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Last Updated: 02/06/2014
Discerning for Peace in Africa: The Sudan Civil Wars and Peace Processes 1955-2013
Conrad John Masabo

Separation of the Sudan into the Republic of Sudan (North) and the Republic of Southern Sudan (South) was globally extolled as the long-lasting solution to one of the longest civil wars in post-Colonial Africa. However, recent developments in Sudan: continued clashes between north and south, crises in the contested areas and tribal civil wars have uncovered that: separation without addressing the principal root causes of the conflicts is not the panacea to prone and protracted civil wars. Taking a historical analysis framework, the paper attempts to tackle issues of causes, opportunities and challenges for peace in Sudan.

Keywords: Sudan; conflicts; civil wars; peace; CPA; referendum; secession; Abyei.

1. Introduction

The Sudan[1] civil wars cover a period of 50 years (1955-2005) within which there was a period of ten years or so (1972-1983) of relative peace following the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972. This period provides a demarcation that prompts some analysts to the Sudan wars to classify them into two: the (1955-1972) war and the second 1983-2005 respectively. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan in Khartoum and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in January 2005 and the culmination of the secession referendum in January 2011 led to the separation of south from north and the birth of new African state: the Republic of South Sudan (RSS) on July 9, 2011. In spite of all good things attained, this peace process has as well its paradoxes. Paradoxically, the termination of the war of nationhood activated ‘local conflicts’, which have led to the killing of thousands of people since peace was brokered with the north in 2005.[2] Critics to this peace process are arguing that; the CPA is nothing none other than erstwhile manifestation of liberal western discourse hegemony in addressing and resolving conflicts in Africa. It is “[…] fashioned by the universalistic conflict resolution formula of peace negotiations, with a trajectory of ceasefire agreements, transitional governments, demilitarization, constitutional reform and democratic elections.”[3] Similarly it has ignored the fact that: addressing local dynamics, historical and multifaceted nature of conflicts issues such as the failure of state building, localization and participation is central to the realisation of sustainable peace. As the results: “While casualties inflicted by their traditional enemy, the north, declined rapidly following the agreement, the number of lives lost due to conflict between southerners has risen steadily since.”[4] In that view this pragmatic approach to Sudan’s peace should be interrogated, re-fashioned and participation of stake holders[5] be expanded to avoid restriction of peace processes to the tripartite participants: “[…] representatives of political parties, the state and the rebel movements to the exclusion of civil society”[6] who in most cases do not ensure sustainable peace.

This study attempts to present a case in respect to discernment for peace in Africa by analysing the Sudan case in respect to the north-south civil wars that erupted in 1956. The focus is on peacemaking process that was envisaged by CPA. Central issue addressed is performance of this accord in ensuring sustainable peace in Sudan without forgetting the theories in understanding the causes, and causes of the conflicts.

2. Approaching the Sudan Case

Being one of the most protracted civil wars on the African landscape; the Sudan wars are characterised with the multiplicity of interests and influence both emanating from within and without the country. While the case is mostly presented within the Muslim-Christian/Animist dichotomy; this schema as we shall argue shortly is one of the oversimplification analyses of the Sudan case. It fails to capture some of the key dynamics of the conflicts and thus a need to debug this schema. One of the ways is as Terje Rod-Larsen argues in the preface to a book by Iyob and Khadiagala, (2006) Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace. He calls for “[…] a deeper understanding of the complex interplays of political, historical, cultural, and geographical factors and what they imply for current peace initiatives.”[7] Within such critical analysis a better synthesis of the Sudan case can be approached. However, before taking this discussion further, let us first provide a synopsis view of the country then theories to approach the case.

2.1 Sudan: A Synoptic History

In Africa, Sudan is the largest single sovereign entity that covers an area of about “[…] 2,376,000 square kilometers and is rich in water resources, fertile agricultural land, minerals, mines, oil reserves, and a livestock. Before the independence of RSS, the Sudan boarded the Red Sea, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Kenya and Uganda.

According to the available census data, Sudan’s total population in 2008 stood at 39,154,490 (Northern Sudan, 23,378,555 or 59.71%, of the total population, Darfur is 7,515,445 or 19.19% and Southern Sudan is 8,260,490 or 21.10% of the total population).[8] With regard to 2008 population data, the Sudan lists among the world's fastest population growing countries as well as one of the multi-cultural diverse countries. In expounding on the cultural diversity of Sudan El-Bittahani (2009) argued that: “It is reported that there are 115 dialects with 26 of them as active spoken languages, each spoken by more than 100 000 people … 52% of the population is Arabic-speaking while 48% speak other languages …. Diversity also expresses itself sharply in religion, with Islam, Christianity and ‘other religions’ professed by different sections of the population.”[9] In an area of 2,376,000 square kilometers Sudan inhabits more than 600 tribes who speak more than 500 languages.[10] Today with more than the 39.1 million people it is obvious that it “[…] features a variety of opulent cultures and ways of life.”[11]

