Now that Peace Has Come to South Sudan

DAKAR, Senegal, July 11, 2005 (PANA) -- Ex-rebel leader Colonel John Garang's joining of the Khartoum government as Vice- President Saturday under a historic peace deal that ended two decades of civil war in the south of Africa's largest country, opens a new vista in Sudan's chequered political history.

For a people who have suffered economic want and severe shortage of the world's major common trading currencies, the war-ravaged region, measuring about 650,000 square kilometres could be poised for its brightest economic era yet, depending on what the key actors make of the comprehensive peace agreement

Like most African countries, Sudan boasts numerous ethnic groups. But unlike most States, it has had two distinct divisions: the north, which is largely Arab and Muslim, and the south, of predominantly black Nilotic peoples, some of whom are adherents of indigenous faiths while others are Christians.

Another unique historical feature is that Sudan was ruled by Britain and Khartoum's Arab neighbour under the Anglo-Egyptian condominium of 1899-1955.

Britain finally signed a self-determination agreement with Sudan in 1952, followed by the Anglo-Egyptian accord in 1953 that set up a three-year transition period to self-government, paving the way for Sudan to proclaim its independence 1 January 1956.

But this was to be followed by two short-lived civilian coalition governments before a coup in November 1958 brought in a military regime under Ibrahim Abbud that governed through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Abbud's government was accused of trying to Arabise the south, and in 1964 expelled all western missionaries from the country.

Northern repression of the south led to open civil war in the mid-1960s and the emergence of various southern resistance groups, the most powerful of which was the Anya Nya guerrillas, who sought autonomy.

Civilian rule returned to Sudan between 1964 and 1969, and political parties reappeared and in the 1965 elections, Muhammad Ahmad Mahjub became Prime Minister, succeeded in June 1966 by Sadiq al Mahdi.

In the 1968 elections, however, no party had a clear majority, and a coalition government took office under Mahjub as Prime minister.

In May 1969, the Free Officers' Movement led by Jaafar Nimeiri staged a coup and set up the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). In July 1971, a short-lived pro-communist military coup occurred, but Nimeiri quickly regained control, and was elected to a six-year term as president, abolishing the RCC.

Meanwhile in the south, Joseph Lagu, a Christian, had united several opposition elements under the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement and in March 1972, the southern resistance movement concluded an agreement with the Nimeiri regime at Addis Ababa, and a ceasefire followed.

A Constituent Assembly was created in August 1972 to draft a constitution at a time when the growing opposition to military rule was reflected in strikes and student unrest.

But despite this dissent, Nimeiri was re-elected for another six-year term in 1977.

His abolition of the Southern Regional Assembly in June 1983, gave birth to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

Garang used the two movements, which later merged into SPLA/M, to launch his separatist rebellion that saw him moving to the south from Khartoum.

Following his imposition of Muslim Sharia law throughout the country, Nimeiri was toppled in a military coup led by Lieutenant General Abd ar Rahman Siwar adh Dhahab in 1985.

In March 1986, the government and the SPLM called for a Sudan free from "discrimination and disparity" and the repeal of the Sharia code.

Sadiq al Mahdi formed what proved to be a weak coalition government following the April 1986 elections, but his failure to end the civil war in t

Posted in: Governance
RSS comment feed
There are currently no comments, be the first to post one.
Add Comment

Name (required)

Email (required)


Enter the code shown above in the box below
Designed and built by Brand X