“I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years have brought to you CPA in a golden plate. Our mission is accomplished. It is now your turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience bush’s life. When time comes to vote at referendum, it is your golden choice to determine your fate. Would you like to vote to be second class citizens in your own country? It is absolutely your choice”—Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Rumbek, May 15, 2005, after the successful negotiation and signing of the CPA.
By PaanLuel Wël, Washington DC, USA
January 11, 2012 (SSNA) — January 9th, 2012 is a very important day in the history of the Republic of South Sudan. It marks the first commemoration of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) after the independence of South Sudan from (north) Sudan. It is also the seventh anniversary of the CPA since it was negotiated and signed on January 9th, 2005, in Naivasha Kenya. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the rebel movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was a landmark event in the troubled history of the Republic of the Sudan that ended the war, guaranteed self-determination for South Sudanese people and successfully ushered in the independence of the current young Republic of South Sudan.
As such a milestone occasion as it is in the living memory of South Sudanese people, one would have expected a plethora of heightened political and cultural activities on January 9th, 2012 among the South Sudanese citizens to memorialize the first anniversary of the CPA in their own independent state, free from Khartoum sabotages and interferences. Yet, as Mading Ngor Akech of the New Sudan Vision—a resident of Canada but currently in Juba, South Sudan—observes on his Facebook page, the “first commemoration of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in an independent South Sudan [was] ignored by [the] government, as only few hundreds showed up at Independence Square. Only a bunch of peace activists took it upon themselves to mark the occasion with no tribalism, violence, and other progressive chants…No official celebration, no government representation. I bet most have flown out of the country to enjoy ‘long weekend’ in neighboring countries…what, a new and interesting country!”
Of course, it may not be that baffling to figure it out why “only a bunch of peace activists took it upon themselves to mark the occasion” of the first anniversary of the CPA in an independent South Sudan. First, although the CPA ended the bloodshed and granted Southerners freedom from North Sudan, the grand promises and highly expected dividends of South Sudan’s independence—long lasting peace, political stability and sustainable economic development—are few and far between. Lack of long lasting peace and political stability in an independent South Sudan makes it appears as if the country is still practically in a civil war, contrary to the promise of the CPA. Economic development and the prospects of social prosperity are dismissal in spite of the oil money. Instead of resource blessing, there is an apparent foreboding sense of resource curse prevailing among the populace. Irrespective of their social and economic status, most South Sudanese seem to concur that the veterans of South Sudan’s war of independence have found a new cause in grand corruption.
Combined that with the inter-ethnic strife and the pervasive threat of military invasion from (north) Sudan and you would understand and appreciate the political disenchantment and economic disillusionment in South Sudan, barely six months into independence. Believably, those are the reasons why “only a bunch of peace activists took it upon themselves to mark the occasion” of the first anniversary of the CPA in an independent. Celebration is about happiness and appreciation of the event that engineered that particular happiness. While it is apparently clear that most South Sudanese will always be happy about and grateful to the CPA, it is a different matter, altogether, to expect them to pour onto the streets of Juba in glorious celebration when “only a bunch of” top leaders are reaping the fruits of South Sudan’s independence. And while those “chosen few” may not be celebrating in Juba, Mading Ngor might be right to believe that “most [leaders] have flown out of the country to enjoy ‘long weekend’ in neighboring countries.” It is “a new and [an] interesting country” indeed!!
Still, in spite of the existing political malaise, pitiable economic conditions and blossoming intertribal conflicts, political and economic instability in South Sudan, the first anniversary of the CPA in an independent South Sudan is too special in the fabric of our political revolution and in the political physic of the very identity we would want to construct for ourselves, present to the outside world as our national distinctive character and the one to bequeath to our children and children’s children.
So what is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and of what significance is it to the long arduous political struggle of South Sudanese, to the eventual independence of South Sudan on July 9th, 2011 and to the socio-political edification of the national identity of the Republic of South Sudan?
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was a groundbreaking peace accord negotiated between, and signed by, the Government of the Republic of the Sudan (GoS) under President Omar El-Bashir and the Sudan rebel movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (the SPLM/A) under Dr. John Garang de Mabior. According to the Wikipedia site, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), also known as the Naivasha Agreement, “was a set of agreements culminating in January 2005 that were signed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan. The CPA was meant to end the Second Sudanese Civil War, develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence.”
