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Latest News ÇáÕÝÍÉ ÇáÚÑÈíÉ Last Updated: Oct 27, 2009 - 9:33:43 PM

Sudan stop the Arms Race and Wake up to the future of our Children.

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Sudan stop the Arms Race and Wake up to the future of our Children.

By Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.D.
November 29, 2008
Posted to the web on November 29 2008


The Sudan is a country that has been at war with itself for the last five decades. While the fighting in the south has now come to a halt since the signing in 2005 of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between the south and the north, sadly enough it was immediately replaced with another civil war in the western region of Darfur when the black African population took up arms to fight the injustice and underdevelopment imposed on them by the minority clique rule of Khartoum.

The war between the south and the Arab Islamic North led to the death of over 2 million and the displacement of another 4.5 million people over the 21 year period. And now the Darfur war has cost 300,000 lives and the displacement of 3 million people as Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees across the Sudan- Chad border. As could be expected the majority of the victims in these wars happened to be children due to their high vulnerability as a result of chronic malnutrition, repeated infections and inability to tolerate the harsh conditions imposed by the war.

In a bit of a reflection on the second liberation war fought in the south, it happened that between the years 1984 – 91,  thousands of innocent south Sudanese children as young as 8 years of age were taken away from their parents with the false promise  for them to pursue their education in the neighbouring Ethiopia but unfortunately they all ended up being forced to fight in the rebels’ ranks where many lost their lives while on their way to the training camps or on the battle fields and more even so during the split wars of the SPLA. This is however just one of our several negative  experiences with our children and how much we have exploited their innocence and robbed them of their childhood either directly or otherwise.

When the North – South peace was signed in 2005, we were all aware or at the least should have been so, of the fact that our children are the future of our nation. Though we didn’t live up to our promise to allow   them pursue their education during the war by forcing them to become combatants at a very young and tender age, again  now we are also breaking our promise for the second time by not providing enough classrooms and books for them. We also on many occasions fail to pay their teachers on time. If we really value our children then we have the moral obligation towards these teachers who have willingly accepted to teach the children under the existing harsh conditions which still prevail in most areas of south Sudan. These teachers deserve to be paid and praised more so even than our leaders who are all the time busy shuffling millions of dollars of the public money outside the country,  to buy homes and establish businesses  in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, South and East Africa, leave alone the mega investments in the Middle East countries like Lebanon.

Further on the line which undoubtedly portrays Southerners as mere   reactionaries, the north still sets the pace of everything in the Sudan. Now because the Sudan Armed Forces ( SAF)  have bought 30 or more  Russian MIG 29 fighter planes, the  parliament  in the south  immediately went ballistic, and currently the military expenditure  of the government of south Sudan’s  (GoSS) has been doubled.

Are we seriously building up arsenals for yet another civil war? Can dialogue not resolve the remaining issues? I am asking these questions because we should have learnt from the past two civil wars that it is only through negotiations that political issues can be resolved. And if at all we want our country, the Sudan at the moment ,  and then the independent south Sudan after 2011 ,  to come out of the vicious cycle of ignorance, poverty, disease, underdevelopment, dependency and so on ……. We need to educate our people, provide them with medical services and encourage them to produce their own food and this should be our priorities.

However if we still look for salvation through the barrel of the gun, while neglecting the basic needs of our people with our children taking the priority , we can readily prophesy that the Sudan as a  country and the south Sudan in particular  will forever remain at the bottom of the list in as far as national development is concerned.  The oil money which we are now spending carelessly on the crazy military built up rather than engaging in sustainable human development projects, undoubtedly  portrays the NCP /SPLM partnership  at both levels of the GoNU and GoSS as being formed of a group of people who just  behave as if the oil is there to remain for ever.

Below is the real situation of the Sudanese economy.

The Sudanese finance and national economy minister Awad Al-Jaz acknowledged that world financial crisis would impact the economy more than previously announced.

Al-Jaz speaking to Sudan official said that drop in oil prices is the determining factor on the magnitude of the effect on the country. “Sudanese economy is hugely dependent on oil revenue. The price collapse from $147 to $40 a barrel provides a realistic insight into the impact” Al-Jazz said.. Oil exports represent 65% of revenue for Sudan and helped fuel its unprecedented economic growth despite US economic sanctions.

