7th December 2023
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Remembering CPA Day: John Garang’s full speech

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Thursday, January 9, 2020

Dr John Garang

Today marks exactly 15 years since the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the governing National Congress Party ended 21 years of brutal civil war in Sudan.

Peace negotiations -mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development- which began in the early 2000s culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

It was the apogee of sustained efforts by IGAD as well as “carrot and sticks” approach deployed most significantly by the United States, Norway, United Kingdom, and Italy.

The CPA is built on and includes a collection of documents negotiated and signed over a period of two years.

The SPLM under John Garang negotiated six protocols that formed the basis of the CPA. Each protocol was assigned to a senior leader within the movement, SPLM/A.

1. Security Arrangement Protocol signed by Pagan Amum in Naivasha, Kenya, on 25 September 2003, stipulated the process of maintaining two armies, Sudan People’s Liberation Army and Sudan Armed Forces, but both have equal claim to being part of Sudan’s National Armed Forces. It also provided for the establishment of joint units and security sector reforms.

2. Wealth Sharing Protocol signed by Nhial Deng Nhial in Naivasha, Kenya, on 7 January 2004 provided for arrangements whereby, among other things, profits from oil extracted in southern Sudan were split 50-50 between the national and southern Sudan levels of government.

3. Abyei Area Protocol signed by Deng Alor in Naivasha, Kenya, on 26 May 2004 enabled the establishment of a special administrative status for the disputed Abyei area and a referendum to be conducted simultaneously with that of Southern Sudan in 2011.

4. Two Areas Protocol on the resolution of conflict in southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile States was signed by Abdelaziz Adam Al-Hilu in Naivasha, Kenya, on 26 May 2004 to specifically address the need for popular consultation processes in the northern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the populations of which aligned largely with the SPLA during the civil war.

5. Power Sharing Protocol signed by Malik Agar Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 26 May 2004 ensured the establishment of a secular, semi-autonomous Southern Sudan with its own executive, legislative and judicial institutions. It also agreed on the decentralized system of governance.

6. Machakos Protocol signed by Salva Kiir on 20 July 2002, set forth the principles of governance, the transitional process and the structures of government as well as on the right to self-determination for the people of South Sudan, and on state and religion.

The 250-page agreement created an extensive system of relations between the north and the south. Experts described it as a document of tremendous intricacy, a stark reminder that Sudan was torn by multiple intersecting conflicts and not just by a division between the Arab and Islamic north and the African and Christian or animist south, as is often portrayed.

A six-year Interim Period in which the people of southern Sudan were given the right to vote in a self-determination referendum to decide whether to remain united with Sudan or to secede begun in January 2005 and ended in January 2011.

South Sudan declared independence, following a CPA-provided referendum on 9 January 2011 that voted overwhelmingly in favour of secession.

During the grand event attended by Sudanese and world leaders on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. John Garang De Mabior delivered an electrifying speech that sought to explain the genesis of the “problem of the Sudan” dating back 5,000 years and his aspiration [as envisioned in the CPA] for a “New Sudan.”

In commemoration of this momentous day, below is the full text of the speech:

File: Dr. John Garang, Kenya’s Former President Mwai Kibaki with Sudan’s former vice-president Ali Osman Taha (left) showing the documents they signed on June 5, 2004.

Your Excellency President Mwai Kibaki, Your Excellency former President Daniel Arap Moi, Your Excellencies heads of state and government, Your excellencies ambassadors and representatives of the international organizations, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, compatriots, fellow countrymen and women, allow me at the outset to convey to you my best wishes for the new year.

The year 2005 will mark the year of peace not only for the whole of Sudan but equally throughout our sub-region and Africa as a whole.

On this joyous day and occasion I greet and salute the people of Sudan from Nimule in the far south to Halfa in the far north, and from Geneinah in the far west to Hamashkoreb and Port Sudan in the east. I greet and salute all the marginalized rural people in Sudan who have suffered in dignified silence for so long. I greet and salute all the farmers, workers and professionals who are the creators of wealth but who have no wealth. And who have seen their living conditions deteriorate over the years.

I greet you on the occasion of this peace, which we have just signed, all the Sudanese women everywhere. Women in Sudan, as everywhere in the world, are marginalized of the marginalized, whose suffering goes beyond description. The Sudanese rural woman, for example, gets up at five o’clock in the morning to walk five kilometres just to get five gallons of water after five hours’ walk, spends another five hours working on the family farm and five more hours making the family meal and then she goes to sleep.

