Guerrilla Government: Political Changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s

Guerrilla Government: Political Changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s

Guerrilla Government: Political Changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s

Guerrilla Government: Political Changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s

Synopsis

The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army's National Convention and Political Changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s
The last few years have brought prospects for peace in the Southern Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army has represented the southerners at the negotiation table. "Guerrilla Government" provides the historical background to this development. It analyzes the main events which brought the SPLM/A to its current supremacy and follows the process of internal reform which has produced a nascent state structure amidst a devastating civil war and continuous humanitarian crisis.

Excerpt

Guerrilla Government is an analysis of continuity and change in Southern Sudanese politics in the period 1990–2000. One event — the 1994 National Convention of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) — is the focal point of the study. The Convention was, and to some extent still is, regarded by most members of the SPLM/A as one the Movement's greatest achievements. The National Convention gathered 516 delegates, including representatives of the SPLM/A and civilians representing local constituencies. At the Convention, the birth of the [New Sudan] was announced on behalf of the people of the Southern Sudan, including Southern Kordofan and the Southern Blue Nile. The assembly approved a long list of resolutions, which entailed a radical restructuring of the Movement. It was believed that it would bring radical changes to the SPLM/A and to the Southern Sudanese population as a whole. The National Convention thus became a symbol of the Movement's improvement and reform. The description and discussion of its background, the preparations, the Convention itself and its aftermath provide an analytical frame within which the political history of the Southern Sudan can be presented.

The SPLM/A has been the main rebel organisation in the Southern Sudan since the second civil war in the Sudan (1983–1994), although it suffered a serious setback when, in 1991, three senior commanders tried to wrest control from its leader, John Garang. The SPLM/A's influence over political development in the South has at the national level been matched only by the Government in Khartoum and its armed forces, and at the local level only by chiefs, who derive their power from the old system of [indirect] rule established by the British during the colonial period. An understanding of changes and processes within the SPLM/A is therefore essential for an analysis of the Sudan's contemporary history, and current events, including the continuing peace negotiations, and planning for a post-war Southern Sudan.

This study begins with the attempted coup in 1991 and covers the period leading up to the announcement of the National Convention. The preparations

Despite slight variation in the name of the rebel organisation we will refer to it as 'SPLM/A'
the 'Movement' throughout the book, see pp. 21–22.

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