“Sudan escaped the direct hit of the crisis but we are not isolated from the rest of the world” the Sudanese official said. . Al-Jaz called for taking advantage of the world food crisis this year and focusing on marketing Sudan as an investment spot for agriculture. “This will only happen through hard work so Sudanese exports can compete in world market” he added

This month – Sudan has been forced to cancel its tender to sell 500,000 barrels Nile Blend crude for January delivery because of low bids.. Sudan’s offer came after already skipping October & December spot sales for unknown reasons. The Greater Nile project which produces this heavy sweet, high-quality, Nile Blend crude has experienced diminishing productivity lately from 325,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 200,000. (Sudan Tribune 27/11/2008)

Our army is surely important for our national sovereignty come the 2011 referendum, but we as a very poor economy can not afford to stage an arms race at this point in time. Our priorities should be in fact aimed more on building the culture of peace in our war torn south Sudan. If we built robust diplomatic machinery, we can be able to engage our neighbours even the most traditionally hostile ones in a warm dialogue which can save us all the nasty ailment of yet another civil war. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say that with the cost of one jet fighter we can educate more than 40,000 of our desperate children, and with just the cost of one modern tank we can built more than 400 rural pharmacies.

To everyone’s disappointment, all the news on the Sudan in the world media has recently been hijacked by how the former foes and now peace partners in the government of national unity, are busy purchasing weapons. Recently it has been reported in the media that Khartoum is continuously purchasing sophisticated military hardware from countries like China, Russia and Iran. It is also a common knowledge that the Sudanese government is engaged in the production of modern military tanks, ammunitions, arms, as well as armoured personnel transport vehicles within its military production complex. The GoSS was also reported to be consigning weapons and ammunitions through the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Kenya.

Worse still is the huge numbers of the illegal guns in the hands of the citizens in many parts of the Sudan especially in south Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur. In these areas the arms race has come down even to the levels of tribes and clans and the popular slogan is “Al endu klash yaakul balaash”, which in Arabic means,anyone who has Kalashnikov eats free of charge”.

My straight forward question to the Sudanese Government in Khartoum is that, against whom does it intent to use these heavy arsenals? Is it meant to be used to silence the insurgence in Darfur or is it going to be used to block the secession of the south if  ever it votes  for an independent sovereign state in the 2011 referendum ? Or is it that the predominantly Arab Islamic regime of the Riviera cliques, are finally preparing to lounge an over all war against the marginalized black African people all over the Sudan after realizing that the current regime may mark the end of the Arab rule in this big African country ?

And how much does this crazy Sudanese arms race relate to the international criminal court’s (ICC) stand towards Sudan and its leader Omer al Bashir? Can these MIG -29 ever stop Luis Moreno- Ocampo the ICC attorney from securing the arrest of the Sudanese president and the other named perpetuators of crimes in the war torn Darfur region of western Sudan?

Anyway which so ever way Khartoum intents to use its arsenal, it is bound to fail. The Sudanese people especially those hailing from the worse marginalized areas had been used in all the previous civil wars as war fodders. But now that the people are becoming more aware and conscious of the divide and rule policies of Khartoum in playing the marginalized people against one another, it can be said that Khartoum’s chances of winning an over all Sudanese war, by engaging the different dissatisfied groups in the south, centre, east, north and the west at the same time is really gloomy, unless it resorts to outside assistance from the other Arab countries which would be of course on purely racial basis.

However before we all get carried away by the mere imagination of yet another devastating war erupting simultaneously in the different regions of the Sudan, we should ask ourselves as to who is really going to benefit from such a war when it is more likely to destroy the entire nation? Are we not yet satisfied with the miseries we had seen and continue to see in the refugee and IDPs camps? Are we not yet fed up of seeing the war amputees all over the place? Are we not yet enough moved by the miseries of the many widows and orphans who loiter our streets in the search of food when their male bread winners have been killed in the war? Are we not yet fed up of seeing illiterate young people who missed their chances for education as they were caught up in the war?

