Historical Hints on Survival and Collapse of Governments: Lessons for South Sudan and IGAD-Led HLRF
“The polis exists to assure the good life” – Aristotle. “For however strong a ruler may be, he will always have need of the good will of the inhabitants if he wishes to remain in power” – Machiavelli. “It is not by the concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected” – Thomas Jefferson. “There is no time to waste. We must either unite now or perish” – Julius Nyerere.
I - WHAT SHOULD BE AT STAKE FOR SOUTH SUDAN IN THE HLRF?
All the above quoted political wisdom should serve as reminders for finalizing the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) without further delays. The conscience of stakeholders of the de facto Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU)—whose term of office ended in April 2018—and the loosed opposition groups should get awakened so as to reach an urgent conclusion of a peaceful settlement that must end the filthy civil war in South Sudan.
Also the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should rethink its institutional bottleneck to become a trustworthy peace mediator with commendable achievement of the desired goal. The hierarchical decision-making organs of the IGAD (i.e., Assembly of Heads of State and Government that determines the policies and guidelines; Council of Ministers that approves the work programs and budget of the Secretariat; and Committee of Ambassadors that influence the Heads of State and Government, the Ministers and officials of the Secretariat, etc…) have often undermined the work of HLRF mediation experts, especially on issues of good governance and credibility of leadership of the awaited post-war South Sudan.
At the end of the game all the stakeholders (nationals and foreigners alike) should get tough lessons from evolution of political history of South Sudan so as to avoid dangerous blunders of unending crises. They must know that absence of good life, deflated people’s will, concentrated power and decayed national unity usually put BIG QUESTION MARKS on the essence of existence of modern democratic state in globalized era of universal human rights.
It was regrettably a wishful naivety to have thought that the tainted history of abortive governments and oppositions of the Sudan would absolve ‘independent’ South Sudan from inheriting the DNA of bad governance, dooming insecurity, confused economy and recurrent humanitarian catastrophe. The deceptive economic boom from oil revenues in the SPLM/A-controlled government in Juba (not clear for any confidence whether it is free-market capitalism, protected regulatory socialism or ‘mixed’ economy) has been infected by Dutch Disease with behavior of milking public coffers unaccountably.
As the reality of SPLM/A’s government and opposition has now gotten known by hard way of trial-and-error, it is high time the search for lasting peace is informed by roots and links of the evolved political past of South Sudan. Such acknowledgement is necessary, precisely when the territorial geography of the new country on the globe has not shifted to the Atlantic or the Indian Oceans, or even to the Red and the Mediterranean Seas.
The historical facts and actors about South Sudan must be gleaned and screened honestly from illusionary propagandist fictions. SWOT Analyses must be applied rigorously to identify internal and external Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the existing dysfunctional institutions and those leading them with defective attitudes. Also SMART Principles must be invoked to ensure adherence to Specificity, Measurability, Achievability, Realisticity and Timeliness of IGAD-mediated negotiations without fear or favor of anti-peace or anti-transformation proponents. Empirical descriptive evidence and logical premises must be used rigorously to arrive at sound prescriptive conclusions on resolving the daunting problems of leadership, security reforms, humanitarian assistance, sustainable economy, transitional justice and democratization of power in South Sudan.
What do you call the rivaling political leaders who act without vision for a mission and behave strangely as if there will not be a future to cherish for themselves or their heirs?
With its commendable emancipatory past, should the SPLM/A be allowed to continue disgracing the present and discrediting the future of South Sudan for posterity?
Is there a pride in the nauseating political disgusts about the renowned SPLM/A freedom fighters who sacrificed dearly to see South Sudan liberated from the injustices of old Sudan, but find themselves escaping the country for exile to live in diaspora as stateless individuals?
What honor is left there in the citizens who overwhelmingly voted for the independence of South Sudan but to get displaced internally to camps that are expensively guarded by foreign forces or seek refuge abroad in environmentally tough habitats of neighboring countries?
What do you call a government in a contemporary world whose 3rd secretary diplomat in headquarters of ministry of foreign affairs receive only a delayed monthly salary of 10 dollars?
What do you call a government in the era of universal human rights whose primary teachers are provisionally paid by foreign humanitarian donors (40 dollars a month) to keep them in schools for the sake of basic education rights of poor children, while the ministry of finance drags to pay in time the salaries of those teachers (equivalent to 5 dollars per a month)?
What do you call a naturally resource-rich country in the era of Millennium Sustainable Goals when 90% of its population lives beyond the threshold of poverty line due to man-made crises?
As the war situation stands, it will not be sustainable to temporarily bandage a government or opposition on fear mongering of ‘if we don’t this we will collapse and perish’. Such demise is the determined destiny of any irresponsible government or opposition that blocks the needed drastic change of bad status quo to new normal. No amount of propaganda or intransigence can triumph because when political pendulum has swung to the extremes of frustrating fragile peddling, nothing but final collapse would get queued in the sequence of events.
The cross of the very authoritarian cult that the exiled and rebellious SPLM/A leaders had established in South Sudan when they were on grip of power, is what is haunting them mercilessly to the core now. The SPLM/A was supposed to be archived in libraries after the independence of South Sudan in 2011 because there was no Sudan to be liberated any longer in the new state. Only memorial celebrations of that formidable liberation movement in Africa would have remained upheld yearly every 16th May.
