The success of the current, rapidly growing rebellion in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan is far from assured. The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime—facing a serious domestic challenge for the first time in years—will use all the considerable force at its disposal to retain full control over national wealth and power. Brutality has already increased with the number and determination of protestors, who now include not only students but lawyers and other civilian constituencies.
Posts Tagged ‘national congress party’
Tags: khartoum regime, national congress party
Tags: national congress party
Khartoum is fighting on three fronts: a determined Southern army, confident armed oppositionists and a hostile population. When President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir told the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), ‘Either we end up in Juba and take everything or you end up in Khartoum and take everything,’ he was acknowledging that the stakes could hardly be higher.
What he didn’t say, in his 19 April speech at the National Congress Party headquarters, was that the Southern armed forces have proved a match for those of the ruling NCP. The 10 April takeover of Heglig by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) – and withdrawal under international pressure – were a significant show of power.
On paper, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are far more powerful than the SPLA – in materiel, training and, most obviously, airpower. Yet several Western military sources told us they thought the military balance fairly even on the ground. Tactically, the SPLA should have stayed in Heglig, said one. Militarily, it certainly could have done. NCP protestations seemed aimed at disguising the extent of the SAF defeat. The SPLA Spokesperson, Colonel Philip Aguer Panyang, said the SPLA had killed some 500 SAF men, in the town Southerners call Pan Thou. Other sources say around 3,500 troops died, of about 6,000.
Enter the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which, we understand, first drove the SAF out of Heglig the week before the SPLA took it (AC Vol 53 No 8, War drums sound as the South takes Heglig). These were mainly Darfur fighters from the Justice and Equality Movement, with some from the Liberation and Justice Movement who had refused to join Khartoum in 2010 with LJM head El Tigani Seisi Mohamed Ateem (AC Vol 51 No 19, A new strategy for Darfur). The SRF pursued the SAF to Khorasana, where fighting continued as Africa Confidential went to press.
A key reason why both SPLA-N and SPLA have been able to defeat the SAF so readily is morale. The SAF never ‘won’ the war in the South and are even less likely to defeat the SPLA now it is better equipped and fired with the Independence spirit. The SRF, meanwhile, is fighting for its people, the marginalised of the ‘New South’, and a secular state, and against a regime it believes it can overthrow. It knows it has the support of many oppositionists and potentially, of millions, as it builds its own structures and its relations with Sudan’s wide range of established parties.
Low morale and desertions
SRF confronts a once proud army of which the officer corps was systematically purged after the National Islamic Front coup of June 1989. Hundreds of officers were killed, gaoled, tortured or dismissed, the most famous case being that of the 28 officers shot in Ramadan (April) 1990. Ideological qualifications matter more than military ones and the SAF declined, leaving the field to the even more ‘Islamised’ security forces and the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), many of which fought at Heglig. Meanwhile, the army has lost its old recruiting grounds in the South, Nuba Mountains and Darfur. It now fights those who would once have fought in its ranks. Morale is so low that prisons are packed with deserters, we hear.
One result is that the SPLA is better placed to defend the 1,800-kilometre, still undelimited border (much of which, including by Heglig, the late President Ja’afar Mohamed Nimeiri’s regime moved southwards). Expecting, correctly, the NCP to pursue its destabilisation policy, the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has been rearming since 2005 and much hardware is deployed near the border. ‘They’re good at moving stuff around the country undetected’, observed one Western former official, ‘and they’re ready to fight across the entire border’.
This leaves the SAF sandwiched between the SRF and SPLA. Its response is long-range and aerial bombardment, at Heglig and into the South. Satellite photographs show craters that only SAF can have produced but they don’t prove who completely destroyed the adjoining collection manifold on which nearly half of Sudan’s oil supply depended. A source close to the GOSS says it sent in engineers to shut down the plant safely and that if it had wanted to destroy the facility, it could easily have done so in ten days’ occupation. Khartoum still demands compensation. SRF strategy is to target oil installations.
Khartoum has continued the sporadic aerial bombardment of the South it launched weeks ago, targeting the tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in camps there. That is why the GOSS, and Southerners in general, were outraged that the United Nations and friendly governments condemned the SPLA’s entry into Heglig when they had been silent over the bombing, the earlier attacks on Abyei and other NCP abuses, North and South.
Having gained a sliver of international acknowledgement, though, Khartoum promptly accused Juba of implementing ‘Zionist’ and ‘crusader’ programmes and on 23 April, bombed Bentiu and Rub Kona, once Chevron’s oil headquarters. The SPLA had blocked Heglig-bound journalists in Bentiu, so several filmed and reported on air raids which the SAF denied making. The UN, which confirmed the raids, warned aid staff to store supplies, be ready to ‘self-relocate’, take shelter and ‘kindly note that shrapnel can not only travel downwards from the sky, but can also travel horizontally from the side’.
