THE SUDAN TODAY
This section surveys: The NDA’
s view on the Sudan’s
present predicament (the ASMARA resolutions), and the regime’s
reacting policies (the peace agreement from within and the new
It also describes the scenarios
to overthrow the “SALVATION” regime, and the possibilities of
Chapter1: The NDA Views
Chapter 2: The Regime's
Cahpter 3: Senarios to Overthrow the
THE NDA’S VIEW
The NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE, the umbrella organization of the
Sudanese Opposition, which united all the Sudanese political
forces including the SPLM/A, held a series of successful
conferences in NAIROBI, April 1993, in CHUKDOM, in December 1994,
and finally in ASMARA in June 1995.
THE ASMARA RESOLUTIONS
The Asmara conference took a
number of historic resolutions, published on 23/6/1995. The main
resolutions may be summed up in three categories:
self-determination is a natural
and democratic right for peoples. It should be exercised in a
climate of legitimacy and democracy, and under regional and
international supervision. The citizens of Southern Sudan are
entitled to self-determination before the end of the transition
period. The South is defined by its boundaries as in 1st
January 1956. The NUBA Mountains and ABYEY region will have rights
contingent upon specified investigations. The choice in self
-determination shall be between unity (Federal or Conferral) and
shall come after the period of transition, during which, the NDA
authority will work to regain mutual trust, and restructure the
Sudanese State to make unity the more attractive choice.
Religion and State in Sudan will
be governed by the following principles: Human rights as defined
in regional and international charters will be integral parts of
the Sudan constitution. Legal rights and duties shall be based on
citizenship and there will be no discrimination between citizens
on the basis of religion, race, gender, or culture. The state
respects Peoples’ religious beliefs, which should live in mutual
tolerance and co-existence.
No political party
should be organized on a religious basis.
The mobilization of effort,
including military action, to overthrow the Khartoum regime.
Other resolutions dealt with the
shape of government during the period of transition,
decentralization, humanitarian issues, the structure of the NDA,
and the constituents of future Sudan.
However, the NDA resolutions
allowed for the possibility of a negotiated transformation through
the IGAD process.
THE REGIME’S RESOLUTIONS:
PEACE FROM WITHIN & NEW CONSTITUTION
regime, which previously rejected the D.O.P of IGAD in 1994,
denounced the ASMARA resolutions of June 1995 as a betrayal of
Islam and the Sudan.
Between 1991 and
1994, the Khartoum regime had hoped to take advantage of the fall
of the Mengistu Regime (1991), and bring about a military
resolution of the civil war.
The following developments
indicate the total failure of the regime’s policies:
A. The Asmara
resolutions linked together all Sudanese opposition forces in a
specific political and action program. The regime’s negative
attitude to the IGAD initiative, as represented by the D.O.P, drew
the NDA and the IGAD states closer together. The military activity
against the regime increased, and two more war fronts were
established, namely, in the North East, and the Southeast.
B. There were
several opposition activities inside the Sudan. However, only in
April 1996, have the different political forces presented the
regime with a joint memorandum, in which they declared the
complete failure of the regime’s policies, demanded the
dissolution of its power, and supported the non-military aspects
of the Asmara resolutions.
restlessness of the political situation in the Sudan, culminated
in Student Opposition Demonstrations, in Khartoum in September
1996. To counter its hopeless isolation, and negative position on
peace and political development, the regime embarked upon a new
tactic. The new tactic had two prongs: One, to review its
position on the D.O.P, declaring support for it, and
simultaneously to initiate a process of peace from within,
in which it accepted some of the ASMARA principles, which it had
earlier denounced. The other, to address the issue of
political development, in terms of a new constitution.
Consequently, the regime singed
a Peace agreement from within, with seven splinter parties
in April 1997. It published a New constitution (NC) to be
effective in January 1999. Both were denounced and rejected by the
Sudanese Opposition. Why?
