Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Turabi's Wife calls NCP leaders corrupt

Always the firebrand, Hassan Turabi's wife is not one to be left out:

Wisal Al-Mahdi wife of Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi told the pro-SPLM newspaper Ajras Al-Hurriya in an interview that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) “demonstrated greed for money and power”.

Al-Mahdi said that NCP figures contributed to the downfall of the Islamic ideology in Sudan “who built palaces and luxurious homes and ride private jets”.

Abyei, the North, and the Durability of the Peace

Certainly the most contentious component of the North-South peace is the dispute over the boundary. The disposition of the town of Abyei - and on who's side of the boundary it lies - compresses the contention into a smaller and more volatile piece of real estate. Certainly that Abyei and its environs hold oil reserves, and that both sides have ratcheted up the "never-back-down" rhetoric, hasn't added anything but fuel to this fire.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 created a process to address the North-South boundary delineation and the status of Abyei. For a number of reasons (lack of a strong Assessment and Evaluation Committee, focused outside parties, keeping pressure on both parties, personalities, etc.), the CPA-detailed path didn't achieve the outcomes it was designed to; the North rejected the process when it was determined not in their favor.

Fortunately, both parties agreed to take the matter to the Hague for binding arbitration in mid-2008. This single act might be recognized as the most significant step in resolving this flashpoint issue, and thus maintaining the North-South peace. I don't think this can be understated.

Read more about it here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Government of Southern Sudan: progression or regression?

I am a natural pessimist when it comes to any governments activities, be they Western, Eastern or African governments.

My observations of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS for short) are pretty straightforward; in the time since it was inaugurated I believe the GOSS continues to improve. Slowly, steadily, plodding ever forward, but it is improving. Here are a few tidbits to support that idea.

  • Recent budget constraints caused by the drop in oil prices caused the GOSS to show a great deal of financial restraint and responsibility. They lowered government salaries, lowered government spending across the board and imposed other austerity measures. Conversely, the Government of National Unity is mulling taking on more debt from China and raising VAT and "development" taxes.
  • A day does not pass without the GOSS officials I see mentioning the coming elections. The discussions usually center around the concepts of transparency, timeliness, adhering to the CPA, and most importantly, conducting elections that hold up their end of the social compact they have with the people they govern. A number of other governments in this region have different opinions on the use and conduct of elections, much of which involves the practice of exclusion, tension, censorship, and tribalism.
  • The GOSS, particularly the senior administration officials reflexively fall back to the concepts of inclusion and maintain a sensitivity about regionalism and tribalism. Simply put, they do a pretty good job of not exacerbating tribal tensions. I happen to think this behavior/practice is a holdover from the civil war -- their opponents in the north used the age-old tribal tensions and prejudices to split the southerners and the SPLA/SPLM leaders worked hard to compensate for that.
These are just three examples I can think of. Readers are encouraged to post their thoughts here too!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's a Juba First!

We are proud to be a part of Southern Sudan Beverages’ unveiling of its flagship brewery in Juba, South Sudan. SSBL’s impact on the community, the economy and morale of this country will be nothing less than monumental.

DR&A has been a proud advisor/consultant to SSBL during the process of its market research, due diligence, planning, government relations, community interface and land acquisition processes. It’s been a great experience and we’re ready to get our teeth in to the next big project.

Hit our email in the side column to see if we can help make things happen for your organization here in Southern Sudan.