South Sudan Negotiated Independence: A Critique of African Union's Role

By Sulaiman, Abubakar O.; Agoha, Ifeanyi Chuckwu | European Journal of Sustainable Development, July 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

South Sudan Negotiated Independence: A Critique of African Union's Role


Sulaiman, Abubakar O., Agoha, Ifeanyi Chuckwu, European Journal of Sustainable Development


1 . Introduction

Multifarious factors accounted for the prolongation of the Sudanese civil war, chief among them are the ineffective and biased diplomatic interventions by intergovernmental bodies at the international, regional and sub-regional levels. One of the shortcomings of the defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU) was its deficient structural and institutional capacity to manage African conflicts, though no fault of the founding fathers because of the exigencies of the time, which was decolonization of the continent. The awareness of this structural and institutional defects inspired founding Member States of the African Union (AU) in 2002 to establish the Peace and Security Council (PSC) that will facilitate and fast-track the resolution of the protracted African conflicts; the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union entered into force on 26 December 2003, after being ratified by the required majority of Member States of the AU.

1.1. South Sudan State: A Product of Conflict Resolution

Africa remains one of the most important and virile laboratories for the production of knowledge in ethnicity and its management due to the seemingly intractable conflicts that ravage the continent. This is in view of the widely held, but partly misleading belief that most political conflicts in Africa are ethnic. To this end, Commentators and analysts have argued that the diversity, complexity and intractability of these conflicts have posed some of the greatest challenges to the theory and practice of conflict management and resolution in Africa. It is against this background that the efficacy of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union will be critically contextualized in the struggle for the South Sudan Negotiated Independence.

Though the South Sudan attained statehood through the process of conflict resolution, the process was fraught with various challenges. The greatest challenge faced by the South Sudan in its struggle for independence happened to be incumbent President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir, but for perceived possible US military attack he would have continued to refuse to sit and dialogue with the rebels. Based on the fact extracted from the extant literature we can posit that the change in the attitude of Omar al-Bashir paved the way for the resolution of the Sudanese war.

2. The Road to Independence

Young John (2007) in his work titled Sudan IGAD Peace Process: An Evaluation segments the Sudan Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace path into two. According to him, the first Sudan IGAD Peace Initiative was between September 1993 and May 2002; while the second was within May 2002 to January 2005. According to Young, the failure of various efforts laid the basis for the region to take up the gauntlet, but first a suitable mechanism had to be established, and what is significant here is that the impetus came from outside the region. He argues that the formation of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), the fore-runner to IGAD, was largely due to pressure from aid agencies and international donors, while its subsequent assumption of responsibilities in the fields of peace and security followed new thinking on the role of regionalism and regional cooperation in safeguarding the international order.

He went on to state that in the wake of the failed Nigerian efforts, IGADD launched a peace initiative at its Addis Ababa summit of 7 September 1993 and a Peace Committee made up of the heads of state of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, and Kenya was established with President Daniel Arap Moi serving as chairman. The mediation process was handled by a Standing Committee made up of the foreign ministers from the same countries and chaired by Kenya. In addition, the Friends of IGADD was formed by leading Western countries and it promised support for IGADD's peace keeping role.

It was against this background that Sudan's President Omar Bashir proposed that IGADD take up the peace process. …

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