News / Africa

    Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Success or Failure?

    Next July, Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, will expire. The agreement is a set of accords signed five years ago that brought an end to civil war between the largely Muslim and Arab north and the mostly non-Muslim and non-Arab south. The agreement led to national elections last April and a referendum in January that will determine if the south becomes independent. Observers are debating the successes and shortcomings of the CPA.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    William Eagle

    Many analysts credit the CPA with bringing an end to two decades of civil war, which took over two million lives and left four million people homeless.

    The plan – which had the backing of the international community – was signed in 2005 by the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), based in Juba, and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum.

    Among other things, the CPA called for the withdrawal of northern troops from the south, national elections, a census and the sharing of oil revenues.  It also called for power-sharing, and it set a timetable for a referendum on independence for southern Sudan.

    Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Success or Failure?
    Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Success or Failure?

    Some say the CPA has fallen short of its promise.

    Peter Woodward is a professor emeritus of politics at the University of Reading in Great Britain.

    "The two parties have treated the CPA more like a ceasefire than a solution to their differences," says Woodward. "Far from coming together in a government of national unity, they have tended to go their own separate ways and to have pretty bad relations between them en route."

    There are several reasons for what observers say is the CPA’s failure to promote unity.

    They say the CPA addressed the concerns of only the two main parties, the NCP and SPLM, with little input from other political groups or aggrieved regions like the western state of Darfur.

    Reconciliation

    Also, several elements of the agreements were not fully supported and others were not enacted.

    For example, the CPA was designed to promote reconciliation.  But critics say the government has not established a commission to investigate human rights abuses.

    A South Sudanese returnee brushes her teeth on a barge traveling down the Nile, carrying about 650 returnees from North Sudan
    A South Sudanese returnee brushes her teeth on a barge traveling down the Nile, carrying about 650 returnees from North Sudan

    The Honorable Ezekiel Lol Gatkuouth is the head of mission for the Government of Southern Sudan in Washington.

    "We have failed to transform Sudan into a better [place] for all of us," says Gatkuouth.

    "If Sudan is transformed so all of us are first class citizens, there is no reason to divide the country. But for last five years, Sharia is still there. I [as a non-Muslim in Khartoum] have to have a special status and a special commission established to protect me [from Sharia].  Women are being denied their freedom and beaten if you dress inappropriately…. So Sudan has failed to stay together.  The only thing we have to do now is make sure we have a peaceful divorce so we can live in peace."

    Falling short of its goals

    Critics say the government has also not advanced other CPA-backed efforts to promote reconciliation and national unity.

    It has not met its goal of setting aside up to 30% of the civil service for southerners and introducing far-ranging legislation to reform land ownership and settle disputes.  It has also not settled boundary disputes along the oil-rich Abyei area straddling the north and south.

    Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Success or Failure?
    Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement: Success or Failure?

    The UN says that two million internally displaced people have returned south but that more remain to be resettled.

    Elmoiz Abunura, an economic and political consultant on Sudan based in Khartoum and Beirut, says the two sides have failed to demobilize all soldiers and end support for proxy militias meant to destabilize each other.

    Abunura was a senior economist for the Sudan Ministry of Energy before a military coup led by [current president] Omar al-Bashir in 1989.

    "At this moment," says Abunurra, "you can see some areas in the north where there is still the presence of SPLM or local militias linked to them and proxy armies in the south supported by the [ruling] NCP.  Recently, five or six months ago, two leaders of the SPLM  mutinied, and the SPLM claimed both had the support and arms from the central government in the north.  So, you can’t say demobilization was successful."

    Wealth sharing and development

    The CPA also promised to encourage investment in chronically neglected rural areas outside the capital and main northern cities, including Darfur.  Under the CPA, state treasuries would receive development money from Khartoum, including revenues from the sale of oil.  In addition, 50% of oil proceeds would go to the Government of Southern Sudan in Juba, the location of most of the country’s oil wells.

    Members of South Sudanese military escort accompanying returnees from North Sudan as they enter Abyei
    Members of South Sudanese military escort accompanying returnees from North Sudan as they enter Abyei

    Roger Middleton is a consultant researcher for the London-based Chatham House research center.  He says support for development has been slow in coming.

    "There was a Unity Fund set up under the CPA which was to take money from oil revenues to spend on projects to make unity attractive," he says. "Many people will tell you most of the activity from the fund has only started the last few months or this year.  So there’s been a big missed opportunity [to have development money help build] roads, railways, schools and hospitals to show a benefit of remaining united with Sudan."

    Distractions

    Some observers say the international community should have done a better job of monitoring the implementation of the CPA.

    The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
    The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

    Jon Temin is a senior program officer in the Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at the US Institute of Peace.  He focuses on Sudan and leads the Institute's Sudan team.

    "Everyone recognizes that the international community took its eye off the ball with regards to the CPA for a while when focus shifted toward Darfur,"  says Temin. "Over the last year or two the focus shifted back to the CPA but a lot of important time was lost."

    "[For example], so many of the processes described within the CPA fell behind schedule, and there was little attention to trying to keep the parties on schedule, and there was no real pressure to encourage the parties to make unity attractive.  That’s why over the last year or two, the international community has found itself in a real scramble to implement the core provisions of the CPA – the elections and the referenda."

    Leadership

    Some say the north hesitated to fully support the accords when the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of the President Omar Al-Bashir.  According to this line of thought, Bashir would not be likely to cede power to any future government that might hand him over for prosecution.

    SPLM leader John Garang and first vice president Ali Osman Taha, prominent backers of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
    SPLM leader John Garang and first vice president Ali Osman Taha, prominent backers of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement

    Others say momentum declined when SPLM leader John Garang died a few months after the signing of the CPA in 2005.  Garang enjoyed a close relationship with an influential member of the Government of Sudan, first vice president Ali Osman Taha. They shared a view of a united but decentralized national government.

    John Ryle is the director of the Rift Valley Institute in Nairobi and professor of anthropology at Bard College in New York.

    "John Garang was always staunchly a unionist," says Ryle. "His interpretation of the problems of Sudan was that it was not a north-south problem but a center-periphery problem.  That’s why the SPLM’s position was never separatist.  Even now, it’s not officially separatist…although as we approach the referendum more and more senior SPLM leaders are explicitly saying people should vote for separation. John Garang had a holistic vision of Sudan, one which he could not persuade some Sudanese to share."

    That may include voters in the south, who are expected to favor independence in January’s referendum.

    Political observers will be watching to see if the ideals of cooperation and inclusion that are part of the CPA will live on not only between the two governments, but within them as well.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora