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The Hazy Path Forward in Sudan

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The Hazy Path Forward in Sudan

Sarah Washburne Middle East Report Online http://www.merip.org/mero/mero032409.html

March 24, 2009 (Sarah Washburne is a doctoral student at the University of Exeter. She contributed this article from Khartoum.) For another view on the ICC decision, see Khalid Mustafa Medani, “Wanted: Omar al-Bashir — and Peace in Sudan,” Middle East Report Online, March 5, 2009. On the day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the wanted man addressed a pre-planned rally of thousands in front of the presidential palace in Khartoum. Bashir was defiant, denouncing the warrant as “neo-colonialism,” and praising his supporters in Martyrs’ Square as “grandsons of the mujahideen,” a reference to the participants in the Mahdiyya uprising against Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1885. The atmosphere was almost one of jubilation; one might have mistaken the crowds for soccer fans celebrating a win. As Bashir condemned the ICC and the West from the microphone, the protesters waved the Sudanese flag and held aloft pictures of Bashir, as well as posters depicting the face of Luis Moreno Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, superimposed upon the body of a pig. There were sporadic outbreaks of drumming, dancing and singing. It is easy to dismiss the March 5 rally as just another show staged by an authoritarian regime. Yet smaller groups of protesters could be found throughout the streets of Khartoum. Roadside spectators shouted chants of support as the demonstrators passed by; cars plastered with Bashir posters zipped through the capital with horns honking. Indeed, the Bashir regime does have a strong, loyal base in the central region of the country, which is, after all, some 600 miles from the far western province of Darfur, where the crimes against humanity and war crimes that the president is accused of orchestrating have taken place. Within days of the ICC’s announcement in The Hague, protests in Sudan had dwindled, in line, perhaps, with the official position of the government, as outlined by ‘Abd al-Rahman Ahmad Khalid Sharif of the Foreign Ministry, that they are “not concerned” by the warrant. Many analysts think that, if Bashir is held accountable to international law, some sort of change of leadership may take place in Sudan. The International Crisis Group, for instance, reports that in light of the “internal tensions within the regime, the indictment itself may provoke change.” Yet the question remains: Was the decision to indict a sitting head of state a wise one, and what effect will the decision have upon the future of Sudan? “Why Should We Worry?” The ICC has charged Bashir with five counts of crimes against humanity (“murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape”) and two counts of war crimes (“intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities and pillaging”). The court concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge the president with genocide, as the violence inflicted upon the population of Darfur has sometimes been called. Moreover, the judges stated that it is the responsibility of the government of Sudan to turn Bashir over to the court. They also called upon all signatories to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC in 1998, and the United Nations, as well as those states that are not members (as Sudan is not), to aid in securing Bashir’s surrender. Realistically, it is far from certain that the Sudanese junta will give up its leader; countries in the Arab League and African Union, which vocally opposed the indictment, as well as China, may likewise be loath to cooperate. “Why should we worry about the ICC issue?” the Eritrean minister of information asked a curious reporter on the occasion of Bashir’s first trip abroad after the warrant was issued. On March 23, however, the Committee of Islamic Scholars, Sudan’s highest Muslim religious body, released a fatwa recommending that the president not travel to Qatar for the Arab summit to be held at the end of the month. Should Bashir remain at large, the case would be remanded to the UN Security Council, which could impose further sanctions and even authorize the use of force to apprehend him. Deadlock among the Council members, however, would preclude such measures. Given the unlikelihood of an actual arrest, what does the warrant actually achieve? Many long-time Darfur activists, such as the prominent actor George Clooney, have appeared on international news channels to say that the international community must look to the possibility of an arrest in the future. This possibility in and of itself, he says, will deliver some justice to the people of Darfur. But while the legal aspects of the case may be debated for years to come, the immediate political ramifications are undoubtedly of more importance. The ICC, of course, is a judicial institution that should not be swayed by political considerations. But once the court decided to prosecute a sitting head of state, the entire situation turned political. It had to. The history of the Bashir regime, and the present state of affairs in Sudan, make it clear that the political outcome of this ruling can only be negative. Outcomes Likely and Unlikely Idealism aside, it should be assumed that the decision to prosecute Bashir was taken knowing full well that the result will not be an actual arrest of Bashir, at least not in the near future. The ruling sends one clear political message: that no one who commits war crimes, not even a sitting head of state, is immune from justice. Yet many Darfur activists would like to see other political consequences. Firstly, there is hope that the warrant will help to end the war in Darfur, even if there is not an arrest. Secondly, the warrant may encourage dissent against Bashir within Sudan, leading to his removal by internal or external forces. (Bashir accuses the ICC of plotting “regime change.”) Any immediate push to end the war in Darfur is unlikely, however. In the past, the Bashir regime has shown that it demands respect, not condemnation, in order to cooperate with the international community. In addition, the two main rebel groups in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minnawi branch are now less likely to participate in meaningful peace talks. The Bashir regime, from its beginnings in 1989, has been characterized as a dictatorial Islamist junta, but it is also a pragmatic government influenced greatly by “symbolic politics.” When the regime has felt threatened, as in 1993 when it was placed on the US list of states that sponsor terrorism, it has backed into isolation. When given certain concessions, however, Khartoum is willing to engage the international community. The early years of the George W. Bush administration are a prime example. The Clinton years had culminated in the US bombing of the Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in 1998. In the summer of 2001, the Bush administration showed signs of taking a different approach, aided by the 1999 “palace coup” in Khartoum