However, the real anguish about the embattled South Sudan is the possibility of its breaking up into tiny fragilities that would make it difficult for rescuing the savable from political ruins. The fragmented status quo usually leads to undesirable uncertainties (e.g., reckless adoption of unsustainable political governance mechanisms, crooked security approaches, anarchical political economies and unending humanitarian catastrophes) with disturbing threats to the dignity of international peace and security. That is why South Sudan shouldn’t be allowed to sink deeper into abyss because the repercussions of ‘failed African solution’ shall not smell good for the region after what was witnessed in Somalia.
The nauseating war situation of South Sudan is akin to John T. Rourke’s diagnosis in his Books “International Politics on the World Stage” (1st – 8th editions), Daron Acemoglu’s & James Robinson’s depictions in their Book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” and Peter H. Schuck’s accounts in his Book “Why Government Fails So Often”. According to these critical writers, governments that mess up themselves with senseless conflicts and extractive corruption become predominantly characterized by:
- Dynamics of arrogant and self-serving power ambitions greedy actors with no real sense of responsibility for state/nation building;
- Little institutional engineering hampered by unsustainable bureaucratic deforms;
- Poor performance due to incompetence lack prudence on political economy;
- Recurrent abhorring violence exacerbated by rotten social fabrics;
- Riveting dramatic events with politically-motivated complex tragedies; and
- Dramatic collapse though sometimes hopeful ending that leaves everyone dumfounded by the turns and twists of new emerging realities.
The unending senseless wars drain the desired assurances in governments, oppositions, political parties, civil societies, interest groups and the entire people of a country. In such situation the international standards and humanitarian law become the first casualties (e.g., violence pursued and promoted not as last resort for a just cause; war declared and managed without legitimate authority; war conducted disproportionally for senseless aggression rather than self-defense; war fought without discrimination of non-combatants; and war continued without intention to restore the disturbed security and peace in the shortest time possible).
General Omar Bradley, the former Joint Chief of Staff of U.S.A Army, would not hesitate (as he did at the testimony to the Senate Committee in 1951 about extending Korean War into Red China) to call what is happening in South Sudan as “the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy”. The Dutch Father of International Law and the author of ‘On the Law of War and Peace (1625)’, Hugo Grotius, would also get irritated if the HLRF ends without compelling the negotiating parties to sing an equitable peace deal.
As nothing stands strategically designed for pursuing the undignified path of ‘real politics by other means’ but political survival through war, the sustainability of running South Sudan for longer in war would get squeezed into parochial irrational arena of unsophisticated luck or believe in superstitions. The history is full of refreshing hints of fate of governments and opposition groups that had defied the sense of preservation of human dignity.
II - GLIMPSES FROM TURKO-EGYPTIAN & ANGLO-EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENTS (1821 – 1956)
The governments that founded and ruled Sudan (including Southern Sudan) in the past were modeled after the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years of religious wars of monarchies in Europe. That Treaty upheld the sanctity of equality of sovereign European states based on respect for conciliatory secular approach to politics among the super powers who operate according to unified understanding for colonizing the less powerful nations that were regarded as not yet rational, scientific, moral and theistic for full humanity.
The history of Turkish-based Ottoman Empire (founded in 15th Century and collapsed in 20th Century when its territories were divided up in 1922 for trusteeship by strategic victors behind the League of Nations), is an important epistemological archive worth revisiting nowadays. That Empire was the founder of Sudan (land of the blacks) by default in 1821 via its commander, the Albanian-born Muhammad Ali Pasha (1769 – 1849). The objectives was to extract valuable resources and capture black slaves to be used for consolidation and expansion the colonial regime to new territories.
Muhammad Ali’s grandson, ‘the magnificent’ Khedive Ismail Ibrahim Pasha (1830 – 1895) tried to improve the tainted image of his government among ‘the virgin tribes’ of Southern Sudan. He appointed European adventurers to govern this slaves hunting zone (e.g., Samuel White Baker, Charles George Gordon and Eduard Schnitzler) to help him with reforms and “abolition of slavery” in accordance with Anglo-Egyptian Slave Trade Convention (1877) and the Congo Act (1885):
- Freedom of navigation and trade for all nations in the region forming the basins of the Congo and Niger without allowing a total hegemony of Britain or Portugal;
- Recognition of African boundaries as international borders demarcated by the dominant colonial powers who have endorsed the partition understanding via the Congo Act;
- Future appropriation of territory on the African coast had to be conducted by the dominant colonial powers via notification in advance to the signatories of any territorial acquisition; and
- Joint measures for suppression of slavery and slave trade within the colonial territories.
Also the history of British Empire (founded in 16th Century and expanded extensively between 17th and 20th Centuries to be known as the vast territory where the sun doesn’t go setting, though it diminished from 1950s and disappeared in 1997 after handing over Hong Kong to its rightful Chinese owners), is connected with the making of South Sudan though Lord Cromer (1841 – 1917) discredited it perceptively as a useless large tract that was difficult and costly to administer for any meaningful colonial interest. The Anglo-Egyptian colonial governments used the divide-and-rule tactics to subdue the local people of the Sudan but disadvantaging Southern Sudan through special policies of ‘Military Patrols’ to enforce colonial law and order, Closed District Ordinance (1921), Passports and Permits Ordinance (1922), Trade Permit Order (1928), Rejaf Languages Conference (1928)—six local vernaculars (Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari and Latuko and Zande) were recommended as medium for Southern education without prejudice to English or other European languages, ‘Building of Self-contained Tribal Units’ based on customary system, and banning mingling or intermarriages between Southerners and Northerners.
