By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
February 23, 2010 (SSNA) — Darfur which has won the world focus since 2003 may one the most publicised hotspots in the world, however as it can be seen from the various groups pulled into the problem, ranging from orthodox Jewish organisations in the West to the Arab League, the UN, AU and regional African powers like Egypt, Libya, Chad, Eretria and many parts of the international community, it is obvious that different groups have different agenda as far as this humanitarian crisis is concerned.
Darfur crisis has created jobs in millions for people all over the world though sadly enough some continue to ignoring the truth that these jobs are coming at the expense of real lives been lost on daily basis in Darfur. Or the best the sad parts are highlighted to draw more funds to sustain business as usual. But who doesn’t know that once the war ceases, many beneficiary will have to either change trades or go out of business, or still look for new crisis or even create one.
The problems of the people of Darfur are best only understood by Darfuris themselves, and a Sudanese citizen myself I would be misleading the public opinion should I ever claim to understand the root dimension more than the locals. As a south Sudanese, I also have my problem with Khartoum and although the general frame works would look the same i.e. marginalization, under development and so on, however the psychological impact that these issues have on the different people differ with their specific backgrounds and the least would be the role of Islam as a political religion in the Sudan.
As such genuine solutions to problems of Darfur would therefore request different mechanisms and the final outcome are definitely expected to be different from the situation in south Sudan. Meanwhile south Sudanese are straight forwards in their inclinations towards a separate independent country of their own be that through the expected referendum in 2011 or otherwise, our brothers in Darfur have come a long way in embracing the Arab Islamic culture that just reciting of few verses from the Holy Koran seems to play the trick in most cases. The majority of Darfuris are thus bent to seek for a solution within a united Sudan and not the other way round.
Judging by the comprehensive peace agreement, the CPA brokered by the US administration under the former US president George W Bush, south Sudan has won the right to self-determination to be carried out in an internationally observed referendum. No doubt not only George W Bush and his administration, but most of the international community are aware of the fact that given such an opportunity, the people of south Sudan who have already fought two civil wars against the central government in Khartoum, would more than likely to vote for secession.
What we are currently witnessing with the Barrack Hussein Obama’s administration in as far as the north Vs south peace is concerned, is indeed very worrying and deeply disturbing. Obama came to power when the issues in south Sudan were already way ahead in solutions than what is happening in Darfur. We expected Obama and his aides to have taken the CPA as an American success story and all they needed was to see its implementation in a timely manner until the last station which is holding the referendum and declaring the independent state of south Sudan that is recognized internationally. Anything less, can just be a waste of whatever was already achieved and possible another return to war.
All those peace loving people who sympathize with the Sudan are glad to learn of the ceasefire agreement between the Sudanese government and the Darfur-based JEM rebel movement signed in Qatar today.
This ceasefire is the result of a framework agreement concluded in Chad. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says it is "The beginning of the end of the war in Darfur". Under the terms of the agreement, members of the Justice and Equality Movement will join the Sudanese government. And JEM fighters will be integrated in the Sudanese army.
A final accord is to be concluded next month. JEM is the main rebel movement in Darfur; smaller rebel groups have consistently refused to talk to the government. The United States is pleased with the agreement and says it regards the ceasefire as an important first step on the road to a reduction of violence in Darfur.
I join the whole world in wishing the people of Darfur the peace they so much deserve. However given the history of today’s rulers in Khartoum, there is much to doubt about their true intensions. Khartoum can go at length to buy time while no true peace is achieved. This Darfuri faction, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Dr. Khalil Ibrahim is an Islamist movement and there is no doubt about this. And the fact that the Islamists of Khartoum had an upper hand in instating the Chadian regime explains very clearly how the triad of JEM – NCP and President Idris Deby of Chad can work together their ideology at the expense of any genuine solutions. This is nothing, but a peace between the Islamists even by Darfuri standards.
But for the world to be fair to the people of south Sudan, it must be made abundantly clear that, finding solutions to the Darfur crisis should never ever be at the expense of the gains got by the south in the CPA. Any such solutions should be parallel to the CPA, otherwise we will never finish. While the US administration especially the envoy retired general Scot Grasion, congratulates himself with the break through between NCP and JEM, though the real reflection on the ground remains doubtfully given the fact that the other Darfur factions are not fully on board, the administration must remember that there are only a few months left ahead of the referendum in the south.
Southerners have already said it on more than one occasion that anything can be tolerated but not the tempering with the referendum date of 9th January 2011. There is a lot that needs to be accomplished before that date; outstanding are the north south borders, the future of splitting the Oil revenues in the post 2011 period, citizenship, currency, and many others. It is important that the south’s concern on the referendum be taken seriously otherwise the whole region is in for a real crisis of a magnitude never even seen given the current geo-politics of the Central and Eastern Africa.
We have already heard voices calling for possible postponement of the April elections that have already been behind the scheduled twice. Sayed Sadiq Al Mahdi, the ex-prime minister and a presidential candidate in the coming elections was the first to euphorically accept the possibility for delay in elections calling it an issue of common sense. The JEM are also looking for a five years postponement. Egyptians are also on record for pressing for a postponement. But looking critically into these developments there is a clearly evolving conspiracy against south Sudan. We have known how easily people can conspire against the weak. It is what happened to south Sudan in 1947 and we are still paying the price.
The US administration is free to seek its interests were ever it deems that appropriate, however this should not be at the expense of the big promise that they made in the open to continue to support the timely implementation of the CPA. At this particular junction, we are in fact getting more worried because we strongly understand that this very CPA that the Arab Islamic north was forced into by the US administration of George W. Bush, can only be brought to fruition if the US administration under Obama maintains that firm stand. Khartoum only responses to pressures and preferable a sustained one and from the records we all know how they tend to respond well.
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” King Jr. Martin Luther
Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.B, B.Ch, D.R.H, M. He can be reached at either [email protected] or [email protected]. All the articles of the author are available at www.nilebuffalo.com and blog http//ussp-news.blogspot.com