the ultimate objective of realizing the country’s unity on new bases preferring separation and the establishment of an independent state in the South. I also underlined in these writings the disillusionment of the northern members of the SPLM, and all its supporters in the north, who had pinned their hopes on the Movement to lead the process of the long-awaited change by moving forward the post-CPA situation (dubbed by the late SPLM Chairman as the “minimum New Sudan”) for achieving voluntary unity. In a nutshell, it seems as if the SPLM has substituted or replaced the Vision with the CPA and its literal implementation, thus withdrawing into a cocoon, waiting for secession of the South, instead of taking it as a drawing board, which in reality is all that it is, in achieving its declared objective of achieving the Sudanese citizenship state! Indeed, The CPA incorporates several aspects of the New Sudan Vision. Although it is essentially a political compromise between the SPLM and the National Congress Party (NCP), the CPA provides us with the required framework for the continued pursuit of the objective of the New Sudan through purely political means as opposed to the pre-CPA combination of political and military methods. Thus, the leadership of the Movement is obliged, both politically and morally, to subject the issue of reconciling the objectives of self-determination and New Sudan (unity on new bases) to serious dialogue and open discussion inside its institutions due to a mixed blend of objective and subjective factors (The Imperatives of Internal Dialogue: The SPLM and Returning to the Drawing Board. Sudan Tribune, 23 December 2009).

On the other hand, following the completion of the organizational structure of the Northern Sector, in its first phase, it was hoped that the SPLM Second National Convention would provide the opportunity for the fair representation of the "northern sector" in the leading organs, and its active participation in the formulation of strategies, programs and policies of the Movement, particularly in relation to reconciling the twin objectives of unity and self-determination. The Convention presented a long awaited opportunity to which the movement’s grassroots, especially supporters of unity whether northerners or southerners, aspired in order to participate in a serious and transparent dialogue on the critical issues related to the evolution of the movement and its transition from a military-based organization into a political party, that can lead economic, social and cultural transformation, and achieve the country’s unity on a new bases.

Contrary to expectations, however, the agenda of the Convention and its outcomes proved disappointing. The Convention was successful in settling the internal power struggle in an amicable and democratic fashion and was able to preserve the Movement’s unity and consolidate its leadership, in addition to endorsing the constitution. However, notwithstanding the consensus on the vision of the New Sudan and though the Manifesto was passed by acclamation, yet the Vision was not translated into strategies, or detailed programs and policies, that could guide daily political activity and on which the Movement’s electoral manifesto or program could be based. Until the writing of the present paper, none of these documents has been circulated for discussion and dialogue, nor has the National Liberation Council (NLC) been convened to approve them.

However, the Convention turned into a political “demonstration”, while northerners were faintly represented in the leading organ of the party, in light of an observed onslaught against the Northern Sector. Indeed, it deserves to be aptly dubbed "The Convention of the Lost Opportunity"! On its part, the leadership of the "northern sector" did not disappoint its adversaries by squandering the opportunity of harvesting votes in the general elections, in particular since the northerners do not have a constituency within the ranks of the SPLA! Thus, they were left lurking outside the legislative and executive institutions of the state, a predicament that has weakened the position of the Sector in the structure of the SPLM, and completely undermined its influence.


In light of these developments, it was hoped that the NLC would be called for a meeting shortly after the convening of the Second National Convention in May 2008, with the purpose of initiating serious and frank dialogue, by involving of the grassroots of the Movement from all ethnic groups, regions and political visions, as the only appropriate approach for addressing the burning issues, and providing answers to the attendant questions. Nonetheless, this did not happen, and the intention to convene the NLC was only referred to in the official invitation of the SPLM Political Bureau at its last meeting (August 2010). However, the insistence of some leaders of the SPLM to manipulate the envisaged NLC meeting towards officially adopting separation as an institutional decision (along the same lines of the zero-sum game), in an atmosphere already charged with "nationalistic" emotions and the growing tide of secession amid large sectors of young southerners, no doubt would have cast a thick shadow over the upcoming meeting of the Council, and led to a sharp polarization between the unionists and separatists, threatening to split the ranks of the Movement and its eventual disintegration as a united entity, both at the political and organizational levels. Therefore, in view of such circumstances, and without proper and careful preparation, the mobilization of each party of their respective supporters would have made the explicit adoption of the NLC of one of two options, unity or separation, an uncalculated risk that would have had detrimental consequences for the Movement.

