Articles and Analysies
Sudanese Peace: To Attain Democracy or Autocracy Consolidation? (1-2)/By: Mahmoud E. Yousif - Juba
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Jul 10, 2008 - 9:53:59 AM

Sudanese Peace: To Attain Democracy or Autocracy Consolidation? (1-2)

By: Mahmoud E. Yousif - Juba

E-mail: [email protected]

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When the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) was signed between the Sudan Government (GoS) and the Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army (SLPM/A) in Nairobi-Kenya on January 10, 2005, impressions were given that, it was the end of African longest and greatest conflict, and that Darfur was thought as relatively minor solvable issue, with prospects of Democratic flourishing and changes in Sudan.

Three years had passed, things didn't moved well, started with death of Dr. John Garang, many obstacles facing CPA implementation, starting with implementation of Abyi protocols, border demarcation, oppressive laws were not amended in line with the constitution, the National Congress Party (NCP) is consolidating its power, opposition parties are restrained from playing positive roles, depth of Darfur Genocide slowly starts emerging, while the state of Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was shown by H. E. Arko Mani Minawi during SPLM Convention recently in Juba, joyful event which was tarnished by an Inhuman events in Abyi which had shocked humanity for the daring repetition pattern of Darfur Genocide and that cruelty and scorched earth policy . Expectations of Democratic changes in Sudan, had changed to urgent need to review past events and analyze it for knowing the mental goals behind the peaceful trends showed by the NCP prior to the CPA, then to see how to achieve democracy, but that can’t be achieve without knowing the historical background that had created present peace, with many questions, such as: why all these are taken place now? What was the really goals behind signing the CPA? And what is the way forwards?

Although this article was written on September 2007, but the contents with minor amendments still hold firmly; the article will try to answer these and other questions from a Sudanese perspective, with some suggestions.


New Sudan, the Depth of Strategy

Till March 1972, the Sudanese conflicts used to be known as South Sudan problem, when President Gafar Mahamad Nimari signed Addis Ababa agreement with South Sudan Liberation Movement, headed by Gen. Joseph Lago. Nimari who solved the seventeen years war, was the first to dishonor it in 1983.

In 1975, three years after the agreement, several Southerners groups start entering the bush in discontents with implementation of the agreement, a gorilla war was waged once again against Khartoum government, till April 1983, when two battalions mutinied, one in Bor led by Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, the second in Pochalla led by Major William Nyuon Bany. These coincided with a holyday by Col. Dr. John Garang de Mabiour, who left Bor after Kerubino, towards the eastern part of Upper Nile, from where they launched together with Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit and others the SPLM/A on May 16, 1983, to build the justice and democratic New Sudan, some Southerners opposed the core objectivity of liberating the whole Sudan, but the main stream of the movement succeeded in affirming that vision.

That slogan attracted thousands from Nuba Mountains in central Sudan, some from South Blue Nile and Darfur, which positively reflected in neutralizing many from these areas who could have recruited in Sudan Arm Forces (SAF) to fight SPLA.

The late SPLM Chairman, Dr. John Garang urged the northern who are already discontents with Nimary regime, particularly among the marginalized, who represents more than 70% of the population, whose fertilized lands in Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains were striped and given to individuals and companies.

The call for New Sudan got ground even from Northerners intellectuals and humanists, who used to witness injustice and suppressions in every aspects of lives, example of that, the practice of slavery as exposed by two Sudanese scholars in 1988 [1].

On August 28, 1991, a group led by Dr. Reiak Machar and Dr. Lam Akol declared in Nasir town, the overthrown of Dr. John Garang as Chairman and Commander In Chief of SPLM/A, then they launched assaults towards Equatoria, at that time, the Bright Star Campaign Phase II, which captured Western Equatoria, composed of ten thousands soldiers, 90% of them were from Nuba Mountains, the bulk of the force was diverted towards the new front, five battalions commanded by Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit which confronted and defeated the assaulting group near Gimeza (between Bor and Juba), while another three battalions commanded by Cdr William Nyuon Bany which crossed by boats, took over Bor area, these forces succeeded and managed to upholds the Movement integrity.

