The Southern Regional Government 1972-1983.

In the history of independent Sudan there has always been an assumption that Sudan was an Arab nation all of whose citizens would eventually adopt Arab culture, Language, and religion. This has been misleading assumption..

The Southern Sudanese have their cultures, languages, and their traditional religions. The northern Sudanese were ignorant of the south, its peoples, their cultures and their traditional religions and that was taken because of its remoteness . The central issue of modern Sudan has been the Sudan quest for identity whereby African indigenous culture can peacefully co-exist with an imported Arab culture The most important among these southerners was Abel Alier ,chosen by Nimeiri as one of his vice presidents. Alier replaced Joseph Garang, Lou of Bahr al Ghazal as minister of State for southern affairs and was charged with the work of all the other ministries in the south

By October 1971 moves were under way to establish contacs with the Southern Sudan Liberation front[SSLF]. In 1971 Joseph Lagu,who had gained authority among the various guerrilla groups, proclaimed the creation of a new political organization the Southern Sudan Liberation Front .. The Anyanya leaders united behind him ,and nearly all the exiled politicians gave their support.Although the organization did create a governmental structure,the real power remained concentrated in the hands of the Anyanya command ,with Lagu at its head. After considerable consultation,a conference between high-leVel delegation of the SSLF and the Sudanese government, led by Alier ,met at Addis Ababa in February 1972 .Initially the two sides were far apart ,the southerners demanding a federal state with a separate southern government and army that would come under the federal president's command only in the face of an external threat to Sudan. At a crucial juncture in the negotiations, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia intervened personally ,lending his prestige to mediation effort to ensure that an agreement was reached.
Then why did the Addis Ababa Agreement come about? Nimeiri was forced to due to the intensive Anyanya fighting led by Joseph Lagu. Anyanya means poisonous snake or very dangerous movement. Who led the delegation in Addis Ababa? The delegation was led by two southerners ,Abel Alier heading the Northern delegation and Ezboni Mundiri heading the southern. These two southerners heading the negotiations. What were the consequences? Abel was appointed as vice president instead of Lagu . What was decided in Addis Ababa Agreement? There were six issues decided:

1.The south one region.
2.Areas with southerners outside the south,e.g. Abyei,decidetheir fate through referendum.
3.South governed by regional assembly and High Executive Council.
4.Issues of education ,health, natural resources and police decided by the south whereas defense ,foreign policy, money matters and educational ,social and economic planning by the north.
5.President of High Escutive Council be appointed by the national President.
6.Composition of the armed forces in proportion to the population .Anyanya to be integrated intothe Sudan People's Armed forces

The Agreement generally warmly welcomed in the south because of war fatigue ,but some were not happy ,talking about a sell out.. John Garang was deadly against the agreement, but accepted it due to the wish for peace in the south. Why these disagreements occurred ? In the North the elite not so happy about that ,also talking about a sell out .How could both the North and some people in the South talk about a sell out?

Addis Ababa Agreement was signed between the Sudan government and the southern Sudan liberation Movement {SSLM}.It had brought peace to the Sudan in 1972 and ended the civil war that never before achieved in post colonial Africa. It had brought great international acclaim to the nation and its leaders, Nimeiri and Lagu were the two of its main beneficiaries, before its failure it was seen as a failure by most southerners.

This Agreement was approved and included in the regional self-government Act in March 1972 and it was blended in the permanent constitution of 1973. As a consequence, south was accorded an autonomous regional government with executive and legislative powers within a united Sudan. It was empowered to elect and remove the president of the High Executive Council{HEC},subject to the approval of the president of the Republic. The Assembly could also vote to request the president of the Republic to exempt the Southern Region from any national legislation it considered destructive to Regional interests. The Agreement granted the Southern Regional government powers to raise revenues from local taxation and promised additional revenues from Central Government. The only thing denied to it was the right to legislate or exercise any powers over economic planning and education. However, the Agreement was bilateral between the Anyanya Movement and the Military Regime of Nimeri, the traditional political forces were excluded, though it was under auspices of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. The peace processes included the establishment of the ceasefire commission to monitor ceasefire, integration of the Anyanya forces, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconstruction programmes. This peace was short lived from 1972 - 1982. The opportunities for confidence building and equality were cost. There was over concentration and interference from the central Government. The nomination and appointments were dictated by the central Government as a violation of the Agreement. There was also a lack of a democratically elected regional government and institutions, accountability and monitoring. No key development projects were initiated and the poor infrastructure led the marginalization of Southern Sudan.

 

What Regional Autonomies Meant.