that saw the ouster of the government’s key Islamist ideologue Hasan al-Turabi, who is said to have personally invited Osama bin Laden to live in Sudan in the mid-1990s. Then, the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred, and the two governments began cooperating in counter-terrorism matters. Though Sudan remains on the state sponsors of terrorism list, in 2007 the State Department called Sudan “a strong partner in the war on terror.” In the meantime, the Bush administration, under pressure from conservative Christians and the Congressional Black Caucus, pushed Khartoum and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. Whatever Bashir’s intentions, he did pull the junta out of isolation on this occasion, and, for the most part, the CPA has held. As the international media and human rights groups turned the spotlight on the Sudanese government for its actions in Darfur, the regime, feeling threatened, fell back into its old ways. There has been no coordinated international strategy for dealing with the Darfur crisis, as there was with southern Sudan starting. The West, and in particular the United States, has sent mixed signals about Darfur, which have in turn been overshadowed by immense pressures from non-state actors, namely NGOs and the media. The media’s preoccupation with Darfur, and the claim of genocide, was a nuisance for Bashir. It now appears to the regime, however, that human rights groups and the “Zionist” media have exacted their “revenge” through the justices in The Hague. Meanwhile, the arrest warrant has emboldened the Justice and Equality Movement, which sat down for talks in Qatar with interlocutors from Khartoum in mid-February. The talks were a tentative step in the right direction. The Justice and Equality Movement leader, Khalil Ibrahim, now takes a hard line. In a press release on the group’s website, Ibrahim is quoted as saying: “Bashir refuses to surrender? We’ll just go in and drag him out of his palace…. Any chance for a deal is over.” The other main Darfuri rebel movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minnawi, signed the Darfur Peace Agreement with the government in 2006. The group’s leader, Minni Minnawi, now holds an official position as presidential adviser to Bashir, and on March 4 he said he remained committed to implementing the 2006 accord. On March 6, however, the movement issued a statement “strongly supporting” the ICC decision, and blaming Bashir’s National Congress Party for rendering Sudanese courts too anemic to adjudicate the Darfur charges themselves. Party spokesmen insist there is no contradiction, but theirs is a strange position. Sudanese rebel movements are unpredictable, and it may be the renewed fighting in Darfur that has led to their change of attitude. But the ICC warrant definitely affects the groups’ media strategy: They want to be seen as in line with the weight of international moral opinion. No matter the reason of the rebel factions, their relationships with Khartoum are quickly worsening pursuant to the indictment. A rapid change of government in Sudan is as unlikely as an early peace in Darfur. Public opinion in Khartoum is varied on the subject of the ICC decision. Informal conversations show that, in spite of general antipathy for Bashir’s party, many regard the warrant as a form of imperialism infringing upon national sovereignty. Others feel that the label of “neo-colonialism” promoted by the state-run media is a propaganda tool that clouds Bashir’s role in the country. Some voice the opinion that it is time for Bashir to go, not necessarily because of the ICC warrant, but because “20 years is enough.” Overall, since there are strict laws limiting freedoms of speech and assembly, the population is keeping mum and staying at home. Dissension within the government, in theory, is another path to an alternation of power. The National Congress Party dominates the current coalition government. Some Sudanese think that the party will kick Bashir out of the presidential palace, but decline to hand him over to the ICC, for the sake of their own survival in power. Bashir, however, maintains the firm support of the army, which has always been key to the rise and fall of Sudanese regimes. There are also opposition parties in the parliament and the cabinet; the first vice president, Salva Kiir, is a southerner from the SPLM. Officially, these parties are not supportive of the ICC decision. Certain fringe parties, such as the United Democratic Liberal Party, or more established, but weak ones such as the Communist Party or the Islamist People’s Congress Party, led by Turabi and said to be a key supporter of the Justice and Equality Movement, wholeheartedly support the decision. “Politically, we think he is culpable,” Turabi has said of Bashir. But these figures have no clout with the government. The oldest and best-established parties in the country — the Umma Party and the Democratic Unionist Party — have been unable to present a united front. Publicly, party members have contradicted themselves, at times hailing the ICC decision and at other times saying that any judicial process should be internal. On paper, the Democratic Unionist Party is categorically against prosecution of a head of state by an international institution. The leader of the Umma Party, Sadiq al-Mahdi, head of the democratically elected government overthrown by Bashir and his fellow officers in 1989, was initially supportive of the ICC indictment. Al-Mahdi backed away from this position once the arrest warrant was issued, saying that foreign intervention was not justified. Mid-level members of the two parties hold differing views. No matter their view on the subject, however, there is a constant theme: Politicians from all backgrounds fear that Bashir will use his authoritarian powers to delay the elections tentatively set for July 2009, thus preventing the current march towards a return to democracy. The Southern Perspective The SPLM is in a precarious position. On the one hand, the SPLM fought what was, at the time, the world’s longest-running civil war against the central government. On the other hand, it is now the second-largest partner in the government in Khartoum. Many of the accusations made against Bashir about Darfur were also made during the war in the south; an estimated 2 million people died during the fighting. The mission of the SPLM has always been to bring about a “new Sudan,” one that embraces religious and cultural pluralism and creates a genuine democratic process in all of the country. While this goal was originally to be achieved by forcibly seizing the state, since the signing of the CPA, the SPLM has changed its tune. In its amended manifesto, the movement states, “Using all legitimate peaceful means at its disposal, the SPLM shall continue to its struggle to build a new socio-political order.” In the minds of the SPLM, this wording refers to change through elections, not a coup or outside intervention. In fact, the movement believes it will win the July presidential election, as long as the electoral process is free and fair. National and local legislative elections are to take place concurrently. One SPLM