That great participation by Nuba with many others marginalized groups, strengthens the feelings of common objectiveness and belonging among the Southerners and   marginalizes Northerners in SPLM/A, for importance of establishment of the New Sudan over the old Sudan, a force was sent to Darfur in September 1991 to fulfill that dreams, unfortunately it was exhausted by many battles, the force which was commanded by Cdr Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu assisted with the Martyr Cdr Daud Yahya Bolad, the force fought and defeated several SAF battalions and Arabs militants (which were later transformed into present Janjaweed) in 41 battles, but finally due to lack of logistical supports, it withdraw from Darfur [2].

From the first peace initiative at Kokadam (Ethiopia) in 1986 to resolve the Sudanese issue, through the Mulana Mahamad Osman Almargani-Dr. John Garang initiative in 1988, to Abuja one and two in April 1993, till the start of the Peace Process auspices by Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in 1994 , ended by signing of CPA on January 10, 2005, SPLM/A used to conducted all negotiations on behalf of the liberated area or the New Sudan, that revolutionary mandate was transformed into democratic one at both, all Nuba Conference at Kauda on December 2-5, 2002 and All Fung Conference at Dem Mansor at outskirts of Kurmuk in December 18-20, 2002.

In his historical opening speech for the All Nuba Conference at Kauda on December 2, 2002, Dr. John Garang said “Nuba exists in Machakus and IIGAD because of the SPLM and their struggle, the Fur and Bija are amargenalized but they are not in Machakus! Because they are not in the Movement, although they are Struggling” He continued “Our people in the South Sudan and Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile and Abei are represented by the Movement, and I would like to assure them, we will not let them down, they never let us down and there is no place in the South a Nuba soldier didn’t die on it, the Force which I led in 1990/91 to Western Equatoria was mostly structured from Nuba, they didn’t let us down in the struggling, in fighting, we will not let them down in the talks,this is a simple thing; how come they didn’t let us down in the fights and we are to let them down in the talks? This is one of the issues that should be solved at the EIGAD”, also he mentioned that: “The vision of the Movement is that of the New Sudan, we uphold that unity even at the most difficult situations, and that we had shaken in 1991, but we never quit that vision”.

Thus the aspirations towards attaining the dreams of the New Sudan into reality becomes synonymous to the hope towards values of democracy, justice and dignified life for all Sudanese people, under which democratic forces can cause change in Sudan, which may reflects positively in the whole region.


 Escalation of IGAD Peace Talks and Darfur Factor

Since it took power militarily on June 30, 1989, the Salvation Regime or NCP never seriously conducted the peace talks, they were just gaining time hoping to wipe out SPLA from controlled areas, example for that, in December 1994, at first IGAD peace talks in Nairobi, a cease fire was suggested by Mediators on Thursday, the government announced the cease fire to start at midnight of Saturday, on Friday SAF launched assaults on Aswa bridge aiming to capture Nimuli town near Uganda border, hence to claim that SPLM/A doesn’t control any area in Sudan, then they may abandon the peace talks, what happened is that, Aswa bridge was defended by SPLA, and the whole plan failed.

At IGAD meeting in Addis Ababa in 1998, the Khartoum delegate in an attempt to wedge a rift between Southerners and Nuba/Blue Nile, they said, they could have offered South Sudan the right of self determination if not the existence of Nuba and Fung within the Movement, the Late Yousif Kuwa, bravely replied to them, that "We decided with Malik Agar, to accept the South to be given that right, in separate to our cause", felt trapped, Sudanese delegation immediately withdrew the proposal.


When Machakos Protocol was signed on July 20, 2002, Gazi Salah Al-Dina Alatabani, head of Sudanese delegation, in replaying to why given Southerners self determination, was quoted saying " Isn't it better to sign Machakos rather than wait for Darfur to come up?"