I greet and salute all our students on this occasion of the peace agreement, all our youths who have borne the brunt of the 21 years of this war, and to whom the future belongs, and urge them to invest in their future and that of the nation in the post-conflict period.

Compatriots, fellow countrymen and women, congratulations – Mabruk all mabruk alaykum. Your movement, the SPLM-SPLA, and the National Congress Party government have delivered to you a comprehensive peace agreement. A just and honourable peace which we have signed today and which you have all witnessed. This is the best Christmas and New Year’s gift for the Sudanese people, to our region, and to Africa for 2005.

With this peace agreement, we have ended the longest war in Africa – 39 years of two wars since August 1955 out of 50 years of our independence. And if we add the 11 years of Anyanya II, then Sudan had been at war within itself for 49 years, which is the whole of its independence period.

With this peace agreement, the SPLM and the National Congress Party government have brought half a century of war to a dignified end – congratulations.

With this peace agreement, there will be no more bombs falling from the sky on innocent children and women. Instead of the cries of children and the wailing of women and the pain of the last 21 years of war, peace will bless us once more with hearing the happy giggling of children and the enchanting ululation of women who are excited in happiness for one reason or another.

At the political level, this agreement affirms the right of self-determination for the people of southern Sudan and the right of popular consultation for the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile so that the unity of Sudan becomes based on the free will of the people instead of on wars and the forced and false unity of the last 49 years.

This peace agreement will change Sudan forever. Sudan cannot and will never be the same again as this peace agreement will engulf the country in democratic and fundamental transformations, instead of being engulfed in wars as it has always been for the last 184 years – since 1821 when our country was first invaded by outside powers and exposed to the ravages of the slave trade and predatory commerce of all sorts, and since before independence from 1955 in civil wars.

This peace agreement coincides with Sudan’s 49th independence celebrations. And I agree with what President Bashir said on 31 December [2004] in Naivasha, when we signed the last two documents of the comprehensive peace agreement – that Sudan’s independence on 1 January 1956 was not completed because of [word indistinct] south. The war we are ending today first broke out in Torit on 18 August 1955. Four months before independence. And so the south, like other marginalized parts of Sudan was really not part of that independence. With this peace agreement, we begin the process of achieving real independence by all Sudanese people and for all the Sudanese people.

The signing of this comprehensive peace agreement thus marks the end of what I will correctly call the first republic of the whole Sudan that has lasted 49 years from 1 January 1956 to 31 December 2004, when we signed the last two agreements on a comprehensive cease-fire and implementation modalities. And at a personal note, exactly 42 years to the date when I first left Sudan for the bush on 31 December 1962 to join the first war. I hope I will not go to the bush again.

This peace agreement, therefore, signals the beginning of Sudan’s second republic of the new Sudan. From here on Sudan for the first time will be a country voluntarily united in justice, honour and dignity for all its citizens regardless of their race, regardless of their religion, regardless of their gender or else if the country fails to rise to this challenge of moving away from the old Sudan to the new Sudan of free and equal citizens, then the union shall be dissolved amicably and peacefully through the right of self-determination at the end the six years of the interim period.

I call on the Sudanese people to join this peace agreement, to join the SPLM and the National Congress Party in the peace process because this peace agreement belongs to them. It does not belong to John Garang or the SPLM leadership, it does not belong to [Vice-President] Ali Uthman Taha or President Al-Bashir or to the National Congress Party. This agreement belongs to all of Sudan, to its neighbours, to Africa, to the Arab world and indeed to the rest of the world. That is why you see this big attendance today because this peace belongs to all of them.

Although the comprehensive peace agreement was negotiated by two parties as a matter of necessity and practicality in order to end the war in the first place, and now that the war is ended, I call on all the Sudanese people and their political forces to build consensus around this comprehensive peace agreement, and use it to end war in other parts of Sudan and to prelaunch the Sudan to the promised land of the new Sudan of progress and equality, of opportunity for all Sudanese citizens without distinction.

Finally and last but not least, it has been a long journey of more than 5,000 years to reach Naivasha and Nyayo Stadium today.

As for contemporary Sudan, we have more than 500 different ethnic groups speaking more than 130 different languages. We have two major religions in the country – Islam and Christianity, and traditional African religions. Our contention in the SPLM/SPLA is that Sudan belongs equally to all the peoples that now inhabit the country and its history, its diversity and richness is the common heritage of all Sudanese. The comprehensive peace agreement that we have signed today is based on these historical and contemporary objective realities of Sudan. And by implementing the provisions of the comprehensive peace agreement that we signed today, we (?evolve) an all-inclusive form of governance that ensures that all Sudanese are equal stakeholders irrespective of where they come from and this is what will keep our country together.

