The Oil Revenues’ Deal Between South Sudan And Sudan – Does It Make Sense? ( Part Two )

By Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,
Sudan's president Al Bashir greets Salva Kiir during a visit of Bashir to Juba. Despite separation Sudan and South Sudan are united by the oil revenues(Photo: file/Nyamilepedia)

Sudan’s president Al Bashir greets Salva Kiir during a visit of Bashir to Juba. Despite separation Sudan and South Sudan are united by the oil revenues(Photo: file/Nyamilepedia)

Feb 07, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– As outlined in part one of this article, the two parties agreed to a 3 billion USDs compensatory package to be paid to Sudan over a three years period. Apparently, it was meant to cover the deficit in Sudan’s revenues following the loss of the oil money with secession of South Sudan. The mere mention of compensating the Sudan raises eyebrows. It may appear to many South Sudanese as succumbing to the aggressor who massacred thousands of our citizens or rewarding a regime that was involved in acts of thievery and looting of our natural resources. The question who deserves compensation is a valid one. To answer it, the government of Sudan needs viewing from two different angles. If we all agree that, Sudan was one country with a government responsible to all the people within its borders – then we should be bearing the following in our minds:

The secession of South Sudan relieved Sudan from responsibility towards the citizens of South Sudan regarding spending on health, education, economic projects , security and others. It means the part of the national budget allocated to spending in South Sudan, has been abolished. And people would agree that whatever amount of money spent in South Sudan was far less than what it deserved. Even it could be argued that South Sudan was in reality run by money garnered from international grants and relief organisations. Many people may not know that as a matter of fact, the budget of Abel Alier’s High Executive Council was far less than that of the University of Khartoum in those days. Hence, there are no grounds whatsoever to support loss of revenue by Sudan and entitlement for compensation.

Despite its turbulent history, Sudan has been one country for over half a century. No one can dispute the fact that South Sudanese contributed significantly to the building of Sudan. It’s fair to say that the successive governments of Sudan directed all available resources to build the centre of the country and the north while the South was marginalised and left to neglect. The sweat of South Sudanese and their natural resources were among the cornerstones of the economic growth in the north. The Jallaba traders in South Sudan played a significant role in the building of north Sudan. Small towns and villages like ” Um Doum ” near Khartoum Bahri, flourished on wealth acquired in South Sudan. There is a famous saying among the Jallabas that they buy chickens from South Sudanese at a low price only to sell them later the feathers of the same chickens at a much higher price. Of course, there is more to the saying that we cannot dwell into at this juncture. The major government projects in agriculture, road constructions, dams, factories, schools, hospitals, government institutions, you name them, were never accomplished without active participation of the South Sudanese. Therefore we are entitled to a share of all the assets held by the government of Sudan. At the time of the split, our government should have asked for its fair share of the assets. There are precedences to this –  when Czechoslovakia split up to the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in 1993, the government assets were divided between the two countries in a ratio of 2 to 1 to the level of embassies. Likewise the same happened when the former Yugoslavia disintegrated into Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia ( Serbia and Montenegro ). We still have the right to claim our share of the assets and not to pay Sudan a penny.

The whole world witnessed the atrocities committed against the people of South Sudan by the successive Sudanese governments. The death from war and its consequences estimated at 2 million lives. That figure ranges between 20 to 25% of the population which is a significant loss for a country the size of France. The Islamist regime in Khartoum took the situation to a different level. They declared ” Jihad ” against the ” infidels ” ( Southerners ) with implementation of the scorched earth policy in South Sudan. The meagre infrastructure left by the British colonial regime sustained extensive destruction in their ” Holy War ” against the Southerners. South Sudan deserves compensation for the destruction of the country and victimisation of its citizens. Again there is precedence that is happening right to this day. In 1952 the Federal Republic of Germany signed an agreement with Israel to pay compensation for the Holocaust victim families and survivors. They were its citizens who have become Israeli citizens following Holocaust. By 1978, the total amount paid by Germany was 53 billion Deutche Marks, a little below 30 billion USDs. It’s obvious that Sudan does not have money at present to pay us; nonetheless we should set the records straight to counter its unwarranted claims for compensation.

On the other hand, If Sudan’s reign over South Sudan was a colonial rule, then the following arguments are justified:

Firstly,  when General Omar Al Bashir ascended to power in Khartoum through a military coup on 30th June 1989, Sudan’s economy was on the verge of collapse. The proof to that is from the mouths of the coup plotters themselves. General Salah Karar, famously dubbed ” Salah Dollar “, and a member of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation ( RCC ), declared that if they didn’t take power through ” revolution “, the US dollar would have risen to a Dollar per 10 Sudanese pounds. Sudan was broke and could not have built the pipeline from its money. The oil revenues paid the costs of the construction of the pipeline and the oil refineries. Therefore it’s not unreasonable to say that the pipeline is mostly the property of South Sudan although the longest part of it extends through Sudan’s soil. The same applies to the oil refineries and all the facilities related to the petroleum sector. Sadly, our negotiators seemed to have overlooked the above assets and never contested their ownership.

