SUDAN WATCH: Calling Mama Mongella: The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent

Monday, October 24, 2005

Calling Mama Mongella: The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent

Note this excellent article by Mary Brazier in Asharq Alawsat Newspaper 24 October 2005. Google searches show Mary Brazier is the Press officer who accompanied HR Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), on a visit to Sudan and Chad 7-9 October 2005. Here is a copy of the article, in full:

The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent - By Mary Brazier

Allow me to share with you my thoughts following my visit last week to Sudan, where I made a field trip to Khartoum and Darfur. I brought back with me three conclusions: the stability of Sudan has not yet been achieved; Sudan's stability is fundamental to the entire African continent; and the international community, notably Europe, has a duty to act and to achieve results in Sudan.

The stabilisation of Sudan has not yet been achieved. Yes, the North-South peace agreement signed on 9 January in Nairobi was a major event. Peace has returned to the South after more than 20 years of civil war. A government of national unity, containing former rebels from the South belonging to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, was formed on 19 September. But this is still not enough. The new government in Khartoum must function as a genuine government of national unity. I am not certain that this is the case today.

I have called on the representatives of the former rebel movement, notably Salva Kiir, the first vice-president of Sudan, to continue along the path marked out by the late John Garang, who died on 30 July, a path leading to the construction of a new, united and democratic Sudan. The goal of the peace process cannot not be secession by the South. That would be a disaster for the entire region. To avoid that, the democratic Sudan desired by the Sudanese people must be created.

The stability of Sudan has been all the more uncertain since the Darfur crisis erupted in 2003. This is a major crisis. Crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed there. It is the responsibility of the new government in Khartoum to resolve the crisis. It is an illusion to believe that there is a military solution. The only solution is political. Peace must be negotiated in Abuja, in the framework set out by the African Union. I appeal to the new government of Khartoum to form a common position for Abuja without delay. I appeal to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement to talk to the rebels. I appeal to the rebel movements, who claim to defend the interests of the civilian population in Darfur, to come and negotiate in good faith in Abuja. Failing that, I fear that the war in Darfur will sweep away the Khartoum government of national unity, call into question the peace in the South that was obtained at such a high price, and set in train a regional crisis stretching from N'Djamena to Asmara, as President Deby of Chad told me in N'Djamena, on my way back from Sudan.

Sudan's stability is fundamental for the stability of the entire African continent. With Angola and, very probably, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan's return to normality would make it possible to create, around South Africa and Nigeria, the framework for a new, peaceful and prosperous Africa.

I am certain that Sudan has the capacity to be a motor, amongst others, for Africa. It is the largest country in Africa. It has vast potential with its agriculture, its water resources and its oil. But Sudan's greatest strength lies in its people. They are well trained and able. Sudan's engineers and lawyers are in demand in the Gulf states and its musicians and writers are an inspiration to the entire African sub-region.

Above all, Sudan has the capacity to set an example not just to Africa but to the Arab world. It is a country in which the Arab and African worlds merge. Its 572 different peoples have always defined themselves as being Sudanese. It is also a country where religions merge, where Animists, Moslems and Christians have always known how to cultivate tolerance. Finally, it is a country that has already known democracy.

Thus, Sudan, a country at the crossroads between the Arab and African worlds and between Islam and Christianity, can become a testing ground for coexistence and tolerance where democracy can be nurtured.

That is the reason why we, the international community, must remain engaged in Sudan. We must maintain our commitment and we must continue to demand results. The European Union is, of course, present on all fronts: political, economic and humanitarian. It has already mobilised EUROS 570 million and is supporting, in Darfur itself, the efforts of the African Union monitoring mission; this support includes European officers - police and military - who are present on the ground. The European Union is working hard to persuade the Darfur rebels to come to the negotiating table in Abuja. The United States is playing a fundamental role in Sudan, and we must continue to work together. They have invested in particular in finding a solution in the South. The United Nations are involved, naturally, and are currently deploying a significant monitoring force in the South. We need the good will of everyone and we need to mobilise the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Finally, and above all, we must support the African Union, which is doing a great deal of work on the ground and is seeking to secure a lasting settlement of the crisis in Darfur. That is why the cooperation under way in Darfur between the European Union and the African Union, which I regard as exemplary, is so important and why it sets a good precedent for our relations in the future in other African theatres. [End of article]
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Message to Sudan: Africa's future depends on you to make peace

