Archive for January 9, 2012

By Jamie Ingram/Doha

Escalating violence in South Sudan’s oil-producing Jonglei state vividly highlights the severe challenges facing the newly-independent country.
Six months after gaining independence, the recent clashes echo pre-independence concerns that without the unifying factor of conflict with the north, South Sudan’s volatile tribes would descend into internecine violence. While there is some truth to this notion, there is more to the situation than inherent tribal mistrust.
Thus far the Juba government has been unable to restore stability and has classified Jonglei as a disaster zone. The UN reports estimate more than 50,000 have been displaced in clashes while local commissioners claim that more than 3,000 people have been killed in the past week.
Far from being unusual, this is merely the latest, if bloodiest, violence to afflict Jonglei in recent months. Until he was killed by government forces last month, rebels loyal to General George Athor had been engaged in an insurgency against the Juba government since April 2010.
The latest clashes have prompted observers to once again raise the spectre of inter-tribal ethnic violence; a fear which has deep resonance in this part of Africa.
However, this is a somewhat simplistic take on events and blaming the violence solely on tribal differences diverts government and international attention away from issues whose resolution could ease tensions.
This is by no means the first instance of clashes between the two tribes who inhabit the swampy territory of Jonglei. Clashes between the two are often prompted by conflict over water or cattle. South Sudan is an extremely poor country despite its oil reserves and cattle represent a vital source of income, not to mention prestige, for many of its citizens.
Basic economic factors such as unemployment are, therefore, a key driving force behind South Sudan’s tribal conflicts. No simple solution exists as the economy remains overly dependent on oil revenues and the country’s limited infrastructure severely hampers the business environment, while it suffers from one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.
The lengthy civil wars between the north and south, while ending in 2005, continues to severely impact both countries. In the south, the proliferation of small arms among the general population contributes significantly to events such as those occurring in Jonglei, greatly raising the risk of bloodshed.
It has also led to the militarisation of many South Sudanese to the extent that the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is comprised of up to 200,000 people. Demobilisation is rightly seen as a key priority for President Salva Kiir’s government in order to reduce expenditure, even though this brings with it significant risk.
One difficulty concerns the demoralisation of the army with the incorporation of the rebels into the vacated positions. Last week Jonglei state officials announced that they were hopeful up to 1,000 rebels formerly loyal to General Athor would be reintegrated into the SPLA.
For those effectively sacked from the army, this can stir up bitter resentment and it diminishes the legitimacy of the government and the armed forces.
The government’s inability to prevent this latest violence and protect its civilian population has underscored its lack of sovereign control throughout much of the country. Through its apparent unwillingness to intervene fully in tribal violence the government risks further losing legitimacy, while such a policy sends a message to its population suggesting that rather than rely on the central state to resolve conflicts, they should act themselves which results in increasing concerns of further escalations of violence.
Fundamentally, the fragile nature of South Sudan’s society necessitates caution from the Dinka-dominated government keen to ensure it is not seen as favouring particular tribes. While understandable, the disadvantages of such a strategy are especially evident given recent events.
Such internal turmoil has wide ranging ramifications for South Sudan, diverting the government’s attention from implementing vital economic reforms to improve the business environment, hampering infrastructure development and deterring foreign investors and businesses. Such a vicious circle would further deny the government funds vital for state-building.
The unfortunate truth is that South Sudan will likely continue to experience similar outbreaks of violence between tribes as a result of the economic challenges facing the country and a proliferation of small arms. There is no quick fix for such problems; inherent structural issues such as the lack of education, employment, infrastructure and health services must be targeted and only then can the spectre of tribal violence be dismissed. Such developments cannot be implemented quickly.

*** Jamie Ingram is a Researcher at RUSI, the Royal United Services Institute, Qatar .


NAIROBI, Kenya — Threats of genocide and ethnically charged rhetoric are roiling South Sudan’s Jonglei state one week after a days-long rampage by a tribal militia forced 50,000 people from their homes and may have left thousands dead.

The commissioner of Pibor County, where most of the bloodshed took place, said that 3,141 people were killed, according to an initial assessment of the attack. But officials from the United Nations and the South Sudanese government cautioned that the number was unconfirmed and may be inflated.

Uncertainty also surrounded whether more bloodshed is in the offing. One militia spokesman vowed that a Rwandan-style genocide is on the way, but others said the spokesman represented only one faction of the militia, which is described as either a well-organized force meticulously executing central commands or simply a throng of cattle-herders bent on quick revenge and booty.

Confusion and finger-pointing are a regular part of South Sudan’s so-far brief stint at statehood — the country became independent from Sudan in July — but the latest crisis has left the nation struggling to come up with answers or solutions.

