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

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora