Friday, 11 September 2009

Stumbling into war

Apparently Gration's efforts have failed to connive the two 'rivals' of the CPA into an agreement on the two outstanding issues, candidates to thwart the short-lived 'peace' since signing of the CPA (2005): census results to be used for determination of geographical constituencies in the upcoming elections, and mainstay of the referendum law: who is to vote, and what is the cut-off?

The General expressed disappointment at the fruitfulness of 'excellent discussions', and promised continuation of debate on the margins of the UN general assembly or any other appropriate opportunity, signalling an unhappy end to the 'tri-partite' arrangement: NCP-US-SPLM. Pagan Amum from the SPLM excited about the failure blamed the NCP for placing impediments before a possible agreement on a final formula for the referendum law. From the NCP Qutbi al-Mahdi, head of political sector, speaking in Khartoum pledged to defeat the secessionists within the SPLM in liaison with pro-unity Southerners and national parties in the South (Sudan Tribune, 11/09/09).

What does this translate into? The unmentioned here is that the NCP is frustrated at the possibility of a South-North alliance being born out of the Juba conference joining the SPLM and the northern opposition, particularly that the pre-emptions of Sadiq al-Mahdi, irrespective of tactical motives, have already invited such a broad electoral pact. In Khartoum the whispers are: NCP has offered concessions on the referendum law granted that the SPLM supports Bashir's candidacy for president i.e. refrains from naming a candidate or supporting one. In essence, it is the NCP that is pushing full thrust for secession; the SPLM is largely rolling along.

Commenting on these developments the UN regional coordinator for Southern Sudan, David Gressly, said: "neither side seem to want a renewed conflict", adding "the alternative is a renewed conflict and that is a very real threat out there". Stumbling along into the Torit events of 1955 the Sudan Government also did not want a conflict, however it got one. Effectively jeopardising the Addis Ababa accord Numeiri did not want a conflict, and he also got one 1983. These guys may not want a conflict, however they are plunging into one, no doubt about it.

Against all odds it is the moment for maximalists and not the Grationate middle ground: if the threat of war in Southern Sudan is to be avoided a much larger unity is the due of the challenge. If in 1947 the Juba conference of North and South ended with a pledge of unity, a vote for independence, and a promise of federation, never to be realised, the Juba conference of 2009 has to realise the deepest fears of the NCP and bring them to the wake of day. To that end the delegates, esteem and prestige preserved, must rise to the moment. SPLM has to drop its paranoid stance that once undermined the post-1985 democracy, and the major parties must grasp that the South is Sudan, not its periphery; the NDA was the laboratory for requisite lessons in that regard.

According to CPA paragraphs democracy is a transformation, delayed, effectively denied. The Juba conference, non-Grationate thankfully, has to defeat the denial and generate a political subject beyond the stalemate of the CPA.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons Licence
This work by Magdi El Gizouli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.