Omer’s slavery threat
Omer threatened to attack Juba, too, and in terms that would only stiffen South Sudanese resolve. Addressing PDF mujahideen in El Obeid, he shouted, ‘Despite our attempts to make them aware so that they understand and know where their interests are, they do not understand. God has created them like that. That is why the best thing to do with them is to pick a stick and make them behave well’.
This refers to a well known poem by Abu el Tayeb el Mutanabi: ‘You shall not buy a slave without a stick with him’ (to beat him with). The ‘rope of unity’ came in another reference to the master-slave relationship: ‘We will throw this rope around their necks once again, God willing’. Khartoum also responded by arresting SRF activists, including Deputy Secretary GeneralEzdihar Juma (house arrest) and the SRF representative on the National Consensus Forces,Alawiya Kibeida. Yet the protest contagion has spread: youth movements Girifna and Shebaab min agle el Taghir (Youth for Change) have joined the SRF, with Girifna rallying Muslim support for Christians when a Presbyterian church was burnt down in Khartoum this week. Even the cautious Umma Party leader, El Sadig Sideeg el Mahdi, ventured early this month that change was ‘inevitable’.
This, the bombing and seizures of churches across the country may help to cure what one Western former official called the ‘international community’s endemic wilful blindness’. So may the pressure of some African governments. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have held a series of urgent meetings and Kampala’s Chief of Defence Forces, General Aronda Nyakairima, warned on 19 April, ‘We cannot sit and watch. As a member of this region, Uganda will intervene’.
After Khartoum rejected more talks, Juba is trying to regain the international high ground. Senior officials went to Ethiopia on 24 April to tell the African Union, we hear, that the GOSS was willing to talk to the NCP but with a broader mediation team than that led by South African ex-President Thabo Mbeki. This means the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and possibly more, on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement model. Juba is also taking this message to Europe, New York and Washington.
Tags: al bashir, national congress party, president bashir
Radio Dabanga (The Netherlands/Darfur) / Tuesday, 06 March 2012
The three parties call for all the people of Sudan to stand against Al Bashir’s declaration and not respond to it.
Political secretary for the Popular Congress Party, Kamal Omar said to Radio Dabanga that the Sudanese people will not accept a general mobilisation for war.
He said he expected Al Bashir to step down in the face of failure of the state’s administration and issue a transitional government, rather than announce a deployement of Popular Defence Forces.
Omar called on Sudanese people to topple the ruling NCP and Al Bashir, who has ‘ruined’ the country.
The Umma Party led by Sadiq Al Mahdi has rejected the president’s mobilisation for war.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Umma Party leader Mariam Al Mahdi described Al Bashir’s address regarding widespread country mobilisation as ‘unfortunate’, but considered that the stance is not new.
She said the NCP insists on the path of declaring war against its own citizens, such as in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, much in the same vein that led to the secession of South Sudan.
Al Mahdi said the country is currently experiencing famine and economic crisis, which neeed to be resolved urgently, rather than turning to more war.
She asked, ‘what is the benefit of war, and for whom?’
The Umma Party leader stated that the solution to the Sudan crisis lies in responding to the national agenda.
The Sudanese Communist Party called President Bashir’s address on Saturday ‘a continuation of the polices of war, which led to the conflict in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur’.
Spokesman of the Communist party Yusef Hussein told Radio Dabanga that the Sudan crisis will not be resolved through war, but through responding to the arguments of the opposition, to have a national dialogue and broad government to deal with the country’s crises, caused ‘solely’ by the NCP.
Hussein called on the Sudanese people to continue to struggle to revoke ‘the policy of war’ of the NCP, which has destroyed the country.
Sudan: Washington Deludes Rebels They Can Topple the Regime – Nafie
5 MARCH 2012
Khartoum — Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) addressed severe criticism against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) and the United States (US) administration stressing the latter deluded the former that it could achieve regime change in the country.
According to Nafie Ali Nafie, presidential assistant and NCP’s deputy chairman, Washington persuaded the rebel SPLM-N that it can make Kadugli “Sudan’s Benghazi” and transform the South Kordofan’s town to make it the capital for rebels who will overthrow the regime.
He further said that Washington pledged to provide the SPLM-N rebels with the necessary support if they capture Kadugli.
Speaking in the suburb of Lamab, located south of the capital Khartoum, on Sunday evening Nafie also alleged that US administration pushed the rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to join a rebel alliance led by the SPLM-N.
Washington told JEM rebels “You can not do something, even if you come together with the opposition parties,” and encouraged it to work with the other armed groups, Nafie further stressed.
The pact of Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Malik Agar was inked on 11 November 2011, by the SPLM-N, JEM and two factions of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-AW and SPLM-MM). In August 2011 JEM had refused to sign the text because the founding text refers to a secular state.