It seems unbecoming to stigmatize the SPLM leaders (or some of them) of "betraying" the vision of the New Sudan or pointing fingers at the southern elites of deciding the fate of the south, thus denying ordinary citizens the right of choosing their preferable option on their own free will. On the one hand, we must realize that it is the same leadership that led the people of the south to the armed struggle under the banner of the New Sudan vision, and we have been working with them for more than two decades, without questioning whether they had apriori explored the desires and aspirations or opinions of their grass-roots in this regard. Even if we thought that the southern elite, especially the Movement’s leadership, misled southerners or forced them to vote for separation, these very citizens might one day come to realize their miscalculation and would, then, call for voluntary unity. On the other hand, the attitude of the SPLM leadership is reminiscent of the way in which the independence of Sudan itself was declared on 15 December 1955. Ironically, though the ruling party at the time (the National Unionist Party) had been calling for, and promoting unity with Egypt as an option in preference to independence, the leadership of the party, however, circumvented in the last minute the text of the Self-Rule Agreement of 1953, which provided for the exercise of self-determination through an elected Constituent Assembly. Thus, this leadership tore up the Agreement and declared the Independence of the country from within the parliament, setting aside the union with Egypt, an option that had never been tabled for voting, especially after they secured the support of the South representatives in the parliament. Indeed, the ruling elite had reread the general mood of the Sudanese at the time, thus jumped on the accelerating bandwagon of "independence", which guaranteed for this elite sovereignty and the unchallenged leadership of the nascent "national" state.

If the SPLM leadership is the same elite that had led the people of the south and pushed them to make sacrifices under the banner of the New Sudan and voluntary unity, how could we blame or hold them in contempt if they found themselves, following the loss of the Movement’s historic leader and his inspiring ideas in a situation, even though their own policies contributed to its precipitation, which rendered persistence in the struggle for a united New Sudan a costly and expensive option on part of southern Sudanese? Such an option would put the bulk of the burden on the shoulders of the people in the south, depriving them of enjoying the gains of the CPA, after years, even throughout decades, during which their sons and daughters sacrificed their lives to end the war and achieve peace, while subjecting their people to the hazards of displacement, asylum, and physical and psychological disability. Indeed, the general atmosphere in the south has become charged with emotions and an entrenched feelings of "nationalism", the craving and aspiration to achieve the dream of an independent state, a dream that has been enthralling southerners since the mid of last century. I am inclined to think that it is neither fair nor politically realistic to bully the Movement’s leadership, at this intricate juncture and complex situation, to adopt or take the initiative of the continued preaching for unity, without being subjected to the wrath and curse of the masses in the south. Alas, this would open the door wide for hardened separatists of chauvinistic inclinations to have their day, a ready-made recipe for a violent and bloody struggle for power, thus returning back to infighting and squandering opportunities for peace and stability! Besides, it should be noted that the imprint and legacy of the "southern nationalist movement", which has persisted in calling for the separation and independence of the south since the second half of the last century, still casts a shadow on the evolution of the southern political movement as a whole. Above all, it is no secret that there is a widespread separatist sentiment within the ranks of the SPLM, which made the reconciliation between the two objectives of unity and self determination an arduous and inaccessible task.


Principal Scenario

The strategic basis of the principal scenario lies in continuing the struggle for liberation and the achievement of the New Sudan, by employing the political means provided by the constitutional arrangements arising from the CPA, leading to "dismantling" of the Inqaz regime from within through democratic transformation embodied in this political settlement. This is exactly what the Movement and its allies from the other political forces have failed to achieve, It was equally not accepted by the other partner in rule, the NCP, in the sense of not allowing the fulfillment of some of the provisions and reneging on some requirements of the CPA.