Furthermore, by adapting and applying the form of governance and wealth-sharing arrangements stipulated in the comprehensive peace agreement to other parts of the country with similar afflictions as the south such as Darfur, eastern Sudan and other parts of the country, we can once again become a great nation that is voluntarily united in diversity rather than divided by diversity and forcibly kept under a coerced and fake unity.

This is the context and the value of the comprehensive peace agreement we have signed today. It provides the Sudan with a real and perhaps the last opportunity to make a real paradigm shift from the old Sudan of exclusivity to the new Sudan of inclusivity achieved not through force but through the exercise of the right of self-determination.

Viewed this way the right of self-determination, which is one of the cornerstones of the comprehensive peace agreement, is a blessing rather than a curse as much northern Sudanese fear. I want to assure you that we will all work together with the National Congress Party and other political forces in Sudan so that we develop a new paradigm so that we keep our country together.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, bear with me. I am almost finished. The transformation which shall be engendered by this agreement, which I have alluded to shall be reflected first and foremost in democratic (?mutation) and to which the SPLM is fully committed. Surely by democratic, we do not mean a return to the sham procedural democracy of the past, which was a camouflage for the perpetuation of vested interest. In that sham democracy, civil rights were subject to the whims of rulers. The majority of Sudanese regions remained peripheral to the central power and was treated as an expendable quantum only to be manipulated through political trickery and double-dealing.

The transformation envisaged in the comprehensive peace agreement puts an end to all that since it represents a political and socio-economic paradigm shift which entails the recognition of political diversity by guaranteeing full freedom for political pluralism. The entrenchment of human rights and peoples’ rights in the constitution, the upholding of the independence of the judiciary, including the creation of an inviolable constitutional court and commitment to the rule of law by the government and the governed, and the establishment of a truly independent and competent civil service at all levels of government. It also conceptualizes and seeks to realize a recreation of the legislature in a manner that shall ensure rigorous checks and balances and guarantees powers to the government of southern Sudan and to the powers of the state which can neither be withdrawn nor impaired by other centres of power.

Eventually, the comprehensive peace agreement ordains that within a maximum of three to four years governance at all levels shall be mandated by the supreme will of the people through internationally monitored free and fair elections.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, the long war to which we have put an end to today impoverish our citizens and reduced our country with tremendous resources to destitution. Without claiming that the new economic paradigm shift, which I have alluded to, is the ultimate panacea for curing the nation’s ills, it provides at least a vision and modalities to address the problems besetting the nation in the here and now – while I leave the world hereafter to those who claim to have divine qualifications.

In southern Sudan and other war-affected areas, as well as in the slums of our major cities, the baseline from which we shall start development is shocking and I will not bore here with the statistics of the status of these parameters such as prevalence of child malnutrition, primary education, mortality rates among children, rate of maternal mortality, rate of births attended skilled health staff, access to improved water sources. These statistics in southern Sudan, in particular, and other war-affected areas are among the worst in the world. To combat this pervasive and humiliating poverty and political disenfranchisement, a general policy framework has chartered out and published in a booklet entitled SPLM Strategic Framework for War to Peace Transition.

In summary, the SPLM shall articulate and implement a social, political and economic development strategy and programmes that include the following highlights:

First, the SPLM shall adopt an economic development paradigm that emphasizes growth through rural development and transformation of traditional agriculture that is integrated with agro-industries. We must transform the present subsistence traditional agriculture in southern Sudan and other areas through technological innovations, making agriculture the engine of growth. And agriculture as the engine of growth will literally be fuelled by oil – the building of dykes for flood control and canals and underground water development for irrigation will be priorities to guaranteeing crop production.

Secondly, the SPLM will change the urban-based and centre of focus development paradigm in favour of rural and decentralized development. The SPLM vision, policy and slogan shall be to take the towns to people in the countryside rather than people to towns, where they end up in slums as happened in many countries with the consequent deterioration in their quality of life. Rural small town planning and rural electrification will, therefore, be priorities.

Thirdly the SPLM shall emphasize and develop new ways of delivery of social services. As we move to the new era of peace, the people of Sudan, particularly the war-affected communities, face formidable social and economic problems and also tremendous opportunities. The major problems there require immediate attention to fall in the areas of health, education and water. We must find new ways to rapidly and efficiently deliver these services. For example, constructing windmills all over rural Sudan to provide clean drinking water and build micro-dams for generating small scale hydro-electric power for rural towns as well as the use of solar, wind and biogas energy sources.