Region is an area considered as a unit for geographical, social or cultural reasons. It is an administrative division of a country. Regional is a characteristic of or insufficient to a region. Autonomous is of a community, country and so on possessing a large degree of self-government. It is relating to autonomous community and is independent of others. Autonomy is the right or state of self-government especially insufficient and a state community or individual possessing autonomy. It is freedom to determine one's own actions, behaviour and so on. Region is a geographical area which either possesses certain homogeneous characteristics that distinguish it from adjacent areas or other regions or which serves as a unit of government or administration.

The Autonomous region is granted the right to secede given a right to secession, the central government would pledge to acknowledge a union to the central leadership, in return to such a pledge, nationalities would choose not to enact their right to secession. Autonomous region is a territorial unit equivalent to a province that contains a large concentration of ethnic minorities. These regions have some autonomy in the cultural sphere but in most policy matters are strictly subordinate to the central government like Sudan and China as examples. Therefore, Regional autonomous is an area or region with certain powers given and restricted for others. It is a region with freedom to determine its own actions, behaviour and so on and not allowed to take decision on economic planning or education.

 

Return of Refugees and Attempts at Economic Development in the South.

Refugee is a person who has fled from some danger or problem, especially political persecution. Sudan Returnee is a person who returns to his native country, especially after the war service or the civil war. The peace settlement in 1972 necessitated a serious and costly resettlement programme, which was carried out on a slow basis with the help of the United Nations Relief Bodies. Observers estimated that action by government forces, the forced relocation of refugees, diseases, and mal-nutrition as a result of wartime condition had killed or contributed to the deaths of about 500,000 people in the South. The most pressing problem was the return of refugees and the displaced to their homes in Southern Sudan. It was one of the biggest repatriation ever undertaken by High Commission for Refugees{UNHCR} more than a million people returned to their homes in 1972 and 1973,500,000 from refuge in neighbouring countries, and 550,700 from internal displacement in other areas of Sudan. This immense movement of people, with their entire pressing needs for relief and the establishment of the basic facilities of life drew in international aid agencies . Many Christian and secular organizations entered Sudan to work on relief along the UNHCR, and stayed to work on development through the 1970s and early 1980s.

The other major task facing the new government was the integration of the Anyanya forces into national army and other forces. There were a small number of violent disturbances in the armed forces ,like mutiny in the garrison in Akobo in1975,the defection of former Anyanya secessions in Wau in 1976 and brief uprising in Juba in 1977 .But otherwise this achieved with remarkable success.
The present issue facing the weak government was the repatriation and resettlement of a half-million Southern Sudanese from refuge camps in neighbouring states and another half million internally displaced person (IDPs) inside Sudan. The repatriation and Relief Commission was established to receive returnees coming over the border and transport them to their homes with the help of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), aided by a host of humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGOs), including among others the African Committee for the Relief of the Southern Sudanese (ACROSS), Norwegian Church AID (NCA), Oxfam, World Service, the Catholic Organization, the Catholic Charity Caritas, and the Red Cross, who were not to know that they would all remain active in Southern Sudan for twenty five years. The IDPs slowly emerged from hiding deep in the Bush.

The number of Southern refugees recorded that month was 145,000, a figure that rose to 176,000 by September. They were broken down as 59,000 in the Congo; 20,000 in Ethiopia; 72,000 in Uganda and 25,000 in the Central African Republic. No figures were obtainable for Chad and Kenya. There was development in the Southern Region between 1972 and 1983. All development projects were not exploitative and misdirected. There were several internationally. Financed projects for small and large scale, focusing on the improvement of infrastructure and services, as well as experimenting with improving the overall economic productivity of southern Sudan. However, there was very little logical planning or supervision of development by the southern regional government, nor was there much practical coordination of projects undertaken by various agencies. Development was uneven in the end. The least developed areas of Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile were those where some of the most schemes were proposed other parts of the Southern Sudan, and some progress was made in the development of coffee, tea and forestry products. Infrastructure was also better served, with a number of road and rural water projects, especially in Equatoria.

The great discouragement to the Southern Sudan had been the failure of economic development, for it was entirely reliant upon Central Government was more interested in large scale projects within the golden triangle than schemes in the far away swampy south. Many northern officials were opposed to Southern autonomy and were not about to divert limited resources to development schemes in the Southern Sudan.

By 1981, Nimeri sent his Minister of Finance, Badr al Din Sulayman, to the Southern Sudan because of the complaint of the Southerners. Badr al Din was accompanied by senior officials from the Bank of Sudan and the agricultural, Industrial, and Commercial Banks, which agreed to open branches in Juba and provide $9 million from the Kuwait Fund to rehabilitation the Zande Cotton Scheme at Nzara. All these were soon destroyed by the commercial division of the Southern Sudan.

 

The Politics of the Southern Regional Government.

