Jan 292010

War and Peace in South Sudan

The US-brokered peace agreement between North and South Sudan stipulates that in 2011 Southern Sudanese may vote in a referendum whether or not to remain part of the Republic of Sudan or to secede, thereby taking much of Sudan’s oil-reserves with it.

As the government in Khartoum fails to make good on the peace dividends mandated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement Southerners remain wary of the North.

Moreover, continued incursions by Sudanese Armed Forces or allied militia in oil-rich parts of South Sudan, such as that witnessed in Abyei in 2008 in which 18 civilians were deliberately killed and tens of thousands more displaced, only serve to create further instability and threaten to de-rail the peace agreement altogether.

Sabre-Rattling – Charles Yor Odhok, PhD, Parliamentary Speaker; former SPLM rebel; “Warlord”.

Subtitle Dr. Charles: “Tell Omar Bashir, we told them, tell Omar Bashir, and we are asking our American friends also to talk to Omar Bashir, if not even subdue him, not to talk about war, because it is not a good thing. It’s not even a good thing for him. It’s not even a good thing for Northerners. Because who knows? Despite the Chinese weapons he is getting, can they defeat the SPLA? Which is now existing in our main towns, and at the boundaries. Can they defeat it? They could not defeat it when they were just fighting in the jungle. When we are fighting at the boundaries we do not know who can easily cross whose border. We do not know who is at the boundaries. The boundaries are being disputed. We are almost closer to the boundaries. As we don’t want war, we don’t want war. But if they attempt to invade Southern Sudan we do not know who will cross whose border quicker than the other.”

Jan 292010

Newshook, 2010
Sudan will hold its first nationwide general election in April 2010. Sudan’s President, Omar Al-Bashir, will run again for office. In early 2009 the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a warrant for Bashir’s arrest, charging Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The election takes place against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis in Darfur, and a peace between North and South Sudan that constantly threatens to unravel.

The 2005 US-brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended altogether 50 years of civil war between North and South Sudan mandates the clear demarcation of borders between the North and the South, a sticking point in negotiations because of oil found along the agreed-upon border. Control over oil fields and the equal disbursement of oil revenues – important for the continued development of South Sudan – play a big role in the ongoing conflicts within Sudan.

Those working to see that peace holds between North and South Sudan say the general election in 2010 will play an important role in the implementation of the CPA. And, in turn, whether or not Khartoum makes good on the peace dividends mandated in the CPA will determine whether or not South Sudan will vote to secede from Sudan’s National Unity Government in a referendum in 2011.

85 percent of Sudan’s oil is in South Sudan. If South Sudan were to secede it would take much of the country’s oil with it.

Easter Sunday, 2008 – South Sudan held its first midterm elections
A group of women delegates from the Women’s League of Upper Nile State stopped at the village where we had stayed the night. They were on their way to vote for the first time.

The late John Garang, South Sudan’s first President, had mandated that 25 percent of government positions should automatically be granted to women.

But women running for office are complaining that their male counterparts are not living up to Garang’s wishes, and that women in South Sudan continue to, “suffer exploitation and marginalization at the hands of South Sudan cabinet ministers,” according to the Deputy Chairperson of Women’s Affairs for Central Equatorial State, which includes, Juba, South Sudan’s capitol. The Chairwoman threatened not to vote for male contenders in upcoming general election.

* Interviews from Sudan are still in the process of being professionally translated.