There are millions of educated Sudanese, African and Arab women living in and near Africa, and around world, who are able and willing to take seats at the negotiating table of the Darfur peace talks in Abuja, and sit in positions of power in the Sudan, to represent the women and children of Sudan whose voices will never be heard.

How much longer can the world manage to help and feed Africa? All the Sudanese boys with their toys playing childish games in the Sudan need to have their heads knocked together by some smart African and Arabic women who really care about Mother Earth and its children. There is not a lot of time left to waste. As noted here recently, the head of the African Union said in 27 years time, the population of Africa will have increased to such proportions it will become unmanageable for the rest of the world.

The future of Africa is in the hands of today's boys and girls. Education is key. There are quick and easy solutions. All it would take right now is for a handful of men in Khartoum and western, eastern and southern Sudan, to arrange for someone to pick up the phone and call one of the world's leading African female peacemakers and say: "Here are 12 air tickets to Abuja, we need the help of you and eleven others like yourself, in representing the millions of displaced Sudanese women and children and the two million others who have perished through war whose voices will never be heard."

Even I would have no trouble in putting together a list of powerful and highly regarded African women who are connected to the best female peacebrokers in the world.

A cursory glance through www.1000peacewomen.org and its list of 1000 peacewomen connected to millions of women around the world who work day in day out to promote peace proves there is no shortage of females who could be called upon to help broker peace and unite Sudan to ensure that every boy and girl, from nursery age on up, receives an education, before it is too late to do anything.

Here are some examples of extraordinary African women:

Like the remarkable Gertrude Mongella, the highest ranking elected woman in Africa who many refer to as Mama Mongella or Mama Beijing. Please read Gertrude Mongella - The first president of the Pan-African Parliament and be sure to click into the links within the post that leads to a discussion hosted by SARPN and the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference. And read 27 April 2005 Sudan Watch post: PAP urges Sudanese to disarm Janjaweed - Gertrude Mongella, President of PAP.

Gertrude Ibengwa Mongella

Photo: Gertrude Ibengwa Mongella, an astute diplomat, at an official function at the US Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. At present, Mongella is a member of CCM's top decision-making organ, the National Executive Committee. She is also Tanzania's Goodwill Ambassador to the World Health Organisation, a member of the Council of The Future at Unesco and the President of NGO Advocacy in Africa.

She also serves as Special Advisor to the Economic Commission of Africa as well as a member of the AU's African Women's Committee for Peace and Development. Through an NGO she formed in 1996, Advocacy for Women in Africa (AWA), she is involved in the expansion of education in Ukerewe.

Wangari Maathai is the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize

Photo: Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai - the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize 2004 who is quoted as saying:

"When our resources become scarce, we fight over them. In managing our resources and in sustainable development, we plant the seeds of peace."

Winnie Byanyima

Photo: Winnie Byanyima who is working at the African Union.

These three women should be part of a group of 12 women at the negotiating table on the Darfur peace talks in Abuja - as soon as possible.

And, of course: Rebecca de Mabior, widow of Sudan SPLM leader Dr John Garang, who has just been named a minister and part of new govt of the South 24 Oct 2005.

Rebecca de Mabior

Photo: Rebecca de Mabior (Sudan Tribune)

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Photo: Liberian presidential candidate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wades through supporters at a campaign rally in the capital, Monrovia. She is a leader in the field of 22. (Photos By Chris Hondros Getty Images) - Liberia's 'Iron Lady' Goes for Gold 4 Oct 2005.
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Observers have all but lost hope that a peace deal can be brokered for Darfur by the UN deadline of end of the year

The sixth round of Darfur peace talks just ended in the Nigerian capital Abuja and have been abandoned until Nov 20 or 21.