The post-World War I (1914 – 1918) and politics of the League of Nations; the invasion of Eritrea by Italy in 1935 with attempts to conquer parts of Sudan adjacent to Ethiopia; the World War II (1939 – 1945) and politics of the United Nations; the move by penultimate King Farouk I of Egypt to declare himself the Monarch of both Egypt and Sudan; and the pressure of Northern General Graduate Congress (formed in 1936) on the Anglo-Egyptian colonial Government to revoke its Southern Sudan policy and involve Sudanese in government, led to formation of Northern Sudan Advisory Council and enactment of Local Councils Ordinances in 1943 though with ‘safeguards’ by the British to uniqueness of the South. But the post-World War II (1939 – 1945) and politics of the United Nations shifted the paradigm where the British resorted to policy of empowering Southern Sudan educationally and economically to enable them stand strongly and competitively on their own as Negroid African, either as attached to the North, annexed to East Africa, or distributed between North and East Africa.
The U.K’s Labour Minister, Ernest Bevin, and the Egyptian Prime Minister Ismail Sedky Pasha signed a Protocol in 1946 on self-government and referendum for the Sudanese to decide on their annexation to Egypt or staying independent after nullification of Condominium Agreement (1899) and the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (1936) prior to the exit of colonial officials from Sudan. The Condominium Civil Secretary, James W. Robertson, wanted the South to remain attached to the North and the Middle East rather than East Africa. He and the Machiavellian Northern Sudanese Judge, Mohamed Saleh Shingeiti, organized the Sudan Administration Conference in Khartoum (1946) with special focus on ‘Sudanization’ of public service. The Conference recommended for conduct of Juba Conference in 1947 to bring Southern participants (civil servants, local chiefs, religious leaders and British officials) on board by persuading them to get closer to central government in Khartoum in returns for equal treatment in job remuneration, promotion, privileges, transfers and education.
Unfortunately the London-Cairo-Khartoum geopolitics undermined the original mood and promised of the Juba Conference. London preferred appeasing Khartoum to strike a blow on Cairo and its push for unity of the Nile Valley. The 13-Man Committee that drafted the Self-government Statute (chaired by Justice Stanley Baker in 1951 and with MP Buth Diu as the only member from the South but who boycotted with disappointment when his call for federalism was rejected) was affected by the diplomatic wrangling and confusing legalistic interpretations of the Agreement between The Egyptian Government and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island Concerning Self-government and Self-determination for the Sudan (1953.
With approval by the British authorities, the Northern politicians (patronized by Pro-Egypt Khatimya Islamists under Ali al-Mirghni and Pro-Britain Ansars Islamists under Abdel Rahman al-Mahdi) spat on the face of Southerners by denying them representation in the negotiations of Anglo-Egyptian exit from the Sudan. They despised the South as apolitical to be consulted because it didn’t have a single political party and would not deserve to sit equally with their masters to discuss government affairs. The Egyptian Information Minister Saleh Salim, serving under the Junta of Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, frequented his visits to Southern Sudan to promote unity of the Nile Valley.
It didn’t take longer before the workers in Nzara and Yambio went on riots, Torit armed forces went on mutiny, and wider unrest ensuing in Southern Sudan by1955. Khartoum blamed “the Southern Problem” on British policies of isolating the South from North with widened gap of mistrust, underdevelopment and backwardness of Southerners, disrespect of Northern traders and elites towards Southerners, false assumptions that Egyptians and British will intervene in favour of the South, miscommunication and maladministration by government officials, and rumour mongering by the opposition against Ismail al-Azhari’s interim government.
In a nutshell, the respective governments of the Great Ottoman Empire and the Greatest British Empire, including their extension into Sudan via assistance of de facto governments in Egypt, had to collapse mainly for these reasons: 1) conducting themselves above the fundamental universal human rights, and 2) pursuing globalization without moral conscience or human face. Regrettably, their political DNA is still haunting South Sudan nowadays (e.g., family dynasties with use of religions for political appearance of support and solidarity, proliferation of militias for government security against opposition, capitalist free market economy, anti-federalism, spree of corruption, maladministration, insensitivity to plight of local population, recycling of arrogant politicians in government, and intransigence on military might and other repressive demeanors against the colonized people).
III - HINTS FROM GOVERNMENTS OF INDEPENDENT SUDAN (1956 – 2011)
The Stanley Baker’s Statute of Self-government was passed into Transitional Constitution of the Sudan (1956) without incorporating the demand of Southerners for self-rule (Southern politicians were only persuaded that their demand would be given due consideration by Constituent Assembly during permanent constitution-making process). The independent Sudan didn’t change the bad politics of the colonial past, particularly against Southern Sudan and other marginalized peripheries that remained intact as God created them at the time of Adam and Eve (i.e., no added value of human and infrastructural development).
The British policies adopted after the Rajaf Conference (1928) and Juba Conference (1947) regarding ‘due recognition’ of uniqueness of Southern Sudan in its multi-cultural, multi-customs, multi-religious and multi-linguistic diversity, were trashed under new “Sudanization” policies adopted by the veterans of Northern Sudanese General Graduate Congress inline with the ‘Baqt’ (652 – 1323 A.D) of the Treaty that victimized the natives of Southern Sudan:
- Allow safe and free movement and settlement of Arabs and Muslims into Nubians territory, and vice versa for a limited movement of Nubians to and through Egypt for trade only without resettlement;
- Cease raids and wars between Egypt and Nubia so that the Peace of God and Islamic Message of Prophet Mohamed could prevail without obstruction;
- Build a Mosque in Dongolla and protect it for the Muslims and the in respect to Rulers in Egypt;
- Pay a tribute of 300 slaves annually to Egypt (reduced later to 360 slaves per 3 years);
- Return to Egypt the escaped black slaves and fugitive Arabs who opposed the Islamic dynasty.
