Mediation in Practice (Pre-mediation)

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Prof Mwagiru’s essay question:

The process of getting to the table may be even more important than the table itself”  Stein

What do you think?

This will help:

It is written by Jacob Bercovitch. Share your thoughts with us, how you would approach this topic…


Darfur: What is JEM and NCP upto now?

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As Omar Bashir, Khalil Ibrahim and Idriss Debby troop to Doha to sign the Framework agreement that will open formal peace talks, we should all be happy that at last there is a real chance for peace, right?

Khalil Ibrahim of JEM

Except I seem to remember some few facts here. And some of these come from concerns expressed by leaders of the other rebel movements that refused to join the Doha Peace Process, most notably SLM-Abdel Wahid and SLM-Abdul Shafi. Consider the following:

1. JEM, under it’s leader and former Minister of Education in Darfur Khalil Ibrahim is known to have Islamist origins. Perhaps the mediators in Doha were able to helpthe two gentlemen rediscover the chemistry they had back in the good old NIF days?

2. For a man who led a daring attack on Khartoum in 2007 (I was in the country then), JEM’s Khalil Ibrahim and JEM has made significant strides towards reaching a mutual agreement. A ‘secret deal’ is said to be behind the recent momentum in the Doha talks. Bashir is rumoured to have promised JEM a few goodies like:

  • Power sharing that might see Khalil Ibrahim becoming governor of Darfur
  • Prisoner exchange (and this includes Khalil’s own brother captured in the 2007 Omdurman attack)
  • That JEM forces to be the only military force in Darfur
  • JEM to join the govt of Bashir to eliminate the other rebel movements in Darfur
  • Khartoum govt to compensate JEM for the losses incurred (Read the article from Sudan Tribune)

Omar Bashir of NCP

The above looks like a real good offer, for someone like Khalil Ibrahim and Bashir. The former gets something he has always wanted while the latter gets an enduring headache cleared (at least temporarily) especially in light of the upcoming April elections where the rebel movements had called for a boycott.

Anyway, this could just be a conspiracy theory.

But something just doesn’t add up. You can not proceed without the other major rebel group, SLM-AW. And locking out SLM-RF doesn’t help either.

I see another Abuja Agreement in the making. If you recall, this particular process gave us the Darfur Peace Agreement which collapsed even before the ink had dried on the paper. The main reason? Leaving out some groups in the process and most notably, Abdel Waheed and his SLM.

I have never been convinced that Scott Gration is going about his job with the required wisdom, which is why allegations of his tacit approval of this exclusionist process is worrying, very worrying!

Perhaps we should postpone the April 11 elections in Sudan?


In his Wars, Guns and Votes, Paul Collier explains some fascinating yet disturbing findings on occurrences of electoral violence in the ‘bottom billion’ countries especially in Africa. The main thrust of his findings is that democracy is very dangerous in poor countries leading not to pluralism and popular participation, but to polarization and instability and even over conflict. This has been seen to happen in a relatively stable democracy like Kenya.

Now substitute Sudan for Kenya. Throw in some uniquely Sudan complexities like:

1. This is the first time since 1986 that Sudan is going into a multiparty election. The current leader came to power through a coup in 1989.
2. A key aspect of the elections, i.e. the Census results of 2008, are highly contended by the two main principles to the CPA, the SPLM and NCP. These results are very crucial in determining the representation formula and resource allocations at the national level and local levels.
3. There are nightmarish logistical challenges like delivering ballots to very remote areas in Africa’s biggest country, assisting illiterate electorate vote (like in the South where they will vote in 12 ballots!), counting and tallying of the votes, etc etc.
4. The referendum less than a year away for these elections. In addition, should the South vote for separation in the 2011 plebiscite, there are some electoral posts that will have to be scrapped and probably another election could be called in 2011.
5. Darfur: hundreds of thousands refused to register fort he elections since they are holed up in IDP camps and want to vote in their original homes. The Electoral Commission did not make any provision for voting in the IDP camps, thus they will not be allowed to vote. So, a large constituency will essentially be excluded in the most important elections in the country.

As Savo Heleta puts it, these elections may turn out to be a destabilizing factor in an already fragile political and security situation.

Maybe we should wait till after the referendum; or just hold executive elections (presidency and state governorships?)

The Sudan April 2010 Elections


A lot has been written regarding this all-important plebiscite coming at the close oft he six year CPA interim period. Many analysts however look at the elections in light of the Referendum coming up in less than a year’s time. To them, the referendum is more important than the elections.

However, a keen observer will note that the Khartoum elite have more riding on the elections than the referendum. There is nothing much that they (Khartoum elites) can do to stop the impeding separation.  But they can and actually do plan to ‘manage’ the April elections.

Why? Because losing the elections has far-reaching consequences; like it leaves Omar Bashir vulnerable to the ICC arrest if (and this is a big if) he peacefully hands over power to the winner.

If ever there was a time to intervene in Sudan, it is in the next 3 months. (I use the word ‘intervene’ quite cautiously here, not to be misconstrued as having the same meaning as Collier in his Wars, Guns and Votes).  The international community must breath down the Khartoum’s neck, diplomatically of course.

This elections is going to be IT!

But let me indulge you for a moment: whom do you think will win the presidency of The Sudan?