There was interference from the Central Government in the office of the south. The Regional Government spent several years with this interference. Nimeiri had intruded in every direction of Abel Alier, the President of the High Executive Council. The Central Government had a good deal of intrusion. This was caused by the active participation of Southern Sudanese leaders who wanted to oust each other and especially the Alier and Lagu factions had contributed to this interference. Many Southerners had perceived that the constitutional guarantees for Southern autonomy were very weak as they considered it.

 

The First Regional Government 1972 - 1978

Successful regional elections were held in October 1973 .Abel Alier had already been appointed president of the High Executive Council on an interim basis by Numeiri and the elections confirmed him in that position and gave mandate to him to form the first all-southern administration . Abel Alier said, ‘ The SSLM delegation wanted Joseph Lagu in the Sudan army in his Anyanya rank as Major General: He himself wanted it this way. He wanted to be in the army to oversee his troops taking their position in the Sudan army,the police and prison forces... Joseph Lagu was duly appointed Major General.' How can the two politicians present the event so different? It was Abel Alier who governed the Southern Sudan from this time as the President of the High Executive Council (HEC). Abel had been criticized for his deference to Nimeiri and the Central Government over many issues, and his willingness to allow the Central Government to define by model restrictions on the regional government's authority. Throughout the eleven years of regional government, the Southern Sudan exercised no autonomy in economic planning or education and these were two highly sensitive flows, and the regional ministries were considered in Khartoum merely as departments of the central government ministries. There was much discontent with the failure of the central government to fulfill its financial obligations to the Southern Region. During the lifetime of the first Regional Government, the Region received yearly an overage only 23.2% of the central government's allocation grant for the special development budget. Few development programmes ever really got underway. In addition, many Southerners felt the veterans of the Anyanya Movement and other exiles were not being given their due share of government appointments.

 

The Second Regional Government 1978 - 1980.

Abel as the vice president and Lagu was a major general in the army and not vice president as he thought he was promised. Lagu's elections in 1978 was supposed to redress the balance and bring more rapid development to the South. He failed on both counts. . Regional Assembly, a parliament for the south ,was also elected. Alier's administration governed the south until new elections were held in 1977. Lagu might have said: 'Before I left Addis Ababa for Khartoum ,I was promised that I would be appointed to the post of vice president of the Republic. When I was told that I was appointed Major General and not vice president I was totally devastated.'
A wide range of relief and construction projects were carried out all over the south.

The return of civil war in 1983 led to the destruction or severe restriction of most of institutions. At this time, it was Joseph Lagu, the Former Guerrilla Leader who ruled as President of the Southern Region in 1978. He was brought in because of the discontent of the Southerners that led him to be elected. He stayed in power for two years as the President of the High Executive Council (HEC). There were disputes over his an unconstitutional use of power. The crisis he created was received through the Supreme Court, where such constitutional issue could have been heard, but by the personal intervention of President Nimeiri, who took advantage of the reorganization of the North into new regions to dissolve both the National and Regional assemblies in February 1980 and call for new elections. Lagu was replaced by Abdulla Rassas appointed as an Interim President by Nimeiri. The Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 had ushered in a brief period of idealist and unity in national and Southern politics. Joseph Lagu, the leader of the southern Sudan Liberation Movement{SSLM},stood aside from politics, leaving the way open for Abel Alier to assume the leadership of the new southern government. Alier was perceived by many as the architect of the 1972Agreement and there was much goodwill behind him and his government in first years. However, events both in the North and South steadily undermined the opportunity for peace and development presented by the Addis Ababa Agreement

 

The Third Regional Government 1980 - 1981

Following the new elections, Abel Alier was elected unopposed by the Regional Assembly to a new term office as President of the HEC in June 1980. This time also he came up with Nimeiri's support. In constituting his new government Alier had to contend with the existing political and tribal divisions which had assumed alarming proportions in the Southern Sudan since 1972. He also had to confront the problem of corruption within the civil service, as well as the frustrated aspirations of many southern Sudanese, especially a large number of the returnees from Uganda to the Sudan only after the fall of Idi Amin in 1979.

 

The Crisis over Oil and Sharia Law.