Therefore, if we really want to make a credible, and politically feasible contribution to safeguard the unity of the Movement and preserve its cohesion at this intricate historical juncture, while helping in progressing the situation forward, and without "reinventing the wheel", it is imperative to admit the implausibility, if not the impossibility, to achieve the New Sudan in the framework of the current form of unity, as all available evidence and observations suggest. However, a great deal of the failure in realizing the Vision is attributable to the inability of the SPLM leadership (and lack of enthusiasm on the part of some) to develop the necessary strategies and programs in the context of transitional arrangements consequent on the CPA (dubbed as mini New Sudan by the late Dr. John Garang) to achieve unity. In order to realize the ideals of the New Sudan, the concept should be viewed in evolutionary terms. Initially, the normative principles of mutual belonging, and full equality of citizenship can be articulated and agreed upon, but this full realization can only be pursued incrementally. However, it seems that the SPLM has turned its back on this "gradualist" approach, and substituted or replaced the Vision with the CPA and its implementation, instead of using the Agreement as a launching pad, which in fact is all that it signifies, to realize the Movement’s stated objective of building the Sudanese nation-state, thus withdrawing into a cocoon, waiting for secession of the South!

Public opinion in the southern Sudan has already been clearly shaped in favor of separation and independence, notwithstanding the role that the Movement’s leaders have played in this respect. It is, therefore, utterly meaningless to be intellectually incarcerated and narrowly think of political unity through the lenses of a rigid framework, and lose sight of the ultimate objective of building the citizenship-state, whether in the southern or northern Sudan. It is also inept to bemoan the failure of achieving the unity of the country on new basis by the end of the interim period of the CPA, as had been hoped, which would only lead to frustration and despair. This should have been, though undesirable, an expected outcome! Indeed, in the proposal of the “Solution Modalities for the Sudan Conflict” presented by the SPLM delegation during the Abuja talks in 1993, it was the opinion of the late Chairman of the Movement, Dr. John Garang, that the best way o maintain unity is to move directly from Model 3 (Old Sudan) to Model 1 (A Transformed Democratic Sudan). However, if this was not feasible, then the second best would be to go to the New Sudan through Model 2 (the Minimum New Sudan or a “Two Systems-One Country” Model). Understandably, this option bore the risk of the outcome of Model 5 (Separation) and that is the price of the failure the New Sudan advocates had to pay to achieve this transition. Thus, the late leader did not rule out the possibility that southerners might opt for secession in the event of the failure of the transition to the New Sudan, through the expansion of the shared "commonalities" during the interim period. In reality, this was exactly what the two partners in rule, each according to its respective share of responsibility, and the rest of the political forces, have failed to realize. In a long and protracted war, we have to expect losing battles!

I reiterate what I had underlined years back, and I repeat tirelessly, that most of the mystification and misinterpretation of the Vision is partially caused by confusing the New Sudan, as a conceptual framework, with the SPLM, the promoter and politically organized actor and vehicle that entrusted itself with the leading role of turning the vision into reality at a particular historical moment. Thus, non-identification with the SPLM in the organizational sense by no means implies a contradiction with actually espousing the vision. Indeed, I would venture to say that all believers in the New Sudan are SPLM(ers) but not all members of the SPLM champion the vision! In other words, the failure to methodologically distinguish between the vision of the New Sudan, on the one hand, and the SPLM (in the organizational sense and in terms of strategies and tactics) and the political process of building the New Sudan in the course of struggle (political, military, negotiations), on the other hand, is one main source of the confusion about the concept.

It is the SPLM that had originally advanced the vision and cause of the New Sudan. However, as the Old Sudan undergoes fundamental change in its transition to the New Sudan, the Movement itself is bound to evolve and undergo fundamental change. So, while its basic content has remained the same, the SPLM/A has undergone a process of metamorphosis over the years and in its various stages of transformation it appeared differently to various people (or interest groups) at different times. Therefore, while the failure of forging ahead with implementing the project on the ground is attributable to the SPLM , as a political organization at a certain point in time, this does by no means casts any doubt on the robustness of the Vision, neither disparage the sharpness of the analysis it has provided of the Sudanese reality, or tarnish the credibility of the concept as a national framework that aims at building a sustainable, genuine citizenship-state, which is capable of accommodating the Sudan’s multiple diversities that cannot be eliminated or wished away by separation or transformed into a coherent social fabric at the blink of an eye, in a way that would deride the value of the New Sudan concept or question its feasibility and viability. On the contrary, secession will further reinforce the pertinence and relevance of the Vision, as ethnic, as economic differentiation and social polarization will further accentuate the already existing ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity in both northern and southern Sudan. Thus, the independence of the south will not be lead to the removal of these manifold diversities eliminating them at the stroke of a pen, making the New Sudan vision indispensable for the realization of justice and equality among all of its citizens.