The pre-colonial political organisation of Sudanese community like many other African societies was organised under “[…] independent kingdoms and sultanates controlling varying amount of territory and engaged in trade, cultural interchange and military conflict.”[12] Thus the Christianisation, Islamisation and Arabisation of the Sudan especially southern Sudan is the result of the “[…] lengthy process of missionary activities, commercial contacts, demographic movements and large-scale acculturation.”[13] But as from 1821 to 1956, the Sudan was under different external political control ranging from the Turco-Egyptian Rule (1821-1885), Mahdist Rule (1885-1898), and the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (1898-1956).

Resulting from the different and foreign control of the Sudan was the organisation and treatment of the Sudanese basing on the racial and religious benchmark. For example, the British capitalizing on the existing social racial parity instituted the Southern Policy (1922-1947) which intensified the north-south divide which later led to the outbreak of the first civil war following the military muting in 1955 marking the beginning of southern secessionist struggles.

Though Sudan got her independence through political diplomacy on January 1st, 1956; “[…] the euphoria of independence, the optimisms and the dreams that came with their perceived disconnect with the agonizing past, soon disappeared into thin air. A hard-won independence soon turned into a nightmare. On the eve of the independence, conflict over the southerners’ perceived sense of marginalization broke out between the south and the central government in the north, and it continued unabated until 1972.”[14]

However, president Nimeiri who came into power through a bloodless coup d’état in 1969 who also negotiated for the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972 was not faithfully to the terms of agreement. He, “[…] instead of working for the implementation of the terms of the accord … continued marginalising the southerners from the central decision making processes. Poverty, disease, and illiteracy still remained the lot of the vast majority of the southern population, as the regime failed to pay significant attention to the social and economic development needs of the region.”[15] The failure to implement this accord angered the southerner and with Nimeiri attempt to redraw the south-north boundary following the discovery of oil fields in the south in 1970s complicated them.

The year 1983 was another sad year in the political history and lives of people of Sudan in many ways. In May 1983, Nimeiri dissolved the legally elected southern regional government and assembly; passed a decree that subdivided the hitherto single autonomous region into three political regions, each with a Nimeiri-appointed governor.[16] As the result; in the same year, “[…] opposition forces in the southern region converged to form a unified front against the Khartoum regime…. they rallied around Colonel John Garang, who was a Dinka, to form the Sudan People‘s Liberation Movement and its military wing the Sudan People‘s Liberation Army (SPLM/A).”[17] The formation of the SPLM/A marked the official end of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement and the beginning of the second civil war, which tore the country apart for more than two decades ending in 2005 following the signing of the CPA. The signing of the CPA in 2005 between the two major warring parties ushered a new era, a peaceful era but with its unique challenges. The need to address “[…] outstanding issues related to boundaries, citizenship, economics, security, and the status of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Agreement in these areas is essential for ensuring a peaceful era in which to lay a solid foundation for post-conflict reconstruction.”[18]

2.2 Theoretical Overview of the Sudan Conflicts

In an attempt to analyse the Sudan conflicts, the study has employed the Structural Violence theory and Symbolic Politics theory to guide the discussion and in explaining the dynamics of the civil wars in Sudan and the later developments. Though they differ considerably in their assumptions about the nature of ethnicity, and nature of ethnic conflict, as well as about the causes of ethnic war in Sudan, they are to a large extent complementary in analysing Sudan conflicts.

2.2.1 Structural Violence

There have been arguments that the prolonged conflicts in Sudan are because of the kind of violence structures that have been in place for quite long. As conflict; structural violence is a type of conflict embedded in the structure of relationships and interactions.[19] Structural violence drives its conceptual underpinnings from the structuralism theories and supports the assertion that “[…] human behaviour cannot be adequately understood by examining individual motivation and intentions since, when aggregated, human behaviour precipitates structures of which an individual may not be unaware.”[20]

Advanced by Johan Galtung in 1969[21] and in 1990[22], the theory includes both structural and cultural violence. But what is structural violence or when is it right to say that there is structural violence or violence? Galtung answers that:

[…] violence is present when human beings are being influenced so that their somatic and mental realisations are below their potential realizations. The potential level of the realization is that which is possible with a given level of insight and resources. If insight and/or resources are monopolized by a group or class or used for other purposes, then the actual level falls below the potential level and violence is present in that system.[23]

Focusing on the structural aspects in 1960s; the articulation of 1990s incorporated cultural aspects of the violence. Things such as religion, ideology, culture and language that which make physical or structural violence acceptable to the society came to constitute areas which cultural violence can be expressed and manifested. It is evident therefore that Galtung’s concept of structural violence explains how poverty and powerlessness constitute an indirect form of violence, which can lead to outright violence, as in civil wars. Thus, in Sudan therefore, the “[…] anomalous economic, political and cultural structures led to a marginalisation of the southern part of the country”[24] can be explained within the structural violence framework. In that respect while the grievances articulated in terms of underdevelopment and unequal development and marginalisation of the South fits in the concept of structural violence; the imposition of Sharia law, Islamic religion, Arabic culture captures the intentions and articulations of the cultural violence.

