Articles and Analysies
The secession of south Sudan remains the only viable option By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD. UK
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Nov 10, 2009 - 8:11:23 AM

The secession of south Sudan remains the only viable option

“With the failure of the experiment of one country with two systems, the unwillingness of the NCP to abolish the police state and the south’s continuous feeling of vulnerability thus spending 40% of its budget on building its arsenal at the expense of basic infrastructure and food production, the CPA’s call for making the unity of the Sudan attractive has been completely replaced by the South’s urge for Independence.”

By: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MD. UK



The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Sudanese the National Congress Party of President Al Bashir representing the North and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) representing the South, was in fact nothing more than one of the so many stations in the Sudanese politics which is dominated in a great portion by power struggles between the centre and the margin (periphery). Though it is now staggering like a drunken person to use the description of the Sudanese’s First Vice President and President of the semi-autonomous south Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit, it is still holding with the support it gets from the USA government.

But in reality as a result of the new civil war in the western province of Darfur, the CPA had on many occasions failed to produce the expected impact on the general political situation in the country as the changes which were supposed to follow the peace agreement were in many occasions over shadowed by this new conflict and its international ramifications. As such it became clear to the Sudanese as well as the international community that the decay that affected the CPA in its first 4 years was in fact due to the preoccupation of the Sudanese policy makers and their counterparts in the international arena with the genocide that was carried out in Darfur as the Khartoum government chose to resort to this irresponsible scorch earth policy in its attempt to suppress the new rebellion.

However the single important factor that actually made the CPA to encounter reluctance in its implementation by the signatories remains to be the antagonizing visions of the two parties to the agreement. The Islamist NCP is in no any way ready to step down from any of its objectives of clinging to power, dominating the major decision making process, holding firmly to its fundamental Islamic orientation that only pays lip services to any inclusiveness and the much promised democratic transformation, as they (Islamists) will never ever accept to establish a secular system of rule.

The SPLM on the other hand is also holding firm to its ideology of bringing about a New United Secular Sudan. However unfortunately sooner than later the two partners became engaged in rows over the implementation of almost every single item they agreed on at Naivasha in 2005. And as this very agreement was mainly brokered by the USA administration under former President George W Bush, its implementation has all through depended at large on continuous USA pressures. This is quite disturbing as it shows that the Sudanese themselves are not keen in any way to implement the peace agreement the way it should be. And this is much so the position of the dominant NCP where it has resorted to playing a policy of frustrating its partner more than any thing else. Going by the record of their behaviour even before signing the CPA, it could be seen that the NCP is a party that can not make genuine consensus but rather agrees to any step only with the primary intension of buying time once it comes under international pressure.

As such the real survival of the Islamic fundamentalists rule in any part of the Sudan depends largely on keeping south Sudan within a united Sudan, only to be used as a means of rallying support behind NCP in the name of defending Islam and the perceived right of the Sudanese Arabs to continue ruling over their fellow Africans. Unfortunately things are always not as planned and the discontent in many parts of the north itself is becoming even more of a challenge to the ruling clique of Khartoum no less than the one posed by the South.

Yet the greatest paradox remains in the fact that both the NCP and the SPLM have reached a point that they continuously need the American intervention in almost every step of implementing the remaining issues of the CPA and sometimes even on the smooth from day to day maintenance of their partnership. So is it not implying that the Sudan may have to have the US especial envoy as a permanent advisor and a political broker at the Sudanese Presidency in order to mediate between the two sides till the south secedes or for ever if the Sudan remains united?

The secession of the South which has become imminent is still seen in other part of the Sudan with much scepticism especially so amongst the marginalized people of the political north ( Darfur , the Nuba Mountains , the Ingassana, and the Beja). The impression here is that, at the present moment the South seems to provide the hope of championing the cause of the marginalized people of the Sudan , a position which should be taken with a pinch of salt given the true background of the protracted wars fought in southern Sudan for the last five decades. But I hope that the other marginalized people of the Sudan need also to be very realistic with themselves knowing very well that southern Sudan has reached a stage that politically it is no longer compatible with any parts of the political north especially so when most of these regions participated in the Islamic Holy War (Jihad) that was declared by the rulers of Khartoum against the non Muslims of the South.

This final test of having one country and two systems which was meant to maintain the unity of the Sudan has apparently failed as it has become even a source of a grave unrest in south Sudan . The majority of the south Sudanese politicians now believe that the North has a hand in destabilizing the south by encouraging the inter-tribal fights especially in Upper Nile and Jonglei States with the ultimate intension of painting a negative picture of the GoSS to the international community. However should this be true then for sure it has dealt the last blow to any trust that was left between the two former foes.

And as long as the Sudan remains a united country, the Muslim governments in the North will continue to exploit the religious sentiments of its citizens whether marginalised or in the centre of power to create uneasiness with the South in the name of either spreading or protecting Islam. This was the situation that existed for the better part of the period from the independence of the Sudan (1956) till today, where the marginalized people of the north are being used as fodder to feed the North/South conflicts and thus guaranteeing the tight grip on power by the northern riverians Arab elites especially those with origins in the Northern and the Central Regions of the Sudan. While these helpless marginalized people got nothing in return except for more marginalization which has at times turned into frank campaigns of genocides as is the case now in Darfur.

It is hoped that with the secession of the South, the people from the marginalized areas of the North will turn to focus more efficiently in settling their grudges with Khartoum without any distraction from the South. While this policy of marginalization which is a common anomaly in the Sudanese politics, is already showing its ugly face even in southern Sudan . And hopefully the people of the South following secession should also be in position to address this anomaly after removing the chronically ill relationship with the North from the political equation.

This is because right now there are a lot of corruption, lawlessness, generalized insecurity, inter-tribal conflicts   and impunity in the South that southerners   remain hesitant to   talk about,   leave alone attempting to tackle it as the political priority   in most instances is now directed towards   issues pertaining to the tenacious relationship with the North to the extend that some people have continuously insisted that southerners   should stop criticizing the poor performance of the government of south Sudan (GoSS) at this particular time as that would playing directly   into the hands of the northern NCP. However the silence on these issues can also prove to be counter productive.

Anyway whatever we say about the present partnership between the two dominant parties in the Sudan , we know that in the absence of a continuous US intervention the CPA would cease to exist. Also the SPLM’s expectations of a New United Secular Sudan has failed the test which suggests that the Sudanese in practise are more prone to end up with two separate states come 2011. This brings us to the natural conclusion that the noises   being made in Khartoum by our fellow northerners whenever   they hear of calls for the secession of the South,   utterly remains to be seen   as a   mere act of hypocrisy while in reality they are the ones who sow the seeds of the anticipated secession.

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, MB, BCh, DRH , MD. Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). The party that stands for the independence of South Sudan . Can be reached at either [email protected] or [email protected]

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