The deputy NCP leader who recently gave up his tasks in the party to dedicate his time for mobilisation, told the crowd that the opposition parties are considered as weak by Washington but however it asked them to play the agitators in order to support the military action of rebel groups against the regime.
Sudanese officials recently increased their criticism against Washington which put some conditions to participate in an international conference to discuss Sudan’s debt in line with the implementation of the 2005 peace deal with the South Sudan’s rebels.
US administration speaks about the humanitarian situation in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, while Khartoum refuses to allow the international aid to the rebel held areas. Sudanese officials also say the US has to seek ways to end the conflict not only insisting on its humanitarian consequences.
They also denounced Washington’s support of the newly independent South Sudan which, according to Khartoum, is the main backer of the Sudanese rebel groups.
Sudanese officials say privately they got reports saying that Washington and Juba are trying to convince international and regional partners that regime change is the only valid solution for Sudan’s crises.
The Sudanese official pledged to clear the South Kordofan of rebel groups very soon and rejected calls of the opposition parties for an interim period where a national government will be formed and a constituent assembly will be established to adopt a permanent constitution.
Nafie also divided the opposition forces to three categories: the hardliners who want to remove the regime at any price and designed the Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan al-Turabi at the head of this group.
The second group, according to Nafie, is what he termed “national parties” like the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the National Umma Party (NUP) of Sadiq al-Mahdi who refuse the use of violence against the regime. The third group are the political opposition forces who have refused any compromise or dialogue with the NCP since 1989.
Tags: national congress party, NCP, Pagan Amum
Ghandour, however, pointed out that the Sudanese Government cannot interfere in the process of how the South selects its delegation but if it wants to achieve peace with Sudan it should alter its delegation members.
He said the recent attack by South Sudan on Sudan would overshadow the coming talks.
“This aggression which is reported to the Security Council makes it clear that South Sudan has no intention to reach an agreement,” he said, in an exclusive statement to Sudan Vision, adding that Sudan will deal with an open heart to reach an agreement but such agreement should be based on good neighbourliness and common cooperation.
Ghandour denied any move for talks with rebels in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile State.
“The leaders of insurgency in these areas are supported by the army of South Sudan so it is a war on the state and the people rather than a war on the government or the regime so the issue of dialogue is out of the question unless the war stops”, he said, affirming Sudan Government’s commitment to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) including the Popular Consultations and reintegration of SPLA personnel in the North in accordance with the agreement.
Ghandour has expressed displeasure over the international community bias, saying “it is supporting one party at the expense of the other and talk about the need for aid delivery and forget that the solution lies in stopping aggression on Sudan”.
“Sudan is now defending its land and people in the face of aggression. It is a matter of defense the Sudanese Armed Forces are undertaking, backed by the NCP, the people and all nationalist and political forces,” he said.
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“The US Secretary of State said Sudan was working on destabilising South Sudan and they said they will deal with Sudan following a policy of the carrot and the stick,” Bashir said, referring to earlier comments from the United States.
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The first Victory of the SRF Forces against the National Congress Party (NCP) Forces and Militias in the battle of Jau.Posted: February 29, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Press Release
Tags: first victory, national congress party, revolutionary front
The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF)
Statement No. 1
The first Victory of the SRF Forces against the National Congress Party (NCP) Forces and Militias in the battle of Jau.
The Destruction of Two NCP brigades and the seizure of 140 Vehicles and 300 Dushkas.
In the first contact with Commander Abdelaziz Adam Alhilu, after the conclusion of the Jau battle and the control of the strategic Jau area by the forces of the Joint Command of the SRF and in its first battle with the NCP forces and militias that had started at 5:00 AM on February 26, 2012, Commander Alhilu provided the preliminary details of the big victory that raised the morale of the forces of the Joint Command of the SRF. The victory is also considered a huge support for the forces of change inside Sudan since they are an important front that complements the armed struggle with their popular efforts in a tight coordination with the armed, popular and civil efforts inside Sudan.
To the members of the SRF inside Sudan and abroad and to the people of Sudan in general who are longing for change, hereunder are some of the initial details of the Jau battle and will provide full details of the battle when the rest of the information are available:
- The complete destruction of two NCP brigades and seizure of all military equipment and the intact military gear.
- The battle left high numbers of deaths and injuries among the forces and militias of the NCP and the rest ran away in different directions.
- The seizure of 3 Tanks in good condition.
- The seizure of 7 cannons 120mm.
- The seizure of more than 140 vehicles in good condition.
- The seizure of 300 Dushkas
- The inventory of captured small arms is underway and will be announced soon.
The SRF affirms to its supporters that it is born strong and the NCP lost its balance in the first confrontation and test. We promise our members and supporters with more victories in the coming days and expect from them to stage popular uprising and protests in support of the arm struggle in the fighting fronts to accelerate the departure of this nightmare that suffocates the peoples of Sudan for nearly a quarter of a century.
