By Jacob K. Lupai
May 16, 2013 – In the late 70s when for the first time oil was discovered in Southern Sudan there was euphoria that poverty would be a thing of the past, replaced by a high standard of living. After all when oil was discovered in the Arabian Peninsula the Arabs made gigantic strides in development and the economic boom raised the standards of living. However, although the oil was discovered in Southern Sudan, the South was not to become the major beneficiary. The central government with focus on the interest of Northern Sudan had other plans to deny Southern Sudan development opportunities.
To exploit the oil resources of Southern Sudan, the central government made sure the refinery was sited in Northern Sudan. In addition, the oil from wells in Southern Sudan was to be transported to international markets through Northern Sudan. Siting the refinery in Northern Sudan and the subsequent transportation of the oil to international markets deprived enormously Southern Sudanese of employment opportunities and income to reduce poverty. Also, lack of revenues to Southern Sudan for vital development projects, as a result of siting the refinery in the North, was obvious. Arguably, the discovery of oil was hardly a blessing in Southern Sudan when it was an integral part of old Sudan.
One would expect oil as a blessing in independent South Sudan. Between 2005 and 2011 Southern Sudan became self-governing and with it got a better deal on wealth sharing with Northern Sudan with reference to oil revenues. This was an arrangement in a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between Northern and Southern Sudan in 2005. In the arrangement Northern and Southern Sudan agreed that 2 per cent of oil revenue derived from oil producing wells in Southern Sudan should be allocated to the oil producing states in proportion to output produced in such states. It was also agreed that 50 per cent of net oil revenue derived from oil producing wells in Southern Sudan should be allocated to the Government of Southern Sudan.
In the CPA the wealth sharing arrangement was indeed a relief in light of acute underdevelopment and poverty in Southern Sudan. In independent South Sudan oil production indeed would be a blessing because South Sudan would have 100 per cent of revenue from its own oil. However, the extent to which oil revenues will be used for an impact on living standards will indicate whether oil is a curse or a blessing in independent South Sudan.
Indicators of especial interest to be used are poverty and insecurity. This is because when oil is a blessing there shouldn’t be a high prevalence of poverty and insecurity because of the expected adequate budgetary allocations. Naturally oil is seen to produce substantial revenues that can be used to eradicate poverty and insecurity. Nevertheless, others may argue that it is not oil that may be a curse but corruption. On the other hand a counter argument can be made, though simplistic, that when oil creates corruption then oil is a curse. However, oil in itself may neither be a curse nor a blessing as when it is underground but then it depends on how it is managed above ground.
Unity State in South Sudan was the lead oil producer which should have been getting 2 per cent of oil revenue from its wells according to the CPA. However, its consumption per capita per month was lower than non oil producing state like Western Bahr el Ghazal. Similarly Upper Nile was the lead region in oil production but its consumption per capita per month was low in contrast to consumption per capita per month in non oil producing Equatoria.
On poverty Unity State as oil producing has 68 per cent of its population living below the poverty line while the population of non oil producing Western Bahr el Ghazal is 43 per cent below the poverty line. This seems to suggest that oil is not everything. With or without oil a state or region can still flourish. So there is no way an oil producing state or region should boast.
On services oil seems to have no impact. Salaries were not received promptly. Insecurity was rampant when people were murdered by armed gangs who were nowhere to face justice, and this happened when the budget for security was one of the largest. There was hardly any running clean drinking water in the majority of residential areas and availability of electricity was a joke. People depended and are still depending on food items imported from the neighbouring countries even when the oil was flowing. Roads in cities and towns were of little difference with roads in remote rural areas. The list of poor services could be long in a country that was oil producing.
What guarantee is there that the resumption of oil flow will make any difference as a blessing in reducing poverty and insecurity? With or without oil life will be as usual with people who have experienced life in South Sudan since 2005. What may rid people of poverty and insecurity are radical reforms and a thorough cleaning up of the system of incapability otherwise the number of millionaires will grow up spectacularly with the resumed flow of oil. Sugar-coated lies and naked intimidation to silence genuine dissent will not work because people are already alert and may have been fed up with words without concrete action since 2005.