There was development project which started in the South. This project was the beginning of Petroleum exploration of 200,000 square miles of Southern Kordofan and the Upper Nile by Chevron overseas petroleum incorporated. Northern Sudanese politicians were less than enthusiastic. Privately, until the discovery of oil many Northern Sudanese would have been delighted to have the South secede and end its accused drain on the national treasury. Publicly, northern politicians and civil servants remained convinced that if there were oil deposit in Southern Sudan, a basic bond of unity would be removed, enabling the south to go away from the north. This view soon seemed constant through a series of unfortunate periods married disagreement and misperceptions over oil. When Nimeiri visited the United States in 1978 with his new Minister of Energy, Dr. Sharif al-Tuhami, who had been openly be lilting of any oil development in the South, the American Media disclosed that commercial quantities of oil had been discovered in the Southern part of Western Sudan, to be piped 900 miles to Port Sudan for the international markets. The report was widely broadcast over the voice of America, the south exploded in protest. Oil resources were discovered in the Bentiu area under the May Regime in 1978. Some northern Sudanese politicians had made attempts to re-draw the Sudanese provincial boundaries so that the oil areas could be relocated to the northern part. This resulted in a heated debate until Nimeiri had to declare that the provincial boundaries should not be changed and they had to remain as set to their 1956 position. Southern Sudanese wanted to be included into the ten-man team of the board of governors of the oil and force the central government to build the planned oil refinery in the Southern Sudan. The Central Government decided on pumping the crude oil to Port Sudan direct for export and refine only what is desired for home consumption at Kosti. This was not an accepted development to the Southern Sudanese. Bentiu needs the refinery more than Kosti does. The assumptions were that an oil industry offers jobs and development. It also could afford an opportunity to train people of the Southern Region in skills needed in the oil industry and so on. However, the discovery of oil in substantial quantities in Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan was far more destructive of trust between North and South .This issue contributed in a major way to the collapse of political confidence between North and South and the creation of a conviction that a return to civil war was inevitable. The first exploration licences to the Chevron Oil Company were granted in November 1974.The Chevron concession covered the Bentiu area, the Sudd, and the Melut-Malakal-Nasir triangle. In 1980 a further concession was given to the Total Oil Company covering Bor, Pibor and Kapoeta Districts. The intense sensitivities of the Oil issue came to a head in 1978 when the first deposits by Chevron were discovered near Bentiu. The announcement that valuable and exploitable deposits had been brought in the south was delayed until 1980. An attempt was made to deprive of control of the oil by redrawing the map so that most of the finds would lie in a new Unity Province. Southern members of the National Assembly eventually persuaded Numeiri to abandon this plan. Plans were also made to secure Northern and national control of the reserves by building the refinery, not in Bentiu ,but in Kosti Because of its nearness to the north, and because of these sensitive and important projects insecurity began to emerge in Upper Nile and Jonglei earlier than in other areas of the south., Some parts of Upper Nile had never accepted the Addis Ababa Agreement, and it was organized to keep alive the flame of resistance. The road from Malakal to Juba was cut as early as 1979.In 1982 Baggara militia invaded western Upper Nile in an attempt to intimidate the local authorities and to prepare for the extension of Northern influence in the Oil rich Bentiu area. This resulted in the first major exodus of Nuer young men to Ethiopia for refuge and military training under the Anyanya II. Already by 1982 two respected Nuer politicians, William Abdullah Choland Samuel Gai TUT had left to join Anyanya II.Inn February 1984 rebel action closed the operations of the Chevron.

 

Sharia Law:

The Shari'a Law is a body of precepts ,based on the Quran and Hadith , applied to civil and criminal cases as well as to cases involving persomal status. Ideally Islam recognisers no distinction between civil and religious principles, and the community of Islam is subject in all its activities to the Law of Islam as revealed by the Prophet. Sharia is the body of formally established, sacred Islamic Law. It is based primarily on commandments found in the Quran. In theory it governs religious matters and also regulate political, economic, civil, criminal, ethnical, social and domestic affairs in Muslim countries. In practice, however, the Sharia is commonly supplemented by the customary law of a region and by government legislation and administrative practice.

Some political and religious groupings in the North had been unhappy with the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972.In their perception a secular and socialist government had made wholly unacceptable concessions to the south. The role of Islam as the directing force in national life was threatened. From 1972,Numeiri was under constant pressure to abolish the Agreement and adopt a more clearly Islamic position during these years the Muslim Brotherhood. ,with Hassan al-Turabi as its chief architect ,gained influence especially in the legal and medical professions and the Universities. The National Reconciliation of 1977,which brought home Saddiq al-Mahdi and other religious and political opponents of the regime, further strengthened Islamic influence in public. By 1980 Numeiri, his position constantly under threat, had abandoned military dress for the jallabiya and imam when appearing in public .He now presented himself as an Islamic ,and not a military or socialist, leader. By these steps Numeiri believed he had strengthened his position in the south and appeased his enemies in the north. But he still faced problems in the North. By the early 1980s the advantage brought by the national reconciliation had faded and Numeiri was desperate for new allies. He turned to the increasingly influential Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist groups, gathered together under the umbrella of the National Front.

