Beyond the Horizon: Conflicts Grievances have to be Addressed in a Holistic Manner

Alula Berhe
Conflicts grievances

Greed and grievances have pin pointed as the major causes of peaceful and violent conflicts in many academic research based on solid evidence. One of these important studies (Greed and Grievance in Civil War 2002) was authored by Paul Collier of World Bank and Anke Hoeffler Centre from the Study of African Economies, and published by the World Bank. It may be useful to review some of the major points and findings in this study and compare it with the Sudanese case to assist in designing the sustainable peace solutions in the coming transitional period which hopefully will start next Sept.2019.
It investigates the causes of civil war, using a new data set of wars during 1960-99. We test a `greed’ theory focusing on the ability to finance rebellion, against a `grievance’ theory focusing on ethnic and religious divisions, political repression and inequality. The study found that greed considerably outperforms grievance. Consistent with the greed theory, both dependence upon primary commodity exports and a large diaspora substantially increase the risk of conflict. Inconsistent with the grievance theory, greater ethnic and religious diversity reduce the risk of conflict.
According to popular perceptions grievances are often seen as the main causes of rebellion. However, those factors which determine the financial and military viability of a rebellion are more important than objective grounds for grievance. In order to create and maintain a rebel organization the rebels have to be paid and military equipment has to be purchased.
In war, both finance and geography may be less important than cohesion. The government army has two advantages over a rebellion. It can spend many years building a sense of unity, whereas if a rebel force fails to achieve unity quickly it will presumably perish. Additionally, the government can use the powerful rhetoric of nationalism: with this imagined identity already occupied, a rebellion needs an alternative. The need for rapid cohesion constrains recruitment: rebellion cannot afford diversity. There is now evidence that ethnic and religious diversity within various types of organization tends to reduce the ability to cooperate. A rebellion needs cooperative behavior and so it will tend to recruit only within a single ethnic/religious group.
There is a very large difference in the extent of democracy between conflict societies and peaceful societies: on average, conflicts episodes are preceded by a democracy score less than half that which precedes peace episodes. However, even democracies may exclude if a minority is systematically victimized. One circumstance in which a stable winning coalition can form is if one ethnic group constitutes a majority. The incentive to exploit the minority diminishes the smaller is the minority, since there is less potential for exploitation. Hence, the most likely range for ethnic exclusion is if the largest ethnic group constitutes a majority, but not an overwhelming majority, of the population.

SCP Puzzles

The SCP (Sudanese Congress Party) last positions on some very vital issues have been very confusing to the public and opened the gates wide for speculations and the conspiracy theory which was not needed at all in this very sensitive period.
The first one was the contradicting statements on the nomination of the SCP president to the post of the Transitional Period prime minister. The media reported last Tuesday 6 Aug. statements to a leading figure in the SCP affirming the nomination on the bases of competence and political affiliation. Yesterday 7 Aug. there was another statement denying that the party president will be nominated to the post of prime minister. This has led some to conclude that the SCP and some other forces have another aim and that is mix the cards and open the door for a compromise on the coming prime minister and this eliminating the nomination of the most agreed upon personality for the post. They also pointed that the NUP (National Umma Party) Leader Imam Sadiq Al Mahdi is behind the curtain part of this maneuver.
The second SCP puzzling position was on the return to the country of the ex-Chief of the NISS (ex-National Intelligence and Security Service) General Gosh and appointed as a member in the coming Supremacy Council as a result of the pressure exerted by the USA. The party said Sudan will not submit to any such pressure that infringes on the country sovereignty. But the party kept silent on the issue of if the ex-NISS Chief will be held accountable for any atrocities committed during his tenor in the NISS. On the other hand other leaders in the FCF (Freedom and Change Forces) have affirmed that if Gen, Gosh return to the country he will be held accountable before the law for human rights violations. So, the position of the FCF on this issue is another puzzle.
This in our opinion this is not the correct way to practice politics in this sensitive and historical transformative period. The situation require clarity, transparency and consistency in political position and always taking into consideration that the December, 2018 Revolution youth are not the elite that have led the October, 1964 Revolution or the April, 1985 Uprising. They are the ICT (Information Communication Technology) generation and who have been able to mobilize the whole country against the ousted Al Bashir authoritarian regime and not the political parties who later came running to join the revolution train. Before that these traditional parties were calling for compromise and a piece of the power and wealth cake and not confrontation with the ousted regime under the much promoted slogan by the NUP president Imam Sadiq Al Mahdi under the banners of the “Soft Landing”. But the December youth turned the banner to Crush Landing.

Street Elite

One of the ousted regime writers wrote recently calling upon the FCF leadership not abide to the pressure of the streets because of not being as competent as the elite who should lead the streets and not be led by the streets. This poisoned advice off course aim to delink the FCF leadership from its main source of power, the streets. The power we say is in the streets and the leadership should obey their demands and formulate them into policies and programs. So, the leader and the teachers are the ordinary people who protested for six months in the streets and not the elite what so ever their contribution in the revolution may have been. Those who died in the protests are the ordinary people who these authoritarian regime writer calls to not abide to their demands.

Revolutionary Rhetoric

The Revolutionary Front leaders it seems have lost their balance after the failure to grantee for themselves some seats in the Transitional period governance structure. Since the signing of the Constitutional Document 4 August, 2019 has issued a follow of statements condemning the agreement between the TMC (Transitional Military Council) and the FCF (Freedom and Change Forces). They accusations included selling the December, 2918 Revolution, a political power sharing agreement, selling peace for power, etc.
This is quite amazing because peace and the end of the war have been at the top of the FCF agenda from the start of the revolution in December, 2018. The problem with the Revolutionary Front is that they want to deal with the present situation as they used with the ousted regime, a temporary peace for a share in power and wealth but the time for this game is over. On the contrary the stand of the SPLM-North Malik Agar was the real revisionary position who firmly stated that he will only negotiate with the civilian government after it was formed.

Gum Arabic Corruption

The media reported recently on the mass corruption in the Gum Arabic Company which was not a surprise to those who used to follow the development in this important sector for the Sudanese economy. But what must be stressed upon is that the corruption in this sector included many others working in this field outside the domain of the Gum Arabic Company. So, there is a need for a thorough investigation on the whole sector from the production stage to the export stage and all should hold accountable who have participated in the degradation of this important sector.

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