If we are really true statesmen, then we should have our people’s interests at heart. Do we think that our masses will benefit more from yet  another war or should we preferably promote more negotiations in dealing with our traditional rivals in the north? Does our future lie in training our youth more of the modern ways of warfare or should the CPA be better utilized for learning the art of conflict resolution, constructive dialogue and warm diplomacy. Which direction do we think can bring us close to the realisation of the aspirations of the average citizen in the Sudan at large and the south in particular?  

The frustrations voiced by the civilian population in Darfur are basically because the international community has chosen to deviate from the CPA which was meant to be a template for solving all the other Sudanese regional problems. So far much money and time have spent on having peace keeping forces in the region. Unfortunately to everyone‘s dismay non of these forces ever succeeded in  preventing any of  the many massacres and  actions of  rape  which took place in the IDP camps and the black Africans’ villages in the hands of the  government troops and their notorious  right hand Arab Janjaweed militias.

The way forward would have been through a dedicated mediator in the calibre of Mr. Lazarus Sambayo and a specialized body like the IGAD which brokered the CPA between the government of Sudan represented by  the ruling National Congress Party of Omer al Bashir and the Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). A similar structure is badly needed to broker peace in Darfur.

In the south it is obvious that the international community has turned its back to the implementation of the Naivasha CPA signed in 2005. All the attention is now on Darfur and if the situation continues this way this very peace truce in the south is more likely to fail in delivering some of its very sensitive protocols particularly so, is the vital demarcation of the borders between the north and the south as it remains crucial to the verification of the 2008 Census results, the 2009 elections and the referendum to be held in 2011.

Further more much resentment in south Sudan has been due to the failure of the international donors in keeping with their promises of initiating development in this war torn part of the world.  Not more than 1.5 billion dollars of the 4.5 billions promised for the reconstruction of south Sudan has been so far released, at a time when the same international community has already spent more than 4. Billion dollars in Darfur in the form of peace keeping operations and food aid yet without any sign of a possible peace in the horizon.

There is really a great need for the Sudanese parties to the conflict to reconsider their positions properly especially so, is the position of the two partners to the CPA in the Government of National Unity (GoNU). If the two partners put the interest of the Sudanese masses to live in peace and never ever to revert to war at any stage, they can be able to responsibly implement the CPA in a timely manner thus making it possible for them as well, to negotiate a peaceful settlement in Darfur.
If we can do all the above, and non  is  outside our mental scope once given the political will, we can proudly move to the same level as the other nations. We really do not need all those jet fighters, or the sophisticated military tanks. If China, Russia and Iran want to help the Sudan, they should do it by contributing in finding a peaceful settlement in Darfur and helping the north/ south CPA partners to implement the agreement as scheduled

To bring my point home, I say if indeed there are people outside there who really think that they are our friends, then they should help us to acquire the necessary technology in order to exploit the vast resources in our country so that we can alleviate the sufferings of the people and in turn guarantee a political stability to the country and the entire region, but not any more of those deadly weapons. The future of our children comes first and NO to your fighter planes, NO to your sophisticated tanks and NO to your proxy wars.  

This article is of course not meant to stop south Sudan from exercising its right to self defence, while putting in mind that war means destruction which is the direct opposite of development.

The author is a south Sudanese doctor living in the UK, and can be reached at: [email protected]