Hassan al-Turabi,leader of the front ,was appointed attorney general. This position gave Turabi the central role in determining legal change in Sudan .In September 1983 ,in a move tended to consolidate his new political alliance,Numeiri announced the imposition of new shari'a provisions in the criminal code. These extended the shari'a proviions in family law, which had always been available to Muslims in the north ,to the criminal code. These new criminal provisions applied in principle to all Sudanese, Northerners and Southerners, Christians or Muslims. However, they were never fully applied in the south and never beyond the major towns. Numeiri dramatically illustrated his new political course, by standing on the banks of the Nile and publicly pouring spirits and other alcoholic drinks into the river. Southerners and Christians were disturbed by the hooded regulations, which allowed for the amputation of limbs for theft and violent crime. It soon became clear that these penalties were being applied dis proportionately against southerners and westerners, and communities which contained Christians. With this step, which gained him some temporary support within the radical Islamist camp in the North? Numeiri finally lost all credibility and support in the south. The heart had been torn out of southern politics. It was only a matter of time before the fragile traditions of southern government entirely collapsed to be replaced by a succession of puppet regimes appointed and manipulated in Khartoum. All Southerners were shocked by this development-the abrogation of the September Laws has been one of the unbending demands of ever since 1983. The churches also made their protests. They protested the imposition of Islamic Laws on non-Muslims, feeling that Christians were treated more harshly.

The declaration of Juhad, which armed struggle against unbelievers and also spiritual struggle for more self-improvement. Hassan al Turabi openly committed himself to the regime of Nimeiri in order to rebuild the Muslim Brothers under is patronage. He convinced the majority to support his long term program to expand the brotherhood acting as a Shura, consultation. He systematically began to build a broader organization based on Islamic principles, Sharia as the foundation for an Islamic State.

In order to demonstrate his commitment to national reconciliation he eagerly participated in the Sudan Socialists Union (SSU) as a senior official. In return Nimeiri appointed Hassan al-Turabi attorney general, which enabled him to revise the question of Sharia thought dead and buried by the Addis Ababa Agreement and the constitution of 1973. Nimeiri had championed Islamic reforms and tried to steal a March on the Islamic opponents to his regime and this guarantee his own political survival. The imposition of Sharia Law in September 1983 (now known as the September Laws), followed soon after the dissolution of the Southern Regional Government, and took place immediately before a pro-Sharia demonstration planned by the Muslim Brothers. It is significant that Islamic Laws were brought into force only after the Southern Region had been abolished. The new regional assemblies had no such defensive powers In September 1983, Nimeiri introduced Sharia or Islamic Law, including the prohibition of alcoholic beverages and the amputation of the hands of thieves. Special courts were set up to enforce Islamic Law. In the non-Muslim South, the legal changes were greeted with horror, and the rebellion intensified. By late 1984 most of the south was under rebel control.

The Failure of the Southern Regional Government and the Outbreak of the Second Civil War.
Factors that led to the failure of the Southern Regional Government were:
1-The conflict with the central government over the Southern Region's borders as rose in the Addis Ababa Agreement signed in Ethiopia under the auspices of Emperor Haile Selassie.

2-The role of the Southern Regional Government in developing the Region's resources and more especially the benefit those were to accrue to it through the exploitation of its oil fields.

3-Discontent within the region over the fate of the Anyanya guerrillas absorbed into the national army.

Internally Nimeiri brought back his Islamist opponents (the Umma and the Muslim Brothers) through national reconciliation in order to guarantee political stability. The condition of US and IMF imposed for their early 1980s was the forced reduction of the stale Budget and the privatization of nationalized corporations. The condition the Islamists imposed for National reconciliation was the reform of the Law on Islamic principles, commencing with financial reforms and the established of Islamic Banks. They were in strong position to benefit from privatization and the new investment climate.
The mineral - bearing regions of Kafia Kingi and Hofral al-Nahas of Bahr al Ghazal was surrendered to Darfur in 1960s. They should have been returned to Bahr al Ghazal in 1977, but it did not take place. Even Abyei in Southern Kordofan and in the Chali area of Blue Nile should have had referenda in 1977 but also nothing had happened. The border region of Chali in Southern Blue Nile had been ruled by Upper Nile Province until 1953, when it was shifted to Kurmuk District.

Abyei had not been shifted to Bahr al Ghazal because the Arab cattle herders who shared with the Dinka of Abyei dry season pastures of the Kiir (Bahr al Arab) would be denied access to the river. Oil fields in the Upper Nile Province - Bentiu, Bor and Nasir located between Nasir and Gambela. They were refined outside the Upper Nile Province.
The Jonglei Canal was first proposed in 1901. The proposed to build the Canal was presented by the Central Ministers of irrigation and Agriculture to the President of the HEC, and then to the HEC itself in 1974.