PEACE AGREEMENT FROM WITHIN
No doubt, the
agreement of Peace from within has some positive elements, which
it copied directly from the ASMARA resolutions. Namely:
3.2.1: “The basis of rights and duties in the Sudan shall be
citizenship, and all Sudanese shall equally share in all aspects
of life and political responsibilities on the basis of
7.10.1 to 8: Stipulates holding a free and fair referendum,
conducted by a special referendum commission, and observed by
O.A.U, Arab league, UN, religious bodies, IGAD, national and
international NGO’s and any other countries, to choose between
unity and secession.
However, the positive elements
are completely wasted, nay, rendered extremely counter productive
by the following facts:
agreement is signed with breakaway factions from the two main
organizations: Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), and
Union of Sudanese African Parties (USAP), i. e, minority factions.
The agreement gives them certain political, constitutional, and
administrative rights, and gives them veto power over all
subsequent peace matters. This means, any talks with the majority
organizations will be subject to that veto power, i. e, fruitless.
I quote, chapter 5.1.a to d, describe the formation of a
coordinating council for the Southern States to be composed of the
parties signatory to the agreement. The functions of that council:
“General supervision of the implementation of the agreement as
well as all peace matters”. Chapter 8.2.a: “No amendment bill on
this agreement shall be presented to the National Assembly without
consulting the coordinating council”. This means, there is no
room for agreement with the SPLM/A, and USAP, main stream, which
does not endorse the special rights and interests of the breakaway
-determination in the context of the ASMARA resolutions, envisages
an interim period in which past grievances are addressed, and
certain specific structural reforms- not mere participation in
established institutions- are implemented. All this should give
the vote for unity a reasonable chance. However, referendum under
NIF dominated conditions, with its narrow partisan ideo-cultural
identity, will inevitably ensure a vote for secession, and two
hostile successor states!
agreement is embodied in an undemocratic constitution subject to
arbitrary changes like Nimeiri’s treatment of his constitution and
of the 1972 agreements. Another analogy with the Nimeiri
precedent, is the inherent vulnerability of an agreement signed
with an illegitimate minority regime in the absence of the
representatives of the majority of the people of Sudan.
The Peace Agreement from within is no peace agreement at all. It
will lead to separation and continuous inter- tribal wars within
the South and border wars between the successor states. There is
no alternative to a comprehensive peace agreement, endorsed by the
political forces, which represent the whole of the Sudan, and
guaranteed, by a legitimate constitution of the country.
The New Constitution NC of
January 1999, does not answer to such a description, for the
1- The NC has an
illegitimate pedigree. The government appointed a so-called
National Constitutional Commission. The main political forces
boycotted it, but they could see that its chairman and many of its
members were not rubber stamp NIF members. The same description
applies to the technical constitutional committee. The government
out of recognition changed the draft constitution, which they
finally submitted. An alternative draft constitution was
substituted, rushed through the rubber stamp National Assembly,
and passed through a cosmetic referendum.
2- The draft
constitution of the so-called National Constitutional Commission,
which is far better than the substitute draft, is nevertheless
6, which employs the MAWDUDI concept of Sovereignty to God. This
concept is a conduit to theocracy, because, it allows humans to
speak on behalf of God, and exercise that sovereignty. No believer
would challenge a statement about the cosmological fact of God’s
Omnipotence. However, Sovereignty is a political concept, which
should be vested in the people. Interestingly, the great historian
AL TABARI, narrates an incident in which the First Moslem King:
MUAWYA, was challenged by a famous companion of the prophet
MOMAMMAD (S.A.A.W.S) not to describe public finances as God’s, but
as the peoples’.
84 specifies SHARIA, and custom as the sources of legislation.
