THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SUDAN PEACE AGREEMENT SIGNED ON 21st APRIL 1997
The truth of the matter is that this agreement is no peace agreement at all. It is :-
* A Scheme to hand the south over to elements which committed themselves to a
separatist future . They identified themselves with it and are now going to form
themselves into a Southern Defence Force to defend it.
* It is also an attempt to cover up the regimes ideological, political, and military defeat, and enable it under that cover to abdicate its duties in the south , and transfer its armed forces to the north to help defend the battered regime.
* It is also a media attracting event to divert attention away from the regime’s achievements which were promised and not delivered, and a public relations compaign to white wash the regime in the eyes of the international community. Therefore, this agreement will not realize peace. It will further polarize political opinion in the North, further Balkanize the South, escalate the armed conflict, and fuel regional tension.
SUMMARY OF THE AGREEMENT.
The most important sections of the agreement concern the issues of :- State and Religion – The constitutional framework – The transitional period – The plebiscide – and economic requirements.
State and religion.
- The agreement states that: “Sudan is a multi racial , multi ethnic multi cultural, and multi religious society. Islam is the religion of the majority of the population and Christianity and African creeds are followed by a considerable number of citizens. Nevertheless, the basis of rights and duties in the Sudan shall be citizenship, and all Sudanese shall equitably share in all aspects of political responsibilities of the basis of citizenship.(chapter three 2-1-1)
- “SHARIA and custom shall be the sources of legislation” . (chapter three 2-B-1-a)
- “On the issue of SHARIA, the parties agreed on a formula under which laws of a general nature that are based on general principles common to the States shall apply at the National level, provided that the States shall have the right to enact any complementary legislation to Federal legislation on matters that are peculiar to them.
This power shall be exercised in addition to the powers the States exercise on matters designed as falling within their jurisdiction, including the development of customary law.” (chapter three 2-B-1-THE CONSTITUTIONAL FRAME WORK
- The agreement States that: basic freedoms shall be guaranteed under the law. All other basic rights and freedoms that are recognized and guaranteed under the International Conventions and protocols ratified by the Government of the Sudan (chapter 3-C-13)
- “The judiciary in the Sudan shall be independent and decentralized.” (chapter three-3-D)
(1) “Participatory democracy shall be realized through congresses and national convention or conference.
(2) In promotion of participatory democracy the congresses and national convention shall be organized:-
- a) to accommodate forums for all citizens.
- b) to discourage all forms of intolerance and totalitarianism.” (chapter three 3-E)
- “When this agreement is ratified by the national assembly it shall be considered as an organic law which has the effect of a constitutional decree.” (chapter two 6-2-)
- “For amendment of this agreement the coordinating council may present its petition to the President of the Republic provided that such bill is passed in the coordinating council by two thirds majority”. (chapter eight 11-6-2)
(3) THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD.
- The length of the interim period shall be four years. However, it may be shortened or extended if need arises by recommendation from the coordinating council to the president of the republic.” (chapter four -6-1)
- There shall be a council to coordinate between the ten Southern States and it will be called the coordinating council. The agreement had specified its powers.
- The coordinating council shall:
* Have a President who is accountable to the President of the Republic.
* The President of the Republic in consultation with parties signatory to this agreement shall appoint the President of the Coordinating Council.
* The president of the Coordinating Council in consultation with Southern political forces shall recommend his cabinet including the governors (WALIS) to the President of the Republic for appointment.
* The Governors of the Southern States in consultation with the political forces in their respective States shall recommend appointment of members of their governments including commissioners to the President of the Coordinating Council who shall pass the same to the President of the Republic.
* Until the atmosphere is conducive for elections of the State assemblies to take place, the President of the Coordinating Council in consultation with the political forces shall recommend to the President of the Republic new members of legislative assemblies in the Southern States for appointment.
* The Coordinating Council shall have 25 members. Fifteen members are the President and his deputy and the ministers. Ten members are the State Governors.( chapter five)
D . Security arrangements during the interim period.
(1) The Southern Sudan Defence Force (The combined armed forces of the groups which signed the agreement ) shall remain in their present positions, they shall remain separate from the Sudanese Armed Forces, and continue under their respective commanders.
(2) The other organized forces shall be recruited from Southem citizens.
(3) When Peace has come into effect, The Sudanese armed forces in the South shall be reduced to peace time levels. (chapter Six )
- THE REFERENDUM
- “ By this agreement the right of the people of Southern Sudan to determine their political aspirations and to pursue their economic, social, and cultural development is here by affirmed.”
- “ The people of Southern Sudan shall exercise this right in a referendum before the end of the interim period.”