The political character of the Jellaba and the intelligentsia who inherited government institutions of post-colonial Sudan didn’t become different from that of Jihadists of the Mahdiyya (1885 – 1898) who unleashed havoc in Southern Sudan to extract resources for the upkeep of nepotistic, corrupt, brutal, famine-stricken and slaves trading regime of Khalifa Abdullahai Al-Taishi (e.g., the notorious Jihadist Zaki al-Tamal beheaded the Shilluk King Yor Akoch of Fashoda after capturing him in a fierce battle of Nigiir, and Karmallah al-Kerkasawi tried to Islamize by force the tribes of the Lado Enclave but was ferociously resisted by King Gbudwe Bazingbi of Azande who was eliminated by British later).
The elites in Khartoum continued to deny the demand of Southerners for federalism and sabotaged the implementation of feasibility studies on big developmental agro-industrial schemes and mechanized farming in Southern Sudan (e.g., Nzara Cotton Plantation and Cloth Industry, Melut and Mongalla Sugar Sugar Plantation/Processing, Aweil Rice Plantation/Processing, Wau Fruits Plantation/Canning, Tonj Kenaf Plantation/Processing, Kapoeta Cement Factory, Upper Talanga Tea Plantation/Processing, and Malakal and Bor Fish Freezing and Drying Industries, etc).
The young politicians of Southern Sudan didn’t compromise like their old fathers and uncles. They won elections overwhelmingly in 46 Southern constituencies in 1957 on the following campaign trail for change of status quo: emancipation of the marginalized with adoption of secular federalism, repatriation of Southern schools and students from Northern Sudan, recognition of both English and Arabic as official languages, establishment of independent economic development program for Southern Sudan, formation of independent organized armed forces for Southern Sudan, and repatriation of the Sudan back from the Arab World to Africa. By then the cold war between Russia and its allies versus the U.S and its allies was staring to get hot in Africa.
The learnt youth of Southern Sudan didn’t betray the cause even when their leader, Ezbon Mundiri, was arrested and imprisoned for seven years for crime against unity of the Arabized Islamic Sudan purported to have been committed by leading aggressively the Southern campaign on the above-mentioned cards. Fr. Saturnino Lohure Hilangi took the challenge of leadership of the federalists as he protested in the Constitutional Constituent Assembly (1958) and underscored the following statement succinctly as Southern Parliamentarians walked out to boycott the undesirable sittings:
“The South has no ill-intentions whatsoever towards the North; the South simply claims to run its local affairs in a united Sudan. The South has no intention to separating from the North, for had that been the case nothing on earth would have prevented its demand for separation. The South claims to federate with the North, a right that the South undoubtedly possesses as a consequence of principle of free self-determination which reason and democracy grant to free people. The South will at any moment separate from the North if and when the North so decides, directly or indirectly, through political, social and economic subjection of the South.”
The betrayal of aspiration of Southerners led to collapse of Ismail al-Azhari’s and Abdallah Bey Khalil’s governments (1956 – 1958) as their shifting coalitions got characterized by rivalling, strikes, violence, mutinies, imprisonments, dismissals, nepotism, divisions, conspiracies, vote of no confidence, change of electoral laws, budget crises, suppression of contrary opinions, and insensitivity to people’s predicaments caused by the raging civil war.
General Ibrahim Abboud’s Government (1958 – 1964) made things worse by banning discussions on self-rule (federalism); restricting recruitment of Southerners into armed forces except those who converted to Islam and embraced Arab culture; adopting Missionary Society Act (1962); expelling hundreds of foreign Christian missionaries from Sudan in 1964; and deploying Muslim missionaries and Arabic teachers to the South. The Junta used repressive military power (e.g., indiscriminate detentions, torture, assassination of Southern intellectuals, burning of villages and massacre of the civilians) to subdue the Southern resistance.
The exiled Southerners sought refuge in the sympathetic eastern and central African neighbouring countries, organized themselves into associations and liberation political groups: The Sudanese Christian Association in East Africa (SCAEA) and the Sudan African Closed District National Union (SACDNU) formed in 1962 and transformed to Sudan African Union (SANU) in 1963 with formation of Anyanya (snake poison) as an armed wing in 1964.
It didn’t take long before the Junta of General Abboud collapse finally as it failed to end the oppressive war in the South. The educationist Sirr al-Khatim al-Khalifa took the charge of the post-uprising interim government with participation of Southern Front (SF), most of whose leaders were young university graduates and local chiefs. Queen Elizabeth of the U.K visited the Sudan (February 8, 1965) where Interim Supreme Councillor, H.E. Mr. Luigi Adwok received her in Khartoum when he was the Rotational Head of State for the Sudan for that month, an honour detested by Northerners as it raised the political self-esteem of Southerners.