On the other hand, the entrenchment of the northerners of the SPLM in the position of a doctrinaire and dogmatic framework of unity bears the risk of sliding into "prejudiced nationalism or national chauvinism", which perceptibly contradicts, and is conflict with the fundamental values and principles of the New Sudan the concept. Instead of retreating into the cocoon of our "own selves or beings", a vice we blamed the separatists for, we have to hang on to our "new Sudanist" identity, thus transcending "the narrow national prejudices"!

As we were the pioneers in building bridges, and in joining hands with southerners in the struggle for change towards justice, freedom and equality, for over a quarter of a century, let us remain to be the link for mutual interconnections and interdependencies, should southerners choose to secede and form their own independent state, until such day when future generations may reunify our country again.

We have to recognize that southern Sudanese harbor historical socio-economic and cultural grievances against the centre, as well as they have their own different legitimate concerns and interests, which constitute the underlying reason of our approval of, and support for the right of self-determination as a genuine democratic and human right, So, what do we reap from being inimical to the southern separatists except fomenting national chauvinism, thus defeating the very principles and values we have been upholding and fighting for during the past two decades? The common struggle for justice and equality based on citizenship rights, has created a value-added for the northerners in the SPLM in the hearts and minds of their comrades in the south, which will always make them a bridge for interaction and union between the two new independent states. Thus, why should we waste all this credit, and in whose interest?


In light of this ostensible political reality, the "northern sector" and all northerners in the SPLM are both politically and morally indebted to respect the option of southerners in choosing secession, regardless of presumptions and doubts a propos the technical procedures and processes of the referendum, and to alternatively seriously focus their thinking on:

- If we failed in achieving the new Sudan within the framework of a united Sudan, alternative scenarios may include varying forms and degrees of self-determination, ranging from degrees of autonomy and self-administration, including federal and confederate arrangements, to partition on the opposite extreme, all of which can be contemplated. In other words, it is possible to establish a degree of “separation” by which each entity can be self-determining, while advocating peaceful co-existence and mutual interdependence.
- Even with partition, the normative principles of the New Sudan will continue to guide the constitutional and governance systems of the entities concerned, whether South or North. In other words, a longer-term perspective can envisage the creation of new frameworks for evolving more constructive principles of varying forms and degrees of sustainable unity, Perhaps the best is to agree on a "union" between the two independent states based on core values, and structured and institutional relations between the two entities.
- It is also possible that regional cooperation can be effectively promoted to foster the realization of the principles of the New Sudan Framework.

This objective line of thinking calls for:

First: the emphasis on the commitment, and the principled position of the northerners in the SPLM in support of the right of southern Sudanese to self-determination, as well as the unequivocal acceptance of secession as the ultimate result of the referendum.

Second: the urgent call for convening a general meeting for the "northern sector", taking into account the institutional and balanced representation of the entire membership of the sector in all of in both the northern states, with the purpose of:
- Conducting a comprehensive review of the Sector’s political and organizational work experience, and identifying the gaps, shortcomings, and constraints, and building on the successes and achievements, and
- Embarking on serious dialogue and frank discussion about the alternative strategy to agree on creative solutions that would meet the ambitions of the politicians and "southern nationalists" to fulfill their aspirations for an independent state, while responding at the same time to the reality of historical coexistence, commonalities, and shared heritage between the south and the north, which is impossible to jump over or subject them to the logic of partition!
- Third: initiating dialogue and coordination with the leaders of the Movement in South Kordofan and Blue Nile for the purpose of reaching a mutual understanding and common vision about the alternative strategy, and ensure that the Popular Consultation in the two states are appropriately conducted in order to achieve its objectives and meet the citizens’ aspirations in the two regions.
- Persevering to in the demand for convening of the NLC, while ensuring the meeting’s proper preparation, to discuss and approve the alternative strategy, after the completion of its elements, to include a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Darfur and a balanced engagement with the international community to serve the objectives of the strategy, which is premised on the emergence of the two politically and economically viable independent entities capable of mutual interaction, and accommodation of the competing political interests of the various groups within each of them.
- Fifth: openness to, and engagement in constructive and frank dialogue with all forces of change in northern Sudan to reach a common vision and agreement on the appropriate organizational form.


