26 Oct 2020


State Information

South Sudan Peace Process


Southern Sudan was an autonomous region of the Republic of Sudan from 2005, after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, to 2011, when South Sudan gained independence.

After several decades of a civil war that was one of the longest lasting and deadliest wars of the latter 20th century (the First Sudanese Civil War and the Second Sudanese Civil War) between the primarily Muslim and Arab government based in the north, and black Christian and animist people of the south who were demanding more regional autonomy, a peace agreement known as the Naivasha Agreement was signed on January 9, 2005, giving autonomy to the state.

On January 9, 2005, the Government of Southern Sudan was established after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. John Garang, the former rebel leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement, became President of the Government of Southern Sudan and Vice President of Sudan. A constitution was adopted in December 2005.

On July 2005 Garang died in a helicopter crash in Uganda, and was succeeded in both posts by Salva Kiir Mayardit, with Riek Machar as Vice-President of Southern Sudan.

Independence referendum, 2011

The voting form (ballot) used in the referendum.

A referendum on independence for Southern Sudan was held from 9 to 15 January 2011.

Voting on the referendum began on January 9, 2011. On 12 January, after three days of voting, representatives of the SPLM announced that, according to their estimates, the 60 percent turnout threshold required for the referendum's validity (corresponding to around 2.3 million voters) had been reached. Official confirmation came later the same day, when the referendum commission released a statement announcing that turnout would "exceed" the required 60 percent threshold.

Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, chairman of the referendum commission, said 83 percent of eligible voters in the south and 53 percent in the north had voted. Over 90% of those who voted supported independence, which was officially granted on July 9.

2013–2014 civil war and reform

In July 2013, Kiir dismissed all his ministers, including Vice President Riek Machar, with the official aim of reducing the size of government. However, Machar said it was a step towards dictatorship and that he would challenge Kiir for the presidency.

On 14–15 December 2013, an attempted coup d'état was put down. Intermittent fighting then continued amid ceasefire breakdowns during the ensuing civil war and international concern grew over more than 1,000 deaths, a humanitarian catastrophe of over a million refugees, and man-made famine. In the meantime, the SPLM factionalised into the SPLM-Juba led by President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO led by former Vice President Riek Machar. Kiir told the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly that Machar was to blame for the conflict. Amidst a party power struggle, the government was blamed by Pagan Amum for not allowing the unarmed opposition group Political Parties Leadership Forum and its leader Lam Akol from taking part in the negotiations. Kiir also dismissed his ethnic colleague Rebecca Garang, widow of the SPLM's founder John Garang, in August alleging her criticism made her anti-government. Relations with China, South Sudan's largest foreign investor, and Uganda also improved after the SPLM-IO visited Beijing and opened a liaison office in Kampala and accepted an Ugandan troop presence in Juba, in a move away from criticising Uganda's initial support for the government.

Following sanctions against some of the leadership on both sides,including an arms embargo that was unknowlingly violated by China's NORINCO until the sales were then canceled by the government who called for an end to hostilities, an IGAD-mediated resolution in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia under U.S.-led international pressure was finally agreed at the end of September 2014 that would institute federalisation in the country, a move that even less involved regional leaders in the country had suggested but the government had initially rejected. The talks were led by Nhial Deng Nhial and Deng Alor for the government and rebels, respectively. The rebels' lead negotiator was then due to be replaced by Taban Deng Gai. At the same time, the government expressed optimism at the resolution.

Both sides then agreed to the government's 30-month proposal for rule by a national unity government but discussions continued over the authority of the prime minister in the interim period. While the interim period was agreed, the pre-transitional period was still in dispute with the government wanting three months and the rebels asking for a month. SPLM-IO's Taban Deng said the negotiations were suspended, while the government's Michael Makuei confirmed this adding that it would resume on 16 October with the prime ministerial sisue being referred to an IGAD heads of state summit for discussion. Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin criticised the rebels for allegedly not signing the protocol but also said of the break:

What has happened is that the negotiators have been asked to go back to their principals to consult on some of the issues where there is some concurrence. Some people seemed to agree on certain points. So they have to go back and consult with the principals. The interim government will be formed once you have a political solution. There must be a political agreement so that you have an interim government to implement what has been agreed upon. In principle that has been accepted by the government."

It also followed IGAD giving the groups 45 days from August to work out a transition agreement.

Fighting continued in end-October un Unity with expectations for fighting in Upper Nile, with both sides blaming each other; The Guardian claiming preparations were being undertaken for further fighting. At fighting near the compound of the United Nations, Juba, dozens of civilians were reported injured by UNMISS.

In mid-November, despite an agreement to unconditionally end the fighting, hostilities took place in three provinces with each side blaming each other. Further, the government rejected a proposal to abolish the post of vice president and replace it with a prime minister. Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro said: "The government delegation did not receive such proposal from IGAD. We only read it from the media reports attributing statements carrying such suggestions to the rebels, and I don’t I understand the basis of the proposal."

Source: Wikipedia