Meanwhile, Darfur rebels are to meet to choose new leaders at a unity conference Oct 25-28 in SLA areas [now changed to Oct 28]

UN refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres said Oct 21 [LA Times] he sees "a very serious degeneration of the situation" in Darfur.

"People are dying and dying in large numbers," he said and issued a warning that the cease-fire in Darfur is unravelling, which could lead to a catastrophic increase in deaths in coming weeks, spreading instability in sub-Saharan Africa and resulting in many more refugees.

"The world has just weeks to help restore peace in Sudan's Darfur region or risk watching it slide back into civil war with repercussions for the whole region," he said.
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More of Africa's peace seekers

Africa's peace seekers:  Petronille Vaweka

Photo: Petronille Vaweka (center) talks with an Army chief. (Jiro OSE/Special to the CS Monitor)

Read about the incredible work of Jeanne Banyere, also known as Mama Jeanne, and the injuries caused by violent rape.

Mama Jeanne - who also looks after 62 orphans - is one of a handful of dedicated people from the Women's Protestant Federation that network remote parts of the Congo, providing counselling and hope.

They are often the only chance these women, ostracised by their communities, have of getting to Docs (Doctors on Call for Service) and receiving vital operations they need to rebuild their vaginas.

Sexual abuse by men continues in the Congo

Photo via Congo Watch: Sexual abuse by men continues and Women take brunt of human rights abuse.

For the record, please note report from Khartoum 18 Oct 2005: Sudan rejects laws on women rights which contradict Islam.
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Men and women are two wheels of a chariot

Final word here is a quote from Desmond Tutu:

"When we heard the revelations of unspeakable atrocities committed during the apartheid era we were appalled at how low we human beings can sink, that we had this horrendous capacity for evil, all of us.

Then we heard the moving stories of the victims of those and other atrocities relating how despite all they had suffered they were willing to forgive their tormentors, revealing a breathtaking magnanimity and generosity of spirit, then we realised that we have a wonderful capacity for good.

Yes people are fundamentally good. They, we, are made for love, generosity, sharing, compassion - for transcendence.

We are made to reach for the stars."

Desmond Tutu.
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UPDATE Oct 28:

UN: Women victims of sex abuse - Women an 'untapped resource'

Five years after a landmark United Nations resolution committed governments to protect women from the abuses of war, the security council condemned the continuing sexual exploitation and violence against women.

A presidential statement adopted at the end of a daylong council meeting on Thursday also expressed deep concern at the continuing lack of representation of women in peace negotiations and peace-building activities.

"The security council believes more must be done in order to achieve the greater participation and effective contribution of women at the negotiating table and in developing and implementing post-conflict strategies and programmes," said Romania's UN ambassador Mihnea Motoc.

Full report 28/10/2005 News 24.com (SA)

Security Council stresses urgency of full, effective implementation of 'landmark' resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. Yay!

[Message to UN: It's no good continuously TALKING about it -- Please DO SOMETHING about it -- NOW!!]

4 Comments:

Blogger Captain Marlow said...

Dear Ingrid,
On your blog there is a map showing the oil blocks of Sudan (all in the south); add to it the ethnic and religiuos abyss that divide north and south and tell me honestly if you think Sudan can remain united.
You also mention that the future of Africa is in today's boys and girls and I agree. But who will educate them? The main fault of this reasoning is that it fails to explain why a repressive government should educate or let others educate its ignorant victims instead of using all its power to keep them that way.
I am afraid what I said referring to Zimbabwe's economy applies to other countries and other scenarios as well:
"In 1879, Egypt's economy was in such a shambles that the British and French governments initiated a stewardship of its finances, quickly bringing them under control. Think about it."
We seem to be back to sqare one.
All the best,
Marlow

Tuesday, October 25, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Dear Marlow,

Good to hear from you, thank you.

