This week, Nairobi hosts an IGAD meeting aimed at taking stock of the progress (or lack of it!) made in the CPA implementation in Sudan. Needless to say, there will be finger-pointing as to who bears the greatest blame for the apparent failure and predictably, the gathering diplomats will ‘voice their continued support and commitment’ to the peace process in Sudan.

Pres Salva Kiir, GOSS

But perhaps the most glaring failure is in the post-conflict peace-building efforts. It seemed after the mediators brokered a cessation of hostilities and consequent demobilization, everybody forgot the most crucial element of the process: peace-building to ensure a sustainable peace in Sudan. Sudan foreign affairs minister Deng Alor put it quite succinctly:

“Peace is more than ending war”

But how do we make peace sustainable if the citizens themselves do not see the peace benefits? And how can they when they continue to lack basic necessities like employment, crucial infrastructure, primary health care, and most importantly security?

I believe the answer is in combining the ongoing state-building with peace-building efforts. Because there is no better way of entrenching peace than giving the Sudanese people tangible peace goodies like education and economic empowerment.

Elections

IGAD meeting must as a priority push the two peace partners to desist from incitement and aggression in the electioneering period.
Initially, I believed that the country is not ready for an elction and I have previously called for the postponement of the poll in this forum. But after seeing the elections in fragile Iraq, I think the Sudanese people can pull it off. Of course, there will be many shortcomings and allegations of rigging. But I believe that western backers should not give up and dismiss this as another hopeless African case. Instead, we should all intepret this as ‘baby steps’ in the democratization path. It won’t be perfect, but the next ones will be better and people will have had a semblance of legit leaders in place with a measure of accountability.

Looking forward

Why are the East African countries behaving as if they aren’t sure of the outcome of the 2011 Referendum in the South?

A new baby will be born soon, and we have not even painted the nursery!

“Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work – that goes on, it adds up” Barbara Kingsolver

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