By Kwathi Ajawin
April 13, 2007 ? Current geological studies show that Darfur may be an oil rich region as some parts of the region are sedimentary extension of unity formation, which is the oil reservoir in Bentiu Southern Sudan. Also some parts of Darfur are the extension of the Chad oil formations. So Darfur might be an oil rich region in addition to possible huge amount of underground water and rare minerals.
Unlike South Sudan, Darfur was until recently considered to be part of Northern Sudan political establishment. However, the coming round of peace talks may bring peace that will give Dafur a chance to establish its own political identity for the first time since the independence of Sudan. Regional and even national affiliated Darfur parties will spring up and contest the coming elections in competition with all parties including the sectarian and the Islamic parties that had politically dominated Darfur in the past. If Darfur manages to put up a strong political showoff, parties like Umma of Sadiq al Madhi may be in the minority.
Two years after the signing of the Comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), it is humble to say that Darfur crisis have eroded the CPA peace dividends. The hurdles of the implementation and the effect of Darfur war seem to have been underestimated by the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) during the Naivasha peace negotiations. Like the previous agreements, the Khartoum culture of dishonoring the agreements and selectiveness in the implementation is taking toll on CPA, exposing SPLM factionalism.
The CPA implementation is crippled by so many factors; among them are the corruption in the government of South Sudan (GOSS), corruption, ineptitude and factionalism in SPLM, the greed of the NCP and above all the war in Darfur.
Apart from corruption, SPLM?s incompetence eroded the hope of many people, as the un-institutionalized SPLM proves very weak to influence the decision making in the postwar Sudan. It may slip from observer mind to notice that SPLM is a partner in the Government of National Unity since whining and rhetoric is the only SPLM services in Khartoum. In spite of all that we still argue that the CPA is a good model for bring peace to Darfur. The CPA has left the Sudanese people with only two choices; new Sudan (ism) or separation of the South. And new Sudanism here is the political ideology of the movement, which identifies the problem as national and provide one-country two systems as a formula for a united Sudan. Darfur has to join the CPA in order to make it real comprehensive. Since the leaders of western Sudan do not support the separation of South Sudan then they have only one choice that is to make the necessary adjustments to fit into new Sudanism (one- country two system).
Now, almost a year after the signed under international pressure Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) it has become apparent that DPA is a cheap deal that did not meet the demands of Darfur People. DPA can be a datum-plan in the next round of peace talks but not by any means a ceiling for the Darfur aspirations. Just in fours years time Darfur is one step away from getting a sizeable share in Khartoum and becoming a strong force to reckon with when it come to championing the cause of the marginalized in Sudan. The Darfur leaders are in a better position to articulate the needs of marginalized societies in northern Sudan. But Darfur should not forget that a strong relation with a united SPLM is the sustaining oxygen for whatever gain they will achieve. That is why Darfur leadership must not temper with the SPLM model of ?one-country two systems?.
The problem with Darfur is that the main two factions that are now against the Darfur Peace Agreement are divided into the Islamists under JEM and the secularist under SLM/A-Abdul Wahid faction. In the pass Abdulwahid had expressed critique to one-country two systems, but he will have to soften his tune to have a strategic relation with SPLM. JEM- Dr. Khalil faction will have to come on board or coin an exotic alliance with radical Islam, which is bizarre.
Oil for Power and Peace is a way to go and by this we mean that Darfur can buy itself a position in the Presidency and a considerable representation in GONU by yielding 50% of its resources. The SPLM for the sake of realization of new Sudan must have to go beyond lips service and show rational commitment to the legitimate cause of Darfuris by accepting or allowing a limited accommodation to open a seat for Darfur as second or third vice president of Sudan. The NCP for the sack of unity must relinquish its greed and accept to give Darfur a proportional representation in the legistulative assembly and the executive of GONU. The international community and peace mediators must help the parties to the conflict in Darfur to reach a peace agreement based on considerable wealth and power sharing, possibly a better deal on security arrangements, and autonomous rule.
Sudan is at a critical moment and a huge compromise and sacrifices must be made to bring peace to the country. The lordship of the Arabs elites must seize and every community is free to perceive itself as Arab or African, but to identify Sudan as an Arab Islamic country is a gross injustice that have caused the country a great deal. With leadership comes responsibility, therefore Darfur leaders must follow their conscience, the aspiration of their people and approach the negotiations in good faith. A free democratic elections is the viable vehicle for the regime change in Sudan, therefore Darfur leaders should not waste time thinking that the international community pressure will cause the Sudanese regime to collapse. Darfur?s factions must reach compromise, a unity of purpose and approach the coming talks with seriousness and responsibility. The CPA modality of oil for power can apply here. The NCP and the SPLM as partners in GoNU must accept some sort of regional autonomy for Darfur and a share in wealth and power on the central level. Sudan is changing and any suppression to Darfur is a back paddling which is not acceptable. The whole world is watching and any injustice in Darfur is a violation to justice everywhere. The parties to the coming peace talks should approach the peace table in the spirit of giving and sacrifice. The NCP has much and therefore it must give much to Darfur. SPLM must deliver and should stop its whining and negative rhetoric because its weakness is prolonging the war in Darfur. It is time to show a sacrificial commitment to the beloved Darfur.
Darfur crisis though unique it cannot be tackled in isolation from the general crisis in Sudan. Darfuris should learn from the southern Sudan peace making strategies. It is more than just a regime change; it is not NCP, rather the unfair central political system that has been unfair to the peripheries for more than five decades.
The South had fought wars against various governments in Khartoum, some governments from the left and some from the extreme right. Yes, Darfur current struggle came up during NCP?s rule, yet due to south Sudan war experience no one is certain that a different party in Khartoum could have reacted differently to the Darfur revolution, therefore, it is more than just opposition to the NCP and a regime change. The people rights in Darfur will be achieved through power and wealth sharing, new security arrangements and some sort of local autonomy in a decentralized Sudan. The transition period that end at 2011 is like a childbirth pain for Sudan, but the matter is not to the extent of Sudan to be or not to be. Sudan will always be there whether united or divided. The talk about Sudan?s extinction is a false alarm whistled by the Pan-Arabist and the Islamo- Fascists who are pro- Jallaba State or the Arab ? Islamic Sudan.
The issue of privatization of Sudan public industry must be address carefully, so that the peripheries and Darfur included will not end up under socioeconomic repression after the hard gained political freedom. Darfuris must work hard to bridge the gap between their political factions in order to knit their political and social fabric and work for a Sudan that derive its identity from a diverse foundation and a good governance based on fair wealth and power sharing.
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