The confusion, inadvertent or intentional as the case may be, between the New Sudan as a conceptual framework, and the SPLM as a political organization and a promoter of the project at a particular historical moment, which shouldered the responsibility of turning the vision into reality, has caused frustration and disappointment amongst the northerners in the SPLM, and subjected them to an onslaught of skeptics, gloaters, and enemies of change. If the SPLM has failed to transform itself into a powerful national movement throughout a united Sudan, and as political organizations are not secluded from failure, the northerners should by no means desist from persistence to invent the of alternative strategy (s) - intellectually and organizationally - to achieve sustainable peace, and the realization of the Sudanese citizenship-state. Indeed, these are two urgent tasks that will remain to haunt the process of our political development for a long time to come! Hence, the failure of the two ruling partners, the NCP and the SPLM, each according to their respective share of responsibility, in the management of the transition by making unity an attractive option, should not turn into mutual partisan exchange of accusations and condemnation, each party holding the other accountable for the separation of the south, which defies both reason and national interest. We must all acknowledge our failure, though in varying degrees, in exploiting the post-CPA constitutional arrangements to make unity attractive. It is, therefore, urgent and imperative to convert the liabilities and challenges of separation, real and perceived, into assets and opportunities, and allow every effort to turn the reality of separation into a situation in which every party is triumphant (win-win situation), and where no one feels defeated or overpowered.

The northerners in the Movement, and unionists among the Southerners, constitute bridges for interaction and channels for interface between the north and south in the overall context of all the national political forces’ endeavor, led by the ruling partners, to establish and organize a strategic, structured, and institutional relationship organization between two independent states, building on the historical, social, and economic interdependences between the north and the south. It is important here to underline the core values and the prerequisites necessary for such a relationship, premised on the formation of two politically and economically viable entities, which would agree on:
• Promotion of political stability in the north and the south based on democratic practices and good governance, and rooted in constitutionalism and characterized by respect for the rule of law, and the exercise of human rights and freedoms, including the freedom of association, respect for minority views, expression and of the press, and respect for the dignity of all Sudanese people in their multiple religious, social, cultural and gender identities.
- Promotion of inclusive governance in the north and the south, the political accommodation of the competing political interests and groups in each state, and political cooperation between them, in order to better address those challenges that would confront both states. This necessarily calls for ensuring the freedom of operation practice and activity for all the political forces and in accordance with the national laws of each state. This is no doubt an indispensable measure to guarantee that neither of the two states would resort to inflict damage on the other by proxy war, thus threatening peace and stability in both states.
- The imperative of engaging political parties and organizations in a participatory constitutional review processes in each of the two states, which represents the will and aspirations of the people of in both the south and north. This is a vital step for Building and consolidating stable democracy.
- Promotion of comprehensive national reconciliation amongst the peoples in each of the two states to overcome the bitterness of the past, while devising effective, participatory mechanisms of reconciliation and healing.
- Promotion of the popular consultations to meet the aspirations of the people in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, as a democratic and participatory model for addressing political problems in other parts of Sudan.
- The necessity and urgency of resolving the Abyei issue in a manner that is consistent with the Protocol on the Resolution of the Abyei Conflict, and the preservation of the region as a bridge between north and south and peaceful coexistence between the two peoples, which provides a model for mutual interdependence.
- Resolution of the conflict in Darfur, in which the SPLM would play a positive role before the proclamation of the new independent state in the south in July 9, 2011, thus ensuring sustainable peace and stability on the two new States.

Dr. Elwathig Kameir is a member of the SPLM Political Bureau. He can be reached at kameir@yahoo.com


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