The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army s national convention and political changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s
Author(s)Rolandsen, Øystein H.
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AbstractBackground The Sudan has been at war with itself during most of its post-colonial period. The latest insurgency started around 1983 when the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) emerged as the leading rebel organisation. With aid from the Soviet Marxist regime in Ethiopia, the SPLM/A grew increasingly stronger during the second half of the 1980s, and by 1990 it was controlling most of the South. The situation was altered in 1991, when the Ethiopian regime was overthrown and the stream of supplies to the guerrilla was abruptly stopped. Partly as a consequence of this and partly because of internal tensions, the SPLM/A split into hostile factions during the early 1990s. This made the movement extremely vulnerable when a number of the Government of Sudan's dry season offensives hit the South. The effect was devastating and the survival of the insurgency was at stake. The Dissertation This dissertation analyses the political reforms which were announced by the SPLM/A leadership in the wake of their set-backs during the early 1990s. The 1994 National Convention stands at the centre of these reforms. More than 500 delegates from all over the Southern Sudan were gathered in Chuckudum, Eastern Equatoria. Here, the leaders of the Movement were re-elected, the civil administration of the occupied areas was separated from the military part of the Movement, and it was decided that an elaborate local government structures was to be established. However, by early 2003, these reforms have been implemented only to a very limited degree. As a result of the historiographic approach of the dissertation, its main concern is to describe and explain the background for these reforms and the incomplete implementation. Some broader topics have been relevant for the analysis of this case: comparative perspectives on African insurgencies; the Sudan's colonial heritage; the effect of relief aid on the planning and implementation of the SPLM/A reforms. The dissertation is hoped to contribute significantly to the understanding of the background for today's situation in the South and to be a tool in the current planning for a post-conflict Sudan. The amount of relevant secondary literature on this topic is limited, and the dissertation draws mainly upon written and oral primary sources gathered through two-month fieldwork in Southern Sudan and Kenya, as well as archival resources in Norway. The dissertation is written under the research programme Global and Regional Governance for Sustainable Development at The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM). Brief Overview of Chapters Chapter One Introduction: The chapter is divided into two sections. The first section provides a brief introduction to the sources and theories consulted in the course of the study. The crucial primary sources are discussed in detail. Section Two provides a brief history of the Southern Sudan with focus on the roots of the conflict and the development of political and administrative structures. Chapter Two Out of Ethiopia: A Farewell to Unity: This chapter discusses the effect of external factors in relation to the SPLM/A s announcements of different reforms in the period 1991-95. Chapter Three The Threat of Becoming Irrelevant: Promising Reforms and New Local Institutions: The chapter is divided into two sections. The political development within the SPLM/A in the period 1991-93 is analysed in Section One. Special attention is given to the outcome of the Torit meeting in 1991, the Bedden Falls meeting in 1992 as well as a discussion of the date for the announcement of the plans of organizing a National Convention. Section Two explores local institutions and local politics in the South in the same period. The effect of the SPLM/A reforms versus the impact of the activities of the Operation Lifeline Sudan and the international NGOs is commented upon. Chapter Four What was the National Convention: The chapter is divided into two sections. Section One focuses on the preparations for the National Convention, in particular the activities of the Convention Organizing Committee. Important question is whether the Convention was organized a congress of a political party or as a constitutional assembly for the people of the Southern Sudan, southern Kordofan and the South Blue Nile. Section Two gives a description of the National Convention itself. The section also analyses the significance of the Convention and the contents of the adopted resolutions. Chapter Five After the National Convention: Challenges and Obstacles: The chapter is divided into two sections. Section One presents the frame for the implementation of the political and administrative reforms adopted at the National Convention in the period 1994-2000. The political environment, the aid activities and the civil society together with structural constraints are discussed. Section Two explores the content of the reforms and the attempts to implement them. The central national level as well as the local level are analysed. Chapter Six Conclusion: The chapter provides summaries and final assessments of the major questions discussed in previous chapters.
Rolandsen, Øystein H.. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army s national convention and political changes in the Southern Sudan during the 1990s. Hovedoppgave, University of Oslo, 2003
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