The regional government demonstrated a curious lack of involvement with what was the largest development project planned in its territory. The outbreak of war in 1983 and the SPLA's early attacks brought these two major economic projects to a stop still by 1984.
The mechanized agriculture and migrant labour led to the failure of the Southern Regional Government. One of the new developments of the 1970s was the activity of Islamic banks and their heavy investments in rain-fed mechanized schemes, especially in the Western Sudan. The banks, and the schemes, they have financed, contributed to the growing southern migrant labour force, involving mainly Nuer, but also Dinka and Shilluk from Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal. The labour force grew with the displacement of population during the early years of the civil war, but before 1983 it was largely persuaded.
There was very little sensible planning or supervision of development by the southern regional government, nor was there much practical coordination of projects assumed by various agencies. There was uneven development. There was very little effective investment in the infrastructure in either area.

In tribal politics, there was the case of Dinka domination. The gradual increase in numbers of educated or trained southerners generally was withheld by the civil war and the disruption caused to local educational institutions. The year 1972 - 1978, Abel Alier represented the insiders and Joseph Lagu the outsiders. The fall of Amin in 1979 forced a number of Southern Sudanese still in Uganda to return home, but it also brought a number of Ugandans those who were associated with Amin in to the South as refugees.
Alier was appointed to the second term of office whereas Dinka to half the ministerial posts in the HEC. He included prominent former SANU opponents of him and the Southern Front. His actions were taken as proof, however, of an active defence of Dinka integrity. From this point Lagu and his supporters began to campaign for a separate Equatoria Region to escape Dinka domination.

Regionalization 1981-1983 led to the failure of the Southern Regional Government because Lagu and his supporters claimed that further decentralization in the south was a sensible extent. This brought Kokora, divide equally which become known locally as redivision. Internal pressure on Nimeiri led to the failure of the Southern Regional Government as well as international factors. Both Britain and US exerted pressure on Nimeiri. The US government was concerned about the consequence of abolishing the Southern Region and imposing Sharia Law and made its concern known to Nimeiri before the fact. By 1983 Nimeiri was convinced that he had sufficient hardware from the US to deal with potential military revolts. This turned out to be no idle threat.


The Decentralization Policy in the South.

Decentralization is policies that aim to transfer some decision - making from higher to lower levels of government, typically from the Central Government to sub national government. Joseph Lagu lobbied widely in Khartoum and elsewhere in the North. He claimed that further decentralization in the Southern Sudan was logical extension of the decentralization policy then being applied in the northern regions. Decentralization for development to support their arguments was a fashionable slogan then, was appreciated by aid agencies. Lagu and his supporters used language of development to support their arguments. Decentralization had been approved by a number of aid agencies and donor governments. The United States, in particular, was committed to financing the construction of new regional government offices and other necessary infrastructure throughout the northern Sudan.

The Southern Region's economic impediment was a product of its in control size and the remoteness of the Regional Government in Juba from the basic unit of government in the rural areas was argued. The question that opponents raised was whether any of the smaller proposed regions would have sufficient strength on their own to oppose effectively the encroachment of the Central Government, as the whole southern regions had dome over the border issue. Under the proposed system, southerners as a whole would no longer be able to bring to bear the weight to public opinion they had begun to mobilized, because in future each of the successor regions would have a say in only those resources actually found within their own borders.

 

From Kokora (Redivision) to Shari'a Law

This word is a Bari, literally to mean to divide equally. This re-division was conducted in the vocabulary of development. Kokora is a Bari word for re-division and was widely used to describe the whole public debate at the time. For the next two and a half years southern politics became totally absorbed in the re-division issue, or Kokora as it was often called
Southern political capacity to withstand these increasing pressures and intrigues from the north was steadily undermined by internal wrangling and rivalry .The early optimism and idealism following the 1972 Agreement was gradually eaten away by disillusion as the realities of the problems facing the south became apparent.
Rivalry between Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu,who emerged from political isolation to fight the elections of 1978, rapidly took on a sharp tribal character. Numeiri saw his opportunity to exploit southern divisions to strengthen his own position.From1978 he intervened frequently in southern politics, in contravention of the Regional Self-government Act. In1981 he established his proposals for the redivision of the south into three new regions, based on the former three provinces of the south.
Numeiri's proposals were rejected by the Regional Assembly in March 1981,but the debate was kept alive by the president and by Lagu and his Equatorian colleagues. The issue became keenly debated by the public, and sharply divided Equatorians,who felt that they would make faster economic progress on their own, from the Nilotic peoples of Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile. Rivalries between southern ethnic groups and their political leaders distracted attention from more serious and fundamental threats from the north. This fragmentation of southern political opinion gave Numeiri a free hand to divide and rule, and eventually ,to abrogate the entire Addis Ababa Agreement.