- “Options in the referendum shall be:
( i ) Unity
( ii ) Secession.”
- “Referendum shall be free, fair and be conducted by a special referendum commission to be formed by a Presidential decree in consultation with the Coordinating Council.” (chapter Seven)
- Development aspects .
- “ In the field of rehabilitation of the war affected areas, the following shall be observed:
(a) The Federal Government and the Coordinating Council shall work to attract loans and aid from the sisterly and friendly countries and international benevolent organizations to rehabilitate the economic projects which ceased to function or were damaged because of the war. It shall also work for the reconstruction of the war affected areas and resettlement of returnees and displaced persons.”
(b) The Federal Government and the Coordinating Council shall launch a plan and joint international appeal for the reconstruction, rehabilitation , repatriation and development of the Southern States and other war affected areas.”
(chapter three 4- – 4 -6 )
The political and military significance of the “fighting parties” which signed the Agreement.
1- If we exclude the rebellion of the Southern command in 1955 which was a military event governed by its particular
circumstances , we can say that armed resistance in the south started in 1963 with Anyanya “I”. That armed conflict ended with the 1972 Peace Agreement.
2- In 1975 and due to complaints about the implementation of the Agreement, armed conflict was resumed by Anyanya II.
3 . In 1982 the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement ( SPLM ) and its military arm the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army ( SPLA ) were formed. Shortly after that, it crossed swords with Anyanya II under the leadership of GUY TUT on some issues particularly the issue of the ultimate Unity of Sudan espoused by The SPLM/A and separation of the South advocated by Anyanya II . The latter was defeated and the SPLM/ A dominated the military / political scene of armed resistance. The SPLM/A continued with its endeavour as a united movement until August 1991 when it faced the first public challenge to its unity by the NASSER group which echoed the secessionist views of Anyanya II. It rejected the Unionist position of SPLM/A and declared its aim to be self-determination.
4.In September 1992, another leading figure,William Noun, defected from the SPLM/A “Main stream” and formed his own group.
- In January 1993, two leading figures escaped from the SPLM/A prison in Eastern Equatoria: KARBINU BOLL and AROK TUN AROK.
- In March 1993, all those defectors formed a united organization which they called SPLM-UNITED.
- In February 1994, the SPLM-UNITED broke up into two factions: one called itself Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) under the leadership of RIAK MASHAR, and mainly supported by NUER tribal elements. The other retained the name SPLM-UNITED under the leadership of LAM AKOL with mainly SHILLOCK tribal support.
- S.S.I.M suffered another defection when its Equatorian supporters formed the EQUATORIA Defence Force under the leadership of THEODOPHALOS OSHANG LUTI and MARTIN KYNI as military commander.
- In 1996 KARBINU BOL called his faction SPLM BAHR AL GAZAL GROUP.
- In January 1997, another leading figure defected from SPLM/A (main stream) Nikonora Magar Ashiek and called his group Southern Sudan Independent group.
This tendancy to form break away groups justifies the following observations:
FIRST: The defections show a tendency to greater distance from the North and so from the SPLM/A unionist views. The first defection called for self determination.The second called for the independence of the Southern Sudan.
SECOND: They reflect an element of tribal conflict ,and tribal intolerance have played a role in the process.
THIRD: All the defecting groups have made their peace with Khartoum’s regime. Khartoum’s regime manipulated tribal tensions , and the personal ambitions of leading figures to form an alliance with them. They all reached accord with the regime and signed the present peace agreement with it ,with the exception of one group, the faction led by LAM AKOL which came close to agreement with the regime, but ultimately refused to sign the present agreement.
Compared with the SPLM/A mainstream, the position of the groups which signed the present agreement is politically light weight. Militarily, they have the following military presence:-
- S.I.M has a military presence in Upper Nile, in NUER tribal areas.
- Southern Sudan Defence force has military presence in Eastern Equatoria, TORIT area.
- P.L.M-Bahr Al Gazal group led by Karubino Bol has some pockets in AWEIL and GOGRIAL areas.
Southern Sudan Independent group has a limited presence in Bahr Al Gazal area.
All the groups are influenced by tribal considerations, the personal ambitions of their leaders, secessionist agendas, and, ironically, a tendency to ally with the Khartoum regime to protect them from the military clout of the SPLM/A mainstream led by JOHN GARANG.
To call them “fighting groups” is misleading. They may properly be described as the groups in alliance with the regime in Khartoum.
There is one civilian political party which signed the agreement. The Union Of Sudanese African parties (U.S.A.P). But what is its political weight? :-
- There was one political party which spoke for Southern political opinion at the time of independence in 1956, it was called The Liberal party . It disappeared after the 17th November military coup in Sudan.
