Monday, November 10, 2008

Five College Africa Day

a distinguished presentation from Africa Day conference held @ UMASS Amherst on Nov 1st, 2008
Post-CPA Sudan:
Is Khartoum and the National Congress Party Making Unity Attractive?
by: James Alic Garang
Dept of Economics, UMASS Amherst

Freedom as Natural and Divine
Equality begets freedom, which, is both human and divine. All of us want to be free. We seek freedom by all accounts when and if we not are free. Due to our disposition for freedom, all people and nations of the world seek freedom from the following: Political oppression, wants, ignorance and diseases among others. The essence of freedom is manifested in the equality before law, in opportunities, and access to life basics. Whenever these fundamentals are violated, people always do not sit back or look the other way; they find ways and means to right them. This is the basis, for instance, upon which armed resistance for independence was waged against foreign dominion in Africa in the 1960s.

Sudan: A nation Fraught with Unfreedom and Inequality
Sudan—the largest country in Africa— gained external independence from Britain on January 1st 1956 while ignoring regional equality, learned the importance of equality and freedom the hard way. It came to learn that when two people are supposed to share a cake and one person has it all, that is unequal. A 50-50 split is equal. The 1st civil war (1955-1972) and the 2nd civil war (1983-2005) drove home this moral. Like George Orwell’s Animal Farm Universe, some Sudanese were thought as more equals than others. That view of differential equality among Sudanese by small ‘club of dictators in Khartoum’ led the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) under prudent leadership of Late Dr. John Garang to fight for a full liberation of Sudan, on the platform of “New Sudan” philosophy based on Equality, Justice, and Freedom for all Sudanese.
When all is said and done, I would like to say a word or two respecting the cause of the war in Sudan. The conflict was caused by an amalgam of interconnected factors: uneven development, imbalance of power, lack of due process and misuse of religion by class elites in Khartoum. Some people outside Sudan who think that the war was fought purely on religious and racial grounds are wrong, big time. The main cause, in my judgment is economic in nature, making all other factors secondary. In an attempt to crush the armed rebellion, elites in Government, such as Dr. Hasan al Turabi, used religion as a recruiting tool and a wedge issue in denying mass due process and carrying out “Sharia law” such as the Infamous September Declaration of 1983 which angered Southerners and fueled rebellion by SPLA. In the hindsight which is always 20/20, the war was both dehumanizing and anti-development. Its consequences include but were not limited to:
Many innocent lives were lost ;
Property was destroyed;
People were displaced;
Local economy was crippled and;
Development was brought to stalemate while poverty, ignorance, diseases and squalor raised their ugly heads

Historic Signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
After 21 years of fighting, ‘let them fight it out’ approach, felt out with the International Community and that enabled them to bring the warring parties to a common table for a peaceful political settlement which was reached on January 9th, 2005 at Naivasha in Kenya. And boy, despites its shortcomings, Sudanese from all walks of life appreciated the CPA and its architects such as Late Dr. John Garang, former Vice President of Sudan, and President of South Sudan, who referred to the CPA as a gift brought to the nation in a “silver plate”. The CPA has three main protocols that make its agreeable to both parties:
Wealth Sharing: each side would receive 50% of oil revenue;
Power Sharing: Alternation of presidency between Khartoum and Juba;
Security Agreements: Call for one National Army, Two Private Armies, etc
The CPA stipulates that South Sudan would decide in a referendum in 2011 either to vote for secession or unity. In the same vein, fair and open elections are supposed to be held in 2009. If the Bashir—National Congress Party (NCP) candidate wins presidency, Salva Kirr—Presidency of the South—automatically becomes his 1st vice presidency. The same is also true if Salva Kiir wins presidency. While referendum is just 3 years away, NCP feet-dragging implementing peace mandates is egregious. It makes one questions sincerity and credibility of NCP attempts to make “unity attractive’. Making ‘Unity Attractive’ is a metaphor for delivering social services such as health care, education, investing in physical infrastructure, creating jobs, bridging the gaps between haves and have-nots. Unity is conditional on delivering these pressing needs. But based on the apparent ominous writings on the wall, there is a reason to suggest that Khartoum and NCP are not making unity attractive. Unattractiveness of unity to all Sudanese may be a recipe for secession when referendum knocks on our door in 2011:

Differential Post-Conflict Economics Policies
Incentive Incompatibility: Immediately after the signing of the CPA, NCP allotted more attractive “Portfolios such as Ministries of Energy and Finance” to itself... Today, South is receiving shrinking share of oil revenue under the pretext of ineffective global demand; volatility in the global markets. Without adequate revenues, Juba can not function and that reinforces mistrust, hence unattractiveness of the unity;
Macroeconomic Goals: Any functioning government is charged with task of job creation, Price stability and Economic Growth. While these macroeconomic goals are being delivered in Khartoum, South Sudan and other marginalized areas are yet to see their standard of living improved. Lack of tangible peace dividends = unattractive unity= courting disaster;
Inequity: There is a persistent regional inequality. Worst still, there are no concrete attempts made to lessen this inequality in all measure of social indicators, health, per capita in come;
Regional Inequality in Banking System: Banks are crucial in making credit available, creating intermediation between savers and borrowers, and price stability; all major banks are concentrated in Khartoum with jus few sprinkled in the South Sudan. Such is a constraint on local entrepreneurship and may backlash against peace;
Lack of Economic indicators: Economic data on most important variables such as unemployment rate, GDP, inflation rate, exchange rate, and what you have is available in Khartoum and not elsewhere. What is worst, no effort is being made to collect data in South or other contested areas. Without these data, it is impossible to assess accurately the magnitude of misery and effectiveness of meager government services;

Political Stalemates
Abrogation of Important Agreements: NCP is proving to be not a creditable partner in peace to SPLM otherwise border demarcation would have been completed by now;
Pure Aggression: Time and again, NCP cowardly attacked SPLA soldiers in some areas such as Abyei, Muglad, and Malakal. These attacks under the pretext of militias are destabilizing and provocative. They do not make unity attractive;
Diminishing Prospects for Open and Fair Elections in 2009: Until now, census data has not been gathered in some areas of the country which are supposed to participate in the elections in March of 2009. The big question is: will elections be held or postponed? And what will be the repercussion of reneging on the CPA stipulation?
Lack of Freedom of Expression: NCP is constantly hell-bent in silencing any vocal SPLM members. Recently, the Secretary General of SPLM party, Mr. Pagan Amum was asked to resign from the cabinet position because of having referred to the government as anything but free. Is such act making unity attractive? It remains to be seen;
ICC Indictment of Al Bashir: U.S has called a spade by its name. According to General Colin Powel and Bush Administration, Khartoum under Al Bashir is committing crime against humanity in Darfur. This indictment strained relations between the NCP and SPLM. It is becoming a source of political instability that clouds the prospects of making unity attractive;

Concluding Remarks: Possible Outcomes in 2011
Judging from the above thorny issues resulting from feet-dragging in implementing peace mandates, one is left wondering, what is Khartoum thinking? Is NCP purposefully making unity unattractive so as to make separation possible or do they think that they will screw rest of the country up when times comes.

If things remain they way they are it is possible that average “Joe” not “Joe the plumber” in the South will vote for separation. Khartoum will think twice before waging any war because the international community is watching. Besides, SPLA is well equipped and would mount strong fight. Unity has yet to be made attractive. While I do not know for sure what is in store for the future of Sudan, elites in Khartoum should be ready to face the consequences of having not made unity attractive and as to whether the price of unattractiveness of unity will be paid in another Civil War III or peace separation?

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