Southern Politics were now at the mercy of presidential manipulation.. Southern Governments were appointed and dismissed at presidential notion ,until on sth June1983 president Numeiri issued a decree abolishing the Addis Ababa Agreement, the Regional Self-Government Act and all the institutions of government that had been established as a result. The south was divided into three regions corresponding to the old southern provinces-but without the autonomy possessed by the former Southern Region. Numeiri appeared on television that evening, with Joseph Lagu at his side, to announce these moves publicly. The experiment in regional autonomy and Self-government for the south was dead. Sudan was taken back to where it stood before 1972 with all the political, social, economic and religious problems of the south unresolved and unaddressed. The return to armed conflict was almost certain. At the heart of the matter was the political future of the Southern Sudanese themselves, and whether the creation of smaller regions would increase or decrease the political strength of Southern Sudanese in relation to the central government. The fact that among the strongest advocates for the redivision of the south were those northern Sudanese who had opposed the creation of the Southern Region from the beginning led many Southerners to doubt Khartoum's assurances that real decentralization was being offered them. Nimeiri was pressurized by northern opponents of the Addis Ababa Agreement, he decided to dissolve the Southern Region when the new Alier government started to show signs of taking a more active role in economic matters, sometimes questioning his decisions and authority. Nimeiri sided with Lagu during the campaign for further decentralization, and sought to divide the south into three in order to neutralize it. The most leading opponents of redivision of the south were arrested. After Bor was taken, Nimeiri announced on 5th June 1983 his intention of dividing the South into three regions.

 

South and North Compared on Decentralization.

In the end, Equatoria did not get what it wanted. The powers of the three new southern Regions (Bahr al Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria) were no greater than chose of the recently created regions in the North and much more less than the powers granted to the former Southern Region by the Addis Ababa Agreement, whereas in old Southern Region the Assembly was employed to elect the President of the HEC, subject to the approval of the President of the Republic, in the new regions the President directly appointed governors, selected from the list of nominees provided by the assemblies. The financial powers of the new regions were much more less than those of the old southern region, which at least had the power to raise its own taxes. Taxes from the new region were remitted to Khartoum for redistribution by the president. This provision was a particular blow to Equatorians, who had assumed that the potential wealth of their region would be retained for their own use.

 

The Outbreak of the Second Civil War.

By this time the inevitable military response had already taken place. On 16th May 1983 the headquarters of Battalion 105 in Bor was attacked by other army units following a salary dispute and the threat to transfer to the North. The following day ,the Battalion's commander, Major Kerubino Kwanyin Bol,led his troops out of Bor to Ethiopia. Within a few days , garrisons from Pibor and Pachalla also deserted, moving to Ethiopia with their arms. Soon after that a colonel, John Garang De Mabior, also deserted to join the rebels. John Garang said:' We tried to oppose Addis Ababa. But realizing that it was not going to be successful and opportune because the masses of the people in the south were not prepared to support our move to continue with the war we stopped the opposition". Does this view explain why he took to arms 11 years later? What kind of consequences for the reconstruction after Addis Ababa. Did reconstruction fail because of internal divisions in the south? Alier, then Lagu, then Lagu again. Why did the agreement break down? Only because of Nimeiri's change of polic and personality? Or Southern divisions? The second civil war had begun. In order to get rid of the presence of Southern armed forces in the south, Nimeiri had ordered late in 1982, the assimilated battalions of the first division of southern first division of southern command 105th at Bor, 110th at Aweil and 111th at Rumbek to be transferred to garrison duty in the northern and western Sudan. The Aweil garrison bitterly complained but left for Darfur region to follow in December 1982.
In January 1983, the Bor garrison of the 105th opposed to sue. Many of the former southern Anyanya had become unhappy when their integration into the Sudan people's armed forces neither had nor met expectation; others had developed a sense of inferiority when they realized their education and training were not equal to those of the rank and file regulars of the old army with whose they now served. Most spoiling, however was the shameless discrimination against those Anyanya seeking admission to the military college. According to the Addis Ababa Agreement one-third of each new class at the college would consist of southerners but between 1976 and 1982 the number of Southern Cadets was less than 5 persons. All these grievances came to a head in the first week of May 1983. It was caused by the refusal of the Division Headquarters in Juba to pay the April salaries at the Bor garrison. Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol arrived at Bor garrison. He came from Pachalla on the brink of mutiny. He immediately borrowed 250 sacks of dura in order to feed his hungry soldiers and fortified town.

At Bor fierce fighting continued throughout the day until night, when the 105th led by the wounded Major Kerbino Kwanyin Bol escaped away from barracks and disappeared into the Southern bush. The attack and fight of the 105th Battalion at Bor on 17 May 1983 was followed by the Republic Order Number One on 5 June 1983 abolishing the Addis Ababa Agreement and dissolving the Southern Regional Government by the beginning of the Second Civil War and Southern rebellion. By July over 2,500 soldiers from southern command had defected to the new guerrilla base at Belpam of Ethiopia, and 500 were scattered throughout the bush in the Bahr al Ghazal.