Abu Algasim Imam Elhaj
Information Secretary and the Spokesperson of the SRF
February 26, 2012
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Press Release: The Tenth Plenary session of the Leadership of Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement–NorthPosted: February 18, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Press Release
Tags: aerial bombardment, liberation movement, national congress party, political affiliation, secession of the south, sudanese civilians
Please find attached a statement from the last SPLMN Leadership meeting.
SPLMN Representative to the US
Tags: al mahdi, mikhail bakunin, national congress party, southern kordofan, sudanese citizens, sudanese society
By Namaa Faisal AL Mahdi
January 31, 2012 (LONDON) – In an unexpected set of events, National Congress Party’s key members turn against their own political party in Gadaref, Nyala, Kosti, Tagali & Port Sudan, heralds a new phase of national rebellion and protest politics in Sudan
“To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt.”
News fresh from Tagali on the 31st of January 2012 -confirm assumptions, of a deep and escalating crisis hitting the ranks and the heart of the National Congress Party (NCP), the ruling party of the Sudan. The historic town of Tagali, in the State of Southern Kordofan, which saw the birth of the Mahdi’s led revolt at the turn of the 20th century, is seeing a different kind of crisis; its commissioner who has rebelled against International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted State Wali Ahmed Haroon, has been relieved of his duties, amidst news of wide arrests amongst his (NCP) colleagues and an ever more intensifying battle with the Kauda Alliance Forces.
News of frustrations, unrest and resignations amidst the National Congress Party ranks also dominate recent news from Port Sudan, Red Sea State.
Protests have become epidemic to Sudanese society, there were even news of protests on the 31st of January, by the government of Sudan’s oppression and torture machine, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), an organisation which seems primarily responsible for spying on Sudanese citizens as well as the abduction and detention and interrogation and torture of all Sudanese who openly and or secretly defy the national government.
Prior to the NISS protest as a result of government announced reductions in their bonuses, 700 prominent military officers from Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) presented president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and minister of defence Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein with a memo which was reported to include several demands including military and political reforms as well as a warning against any military engagement with Sudan’s newest neighbour South Sudan. Government of Sudan’s second vice president al Haj Adam Yousif as well s defence minister Abdul-Raheem Mohammed Hussein have repeatedly threatened to start a war with South Sudan over some unresolved issues which include the protested oil rich region of Abyei and the Sudan’s government accusations to South Sudan of harbouring and supporting the rebel Kauda Alliance Forces.
Last year unrest amidst the Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) led to relief from duty and forced retirement of 12 Armed Forces Commanders, the list which was published by the online news paper Hurriyat included major operations commanders who included el-Fasher Brigade Commander, el Tayeb Musbah, Nyala Brigage Commander Ahmed Abdoon, Manager of the Ministry of Defence Office al Naeen Kidir and Commander of the Army Intelligence Services Abbas Taje el Deen.
Earlier last week, commissioner of Kosti, White Nile State and vice chairman of the National Congress Party’s White Nile State branch rebelled against the National Congress Party and government and declared himself a self appointed Wali, a revolution which might have cost him his new anticipated role as commissioner of Rabak and a potential stretch in the Sudan’s notorious political prisons.
An escalating crisis in Gadaref State is also reaching boiling point, with The State’s Wali, 0Karam Allah Abbas openly criticizing the national governments superimposed governmental structure named the “Wide Based Government”. The wide based government is the current governmental structure involving the participation of 14 non elected political party members at all levels of the Sudan’s governance, which raises challenges of public sector’s expansion and raises questions of governance legitimacy. Also Fuelling the crisis in Gadaref is the national government’s imposed restrictions of governmental and State spending; National Congress Party led government earlier this year announced via the Central Bank of Sudan in Khartoum a set of restrictions on access to governmental bodies to loans from national banks and on governmental bodies spending.
Four days of protest initially ignited by National Congress Party leading member, ex National Minister of International Trade Dr. Abdul-Hameed Musa Kasha, brought the Sudanese army into the streets of Nyala to contain the people’s revolt. The incident which left at least four people dead, following Sudanese authorities use of live ammunition to disperse protesting crowds, also showed extreme restraint and wisdom from the Kauda Alliance Fighting forces who chose not to intervene in the town’s civil protests at the heart of Nyala city centre, an intervention which could have led to more life losses. The Kauda Alliance Forces were just on the periphery of the town at the time- engaged in numerous battles with the SAF.
Kasha who was unconstitutionally relived from elected post and replaced by an unelected central government appointed Wali, used his tribal influence, as well as the safety net of being a leading member of the National Congress Party to ignite the protests, the protest eventually burned most of the NCP’s buildings in Nyala town and has also led to mass arrests amidst the State’s student population and National Congress Party and other political party members.