The rampage began before Christmas when thousands of members of the Lou Nuer tribe began a scorched-earth march through Jonglei aimed at members of the rival Murle tribe. At least three villages were burned to the ground as U.N. peacekeepers, badly outnumbered and monitoring the militia’s progress from helicopters, urged Murle to flee their homes.

The rampage came to an end last Tuesday on the outskirts of Pibor, after a Nuer foray into the city found little to steal and almost no one to kidnap. Four hundred U.N. peacekeepers and about 800 South Sudanese government troops were holed up in Pibor.

How many people died in the Nuer rampage is the most glaring uncertainty. Joshua Konyi, a Murle who is the commissioner of Pibor County, said a compilation of totals given by the area’s local administrators yielded the estimate that 3,141 people had died in the attack, most of them in rural areas out of sight of U.N. peacekeepers and government troops garrisoned in nearby administrative towns.

The steep figure has met heavy skepticism. Kuol Manyang, the state governor, said the numbers came too quickly and were meant “to win sympathy.” The United Nations, which initially estimated the number of dead at the “tens or hundreds,” said Sunday that there was no evidence to back up the claims of more than 3,000 dead.

But neither the government nor the U.N. has offered an alternative figure for the number of dead in a campaign that covered 70 miles in one of South Sudan’s most remote regions. The government is sending a commission to investigate the casualty count, said South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer.

After seeing their homeland destroyed, some Murle were incredulous that the local count was met with suspicion and accused the U.N. of acting on the defensive after its peacekeepers failed to stop the violence.

“The UNMISS military wing did nothing to protect civilians,” said John Boloch, a Murle leader who heads South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Juba, referring to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by its acronym. “The number given (3,141) is true.”

“Right now all the numbers are suspect, but it’s probably best to start with the numbers being generated by local officials and then work to verify them,” said Judy McCallum, a former country director of an aid organization in South Sudan who does research on the Murle.

Those who did survive did so only by fleeing. The attackers did not appear to be in a mindset of mercy.

Online forums and private conversations are filled with vitriol aimed at the Murle, a small, politically marginalized group that numbers between 100,000 and 150,000 and is neighbored by both the Dinka and the Lou Nuer, South Sudan’s two dominant tribes.

During the long civil war in which South Sudan won its independence from Sudan, the Murle were seen as traitors. They’re accused regularly of abducting their neighbors’ children, a practice not uncommon across South Sudan.

One Nuer tribal member who has lived in the United States and claims to speak for the “Nuer White Army” said in email messages that the goal of the rampage was to wipe out the Murle. He promised more to come.

“The next attack against Murle will be worse than what happened in Rwanda in 1994,” the spokesman, Tut Deang, emailed in reply to a series of written questions. “If committing ‘genocide’ will bring us peace, so be it.”

He said that future raids will be launched under the cover of night to prevent detection by U.N. surveillance helicopters.

“We are fighting for survival in this part of the world and the so-called Western concepts of ‘responsibility to protect’ are crap,” wrote Deang, whose email account uses the words “Nuer power.”

Deang’s claim to speak for the militia, which U.N. officials say numbers around 8,000 men, could not be verified. In mid-December, a press release indicated Deang lived in Minnesota, but now he claims to have moved back to South Sudan. But he did not provide a local contact number, and numerous email exchanges and news releases took place during regular working hours in the United States.

The Lou Nuer area’s county commissioner, Goi Jooyol, questioned Deang’s legitimacy, accusing radical Nuer who live outside South Sudan of hijacking the tribal war for their own political agendas.

“These groups sending these emails are just groups acting on their own behalves,” Jooyol said by phone. “The people carrying out our attacks are simple people. Most are illiterate and are just trying to avenge the attack on their families, and maybe steal some cows.”

Whether official or not, Deang’s views are not unique. South Sudanese admit the sentiments are common, even among politicians and the educated. South Sudan’s history is also not encouraging: although best known for the oppression it suffered at the hands of Arabic Sudanese authorities to the north, the long civil war was filled with numerous atrocities South Sudanese committed against one another.

And don’t ask Deang to help settle the casualty debate.

“It is not our duty to count the number of Murle killed. The duty is to end the Murle problem,” he wrote menacingly.

(Boswell is a McClatchy correspondent. His reporting is supported in part by a grant from Humanity United, a California-based foundation that focuses on human rights issues.)

Monday, January 09, 2012 
“South Sudan is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, and the influx of refugees is placing enormous strain on already scarce resources.” Fran Equiza, Oxfam’s Regional Director in Horn, East and Central Africa
Boston, MA – infoZine – Six months since South Sudan’s independence, the world’s newest nation is struggling to cope with a major refugee crisis and massive internal displacement, international agency Oxfam said today.Tens of thousands of people have fled violence in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan across the border in Sudan, and an estimated 60,000 people have also reportedly been affected by last week’s fighting in the South Sudan state of Jonglei.