state minister says he is convinced that the party has support all over Sudan since the traditional parties are outdated and Bashir’s party is generally despised. Interviews with numerous members of the SPLM political secretariats in the southern towns of Bor, Wau and Juba reveal persistence in the goal of having a southerner as president of the entire country. Any disruption of the CPA, however, would jeopardize this dream. The peace between the north and south not only gave the SPLM autonomous control over southern Sudan, but it also gave the movement 28 percent of cabinet seats and the first vice presidency. All of the SPLM’s future aspirations rest on the full implementation of the CPA and the upcoming elections. A key factor here is a healthy and productive relationship between the National Congress Party and the SPLM. Publicly, therefore, the movement fully backs Bashir in the ICC matter. Their reasoning has less to do with dislike of foreign intervention than with fear that the peace process will be derailed. Salva Kiir, the SPLM chairman, headed a crisis committee to exert diplomatic efforts to defer the indictment. Lam Akol, foreign minister from 2005 to 2006 and leader of a dissident SPLM faction, also said that the movement should support Bashir because they are now partners in government. In an interview held days before the ICC decision, he outlined the SPLM’s logic: [The SPLM and NCP] are partners in the agreement. The agreement provided that the two must be partners in implementing the CPA…. But, of course, there are countries in the West that would want to use the SPLM as a lever to continue pursuing their policies against the National Congress. And I, as a person, do not like that because once we have signed an agreement, we have to see that agreement through…. Because this regime that we want to change now includes us. How do we absolve ourselves from this responsibility? Privately, however, many SPLM members are on the fence. They sympathize with Darfuris, and perhaps would like to see a change of government. Many SPLM members are especially upset at the expulsion of aid groups from Darfur. SPLM civil servants working in capital say they are reluctant to endorse the ICC decision because of the possible consequences for the peace agreement. Many are taking a wait-and-see attitude. If the arrest warrant is pursued and the CPA holds, then they will herald the arrest. If the CPA suffers, then they are against the ICC ruling. Other SPLM representatives and members are less hesitant. Edward Lino, the former administrator of the oil-rich southern province of Abyei, where Khartoum has been slow to cede autonomy, has said that Bashir must hand himself over or “commit suicide.” Others believe that there is no reason for the ICC move to affect the SPLM’s position in Khartoum since the court is after a single individual, not the entire government. In an interview, one official from the SPLM-Northern Sector said the movement “cannot support the ICC and cannot support Bashir,” simply because it has no dog in the fight. For many ordinary southerners, who after all were chief among the victims of the civil war, the warrant is a sign from God that Bashir will get what he deserves. There is a near universal support for the ICC ruling among southern Sudanese living in the south, excepting those few who are members of Bashir’s party. Unsettling Effects To review, it is unlikely that Bashir will be arrested; that the war will end; or that the regime will fall, either to external or internal foes. One begins to question if the indictment of Bashir is constructive. Negative outcomes of the ICC ruling are already a reality. Khartoum has revoked the operating license of 16 aid agencies, and foreign staff has been expelled from northern Sudan, putting at risk the welfare of thousands, if not millions, of Sudanese internally displaced by war. Naturally, these actions are themselves criminal under international humanitarian law, but they are a logical reaction to the threat that Khartoum perceives. For all its bellicose rhetoric, the regime is indeed worried about its own future. It deals with perceived threats by lashing out, and the aid groups are conveniently at hand. Longer-term effects are also likely to be unsettling. The anticipated July 2009 elections would be the first held in the country since 1986 and the first comprehensive elections ever in all of southern Sudan. The National Congress Party now fears, naturally, that a challenger might win the presidency. Sudan’s foreign policy might change thereafter; it is even conceivable to Bashir and his backers that a successor would sign the Rome Statute. As nerves fray in Khartoum, Bashir might preempt this eventuality by delaying the elections indefinitely. That step would imperil the CPA, which stipulates that elections must be held before a referendum on independence in southern Sudan in 2011. The government has promised that the arrest warrant will not affect the north-south agreement. In a country that is very unstable at the margins, however, anything is possible. Finally, and perhaps most detrimental to the long-term resolution of political conflicts in Sudan, the ICC decision gives Bashir an excuse to plunge his country back into the injurious isolation of the first decade of National Congress Party (then called the National Islamic Front) rule. During this decade, the government gave Osama bin Laden refuge; was allegedly involved in an assassination attempt upon Egyptian President Husni Mubarak during a visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and was the only African state to support Iraq when it invaded Kuwait. As it shrinks from engagement with the West, Khartoum is relying on traditional allies in the Arab and African regions, as well as China. These countries, however, are unlikely to be able to help Sudan solve its problems. Regional initiatives to end the war in the south, for example, were miserable failures. The Egyptian-Libyan initiative accomplished nothing. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, an African-sponsored peace process, was unsuccessful until the US gave it a push. Had the ICC accused the Sudanese president of war crimes in 2003 or 2004, it is unlikely that the negotiations with the SPLM would have been successful. Most likely, the war in southern Sudan would still be going on. The path forward the international community, now that Pandora’s box has been opened by the ICC decision, is hazy. Certainly, the Security Council could put the warrant on hold for a year pending political progress in Darfur or until the elections are held. As long as the accusatory rhetoric remains, however, the regime will continue to be defiant. If, on the other hand, the West chooses to accommodate the regime somehow, it will throw the legitimacy of the ICC into question. In other words, the international community, and specifically the West, must tread lightly. The discrepancy between moral responsibility and pragmatic diplomacy is significant. In order to produce imperative short-term benefits in Sudan, long-term objectives of prosecution of Bashir and changing the country’s leadership might have to be put aside.