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  • Tough homecoming to war-ravaged south Sudan
  • Sudan's president goes to Qatar next week
  • Preparations completed to hold international youth Forum in Khartoum
  • Activities of the National School Tournament launched in Dongola
  • President Al-Bashir to lead Sudan delegation to development summit in Doha
  • Golden Jubilee of Sudanese-Chinese Relations to be celebrated
  • Sudanese officers to testify at ICC
  • Sudanese Refugee's Life A Lesson For City Students
  • Researchers report new species of deadly Ebola virus
  • Sudanese opposition leader killed in car crash
  • SUDAN: Natural resource management tops UN agenda
  • Presidency of the Republic Eulogizes Dr. Abdel-Nabi Ali Ahmed
  • Libya Declares Readiness to Implement Projects in Darfur
  • New Strategy Set up to Open Markets for Sudanese Livestock and Meat Exports
  • Armed Forces repulses heinous attack by Sudan Liberation Movement Unity at Al-Halaf area in North Darfur
  • Rebels, Sudanese troops clash in Darfur
  • The Sudanese Jordanian higher committee meets later this month in Sudan
  • Council of Ministers approves bills on amendment of the Criminal Law and Human Rights and Lands Commissions Acts
  • Dry Port and Railways Station at Garri Free Zone Inaugurated
  • State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs meets EC official
  • UN makes record $7bn aid appeal
  • Sudan rebels wanted over peacekeepers' deaths
  • ICC seeks rebel arrests in Darfur
  • Commander: rebels, Sudanese troops clash in Darfur
  • President Al-Bashir and Somali President Hold Talks
  • Industry Minister to address Sudan celebrations with African Manufacturing Day
  • TDRA Calls on Ministry of Finance to Fulfill Commitments for Implementation of Al-Fasher Agreement
  • Joint Defence Council and Political Commission for Cease-Fire Agreed on Coordination to Implement Security Arrangements
  • Britain Foreign Secretary David Miliband the ICC procedures will not lead to the resolution of the Darfur problem and might even complicate it.
  • Peacekeepers pushing Darfur rebels to ceasefire
  • Catholic Bishops Warn Peace Pact is Losing Drive
  • EU offers to fund Sudan electoral commission
  • Rights Advocates Tell Russia to Halt Warplane Sales to Sudan
  • Sudanese Jordanian Cooperation Discussed
  • Taha Affirms Sudan Keenness to Consolidate Relations with Yemen
  • Darfur Peace and Reconciliation Council agrees with AU Security Council on Reactivation of Ceasefire
  • Finance Minister Receives Norwegian Ambassador
  • Minister of Energy, Mining chairs meeting of Advisory Council of his ministry
  • A free Southern Sudan would be good for Kenya
  • Sudan Police Arrest at Least 60 Journalists
  • Minister of Energy, Mining chairs meeting of Adviseory Council of his ministry
  • Syrian Prime Minister affirms keenness to maintain unity, stability of Sudan
  • Dr Nafie says realization of unity and solidarity with the African continent countries is the top priority for the Sudan
  • Minister of Finance Gives Address on General Budget for year 2009 before National Assembly
  • Ministerial Decree on Facilitating the Procedures of Humanitarian Aid in Darfur Issued
  • Chad and Sudan plan deployment to secure border
  • A long way from the violence in Sudan, they now call Australia home
  • QNB Al Islami sets up shop in Sudan
  • SA Archbishop pleas for understanding in Sudanese stabbing case
  • Sudanese journalists detained at censorship protest
  • SUDAN: Southern women march for end to GBV
  • Sudan buys Russian MiG fighter jets
  • Darfur refugees demand genocide trial for al-Bashir
  • Sudan approves key electoral commission
  • Dr. Nafie receives UN Under-Secretary General for Field Support
  • UN announces commitment to the deployment of 80% of the UNAMID troops by end of March
  • Exportation of the First Shipment of Sudanese Sheep to Saudi Arabia Today
  • Rebels accuse Sudan's government of Darfur attack
  • Sudanese envoy lauds Yemeni support
  • President Kiir Assures on Security in South Sudan mid-November
  • Welcome the return of relations between Chad and Sudan which have been achieved by the Leader'
  • Sudan hires UK law firm to handle ICC indictment of Bashir
  • First Week in Khartoum, Sudan
  • Chilmark pupils raise funds for Sudan
  • Darfur refugees seek justice over peace
  • Darfur rebels accuse Sudan of bombing despite truce
  • Arrival of the Egyptian infantry battalion in Al-Fashir completed
  • Kenana Sugar Company starts production operations for new season to produce 413,000 tons of sugar
  • Khartoum Environment Declaration to be signed during Nile Basin Development Forum
  • Taha to address International Youth Forum in Khartoum