2.2.2 Symbolic Politics Theory

The second theory to Sudan case is the Stuart J. Kaufman, (2001) Symbolic Politics Theory.[25] This Model advances the arguments that “[…] the critical causes of extreme ethnic violence are group myths that justify hostility, fears of group extinction, and a symbolic politics of chauvinist mobilization. [Thus] the hostile myths, in this view, produce emotion-laden symbols that make mass hostility easy for chauvinist elites to provoke and make extremist policies popular.”[26] Within these myths several issues such as nature of ethnicity, the symbolist theory of choice, processes leading to ethnic war and types of ethnic security dilemma can be explained. Within this framework and resulting from these myths, then, the rounds of civil wars in Sudan can be explained.

In explaining the Sudanese conflicts casual relationships using the symbolic politics theory, three symbolic myths are important. These are; the hostile myths and existential fears both in the north and south; the myth of territory and opportunity; and the myth of mass hostility and chauvinist mobilisation. In the first place asserts for ‘Arab and Muslim’ for its adherents. Its “[…] aim is ‘to enhance pride and self-esteem,’ which often shades into ‘an attitude of racial and cultural superiority.’”[27] In citing Deng (1995), Kaufman further argues that though

Sudanese nationalism is essentially a twentieth century invention, some of the underlying ideas and attitudes extend as far back as the seventh century, when “races and religions were [legally] ranked, with Arabs and Muslims respected as free, superior, and a race of slave masters, while Negroes, blacks, and heathens were viewed as […] slaves … also view southerners as eligible for salvation through Islam.[28]

The southerners, especially the Dinka, have a counter postulation to this myth. To them, the south is the land not of slaves but of those who resisted northern slave raids—raids that became more intense after the south came under the rule of the Arab north.[29] With regard to the southerners resistance identity came to mean hostility to the north motivated by deep-seated fears of destruction and enslavement.[30]

The second mythical assertion advanced is that: with the consistent history of northern dominance of Sudanese governments, northerners always have the opportunity to initiate violence against the south: they simply unleash the army. As thus the option for “guerrilla resistance is equally omnipresent for Sudanese southerners, especially when any of the neighboring states is willing to help.”[31] Each part therefore has been constantly using its opportunity and territory to whirl wars even if the circumstances did not force for war outbreak.

The third and the last myth advances the assertion that the dominance of Islamic ideologies in the Sudanese politics became a contenting point for the war in Sudan and especially in describing the Nimeiri’s strategy to maintain himself into power when faced by both internal and external oppositions. Kaufman quoting Timothy Niblock in Deng[32] 1995 presents the scenario as follows: “The political arena . . . became a theatre where the president could arrange spectacles . . . to weld together a shifting basis of proclaimed yet insubstantial support.”[33] It is obvious therefore that the conflicts reflected the competitions of group identities, Islamic versus Christianity/Animist or Arab versus African. To southerners, it centered on the theme of resistance to northern pretensions to superiority and domination something important to south as well.

3. Why the Wars Erupted

The reasons to why civil wars in Sudan are interrelated and interwoven to the extent that cutting a clear cut-off line is sometimes not possible. However, it is commonly argued that: “The origin of the conflict lay largely with the skewed colonial policy that concentrated economic, political, and administrative development in the north … in cultural and religious issues and competition for political dominance, later perpetuated by oil resources.”[34] Taking it further Deng (2011) suggests that:

[…] marginalisation of the rural Sudan is central to understanding the conflict in Sudan. [For example], “People of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile joined the struggle in the South after they became convinced the elites in Khartoum were less concerned about their welfare and the people of Darfur later took up arms after they discovered that they have been cheated, exploited and marginalized under the slogan of political Islam.[35]

It is evident therefore that, each fact is dependent and complementary to the other thus making it hard to find a clear cut between the factors. But for the sake of analysis, we shall attempt to discuss them under the common denominator of colonialism and colonial legacy, governance, socio-economy, cultural and ideological factors.