Over 55,000 refugees have arrived in Upper Nile state in South Sudan in recent months, fleeing conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile region. More people continue to arrive and are sheltering in newly established refugee camps where food and other essential services are in short supply. Oxfam is boosting its water and sanitation work for 25,000 of the new arrivals.

The worsening conflict along the border between Sudan and South Sudan has led to growing fears of a major food crisis, as insecurity has restricted local agriculture and limited aid and market supplies. Parts of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile are expected to reach emergency levels in early 2012, with early warning systems predicting that food insecurity will reach Phase 4 of 5 – one step below famine levels. Such a crisis is likely to force more refugees into South Sudan, Oxfam said. Around 20,000 people have already fled Southern Kordofan, and thousands more are displaced within the region. Due to conflict and insecurity, many of the rural areas on both sides of the new border remain inaccessible to humanitarian organisations.

“It is six months since South Sudan’s independence and there is much we should be celebrating. But the growing crisis along the border threatens to derail any progress. South Sudan is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, and the influx of refugees is placing enormous strain on already scarce resources,” said Fran Equiza, Oxfam’s Regional Director.

Oxfam called on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and ensure humanitarian aid can reach all people in need.

Israel to Name Envoy to South Sudan

Posted: January 9, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Israel to name envoy to South Sudan
Jerusalem Post
 appointments committee that meets regularly to deal with new diplomatic assignments. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir when he visited Israel last month that Israel would soon be naming an envoy to his country….

South Sudan Ethnic Violence Leaves At Least 22 Dead
Huffington Post
MICHAEL ONYIEGO 01/ 9/12 12:59 PM ET AP JUBA, South Sudan — Members of a South Sudanese tribe targeted in massive attacks late last month have killed 22 people and burned down three villages of the opposing tribe in new attacks, a state governor said 

Tearfund supporting returnees to South Sudan
Hundreds of thousands of southerners continue to arrive in South Sudan six months after the country gained its independence from the North. Tearfund estimates that around 340000 southerners have returned in the year since the crucial referendum that 

South Sudan: State Violence Against Civilians Is an Evil That Just Won’t Go Away
One of these is that violence against ordinary people by our uniformed men and women throughoutSouth Sudan is so much more rampant than our leaders seem willing to admit. This is a reality that will not spare any of us, whether we are government 

South Sudan Struggling in Face of Growing Refugee Crisis
Kansas City infoZine
South Sudan is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, and the influx of refugees is placing enormous strain on already scarce resources.” Fran Equiza, Oxfam’s Regional Director in Horn, East and Central Africa Boston, 

DFA raises alert level 3 in South Sudan; deployment ban in place
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday raised crisis alert level 3 in South Sudan, as the inter-ethnic violence in the country threatens to escalate. Alert level 3 means the “voluntary repatriation” of Filipinos living 
Machar calls on nations to help reconcile communities in South Sudan
Sudan Tribune
January 9, 2012 (MOMBAI-INDIA) – The Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Riek Machar Teny, has appealed to international organizations to help his country reconcile its various communities. Representatives from more than 30 countries in Asia 
N. Bahr el Ghazal finance minister defends himself against MP’s graft allegations
Sudan Tribune
By Julius N. Uma January 9, 2012 (JUBA) – The Finance, Trade and Industry minister in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State on Monday described as “baseless” and “untrue” claims by a member of the state legislative assembly that a motion to have 

South Sudan
 rampage toll may be in thousands amid threats of genocide
By Alan Boswell NAIROBI, Kenya — Threats of genocide and ethnically charged rhetoric are roilingSouth Sudan’s Jonglei state one week after a days-long rampage by a tribal militia forced 50000 people from their homes and may have left thousands dead. 
South Sudan facing tribal dilemma
Gulf Times
By Jamie Ingram/Doha Escalating violence in South Sudan’s oil-producing Jonglei state vividly highlights the severe challenges facing the newly-independent country. Six months after gaining independence, the recent clashes echo pre-independence 
Haiti; Iran; Lebanon; South Sudan; and more
UN Dispatch
South Sudan: The head of the United Nations refugee agency, António Guterres today urged the international community to show greater solidarity with South Sudan as it strives to cope with enormous humanitarian challenges as tensions between communities 

Mr. Jacob Kyansuk Isaac speaking to Gurtong in Wuddu Town [©Gurtong]


Mr. Jacob Kyansuk Isaac speaking to Gurtong in Wuddu Town [©Gurtong]Local authorities of the bordering districts of South Sudan’s Kajokeji County and Uganda’s Moyo and Yumbe Districts are yet to finalize border challenges surrounding these districts.

Speaking to Gurtong on Saturday, Kajokeji area MP Mr. Jacob Kyansuk who toured the border between Kajokeji, Moyo and Yumbe areas told Gurtong that, efforts to address the dispute need to be intensified.