This should be made comprehensive by broadening the sources to
include all revealed TRUTH, appropriate human developed
jurisprudence, and custom, as sources of legislation. Such a broad
view of the sources is acceptable in terms of Islamic Principles,
as well as Reason.
makes no room for accountability for past misdeeds. In fact,
articles 203, 204, 205 and 206 endorsed all that preceded and
3- The new
constitution reproduced these faults, and went further,
eliminating all the liberal aspects of the draft submitted by the
“National Commission”. Specifically:
a. Article 33 of
the Draft Constitution (DC) prohibits subjection of a person to
torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
b. Article 35 of
DC prohibits arbitrary arrests.
c. Article 28 of
DC provides for the right of trial before normal courts of law for
civilians and not special courts.
d. Article 30 of
DC empowers citizens to seek justice from administrative abuse.
e. Article 24 of
DC guarantees the right of movement.
f. Article 45 of
DC prohibits discrimination on the basis of political loyalty. All
these articles have been eliminated in the new constitution.
g. Article 41
(1) of DC states: “Citizens have the right to organize for
political, cultural, Trade Unionist and scientific purposes. The
state should guarantee these rights. They should be exercised
through appropriate legal regulations”. The NC changed this clear
expression as follows:
27 (1) of the NC states: Citizens have the right to TAWALI (an
Arabic word, which has many connotations, but may be translated:
succession), and organization for cultural, economic, and
professional purposes, according to the law.
27 (2) of the NC states: The right of citizens to organize
political succession (TAWALI) on condition:
organization is based on SHURA, and democracy, in the choice of
employs persuasion, and not financial power, in its competition
by the inviolable principles of the constitution as regulated by
6,7,9,15,17&19 of the NC enforce Islamic duties on all citizens.
Therefore, the majority of the
people of the Sudan have rejected the new constitution.
SCENARIOS TO OVERTHROW THE “SALVATION” REGIME, AND POSSIBILITIES
OF POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION
situation in the Sudan to-day is one of complete polarization
between: The Regime and its 1997 Peace Agreement, and its
January 1999 constitution; and The NDA along with other
opposition forces which is mobilizing to overthrow the regime by:
SCENARIOS TO OVERTHROW THE REGIME
military pressure in the four fronts, and more which could make
the regime collapse in the pattern of MENGESTU’s
Ethiopia, or MOBOTO’s
Zaire, or a similar pattern.
political pressure towards a popular uprising in the pattern of
Sudan in 1964 and 1985 respectively.
In both Scenarios,
the aim is to overthrow the regime: A Replacement Strategy.
In the past decade plus, scores
of countries have experienced political transformation, for
example, Czechoslovakia and Poland in Eastern Europe, Uruguay and
Argentina in Latin America. Benin, Niger and Togo in Africa, and
so on. Is there any possibility of that taking place in the Sudan?
Initiative, IGAD partners’ Forum, and the
IGAD initiative as represented by the D.O.P is the most serious
and sustained mediation effort between the Khartoum Regime and the
SPLM/A main stream. The talks, which covered seven rounds, got
nowhere, even after the Khartoum Regime declared its acceptance of
the D.O.P. There are still scheduled talks between the two parties
under IGAD initiative. However, certain developments have
occurred, and unless accommodated, they make the IGAD frame out of
date. They are:
result of the ASMARA resolutions of June 1995, and the peace
agreement from within of April 1997, there are now, in addition to
the North/South conflict, a South/South and a North/North military
ability to function as a team has been impaired by the two
regional wars: in the Horn of Africa, and in the Great Lakes
District. Teamwork has become impossible, and the violent
conflicts encouraged the emergence of new alliances, and enabled
interested parties to fish in troubled waters.
geographic and/or cultural neighbors, who are highly concerned
with its security and stability, and who are not involved with the
IGAD peace process, aspire to be so involved.