New Regional Elections with the existing Framework of the United Sudan Region 1982.

As a consequence, the former unity coalition against redivision of the Southern Region split apart. Those who were discontented with Abel Alier companied on a platform of administrative reform. Some 80% of those subsequently elected to the Regional Assembly were opposed to formal regionalization, but many were also sympathetic to transferring some of the powers of the Regional Government from Juba to the province. A coalition was formed among the reform politicians. Many of whom were Dinka, Nuer, Shulluk and Anuak (all Nilotic) who aligned themselves with large pro-divisionist Equatorian Bloc led by James Joseph Tembura, a Zande from Western Equatoria. It was because the Equatorians had the largest bloc in this coalition that Tembura was subsequently elected President of the HEC. There was a growing feeling of unease among many southerners about the strengthening ties between the Sudan and various Arab governments. The Sudan's support for Iraq against Iran was demonstrated in a recruitment drive for Southern volunteers to fight the Iraq the integration charter between Egypt and the Sudan 1982 aroused fears of Egyptian support for the suppression of the South. It should be stated that both the Iraq and Egyptian governments were anti-Islamist; these closer international ties convinced many southerners that the central government was drifting closer to becoming an Arab Islamic State. The most outstanding opponents of redivision of the south were arrested.

 

Further Readings and References.
1-Daniel Thabo Nyibong, the Impact of Change Agents on Southern Sudan History, 1898 - 1973, PhD Thesis, Khartoum, 2005.
2-Y.Wawa, Southern Sudanese Pursuits of Self-determination Documents in Political History, Kampala, Uganda, January 2005.
3-Robert O. Collins, A History of Modern Sudan, Cambridge Press, Cambridge, 2008.
4-Peter Adwok Nyaba, The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider's View, 2nd Edn., Kampala, Fountain Publishers, 2000.
5-Dr. Lam Akol, SPLM/A Inside an African Revolution, 2000, Khartoum University Press, Khartoum.
6-Edgar O'balance, The Secret War in the Sudan 1955-1972, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1977.
7-Douglass H. Johnson, The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars, Oxford, Kampala, 2003.
8-Juba University Journal of Arts and Sciences, (JUJAS), Scientific Referred Journal Volume 5 August 2006.
9-Encyclopedia of the Third World, Volume II, 1978.

 

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People in this conversation

  • well done Dr.Daniel this is what we want, that the history should be written to be known by the coming generations, go a head in doing so.

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  • Guest - Dr James Okuk

    Dear Dr Daniel Thabo,

    As far as your efforts is appreciated to say something tiny about the the history of Southern Sudan, yet the title of your article carries some kind of academic dishonesty. History of Southern Sudan is far more broader than the fragment of some political history of Southern Sudan regional government you have jotted down here. In short, your title is so big than the content. Please check it and find a better title.

    With regards,

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  • Guest - ISAAC AWUW OKUJC

    Dr Daniel thabo your work has been appreciated, because if you teach young generation it's good for you ,so what I have written here I got many things can benefits people of southern Sudan about their histories and they can get way forward in their future thank you a lot.

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  • Guest - Dak ANDREW

    Dear Professor,
    Dr. Daniel Thabo Nyibong
    Well done, really I do appreciate it a lot, this is great contribution to readers specially new generation like me and others, there is need for more .
    keep on and do not look backward or in the rear to act in response to counterfeit and forged the creature like so-called James Okuk ex- seminarian and others who can not understood what and where are you heading the only thing they knows is gracious Lam Akol and appreciating his evil actions towards Southerners and Cholo people in particular.
    Dr. James Okuk
    I do not know which book or reference in Seminary named Lamoakollogy is it in ST. Augustine Miner Seminary or ST. Paul Major in addition to Theology, Philosophy or other religious studies.
    You are advice write or produce something generations would benefit from it more than talking about lam Akol

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  • Guest - Gora Allan Joel

    Thanks Doctor Daniel.I was wondering as to how teachers would teach their learners in terms of history.Could you please rescue us so as to enlighten our young generation about how, when, what made the south to break away from the north.Congratulation.Let your struggle continue, we are behind you , Amen.

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  • Guest - oyet charles salva

    the civil war in southern Sudan was the strength ways to freedom, anyanya 1 leader Joseph lagu was a hard working person, he worked hard in order south Sundanese to get freedom of equality.
    Arabs from northern part of sudan wanted southerns to have no rights in their country like education, and others.
    thank

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  • Guest - Jacob

    Well written!

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