Thursday, October 19, 2006

The problem with Sudan. Part 1: the system

How do you run a country of 2.5 million square km, 33.3 million people, 7 times the size of Germany, with more than 400 spoken languages and dialects, multiracial, and with lots of resources?

After 50 years of independence from the British, Sudan has failed miserably in finding the right formula. Successful governments in Khartoum have experimented with several forms of systems, from the military to the Islamic fundamentalist ideologies.

Military regimes have not done the country any good. Sudan had seen a good share of military coups in Africa: Ibrahim Aboud (1958), Jaafar Mohammed Nimeri (1969), Suwar el Dahab (1985) and Omar el Bashir (1989). Although the country saw some semblance of calm, a war raged on in South Sudan for 40 years of the 50 years of independence.

The so called democracies had done no good either. The first president of the Sudan Ismail el Azhari failed to bring country together. Even the two times the Sadig el Mahdi ran the country as Prime Minister, Sudan was worst than it had ever been, as the rich plundered the resources and the poor get poorer.

Islamic ideological use in government was the craziest of all. Between 1966 and 1969, Sudan had a series of governments that proved unable either to agree on a permanent constitution or to cope with problems of factionalism, economic stagnation, and ethnic dissidence. The successions of early post-independence governments were dominated by Arab Muslims who viewed Sudan as a Muslim Arab state. Indeed, the Umma/National Unionist Party proposed 1968 constitution was arguably Sudan’s first Islamic-oriented constitution.Declaration of September laws by Nimeri in 1983 imposing Sharia Law and abrogating the Addis Ababa Accord with South Sudan plunged the country into deeper quagmire.

The country is at the verge of collapse and disintegration: rebel movements in the South, East and West of the country. The center is facing the greatest dilemmas as pressure mounts for solutions.

But how do you come out of the situation? Managing the huge country from the center had been one gigantic failure. What the country had never tried is federation. Give the different regions the right to govern themselves in partial autonomy, but retain important ministries. I believe it is the best solution to a recurring phenomenon. Decentralization is the answer.

When each region runs its own affairs, none will think of breaking away as an independent state, hopefully.


imnakoya said...

At the moment, Sudan has 26 states governed under a PSEUDO-federation, by an authoritarian president. So it has a federation system in place, somewhat and on paper.

I totally agree with you. A TRUE federation or confederation may be the solution to the problems in Sudan, and several other African nations.

Nigeria and Ethiopia are other countries running what looks like federation. Of these two, Nigeria has the closest to the ideal federation, but despite that, the country is plagued with several issues that threaten its sociopolitical integrity.

Drima @ The Sudanese Thinker said...

I agree and disagree. I agree that a proper federation system is the best option. I disagree because a system is useless unless somebody is honest and caring enough to actually implement it properly. I guess the "responsible leadership" that implements such a system is part 2 of the post followed by part 3 which is a change in our mentality.

Black Kush said...

Sudan is 50 years after independence and had nothing to show for it, except suffering, death and poverty. At least you all agreed that there is a problem. It is a good point to start.

And, true, Nigeria had a semblence of federation. Making it work is the greatest challenge that they have not overcomed.

Watch this space for more to come...

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