By: Dr. Redie Bereketeab, Nordic Africa Institute
The conference on the ongoing Civil War in South Sudan and Its Regional Consequences took place in Khartoum, Sudan, 2-3 June 2015. The conference was convened by Dr. Redie Bereketeab, within the frame of the research project, Conflict and State Building in the Horn of Africa in cooperation with the Centre for Peace and Development Studies (CPDS), University of Bahri. Following a welcome note by the Director of the CPDS, Dr. Faiz Omar Mohammad Jamie, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Bahri, gave opening remarks. Following the Director of the Nordic Africa Institute, Mss., Iina Soiri’s address, Dr. Bereketeab provided a brief background to the theme of the conference. The first session was closed,after featuring a keynote speech by Prof. Hassan Makki, Ex-President of International University of Africa. The four sessions that followed saw presentations by Prof. Sallie Simba and Dr. KasaijaApuuli from Makerere University; Dr. Jacob Dut Chol from University of Juba, Mr. Zacharia Diing Akol from Sud Institute, South Sudan; Dr. Faiz Omar Mohammad Jamie, Dr. Asma M. Adam, Dr. Guma Kunda Komey, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Adam, Dr. M. I. Shigaila & H. O. Hawi, Dr. Abdo Mukhtar Musa, University of Bahri; Prof. Salah Eldoma, Omdurman Islamic University; Dr. Hassan Elsauori, Alneelain University.About hundred fifty people that included scholars, university students, civil society, activists and policymakers from Sudan and South Sudan and diplomats attended the conference.
Highlights of the Conference:
The issues discussed revolved around the ongoing civil war in South Sudan and its regional consequences. The ongoing civil war in South Sudan has interrelated causal factors that are by nature domestic, regional and international. In this regard the conference discussed in depth domestic factors that included challenges of transformation from a national liberation movement to a post-liberation civic governance system of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). This includes transforming the political system that involve inclusivity of non-liberators and non-SPLM, transformation of the militia-based liberation army to professional national army. Other domestic challenges of post-liberation state building and nation building were also discussed in depth. In terms of state building, it was highlighted that the ongoing civil war is a clear manifestation of the ailing construction of the emerging state in South Sudan. It needs to involve the construction of national representative institutions where citizens could identify themselves with and are represented in. In terms of nation building also developing cognitive imperatives where there is a feeling of commonality, a well-elaborated understanding of national identity and nationhood embodied in the will to live together reigning supreme is of great imperative. With regard to regional relations, the conference discussed in depth South Sudan’s relations with individual states, inter-state relations and role of the regional organization, IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development). Relations between Sudan and South Sudan as well as relations between Uganda and Sudan were rigorously interrogated and analysed. The unresolved post-secession issues between Sudan and South Sudan as well the existence of rebel groups on their common borders opposing respective governments still dictate relations between the two countries. The two governments frequently accuse each other of supporting rebel groups. The Uganda-Sudan infected relation has a highly negative influence on the ongoing civil war in South Sudan. Uganda sent troops to save the government of Salva Kiir. Uganda also perceives the presence of its troops in South Sudan as a guarantee of its economic interest and a way of containing Sudan. Sudan, on its side perceive the presence of Ugandan troops in South Sudan as great security threat. Indeed, it was stressed that Uganda and Sudan need to sort out their dispute in order to help settle the conflict in South Sudan. Kenya and Ethiopia are also involved in the Sudan due to their great economic interests. IGAD’s peace mediation in South Sudan has not been so far effective because of diverging and conflicting interest of member states. With regard to international dimension, the conference also discussed the role of international community in conflict resolution and peace building. It was highlighted that the international community need to adopt holistic, balanced, regional approaches and methodologies of dealing with conflicts. Finally, the conference thoroughly examined and analysed the possibility the conflict involving into regional one, unless it is settled as soon as possible. Particularly, tensions between Sudan and Uganda and the presence of armed rebels along the Sudan-South Sudan common borders are seen as great risk factors for regional conflict.
Research and Policy Challenges Underlined
- The root causes of the ongoing civil war in South Sudan
- The challenges of transition from political liberation culture to civic post-liberation culture in South Sudan
- The post-liberation state building and nation building process • The consequence of the South Sudan civil war to the region
- The danger of the civil war developing into regional dimension
- The Sudan-South Sudan relation and its consequence to the ongoing civil war in South Sudan
- The Sudan-Uganda relation and it’s to the ongoing civil war in South Sudan
- The economic interests of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda and the role it plays in the mediation of the conflict
- The efficiency of IGAD mediation in the South Sudan conflict
- The role of international community in conflict resolution and peace buildingin South Sudan and the region in the whole
- The need of dynamic, regional, holistic and balanced approaches and methodologies of conflict resolution and peace building