Fourthly, the SPLM shall exert all efforts to build physical infrastructure – roads, rail and river transport and telecommunications. There has never been any tarmac road in the new Sudan since creation, since the days of Adam and Eve, and this is an area the size of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi put together. The SPLM’s vision for transport infrastructure is at three levels – to develop regional linkages within southern Sudan and with the neighbours and with northern Sudan and to involve the state and local communities in this infrastructure building.

Fifthly and finally, in terms of social and cultural parameters, the SPLM shall adopt the strategies and programmes that shall restore and achieve dignity of people of the Sudan through social and cultural empowerment. Programmes will include information and media, radio, TV, print, promotion of new Sudan art, songs, dances, theatre of new Sudan, sports, development of local languages and cultures by the various communities of the Sudan, archives of the struggle and modern history of Sudan, archaeology, antiquities and ancient history of Sudan, Africa and the Middle East so that we can find our rightful place in the world.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, to conclude, the comprehensive peace agreement and safeguards, full compliance with the requirements of the agreement, the SPLM will work in partnership with the National Congress Party. The objectives of this partnership is to ensure a sincere implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement in both letter and spirit and to provide, within the parameters of this agreement, permanent solutions to the problems inherent in Sudan’s cultural, social and political diversity.

Failure to appreciate the wealth in diversity was another cause of the national crisis. For diversity, viewed positively is a mutually [word indistinct] phenomenon and ultimately a source of national cohesion and strength. Viewed otherwise, that is as a source of dissimilarity or distinction, it shall lead inevitably to the ultimate disintegration of the country as threatens today and which at all costs we must avoid.

Furthermore, the partnership does not mean the abandonment of political allies by any of the two parties. However, this partnership, once safeguarded in the new political dispensation, shall in effect nurture the democratic transformation and political multiplicity, which by their very nature may lead to diverse alliances. But so long as those alliances are based on the commitment to the letter and spirit of the peace agreements that will put an end to the longest war in Africa, alliances become assets not liabilities. It is our submission that political struggle in the Sudan shall henceforth translate into competing visions of peace, progress and development and never into the use of force or the threat of the use of force.

The SPLM, ladies and gentlemen, will ensure that the new political dispensation is wide enough to accommodate all legitimate political and social forces in the country. It is, therefore, our hope to achieve popular consensus on those agreements. As the movement that has been fighting against the marginalization of others, we shall not tolerate the exclusion of anybody from this process. The parties to the comprehensive peace agreement share this conviction and we have included in the agreement inclusiveness. In this regard, the SPLM will play its role at the national level to work with the National Congress Party and other political forces to ensure full inclusiveness.

While the SPLM and the National Congress Party shall be major partners in the initial interim government unity, our understanding of partnership is well-rooted in inclusiveness, which means to bring on board all political forces in the Sudan, chief among them the political parties within the National Congress Party umbrella and the political parties within the National Democratic Alliance, which we call upon to complete negotiations with the government of Sudan based on the Jeddah agreement that are holding negotiations in Cairo and so that they get their share in the government of national unity and participate and participate fully in all the national commissions stipulated in the comprehensive peace agreement, especially the national constitution review commission.

Finally, on issues that concern southern Sudanese, I want to say a little on south-south dialogue. On building national consensus, the SPLM will also spearhead the south-south dialogue. This dialogue, above all, is to heal wounds and restore fraternity and mutual respect so as to create a healthier political environment that is accommodative all southern Sudanese political forces, both at the level of southern Sudan and at the national level. But south-south dialogue is not only about power. It is about all and (?enviable) democratic exercise based on mature and selfless political discourse among southern Sudanese with a view of galvanizing all our human material resources for the service of our people.

Democracy, whether in the north or south, should no longer and solely be a struggle for power but rather as a competition on providing good governance, development and delivering social services for our people and restoring the dignity and wealth of every man and woman. Yet in terms of power-sharing in southern Sudan, I want to assure all that there will be enough room for everybody, including those who have not been associated with the SPLM/SPLA. Even those who for one reason or another were opposed or against the SPLM, there will room for everybody.

I want in conclusion to quote, in terms of this inclusiveness, the gospel according to St John, that says in St John Chapter 14, Verse 1 and 2: Do not be worried and upset, Jesus told them, believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my father’s house and I’m going to prepare a place for you. I would not say if it were not true. So I say to all southern Sudanese on the occasion of this signing of this comprehensive peace agreement, that there will be many rooms in an SPLM-based government in southern Sudan and all are welcome.