- After the October revolution of 1964, two southern parties came to prominence : Sudan African Union (SANU), and The Southern Front.
- After the April uprising of 1985, SAPCO and the PPP appeared in Equatoria, and SAC The Federal party appeared in Upper Nile.
- In 1987, and as a result of the intensifying peace dialogue, Southern political opinion sought to unify its voice and so formed a united front which they called Union of Sudanese African Parties (USAP). Some of USAP leaders had initially supported The
- Khartoum’s regime. However, when the secret agenda of the regime surfaced, all USAP leaders joined the opposition except one leading figure, SAMUEL ARU BOL, who made his peace with the regime and signed the agreement.
The groups which signed this agreement are militarily and politically light weight.
The defects of the agreement
Political aspect :
- The present Khartoum regime is supported by one minority political party, The Islamic National Front (NIF) whose share in the popular vote in the last free general elections in Sudan,1986, was 16%.
The southern political groups which signed the agreement represent a minority in the south. Therefore, the agreement is between a minority in the north, and a minority in the south.
- The agreement has no real positive impact , because the groups which have signed it have already allied themselves with the regime since 1992.
- The southern participants in the agreement have a preference for secession . The most important group among them calls itself the S.S.I.M ,their preference for secession contrast with the SPLM/A mainstream preference for unity if the conditions are right.
- Since 1991 the Khartoum regime has engaged in the manipulation of personal ambitions and tribal conflicts in the worst scenarios of divide and rule. The regime, therefore, cast serious doubts about its intentions and failed to build bridges of confidence as the real prerequisites for peace making.
- The agreement attempted to marginelize the main political forces in the North and the South and so provoking them into greater hostility, it constitutes an element of provocation and polarization between the regime and the opposition.
The constitutional aspect
The agreement is another constitutional decree which will be added to the previous decrees which built up the dictatorial frame work of the regime, particularly, decree number two which eliminates basic freedoms, and decree number 13 which is the basis of the current executive and legislative authorities and the fake elections which created them and which were boycotted by the main political forces in the country. Therefore, the agreement shall be another block in an unacceptable constitutional set up.
- The agreement provided for basic freedoms according to the law. The law in Sudan monopolizes political activity for one political party, the National Congress. The law also empowers the security authorities to oppress and intimidate citizens. In the presence of the one party system, and the laws of the police state there is no room for basic freedoms.
- All the members of the COORDINATING COUNCIL will be appointed by the
president of the republic .This undemocratic council is authorized to amend the agreement by a two thirds majority. This leaves everything in the hands of the president of the republic and the political party which controls him.
- The plebiscite cannot be free and fair in the shadow of the one party system and the predominance of the police State.
- The word law has no real meaning unless legislation is by a legitimate legislative body. The word constitution has also no real meaning unless it is sanctioned by a legitimate constituent authority.
In the absence of such requirements, the law, the constitution, and the political will of the despot carry the same meaning. In such cases, a constitutional item or decree is no guarantee for rights as demonstrated by the fate of the 1972 agreement under the May regime.
THE MILITARY ASPECT
1.Since early 1997, the armed resistance to the Khartoum regime escalated its military offensive against the Khartoum regime which was defeated in three fronts. The new agreement declares and emphasizes a military alliance between the regime and its old allies which will necessarily be met with an opposite military escalation .
- The civil war in the Sudan was a political encounter between a National State defending its sovereignty and an armed movement seeking to realize its aims by force.
That particular war was about to come to an end in June 1989 through an impending Peace Agreement. That Peace Process was stopped by the coup in June 1989. The new regime replaced it with a still born peace dialogue. Meanwhile the new regime in its real purpose of seeking to end the war through military victory. They changed the nature of the war and intensified it as a holy war (JIHAD ). They claimed all types of supernatural support for their effort, for example, that monkeys and trees somehow supported the soldiers of God against the infidels. By such claims and promises they brain-washed many of the country’s youth who became fodder for JIHAD and lost their lives in great numbers. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 and the consequent collapse of the MANGESTO regime in Ethiopia have given The Khartoum regime an unexpected breathing space. The logistical disadvantages suffered by the SPLM/A as a result of that development enabled the regime to score some military victories between 1991 and 1994. Those victories fueled the regime’s arrogance and gave some credibility to the supernatural claims. Then things changed. The regime squandered its opportunity and formed itself in the sun on all fronts. The legends and mania which accompanied them were silenced.
