Thursday, November 25, 2010

Which Way Sudan?


On Tuesday 23 November 2010, the 16th Extra-Ordinary Session of the Inter Government Authority on Development (IGAD) Assembly of Heads of States and Government on the Sudan was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The communiqué from this extra-ordinary session (attended by both the presidents of the Sudan and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) announced that an agreement had been reached between North and South Sudan to establish a ‘soft border’ between the two areas ahead of a referendum on southern independence due on 8 January 2011. Under this deal there would be the free movement of trade and nomads between their territories should the South vote for secession. Sudanese citizens would also be allowed to choose to live in either north or south Sudan.

In this communiqué the leaders of IGAD acknowledged the ‘smooth’ process of the referendum as a significant milestone in the implementation of the CPA between the government of the Sudan and the SPLM, negotiated and agreed under the auspices of IGAD in January 2005. The challenge for peoples all over the world, especially for Pan-Africanists will be to interrogate if this concept of a ‘soft border’ is another recipe for war in Africa?

The very process that brought about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 had demonstrated expediency and opportunism from all sides. Very soon after the peace accord, John Garang, the one leader who had a clear vision of a new Sudan, died in a helicopter crash. This helicopter belonged to President Yoweri Museveni, who had been the chair of the IGAD process at the time of the signing of the CPA in 2005. The death of Garang robbed the Pan-African world of one of the leaders who had a clear understanding of how the Sudan was central to a secular society that could heal itself from the long history of conquest and religious militarism. More....