3.1 Colonialism and Colonial Legacy

The impact of the colonialism in terms of both the physical and its legacy in Africa and Sudan in particular cannot be underestimated. It has been the sole cause of disharmony in several spheres of life and provided the platform and blueprint under which all the post independence Sudan politics, economy and cultural activities were undertaken and created conflicting plane. Three major ways can account the extent to which British colonial legacy instituted the foundation for prolonged civil wars in Sudan. Paglia summarises them as follows:

First, is the economic marginalization of regions other than the Khartoum area, second, is by impeding the Sudanization, process i.e. nation-building, and of cultural amalgamation, by following separate regional policies and by consolidating the Arab Muslim elite to power and third, by legitimizing coercive and exploitative methods that will later be inherited by post-independence ruling elite.[36]

In terms of administration of the colony, the British-Egyptian approach to the administration of Sudan was highly based on race and more so by the institution and implementation of the Southern Policy (1922-1947), which intensified the north-south divide. This “[…] colonial policy brought about asymmetrical economic, educational, and administrative development between the north and the south.”[37] Later it became the yardstick of the key aspects that have over the years instilled the warring tendencies as the result of “we-they” tendencies and prejudices.

3.2 Governance

Governance system and the state machinery that was adopted after Sudan became independent has been one of the core factors for civil wars. Lack of good governance, infringement of civil rights, unequal distribution of resources for development and the imposition of Sharia laws to non-Muslim population to mention but only a few.

The concept governance may be referred to as “[…] the round-table approach wherein the non-governmental players, local communities and governmental agencies sit together to deliberate on problems, and determine strategies to resolve those problems.”[38]It entails a more devolved system of governance as opposed to centralised one, which opens door for common people to participate in the governing of their own affairs and creating a sense of ownership. As a perspective, it “[…] underscores the shift from state-centric to deliberative approaches characterised by relegation of the single dominant player syndrome in favour of multiple actors in decision making process.”[39]

In respect to independent Sudan, the state machinery was controlled by few northerner élites who dominated the government as they were the ones who were privileged with better education. They were in favour of turning Sudan into a theocracy a process pursued by the imposition and institution of the ShariaAlso, they advocated for oppressive policies that undermined the culture, identity and customs of the south. Furthermore they pursued the Arabisation and Islamisation of the southern Sudan region something, the southerner opposed and saw it as another form of slavery once pursued by the Arabs from the north in the former days slavery.

3.3 Socio-economic Development

Access, control and enjoyment of economic resources such as land, minerals, oil and forests and uneven distribution of oil revenue, economic development projects is another group of factors that has led to the prolonged fights in Sudan. The land tenure system that was instituted by the British and its resulting effects that culminated into conflicting points is worth considering first. This British colonial land policy [that] granted settled peasants in Sudan large pieces of land is to be blamed. In allocating land ownership, peasants were recognised as natives, while nomads were neither granted homelands nor were they acknowledged as natives or citizens in Sudan or elsewhere.[40] This policy soon served to fuel grievances, as homeland administrations favoured ‘native’ over ‘non-native’ tribes, and thereby favoured settled agriculturalists over nomadic pastoralists.[41]

Apart from that is the question of oil and oil revenue. Although the North-South conflict began well before oil reserves were discovered in central Sudan, competition for ownership and shares in the country’s oil and gas reserves was a driving force for the continuation of conflict and were among the key issues in the 2005 negotiations.[42]

3.4 Ideological and Cultural Perception

Sudan has duality of identities as it is both African and Arab. This duality of identity has been one of the pertinent factors for conflict as the two identities have come to reflect north-south or the Arab-African divide. In terms of religion, it is a predominantly Islamic country, although it inhabits a significant number of citizens practicing religions other than Islam. For example, the imposition of Sharia law and elevation of Arabic language as a national language and language of instruction in Sudan has a lot to do with the outbreak of the 1983-2005 civil wars. Such imposition can be equated to cultural violence in the structural violence literature.

4. Discerning for Peace in Sudan: Opportunities and Challenges

The Sudan peace is the result of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement of 1972 and Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of the 2005. One unique feature to both is that, they were all initiated by the Khartoum government[43] though the same has been accused of being the first to violate the terms agreement. While the former relatively ended the first civil war (1955-1972), the latter did the same to the second civil war (1983-2005) building on other agreements[44].

Several efforts[45] aiming at ending the wars have been attempted. Central to these are those Africa Union (AU); Regional Economic Communities (RECs); International Community/Bodies such as the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), Arab League as well as the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); International and local Non Government Organisations (INGOs& NGOs) and Religious Organisations (ROs). Of all; the longest running forum has been that sponsored by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body consisting of Sudan and several of her neighbouring states.[46] This later in 2005 resulted into the signing of the CPA that officially ended the 1983-2005 war.