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Written by torit1955

March 25, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Aid Expulsions Sparks Fears for Darfur Camps

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Aid expulsions spark fears for Darfur camps

Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:05pm GMT

By Andrew Heavens KHARTOUM (Reuters) –

Aid officials and diplomats on Thursday said there were fears of growing humanitarian crises in three Darfur refugee camps, after Sudan’s wanted president shut down 16 aid groups. Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir expelled 13 foreign aid organisations and closed three local groups this month, accusing them of helping the International Criminal Court issue an arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes in Darfur. The groups deny working with the court. Aid officials told Reuters there was a risk of fresh disease outbreaks in south Darfur’s Kalma and Kass camps after residents refused to let state-backed aid agencies come in to replace the expelled humanitarian groups. The U.S. embassy in Khartoum released a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” by the situation in Zamzam camp in north Darfur, where the expulsions have coincided with an influx of 36,000 people fleeing recent fighting. The expulsions of groups including Oxfam, Save the Children and Care sparked international outrage. U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned the Sudanese government would be held accountable for every life lost as a result of the reduction of humanitarian cover. Sudanese government aid officials said the expelled groups’ work would be covered by surviving international organisations and scores of local groups that authorities were planning to bring into the area.

“TOOLS OF GOVERNMENT”

But Hussein Abu Sharati, who says he represents Darfuri refugees in 158 camps, said Kalma residents had met and voted to refuse all aid from Sudanese groups. “They don’t see these groups as aid organisations, they see them as tools of the government,” he told Reuters by satellite phone. “IDPs (internally displaced people) in Kalma and Kass are refusing all access to the government and local aid groups even if it means receiving less water or a greater risk of disease,” said an aid worker from one of the ousted organisations, speaking on condition of anonymity. The workers said residents had blocked all state deliveries of fuel for their own generators, set up to pump fresh water in to the camp, raising the risk of the spread of diseases like cholera.

Camp leaders were also refusing to let Ministry of Health officials vaccinate residents against a new meningitis outbreak, he added. Kalma and Kass are home to tens of thousands of people who fled their homes after raids and attacks by government troops and militias during the Darfur conflict. The U.S. embassy said there was a growing water and land shortage in North Darfur’s Zamzam camp after the arrival of 36,000 people fleeing clashes between rebels and government fighters. The shortage had been “exacerbated” by the expulsions, it said, urging Sudan’s government to work out a plan with the United Nations and surviving aid groups “before the humanitarian situation deteriorates any further”. International experts say almost six years of fighting has uprooted 2.7 million people. Many of the camps that have taken them in have become highly politicised.

