Sudan: Winning the peace, economic challenges persist
By John Eche
In what observers see as a real fruit of efforts to win on the peace front, the transitional government in Sudan moved on Monday to sign a historic agreement with several rebel groups to end lingering wars in Darfur and other troubled regions of the country but the nation’s economic challenges persist.
The spate of conflicts have lasted many years, including the 17-year old Darfur crisis, and seen hundreds of thousands of people killed.
The signing ceremony was done in Juba, southern Sudan for the Darfur groups and with another for South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.
On the government side, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, vice-president of the Sovereignty Council signed while the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir, served as witness.
Kiir was flanked by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, chair of the Sovereign Council of Sudan and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok. There were also representatives of several other countries at the event.
“We know that we will face some problems when we start to proceed on the ground but we have this political will and our friends in the army have this political will to make it work,” Fayçal Mohamed Saleh, Minister of Information and Culture, said of the historic ceremony.
Continuing, Saleh affirmed that this had only been made possible because the people of Sudan voted for it.
“It is a great success. We believe that we have thus begun the real transformation of Sudan from a dictatorship to a democracy because we are now joined by armed movements of people from all regions of Sudan.”
The discussions took almost a full year to be concluded despite initial expectations that it would be signed within two or three months of the issuance of the Juba Declaration that had set if off.
Underscoring the wide range of discussions that had taken place, eight protocols make up the peace agreement, and they encompass the following: security, land ownership, transitional justice, reparations and compensation, nomadic and pastoral development, wealth sharing, power sharing and the return of refugees and displaced persons.
At the close of the process, all armed movements will be dismantled and combatants integrated into the national army, which will be reorganized to be representative of all components of the Sudanese people.
Now with some modicum of peace in the bag, the government can turn its attention to addressing the crippling economic conditions in the country, where inflation numbers for example have galloped close to the staggering 150 per cent mark.
Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok of Sudan