Failure to plan, failure to govern amid an on-going war of visions
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who served as lead mediator for the African Union trying to resolve the post southern referendum issues, repeatedly said that in the event of a vote for secession, his objective was to see the emergence of
“Two viable states”.
To date that objective has not been realized. In spring 2012 when this book was going to press none of the twelve post-secession issues listed in the Referendum Law had been resolved. Not only has the international peacemakers badly failed in Sudan, but so had their chosen model of liberal peace making and building.
John Young, the Fate of Sudan[i]
To add to Young’s list of failures, not only have the international peacemakers failed, but so did the peace parties, the National Congress Party ( NCP) and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement/Army ( SPLM/A) and their many allies in government between 2005 – 2012.
The government's many allies have included amongst others; the Sudanese Liberation Movement ( Minawi’s Faction), the Democratic Unionist Party (el-Sheriff el- Hindi’s Branch), The Umma (Reform and Renewal), the Umma (The Collective Leadership) , the Beja Congress, the Democratic Unionist Party ( The Origin) and many others who have joined the ranks of the government, later shifted their allegiances to the opposition or those who were part of the government and have swiftly joined the ranks of the opposition- without bringing much change to either and the system of governance in the Sudan.
Appropriately, many of the small- ineffective political parties are commonly named - small change or petty cash parties. (Ahzab AL-Fakah)
It came as no surprise, that according to the Fund for Peace 2013 report on the most failed States (FSI) the Sudan scored the status of the third most failed State in the Word- neither did it come to any surprise that South Sudan was a close fourth most failed State.
Today over fifteen political parties, movements and groups are among the ranks of the current -government of Sudan;
Yet nothing has changed, nothing has changed with regards to the Sudan's economic performance, with regards to Human rights records; the rate of low intensity conflicts which have engulfed the country- if anything -the State is deteriorating more rapidly than ever; with a 48% inflation rate in August 2013 and the worst human rights record ever according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Sudan couldn't get much worse.
So what is the issue???
At the heart of the matter is - a serious lack awareness of the basic understanding of the role of the modern State, a serious lack of awareness of the basic understanding of the role of a political institution, a lack of awareness of basic Human Rights laws and the role of the Human Rights instruments, covenants, treaties in a the modern State- and how the laws of international human rights govern modern States through their Constitutions.
A serious lack of awareness of strategic planning methods, lack of awareness of basic planning methods; a serious lack of awareness of policy formation methods and governmental planning and administration systems.
At the institutional level, there is a an acute shortage of problem mapping skills, strategic planning skills, business administration skills, project planning and implementation skills; for example the Ministry of Education's 5 year plan of 2004, included 2 chapters of the EXCEL Windows program guidebook; simply transliterated into the Arabic, the rest of the plan was loose and incomprehensible.
Most governmental organizations are either micromanaged and therefore under direct influence of the Founder Effect syndrome or non-functional. Day to day service providers, who provide basic services to paying citizens, demand exceptionally large sums of money and with that- the service provided is slow, frustrating and cumbersome. A request for a humble copy of one of the archived land deeds could take up a whole day, a request of a copy of a friend's University of Khartoum certificate took three months, of going back and forth to many, often separate organizations - to get.
The government as a whole is non-functional; in that it officially requires over 40% of its national budget to fund instruments of peoples' oppression, such as the National Intelligence and Security Services; which has extensive webs for spying and peoples behavior monitoring; a police force that repeatedly applies excessive force and brutality against civilians and an army whose main role is to oppress by all means; all forms of rebellion against the National Congress Party led government.
It is not a modern democratic State, but a quasi-monarchy ruled by orders from Field Marshall Omar Hassan el Bashir; the day to day business of the State - is run via the presidential court similar to the old style monarchs and the chance of amnesty or penalty lies in the hands of the all ruling monarch.
By flying in V formation, a flock of geese adds at least 70% greater flying range than each bird flying on its own; the formation of good political and economic institutions are at the heart of the modern State.