The traditional Northern political leaders (i.e., Khatimya, Ansars, Unionists, Communists & Islamists) got divided on how to handle “the Southern Problem” even when the Round Table Conference and 12-Man Committee were launched in 1965 to bring all the political forces and different shades of opinions together to deliberate on how to end the civil war and normalize the country again, especially in the Southern part of the country. But the Conference failed its objectives of healing the old wounds of slave trade and slavery—tributes to St. Josephine Margaret Bakhita (1869 – 1947) of Roman Catholic Church who got rescued from humiliation of slavery and to Effendi Ali Gifoon—known as Lwaldit Mayker of Fashoda village, the slave who became an outstanding fighter of Turko-Egyptian army in Mexico during South American wars (1862 – 1867) and also in the war against Mahdiyya (1898 – 1900) where he accompanied General Herbert H. Kitchener in his conquering expeditions. Its resolutions were thrown into politicization dustbin for the sake of partial elections and maintenance of shifting conspiratorial governments of Imam Sadiq al-Mahdi’s and Mohamed Ahmed Maghoub (1965 – 1969).
Additional number of movements and declarations propped up for liberation of Southern Sudan from the Sudan: Azania Liberation Front was formed by Joseph Oduho in 1965, Nile Provisional Government by Gordon Mourtat in 1969, Anyidi Provisional Government by Emedio Tafeng after crashing the Nile Provisional Government in 1969, the SUE Republic and Sudan African Union Conservatives declared by Michael Towil in 1969, and South Sudan Liberation Movement in 1971 by Joseph Lagu. The shifting governments in Khartoum kept harassing, massacring, arresting and assassinating Southerners (e.g., assassination of Fr. Saturnino in 1967 while mobilizing Anyanya forces at Uganda Border & William Deng Nhial in 1968 while campaigning for partial elections in Bahr el Ghazal); committing massacres; massacring of intellectuals in Wau where Southern First Veterinary Doctor from University of Khartoum Justin Papiti Akol Ajawin was shot dead with others in a wedding occasion and also in Juba and Malakal). Khartoum forces burnt many villages and closed down schools for scorch-earth policy of punishing Southern civilians for supporting the Anyanya guerrilla.
Prime Minister Sadiq tried to improve Sudan’s relations with Uganda, Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia to help his government to crush rebellion in the South. But the forced submission to the will of Khartoum under pretext of restoration of law and order in Southern Sudan pushed Israelis to support the South against the Arabized Islamists of the Sudan who wanted Israel wiped out from geography of the Middle East (indicated by Israel-Egypt War in 1967 and solidarity by Khartoum). The British volunteer guerrilla trainer known as Uncle Fashoda and Israeli retired Army General Kawagia John trained the Anyanya freedom fighters rigorously as he confirmed in 2013:
“The building of the military force in the South provided the basis and military framework which resulted in both command and operational experience. The above changed the situation of years whereby the North could harass the population in the South. The Anyanya soldiers demonstrated a high level of discipline, a willingness to learn all relevant subjects and above all to demonstrate stubbornness in sticking to their mission.”
It was just a matter of time before the government in Khartoum collapsed to the guts of the second military coup (1969 – 1985) led by Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri in collaboration with the Sudan Communist Party. The Junta banned multi-party politics and adopted one-party presidential-parliamentary system under umbrella of Sudan Socialist Union (SSU)—politicians, teachers, farmers, technicians, professionals, intellectuals, armed forces, youth and women. From the onset Nimeiri acknowledged “the Southern Problem” and diagnosed it as being caused by local backwardness and western imperialism, similar to the findings of the Committee of Inquiry on Southern Unrest in 1955. He prescribed the solution to be the treatment of Southern Sudan as a unique region with its own diversity of culture and mode of rule within the bigger united, stable and prosperous Sudan.
Nimeiri issued a general amnesty for Southern opposition politicians and Anyanya fighters, promising them higher education opportunity and top public jobs (e.g., appointing first Southern law graduate of University of Khartoum, communist Joseph Garang, as Minister of Southern affairs though he hanged him to death later with Hashim al-Atta and other Communists for a foiled coup in 1971 but replaced with another Southern lawyer from University of Khartoum, Abel Alier Kwai). Moscow, Beijing, Libya and other communist countries isolated Nimeiri’s regime and motivated the traditional Islamic Northern political forces to harden their opposition to topple his government. Nimeiri had no choice but to look west for support from the U.S and the capitalist allies, including churches and Zionic lobbyists. He recommitted himself to resolving “the Southern problem” in accordance with the resolutions of Round Table Conference (1965). The World Council of Churches and the All African Council of Churches agreed to meditate the peace negotiations between Nimeiri’s regime and Anyanya leaders.
Though by then the Anyanya and South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) were better organized under the young graduate of Sudan Military College, Joseph Lagu, he was faced with tremendous pressure for peace. Ugandan government became unsafe and unstable under President Idi Amin who arrested Mr. Rolf Steiner (the volunteer German Anyanya trainer) and handed him over to Khartoum where he was imprisoned for life. Zaire government of Mobutu Sese Seko got closer to Khartoum through Arab countries that funded his deficit budget and offered him other benefits. Ethiopian government of Emperor Haile Selassie improved its relations with the Sudan and couldn’t tolerate Anyanya rebellion within or across the borders. Humanitarian donors (e.g., Norway, Denmark, Sweden, UNHCR and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan), Southern refugees and intellectuals pressed hard on the rebel opposition to minimize the divisive wrangling and agree to peaceful settlement.
The 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Accord between SSLM and Nimeiri’s government brought back the lost sanity. The Relief and Resettlement Commission was established with mandate of: 1) establishment of adequate reception centers containing facilities for shelter, food supplies and medication; 2) arrangement of transportation of refugees to permanent resettlement places of origin; and 3) provision of materials and equipment for executing this work. Christian missionaries and humanitarian NGOs were encouraged to assist the people of Southern Sudan with service delivery and community development projects (UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, FAO, German Caritas, Norwegian Church Aid, Lutheran World Service, Catholic Relief, ACROSS, etc…), including continuous assistance for student refugees until appropriate arrangements were made for their repatriation and resettlement.