Without knowledge or regards to that and others, some decision making centers in consultations with some, thought IGAD peace talks could drag on, unless New Sudan dimension is separate from SPLM/A, by solving the Nuba and Fung causes separately from IGAD or from the Southerners cause, to execute that, Justice Africa, headed by Dr. Alex de Waal , hold a conference in Kampala, Uganda on October 2002, delegates were invited from areas controlled by the government, representing some activists, nationalists, members of NCP, and others .

SPLM boycotted the Conference, Secretary of Information Dr. Samson Kwaje issued memorandum condemning the conference as arranged for the interest of Khartoum government to undermine the struggle of marginalized people of Sudan. Nothing justified that move, because as seen in Addis Ababa in 1998, and several speeches and personal talks with late, Cdr Yousif Kuwa Makki, all shows his convection and leaders from both areas that if Southerners aspiration is to get secession, it is their rights to do so, but Kampala conference was aimed at giving general impression that population of both areas doesn’t recognized SPLM/A representation, they want their case been solved separately, within northern Sudan, that was strange position, it is the same that Dr. Alex de Waal is aiming at through Darfurian negotiations, by restraining the ambitions of marginalized in the northern .


SPLM countered that move, by holding all Nuba conference in Kauda December 2-5, 2002, attended by Nuba from areas controlled by both SPLM and the government, and the diasporas, cease fire for humanitarian signed in 2002 helped in that, while the Fung people of South Blue Nile hold theirs at Dem Mansor at outskirts of Kurmuk in December 18-20, 2002, although the government refused to allow Fung delegates to participate, but the conference was well represented.

Both conferences mandated SPLM/A to speak on behalf of population of both areas, regardless of this popular pressure, SPLM/A failed to maintain the three areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile State and Abyei Area in IGAD peace talks, it was auspices by the Government of the Republic of Kenya, also SPLM/A failed to get the right of self determination for both areas, although both were given Popular Consultation, under Article No. 3 in their respective agreements , which is equal theoretical opportunity .


After signing Machakos Protocol, the Peace process stalled, IGAD presented proposal document to both parties at Nakoro in Kenya in 2003, the Sudanese government accused IGAD of biased, to extend that during a public address rally, President Bashir asked IGAD “ to sprinkle the document with water and drink it!

In May 2003, both parties met at Nanoki, suddenly issues start moving, where Security Arrangements was signed at Naivasha, Kenya on September 25, 2003, wealth sharing on January 2004 , power sharing on May 26, 2004, Resolution of Abyei Conflict on May 26, 2004 and the Resolution of the Conflict in South Kordufan and Blue Nile States on May 26, 2004. Finally the comprehensive peace agreement was signed in Nairobi, on January 10, 2005.

These developments in peace trends in Khartoum not due to government recognition of these conflicts nor to the international pressure (UN force to Darfur is good example in that); that trend was due to escalation of Armed activities by Darfurian Movements, Sudan government start loosing control in Darfur in early 2003, that was as demonstrated by Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) dare capture of of both Alfashir military garrison and airport on April 25, 2003 and Kotom on August 1, 2003, in Alfashir attack SLM/A arrested Chief of Sudan Air Force. The situation was so critical for GoS, with great number of SAF scattered in South Sudan, Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, confronting SPLA possible assaults on Khartoum, hence there was urgent needs for ceasefire with SPLA, which they secured at Naivasha, Kenya on September 25, 2003, to concentrate their forces in Darfur, thus what took place at Nyanuki in Kenya represents a turning point for the marginalized people of Sudan; (including the Southerners).





1- Ushari Mahmoud and Suliman Beldo, El-Diayn Massacre (Khartoum: N.P., 1987).

2- Interview with Cdr Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu in Nakuru, Kenya 2007.

3- Background of Darfur Genocide – Documents of Arabs Alliance:

4- (Suliman, Mohamad (Author), Al Bander, Salah (Editor), Sudan Civil War: New Perspective I. Sudan II. Political Ecology III. Political an Government (1956) IV. Socio-economic conditions V. Ethnic relations Cambridge Academic Press, UK, 2000, page 382)

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