Overshadowing the horizon is news of conflicting memos of reform presented to the heads of government by a phantom Islamic movement. The Islamic Movement or Islamic National Front and or the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan was an organisation of Islamic elites, which according to ex Islamic Movement leaderships statements, was dissolved in 1989 as part of a policy to remove 60% of the active membership, whilst leaving 40% to dissolve into the various National Congress Party government structures and leadership; within the remaining 40% in governance ( 20%) volunteered to lead deadly missions in the 22 year old civil war between the north and south, 10% left out of their own accord and 10% remained at the heart of governance.
The movement also saw further fractures with the overthrowing of its reforming leader Dr Hassan el Turabi at the turn of the century and the formation of an opposition movement under his leadership, the Popular Congress Party (PCP).
At the same time, the government is trying to remove attention from its ongoing political and dire economic crisis by fuelling religious conflicts and launching unfounded attacks on Sudanese opposition parties, government affiliated religious bodies have so far issued an official claim of apostasy against the leader of the opposition Umma Party, el Saddig el Mahdi and Imam of the Ansar sect and leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party Dr Hassan el Turabi.
Sudan is currently undergoing a deep economic crisis caused by the loss of over 75% of its oil revenue after the south became an independent country as well as poor management of governmental finances, a civil war in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile State as well as excessive governmental spending on the army police and national security services, estimated at nearly 30% of the forecasted 2012 annual budget , spending in presidential affairs estimated at nearly 5% , whilst spending in all basic necessary services such as education, health and support for business and agriculture estimated was forecasted at less than 1.2 % .
Short lived protests and demonstrations start quickly and just as quick are dispersed by national police forces’ use of heavy tear gas, heavy wooden sticks to beat protestors to a pulp and mass arrests. These sporadic bursts of protests have been ongoing since the coming to power of the National Salvation regime in 1989. On the 4th of January 2012, Chief of Police, State of Khartoum announced that his police force has successfully dispersed and successfully dealt with over 450 incidents of anti-government protests in Khartoum State alone.
Sudanese people cannot be ruled via a dictatorship or tyranny despite the general misconception and overriding assumption by the schooled Sudanese elites, who have deliberately and purposely participated in stealing the people’s will and democratically elected governments since the country’s independence in 1956. Schooled or mis-educated elites assume that a superimposed dictatorship or guardianship is the only feasible way to rule Sudan.
This misjudgement was inherited or taught to Sudanese schooled elites, who failed and continue to make their own sense and sound judgment about the state of their own country. The statement was made 127 years ago by General Charles Gordon’s on a nation he has failed to rule and to bring into submission:
“The Sudan is a useless possession, ever was and ever will be …..it can not be governed except by a dictator who may be good or bad!”
General Charles Gordon
Despite this being the overriding assumption of many Sudanese schooled, who have since Sudan’s independence formed part of the elite decision makers who ruled the country; evidence of continual revolution against tyranny proves the exact opposite.
The writer is a London-based Sudanese activist. She can be reached at email@example.com
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Tags: heavy losses, kordofan, liberation army, liberation movement, national congress party, nuba mountains
Please find attached a Press Statement about a major SPLA victory in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains State.
SPLMN Representative to the US
SUDAN PEOPLE’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT
Analysis: Land deals “threaten South Sudan’s development” and “SPLM Urges Locals to Unite, Defend Nation From SAF Invasion”Posted: December 12, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan
Tags: allafrica com, food insecurity, juba sudan, national congress party, south sudan, south sudanese
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Refugees in South Sudan Determined to Stay
Voice of America
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Tags: and loud voices, domestic challenges, international criminal court, national congress party, omar al bashir
By Simon Martelli (AFP) – 11 hours ago
KHARTOUM — One month after allowing the south to secede, Sudan’s government has not reaped the hoped-for rewards but it has so far resisted strong international pressures and mounting domestic challenges.
Khartoum was expecting to be swiftly removed from the US terror blacklist, as Washington promised, in return for its cooperation over January’s referendum and the resulting independence of South Sudan on July 9.
An easing of sanctions and help with its crippling debts were also hoped for.
But none of this has happened yet, while the ongoing conflict in the ethnically-divided border state of South Kordofan has focused unwanted foreign attention on Sudan’s internal problems.
An angry exchange of accusations on Friday between Khartoum and Washington, where loud voices are calling for the deployment of peacekeepers to avert government-sponsored “genocide” in South Kordofan, laid bare the deep mistrust between the two countries.
“There is a general view in Sudan that the Americans are not up to their commitments, and they’re just buying time, in order to put pressure on the government,” a senior member of the ruling National Congress Party, Ibrahim Ghandour, told AFP.
“Many politicians here feel that the idea of regime change is still at the forefront of the American political plan,” he said.
In stark contrast, China, Sudan’s biggest trade partner, sent its Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to Khartoum this week for a two-day visit that reaffirmed Beijing’s unwavering support for the cash-strapped government and its protection in the UN Security Council.