The peace agreement provided for special security arrangement for Southern Command (12,000 troops with 6,000 Southern Sudanese distributed equally to its 3 regions and integrated into the Sudan Defense Forces within 5 years as managed by Joint Military Commission & Joint Cease-fire Commission). It also granted autonomy to Juba with jurisdiction over Southern Provinces (Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile), and where other culturally and geographically associated areas to Southern Complex (e.g., Abyei) would decide via referendum whether to join the South or remain where they have been transferred in the Northern Sudan.
The High Executive Council (HEC) was constituted together with the People’s Regional Assembly (PRA) to govern the South in a parliamentary system where the citizens would elect their representatives democratically via secret ballot. The PRA had to legislate for Southern Sudan in accordance with the Sudan’s constitution and the provisions of the peace agreement as incorporated into the Organic Law of the Regional Government, including Public Service and Economic Institutions (e.g., revenues from taxation, profits or loyalties accruing to the Central Government from exports in Southern region, and grants in-aid or donations). English was affirmed as the principle language for the Southern Region without prejudice to the use of any language or languages that would serve a practical necessity for efficient discharge of executive and administrative functions of the Regional government.
The Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie visited Juba to participate in the anniversary celebration of Addis Ababa Agreement (March 3, 1973). He donated the Multipurpose Training Center (MTC) in Juba for promoting developmental skills. The Tanzanian President Julius K. Nyerere also visited Juba (October 1974) and advised Southerners to be patient with implementation of the peace accord. He donated ox ploughs and agricultural hand tools with large quantities of maize seeds. The Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi visited Wau to participate in the Peace Agreement Anniversary (March 3, 1975) where he tried tipped Juba to conspire in overthrowing Nimeiri’s regime.
The Addis Ababa peace dividend blessed South Sudan with the opening of University of Juba in 1975 alongside Yambio Institute of Agriculture, Institute of Veterinary Science and Institute of Rural Development. Egypt, U.K and U.S offered some scholarships for competitive Southern Sudanese students to pursue tertiary education and come back home to contribute in building the country. The U.S.A Government constructed communications station (television, radio, telex and telephone) in Juba. The USAID paved a 500-mile road from the border of Kenya via Nadapal to Juba. Yugoslavia built the regional Government Complex in Juba with only 5 million USD (Big Parliament, 11 Ministries and 28 Residences). The Government of Netherlands through its business company built the Nile Bridge in Juba (the only bridge build on the Nile in the territory of South Sudan since the begining of God’s creation). The contingent of British Royal Army Engineers built Tonj Bridge and repaired other bridges and roads in Bahr el Ghazal. The Federal Republic of Germany Built the Bussere Bridge and repaired a 600-mile road from Juba to Wau. The Government of Kuwait established a coordination office in Juba headed by Ambassador Abdalla AI-Seraie to monitor Kuwaiti projects (e.g., AI-Sabah Children Hospital, Friendship Primary and Junior Schools, Nyakuron Cultural Center, Juba Broadcasting Station, Hai Kuwait Residential Area and Kuwait Mosque). Chinese Medial Team provide medical services in Juba Hospital and other parts of Southern Sudan.
Juba stood firm in honor of Addis Abba Peace Agreement when northern opposition (Umma Party) armed elements attacked Khartoum in 1976 and President Nimeiri went hiding for few days. However, the Field Marshal Nimeiri’s political behaviors became unpredictable when he declared ‘National Reconciliation’ in 1977 and 1978 with leaders of traditional northern political parties that were opposed to peace in the South, especially Sadiq al-Mahdi and other Muslim Brothers. Nimeiri decided to dishonor the peace accord by encroaching unilaterally and illegitimately on the land rights of Southern Sudan. He linked up with Egyptian Government to dig 360 kilometer Jonglei Canal (1974 – 1984) despite the outrage by the people of Southern Sudan who felt the threat on the environmentally rich Sudd Region (blockage of 350,000 m2 of grassy wetland and lagoons of 30 rivers converging naturally with plenty of variety of fish that die of old age). Also Khartoum tried to redrew the South-North boundaries with intention to annex oil and agricultural rich areas (Bentiu, Hofrat el Nehas, Kafia Kingi and Northern Upper Nile region) to the North, and to issue unilaterally oil exploration licenses (e.g., to American Chevron in 1974 and to French Total and Royal Dutch Shell in 1980), including construction of refineries in the North to process the pipe-lined Southern crude oil or ship it to international markets via Port Sudan with no returns to the South.
Nimeiri’s violations of peace agreement was exacerbated by the divisions and lack of unity of Southern the leaders under the conspiratorial groupings of Joseph Lagu and Abel Alier who were used by Khartoum by short-changing them in power as the Jellaba wished. His disruption of armed forces integration process in the South and declaration of the peace agreement as not Bible or Quoran provoked the discontented Anyanaya veterans to rebel (Kerubino Kwanin Bol in Bor on May 16, 1983 joined by William Nyuon Bany in Ayod on June 6, 1983, Dr. John Garang de Mabior from Panyigor, among others) and go to border of Ethiopia to form the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) with the Manifesto that called for liberation of the old Sudan from bourgeoisie and marginalization so as to realize a new Sudan of camaraderie, nationalism, secularism, socialism, equality, freedom, justice, prosperity and respect of human dignity; signified by self-rule and equitable development regardless of gender, race, family, ethnicity, tribe, region or religion.