A joint U.N./Sudan government assessment mission into the impact of the expulsions, which hit aid programmes across north Sudan, was due to return to Khartoum late on Thursday. Darfur’s joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force has said it is ready to do what it can to fill any humanitarian gaps left by the expulsions. Aid workers have been concerned about suggestions the peacekeepers might take on humanitarian work in Sudan. “Gradually the line between peacekeepers and aid workers gets blurred and then everyone becomes a fair target,” said one. Armed men attacked an UNAMID patrol in South Darfur this week, killing one Nigerian peacekeeper. Five workers for the Belgian arm of Medecins Sans Frontieres were kidnapped in North Darfur last week and held for three days by a group that, government officials said, was protesting against the International Criminal Court

Written by torit1955

March 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Extending Elelction Date In Sudan Will Have Dominos Effect On CPA

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Extending Elelction Date In Sudan Will Have Dominos Effect On CPA
Thursday January 8th 2009

The Vice President of the republic of Sudan and the President of the government of Southern Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit told a gathering at a dinner in Washington that, extending the 2009 election would jeopardize referendum in South Sudan.

At a Congressional dinner hosted by Ted Dange and Roger Winter at Mayflower hotel in Washington DC, the dinner was attended by about fifty people many of whom are dignitaries from different countries who attended the signing of the CPA in Nairobi Kenya.

Amonth them was, Heldan Joshnson Norway representative at the UN, Congressman Ronal Pyne, Kjell Hodneboe of Norway, and many other dignitaries.

The dinner was hosted to celebrate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed four years ago. President Kiir reiterates his words of gratitude and appreciations to President Bush and his administration for keeping the South Sudan problem at heart. Kiir told group of dignitaries, Sudanese, and long time supporters of the struggle that, postponing the election will have dominos effects on the implementation of the CPA.

However, some are not so keen to conduct the elections in July. Given the fact that rainy season began during the month of May to October, a season chosen during negotiations to hold the first election, many are concerns that conducting the election in July will limit people’s participations in most part of Southern Sudan where the people will physically elects their chosen candidates.

On the other hand, according to the President, If the election is push forward to dry season, everything else that comes after the election such as the referendum in Southern Sudan, referendum in Abyei, and the popular consultation of Nuba Mountains all will miss the date lines and that has grave consequences. In respect to the other events line up after the election, it’s imperative for people of Southern Sudan to keep the election date the way it was scheduled.

Border Demarcations:

When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was negotiated four years ago, the six years interim period seemed too long, but four years have passed before we all know. Now, we’re celebrating the fourth anniversary of the CPA this year; however, it’s without doubt that the two parties have much to do in implementing the CPA.

“One of the problems with the NCP is, if you say this is a color white, they will say no, the color is red.” President said. Every average person in the Sudan knows where the border between south and north Sudan located. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist nor some experts both from out-side and inside Sudan demarcate the border.

In spite of the fact that, the NCP has lacked behind in implementing major contentious issues of the CPA, It’s apparent that Juba has been pushed to the limit but we will not go to war under my watch President Kiir said. However, we must make sure north-south border is fully demarcated, census result must be conventional to what South Sudanese understand reasonable. “Let those who like to fight start their fight, we don’t want war, but if instigated, we will depend ourselves.

President Mayadiit went ahead to assured the gathering that, corruptions will not be tolerated. Those venal officials who may attempt to embezzle or exercise illegal dealing with states funds will all be brought to justice. At the same time, he said, those who resorted in defaming the image of Southern Sudan on world wide web transmitting un found accusations and passing un researched facts from one person to anther will too be confront with real facts sometime when they show up in Southern Sudan. We have your written allegations anyone will confront you with your written paper and you will have to answer yourself.

Moreover, we have not given up in bringing peace in Darfur. But, for the Darfur leaders to achieve a long-lasting peace for their people, the leaders must reside where the people suffer. It’s ridiculous for Darfur leaders to think he/she leads his people while living in a rather comfortable place somewhere in the West and yet refuse to attend peace that could bring an end to the killings and raping.

You cannot claimed to represent neglected people while once does not even reside where the problem actually occur. We’ve successfully united 27 Darfur rebel factions in 2007. However, these factions dispersed back and form even more factions because we have no money to keep them united. If they can only unite to receive money, it will be impossible for anyone to keep them united because no one will be able to provide money for unity.

President Kiir flew to Boone, North Carolina to meet with one of the well known evangelical Church leader Franklin Graham whose church has been an instrumental to pressure American government in bringing about peace in the Sudan. The President arrived in Nairobi shortly at ten pm Kenyan local time. He will fly to South Sudan to attend the CPA celebration in Malakal, Upper Nile state.