process, even if it could be resumed within its old terms, is
designed to make peace between only two of the conflicting
parties. However, its most important drawback, is that it gives
the NIF a veto on the future of the Sudan. Since the NIF is
committed to a narrow partisan ideological basis for a united
Sudan, it leaves only one alternative for those who see the Sudan
in pluralist citizen based identity- that is: separation. The
prospect of separation, if that is the democratic wish of the
citizens concerned, is now commonly accepted by all the major
political forces in the country. However, if it takes place under
NIF conditions, it will not lead to peace. Far from it, it will
lead to continuous intertribal and border wars. Relations between
an expansionist. NIF regime freed from its Achilles heel, and the
successor Southern State will not be better, but far worse than
the current relations between an NIF led Sudan, and its present
So as presently constituted, the
IGAD framework is no road to peace and stability in the Sudan.
b- The IGAD
The IGAD partner’s
forum, which is a gathering of the members of the International
Community (mostly G7 Scandinavian countries, plus Egypt) meeting
in Rome on July 1998 is, through its ministerial committee, moving
to make up for the problems tethering the IGAD states. Although
they move under the IGAD umbrella, their activity will,
inevitably, give an international color to the regional
initiative. In the same vein, four internationally renowned
-namely: OXFAM, Medicens SANS Frontiers, CARE, and Save the
Fund- have expressed their frustration at the growing humanitarian
tragedy in the Sudan, and the stalling peace process, indicating
that peace is the key to the resolution of that tragedy. They have
appealed to UN Secretary General in a December 1998 letter,
" the more proactive
political role, which would require inter alia a full time Special
Representative of the Secretary General of the UN, and
international pressure should seek to reinforce and complement the
It is only to be expected that
when the conflicting parties fail to make progress, and when the
regional mediators are disabled, the ever-escalating humanitarian
tragedy will lead to the internationalization of the Sudanese
Unless it assumes a very high
profile, internationalization will not cut much ground.
The Memorandum of NDA- Inside the Sudan:
On the 29th
December 1998, the NDA inside the Sudan, along with other
opposition parties, trade unions, and prominent personalities,
presented the Khartoum Regime with a historic Memorandum.
The memorandum constitutes
Sudanese terms for peace and democratic transformation.
The memorandum presented the
Government with the following specific demands:
aim is to Salvage the country from its political, economic,
social, and security crises, the rejection of political violence,
the creation of a conducive climate, towards true national unity,
that will prevent foreign intervention into the internal affairs
of our country. All such patriotic aims, can only be achieved by
setting up a strong transitional national unity government,
acceptable to the people of Sudan, to fulfill the following
the current one-party state, and set up instead a democratic
Sudanese State, which accommodates all shades of opinion in the
convene an all inclusive constitutional conference, whose function
work out a comprehensive, just and permanent peace agreement, to
put an end to the war, and to conduct self-determination for the
South, in a democratic climate.
establish a strong democratic foundation for the administration of
establish a comprehensive and effective mechanism of
accountability, to redress all violations and malpractices,
committed since independence.
establish a sound basis for a balanced foreign policy geared to
serve the country’s interests.
enact the rules and regulations for a free and fair general
conduct general elections under regional and international
D- To hand
power over to the elected government.”
government in the Sudan can neither be based upon dynastic
credentials, nor on the credentials of a Revolution which had,
through its accomplishments, achieved national recognition. The
only feasible basis for legitimacy in the Sudan, is democratic
The temperament of
Sudanese individuals and society is wedded to the values of
tolerance and moderation, which are consistent with a democratic
system of government. It looks as if the destiny of Sudanese
society has an appointment with democracy. In spite of the
short periods of democracy in the Sudan, and the long periods of
dictatorship, democracy seems the norm and dictatorship the
in the Sudan, including the current one, manifest the distinct
discomfort of sitting at the point of a spear. They are almost
surprised by their survival.
The world is, for quite some
time, witnessing a democratic wave. Despotic regimes are falling
like autumn leaves. Both national and international considerations
indicate that one way or the other, the Sudanese Junta has come to
the end of its tether. Whether through overthrow, transplacement.
Democratic transformation is in the horizon. It will have to be
accomplished through a period of transition.