“In 1956 our country gained formal independence but entered into the era of neo-colonialism. Since then a small parasitic clique that had mutated from pre-independence system of exploitation and took over the formal instruments of oppressions in the form of the state for their own interests and against the interest of the majority of the Sudanese people. This clique has utilized the multi-racial and multi-religious character of Sudanese society to perpetuate their rule and to keep our people undeveloped and backward.” – Dr. Garang in 1983.
The renewed struggle went beyond “the Southern Problem” with civil war paralyzing the economy and causing humanitarian catastrophe, which become unbearable for civilians and armed forces to tolerate. The professional and trade unions became restive as they demanded for increase of salaries to cope with hyperinflation while government dragged its feet. The judges went on strike as Nimeiri imposed Islamic Penal Code (Sharia) to cuts of hands petty criminals and hang to death the black market dollar traders together with the accused for apostasy (e.g., capital punishment against Mahmoud Mohamed Taha).
Nimeiri failed to survive in politics by nooks and crooks and without peace in the country. The wrath of people’s power and second popular uprising in the Sudan caught up with his intransigence as he was on medical treatment visit to Washington-DC in April 1985. The American generosity and CIA-led foreign policy under President Ronald W. Raegan’s Administration had to stand with the people against the abnormal betrayal by Nimeiri. His diehards and arrogant apologists had to go hiding in shame, internally and abroad, as the plane carrying Nimeiri was landed in Military Airport in Egypt for arranged exile of a fallen dictator. The Regional Government of Southern Sudan Government, which rescued Nimeiri in 1976 when Khartoum was put on fire by Libya-backed Northern opposition armed elements and mercenaries, was already destroyed by Nimeiri-induced ‘Kokora’ (divisive politics and tribalism instead of equality) with politicians scattered in disarray to Malakal, Juba and Wau in 1980s after the unconstitutional dissolution of Juba-based regional government.
The National Alliance for National Salvation (NANS) of the banned political parties, professionals and trade unions, and students convinced the Chief of General Staff of the Sudan Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Abdel Rahman Suwar Al Dhab, to become the Head of the Interim Revolutionary Command Council and with Dr. El-Jizouli Dafallah as the Transitional Prime Minister. The SPLM/A signed the Koka Dam Declaration (March 26, 1986) with the NANS to end the war and adopt a just secular system of governance. However it didn’t take long before partial elections brought back Sadiq al-Mahdi to assume the Premiership again without peace but more atrocities of war and creation of chaotic militias to terrorize Southern Sudan in attempt to defeat the SPLM/A militarily. Famine and humanitarian crises intensified in Sudan. The UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez, and the UNICEF Executive Director, James P. Grant, initiated the Operation Life-Line Sudan (April 1989) for quick response. Though many fake internal and external peace initiatives were attempted the war continued relentlessly.
Sadiq al-Mahdi’s government had to collapse again in June 1989 when the third Junta’s coup overthrow him in collaboration with National Islamic Front where Dr. Hassan El-Turabi was the ideologue. Islam was officially sanctioned as government’s policy. Holy war was declared against the SPLM/A. Radical international Islamists, including Osama bin Laden, got involved in pursuit of the Holy War and enforcement of “Islamic Civilization Project”. Mengistu Haile Mariam of the Derg Regime in Ethiopia was deposed and SPLA/M got split into Naser and Torit factions. The Frankfurt (1992) declaration on self-determination for Southern Sudan, the Abuja I and Entebbe (1992), Abuja II (1993) and other peace initiatives were attempted but failed due to intransigence of the warring parties.
The IGADD’s Declaration of Principles (1994) for achieving peace in the Sudan was adopted: dialoging for a just political solution, affirmation of the right for self-determination, making unity in diversity attractive with secular democracy, guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and human rights, realizing appropriate and fair sharing of wealth, and ceasefire and interim arrangements. The National Congress Government exploited the divisions within the SPLA/M and initiated some short-lived internal peace deals (Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 and Fashoda Peace Agreement in 1998) to pave the way for protection of oil areas in Southern Sudan. The Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Canadian, French and Swedish oil companies got involved in the oil business in the Sudan despite human rights concerns on the scorched-earth policy against the local population in oil fields. Khartoum shipped the first oil consignment to the international markets in 1999, emboldening its arms sale capabilities for military victory against the SPLM/A and enforcement of its Islamic policies and Arabization of Southern Sudan.
The Zionic Lobbyists, the Churches, humanitarians NGOs, and human rights activists persuaded the U.S. Congress and President Bush to intervene robustly in order to end the war and achieve peace in the Sudan, using “Carrot and Stick Policy”. Osama Bin Laden’s terroristic attack on the biggest Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon (9/11/ 2001) made George W. Bush Jnr’s Administration press for peace in Sudan. The SPLM/A factions got reunited under the leadership of Dr. John Garang. The IGAD and its partners and friends (Troika, Italy, China, Netherlands, EU, AU and UN) were able to make a breakthrough with mediation of the Machakos Protocol (July 2002), which endorsed the previous IGADD’s Principles. This paved the way for agreements on Security Arrangements (September 2003), Wealth Sharing (January 2004), Power Sharing (May 2004), Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (May 2004) and Resolution of the Abyei Conflict (May 2004) mediated by the IGAD Special Envoy and Kenyan Army General, Mr. Lazarus Sumbeiywo.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) made the Sudan Government in Khartoum to grant a special autonomy for the Government of Southern Sudan (2005 – 2011) in Juba and in control of the 1o states in the South based on a separate secular Interim regional Constitution (2005). The SPLM became the ruling party in the South while its military wing, the SPLA, remained as standing army alongside with other organized forces. The oil wealth was shared between South and North. The developmental multi-donor trust fund was established and coordinated in Juba to assist in post-war reconstruction and normalization Southern Sudan.
