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Reconciliation in the Sudans


Stein Erik Horjen

In 2005, the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the longest civil war in African history. Stein Erik Horjen argues that although this second civil war was not a religious one, religion still played an important role in the conflict. Ensuring freedom of religion was a high priority for the SPLM and for the Sudanese churches, which were instrumental in preparing the ground for the 2005 agreement in the same way they had been in facilitating the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972.
Focusing on the pivotal role of the Sudanese churches through a grassroots peace process called People to People, Horjen examines the churches’ work in ensuring the success of the peace talks between the SPLM and the government sealed by the 2005 Peace Agreement. Taking up the role as the voice of the voiceless, the Sudanese churches challenged and criticized the military and political leaders in regards to abuses of power.
In Reconciliation in the Sudans, Horjen details the tremendous suffering of the people during recurrent conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan. Understanding the history will allow the reader contextual insight into the latest conflict that erupted in South Sudan in 2013. The failure of including mechanisms for reconciliation in the CPA can be considered a main reason for this latest war.
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Chapter 9. A People Divided by War


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The second civil war was longer and more violent than the first, mainly because the rebels were better organized. The big towns in Southern Sudan were in government hands during the second civil war too, while most of the rural areas lay in what people in the south called “the liberated areas.”

Unlike liberation movements in many other places in the world, the SPLM/A did not set up any alternative civilian administration in the “liberated areas”. After the National Convention in 1994 some changes took place, and the “Civil Authority for the New Sudan” (CANS) was established. This was, however, basically part of the civil/military structure of SPLM/A rule itself, and democratic procedures were introduced only to a small degree. CANS was largely used by the SPLM/A to legitimate the military rule. The political party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), maintained the same military leadership and command chain.1

To some extent the SPLM/A made alliances with local traditional leaders, but a civilian “shadow government” was never established in their areas. This may be because it was never the goal of SPLM/A to establish an independent South Sudanese state. The vision of a New Sudan implied changing the government of the country. Setting up an alternative structure in Southern Sudan could have fueled a process that leaned towards separation, and John Garang ← 50 | 51 → of the SPLM/A made sure that this was avoided....

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