December 6, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government and two armed groups in Darfur region signed Thursday a pre-negotiation agreement paving the way for the resumption of peace talks in Qatar next year.
The signing of the declaration of principles with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnwi (SLM-MM) took place in Berlin after two years of informal talks facilitated by the German foreign ministry with the support of the Berghof Foundation.
The signing ceremony was attended by Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister Walter Lindner, Qatari Special Envoy for Combating Terrorism and Conflict Resolution Mutlaq Al Qahtani, Amin Hassan Omer Sudan’s Presidential Envoy for Diplomatic Contact and Negotiation for Darfur Amin Hassan Omer.
The Joint Chief Mediator Jeremiah Mamabolo co-signed the deal with the Sudanese government representative Mohamed Mukhtar, Ahmed Tugud JEM Chief Negotiator and Ali Trayo SLM-MM Chief Negotiator.
Were also present at the function, representatives from the U.S.A, France, the United Kingdom, Norway and the European Union.
The agreement provides that the signatories will resume talks on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). However, also would be discussed the issues that the two groups consider crucial for a sustainable peace.
In addition, a new independent implementation mechanism will be set up to enforce the would-be agreement reached by the parties.
The parties agreed to resume peace talks in Doha during the third week of January 2019.
"The Government renews its full readiness to resume the Doha negotiations in the same positive and constructive spirit in order to complete the final and sustainable peace in Darfur," said Amin Hassan Omer who is also the government chief negotiator.
German Deputy Foreign Minister Lindner said they are pleased to bring to a successful conclusion the Berlin Track of Darfur negotiations. He further added that his country’s ready to continue promoting sustainable peace in Darfur pointing that Germany will be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2019-2020.
continue the process and become a future non-permanent member of the UN Security Council actively promoting sustainable peace in Darfur and the region.
"The course is set to continue along this path, and I urge all parties to continue to engage constructively in the peace process," he further said.
In a joint statement, JEM and SLM-MM said the signed deal is "is a roadmap for a new negotiating process" pointing to the possibility to add news items on the negotiating agenda and the establishment of a new implementation mechanism.
Noreldaem Taha, SLM-MM Information Secretary told Sudan Tribune this agreement is an important step to reshape the negotiation process and the role of intermediaries.
Taha added they reject partial solutions as they lead to the re-production of other crises in the country.
"Therefore, we reiterate our firm position that demands a comprehensive and genuine peace that addresses all the issues of the country and brings the displaced people back to their homes," he stressed.
JEM was the initiator of the DDPD but pulled out of the peace process as it had contested the representation of the other armed groups.
By Daniel Abushery Daniel:
It’s like that old saying, "Everybody’s talking about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it:"
Public consultation is essential and healthy where there are a verity of communities with different ideologies and prejudice among its members, especially in a newly born nation like South Sudan, not to mention the nation – State relationship, which is mostly vague, because they can’t seem to agree on specific system of governance, but make no mistake about it. It shouldn’t be surprising that different view of confederation system in my humble opinion should be the answer. Why?
Fellow countrymen, the simple legal definition of confederate system is; " a type of government where a treaty signed between states. However, they are allowed to preserve some independent powers over internal and external affairs. Such governments tend to have a common constitution, common currency, common defence and common foreign affairs.”
Furthermore, South Sudan is multicultural, traditional and religious, "a melting pot". You can also call it a homogenous country, if you wish, due to all these various tribes dwelling in. But, despite all of the above, the influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular ethnic groups.
However, with federalism, it will enable them to spread a general conflagration through other states. Because in a large federalist system, there are always many checks and balance on a majority faction – more interests competing with each other and large distances to separate those who might scheme to deprive others of liberty.
Because the causes of faction could not be removed without placing too many restrictions on freedom, its effects had to be controlled by a properly constructed government, if a faction were less than a majority, it could be controlled through majority rule. Nonetheless, if the faction were a majority, it can lead to limit the ability of a majority to carry out its wishes or Interests, and that was through well articulated and let me repeat; a well written constructed constitution of the land.
What’s the word interest means?
It’s may vary, but the common definition divided into two types; private interest groups that seek economic benefits for their members or clients. For example; business, labour, and agriculture etc..
The second is; public interest groups, which always lobby for political and social causes, if they succeed, benefits are shared more widely than by just the members of the group.
More illustration, for example here in the United States of America, the Taxpayers Union Lobbies for reduced taxes not only for its members alone but for everyone who pays taxes.
Another example is; Amnesty International lobbies for the rights of political prisoners around the world even though none of its members is in prison. Nevertheless, the public interest doesn’t mean that a majority necessarily favours the goals of its groups.
The points I am trying to stress here is: Yes, we have many tribes and different communities in South Sudan, but we can not achieve our interests through those communities, but through social, economic, and political parties if we really mean to succeed and share the benefits. It will be faulty perception for a single group to achieve their own interests excluding other groups in the country.
Therefore, we urge all conflicted parties, all forces and all citizens to stop escalating violence and embrace a culture of peace and to reject hostility, and return away from division, incitement, hate- speeches, rumors and pointing figures to others, and learn to resolve any dispute through dialogue in a spirit of unity, and tranquility.