Despite the hitches between Juba and Khartoum, the 2010 general elections confirmed the incumbent SPLM/A and NCP leaders to continue in the same power positions and make unity of the Sudan attractive. But the people of Southern Sudan overwhelmingly voted for separation in the January 2011 Referendum. The independence was declared with national euphoria and international admiration. In this regard, the Government of Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir (1989 – 2011) could only be considered as partially collapsed after South Sudan broke away officially from Sudan in July 2011. President al-Bashir has been a bit lucky because the IGAD and the African Union were ready to cheer him up in solidarity as his government continue to facing tremendous political and economic difficulties, some of whose mitigations were designed in the expense of oil revenues accruing from independent South Sudan (e.g. paying Transition Financial Arrangements of 3.028 billion USD and hiring Sudan-based oil pipelines costing unfair 24.5 USD per a barrel). That unfair deal was negotiated by the leaders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) under mediation of African Union High-Level Implementation Panel who favored the Sudan to get compensated by South Sudan for its losses. Part of the cause of 2013 spike of crisis in South Sudan could be traced to that deal and the oil flow shut-down in 2012 by Juba to the dismay of the world.
Abel Alier’s Book “Too Many Agreements Dishonored: Southern Sudan” and Dr. Lam Akol’s Book “SPLM/SPLA: Inside an African Revolution” had captured succinctly the machinations and hegemonies of governments of the Jellaba of Sudan but also the problems of Southern leaders (e.g., unity, federalism, armed forces, Jonglei canal, oil fields, land tenure, tribalism, the price of dishonoring peace agreements, regimes collapses, prospects for political settlements and multi-party politics). Both of these experienced politicians were convinced that the Machiavellian politics on economic and social progress in Southern Sudan was a farce without peace, security, stability, tranquility, good policies, stable government, professional workforce, financial resources, pluralism and inclusivity.
IV. LESSONS FROM SURVIVAL & COLLAPSE OF SUDANESE GOVERNMENTS
In recapitulation, the subsequent collapse governments of the independent Sudan, which kept short-changing themselves in Khartoum between military and civilian politicians had the same colonial ‘master-slave’ mercantilist mentality of extractive hegemony and alienating marginalization of Southern Sudan and the adjacent backward areas. Their political misconduct was met with fierce resistance by the liberation fighters who could not tolerate the disruption of the originality of cultural and religious settings and traditions of native African tribes; their kinship value system of totems and taboos; their believe in God as the source of all life and to whom all human persons should be responsibly accountable; their reverence of inter/intra generational powers of diviners, herbalists, warriors, elders and living-dead; and their preference for Christianity than Islam.
The hinted refreshing historical knowledge about the critical junctions of survival or collapse of governments and oppositions in the independent Sudan could be summarized in these points: imprudence of government and opposition leaders, politically motivated raging senseless long civil wars, discontent of citizens with corrupt political economy, popular uprisings due to sharp economic shocks on purchasing power of ordinary population, aggressive foreign sanctions provoked by humanitarian despair, and international lobbying for restoration of democratic civic duty in an environment of peace. Tough Lessons should be learnt here for shaping a way forward for a better South Sudan because history doesn’t forgive faltering leadership.
The exposed historical blunders should sent alerting signals and disqualify any consolation of political fallacy of the blind content that the earth will go around the sun normally with the morning and night passing daily for the status quo to remain triumphant against all odds of the pressing change. It should also shift the paradigm and present alternative keys that must unlock the potentials of finding reliable innovative solutions for a government and opposition of peace and happiness in South Sudan, based on liberal democratic culture of checks and balances with periodic trustworthy fair elections that are upheld legitimacy by both winners and losers. The glimpses from history should move the good people convincingly to withdraw their confidence from any bad political leader in South Sudan who cannot think outside the box to implement the vows of peace, justice, liberty and prosperity incrementally with spirit of stewardship and dynamic synergy of the stakeholder’s performance on the following mandate:
- Commit to full and timely implementation of the revitalized ARCSS with oversight by reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and its Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM);
- Consolidate the restored security and peace in collaboration with IGAD and Partners;
- Promote Human Rights and Fundament Liberties for Preservation of Dignity;
- Fast-track and Provide Protection for Humanitarian Relief, Repatriation, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of IDPs and Refugees;
- Recover the Economy and Manage it Effectively with Prudence, Transparency and Accountability for the Welfare of the People;
- Rebuild the Destroyed Infrastructure and Construct new Public Facilities;
- Provide Services for Human Development and Stable Livelihoods;
- Expedite Public Service Reforms and Transformation for Civil and Armed Sectors;
- Facilitate Transitional Justice, Reconciliation and Healing;
- Devolve Powers and Allocate Development Resources to States and Counties;
- Initiate and Finalize Permanent Constitution-making Process;
- Facilitate the Conduct of National Population Census and Household Survey;
- Facilitate Credible Conduct of Elections Before the end of Transitional Period; and
- Perform the normal Functions of Government, Horizontally and Vertically.
Dr. James Okuk is professor of political science in University of Juba and peace-building consultant reachable at email@example.com.
The views expressed in ‘opinion’ articles published by Radio Tamazuj are solely those of the writer. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author, not Radio Tamazuj.