4.1 CPA and the Dilemma of Peace Consolidation in Sudan

Following the IGAD acceptance of the call from Khartoum government the peacemaking processes were undertaken, and critical issues were tabled. Various declarations, agreements and protocols were developed of which six of them formed the commonly referred agreement: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement[47] (CPA) concluded in Naivasha Kenya in 2005. It spelt “[…] out steps for addressing issues related to governance, marginalisation and discrimination, identity, religion, and resources that had fueled wars over years.”[48]

But as of today, “Imagining … Sudan’s near and long-term future must begin with an honest assessment of the implementation of the core components of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as this deal has been the main framework guiding national and international policies in the country.”[49] Having been agreed in 2004 it entered into force in January 2005. This marked a historical moment not only for Sudanese but for the whole world since it patents the end of the two decades of civil war between north and south. It managed to render long silence of arms but not consolidating guaranteeing peace since “[…] peace is more than the silence of arms, yet conflicts are symptoms of its absence.”[50] As of now, Sudanese continue to face a number of conflicts in spite of long and periodic silence of arms. However weak it may be let us first turn to its acclaims.

CPA is credited as having achieved “[…] beyond a ceasefire, which in all ramification exceed expectations by further creating inroads to transformation in Sudan…. [Its] strength … lies in the combination of series of agreements and protocols to address the many-sided problems in Sudan.”[51] It has worked well though at a low speed in insuring temporal resources revenue sharing, slight reintegration of multiple groups of militia into Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLA, the creating mechanism for the power sharing during the 6 years interim period by creating a Government of National Unity (GNU) and the autonomous regional government: the Government of South Sudan (GoSS). It as well succeeded in facilitating holding the 2008 census, April 2010 general election, the January 2011 vote of referendum and its ultimate July 9, 2011 and independence of South Sudan.

But, opposite to what CPA has attained it is criticised of excess focus on ending the (1983-2005) SPLA/M –Khartoum war. Its implementation paid less attention to conflicts that was beyond violence and it was myopic to the possibilities of continuation of conflicts after the war ends. However, “The overarching challenge of the CPA today may not entirely rest on the content and quality of the document because the letters would not implement themselves but the decadence of the spirit behind the letters that convene at the negotiations in the first place.”[52]These have rendered rude implementation and its dangers have fulfilled CPA signing parties prophesy who documented that “[…] the successful implementation of CPA shall provide model for good governance in the Sudan that will help… to guarantee lasting peace, security for all, justice and equality in the Sudan.”[53] These words have not come to pass but have been the main characteristics of the post-secession Sudan. In principle CPA neither ended violence nor ensured peaceful coexistence and that is why “[…] the period between 2009 and 2012 has seen an escalation in the number of persons killed, wounded, abducted, forcefully displaced, and affected.”[54] Several reasons can account for this bad experience but not limited to the following:

First is the demise of the enthusiasm to Sudan reform agenda: struggling for the “New Sudan”. The fact is that “[…] events in the post-Garang era saw the re-awakening of self determination clause that was meant to be a last resort should unity be impossible to attain…. quest for independence then became the main vision and driving force of SPLM/A commitment to the CPA implementation under a façade of sometimes ‘untenable excuses’ as well as tacit and indifferent posture with a final aim of secession in view.”[55] The second emanates from the first. The clog in the wheel of progress has been more of attitudinal postures of the actors around the peace settlement.[56] Advancing it further Iyekolo further argued that:

[…] while the ruling NCP sought to win elections at all cost, consolidate its hold on power and block several other attempts to actualize the equality and justice clause, the SPLM/A was only seeking its referendum joker-card for independence. [Thus] “Up till date the issues in the disputed areas of Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile areas as well as security arrangements including demobilization, demilitarization and re-integration have been partially implemented.[57]

Thus instead of reforming Sudan; separation was preferred and other critical issues such as of contested or the three transitional areas (TTA): Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile ignored of less attend to. Thus the declaration of the independence of South Sudanese: The republic of South Sudan (RSS) was the manifestation that: “The CPA’s national reform agenda has been largely ignored. Yet this aspect of the CPA is the only element that can claim to be comprehensive.”[58]To many it was thought that independence declaration by south Sudanese would mark the end of north-south conflicts. Nevertheless, this has not been the case but opposite and peace is yet to consolidate. It has remained a dream! Surely secession has not meant peace but has defined new line for border and resource conflicts anew under the auspice inter-states.