After meeting the Ugandan district officials of the two bordering districts; Kyansuk pointed out that much as local government officials are willing for talks, there are advancing developmental plans by Ugandans into Kajokeji which appear to be a threat.

He pointed out that, Ugandan authorities are now establishing a World International Market in Pingo, an area in Liwolo Payam of Kajokeji County about 32miles from Kajokeji town, Wuddu. He also added that, Ugandans have planned to set another large market in Aforji, an area in-between the South Sudan and Uganda border.

The MP said South Sudanese local authorities have not been consulted by the Ugandan authority to establish the two markets.

Kyansuk said that, according to preliminary findings, the border was not demarcated since 1904, creating a challenge that may jeopardize bilateral links between the two countries if not well handled.

Efforts to speak to authorities of the two districts of Moyo and Yumbe have been fruitless.

Late last year, authorities in Kajokeji had accused neighbouring residents of Moyo District for encroachment while cultivating into their land. In turn, residents of Moyo warned South Sudanese to quit their land.

The standoff created tension between the neighbouring tribes of Kuku of Kajokeji and Madi of Moyo.

Efforts to address the matter are still pending as Central Equatoria State delegation is expected to do a fact finding mission along the border.

In 2010, there were fears in these areas when a fight was about to erupt between residents of Kajokeji and Moyo when unknown gunmen shot down three Ugandans at the border.

The Presidents of the two Countries; H.E Yuweri Museveni and Salva Kiir have since met in Moyo District in a move to address the matter.

The premiers then agreed that the issue should be resolved amicably by the local communities of Kajokeji and Moyo, adding that, due to the historical ties among the local leaders like Chiefs of these communities, they may know how to address the problem better.

However, up to date, efforts of the local communities in an attempt to address the matter have not resolved the issue. Whether the local communities will address the matter, absence of intervention from the national governments of the two countries will not mark an end to the border issue.

“Usually borders are very dangerous. Although I don’t think that something will happen but I think it’s better to solve it than to wait for problems to come,” Kyansuk told Gurtong.

US Eyes Arms Sales to South Sudan

Posted: January 9, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

By Jason Ditz, January 08, 2012
Obama Claims Arming Unstable Regime ‘Promotes World Peace

The long-time paramilitary group the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is excited this weekend at the prospect of acquiring massive amounts of new weapons amid the news that President Obama has decided to sell US arms to South Sudan.

The new republic is the latest basket-case in northeastern Africa, and the decision to throw large quantities of additional weaponry into the mix in anation where wholesale massacre is a common occurrence and the next war with the north is a question of “when, not if” is likely to fuel at least a little concern.

The US State Department says that the arms sales had been under discussion for quite some time, even before South Sudan became independent, and President Obama’s statement claims that selling them weapons “promotes world peace.”

Despite widespread poverty and little infrastructure the South Sudanese government is expected to focus its rule mostly on acquiring high end weaponry, and with a potentially large oil industry the US is liable to find plenty of things for them to buy.

South Sudan MP family fight in-laws injuring four
Sudan Tribune
January 8, 2012 (RUMBEK) – A gunfight between the family of a South Sudanese MP and another family in Rumbek on Sunday wounded four people, which was halted when Lakes State’s military police intervened. The sons of Daniel Deng Monydit, 

Lonrho expands John Deere dealerships into Tanzania and South Sudan
Proactive Investors UK
It is adding two new territories, Tanzania and South Sudan, to its current business network. Lonrho is already the exculsive supplier of John Deere tractors and farming machinery in Mozambique and Angola. “The expansion of Lonrho’s exclusive John Deere 

South Sudan: Murle Revenge Attack On Luo-Nuer ‘Kills 60’ in Jonglei’s Akobo County
Bor — Conflict between the Murle and Luo Nuer tribes in South Sudan’s Jonglei State continued on Sunday with the Murle accused of carrying out a revenge attack on Akobo County. Heavy fighting has killed as many as 60 people sources in the area, 

One Year After Independence, South Sudan Still Needs International Support
Daily Beast
A year after the peaceful creation of the Republic of South Sudan, the new nation is buffeted by fighting and displacement along its border with Sudan. The international community must show it is capable of sustained commitment even when the TV cameras 

South Sudan: Humanitarian Crisis in the World’s Newest Country
Global Voices Online
Less than a year since declaring its independence in July 2011 to become the world’s newest country, South Sudan continues to face a humanitarian crisis. Civil war between the African South Sudan and the Arabic North, Sudan, had already claimed around 

South Sudan: Country Struggling in Face of Growing Refugee Crisis
Six months since South Sudan’s independence, the world’s newest nation is struggling to cope with a major refugee crisis and massive internal displacement, international agency Oxfam said today. Tens of thousands of people have fled violence in Blue 

