How beneficial is cooperation agreement with Sudan?
By Beny Gideon Mabor and Thuou Loi Cingoth
We were honored and privileged at the roundtable by Radio Miraya with SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, last week, where we were asked for a comment each on national agenda of greater concern. Our participation was only healthy and objective but educative and straightforward on issues of common interest in regard to the deal.
As shown during debate, we also promised that our views on this subject matter shall be done in good faith and does not represent any level of government nor political color but purely personal views in accordance with public interests. We will substantially object protocols of the agreement as follows:
1. Framework Agreement on the Status of Nationals of Other State And Related Matters (Four Freedoms).
As you have already heard the items of the agreement from the Secretary General, please allow us to definitely refute item per item through social media as the only forum for individuals to express our views in accordance with press freedom guaranteed by the constitution and the law.
First on the framework agreement on the status of nationals of other state and related matters or generally ‘four freedoms’, part II of the Framework Agreement that is freedom to reside, movement, undertake economic activity, acquire and dispose of property which is the intention of the whole agreement.
The legitimate questions here are as follows: (1) where do we benefit as South Sudanese in these freedoms considering our level of poor private sector development, trade and industry? (2)If such freedoms were original desires of the Sudanese people before independence of South Sudan as stipulated in this agreement, why South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for separation by 99.83 percent if peaceful co-existence was voluntary will of the Sudanese by then? (3) We are confident that nothing binds us anymore or common interest between the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan with exception of fewest mutual interests governed by international law.
The four freedoms that exist between Sudan and Egypt are that they are both Arabs and Muslims and they shared many things in common, unlike South Sudanese whose majorities without denial are Africans, Christians and animists. Therefore, the question is if there are advantages or wellbeing of such freedoms, why not the Government of the Republic of South Sudan enters into such agreement with sisterly East, South and Central African Countries that have no conflict of interests in politics, governance and religious beliefs with the Republic of South Sudan?
To our fear and the rest, the framework agreement will be a silent driving force toward potential unity of the country at any time should political leaders score their game. Germany did the same and South Sudan cannot be exception if it is not watch out. This potential unity project was also cemented by Ambassador Francis M. Deng three weeks go before he left to go and take up South Sudan Embassy in the United Nations in New York.
With these so-called four freedoms, if the agreement is ratify by the Assemblies of the two States as the National Assembly in Sudan already ratified the agreement, then Sudanese spy agents will immediately thrived into South Sudan under disguise of the agreement on trade and trade-related issues stipulated under Article3(v) of the Cooperation Agreement .
Worriedly, they will do homework of collecting information across all sectors including strategic ones and send them to their masters in Khartoum Administration that may possibly jeopardizes our national economic and security interest. Generally, those who supported the so-called four freedoms are the fewest ones with properties in Sudan and that is an ugly face of always advancing personal interest over public interest. We dismiss it and there is no reason to have four freedoms.
2. Outstanding Negotiations and CPA Commitments (Disputed& Claimed Boarder Areas and Abyei Referendum)
The above items are the focal point of all misunderstanding of the post-secession issues between Juba and Khartoum. The African Union High Level Implementation Panel and South Sudan Delegation were mishandled by Khartoum Delegation and President Bashir in person arrogantly rejects the agenda on Abyei Referendum and the disputed and claimed areas to be worked out.
The question of who is resident of Abyei became stalemate and the parties in presence of the AUHLIP mediating team fails to reach amicably solution. From where do we expect further understanding on the final status of Abyei, disputed and claimed areas through AU Peace and Security Council as agreed under Article 4 (2) of the Cooperation Agreement? And whether by law it is acceptable for the Permanent Court of Arbitration to entertain the same case of Abyei which was before it four years ago and its ruling was out rightly rejected by Khartoum government? Legally speaking, we are not aware of other Arbitration Court than the Hague-based PCA whose its judgment on Abyei was final and have no jurisdiction to retrial the same.
The AUHLIP, Ethiopians Government and the United Nations is ignorance of this bad faith from Sudan, yet have pressured the Republic of South Sudan to sign the soft agreements that were selectively worked out under the influence of Khartoum.