The CPA was a mutual political commitment by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to a “negotiated settlement on the basis of a democratic system of governance which, on the one hand, recognizes the right of the people of Southern Sudan to Self-Determination and seeks to make unity attractive during the interim period, while at the same time is founded on the values of justice, democracy, good governance, respects for fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, mutual understanding and tolerance of diversity within the realities of the Sudan.”
The CPA was also a realization, among the SPLM/A-NCP’s top leadership, of the stalemate of the war at the frontlines and, subsequently, their desires to resolve “the Sudan conflict in a just and sustainable manner by addressing the root causes of the conflict and by establishing a framework for governance through which power and wealth shall be equitably shared and human rights guaranteed” within a new, better country acceptable to both parties, and all Sudanese people.
The successful negotiation and conclusion of the CPA was borne by the fact that the two negotiating parties of the NCP and the SPLM/A were: “(1) conscious that the conflict in the Sudan [was] the longest running conflict in Africa; that it has caused tragic loss of life, destroyed the infrastructure of the country, eroded its economic resources and caused suffering to the people of the Sudan; (2) mindful of the urgent need to bring peace and security to the people of the Sudan who have endured this conflict for far too long; (3) aware of the fact that peace, stability and development are aspirations shared by all people of the Sudan; [and] (4) recognizing that the present moment offers a window of opportunity to reach a just peace agreement to end the war [in the Sudan, once and forever].”
Conscious, mindful, aware and recognizing those aforesaid factors, the two negotiating parties of the NCP and the SPLM/A, in the Machakos Protocol, agreed that: “(1) the unity of the Sudan, based on the free wills of its people democratic governance, accountability, equality, respect, and justice for all citizens of the Sudan is and shall be the priority of the [two negotiating] parties and that it is possible to redress the grievances of the people of South Sudan and to meet their aspirations within such a framework; (2) the people of South Sudan have the right to control their affairs in their regions and participate equitably in the National government; (3) the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination through a referendum to determine their future status; (4) religion, customs and traditions are a source of moral strength and inspiration for the Sudanese people; [and finally, among others, to cease fire and] (5) establish a democratic system of governance taking account of the cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic diversity and gender equality of the people of the Sudan.”
There were two main periods within the CPA: the Pre-Interim Period of six months pending the full implementation of the CPA and the formation of the first Government of National Unity in Khartoum and regional government in Juba, and the Interim Period of six years awaiting the conduct of the South Sudan referendum for self-determination to decide their future status. During the Pre-Interim Period of six months, “the institutions and mechanisms provided for in the Peace Agreement shall be established.” Then throughout the Interim Period of six years, “the institutions and mechanisms established during the Pre-Interim Period shall be operating in accordance with the arrangements and principles set out in the Peace Agreement.” The end of the six years Interim Period would usher in the referendum on South Sudan self-determination in which “there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, organized jointly by the GoS and the SPLM/A, for the people of South Sudan to: confirm the unity of the Sudan by voting to adopt the system of government established under the Peace Agreement; or to vote for secession.” We all know what happened afterwards: South Sudanese voted with over 99.9% for secession.
Even though there had been numerous peace talks—and indeed peace agreements like the Khartoum and the Fashoda Peace Accords, of Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol respectively—between the Government of the Sudan and the SPLM/A, the real serious negotiation for the CPA commenced only in early 2002, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attack masterminded by Osama Bin Laden, once a high-profiled guest of the Khartoum Government. In reality, the final peace process was long and uncertain, running from 2002 till January 2005. For example, the GoS and the SPLM/A “met in continuous negotiations between May 2002 and December 2004, in Karen, Machakos, Nairobi, Nakuru, Nanyuki and Naivasha, Kenya, under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Peace Process, and, in respect of the issues related to the conflict areas of Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States and Abyei Area, under the auspices of the Government of the Republic of Kenya.”
Those long continuous negotiations between the two parties resulted in the following protocols—six chapters and two annexure—all of which constituted what we now referred to as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of the Sudan between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan’s rebel movement of the SPLM/A:
(1) The Machakos Protocol (Chapter I) was signed in Machakos, Kenya on 20 July 2002. It set out the broad principles of government and governance within the Pre-Interim Period of six months and the Interim Period of six years. It was the Machakos Protocol that guaranteed the right to self-determination for the people of South Sudan besides offering the first priority to “making unity attractive” under a “democratic system of governance taking account of the cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic diversity and gender equality of the people of the Sudan.”