Sudan’s defense minister says Khartoum will not allow Juba to support rebels
Sudan Tribune
January 8, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese defense minister, General Abdul Rahim Mohamed Hussein, has stressed that his country will not allow South Sudan to serve as a mainstay for Sudan’s rebels, warning that Khartoum is ready for war if Juba seeks it 

South Sudan: Restructuring of SPLM Is a Step Forward Towards Unity, Democracy
Therefore, the unity among the SPLM top leaders is very important if the SPLM wants to succeed in the coming elections, bearing in minds that the people of South Sudan will vote this time for individuals, not for the party, for they had voted for the 

South Sudan: We Must All Come Home and Build the Country
That is a clear indication that they have got the message of the President about the general amnesty declared to all those who have not joined the development march since South Sudan became independent on 9th July, 2011 and are carrying guns against 

South Sudan: The Need for Neighbours to Co-Exist Peacefully in Jonglei State
Enough should be always enough for citizens of Jonglei State. Killing one another won’t help us to see what can and what cannot support our hope and it should not be our best option against despair. You should know anywhere in this country people who 

South Sudan-Uganda Border Dispute Is Threatening
Oye! Times
He also added that, Ugandans have planned to set another large market in Aforji, an area in-between the South Sudan and Uganda border. The MP said South Sudanese local authorities have not been consulted by the Ugandan authority to establish the two 

Sudan: SPLM Students’ League Responds to Critic Riak’s Allegations
It is an indispensable element of self-esteem in a responsible citizen to respect the country’s leadership, and this is particularly true for South Sudan as country that has just emerged out of critical tyranny in the hands of Arabs. 

Wycliffe Bible translators focus on Sudan
Orlando Sentinel (blog)
Orlando-based Wycliffe Associates is accelerating its Bible translation efforts in South Sudan, following its recent independence. From 1955 to 1972 and 1983 to 2005, Sudan was plagued by two lengthy periods of civil conflict in which an estimated 2.5 

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) Between The Government of the Republic of the Sudan and The Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army.

January 9th, 2012: The 7th Anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the Rebel Movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

“I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years have brought to you CPA in a golden plate. Our mission is accomplished. It is now your turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience bush’s life. When time comes to vote at referendum, it is your golden choice to determine your fate. Would you like to vote to be second class citizens in your own country? It is absolutely your choice.”—Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Rumbek, May 15, 2005, after the successful negotiation and signing of the CPA.

By PaanLuel Wël, Washington DC, USA.

January 9th, 2012 is a very important day in the history of the Republic of South Sudan. It marks the first commemoration of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) after the independence of South Sudan from (north) Sudan. It is also the seventh anniversary of the CPA since it was negotiated and signed on January 9th, 2005, in Naivasha Kenya. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the rebel movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was a landmark event in the troubled history of the Republic of the Sudan that ended the war, guaranteed self-determination for South Sudanese people and successfully ushered in the independence of the current young Republic of South Sudan.

As such a milestone occasion as it is in the living memory of South Sudanese people, one would have expected a plethora of heightened political and cultural activities on January 9th, 2012 among the South Sudanese citizens to memorialize the first anniversary of the CPA in their own independent state, free from Khartoum sabotages and interferences. Yet, as Mading Ngor Akech of the New Sudan Vision—a resident of Canada but currently in Juba, South Sudan—observes on his Facebook page, the “first commemoration of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in an independent South Sudan [was] ignored by [the] government, as only few hundreds showed up at Independence Square. Only a bunch of peace activists took it upon themselves to mark the occasion with no tribalism, violence, and other progressive chants…No official celebration, no government representation. I bet most have flown out of the country to enjoy ‘long weekend’ in neighboring countries…what, a new and interesting country!”

Of course, it may not be that baffling to figure it out why “only a bunch of peace activists took it upon themselves to mark the occasion” of the first anniversary of the CPA in an independent South Sudan. First, although the CPA ended the bloodshed and granted Southerners freedom from North Sudan, the grand promises and highly expected dividends of South Sudan’s independence—long lasting peace, political stability and sustainable economic development—are few and far between. Lack of long lasting peace and political stability in an independent South Sudan makes it appears as if the country is still practically in a civil war, contrary to the promise of the CPA. Economic development and the prospects of social prosperity are dismissal in spite of the oil money. Instead of resource blessing, there is an apparent foreboding sense of resource curse prevailing among the populace. Irrespective of their social and economic status, most South Sudanese seem to concur that the veterans of South Sudan’s war of independence have found a new cause in grand corruption.