  • Albashir Violates his Unilateral Ceasefire in less than 72 Hours
  • Russia sells 12 fighter jets to Sudan: reports
  • ICC prosecutor seeks warrants in third Darfur probe
  • Documentary brings awareness to Sudanese conflict
  • Libyan, Sudanese women discuss cooperation
  • Sudan: Darfur Arrest Warrants Sought
  • Sudan Economic Growth to Slow After Oil Plunges More Than Half
  • SA soldier killed in Sudan laid to rest
  • Sudan: Russian Fighter Jets Purchased
  • African Union chief calls for fresh Darfur peace talks
  • US commends Chad, Sudan for resuming diplomatic ties
  • Sudan Supports Russian Actions in Caucasus
  • Sudan faces tax rise as oil price falls: minister
  • 'Sudan People's Initiative' Calls for Ceasefire; President Declares it Immediately and Unconditionally
  • SUDAN: Cautious optimism over Darfur ceasefire call
  • President Bashir and his Eritrean counterpart underline keenness to achieve peace in the Sudan
  • Dr Obied: the visits of the Eritrean president to the Sudan was successful and achieved positive results
  • UN Secretary General welcomes President Al-Bashir declaration of cease-fire in Darfur
  • Sudan Embassy in Nairobi issues press release on the recommendations of the Forum of the People of Sudan
  • Leader received Sister Assistant Secretary of the Sudanese Umma party2008
  • Doubts raised over Sudanese President's ceasefire in Darfur
  • Sudan cease-fire call gets wary reception in Darfur
  • President Afwerki Sends Message to First Vice - President Salva Kiir
  • President Al-Bashir Affirms Continuation of Work in Implementation of Western Salvation Highway
  • Deputy Chairperson of AU Commission says Forum of People of Sudan strong basis for solving Darfur problem
  • IFC explores investment opportunities in S Sudan
  • Sudan's president announces ceasefire in Darfur
  • President Al-Bashir receives recommendations and decisions of National Forum of the People of Sudan for solving Darfur problem
  • President Al-Bashir Affirms Government Commitment to Negotiate for Reaching Peaceful Solution for Darfur Issue
  • President Al-Bashir Declares Immediate Cease-Fire in Darfur
  • Eritrean President arrives in Khartoum on official visit
  • Economic Sector approves Budget of Fiscal 2009
  • Egypt seeks to postpone Bashir extradition
  • Sudanese investors to put up a five-star hotel in Uganda
  • Momma Chol Helps Sudanese Refugees Cross 'Bridge' to US Society
  • Aussies honour war dead in Sudan
  • UAE planes to bring relief to Sudan's flood victims
  • Sudan civil war survivor to students: Never give up
  • Sudan should call new Darfur ceasefire - forum
  • President Al-Bashir to Receive Final Report of Forum of the People of Sudan on Darfur
  • President Al-Bashir to open new establishments in University of West Kordofan Tuesday
  • President Mubarak affirms in joint press conference in Juba with Salva Kiir Egypt's keenness on making unity attractive
  • Forum of the People of Sudan Approves its Final Report in Historic Sitting
  • President Al-Bashir briefed on Egypt's efforts to convince Khalil Ibrahim to resort to the negotiation table
  • One local Central Coast synagogue donates money to Sudanese refugees
  • Mubarak in Sudan to discuss Beshir genocide accusation
  • Sudanese refugee to speak at SCSU about experience, turmoil, war
  • Mubarak in Sudan for talks on Darfur crisis
  • Chad, Sudan resume relations
  • President Al-Bashir honours Ambassador of Greece on completion of his posting to Sudan
  • National Forum of People of Sudan to hold concluding session Wednesday
  • Minister of Justice brified on ICRC activities in Sudan
  • Sudan, Chad swap ambassadors six months after rift
  • Kenya to train South Sudan civil servants
  • Chad Ambassador Returns to Khartoum and Sudan Ambassador Leaves for N'djamena
  • President Al-Bashir Appreciates Distinguished Relations between Sudan and Qatar
  • A workshop for francophone African countries for the benefit of BADEA's Focal Points and Desk Officers
  • Chad notifies Sudan on arrival of its ambassador Sunday to assume his work
  • President Saleh receives letter from Sudanese counterpart
  • Sudanese Delegation Scouts for Support
  • Hundreds of thousands follow Sudan funeral
  • Darfur rebels shun conference, seek direct talks
  • Sudan bans two newspapers over protest
  • International Islamic Parliamentarians Forum Affirms its Solidarity with Sudan concerning False Allegations of ICC Prosecutor
  • Sudanese people initiative forum wound session on Wedneday
  • Taha calls for alternative international Islamic economic system
  • Chairman of African Union Fact-Finding Committee Affirms its Commitment to Contribute to Normalization of Sudanese - Chadian Relations