I also want to assure southern Sudanese in general that the comprehensive peace agreement will not be dishonored like other agreements that Able Aliao [phonetic] has written a book about entitled: Too Many Agreements Dishonored. The biggest challenge will be implementation of the peace agreement but we, both the SPLM and the National Congress Party, are committed, and fully committed to the implementation of this agreement. There are both external and internal guarantees, organic and external guarantees that will ensure the implementation of this agreement.

I want also to assure the SPLA that the experience of Anyanya I will not repeat itself because there are many SPLA soldiers that are worried they will be left by peace. This regards the issue of funding of the armed forces. We solved the issue of funding of the armed adequately. The joint integrated units, a component of the SPLA, shall be funded by the government of national unity, not as a separate army from the mother SPLM but as part and parcel of it with the same wage and living conditions.

The mother SPLA, on the other hand, will be funded by the government of southern Sudan and the government of southern Sudan has been empowered by the comprehensive peace agreement to raise financial resources from both local and foreign sources and to seek international assistance for that purpose. So there is no reason for concern or alarm.

As for those who in the Diaspora, I would like to address them and assure them that the government of southern Sudan, as well as the government of national unity, will their skills and I take the opportunity of this forum to appeal to all our Diaspora to return home and build our country. As I said before our house has many rooms and Diaspora are welcome to return home and fully participate in the development of southern Sudan, the two areas – Abyie and the whole of Sudan.

Last but not least, I would like to pay tribute to our fallen heroes and martyrs who sacrificed in order for us to celebrate this day on both sides of the conflict. Those ladies and gentlemen are the objectives for whose achievements I have exerted all my faculties and energies and efforts, and for which we will cooperate and work together with the National Congress Party. We move in a new direction and achieve the cohesion and the unity of our people and the unity of our country.

Finally, let me pay tribute and salute the courage of the party to reach this agreement and in particular, President Umar Hassan al-Bashir and Ustas Ali Uthman Taha, with whom I sat for 16 months and negotiated this agreement. I salute and congratulate them. I also congratulate the two delegations of the SPLM and the government of Sudan and of course Gen Sumbeiywo and before him Ambassador Daniel Mboya, who was the special envoy, also before them, Zachary Onyango, Bethwel Kiplagat, and foreign minister then Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and now Minister [for Regional Cooperation John] Koech and other ministers in the Kenya government, who have contributed so much; and to the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] envoys of the five countries of IGAD, the facilitators of IGAD, the secretariat. I thank them and congratulate them for guiding the peace process to this successful conclusion.

I would also like to thank and commend the IGAD heads of state, ministers, peace envoys and indeed the populace who have been with us through thick and thin, guiding, advising, cajoling and sometimes threatening to abandon the process. They deserve praise. Our thanks go to them and also to the bravery of the people of east Africa, the Horn, the Arab world and the wider international community, who on numerous occasions either volunteered to bring peace to Sudan or did encourage in meaningful manners the ongoing peace process. In this connection, the Nigerian efforts of Abuja I and Abuja II, the joint Egyptian-Libyan initiative, the African Union and the Arab League efforts, who exerted efforts for post-conflict reconstruction?

I must also mention a few of the very many names to thank for their contribution to the Sudan peace process, among them are eminent people like President Obasanjo, President Babangida of Nigeria, President Kaunda, Masire, Machel, Nujoma, Chissano, Rawlings, who is here with us today, Mandela of South Africa, Mubarak of Egypt, Qadhafi, Bouteflika, who is here with us today, Jimmy Carter, the late James Grant, and OLS, that has saved millions of lives since 1989, President Bush and his Secretary of State Colin Powell and his special envoy Senator Danforth and Andrew Natsos of USAID, both houses of the US Congress, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his envoys, ambassadors Allan Gulty and McFell, the UN secretary-general and his envoys, ambassadors Sahnun and Pronk, who are here, and a special friend of the Sudan peace process, the Norwegian Minister Hilder Johnson and finally, last but not least, the leaders of this region, led by then President Daniel arap Moi and now by President Mwai Kibaki, President Museveni, [Ethiopian] Prime Minister [Meles] Zenawi, [Eritrean] President [Isayas] Afewerki and the wananchi [citizens] of Kenya and east Africa mzima [as a whole].

And finally I pay tribute and thanks to my dear wife Rebecca and the wives of all my colleagues and comrades in the struggle for their patience and contributions, for without their help the bush would not have been bearable. My sincere thanks to all these people. I pay tribute finally to all the Sudanese people, to whom this peace belongs and I say to them and I say to them mobruk ol lekum [congratulations].

Thank you very much.

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