In conclusion, hopefully South Sudan will not enter the Guinness Book of Records as a failed state barely within two years of gaining independence because when oil revenues are mismanaged and with insecurity so rampant; oil becomes more of a liability than an asset or rather more of a curse than a blessing. The religious may need to offer a prayer for divine intervention and the secular may need to use all their mental faculties for a decent and peaceful way out.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46597
March 26, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan has accused the government of neigbouring Sudan of launching a heavy and coordinated attack on its Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, killing at least three innocent civilians and wounding several others in Rual horic, east of the disputed Kiir Adem are, local people and county authorities said Tuesday.
Southern army officers in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state in Sudan, peer into a bomb crater created from one of the bombs dropped by the northern Sudanese army on a southern army base in the disputed border zone of Kiir Adem, where Southern Sudan meets Darf (VOA)
Aweil North county commissioner, Kuol Athuai Hal said Sudan was using armed border tribes and auxiliary forces to launch provocative attacks in an attempt to derail efforts to peacefully implement a cooperation agreement signed in September 2012.
After months of stalling the two sides agreed to implement the deal, which will create a demilitarised buffer zone 10 km either side of the tense and contested oil rich border, as well as allow South Sudan to resume exporting its oil through Sudan for the first time in over a year.
“The Sudanese armed forces have been increasingly active in the area this week. The activity zone of the Sudanese armed forces has expanded considerably from last week, immediately realising that SPLA forces have completely pulled out of the area.
Their activities in the area are becoming serious security concern not only to the civil population but also us in the government”, Hal told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday from Gokmachar, the area’s administrative headquarters.
The official said three people were killed when armed Arab tribes backed by the Sudan Armed Forces collaborating with their aligned militia carried out a raid on the area.
“They killed three civilians who have gone to fish. They [the civilians] were found at the fishing site when they were killed. None of them had survived. This incident occurred today at around 11:30am. It was in Rual horic, east of Kiir Adem. Another attack was carried out by the Sudanese armed forces themselves in Kiir adem against civilians. They just opened fire on civilians. The civilians were unaware. They did not know. It was a surprised and well organised attack. The intention is to chase civilians away from the area”, Hal said.
Mel Wal Achien, who represents the area in South Sudan’s national parliament, said Aweil North’s leaders would hold the government of South Sudan and the international community responsible for the loss lives and properties.
There is a United Nations mission in South Sudan with a strong chapter seven mandate to protect civilians, but policing the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone (SDBZ) is due to be monitored by the UN peacekeeping force in Abyei – the main disputed border region – as part of a Joint Border Verification Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) with military officials from both nations.
“There was another attack today. Three people have been killed in Rual horic, East of Kiir Adem The Sudanese armed forces are taking advantage of the withdrawal of SPLA forces from the area. They have moved into the area in full capacity. Instead of withdrawing they are deploying and carrying out attacks and killing of innocent civilians. What is happening is a political strategy by the government of Sudan so that civilians can flee the area. This is clear a clear tactic”, explained Achien.
The legislator said his community will hold the negotiators of the government of South Sudan responsible for the deaths. He accused the negotiating team at the African Union mediated talks with Sudan in Addis Ababa of giving over the land “of our ancestors”.
The inclusion of the Mile 14 and Kiir Adem in the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone at the suggestion of the African Union and other members of the international community has been strongly criticised.
Politicians from Northern Bahr el Ghazal are concerned that allowing the areas to be included in the buffer zone may indicate the the ownership of the land is in dispute with Sudan, a notion they strongly deny.
Despite the deal stating that the position of the buffer zone will in no way prejudice any final resolution of the many border conflicts, many in South Sudan are suspicious of Sudan’s intentions.
