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JEMís Vision for a New Sudan by Dr El-tahir Adam El-faki
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Jan 19, 2008 - 10:50:46 AM

JEMís Vision for a New Sudan

Dr El-tahir Adam El-faki

 

The Sudan in its current geopolitical shape, which is the creation of British colonial authority, is not functioning properly after over five decades. The country is thus at the end stage of a decaying and failing colonial arrangement. A new possible means for a working political bargain becomes indispensable. The conflict between the centre and the marginalized areas may indicate early signs for a process where the dynamics of violence in the periphery are effectively shaping the country. A future without a united Sudan may lead to formation of yet-again premature new African states. While the colonial powers unilaterally decided the fate of the colonised nations, the provisional new states in the North and the South are based on bilateral agreement between the two opponent political forces excluding the silent majorities in both the North and South. Some people may not agree with this statement on the assumption that the pending referendum will provide the Sudanese masses with real chances to cast their opinion and decide the future of the country. Time alone may tell whether the two new States will be viable enough to replace the old arrangement. The rhetoric of making unity attractive is inducement for sleepwalking. The South will eventually go its own way. The possibility therefore of two failed states remains high if the human and political conditions in which the attempts are made are not appropriately assessed and addressed.

 

Leaving the South aside, the upcoming Darfur peace process whether in Libya or elsewhere will be momentous. It is an attempt in the right direction for preservation of a united North as the British colonials left last in 1956. It does not imply a united North-South. The success of the peace process in Darfur is, therefore, key to the stability in both sides of the Sudan . The SPLM, long overdue, has eventually realised this fact and is currently vigorously involved to unite the Darfur rebels into one strong force. If successful this new deal may prove to be helpful in the long term for a potential unity of Sudan in a new arrangement. It is however, scarred by the recent escalation of power struggle among Darfur rebels. The continuous splits and mushrooming of Internet, electronic and fiction rebel factions are not healthy signs for a successful end. While the rebels and expedient Darfur elites are much to blame for the splits, the GoS is equally guilty of inciting such splits and divisions. The short sightedness of the GoS is very clear in these transactions. The late Dr Magdzoub El-Khalifa was the architect of such activities. He would not rest until he saw fragmentation of the two main rebel groups through financial support and lucrative job offers and bribes. This attitude is now taken over by his arrogant successor and former security tyrant Dr Nafie Ali Nafie. Nafieís new endeavour is based on the assassination of Dr Khlail Ibrahim, Presdient of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and fragmentation of the movements into yet smaller splinters.

 

The non-signatories to the DPA, JEM included, signed the declaration of principles in Abuja in July 2005. They have therefore accepted the Naivasha CPA as a step forward in the peace process and the political solution to Sudan ís ills. Uncomfortable as it may be to JEM it does not imagine a future for the Sudan without its current united arrangement. This is due to the fact that over the past few decades some sort of gradual socio-political integration and assimilation has taken progress and has advanced far beyond the geographic borders between the North and the South. The capital Khartoum harbours more than 70% of Darfur and Southern Sudanese flocks alone. It will be a pity for them to leave it for the minority in the North.

 

With some additions, the CPA could be repeated and applied in different shape and form to the rest of Sudan . In its current form it suites the signatory parties but not the rest of the country. The benefits of peace are beyond dispute. The only disadvantage is that it excludes the major political forces out side the National Congress Party (NCP) which constitutes only 5% of the total electoral votes extracted from reports of the last elections of 1986.

 

While it remains easy for the outside world to be optimistic about the CPA for ending a North/South divide, JEM offers a realistic political arrangement for the whole of the country. Its vision is based on the fact that the CPA is a process that will eventually lead to formation of genuine and valid Federal rule for the whole of Sudan . This approach is merely sensible when the aim remains a united Sudan . The CPA is intended to provide atmospheres conducive to peaceful and democratic handover of power and stability until the referendum is carried out in 2011. It is as well appealing for mounting need to defend it from virulent attacks at all costs. This fact puts some political pressure on the SPLM more than on its elusive partner, the NCP. As a result the SPLM may compromise some of its fundamental principles of its long struggle to keep the agreement intact. The new situation may prove detrimental to the SPLM, as others will see it failing to abide by the rigours of law and conduct. If it falls in this trap it will open floodgates of corruption and concentration of power and wealth among its elites and leaders. The end result is the demise and loss of the spirit of the struggle and internal fighting among its former comrades. Some of the above assumptions have already surfaced in its corridors and the leaders of the movement vowed to fight it. The dismissal of Telar Ring Deng and Aleu Ayieng from their ministerial posts and the membership of the SPLM are testimony to that conclusion. Power struggle also led to exclusion of Dr Lam Akol from his chair in the national cabinet as foreign minister.

 

JEMís vision for a new Sudan is based on the equal share of power and wealth between the six original post-colonial regions in an interim period. The regions are rostered to serve between four to five years each for the presidency of the whole of Sudan . When parity is achieved at the end of the interim period the country will adopt new elections that are open for all individuals from all the regions. The rotational system for the presidency is its core. JEM went further to suggest that the South should start the process and the head of the state to be its assignment. For the head of the state to be from the South is more than beneficial for the country in so many ways. Firstly, it will assure the Southerners that the North is genuine in its new arrangement. Secondly, the religious base that splits the Nation will be scrapped. Thirdly, a sense of competition among the regions will develop to prove its devotions to the unity of the country and it will be the South that will lead the process. And fourthly, the International Community will see the emergence of a new united, responsible and reliable Sudan that is easy to deal with. JEM is recently engaged with the SPLM to promote its proposals by campaigning for constructive understanding, participation and permanent future cooperative relations.

 

The British colonial powers brought together people of diverse history, culture, ethnicity, religions and aspirations into a speedy process of union by a military strength based on its own interests. It was not for democracy Sudan was made. The responsibility to reshape the political and geographical future of the country remains in the hands of Sudanese politicians accountable to their grass roots and their constituencies with clear vision for the direction of the Nation. The repetition of the same mistakes for speedy formation of premature States made by the colonials should be avoided. And by this we mean that the new Sudan should be based on the free will of the people to accept to live within the old geographical boundaries as a one country but with new arrangements without compromising democracy for the sake of security.

Author is Dr El-tahir El-faki:  Chairman of JEM Legislative Council. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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