Combined that with the inter-ethnic strife and the pervasive threat of military invasion from (north) Sudan and you would understand and appreciate the political disenchantment and economic disillusionment in South Sudan, barely six months into independence. Believably, those are the reasons why “only a bunch of peace activists took it upon themselves to mark the occasion” of the first anniversary of the CPA in an independent. Celebration is about happiness and appreciation of the event that engineered that particular happiness. While it is apparently clear that most South Sudanese will always be happy about and grateful to the CPA, it is a different matter, altogether, to expect them to pour onto the streets of Juba in glorious celebration when “only a bunch of” top leaders are reaping the fruits of South Sudan’s independence. And while those “chosen few” may not be celebrating in Juba, Mading Ngor might be right to believe that “most [leaders] have flown out of the country to enjoy ‘long weekend’ in neighboring countries.” It is “a new and [an] interesting country” indeed!!

Still, in spite of the existing political malaise, pitiable economic conditions and blossoming intertribal conflicts, political and economic instability in South Sudan, the first anniversary of the CPA in an independent South Sudan is too special in the fabric of our political revolution and in the political physic of the very identity we would want to construct for ourselves, present to the outside world as our national distinctive character and the one to bequeath to our children and children’s children.

So what is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and of what significance is it to the long arduous political struggle of South Sudanese, to the eventual independence of South Sudan on July 9th, 2011 and to the socio-political edification of the national identity of the Republic of South Sudan?

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was a groundbreaking peace accord negotiated between, and signed by, the Government of the Republic of the Sudan (GoS) under President Omar El-Bashir and the Sudan rebel movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (the SPLM/A) under Dr. John Garang de Mabior. According to the Wikipedia site, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), also known as the Naivasha Agreement, “was a set of agreements culminating in January 2005 that were signed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan.  The CPA was meant to end the Second Sudanese Civil War, develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence.”

The CPA was a mutual political commitment by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to a “negotiated settlement on the basis of a democratic system of governance which, on the one hand, recognizes the right of the people of Southern Sudan to Self-Determination and seeks to make unity attractive during the interim period, while at the same time is founded on the values of justice, democracy, good governance, respects for fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, mutual understanding and tolerance of diversity within the realities of the Sudan.”

The CPA was also a realization, among the SPLM/A-NCP’s top leadership, of the stalemate of the war at the frontlines and, subsequently, their desires to resolve “the Sudan conflict in a just and sustainable manner by addressing the root causes of the conflict and by establishing a framework for governance through which power and wealth shall be equitably shared and human rights guaranteed” within a new, better country acceptable to both parties, and all Sudanese people.

The successful negotiation and conclusion of the CPA was borne by the fact that the two negotiating parties of the NCP and the SPLM/A were: “(1) conscious that the conflict in the Sudan [was] the longest running conflict in Africa; that it has caused tragic loss of life, destroyed the infrastructure of the country, eroded its economic resources and caused suffering to the people of the Sudan; (2) mindful of the urgent need to bring peace and security to the people of the Sudan who have endured this conflict for far too long; (3) aware of the fact that peace, stability and development are aspirations shared by all people of the Sudan; [and] (4) recognizing that the present moment offers a window of opportunity to reach a just peace agreement to end the war [in the Sudan, once and forever].”

Conscious, mindful, aware and recognizing those aforesaid factors, the two negotiating parties of the NCP and the SPLM/A, in the Machakos Protocol, agreed that: “(1) the unity of the Sudan, based on the free wills of its people democratic governance, accountability, equality, respect, and justice for all citizens of the Sudan is and shall be the priority of the [two negotiating] parties and that it is possible to redress the grievances of the people of South Sudan and to meet their aspirations within such a framework; (2) the people of South Sudan have the right to control their affairs in their regions and participate equitably in the National government; (3) the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination through a referendum to determine their future status; (4) religion, customs and traditions are a source of moral strength and inspiration for the Sudanese people; [and finally, among others, to cease fire and] (5) establish a democratic system of governance taking account of the cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic diversity and gender equality of the people of the Sudan.”

There were two main periods within the CPA: the Pre-Interim Period of six months pending the full implementation of the CPA and the formation of the first Government of National Unity in Khartoum and regional government in Juba, and the Interim Period of six years awaiting the conduct of the South Sudan referendum for self-determination to decide their future status. During the Pre-Interim Period of six months, “the institutions and mechanisms provided for in the Peace Agreement shall be established.” Then throughout the Interim Period of six years, “the institutions and mechanisms established during the Pre-Interim Period shall be operating in accordance with the arrangements and principles set out in the Peace Agreement.”

The end of the six years Interim Period would usher in the referendum on South Sudan self-determination in which “there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, organized jointly by the GoS and the SPLM/A, for the people of South Sudan to: confirm the unity of the Sudan by voting to adopt the system of government established under the Peace Agreement; or to vote for secession.” We all know what happened afterwards: South Sudanese voted with over 99.9% for secession.

