Forging Two Nations: Insights on Sudan and South Sudan

TitelForging Two Nations: Insights on Sudan and South Sudan
Typ der PublikationBook
AutorInnenGrawert, E
Anzahl Seiten270 pp.
VerlagOrganisation for Social Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA)
StadtAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

One nation becoming two - looking into an arduous process ridden with violence, and sketching out the struggles with the legacies of an already troubled history, are the motivations for this publication on the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. The governments and societies of the two countries are facing challenges of internal disunity and deepening social and economic cleavages. Armed fighting for inclusion in positions of power, for access to resources and economic development, and for recognition of the interests of marginalized groups have mounted and escalated in each country. In their attempts to stay in power, the two governments have adopted the same approach: increased repression of critics, military response to armed resistance groups, and perpetuating patronage-based authoritarian regimes. Interventions of the international community, more often than not, have played into the hands of the divisive politics of the two governments. Beyond their power struggles, the two countries have to cope with remaining interdependent as neighboring states, as well as being embedded in the region. The challenges facing these two countries are plenty. The first part of this volume looks into the history of divisive trends and attempts at forging unity. Non-state armed groups and civilian oppositions have always played a crucial role for both trends, but government decisions to deal with political opposition through repression, military response, and fragmentation have tipped the balance towards division. Inclusive, participatory, and democratic processes are required not only in peacebuilding, but also in popular consultations and formulating constitutions. This will be difficult, because in Sudan, civil society is divided. On the one hand, there are segments that directly or indirectly back the project of the government towards deepening a particular form of Islamization while, on the other, there are oppositional ‘activists’ that criticize the restriction of civil rights and political freedoms. Whereas youth ‘activists’ outside the ruling party use creative social forms of expression and tend to avoid joining any political party, their counterparts closely cooperate with the ruling party,. The widening gap between these civil society groups and political parties requires attention in terms of further research, international cooperation, and exchange.In South Sudan, dynamics that connect traditional forms of cattle raiding with ethnic and political mobilization in the context of power struggles between political elites have triggered the spread of dispersed violence. Grievances about the slow progress in the development of rural areas, the easy availability of small arms and light weapons, and a decentralization process that reinforces ethnic identities and patronage relations have contributed to tensions and violent conflicts. To solve these conflicts, youth and other disappointed groups must be included in the reconstruction of South Sudan. Access to resources is a vital issue in both countries. Contributors to this book report about discrimination against artisanal gold miners in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, against the provision of social services to lower class groups in Khartoum shantytowns, and against safe access to land for subsistence production by newcomers to suburbs in South Sudan. Laws and legal acts clarifying access to and control over land and mineral resources are necessary, but insufficient, if practices circumvent adequate implementation. Transparent procedures towards securing the legal rights of disadvantaged social groups still have to be established and put into practice. During the wars in Darfur and southern Sudan, international organizations and agencies were instrumentalized for politics of the Government of Sudan and non-state armed groups, often with divisive effects. This was possible, because these organizations had their own considerations informed by logistical and security requirements, as well as the perceived need to prove political neutrality. In Darfur, this went counter the principle of ‘do no harm’, and in South Sudan, this has contributed to delegitimize the government and the ruling party and eventually, to fuel local violent conflicts. International organizations and aid agencies have to, at least, rethink the impact of their decisions, consider that ‘technical approaches’ have meaningful effects on politics, and as far as possible, to clarify their own political aims. Moreover, international organizations need to coordinate their work and consider, with complementary efforts, sectoral and cross-sectoral approaches. This pertains to activities intending to improve security, in particular, ‘human security’. Social and economic integration of ex-combatants has important links to improving community security, building infrastructure and markets, and staffing the police in communities and counties. A coordinated and sequenced approach of security sector reform that is embedded in a comprehensive development plan will have to be pursued, instead of continuing to tackle the complex facets of insecurity in post-war South Sudan through scattered and limited project approaches of a multitude of agencies. Interdependence between Sudan and South Sudan will remain high. One important lesson from the process of negotiations leading to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 was that relevant actors had been sidelined. This has resulted in renewed violence as well as the dissatisfaction of civilian oppositional groups and political parties, which has been rising sharply in both countries since the division. More specifically, women’s activities in the negotiations were belittled and undervalued. Instead of perceiving women as needy and focusing on so-called deficiencies related to their gender roles, women’s capabilities in the political, economic, and social fields should be highlighted, and their suggestions should be taken seriously. To strongly lobby for women’s involvement in the current and future peace processes will unfortunately remain on the agenda after the division of Sudan. Economic interdependence between Sudan and South Sudan will remain in the future. Sharing considerable parts of the Nile requires renegotiating the distribution of the use of the Nile waters for irrigation, hydropower, and other development projects in the two countries. The Nile Basin Initiative provides the framework for all the countries along the Nile to negotiate water management and exploitation of water resources. Trade and integration between the two economies will also not only be beneficial for the development of the two countries, but also for the larger region. Sudan and South Sudan both aspire for membership in the East African Community (EAC), which involves potential economic and political benefits, but also challenges and risks for the whole organization. South Sudan and Sudan should join when they are ready to meet the principles and status of the EAC. The process of EAC integration of South Sudan and possibly, Sudan at a later stage, will improve the status of regional security. (Executive Summary) More information

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