Therefore, where are the independency of the mediators and the best will of the agreements in such situation where a party in dispute has upper hand and conflict of interests in resolving dispute in question? Why the headache viability of the two states is only a major burden on the Republic of South Sudan and Khartoum does not care about it?
The tyranny government of the National Congress Party so far violates the principles of the African Union Constitutive Act and the United Nations Chapter concerning relations and cooperation between states and respect of each state sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In fact Khartoum government even further violates the agreement on Article 2 (2) of this very Cooperation Agreement long time ago since the coming into force of the said agreements. Otherwise, they would have not enter our air space, encroach onto our lands and continue supporting militant groups to destabilizing peace and security in South Sudan.
Indeed the Cooperation Agreement is of no use but a tactical delay in the best interests of Khartoum. It must be rejected and seek other means of demarcating our border with Sudan and any means the voice of the Ngok Dinka people be heard even without referendum. The young men and women of 18 to 45 years know this more than anybody.
3. On Oil Agreement
This item is an agreement signed hurriedly by South Sudan Delegation knowingly that it is not good decision. They also know very well that it is not the popular will of the people of South Sudan whose people Assembly endorses the oil shutdown six months ago and whose civil population went on street across South Sudan in support of the same wise decision.
Compulsorily, the agreement was easily agreed by South Sudan Delegation or both parties with only option to survive and recovers the economic bailout the governments are facing in two countries.
But is that the best decision? What is different now and before the war broke out in Heglig (panthou)? This is clear evident that there is nothing new about oil agreement. Khartoum has stolen our oil and the Government would have learned the lesson that catch a thief and take care of yourself. There is no reason to allow oil flow through their facilities again.
Second, the Republic of South Sudan gave up its economic interest and undertake to provide hostile Khartoum government with what is so-called transitional financial assistance (TFA) worth of 3 billion US Dollars, the largest economic package ever given in the world in total defiance of our lowest gross domestic product upon which oil receipts account for 82% of the GDP according to the World Bank Economic Report in March 2012. The 3 billion US dollar to date in the mind of many stakeholders and the citizens is not clear and has no legal basis to pay it.
Therefore, the question is why we pay Khartoum such money including acceptance of oil to flow through Port Sudan again when in fact we did not reach agreements on two strategic issues of broader demarcation and the fate of the people of Abyei? Is it not clear that Khartoum will increase their military position with this very money and will not listen to us nor reach any agreement on the outstanding issues of the CPA and commitments?
Nevertheless, it is finally clear and of course undeniable that our government has terribly misused the oil money for the last eight years by single-handedly depending on oil receipts as salary and other dubious businesses engineered by corruption. The reason why we are where we are today.
Do you know why the government was under pressure to sign oil agreement? It is simply because the government fails to revitalize non-oil revenues and finally fails to build alternative oil pipelines through other friendly countries for the last eight years.
It is evident that we are running out of reserves to run the government. Ironically, whose fault is that between the citizens and the government? With this oil agreement if mistakenly ratify by the South Sudan Assembly, and then did the Government of South Sudan and our President H.E Gen. Salva Kiir promise to form government of accountability, transparency and the rule of law where the suspects of corrupt offences accused to have stolen 4 billion USD are to be weeded out?
We are afraid when the SPLM Secretary General said that they have brought the agreement and the effective management of resources is not his responsibility but of the government. In conclusion, we are of the opinion that the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly, pursuant to Article 3(2) of the Cooperation Agreement not to ratify these agreements. This is in consideration of the above implications surrounding the partial deal that the Republic of South Sudan incurs double losses in its resources and security interest.
The renegotiation of the CPA/2005 is a clear negation of our sovereignty and integrity. The people of South Sudan have suffered so far and it is not new to us to continue suffering until the Government of the Republic of South Sudan secure a good deal on its oil transits mechanism through other means in order to safeguard our total sovereignty and territorial integrity as the foundational principles of our constitution which we are ready to defend and abide by it.
The authors are independent commentators on Politics and Governance. They can be reached through: firstname.lastname@example.org