Always remember, we are all brothers and sisters regardless of geographical boundaries, ethnicity, religion, culture, or political affiliation, with the insisting on mutual respect for diversity through federal and confederation system, which is the only viable alternative to the conflicts.
Compatriots; for the sacrificial of our nation that; we and our forefathers squandered more than five decades in the bushes and exiles, struggling and fighting for its independence, it’s wasn’t worth the fighting for, just to achieve private interests of a certain facetious group. Let’s all embrace peaceful coherence, and averted the hell of war.
The author of this piece is nowadays writing a memoir book titled: " If I were the President." He can be reached at email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Duop Chak Wuol:
Known for operating with a vicious precision, his trademark is ruthlessness, and how he manoeuvres his political rivals is irrefutably effective. Salva Kiir, the man in question, is a formidable tyrant with a bag full of cruel leadership practices. The Khartoum’s peace agreement is one of those political blessings that a calculating dictator like Kiir could easily exploit to further his oppressive techniques. This is an attempt to show that the Khartoum-brokered deal could end the civil war; however, there are plausible reasons to believe that the pact could merely end up preserving the current tyrannical system, empowering Kiir to further strengthen his grip on power.
It is worth acknowledging that the only best way for South Sudan to move forward would be for peace to return to the country. I assume nearly all South Sudanese are tired of war and ready for peace. However, there are many contentious issues that, if not properly addressed, will turn the agreement into a pro-Kiir deal, rendering him the ability to continue ruling with impunity. These issues include hybrid court, legislative, security arrangements, and constitutional amendment body. All four of these issues are important, but the most important issues that require critical scrutiny are the constitutional amendments committee and future national legislative body. So, let us dig deeper into the constitutional amendment committee, including the impending role of the proposed legislative assembly.
To refresh your memory, it is good to remember that real political reforms in any established society are done legislatively. This is what South Sudanese expect from the Khartoum’s peace agreement. Regrettably, a careful analysis of the pact reveals that it would be nearly impossible for the armed opposition and other opposition parties to advance their democratic reforms through parliamentary processes because their anticipated Members of Parliament (MPs) will be outnumbered by MPs representing the incumbent government. The reality is that opposition MPs will not pass any reform bill Kiir deems as a threat to his presidency. In a logical sense, the incumbent MPs will represent 60.4% while opposition MPs will have 39.6% in the proposed parliament. Khartoum’s peace agreement stipulates that the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) will have 550 Members of Parliament (MPs). The deal gives the incumbent TGoNU 332 MPs, whereas the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties will have 218 MPs. This is not my opinion—it is a mathematical fact. Those who agree with this approach should consult with their consciences. Precisely, the parliamentary manoeuvring is all about the number — the majority to be precise, and back-door deal makings. Given the nature of the legislative game, Kiir clearly would not allow some of his MPs to be bribed by the opposition leaders, let alone the fact that he will still indirectly be in control of the nation’s financial system.
There are some people within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and other opposition parties who care more about making any peace deal with Kiir’s regime so that they can be part of the proposed future Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). These people are desperate—shockingly desperate—and eager to exchange their supposedly reformed political doctrines with positions. One thing is clear: their desperation is logically irrelevant because they seem to be focusing more on what they want rather than what the people want. What the people of South Sudan want is an utter political reform in the country.
In the case of constitutional reform, Kiir is clearly not into it. For instance, the Committee formed to amend the constitution should have been given mandates to amend the current anti-democratic constitution before the proposed TGoNU is formed. Kiir cunningly frustrated the process in September by claiming in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, that the constitution would only be amended four months after the transitional government is formed. One wonders where on the planet earth the leaders of the SPLM-IO and other parties would have been deceived by this self-serving strategy. There is no guarantee Kiir will honour his promise. Remember, Kiir knows what he is doing: 16 weeks is enough time for him to fully implement or reject the agreement. What is ironic about the constitutional amendment process is that Salva Kiir is sure about his true intention while opposition leaders seem to rely on Kiir’s four-month time frame. In other words, the leaders of the SPLM-IO and other parties appear to have learned no lesson, let alone the July 2016 Juba one (J1) incident. Given all these political missteps, one can easily conclude that all opposition parties have either given up their political doctrines in favour of reuniting all ranks of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party and then resumed business-as-usual or are clueless about what they are dealing with. This assertion seems absurd, but the way opposition leaders embraced Kiir’s notion of revising the constitution four months after the formation of the future government explains it otherwise. Yes, peace is good, but emotion should not blindfold national leaders who, for five years, vowed to transform South Sudan’s political system.
Under the current constitution, Salva Kiir wields an absolute power. For instance, Kiir can dismiss any government official, including the elected ones. Kiir’s power does not stop at the national level. The constitution simply made him an unchallenged leader. The man can even dissolve both the national and states parliaments as he wishes. His powers do not end here. Kiir can also remove state governors and parliamentarians at any time of his choosing. He can do all these through a presidential decree because that is what is written in the current constitution. Salva Kiir is addicted to these broad powers vested in him by the very constitution he orchestrated. For the opposition leaders to assume that Kiir, for some mysterious reasons, will allow full amendment of the constitution is a mere joke. Given all these facts, it would be irrational for any reasonable person to think that Kiir will allow the constitutional amendment committee to remove the tyrannical powers he has been exercising for nearly eight years.