Written by torit1955

January 9, 2009 at 9:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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Extending Elelction Date In Sudan Will Have Dominos Effect On CPA

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Extending Elelction Date In Sudan Will Have Dominos Effect On CPA
Thursday January 8th 2009

The Vice President of the republic of Sudan and the President of the government of Southern Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit told a gathering at a dinner in Washington that, extending the 2009 election would jeopardize referendum in South Sudan.

At a Congressional dinner hosted by Ted Dange and Roger Winter at Mayflower hotel in Washington DC, the dinner was attended by about fifty people many of whom are dignitaries from different countries who attended the signing of the CPA in Nairobi Kenya.

Amonth them was, Heldan Joshnson Norway representative at the UN, Congressman Ronal Pyne, Kjell Hodneboe of Norway, and many other dignitaries.

The dinner was hosted to celebrate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed four years ago. President Kiir reiterates his words of gratitude and appreciations to President Bush and his administration for keeping the South Sudan problem at heart. Kiir told group of dignitaries, Sudanese, and long time supporters of the struggle that, postponing the election will have dominos effects on the implementation of the CPA.

However, some are not so keen to conduct the elections in July. Given the fact that rainy season began during the month of May to October, a season chosen during negotiations to hold the first election, many are concerns that conducting the election in July will limit people’s participations in most part of Southern Sudan where the people will physically elects their chosen candidates.

On the other hand, according to the President, If the election is push forward to dry season, everything else that comes after the election such as the referendum in Southern Sudan, referendum in Abyei, and the popular consultation of Nuba Mountains all will miss the date lines and that has grave consequences. In respect to the other events line up after the election, it’s imperative for people of Southern Sudan to keep the election date the way it was scheduled.

Border Demarcations:

When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was negotiated four years ago, the six years interim period seemed too long, but four years have passed before we all know. Now, we’re celebrating the fourth anniversary of the CPA this year; however, it’s without doubt that the two parties have much to do in implementing the CPA.

“One of the problems with the NCP is, if you say this is a color white, they will say no, the color is red.” President said. Every average person in the Sudan knows where the border between south and north Sudan located. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist nor some experts both from out-side and inside Sudan demarcate the border.

In spite of the fact that, the NCP has lacked behind in implementing major contentious issues of the CPA, It’s apparent that Juba has been pushed to the limit but we will not go to war under my watch President Kiir said. However, we must make sure north-south border is fully demarcated, census result must be conventional to what South Sudanese understand reasonable. “Let those who like to fight start their fight, we don’t want war, but if instigated, we will depend ourselves.

President Mayadiit went ahead to assured the gathering that, corruptions will not be tolerated. Those venal officials who may attempt to embezzle or exercise illegal dealing with states funds will all be brought to justice. At the same time, he said, those who resorted in defaming the image of Southern Sudan on world wide web transmitting un found accusations and passing un researched facts from one person to anther will too be confront with real facts sometime when they show up in Southern Sudan. We have your written allegations anyone will confront you with your written paper and you will have to answer yourself.

Moreover, we have not given up in bringing peace in Darfur. But, for the Darfur leaders to achieve a long-lasting peace for their people, the leaders must reside where the people suffer. It’s ridiculous for Darfur leaders to think he/she leads his people while living in a rather comfortable place somewhere in the West and yet refuse to attend peace that could bring an end to the killings and raping.

You cannot claimed to represent neglected people while once does not even reside where the problem actually occur. We’ve successfully united 27 Darfur rebel factions in 2007. However, these factions dispersed back and form even more factions because we have no money to keep them united. If they can only unite to receive money, it will be impossible for anyone to keep them united because no one will be able to provide money for unity.

President Kiir flew to Boone, North Carolina to meet with one of the well known evangelical Church leader Franklin Graham whose church has been an instrumental to pressure American government in bringing about peace in the Sudan. The President arrived in Nairobi shortly at ten pm Kenyan local time. He will fly to South Sudan to attend the CPA celebration in Malakal, Upper Nile state.

Written by torit1955

January 9, 2009 at 5:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Eastern Equatoria State Grapples with High Levels of Youth Uneployment and Crime

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Eastern Equatoria State has recently seen a new form of crime i.e. organized crimes including assassinations and acts of arson. At least two prominent staff senior government officials, both working for the state ministry of local government, were killed in dubious circumstances:  Ms Consy, an office manager in the office of the ministry and Joseph Abahala, the Director General of the same ministry.

Moderator
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, December 30, 2008 (Gurtong) – The Deputy Governor of Eastern Equatorial State, His Excellency George Echom Ekeno, has expressed concern with the high rates of unemployment of university graduates in the state.