Even though there had been numerous peace talks—and indeed peace agreements like the Khartoum and the Fashoda Peace Accords, of Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol respectively—between the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A, the real serious negotiation for the CPA commenced only in early 2002, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attack masterminded by Osama Bin Laden, once a high-profiled guest of the Khartoum Government. In reality, the final peace process was long and uncertain, running from 2002 till January 2005. For example, the GoS and the SPLM/A “met in continuous negotiations between May 2002 and December 2004, in Karen, Machakos, Nairobi, Nakuru, Nanyuki and Naivasha, Kenya, under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Peace Process, and, in respect of the issues related to the conflict areas of Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States and Abyei Area, under the auspices of the Government of the Republic of Kenya.”

Those long continuous negotiations between the two parties resulted in the following protocols—six chapters and two annexure—all of which constituted what we now referred to as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of the Sudan between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan’s rebel movement of the SPLM/A:

(1) The Machakos Protocol (Chapter I) was signed in Machakos, Kenya on 20 July 2002. It set out the broad principles of government and governance within the Pre-Interim Period of six months and the Interim Period of six years. It was the Machakos Protocol that guaranteed the right to self-determination for the people of South Sudan besides offering the first priority to “making unity attractive” under a “democratic system of governance taking account of the cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic diversity and gender equality of the people of the Sudan.”

The clause about South Sudan self-determination enshrined in the Machakos Protocol—and currently the defining essence of the CPA—came about rather “accidental.” Neither the SPLM/A nor the NCP went into the Peace Talk with the zeal of making it the first priority. The SPLM/A first priority was the realization of New Sudan Vision, secular and inclusive country of all Sudanese, while the NCP were adamant about the retention of an Islamic state with more or less of an Arab identity. The incompatibility and the inevitable clash resulted in a nightmarish political stalemate for the negotiators.

Consequently, as a plan B to break the impasse, the clause on South Sudan’s self-determination was introduced—SPLM/A getting the right to conduct a referendum on South Sudan’s self-determination while the NCP obtained the privileges to keep and apply sharia law in all north Sudan except in Khartoum.

Therefore, the right to self-determination for South Sudan was arrived at as a political compromise between the SPLM/A and the NCP—the two parties who signed the CPA. In his article “South Sudan Referendum: First Thing First” Dr. Lam reports thus: “the self-determination in the CPA was an attempt to break the deadlock over the issue of separation of religion from the state and the relation between the religion and the state. So the CPA stipulated that Northerners shall have the right to apply Islamic Sharia in the North provided that Southerners shall have the right to self-determination” in the South.

Astoundingly, by the time the CPA negotiation started, a great number of South Sudanese apparently assumed that the SPLM/A and NCP went into the Peace Talk on the basis of self-determination stipulated in both the Khartoum and the Fashoda peace agreements. That was never the case because as Dr. Lam observed above, the only time the idea of self-determination was brought on the negotiating table was when the NCP refused to accept the basis of a Secular Sudan where religion would be separated from the state. Had the NCP agreed to a non-religious state, self-determination might not have been part of the deal.

(2) Power Sharing Protocol (Chapter II) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May 2004. It delineated the sharing of power between Khartoum and Juba amongst the NCP, SPLM/A, South Sudanese and North Sudanese opposition parties. Consequently, in the national assembly in Khartoum, the NCP was to take 52%, SPLM/A 28%, other Northern Political Forces (14%) and other Southern Political Forces 6%. Meanwhile, in the regional government of Southern Sudan in Juba, the SPLM was to take 70%, NCP 15% and other Southern Political Forces 15%.

(3) Wealth Sharing Protocol (Chapter III) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 7 January 2004. It outlined the sharing of wealth between the NCP, the SPLM/A, and other oil-producing states of the Sudan. Under the management of the National Petroleum Commission, the South Sudan’s oil—which was the main national wealth to be shared—was shared equally (50-50) between the two parties: NCP was given 50%, SPLM/A 50% and the oil-producing states 2%. It was also under the Wealth Sharing Agreement that the Reconstruction and Development Funds—Southern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Funds (SSRDF), National Reconstruction and Development Funds (NRDF) and the Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTF)—were established to help in the reconstruction and development of the war-torn regions.

(4) The Protocol on the Resolution of the Conflict in Abyei Area (Chapter IV) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May 2004. It guarantee the sharing of power between the NCP, the SPLM/A, the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya Arabs, in addition to a referendum for the Abyei residents to determine their future status of either remaining as part of Southern Kordofan, Sudan or joining Bhar el Ghazal, South Sudan.  The protocol defined Abyei as “the area of nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905” while permitting the Misseriya and other nomadic peoples to “retain their traditional rights to graze cattle and move across the territory of Abyei.” Meanwhile, the residents of Abyei would be citizens of both Southern Kordofan and Bhar el Ghazal states, with representation in both state assemblies, pending Abyei Referendum that was to happen concurrently with the South Sudan’s plebiscite.