Prior to southern independence, some commentators were predicting a bleak future for President Omar al-Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity in the war-torn Darfur region.
Bashir demonstrated once again, on Sunday, that the ICC charges fail to prevent his international movements when he flew to Chad for the inauguration of President Idriss Deby Itno, after having travelled to Riyadh, Doha, Beijing and Tehran in the past two months.
But with the involuntary loss of the oil-producing south, other serious domestic threats to Bashir’s regime are looming, analysts say. These include divisions within the NCP, spiralling inflation, and two major conflicts within Sudan’s new borders.
“Internal challenges are the priority for Bashir, more than international isolation,” said International Crisis Group’s Sudan expert Fouad Hikmat.
“At the moment, stability in the north is maintained by coercion, by the use of force, by brutality, by continuation of the war in Darfur, by trying to defeat militarily the SPLM in the north, which he cannot,” he added.
The president himself admitted, in a speech to parliament after the secession of the south, that the north was entering a new phase, and called for “perseverance and patience” until things improve.
Ordinary Sudanese are certainly feeling the pinch, with the government introducing an austerity package to reduce Sudan’s unaffordable subsidies, after the gaping loss of southern oil revenues, estimated at some 36 percent of its previous income.
The tussle with South Sudan over oil transit fees, with which the north hopes to offset its losses, prompted the Port Sudan authorities to block a southern oil shipment last week, aggravating already fraught relations between Juba and Khartoum.
But arguably the most telling indication of troubles at the top are the cracks within the ruling party itself.
At the end of June, Nafie Ali Nafie, Bashir’s top adviser and number two in the NCP, signed an accord with Malik Agar, the leader of the SPLM north, that raised hopes of a permanent settlement to the South Kordofan conflict.
Three days later, it was rejected by the NCP leadership, allegedly for recognising the former rebel group as a legitimate political party and because the NCP is not supposed to sign security agreements.
Shortly afterwards, Bashir ordered the army to continue fighting until it had cleared the state of rebels.
Ghandour says there are no divisions within the party, and that the framework agreement was rejected for legitimate reasons.
“This party is governed by institutions… The Addis Ababa framework agreement was signed before it was blessed and supported by the leading bureau of the party. When it was discussed, the leadership unanimously” rejected it, he said.
But others dismiss this explanation.
“They have to show unity, because they know that the situation at the moment is extremely fragile,” said Hikmat. “Very clearly, people saw there was a division… and it is very dangerous to have that at a very senior level.”
Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »
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Tags: Christopher Zambakari, national congress party, political dispensation, post-cpa era, south sudan challenges, south sudanese, sudanese citizens
By: Christopher Zambakari
As a means to reduce conflict and fulfil its citizens’ hopes, South Sudan’s key challenges revolve around the development of an inclusive, residency-based citizenship, writes Christopher Zambakari.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 9 January 2005, brought an end to the brutal civil war (1955-1972; 1983-2005) that had engulfed Sudan well before its independence in 1956. The CPA was the immediate culmination of the negotiations that ended the hostility between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
It ultimately created a new political dispensation and landscape in South Sudan. An estimated two and a half million people have died and more than five million have been uprooted due to the civil war (UNMIS 2009; IDMC 2011). In fulfilling the mandate of the CPA, a referendum on self-determination was conducted in January 2011, and 98.83 per cent of South Sudanese effectively voted to secede from north Sudan. The General Assembly of the United Nations admitted the Republic of South Sudan into the community of nations as the 193rd member of the United Nations on 14 July 2011 (UN News Centre 2011).
With the celebration of independence slowly coming to an end, the South Sudanese citizens will start to demand the fulfilment of a long-awaited dream: freedom from oppression and domination, justice and equality, democracy and economic prosperity, peace and tranquillity. The South Sudanese will soon start to demand that the fruits of liberation be shared among the people. The expectation on South Sudan to deliver basic necessities such as security, water, food, healthcare and education will only grow with time.
South Sudan has seen a proliferation of consultants and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) over the past several years. Professor Mahmood Mamdani, director of Makerere Institute of Social Research, observed that the tendency today in Africa is to place the emphasis on the search for solutions while neglecting the crucial role of problem formulation (Mamdani 2011). Without devoting time to understand the issues that fuel violence, it is not possible to find sustainable solutions.
In the Sudanese context, nobody understood the challenge of Sudan better than the late chair and commander-in-chief of the SPLM/A, Dr John Garang. With the inception of the SPLM/A, Garang’s first task was to define the problem. The immediate task for Garang and challenge back then – as it was for Mandela in South Africa – was to reform the colonial state and fuse the various nationalities or tribes into a nation. The solution to the crisis of citizenship was summarised in the concept of the New Sudan.