In an exclusive interview with Gurtong on Monday 29th December, Ekeno, who is also the State Minister of Local Government, confirmed that about two-thirds of the youth in the state remain unemployed despite having graduated from  marketable courses.

He explained that due to the frustrations of studying hard in the hope of getting jobs and failing to do so, the idle youths have resorted to theft and other sorts of crimes in order to sustain their livelihoods.

“This is one of the major problems facing the unemployed youth and the State Government is trying to contain it by creating job opportunities in the coming year in an attempt to reduce the rate of crimes which currently appears rampant,” Ekeno said.

He also said that there is need for the Government of South Sudan to intervene and create employment opportunities so as to curb crime since similar cases and sometimes worse scenarios have emerged in the semi-autonomous South Sudan capital, Juba.

In other developments, State Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Francis Ben Ataba, said that his ministry has absorbed all those qualified for teaching fields and still seeks more recruits should they be available as per the previous advertisements.

“So far, about 150 newly employed teachers only this year are already on board and we are still targeting more teachers in the coming year because we have a wide gap to be filled,” asserted the minister.

The State Minister for Health, Flora Nighty Otto, also said that her ministry is understaffed hence compromising on the quality of services rendered to the locals.

Written by torit1955

January 7, 2009 at 9:55 am

A Kenyan Curriculum With a Southern Sudanese Twist

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A Kenyan Curriculum With a Southern Sudanese Twist

18 December 2008

Kadugli — Nosa Abdalla Anglo, 19, was only a year away from joining a secondary school in Khartoum in 2005, but is still in primary school four years later and worries about her chances of going to high school in 2012.

Anglo, a returnee to the state of South Kordofan after fleeing the North-South war, which ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, was in an Arabic-medium school in Khartoum but is now enrolled in an English-medium primary school in her village of Karkaraya, on the outskirts of Kadugli, the main town in the state. “When I joined the school I was taken back to class two,” she told IRIN.

“I was not happy about this but learning was not easy for me because it was now in a new language,” Anglo said. “I find arithmetic easy but now even the subjects I knew before seem tough.”

“The curriculum is a mix of Kenyan and Ugandan [syllabuses] with a Southern Sudanese twist,” said Andrea Naletto, from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) education project. “This will probably present future challenges for the children as they seek to advance their education.”

Frustrations

“Children returning from the north are getting frustrated; this is also contributing to school dropouts,” said Cecilia Pino, CARE team leader for South Kordofan. “For most poor people, education ends after the fifth grade.”

The few parents who can afford it send their children to schools in the south, in Yei for example, even Kenya and Uganda. There is one English-medium secondary school in Kauda, about 120km from Kadugli, with about 90 students, 12 of whom are girls. The school is inadequately equipped, does not run up to form four and lacks boarding facilities.

Dual system

The political situation in South Kordofan has resulted in a dual system of education compromising effective learning, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). During the war, no side won a convincing victory in the state, with some areas being under the control of the predominantly Arabic Khartoum administration, while others were under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which has adopted an English medium.

“The demand for education is high but so are the challenges such as a shortage of schools, learning facilities and qualified teachers. The returnees have seen city life and are sending children to school; we do not want to discourage them,” Vijaya Singh, UNICEF education specialist in the state, said. UNICEF is supporting school construction, teacher training and has an accelerated learning programme to help support late school entrants.

The education system relies heavily on volunteers, most of whom have been educated in Arabic and therefore find it difficult to teach in English. The schools have also not been integrated into the state education system and lack government support.

“The quality of education is not very motivating. We have to work a lot on teaching skills,” said Singh.

Some of the primary-school teachers are grade six dropouts. “Whoever is available to teach something teaches,” said Theodora Oikonomides, education project manager with the NRC.

“Integration between the two systems of education [Arabic and English] has made progress but structural differences in the curriculum, recruitment and training of teachers as well as the salary and employment policy, are an obstacle to the good delivery of services,” Oikonomides said.

Foreign syllabus

The adoption of a foreign curriculum is another problem. “We are teaching a Kenyan syllabus but we do not have enough teaching materials, especially for Kiswahili and CRE [Christian religious education],” Ayub Stephen Janerabi, a headmaster said.

In 2007, no passes were recorded in Kiswahili. “This was because the students started learning late. Teachers for the basic classes have now been requested from Kenya,” said Anju Mursal Tutu Kuku, the education coordinator in the Ministry of Education.

“Our geography and history are also not included in what we are teaching,” Kuku said. “We would like the curriculum to reflect the whole of Sudan and its history, not that of a certain place.”

Integration plans

The education ministry has requested the deployment of high school certificate-holders to work as primary school teachers for the 228,000 pupils in the state. There are 1,200 primary schools, of which 165 are English medium, with about 660 volunteer teachers.
There are plans to integrate the two education systems, employ salaried teachers, and develop a curriculum in both Arabic and English, according to the education ministry.