The political parties/ political institutions in the Sudan other than the Umma National Party (UNP) under the leadership of Imam al- Saddig Elmahdi are not real political organizations; they are organizations of persons who hold the same ideologies, outlook and vision and make up a quasi-organizations of persons, with non- defined roles , albeit with titles such as political party leader, political party spokesperson and political party secretary general - but whose roles include all and everything - their job descriptions are all one and the same and whilst all hold very baroque manifestos, which each claim hold the answers to all of Sudan's current challenges, many of the them, do not hold any SMART policies that address these challenges in a tried and tested manner.
The National Congress Party's (NCP) Statutes or Founding documents state that the rule of the State is to Allah, and that they will work to spread religion according to Islamic Sharia.
Clause 2[ii]. (A) of the National Congress Party's Founding document.
How is that the role of a political party? Why is that the role of a political party? What benefit will it bring to already pious nation? Why? How? When? Who and Where? All these questions which form the base of any presented set of solutions, remain unanswered and continue to remain unanswered throughout the party's document which forms the foundation of the ruling political party's work.
The party states that rule is to Allah, whilst the entity seated on the presidential seat is the president and the system which was used to put him there was, an armed coupe, later it was the 2010 elections. All of which seem to lack any evidence of divine intervention.
The political party's founding documents go on to state, that they will work to purify the society, from corruption, crime, delinquency and wine and will work on elevating peoples manners and public behavior; incorporating all that is good, and forbidding all that is evil, in cooperation with the community for righteousness and in a brotherhood bond of Allah, humanity and citizenship.
Clause 2(H). of the National Congress Party's Founding document.
The indicator for righteousness is Islamic Sharia, which cannot be applied to a multi-cultural, multi-religious society. The actual documents of Islamic Sharia, Actual school of Sharia applied as reference remains ambiguous.
The SPLM/A movement on the other hand, seeks establish New Sudan, guided by principles of Marxism and Socialism values and State building based on the experiences of North and Latin America.
Whilst it said in clause IV( 17)[iii] that it will seek to incorporate constitutional clauses and political programs that reflect the reality of the diverse modern and historic Sudan- and that it will work towards Sudan's unity, it signed up to devolution of South Sudan from Sudan and is doing a good job in inciting Nuer dissent, Murle dissent and in general creating a non-functional State .
The Manifesto is long, the clauses contradictory to one another- I could go on; what are the principles of Marxism and Socialism State building of North and South America used as references for such policies? This part remains also remains ambiguous -
There is no mention of how they aim to achieve these principles? When? Why? How? And what needs assessment was carried out; to come up with the problem they seek to address in the first place.
The New Dawn Charter, which was championed by the Sudan's Revolutionary Forces (SRF) and sought to gain wider political party opposition approval - suffered from similar structural challenges, the charter which proposed dividing the Sudan into 9 States, which will be placed under their and their partners command, did not put forth any SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time-bound) solutions to address the issues facing Sudan such as Conflict, Poverty and Lack of Basic Infrastructure and Basic Services.
And if it was presented as a Charter for Peace, if the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2005, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) 2006, the East Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) 2006 did not bring peace to Sudan, why would New Dawn Charter be any different?
In terms of peace in Sudan, many blame the National Congress Party for the current ongoing conflicts and the main obstacle to peace, if the National Congress Party is to be blamed as being the main obstacle to peace in Sudan, which it is- by lacking the basic principles of policy making and government administration skills- how could the National Congress Party take the blame for the current conflicts in South Sudan; South Sudan which was under direct SPLM rules since 2005.
According to Human Rights Watch[iv], South Sudan’s Pibor County has witnessed over 24 incidents of unlawful killings of almost 100 members of the Murle ethnic group between December 2012 and July 2013, constituting serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. All of which happened in the absence of the detested National Congress Party.
Planning skills are not natural to Sudanese, in Germany housewives plan their 3 hours a day housework tasks meticulously, in Europe weekly shopping lists are the norm; in the climatically stable; 12 months a year summers of the Sudan; food crops can grow all year round, the water supplies flood but never freeze- therefore planning was never an issue, now- 63% of the country's agricultural lands have been eroded by desertification, the climate has become unstable; and hostile we need to learn to plan or die!