Yet something has to be done. There is a need for continuation of or new negotiations to address these evolving predicaments. Critical components of … negotiations [should] cover citizenship, Abyei, oil revenues, Nile water sharing, and borders among others. Unless resolved, these outstanding issues will continue to cause tensions.[59] It should be understood that secession has not been panacea to conflicts in Sudan. To nationalists the pursue of the New Sudan agenda worth Sudan’s peace and would largely refrain Sudanese from the challenges of border, oil rich sates, citizenship and help to address the peace question of the contested areas. We cannot claim Sudan to be peaceful but periodic silence of arms. CPA, its brain-child: the secession referendum on self-determination nor declaration of independence did “undo relationships forged historically over thousands of years, or … change the social and cultural fabric of the country…. [Even after] the independence of the south, South Sudan is still linked to the north socially and economically”[60] as thus both have to coexist and hence unity between north and south is needed in discerning for Sudanese peace. But what is the way forward? History has taught us a lesson. In the same spirit for the Sudanese to progress “[…] forward and pre-empt future violence requires political imagination to rethink an alternative future based on a common future, rather than a common past and descent. The solution for both governments in north and South Sudan is found in Garang’s conceptual framework of the New Sudan, which is consistent with the other successful case in the African context, South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a democracy.”[61]

Also as Deng suggests that “[…] sustainable peace in the Sudan … primarily hinge on the stability in the transitional areas of Abyei[62], Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan and Darfur as these areas represent the majority of the marginalized rural Sudanese.”[63] The continued fights in these areas manifest that neither the CPA, referendum nor secession are solutions in dispensing sustainable and long-lasting peace to Sudanese. As that not enough increased intertribal civil wars in the newly born country: The Republic of South Sudan to the other hand leaves a lot of question than answers. This calls for RSS to do something if it is to make a difference. Conflicts in South Sudan can be minimized if an environment that encourages participation in politics, economy, and social life of its people is nurtured.[64] The case of Wanglei conflicts in Jonglei State is not the only but a clear example of how the post independence wars continue to claim lives of liberated people. The threat that intra-southern communal violence poses to the country’s future should not be underestimated.[65] Measures should be taken to resolve them as the number of lives claimed should not be entertained. RSS has more than 50 years of African states experience it has to learn from. It is challenged to be exemplary African state by avoid mistakes that other states made and this could be a contribution to building peaceful Africa.

5. Conclusion

Sudan peace lay far beyond what CPA, referendum and secession could provide. Though secession was obvious; it was an ill reality but now cannot continue blaming what cannot be reversed. This reality in today’s Sudans supports the assertion that separation without addressing the root cause of the conflicts is not panacea to ensuring sustainable peace. This is a challenge to South Sudan, Sudan, IGAD, AU, African states and the international community as the adopted pragmatic approach the CPA has slightly betrayed our efforts to ensure peace in the Sudans. It has also failed in addressing issues of identity, mistrust, and struggle for resources and border to the new countries. The solution though not a possibility today was in the quest for New Sudan which was short lived and evaporated with Garang’s death.

Sudanese have to face realities and the international community has to help them in addressing these challenges that lay beyond the jurisdiction of the CPA and the capacities of the new republics. We all know that partly the solution to Sudan peace depends on the peace of the TTA, demarcation and declaration of the north-south border and status of the majority who found themselves in either of the two new countries: The citizenship question, borders and proper implementation of the Mbeki 2012 proposal[66] to addressing the question of Abyei. In realising the mission; confidence, political will and trust is required and accepting the separation is needed so as to address the challenges facing the new Sudans of the post July 2011.


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[1] The use of the name ‘the Sudan’ or ‘Sudan’ refers to the geographical and political administration of the country before separation into two countries; the republic of Sudan and that of South Sudan.

[2] Stephen Gray and Josefine Roos, “Pride, conflict and complexity: Applying dynamical systems theory to understand local conflicts in South Sudan.” ACCORD Conference Paper, Issue 4 (2012), 1-14, 1.

[3] Patricia Daley, “Challenges to peace: conflict resolution in the Great Lakes region in Africa.” Third World Quarterly, Vol. 27 No. 2, (August 2006), 303-319, 304, available at, accessed on 18 December 2012.

[4] Gray and Roos, Pride, conflict and complexity, 1.

[5] The wars in Sudan have involved contenders. The major ones included among others, the SPLM/SPLA, the Southern Sudan Independent Movement/Army (SSIM/A), the Patriotic Resistance Movement of Southern Sudan (PRMSS), the Southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SSPLM)/Anya Nya Two, and the Nuba Mountains Solidarity (NMS). The 1991 split which occurred between John Garang (Dinka) and Riek Machar (Nuer), the dominant personalities within the SPLA/SPLM, led to factional fighting and the formation of the SPLA Mainstream (Torit Group, led by Garang) and the SPLA-United (Nasir Group, led by Machar). For further information see, Korwa G. Adar, “Conflict Resolution in Turbulent Region: The Case of the Inter-governmental on Development (IGAD) in Sudan.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution, 1 No 2 (2000) 39-66 and David Hoile, The Search of Peace in Sudan: A Chronology of Sudanese Peace Process, 1989-2001(London: The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, 2002).