I'd like to see the Mama Mongella's of this world educate the Government of Sudan as to why it is in Sudan's interest to educate or let others educate its ignorant victims instead of using all its power to keep them that way.

Which is why I have suggested a powerful team of at least 12 women to get the message across and insist that each child receives an education without delay. Education, in my view has to be provided as urgently as emergency aid.

If this does not work, the regime has to step down or be overthrown. They have no choice, it is our world too.

All the best,
Ingrid

Wednesday, October 26, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

P.S.

Sorry Marlow, I omitted to answer if I honestly think Sudan can remain united. Yes I do, because it seems to me it has no other choice otherwise it will be continuously at war fighting for resources - there is so little news about oil in the North (where most of those who support the Islmaic regime in Khartoum reside) one has to conclude quelling the rebellion is so fierce because most of the country's natural riches are in the South, Darfur and along Sudan-Chad border. If the South breaks off how is the North and the regime in Khartoum to survive? This could go on for decades. Note I have recently posted a link to a copy of the Abyei Boundary report.

Might a solution not be that the government of Sudan separates religion from state?

I'm working on a post for next month following this article::

World Bank worried about Chad plan for oil profits
http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/eng/news/breaking/?show=76460

And, so far, have received this from a professor of economics:

A paper written a few years ago shows just how problematic oil can be for developing countries. See http://www.nber.org/papers/w9804. The abstract is:

Some natural resources -- oil and minerals in particular -- exert a negative and nonlinear impact on growth via their deleterious impact on institutional quality. We show this result to be very robust. The Nigerian experience provides telling confirmation of this aspect of natural resources. Waste and corruption from oil rather than Dutch disease has been responsible for its poor long run economic performance. We propose a solution for addressing this resource curse which involves directly distributing the oil revenues to the public. Even with all the difficulties of corruption and inefficiency that will no doubt plague its actual implementation, our proposal will, at the least, be vastly superior to the status quo. At best, however, it could fundamentally improve the quality of public institutions and, as a result, transform economics and politics in Nigeria.

Nigeria is actually poorer today than it was before oil began to be drilled. The whole Middle East suffers from the same problems, and I suspect the governments of Texas and Alaska have milder versions of the same problems.

I hope to post on these issues some time.

Friday, October 28, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Marlow, note this article by The Media Line Staff on Sunday, October 30, 2005 [Also, I meant to say in my comments above that religion ought to be separate from state - a recent news report from Sudan says a shut down of schools, including private and Christian schools, for Ramadan holidays in Khartoum State, by a state minister decree - the first in 16 years - raises a lot of questions about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
http://www.sudantribune.com/article_impr.php3?id_article=12285]

SUDAN HEADED TOWARDS PARTITION?

Leader of the Sudanese opposition movement – the Popular National Congress – Hasan A-Turabi, has given the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat an interview, in which he expressed his concerns about the possibility that southern Sudan would soon be separated from the country.

The government of Sudan signed a peace agreement on January 9 with its main opposition in the south, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Since then, a new constitution has been drafted, and a new government and parliament have been established, including a vice president from SPLA, the movement which rules southern Sudan.

According to the agreement, after a period of six years, during which the south of Sudan will be given an autonomy status, the southern autonomy will hold a referendum to decide if it wants to part from Sudan and establish its own state.

"The agreement does not include any guarantees for the unity of Sudan, and things are heading towards Sudan's partition," said A-Turabi. He then added that in his opinion the south will not wait until the referendum, and that the partition will also spread to Darfur and to the eastern regions of Sudan.

Hasan A-Turabi was the main ideologue of the Islamic fundamentalist government that was set up after President Al-Bashir seized power in 1989. In 1999 Al-Bashir accused A-Turabi - then the speaker of parliament - of trying to seize power. A-Turabi was stripped of his role and formed the Popular National Congress and has since become the most prominent Islamist in opposition.

During the interview, A-Turabi also criticized Washington and other Western capitals of "inventing" Al-Qa'ida for their own propaganda purposes.

http://themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=11658

Sunday, October 30, 2005  

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