The clause about South Sudan self-determination enshrined in the Machakos Protocol—and currently the defining essence of the CPA—came about rather “accidental.” Neither the SPLM/A nor the NCP went into the Peace Talk with the zeal of making it the first priority. The SPLM/A first priority was the realization of New Sudan Vision, secular and inclusive country of all Sudanese, while the NCP were adamant about the retention of an Islamic state with more or less of an Arab identity. The incompatibility and the inevitable clash resulted in a nightmarish political stalemate for the negotiators.
Consequently, as a plan B to break the impasse, the clause on South Sudan’s self-determination was introduced—SPLM/A getting the right to conduct a referendum on South Sudan’s self-determination while the NCP obtained the privileges to keep and apply sharia law in all north Sudan except in Khartoum.
Therefore, the right to self-determination for South Sudan was arrived at as a political compromise between the SPLM/A and the NCP—the two parties who signed the CPA. In his article “South Sudan Referendum: First Thing First” Dr. Lam reports thus: “the self-determination in the CPA was an attempt to break the deadlock over the issue of separation of religion from the state and the relation between the religion and the state. So the CPA stipulated that Northerners shall have the right to apply Islamic Sharia in the North provided that Southerners shall have the right to self-determination” in the South.
Astoundingly, by the time the CPA negotiation started, a great number of South Sudanese apparently assumed that the SPLM/A and NCP went into the Peace Talk on the basis of self-determination stipulated in both the Khartoum and the Fashoda peace agreements. That was never the case because as Dr. Lam observed above, the only time the idea of self-determination was brought on the negotiating table was when the NCP refused to accept the basis of a Secular Sudan where religion would be separated from the state. Had the NCP agreed to a non-religious state, self-determination might not have been part of the deal.
(2) Power Sharing Protocol (Chapter II) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May 2004. It delineated the sharing of power between Khartoum and Juba amongst the NCP, SPLM/A, South Sudanese and North Sudanese opposition parties. Consequently, in the national assembly in Khartoum, the NCP was to take 52%, SPLM/A 28%, other Northern Political Forces (14%) and other Southern Political Forces 6%. Meanwhile, in the regional government of Southern Sudan in Juba, the SPLM was to take 70%, NCP 15% and other Southern Political Forces 15%.
(3) Wealth Sharing Protocol (Chapter III) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 7 January 2004. It outlined the sharing of wealth between the NCP, the SPLM/A, and other oil-producing states of the Sudan. Under the management of the National Petroleum Commission, the South Sudan’s oil—which was the main national wealth to be shared—was shared equally (50-50) between the two parties: NCP was given 50%, SPLM/A 50% and the oil-producing states 2%. It was also under the Wealth Sharing Agreement that the Reconstruction and Development Funds—Southern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Funds (SSRDF), National Reconstruction and Development Funds (NRDF) and the Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTF)—were established to help in the reconstruction and development of the war-torn regions.
(4) The Protocol on the Resolution of the Conflict in Abyei Area (Chapter IV) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May 2004. It guarantee the sharing of power between the NCP, the SPLM/A, the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya Arabs, in addition to a referendum for the Abyei residents to determine their future status of either remaining as part of Southern Kordofan, Sudan or joining Bhar el Ghazal, South Sudan. The protocol defined Abyei as “the area of nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905” while permitting the Misseriya and other nomadic peoples to “retain their traditional rights to graze cattle and move across the territory of Abyei.” Meanwhile, the residents of Abyei would be citizens of both Southern Kordofan and Bhar el Ghazal states, with representation in both state assemblies, pending Abyei Referendum that was to happen concurrently with the South Sudan’s plebiscite.
(5) The Protocol on the Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States (Chapter V) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May 2004 enshrining human rights and fundamental freedoms, in addition to the protection and development of the diverse cultural heritage and local languages of the population. Most importantly, it called for the people of the Southern Kordorfan and Blue Nile States to be given the right to conduct Popular Consultation—“the democratic right and mechanism to ascertain the views of the people of the Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States on the comprehensive agreement reached by the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.” Administratively, the NCP was to take 55% of the state government while the SPLM/A-N takes 45%.