Achien said the the AU, UN and other members of the international community – notably the three main sponsors of the 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s separation from Sudan: Britain, the United States and Norway – involved in the north-south negotiations should be held “responsible for the loss of lives and properties. You cannot withdraw the national army which was providing security so that people are allowed to be killed. What they have done is a crime of the highest order.”
The visibly angry MP told Sudan Tribune that contrary to Khartoum’s claims the Sudan Armed Forces continue to remain in the area in contravention of the implementation roadmap agreed to by the two sides on March 12.
“Something is fishy about this agreement. Why [do] the Sudanese Armed Forces continue to remain in the area which is supposed to be arms free? Why is the international community keeping quiet? Why is the African Union? We will hold [them] responsible for the loss of lives”, Achein said.
Phillip Aguer, the South Sudan army (SPLA) spokesperson, confirmed the attack and said they have presented a written complaint to the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) regarding the incident.
“We expected UNISFA to start visiting some of these areas soon after the signing of the agreement on implementation of the buffer zones, to assess, compile information and raise complaints on any form of violation. We don’t know what it preventing them from doing all these,” Aguer said by phone Wednesday.
He did not, however, divulge more details on casualties involved in the attack.
When contacted by Sudan Tribune, Daniel Adekera, the acting UNISFA spokesperson said he could not react to the matter since he was not on ground.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45981
By Luka Biong Deng
March 11, 2013 – The people of South Sudan will soon be debating the aspects of Permanent Constitution that will certainly lay a foundation for the new country. There is no doubt that the Transitional Constitution has laid process and mechanism through which the views of citizens could be solicited. The real question is what would be the critical issues to be addressed in the final text of the constitution? In order to make constructive contribution, we may need to think out of the box, critically review the current transitional constitution and make use of wealth of experience in constitution-making in Africa.
Perhaps I would like to start with rather naïve question of whether we need a constitution. This is a central question as this would provide the intrinsic value of the constitution in our lives and subsequently the legitimacy of state. Having a constitution has an implicit acceptance of having a state. Given the growing evidence that states, particularly in Africa, are generally self-serving and cannot be expected to enhance the well-being of citizens, it raises fundamental question of whether we need after all state.
Certainly the role of state cannot be underestimated as evidenced in the success of mankind in the 17th century with emergence of the Dutch “Golden Age”, industrial revolution in Britain in the 18th Century, economic success in France, Germany and USA that surpassed British hegemony in the 19th Century and emergence of economic tigers in Asia in the 20th Century. As such the real question is not whether we can have state or not but rather what type of state that we need to have. The constitution-making is meant to answer this question of how to transform state from one that is incompetent, self-serving, or one that serves the interests of dominant groups, to one that is effective and committed to advancing well-being of citizens.
I believe what we want to achieve with this constitutional review process is to lay down a foundation that will enable us to avoid our state and nation not to fail. In fact the failure of state is not synonymous with the failure of nation. State fails when its public institutions are unable to deliver positive political goods such as security, rule of law and order, basic services and political space, to citizens on a scale likely to undermine the legitimacy and the existence of the state itself. Some indicators for state weaknesses include disharmony between communities, inability to control territory and its borders, a growth of criminal violence and corrupt institutions.
On the other hand, the failure of nation occurs when the nation projected by state is distorted and it is no longer convincing to many communities as it does not provide the foundation for its acceptance. In other words the nation that is culturally projected by state does not provide consensus, affiliation and sense of belonging. This may eventually lead to the leaders of various communities to create an atmosphere of fear in which war in the name of national self-defense may be seen as the only solution and with increased desire to secede.
It will not require efforts to appreciate the challenges facing our country not only in building state but also the nation as well. While state-building can easily be responded to, nation-building is a rather complicated and a daunting task. In fact the main purpose of state-building is to establish and strengthen public institutions to deliver political goods with powers and rules that are regarded by the people as legitimate. Nation-building on the other hand is a process of collective identity formation as the basis for legitimizing the power of public institutions. There is sometimes a wrong assumption that erection of democratic institutions will eventually lead to a democratic society united by a democratic collective identity. Nation-building is a process that is context specific and is different from state building and it cannot be simply achieved through democracy alone.