In terms of dying, the Sudan is striding ahead - the death rates couldn't be any higher; the prevalence of communicable diseases at their highest levels ever ; infant, child and mother mortalities are extremely high; generations of families are being wiped out, either by disease or war or famine or lack of government planning.
Whilst a meticulous system of planning is needed, the political institutions are still buried in a cloud of Rhetoric, chanting- justice, equality, democracy, hope, and change- but if one looks beyond the banners and rhetoric; there are no real plans, no policies - non-political politics- Vision without policy - not specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound policies by any means.
And there is a great deal of Rhetoric ….over 80 similar yet different manifestos
And because it is vision and ideology, the political parties and movements are willing to condemn one another's ideologies, color and identity just to win.
The Umma National Party on the other hand is different- they attempts to address the economic challenges facing the country by presenting real measurable and interdependent, interrelated and indivisible policies.
An example of what the Umma National Party (UNP) has put forth to address the economic crisis facing the country, can be found the party's interim constitution of 2009[v]; which states:
The Umma says : Guided by the principles stated in the international covenants, instruments, treaties of human rights; the Umma National Party seeks to:
Clause 3(D) of the Umma National Party Interim Constitution of 2009
Achieve sustainable economic and social and to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth, justice and social welfare.
Clause 4 (D) of the Umma National Party Interim Constitution of 2009
The UNP goes on to outline the methods it will use in a methods section, Clause 5 (A-G)
The above goal is interconnected with: clauses (3B) (3D) (3E) (3I) (3K) and (3L), as well clauses (4B) (4D) and (4F) and it is planning to implement that via methods: clauses (5A) (5B), (5C), (5D), (5E), (5F) and (5G). in the interim constitution of the party.
The basic treaties of Human rights are the three interconnected documents - the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) the Covenant of Political and Social Rights (1966) and the Covenant of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights; which state that all Human Rights are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, the Covenant of Social and Economic and Cultural Rights states that maximum amount of State funds should be directed towards providing social services such as education, adequate housing and jobs.
To achieve these goals, the party goes on to present the political party structure and roles which will work together to achieve these goals.
Whichever polices the party has presented to tackle the economic issue were based on its constitution, which overall aims to build a liberal, rights based modern state. Every initiative presented is an interconnected, interdependent and interrelated set of objectives with one aim the establishment of a viable modern State.
Many say that the Umma National Party is good dancer but dancing outside the political circle, or dancing to a different tune- in many ways that is true.
The organization is not without challenges, but the current policies they carry are the result of nation- wide series of sectoral workshops which were carried out in 2002-2003, the National Executive Committee members are all elected, the National Political Office which forms the Legislation Committee is also elected; the party's president subjects all legislative decisions to the national elected political office; the whole operation is decentralized in that each State has a State Executive Committee, a State Political Office and a State General Secretariat as well a State branch of the political party.
In Sudan the institutions have vision, to which they appoint officers – but with - non- specific, non-measurable, non- attainable, non- relevant and non-time-bound policies; there isn't much they can offer and since it is not a contest of policies it becomes a war of Visions.
One political party can not create a viable State; a viable State demands multi-party politics.
Without real political institutions, real human rights based constitution, a reformed police and army service and governmental institutions. Sudan will fragment into old style Sheikdoms, where kinship rules and the State will disappear.
[i] John Young: The Fate of Sudan, The Origins and Consequences of a Flawed Peace Process published by Zed Books
[ii] The Founding Documents for the National Congress Party, Sudan http://www.ncp.sd/global.php?linkid=2
[iii] The Manifesto of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement http://splmnsudan.net/en/the-manifesto-of-the-sudan-peoples-liberation-m...
[iv] South Sudan: Army Unlawfully Killed Civilians http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/southsudan0913_ForUpload_...
[v] Interim Umma National Party Constitution, 2009 http://www.umma.org/umma/ar/page.php?page_id=108