The New Sudan vision presented at the Koka dam conference was a conceptual framework for a country which was inclusive of all its multiple ethnic groups, pluralistic and embracing all nationalities, races, creeds, religions and genders – a country in which all Sudanese would be equal stakeholders. Ironically, the challenge for the Republic of South Sudan today is the same as that outlined by Garang in 1986 (Garang 1992). How is the new republic going to build a democratic, all-inclusive nation out of so many ethnic groups in the nascent state? How is the country going to answer the question of citizenship?
The crisis of citizenship is rooted in the policy laid by the British in the early 20th century and inherited in the post-colonial period in Sudan. It also explains the cycle of violence in Darfur, in the west of what is now considered north Sudan, and the deadlock over the disputed regions, with Abyei being the most contested area. The problem in Abyei between the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya, the conflict between the camel nomads of the north in Darfur against the agriculturalists in southern Darfur and the demand for a tribal homeland in southern Sudan all revolve around the same issues: political representation, access to pasture for cattle and claims to a tribal homeland. Without resolving those fundamental issues, the violence will not subside. Rather, new waves of violence – with higher frequency and intensity – will arise, with far more deadly consequences.
What is required in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile is not a military solution to the problem. The problem being political, the solution must be political in nature. The question of citizenship and the colonial state, which reproduces and enforces political identities, needs a political reform that will join the two demands for citizenship, one ethnic in character and the second based on residence. The challenges in both Sudans are reflective of a larger challenge facing most post-colonial African countries (Mamdani 1996).
Every post-colonial African state deals with the question of building an effective plural society and managing diversity within an inclusive framework. This is because Africa is the most diverse continent in the world, populated by diverse nationalities, with a rich cultural heritage pre-dating recorded history and vibrant plural societies. Given that Sudan is the microcosm of Africa’s promises and problems – contained within its boundaries are all major African language groups and nationalities – the problems of Sudan are reflective of the larger continental political crisis facing all African countries (Garang 1992; Beshir 1968; Deng 1990).
FACING THE REACTIONARY RESUMPTION OF COLONIAL GOVERNMENTALITY
One of the most enduring legacies of colonialism in countries ruled by Great Britain is how power was organised. The colonial state functioned on a dual system of governance. This form of governance led to group discrimination based on ethnicity and privilege of one group at the expense of all others. Any policy designed to bring lasting peace in South Sudan must begin with the question of citizenship. At the heart of the colonial system of governance was a duality in how the colonised were ruled and how those deemed civilised were governed (Mamdani 1996). It was a project enforced by law. Whereas the urban civilised was governed under common law, the natives were governed under customary law. Customary law, in turn, discriminated against individuals based on membership in a tribal homeland. Customary law was a system that privileged those considered natives and discriminated against those considered aliens, foreigners and non-natives (Mamdani 2009).
In a recent report published by the London School of Economics it was shown that in matters of institutional reform, the new South Sudan has rather taken a contradictory path (LSE 2010). According to the CPA, too much centralisation of power in Khartoum was part of the problem of Sudan before the independence of South Sudan. Until then, decentralisation had become a de facto solution. In Southern Sudan the government experimented with decentralisation only to return to a highly centralised system. At the local level, the government policy was to enact a legislation called the Local Government Act in 2009, which was seen as a way to delegate power to local institutions. However, this policy was also tainted by something familiar in Sudanese history.
It was the mode of rule adopted by British strategists to govern Sudan in the first place. This was an administrative mechanism characterised by a duality in law which translated into parallel structures, one governing semi-proletarianised in urban areas and another governing peasants in rural areas. It was a policy which enabled British colonial administrators to divide up the majority of peasants into hundreds of smaller minorities and effectively deny them the political rights to mobilise or act as a majority. Today, it pre-empts the creation of a true inclusive state and focuses on a mode of governance, which produces many smaller nation-states within the larger state.
THE LAND QUESTION
The land question is one of the most tested in Sudan. The citizenship question and the land question are related. The definition of citizenship is either based on ethnicity or it is based on residence. These two claims converge in the area of representation in the state as well as claims made to access land and resources. Those who claim citizenship also claim that access to land be based on ethnicity, which is defined as those who are indigenous to the country. Here, Sudan is like its neighbours. When one asks the question, ‘Who are these indigenes?’, the immediate answer is ‘those of us who have always been here’ – in other words, the natives.
The second claim comes from migrant workers, immigrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). These groups claim that citizenship based on ethnicity is unacceptable. They claim that every citizen should have similar rights. Anyone with the remotest background on African history will notice something which is consistent throughout the continent. Migration has always taken place across Africa – both voluntary and forced. Africa is the original continent of migration. The colonial state was particularly harsh and discriminatory towards those who move out of the demarcated tribal homeland in search of better living conditions, e.g., migrant workers or those forcefully displaced or internally displaced persons.
