The second major section in this Accord issue considers the ways in which the process leading to the CPA was characterised by elements of exclusion – the exclusion of certain regions, interests, constituencies, concepts and themes – and asks what this means for further peacebuilding.
Other parties and regions
From early on, the IGAD process was conceived as a process between the powers behind the country's two major armed forces. The former prime minister and leader of the one of the main excluded political parties, as-Sadiq al-Mahdi, argues in his article that the bilateral nature of the negotiations inevitably led to a flawed agreement and constitution. He argues that only a more participatory and accountable system of government than is allowed for in the interim constitution will assure a peaceful future for the whole of Sudan. He also suggests that in the current circumstances this may only be achievable with significant international intervention.
All of these strands come together in the conflict in Darfur. With international attention focused on the CPA there was only minimal external pressure on the warring parties in Darfur to maintain their ceasefire agreements, although indignation over the plight of Darfurians eventually brought an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force to Darfur, and AU-led talks, located mostly in Abuja. These negotiations led in May 2006 to a text that was only signed by one faction of Darfur's fractious insurgency, and subsequent acceptance of the agreement on the ground has dissipated even further.
Three separate articles by mediators involved in the Abuja process shed some light on this. Julian Hottinger and Laurie Nathan each identify the parties' lack of ownership of the text as significant elements in the agreement's lack of resilience. Nathan highlights the 'deadline diplomacy' and the AU's inability to engender trust between and within the parties such that they could negotiate sufficiently with each other rather than with the mediation team. Hottinger, on the other hand, focuses on the use of the CPA as a model despite the different nature of the conflict – giving Darfur's armed groups the false impression that they could get their own CPA, when in fact the CPA itself limited the scope of any gains they could achieve. Alex de Waal takes up this thread – describing the constraints posed on the mediators by a step-by-step approach to peacemaking – but suggests that the DPA can still offer the Darfur movements a way to become part of a common national process of building democratic participation.
The same opportunity exists in eastern Sudan, where the Beja Congress and Rashaida Free Lions insisted on the right to separate negotiations after the National Democratic Alliance (an opposition umbrella group of which they were members) signed the June 2005 Cairo Agreement with the government. A pre-negotiation initiative led to formal talks, which concluded with the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) in October 2006. Unlike the CPA or DPA, the ESPA was concluded largely without international involvement (beyond the mediation of the Eritrean government) and it remains to be seen whether this will make it easier to implement or lead to an absence of incentives or monitoring. In its scope and its consistency with the CPA, the ESPA complements the Cairo Agreement, and if taken seriously by the negotiating parties and their constituencies – and backed up by improved access to economic and educational opportunity and political power – these agreements could prove to be a constructive piece in the jigsaw of Sudan's peace processes.
Beyond elite peacemaking
If the key problems in Darfur were a lack of trust and a fixation on bargaining over shares of political power, those involved in informal peace initiatives would argue that developing this trust and digging deeper for solutions are among the roles of low-profile, informal and long-term 'track two' diplomacy. Our article on these non-official peacemaking initiatives attempts to trace the history of this aspect of Sudanese peace processes. Although effective, sustained and informal interventions are poorly documented and not always well coordinated with official mediation processes, anecdotal evidence and experience convince us that the relationships they build are often the glue that holds agreements together.
Like track two processes, grassroots peacebuilding and civil society initiatives have – or should have – a key role to play in taking peace processes beyond the domain of elites, and the articles by Paul Murphy and Hassan Abdel Ati examine activities which develop sound and equitable governance as a foundation for a peaceful society. Abdel Ati focuses predominantly on northern civil society – a powerful force in the era of strong trade unions, but constrained and squeezed in recent decades and given little space to influence peace processes – and identifies the challenges that civil society must meet to help build peace today. Murphy draws on his experience running the Sudan Peace Fund, which supported various peacebuilding projects including the 'people-to-people' process originally devised by the New Sudan Council of Churches to reconcile divided southern communities and political factions. For continued peacebuilding, he calls for better leadership to link up various initiatives, and the institutionalisation of such processes into new governance structures.
The active role of women in war and peace, both individually and collectively, has often been ignored or underestimated. Former SPLM/A negotiator Anne Itto seeks to address this problem by describing women's roles in both conflicts and peacemaking, arguing they were far more than simply 'guests at the table' of Sudanese processes. Although she shows how women's expectations were not been fully met in spite of their presence in Naivasha and Abuja, she identifies opportunities for an enhanced role for women in post-agreement Sudanese politics.
Beyond the sphere of grassroots activities are many whose engagement with the peace process was at best patchy and at their own initiative. Although Tania Kaiser's account focuses on a particular refugee camp with a high percentage of Acholi people who have traditionally not sided with the mainstream SPLM/A, it provides an insight into ordinary southerners' perceptions of what a peace agreement means to them.
Two politically charged issues that were less than fully addressed in the CPA, and have proved equally difficult in the subsequent processes for Darfur and eastern Sudan, were land and federal arrangements beyond the south. Cultural differences, land use and economic marginalisation lie behind much of the controversy over federalism and regionalisation, for example whether Eastern Sudan and Darfur should be seen as regions per se or remain divided into a number of states. The SPLM/A's Daniel Awet Akot makes interesting comparisons in his article between concepts of regionalism in different parts of the Sudan, while Omer Egemi examines how effectively land use and tenure have been addressed by the CPA and DPA. Despite the various peace processes, questions of who owns what – and with what authority, rights and responsibilities – continue to loom over northern and southern Sudan.