Sudan is celebrating the third anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) Monday (today) in Wau, Southern Sudan, against the background of the difficulties encountered in the process of achieving peace between Khartoum and Southern Sudanese.
Many Sudanese, who have tasted suffering during past hostilities, said the CPA, which brokered final peace between authorities in Khartoum and the population of South Sudan 9 January in Kenya, came as the end to a “long and difficult road that began in 1955 towards peace”.
Four years ago, it was a remote dream for any Sudanese to think that peace could be celebrated in Wau which, many times, was the scene of violent clashes between soldiers of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and troops of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA.
But all that is over now, and Wau is the scene of peace celebrations Monday by the people of Southern Sudan and Federal government officials, thanks to a steady follow-up on the implementation of the CPA.
The Southern Sudanese had rescheduled the 9 January celebrations, pending confirmation of the withdrawal of SAF troops and SPLA forces from certain areas.
Both the SPLM and NCP (National Congress Party) had agreed for troop withdrawal from these contested areas to coincide with the observance of the third anniversary of the signing of the CPA.
On Monday (today), English language dailies published here said officials of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) and Government of National Unity (GoNU) had traveled to south Sudan to grace the occasion.
Meanwhile, local journalist Joseph Machok Makak Monday devoted a column in the Khartoum Monitor to the CPA, urging all Sudanese institutions and people “to cultivate a culture of peace among themselves by creating peace-building programmes based on human and natural resources in the country.”
According to him, “the only way to (ensure) peace in Sudan is by fully implementing the CPA that forms the legal base for the resolution of Sudan’s civil war, which claimed about 2 million innocent lives”.
Makak urged the GOSS to ensure implementation of the CPA protocols “because it is the only solution for ensuring security and wealth-sharing throughout Sudan”.
At the same time, he expressed urgent need for the NCP and SPLM to ensure a resolution of the critical Abyei problem in the CPA protocols.
At independence on 1 January 1956, Sudan inherited conflicting boundary demarcations involving Abyei between chieftains in South Sudan and authorities then in Khartoum from colonial masters Britain.
The columnist warned that failure to amicably settle the problem of Abyei, recently discovered to be rich in oil, could unravel the CPA.
He also suggested to the GoNU to search for strategies that would win the hearts of non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement to take a cue from the SPLM and negotiate peace.
Makak said a ”lasting solution to the East Darfur problem will also cement total unity in Sudan”.