(6) The Agreement on Security Arrangements (Chapter VI) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 25 September 2003 affirming that, during the interim period; the two armies of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (the SPLA) were to remain separate and would be considered and treated equally. SPLA forces in Nuba Mountain and Southern Blue Nile, as well as the SAF forces in South Sudan, were to relocate to their respective borders of the 1/1/1956 with the exception of those forces operating under the Joint/Integrated Units (the JIU). The Joint/Integrated Units—which was composed of equal numbers of the SAF and the SPLA—was an experimental army to assess and establish a post referendum army of the Sudan, just in case South Sudan were to vote for unity.
(7) The Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements Implementation Modalities and Appendices (Annexure I) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 31 December 2004 with both parties agreeing to “(a) permanent ceasefire among all their forces with the broader objective of sustaining the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, promoting peace culture, reconciliation and confidence building, [and] (b) permanent cessation of hostilities between SAF and SPLA within 72 hours of the signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.” Redeployment, demobilization, disarmament, re-integration and reconciliation would then ensue based on different phases and the unique circumstances of the various designated assembly areas.
(8) The Implementation Modalities and Global Implementation Matrix and Appendices (Annexure II) was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 31 December 2004 wherein the implementation modalities of all the protocols were outlined, explained and ascertained according to the letter and spirit of the CPA. The Implementation Modalities and Global Implementation Matrix and Appendices were to act as the “appropriate mechanisms for resolving any discrepancies that may arise during the implementation process.”
The CPA was jointly signed by Ali Osman Taha, first vice president of the Republic of the Sudan, on behalf of the government of the Republic of the Sudan, and Dr. John Garang de Mabior, chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, on behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. The Peace Accord was witnessed by the following people: President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboul of Egypt, Senator deputy FM Afredo Mantica of Italy, Special Envoy Fred Racke of the Royal Kingdom of Netherland, Minister Hilde Johnson of Royal Norwegian Government, Hilary Benn of the UK and Northern Ireland, Secretary of State Colin Powel of the USA, Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare of the AU, Charles Goerens of the EU, Secretary General Amre Moussa of the Arab League and Jan Pronk of the United Nations.
Is CPA fully implemented? Is it a success story? By and large, the CPA is way better than all the previous South Sudanese Accords signed or promised. Although the promised referendum on Abyei Area and Popular Consultations among the people of Southern Kordorfan/Nuba Mountain and Blue Nile States are yet to be materialized, the CPA dividends and successes are undeniable. Of all the numerous successes of the CPA, unlike the Addis Ababa Agreement, the successful conduct of the South Sudan’s referendum on self-determination and the proclamation of South Sudan’s independence are special, historic events unprecedented in the long painful history of South Sudan.
Of course, there were, and still are, serious challenges in the implementation of the CPA, not least the untimely death of Dr. John Garang, the political wrangling over the distribution of the ministerial posts in the GoNU, the acrimonious relationship between the SPLM/A and the NCP that once led to a temporary withdrawal of the SPLM/A from the national government, the suspicion over the census results and the heightened political anxiety towards the conduct of South Sudan plebiscite amid rebellions from war-lords probably back by the north. But in the end, we all know how it ended: freedom. While it may now emerge as if we had arrived home with an empty pot of water from the well, the fact of the matter is that we owned it and we can take it back to the well to collect more water or just remold and shape it to produce a better one.
In hindsight though, looking back to 2005, the CPA is but the culmination of all the previous peace accords attempted, negotiated, signed but dishonored, between South Sudanese and the Khartoum’s Government. The CPA is a fulfillment of the Koka Dam Accord, the Abuja I and II, the Juba Conference, the Torit, Bor and Akobo Mutinies and the Frankfurt Accord. It is the final realization and incarnation of the Addis Ababa Agreement of the 1972 and the fruition of South Sudan’s referendum. It is the embodiment of our sacrifices and the manifestation of our resolves.
That the CPA exemplifies all that there is within the realm of the history of South Sudanese struggle is the reason why it should be annually commemorated irrespective of the current socioeconomic and political realities in South Sudan. It is just good and befitting for and by its own self. It is the history of us, now and in the foreseeable future!
You can reach PaanLuel Wël at [email protected]gmail.com, Facebook Page, Twitter account OR at his blog: http://paanluelwel2011.wordpress.com/