The new agreement is an attempt to change the nature of the war from the holy JIHAD war which the regime engaged in for some time to a fratricidal genocidal war of mutual elimination setting Southerners against Southerners to satisfy tribal intolerance and fight it out to the bitter end in the style of the BOR event in 1991 and the current pattern of HUTU and TUTSI tribal ethnic destruction. The agreement is not a peace agreement, but it is a plan to replace the holy JIHAD war with a tribal war of mutual elimination.
THE ECONOMIC ASPECT
- In more than two sections, the agreement emphasized the need to eliminate the effects of the civil war, to reconstruct the devastated areas and to resume development. It maintained the need to polarize national, regional, and international resources to realize that purpose.
- The present regime in Sudan espoused policies which repelled the Sudanese professionals, technicians, entrepreneurs, and qualified Sudanese in the worst brain drain in Sudanese history. All such Sudanese are now in forced or voluntary exile. Sudanese wealth and financial resources have been expatriated to an unprecedented extent.
The brain drain of qualified Sudanese, and the expatriation of wealth and liquid resources are a response to the oppressive policies of the regime Sudan’s human and material expatriated resources will not respond positively to the agreements long as the obnoxious face of the present regime rules, the Sudan.
- The present regime in the Sudan pursued policies which alienated Sudan’s neighbours and the international community. The call to the international community to participate in reconstruction, rehabilitation, and development, will fall on deaf ears.
THE DIPLOMATIC ASPECT
- The regime invited all Sudan’s neighbours to attend the signing ceremony, only two attended, Central African Republic and TCHAD. This exception is neither surprising nor healthy. It reflects French concern about the new cold war in AFRICA between itself and the USA. France considers the renewal movement in the GREAT LAKES district which is currently targeting the decadent MOBUTU regime as directed against its influence in FRANCOPHONE AFRICA.
- The attendance of CAR and CHAD is not a healthy sign. It is a reflection of the concerns of the new cold war in Africa and is bound to drag the Sudan more and more into the cold and hot war in the Great Lakes District and further bracket the Sudanese regime with MOBOTU’S regime.
- Sudan’s neighbours have been alienated by the regime’s hostile policies and intrigues. They will see in the new agreement further proof that the regime is bent on espousing divide and rule scenarios to further its own purposes. They will be driven all the more to consolidate their alliance with the Sudanese opposition in the pursuit of real stability in the region.
- No doubt the agreement declares that the Khartoum regime had disowned it’s ideological bearings. It disowned the Theocratic State and accepted citizenship as the basis of rights and duties in the constitution. Hitherto they rejected the state based on the equal rights of civilians. They described such recognition of citizenship as the basis of rights and duties as an affront to Islamic religious identity. They have also disowned the holy JIHAD war on whose behalf they made such fantastic claims of supernatural intervention and through which they destroyed so many lives in the South and the North. The section of retirement benefits in the Sudanese armed forces calculated its loses in 1994 as fifty thousand troops and 500 officers. This does not include military losses from the other side, nor civilian losses, nor the losses of, the popular defence forces, nor the losses in both sides between 1994 and 1997. The figures of lost human lives are astronomical. No doubt the Khartoum regime had through this Agreement disowned the ideology which cost the country a great deal in human and material losses and lost opportunities.
However, those concessions have come unaccompanied by the necessary constitutional guarantees which could protect them against the untrustworthy policies of NIF and unaccompanied by regional and international aspects to contain that party’s well known maneuvers. The NIF party had made a habit of the policy of stoop to conquer. During the Third Democracy in Sudan they never tired of expressing absolute support for democracy and basic freedoms until we believed them. Nonetheless, they proceeded to conspire against democracy and against their partners in the system.
- All signs indicate that the regime is not seeking real peace. It is seeking to change the nature of the war to become a fratricidal tribal war between the Peoples of the South which would release the regime’s armed forces from their duties there, and enable the regime to transfer them Northwards to wage war in the defence of the
battered regime. Therefore, the majority of the Peoples of the Sudan reject and condemn this agreement, and promise to resist it by all means.
The Peoples of the Sudan as they adroitly reject this deceitful treaty, they look up to the neighbours of Sudan to support them in rejecting this false peace and supporting the viable and correct alternative to it. It is the convening of a Sudanese Constitutional Conference Convened through an Afro-Arab initiative under the auspices of the international community to achieve the three interconnected purposes:
One: A peace agreement according to the ASMARA Resolutions of June 1995.
Two: Democratic transformation which establishes constitutional legitimacy as the basis of guaranteeing the Peoples Rights and the Peace Agreement.
Three: To realize regional stability on the basis of good neighbourliness and the concept of developmental and security integration.