[6] Delay, Challenges to peace, 203.

[7] Jannie Malan, “A Book review of ‘Sudan: Elusive Quest for Peace’ by R. Iyob & G. Khadiagala.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution, Vol. 8 No. 1, (2008), 135-139; 136.

[8] DRDC, 5th Population and Housing Census: an Incomplete Exercise (Geneva: Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC), 2010), 6.

[9] Atta El-Bittahani, “Tunnel Vision or Kaleidoscope: Competing Concepts on Sudan Identity and National Integration,” African Journal on Conflict Resolution, Vol. 7 No. 2 (2007), 37-61; 40.

[10] Mohamed Awad Osman, Transition from War to Peace in Sudan (Geneva: University for Peace, African Programme, 2004), 4.

[11] Osman, Transition from War, 2.

[12] Abdissa Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 1983-2005, PhD Dissertation (Aluquerque-New Mexico: The University of New Mexico, 2010), 40.

[13] Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 40.

[14] Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 2.

[15] Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 56

[16] As quoted by Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 57.

[17] Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 58

[18] Kizito Sabala, “Sudan: Beyond the 2011 Referendum.” African Peace and Conflict Journal, Vol. 4 No. 1, (June 2011), 47-61; 47.

[19] Makumi Mwingiru, Conflict: Theory, Processes and Institutions of Management (Nairobi: Watermark, 2000), 14-15.

[20] Groom 1990, as quoted by Robert Mudida, “Structural Causes of Ethnic Conflict” in Aquiline Tarimo & Paulin Manwelo, eds. Ethnicity , Conflict and the Future of African States (Nairobi: Paulines Publication Africa, 2009), 75-89; 80-81.

[21] See Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research,6 No. 3 (1969), 169-191., accessed 30 January 2013.

[22] See Johan Galtung, “Cultural Violence.” Journal of Peace Research,27 No. 3 (1990), 291-305., accessed 18 February 2013.

[23] See Galtung, Violence, Peace and Peace Research, 168-170; Mudida, Structural Causes of Ethnic Conflict, 80.

[24] Mudida, Structural Causes of Ethnic Conflict, 85

[25] See Stuart J. Kaufman, Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War (New York: Cornell University Press, 2001).

[26] Stuart J. Kaufman,“Symbolic Politics or Rational Choice? Testing Theories of Extreme Ethnic Violence,” International Security, Vol. 30 No. 4 (Spring 2006), 45-86; 47.

[27] Deng, 1995 as quoted by Kaufman, Symbolic Politics or Rational Choice, 60-61

[28] Kaufman, Symbolic Politics or Rational Choice, 61.

[29] Kaufman, Symbolic Politics or Rational Choice, 62.

[30] See Kaufman, Symbolic Politics or Rational Choice, 63.

[31] Kaufman, Symbolic Politics or Rational Choice, 63.

[32] See Francis M. Deng, War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in Sudan (Washington, D. C.: Brookings, 1995).

[33] Deng, War of Visions, 64.

[34] Alida Kok, Walter Lotze and Salome van Jaarsveld, Natural Resources, the Environment and Conflict (Durban: ACCORD, 2009), 30.

[35] Luka Biong Deng “The Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement: The Unfinished Business-The challenges of sustaining Peace and Transforming Sudan” A paper for Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Event on: The South Sudan’s Unfinished Business: Abyei and Southern Kordofan, London (August 2011), 3., accessed 10 January 2013.

[36] Pamela Paglia, “Ethnicity and Tribalism: are these the Root Causes of the Sudanese Civil Conflicts: African conflicts and the Role of Ethnicity: a Case study of Sudan.” Africa Economic Analysis (December 2008), 1-42; 32-33. , accessed 20 February 2013.

[37] Zerai, U.S. Representation of the Southern Sudanese Civil War, 190

[38] As quoted by Christopher P. Mahonge, “The Role of Informal Politics in Environmental Governance in East Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania.”Journal of Education, Humanities & Sciences, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2012), 69-79, 70.

[39] Mahonge, The Role of Informal Politics, 70.

[40] Kok, Lotze and van Jaarsveld, Natural Resources, 37.

[41] Mamdani, 2009, as quoted by Kok, Lotze and van Jaarsveld, Natural Resources, 37.

[42] Kok, Lotze and van Jaarsveld, Natural Resources, 31-33

[43] See, Korwa G.Adar, Conflict Resolution in Turbulent Region, 46-48.