There is no doubt the five-year civil war has caused so much suffering. The recent estimate released in September 2018 by the United Kingdom-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of at least 382,000 dead shows that the conflict has killed a lot of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the political madness that began in early 2013. This is the reality any sensible person would not deny. The number speaks for itself. Most of the 382,000 people who lost their lives died because of a political insanity perpetuated by Kiir in December 2013.
History and publicly available data show that most dictators tend to have hard times transitioning into a democratic process. It is true that some tyrants change, but it would not be a surprise if Salva Kiir happened to be in the category of autocrats who changed their leadership mindsets after their people demanded democratic reforms. Beware though that it is nearly impossible for a documented dictator who ruled for many years to abandon his or her dictatorial mentality. It is to be recalled that Kiir was loved by most South Sudanese when he took over the helm of the SPLM soon after the accidental death of late Dr John Garang in July 2005. This does not mean he is a better leader. The logic behind this rather reprehensible assumption was that he was the first deputy to Dr Garang. At that time some people thought Kiir’s personality fit within the meaning of leadership quality. What many people did not know at the time he was elected as the leader of the SPLM is that Kiir already had a fearsome persona. It is to be recalled that Kiir captivated this merciless character when he was the head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) military intelligence. Consequently, Salva Kiir’s destructive leadership has its roots from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.
The current constitution is indisputably dictatorial. The best way to transform South Sudan’s political system from dictatorship to a democratic process is by completely amending the existing constitution and replacing all autocratic constitutional provisions with democratic ones. This is the right time to do it, especially when a national constitutional amendment committee was established in the pact. Kiir’s constitution deserves to be thrown into the Red Sea—in fact, it deserves to be given to the master of hell, if any. The SPLM-IO and other political groups must seize this opportunity to scrap all the statutory provisions that made Kiir a legal tyrant. The people of South Sudan did not fight against Khartoum’s regime only to face the same despotic leadership practices that were once imposed on them. If Kiir is serious about peace, then he must allow the constitution to be completely altered.
The only reasonable way to reform South Sudan’s political environment is by changing the current constitution. The people of South Sudan do not deserve to be ruled through decrees. The current political leaders must differentiate their selfish goals from what the South Sudanese want. Stopping the war is a good thing, but ending it should not be viewed as a reform demanded by the people of South Sudan. The tyranny is alive and well and there is no South Sudanese who is still interested in preserving the current ruthless political system. The constitution is the host of Kiir’s tyrannical tendency — this host must be thrown into the Nile River if the people of South Sudan want their nation to flourish. The constitutional amendment committee must be allowed unconditional powers to bury this Uganda-borrowed constitution into Kampala’s tomb. Enough of Salva Kiir’s one-man constitution!
The author is the editor-in-chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at email@example.com.
December 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - A Sudanese delegation including representatives from the legislative, executive and security organs has participated in the 12th Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum in Washington last week.
On 6 December, U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger hosted over 300 Members of Parliament, Senators, Ambassadors, and other officials from 80 nations for the 12th Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum.The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) quoted the head of the parliamentary sub-committee on security and defence Al-Hadi Adam as saying the forum discussed a number of issues including cyber threats, terrorism, malicious foreign investment, and information sharing.
According to Adam, the Sudanese delegation included representatives from the Parliament, Central Bank of Sudan, National Information Center and the National Intelligence and Security Services.
He pointed out that the forum has praised the effective participation of the Sudanese delegation in the discussions.
First conceived in 2014 to help restore U.S.-European relations in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, the forum has grown into a premier global gathering where legislators discuss collaborative efforts to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, intercept terrorism financing, confront cyber threats, and discuss emerging threats, including malicious foreign investment.
In October 2017, the U.S. Administration permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.
The decision was in line with the "Five Track Engagement Plan", in which Khartoum agreed to a cessation of hostilities with the armed groups, opened unfettered humanitarian access in the conflict-affected areas, agreed to support efforts for peace in South Sudan and developed cooperation with the U.S. to counter terrorism in the region.
However, Washington didn’t remove Sudan’s name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. In addition, it keeps in place targeted sanctions against individuals with arrest warrants related to atrocities committed during the conflict in Darfur.
Last month, Sudanese foreign minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan started talks in Washington on the normalization of bilateral relations and the removal of his country from the terror list which is the major obstacle in this respect.
At the time, sources close to the talks told Sudan Tribune that the two sides agreed to develop a new plan labelled the “five-track engagement +1” to say it would include important parts of the previous five-track engagement that led to the lift of the economic sanctions.
The sources further pointed out that the focus in the new plan will be on the human rights and freedoms particularly religious freedom.
“So, this time Washington wants Khartoum to observe the international law and principles on this respects but also to amend its repressive and coercive laws,” the sources said.