(5) The Protocol on the Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States (Chapter V) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May 2004 enshrining human rights and fundamental freedoms, in addition to the protection and development of the diverse cultural heritage and local languages of the population. Most importantly, it called for the people of the Southern Kordorfan and Blue Nile States to be given the right to conduct Popular Consultation—“the democratic right and mechanism to ascertain the views of the people of the Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States on the comprehensive agreement reached by the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.” Administratively, the NCP was to take 55% of the state government while the SPLM/A-N takes 45%.

(6) The Agreement on Security Arrangements (Chapter VI) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 25 September 2003 affirming that, during the interim period; the two armies of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (the SPLA) were to remain separate and would be considered and treated equally. SPLA forces in Nuba Mountain and Southern Blue Nile, as well as the SAF forces in South Sudan, were to relocate to their respective borders of the 1/1/1956 with the exception of those forces operating under the Joint/Integrated Units (the JIU). The Joint/Integrated Units—which was composed of equal numbers of the SAF and the SPLA—was an experimental army to assess and establish a post referendum army of the Sudan, just in case South Sudan were to vote for unity.

(7) The Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements Implementation Modalities and Appendices (Annexure I) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 31 December 2004 with both parties agreeing to “(a) permanent ceasefire among all their forces with the broader objective of sustaining the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, promoting peace culture, reconciliation and confidence building, [and] (b) permanent cessation of hostilities between SAF and SPLA within 72 hours of the signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.” Redeployment, demobilization, disarmament, re-integration and reconciliation would then ensue based on different phases and the unique circumstances of the various designated assembly areas.

(8) The Implementation Modalities and Global Implementation Matrix and Appendices (Annexure II) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 31 December 2004 wherein the implementation modalities of all the protocols were outlined, explained and ascertained according to the letter and spirit of the CPA. The Implementation Modalities and Global Implementation Matrix and Appendices were to act as the “appropriate mechanisms for resolving any discrepancies that may arise during the implementation process.”

The CPA was jointly signed by Ali Osman Taha, first vice president of the Republic of the Sudan, on behalf of the government of the Republic of the Sudan, and Dr. John Garang de Mabior, chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, on behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. The Peace Accord was witnessed by the following people: President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboul of Egypt, Senator deputy FM Afredo Mantica of Italy, Special Envoy Fred Racke of the Royal Kingdom of Netherland, Minister Hilde Johnson of Royal Norwegian Government, Hilary Benn of the UK and Northern Ireland, Secretary of State Colin Powel of the USA, Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare of the AU, Charles Goerens of the EU, Secretary General Amre Moussa of the Arab League and Jan Pronk of the United Nations.

Is CPA fully implemented? Is it a success story? By and large, the CPA is way better than all the previous South Sudanese Accords signed or promised. Although the promised referendum on Abyei Area and Popular Consultations among the people of Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States are yet to be materialized, the CPA dividends and successes are undeniable. Of all the numerous successes of the CPA, unlike the Addis Ababa Agreement, the successful conduct of the South Sudan’s referendum on self-determination and the proclamation of South Sudan’s independence are special, historic events unprecedented in the long painful history of South Sudan.

Of course, there were, and still are, serious challenges in the implementation of the CPA, not least the untimely death of Dr. John Garang, the political wrangling over the distribution of the ministerial posts in the GoNU, the acrimonious relationship between the SPLM/A and the NCP that once led to a temporary withdrawal of the SPLM/A from the national government, the suspicion over the census results and the heightened political anxiety towards the conduct of South Sudan plebiscite amid rebellions from war-lords probably back by the north. But in the end, we all know how it ended: freedom. While it may now emerge as if we had arrived home with an empty pot of water from the well, the fact of the matter is that we owned it and we can take it back to the well to collect more water or just remold and shape it to produce a better one.

In hindsight though, looking back to 2005, the CPA is but the culmination of all the previous peace accords attempted, negotiated, signed but dishonored, between South Sudanese and the Khartoum’s Government. The CPA is a fulfillment of the Koka Dam Accord, the Abuja I and II, the Juba Conference, the Torit, Bor and Akobo Mutinies and the Frankfurt Accord. It is the final realization and incarnation of the Addis Ababa Agreement of the 1972 and the fruition of South Sudan’s referendum. It is the embodiment of our sacrifices and the manifestation of our resolves.

That the CPA exemplifies all that there is within the realm of the history of South Sudanese struggle is the reason why it should be annually commemorated irrespective of the current socioeconomic and political realities in South Sudan. It is just good and befitting for and by its own self. It is the history of us, now and in the foreseeable future!

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at, Facebook Page, Twitter account OR at his blog:

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement.pdf The Comprehensive Peace Agreement.pdf
8791K   View   Download
The 7th Anniversary of the CPA Between the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM.pdf The 7th Anniversary of the CPA Between the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM.pdf
194K   View   Download