One would hope our constitution-making process will eventually contribute to building both state and nation as well as establishing a more democratic state and a set of values, norms and institutions as part of the common national identity. In other words, the challenge is how can we make our permanent constitution to provide the necessary tools for state-building and nation-building processes? These tools could include the process of constitution-making itself, the institutional arrangements made in the constitution, and the values and symbols embodied in the final text of the constitution.
Given the constitutional review process has been exhaustively discussed and almost came with a conclusion that the process started wrongly, I will focus in this part of my article on the Transitional Constitution. Given my engagement as a member of the drafting committee of the Sudan Interim National Constitution, a member of the Sudan National Constitutional Review Commission, a member and secretary of the drafting committee of the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan and a facilitator for drafting a model interim constitution for the ten states of Southern Sudan, I will be able to share views about our current constitution.
As the starting point of the work of the Commission is to review the Transitional Constitution as per its sub-article 202 (6), then the final product of the Commission will be largely shaped by the Transitional Constitution. As such it subsequently deserves a thorough scrutiny. Although various reviews of the Transitional Constitution have been made, there is one fundamental question whether there was a legal ground to have it at all. Specifically, the last sub-article 208 (7) of the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005, clearly stated the following:
“If the outcome of the referendum on self-determination favours secession, this Constitution shall remain in force as the Constitution of a sovereign and independent Southern Sudan, and the parts, chapters, articles, sub-articles and schedules of this Constitution that provide for national institutions, representation, rights and obligations shall be deemed to have been duly repealed.”
This will not require any legal knowledge to figure out whether there was a need to have the Transitional Constitution as the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan should have remained in force until a permanent constitution is promulgated. Interestingly, the people who drafted the Transitional Constitution are the same people who participated in the drafting of the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan and most of them are now members of the Commission.
In fact the Transitional Constitution did not maintain the constitutional development progress achieved in the Interim Constitution. One would even say that the Transitional Constitution was a regression in the evolution of the constitution development process in South Sudan. It seems the drafters of the Transitional Constitution were largely guided by some individuals with certain positions in their minds and with clear intention to realize specific interests beyond the national interests.
Specifically, the Transitional Constitution distorted certain provisions of the Interim Constitution. In particular the powers of the President were excessively boosted for no any good reasons and subsequently undermined the legitimacy of public institutions. For example, the Transitional Constitution has given a constitutional power to the President to remove an elected governor of state and even to dissolve an elected state parliament without due process and as such a clear breach of democratic values and practices.
Unlike the Interim Constitution, the President in the Transitional Constitution has the right to appoint national ministers without consulting the Vice President. In fact the Vice President is not only a running mate of the President but is also a person who acts as president in his or her absence. Importantly the appointment of the Vice President is only made with the approval of a two-thirds majority of all members of the parliament. Having a collective leadership and a consensus decision-making process are aspects that can make the public institutions to have legitimacy and to be more acceptable to citizens.
One of the symbols of a country that solidifies nation-building is its capital city. While the Interim Constitution made it very clear that the city of Juba shall be the capital of Southern Sudan and the seat of the Government of Southern Sudan, the Transitional Constitution distorted this provision by injecting additional provision that allows the National Government to relocate by law the national capital to any other location. This provision was uncalled for as the permanent constitution would have been the right mechanism to handle such important issue within a wider consultation. As I expressed earlier my view about national capital, maintaining Juba as our national capital will be one of our national symbols that will greatly contribute to our nation-building.
On the basis of these views about the Transitional Constitution, one expects the Commission to use the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan as its main starting point rather than relying only on the Transitional Constitution that was hastily and poorly drafted. As I mentioned earlier we need a constitution that will strengthen our public institutions to deliver positive political goods and create a common national identity that we all can relate to and be proud of.
Luka Biong Deng is the South Sudanese Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee and a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was first published by the New Nation Newspaper.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45798