The cases of the Banyarwanda in Uganda and in eastern Congo, the Ghanaians in Nigeria and the Burkinabe in Côte d’Ivoire are illustrative of these tendencies in the post-colonial period. In each of the mentioned situations, violence has been the outcome of a conflict that pitted those defined as natives – or indigenes – to those branded as non-native or non-indigene. Both claims should not be dismissed uncritically but understood to be based on the history of state formation in Africa. The first demand is rooted in the colonial period, reproduced by the post-colonial state, and the other rooted in the concept of nation-state which provides for equal rights to all citizens, with its genesis in the French Revolution.
Today, Sudan has the largest number of internally displaced persons in the world. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre puts the estimates around 5 million (IDMC 2011). Khartoum continues its policy of ethnic cleansing in the disputed regions with its systematic policy of driving out the Dinkas and replacing them with Misseriya in Abyei. In Southern Kordofan, a report quotes key members of the National Congress Party (NCP) explicitly demanding the ethnic cleansing of the Nubian people from their homeland (Africa Confidential 2011). Land allocation for returning IDPs is crucial for survival. This has been a particularly difficult process in relation to access to land, a vital source of livelihood for most Southern Sudanese, pastoralists, agriculturalists and nomads. One report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council puts the challenge as follows:
‘Returnees are only allocated residential plots, but for their livelihoods they would also need agricultural land; however this is not being demarcated. The returnees have generally been told that they can cultivate any available land that they find. However, some returnees told IDMC that they would need permission from the local chiefs to acquire agricultural land; this would not be easy for those who were not returning to their original village (2011).’
Without resolving the crisis of citizenship, reforming land tenure laws and resolving the conflict in the border regions, South Sudan will remain in a perpetual state of war. Success hinges upon those unresolved, yet related, issues: citizenship and access to land, Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. These issues also hold the key to a successful nation-building project in the new republic.
ADDRESSING THE CITIZENSHIP QUESTION
In his recent keynote address to the East African Legislative Assembly Symposium, Mamdani stated that citizenship in Africa has been based on two post-colonial traditions: territorial and ethnic. Mamdani pointed out Tanzania’s exception among the East African countries, a group which South Sudan might soon become a member of unless it decides to opt out. He said that ‘Tanzania is the only part of the region where a group has not been persecuted collectively – as a racial or an ethnic group. Tanzania is the East African antidote to Nigeria’ (Mamdani 2011). It can even be argued that Tanzania is not only the antidote to Nigeria but the antidote to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), where conflicts rage over the citizenship question.
South Sudan and North Sudan will need to develop a legal framework to address the question of citizenship, particularly the problem of nomads and pastoralists in Sudan and elsewhere to avoid stateless people throughout the region. It demands the political imagination of deemphasising descent and emphasising residence as the basis of a common citizenship. In the first instance, this is a shift from exclusion to inclusion, which broadens the definition of the political community. The need to reform citizenship laws in the post-CPA era was pointed out in a report by a scholar based at the Open Society Foundation who wrote that ‘Non-discrimination on ethnic, racial and religious grounds is the foundation for a stable state while exclusion and discrimination sow seeds of political unrest, economic collapse and war’ (Manby 2011).
One way out of the citizenship crisis is to change the criteria for how citizenship is defined, lest the political right of citizenship be turned into an ethnically defined membership to a native authority (Mamdani 2010). This challenge requires that a person’s primary residence be used rather than the origin of the person, while incorporating other methods for assigning citizenship. By allowing consent and voluntary selection of where people want to live, violence can be preempted and the nation-building project given a chance to succeed.
The governments in Sudan and South Sudan do not necessarily have a monopoly over the instruments of war. In the south the government does not have the luxury to unilaterally impose. The alternative strategy is to compromise and build consensus around key fundamental issues and bring all key players into the fold. This strategy will be reflected in the new government that will be formed in the upcoming weeks.
This creates the necessary environment for political imagination based on the condition that is imposed upon the Sudanese by history and politics. Looking ahead, there is a need to reform the colonial state in both its public and customary spheres, thereby changing how the mass of the peasantry is organised, institute land reform laws that reconcile the question of rights with that of justice and find a political solution to conflict in the disputed regions.
The task ahead is not impossible. It simply demands that South Sudanese mobilise to build their country. It demands political imagination to go beyond the colonial state and build unity in diversity among the many nationalities in the South. The Russian-born economist Alexander Gerschenkron used to say that there are increasing disadvantages in developing late, but the exception was the advent of technology which could enable countries to catch up from way behind (Gerschenkron 1962). The strength of the South Sudanese society is capable of propelling the country forward if leadership is capable of creating an environment conducive to the task.
Christopher Zambakari is a candidate for a Law and Policy Doctorate (LPD) at the College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Zambakari expresses his gratitude for the support and constructive feedback received on this article from Tammy Michele Washington, Anschaire Aveved, Noah Japhet and Tijana Gligorevic.