[44] Some of these agreements are: The 1986 Koka Dam Agreement; The 1997 Sudan Peace Agreement; The 1997 Nuba Mountains Peace Agreement; The 1997 Fashoda Peace Agreement and The 1999 Blue Nile Peace Agreement. For details of the terms and outcome of each See, David Hoile, The Search of Peace in Sudan, 320-392

[45] See, Korwa G.Adar, Conflict Resolution in Turbulent Region, 57

[46] Hoile, The Search of Peace in Sudan, 1.

[47] The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that came into force in January 2005 is comprised of protocols and agreement namely These are The Machakos Protocol signed on 20 July 2002; Security Arrangements Agreement signed on 25 September 2003; Wealth Sharing Protocol signed on 7 January 2004; and Power Sharing , The Resolution of the Conflict in the Two States of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and The Resolution of conflict in Abyei all signed on 26 May 2004 respectively, the Chapeau the Agreement on Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangement Implementation Modalities and Appendices as Annexure I and the Agreement on the Implementation Modalities and Global Implementation Matrix and Appendices as Annexure II.

[48] Mhema & Zeleza as quoted by Sabala, Sudan: Beyond…, 48

[49] Damien Helly, ed. Post-2011 scenarios in Sudan: What role for EU? ISS Report, No. 6 (2009), 9

[50] Synod of Bishops II Special Assembly for Africa, Instumentum Laboris: The Church in Africa in the Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2009), 35.

[51] Wilfred Segan Iyekolo, A return of Hostilities? Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Transformational Challenges and future of Sudan, Master’s Thesis (Aalborg: Aalborg University, 2011), 59.

[52] Iyekolo, A return of Hostilities, 59

[53] CPA , xii; accessed on 10 January 2013.

[54] Christopher Zambakari, “Post- Referendum South Sudan: Political Violence, New Sudan, and Democratic National Building,” The Georgetown Public Policy Review, Vol. 18 No. 2 (Spring 2013), 43.

[55] Iyekolo, A return of Hostilities, 54-55.

[56] Iyekolo, A return of Hostilities, 59

[57] Iyekolo, A return of Hostilities, 60; 57.

[58] Helly, ed., Post-2011 scenarios in Sudan…, 10

[59] Debay Tadesse, “Post-Independence South Sudan: the challenges ahead,” ISPI Working Paper, 47 (February 2012), 6.

[60] Christopher Zambakari, “Post-referendum Sudan: The national building projects and its challenges” Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy9 No. 3 (2012), 505-544; 539-540

[61] Zambakari, Post-referendum Sudan, 543

[62] Abyei's residents have been waiting for forty years to hold a referendum on their political future. In 1972, at the end of the first Sudanese Civil War, the Ngok Dinka, who fought with the South’s Anyanya rebel movement, were promised a referendum to decide on whether to stay with the north or join the autonomous south. But before they could do so the country’s second civil war was sparked, in part, by the then-President Jaafar Nimeiri’s refusal to allow Abyei that self-determination vote. After waiting for four decades, the Ngok Dinka community unilaterally organized a plebiscite of their own. On October 31, 2013, the Ngok Dinka community announced that almost 98% of 64,775 registered voters turned out and that 99.89% of those who voted elected to join South Sudan. Leaders of the nomadic Misseriya community, which passes through the Abyei region twice a year, have protested the Ngok Dinka effort and pledged to organize their people around a similar referendum in the northern part of the Abyei area. In a public press conference, a senior Misseriya leader, Al-Saleh Mohamed Al-Saleh said his community could not be blamed for taking “all the necessary steps” to defend the area. At the same time, Misseriya paramount chief, Mukhtar Babu Nimir, announced that his people would not accept the results of any vote that takes place without them, adding that we will play our part in the liberation of our land in war and peace. Abyei is once again at the brink. For the current trend on the region and the neighborhood see Timothy May and Akshaya Kumar, “What Happens to a Dream Deferred” (November 2013) available at ; Mwangi S. Kimenyi, “Future Engagement Between South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan,” in African Growth Initiatives, South Sudan One Year After Independence: Opportunities and Obstacles of Africa’s Newest Country (Washington DC: Brookings, June 2012), 7-9 available at , accessed on 02 November 2013.

[63] Deng, The Sudan Comprehensive Peace…, 4.

[64] See Sabala, Sudan: Beyond the 2011 Referendum, 58.

[65] Gray & Roos, Pride, conflict and complexity, 3.

[66] May and Kumar, What Happens to a Dream Deferred, 8-9.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This paper was originally published in Hekima Review No. 49 Journal of Hekima College, The Jesuit School of Theology, Peace and International Relations.

Conrad John Masabo comes from Tanzania. He is a Tutorial Assistant at Dar es Salaam University College Education (DUCE): A Constituent College of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and a graduate student at the Pan African University Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences (PAUGHSS) in Cameroon studying an MSc in Governance and Regional Integration.