Meanwhile, Anglo is hopeful that in 2009 she will proceed to class six; her school only runs up to class five and has about 391 students but no latrine or water source.

Written by torit1955

December 19, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

LRA: updf Occupies Kony’s Camps; But where is Kony

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UPDF occupies Kony’s camps

Grace Matsiko

Kampala

They found traces of blood, burnt out huts and signs of human activity but no sign, whatsoever, of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony.
UPDF Special Forces yesterday arrived at the camps destroyed by Sunday’s bombing in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo but could neither give details of casualties or the whereabouts of the rebel fighters.

Not even the commando unit of the UPDF special forces, the first military element to enter Kony’s command post at Camp ‘Kiswahili’, about 90km North of Dungu in the vast Garamba jungle, could trace the whereabouts of the LRA rebel leader yesterday afternoon, according to various UPDF officers Daily Monitor spoke to but, who could not be quoted because of the sensitivity of the matter.
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WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

“Our ground troops from the commando unit reached the biggest LRA camp. They have not found any bodies or wounded persons although there is evidence that a considerable number was wounded or killed at the scene during the air strikes,” Capt. Chris Magezi, the spokesman for the UPDF operation code-named Operation ‘Lightning Thunder’ said.

He said nine sub-machine guns (SMGs) and four anti-personnel mines were recovered. The spokesman said there was likelihood that the rebels carried away the dead or wounded and concealed them between the air strikes and the time the ground troops reached the scene.

The army could not explain how rebels under intense attack would find time to conceal dead bodies or carry away the wounded.
But Defence State Minister Ruth Nankabirwa said, those who have doubts about the raid should wait for the pictures of the attacks including the dead.

“As much as we are eager to tell Ugandans the number of casualties, we are constrained to do so because the camps were completely destroyed and people were killed,” the minister said.
The practice after military operations is to take the press to the scene to record first hand accounts other than depending on pictures or information supplied by the military.

“The six abductees who were rescued near the camp said they jumped over bodies as they escaped,” Capt. Magezi said.
He said six Congolese and Central Africans, aged between 11 and 17, were rescued from the gardens of sweet potatoes, rice, groundnuts, simsim, cassava and beans around the camp.

Ms Nankabirwa said Kony’s female bodyguard, who was abducted from the Central African Republic, surrendered to the UPDF.
Daily Monitor could not independently verify the army claims.

But Ms Nankabirwa said the essence of the strikes is to put pressure on Kony to come out and sign the peace deal if he is still alive. “Since we went in, he has not engaged our troops. We are just hitting him, he does not respond,” she added.

The commandos under Maj. Noel Mwesigye, aboard the military helicopters were parachuted in the radius of between five to 10km from the camp and they crawled into the deserted expanse.

Capt. Magezi said in the camp the forces found guns, explosives, a generator, granaries stuffed with food, saucepans, clothes and other personal effects.

“The forces moved through acres and acres of food crops, which is a sign that Kony has been using abductees as slaves to cultivate the food,” Capt. Magezi said.

But like Army and Defence spokesman Paddy Ankunda, Magezi could not say whether Kony was in the camp at the time of the attack.
“We are trying to verify some reports. Give us some time to do that,” Maj. Ankunda said. Neither Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga, nor the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, could be got for comment.

But the Governor of Central Equatoria state, which covers Juba city, Maj. Gen. Clement Wani Konga, has warned of imminent attack by the LRA rebels following the military offensive.
The attack on LRA camps was launched jointly by the Southern Sudan, DR Congo and UPDF.

Gen. Wani issued the warning in the state council meeting on Monday, which reviewed the security situation in the region with emphasis on taking precautionary measures by the population, the Sudan Tribune reported yesterday.

Gen. Wani, who also chairs the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in the state, asked the council to mobilise the citizens to fight back if the rebels attack the area. As the offensive continued yesterday, Resolve Uganda, a US-based organisation that monitors human rights in the North, called for the international community to act decisively to ensure that operations target LRA leaders only.

WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

The call comes as the United Nations Security Council prepares for a briefing this week by Mr Joaquim Chissano, the UN envoy to regions affected by the rebels.

“We must not forget that this is an army comprised primarily of children being held against their will whose lives also hang in the balance,” said Mr Michael Poffenberger, Resolve Uganda executive director.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international rights group, said all parties should respect international humanitarian law and LRA leaders accused of war crimes who surrender or are captured should be brought to trial.

“There is a history of grave abuses against civilians by every belligerent force operating in eastern Congo, including foreign armies,” said Ms Elise Keppler, senior counsel with HRW’s International Justice Programme in a statement on Tuesday.

“All commanders involved in this operation should ensure that their troops rigorously obey the laws of war,” she added.

Written by torit1955

December 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm