Articles and Analysies
Sudan before and after 2011 By: Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth
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Dec 10, 2009 - 8:33:01 AM

Sudan before and after 2011 By: Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth


Sudan or “Bilaad-el-Sud”, which means in Arabic the Land of the Black, is geographically the largest country in Africa and historically has been marked with continuous conflict and turmoil.

In 1899, Sudan came under Anglo-Egyptian rule and was administered by a governor-general who was appointed by Eypgt and approved by Britain . Egypt sought to unite with Sudan , but Britain opposed and frustrated these efforts by creating divisions within Sudan ’s numerous and different ethnic groups and by essentially dividing Sudan into two separate regions – the predominantly Arab Muslim North and the Christian and Animist South.

In 1956, Sudan was granted independence, however, the Africans of Sudan lost their identity as the new ruling government defined Sudan as an Arab Islamic nation. In response, war broke out between the North and the South in 1955. After 17 years of war, an agreement was reached in 1972 that allowed the South a certain level of autonomy. War reignited in 1983 with the imposition of Islamic or Sharia law on all of Sudan , including the South and the dishonoring of the 1972 agreement.

After 21 years of civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, which ended the war and provided for the democratic transformation of Sudan and the opportunity for Southern Sudan to vote in 2011 either to be part of Sudan or secede. Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has experienced 38 years of war in which over 2.5 millions Southern Sudanese lost their lives and over 4 millions were displaced from their homes.

The people of Southern Sudan and the people of Sudan from all the marginalized regions of Sudan , including Darfur , are crying out for the rightful recognition of their original identity, and they reject the existing totalitarian regime. They demand a system of governance that represents their diversity with equal citizenship, representation and distribution of national resources.

As stated earlier, the CPA, which ended two decades of the bloodiest civil war in Africa, was signed in January of 2005 by the Government of the Republic of the Sudan under the leadership of the National Congress Party (NCP) and the leadership of the South’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

The CPA grants Southern Sudan a semi-autonomous government and it specifically provides for two major events:

1) National elections, which have been rescheduled for April 2010; and 2) A referendum to determine if Southern Sudan can be part of Sudan or secede, which is fixed to take place on January 9, 2011.

Many obstacles must be overcome in order for successful implementation of the CPA. The border between the North and the South must be demarcated; concern about the accuracy of the census must be addressed; laws that impede the democratic process must be revised; and laws addressing the referendum and popular consultation must be enacted.

Elections are scheduled to take place in four months and the referendum in fourteen months. Needless to say, free and fair elections and referendum are very important to the people of Sudan . Thus, the Government of Southern Sudan calls upon the international community, especially signatories of the CPA including the United States, which brokered the agreement, to oversee full implementation of the remaining provisions of the CPA; to carefully monitor the registration and election processes; to provide protection and logistical support for voters; and to hold accountable all parties that obstruct the democratic process.

The CPA was structured to provide the Government of Sudan six years to make unity attractive; however, President Omar Al-Bashir and his regime, the National Congress Party (NCP), have failed to make that happen. Unless the NCP dramatically and immediately changes its policies and chooses to fully implement the CPA in good faith; to end its assault on the people of Darfur; and to provide services to the marginalized people of Sudan , the South will choose to become an independent country where freedom, justice, equality, peace, and prosperity are accessible to all. As a representative of the Government of the South Sudan , I assure you that unless there is change, 98% of the Southern Sudanese will vote for the secession because we no longer can endure being treated as “second class citizens” or “fourth class citizens” in our own country.

The people of Sudan have suffered needlessly for decades. If the people of Sudan choose to break into separate nations, it is imperative that the process is peaceful, well organized, and fully supported by the international community. Post 2011 planning must begin immediately and the international community must be involved to ensure transparency and to minimize the possibility of conflict, which is projected by several schools of thought around the world. Over the next fourteen months and beyond, the Government of Southern Sudan is calling on the international community to hold accountable any party that obstructs peace and justice; to help protect innocent lives on the ground; and to provide logistical support for the founding of a new democratic nation.

As the Government of Southern Sudan works to rebuild a region that was utterly devastated by civil war, we are keenly aware of and deeply disturbed by the atrocities being committed against our brothers and sisters in Darfur and we strongly oppose the human rights abuses that plague the entire country. We find it unconscionable that the vast resources of Sudan are horded by the ruling elite while the rightful owners of the country’s resources suffer terribly due to a lack of infrastructure, medical care, clean water and inaccessibility to education and the basic necessities of life. We call on the international community to join hands with the marginalized people of Sudan to hold the perpetrators of such injustices accountable; to protect the people of Sudan as they seek to secure their rights; and to engage in developing the country in a way that promotes independence and prosperity.

Four years ago, the CPA was signed. Four years ago, Sudan ’s civil war ended and the hope of a new democratic Sudan was born. Four months are left until national elections and fourteen months are left until the referendum. Although we are faced with serious and enormous obstacles, we sincerely believe that with the help of the international community, Sudan can experience free and fair elections; a peaceful referendum; and ultimately peace, prosperity, justice and equality for all.


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