Secondly, not far from our borders, in neighbouring Kenya a situation similar to ours did exist and to some extent was reasonably addressed. On 06 June 2013, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague expressed regret that thousands of Kenyans had been subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment during the Mau Mau insurgency over 50 years ago. The British government would pay compensation for the victims and finance the construction of a memorial in Kenya for the victims of the colonial era torture. As some of you know President Obama’s grandfather was one of the victims. Whatever the British did in Kenya was way far less than the atrocities committed by Sudan in South Sudan making the case for a far bigger compensation claim.

Thirdly, What about the participation of Northerners in the practice and dissemination of slave trade in Sudan. Downplaying the issue has been the motto of the successive governments in Khartoum. It’s a well known fact that the Jallabas were the slave traders and brokers and their activities devastated many communities in South Sudan. It’s outrageous that someone like Al Zubair Basha Rahama is regarded as a hero in Sudan’s history books while he was nothing but a despicable slave trader. Perhaps it’s time for the people of Daim Zubair in Western Bahr El Ghazal State to start thinking about changing the name of their town. The slave trade is a brutal activity associated with inhumane practices and often wanton killings. Hence, it’s reasonable to believe that we lost thousands of lives at the peak of this horrible practice.  In 1999, the African World Reparations and Reparation Truth Commission called for a 777 trillion USDs to be paid to Africa over five years by ” the West “. Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister apologised twice on 27th November 2006 and on 14th Marsh 2007 for Britain’s role in the slave trade. But the most remorseful and emotionally charged was what Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London said. On 24th August 2007, he apologised publicly for London’s role in the slave trade. ” You can look across there to see the institutions that still have the benefit of the wealth they created from slavery “, he said pointing towards the financial district, before breaking down in tears.

With the above deal in place, the Jallabas have got us exactly where they want us to be. It was an opportunity presented to them on a golden plate and they fully seized it. The promise by President Omar Al Bashir to consider the request by the regime in Juba to reduce the transportation fees is likely to be an empty one. Realistically, how much can he reduce to have a meaningful impact on South Sudan’s share while keeping Sudan’s economy afloat?! For that to happen Sudan would have to be contented with under $ 5.00 per a barrel. It will not happen voluntarily as the government in Khartoum initially asked for $ 36.00 per a barrel as transportation fees.

We must remind ourselves that we possess the strongest card in this oil revenues’ issue because the oil belongs to us. You can have oil in your soil untapped, but there can be no pipelines, refineries and oil companies if there is no oil in the first place. Thus, the regime in Juba needs to re-negotiate the terms of the deal or declare it null and void. Sudan should get transportation fees comparable to the international prices. Should Sudan refuse and continue its bullying attitude then South Sudan should stop pumping the oil and close the whole thing down. Some people may say how South Sudan would survive without its ” only ” source of  income?  Well, we are already in the midst of the worst ever economic downturn and continuing selling the oil under the deal’s terms makes no difference to the ordinary man in South Sudan. We have other resources that need development and utilisation for the long-term but in the short-term a responsible government in Juba, perhaps the would be Transitional Government of National Unity ( TGoNU ) could secure loans with the guarantee of our untapped resources. We are all aware that despite the oil money, still the government in Juba took loans, hence there is nothing new in having more loans and keeping the oil in our soil for better days. In the meantime, it’s crucial to slim the government and reduce the sizes of the SPLA and the other security forces to one third of their present sizes. We do not need all those Generals who are a burden on government coffers, and some are good for nothing. Repatriation of the embezzled 4 billion USDs could be one of the solutions and there are international mechanisms to enforce it.

The compensation of Sudan should have been a nonstarter to the South Sudanese government. It’s an insult to the war victims and an act of rewarding an evil regime that waged a religious war against the South Sudanese people. In law, it’s often said that the law does not protect fools, well in politics you would thank God for the opportunity of having a fool on the other side of the table.

THE END

The author, Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, can be reached at lako.jada@hotmail.com

7 comments

  • Our neighbor Sudan desperately in need and optimistically good for them instead of allowing them to collapse. It is going to be a disaster for South Sudan if Khartoum fall because South has to control its Private Sector.The number of shopkeepers from North have to be limit.

  • Tolio

    There should have been no money paid to Sudan. South Sudan was marginalized in terms of development. If Sudan spent money on the infrastructure in South Sudan, then it should have a right for compensation.

    The pipelines were built with funds from oil revenues which come from the South. South Sudanese never had shares of those incomes revenues during the civil war which was a time when most of those pipelines were constructed.

    The government of South Sudan needs to build its own pipelines and local refineries at home. These are some ways South Sudanese could benefit from their oil.

    When the armies become under single command, a demobilization is necessary. Those who are not fit to be in the military aught to be let go. The size of military generals should be trimmed. Generals are all hungry sharks draining the economy. In fact when you are an army’s general,your wallet becomes automatically fat and so is your belly. It is the same reason why rebellions are common in South Sudan – that is to go to a jungle shouting out that the government is an undemocratic, dictatorial,corrupt and lawless. It is not true they meant what they say but pure excuses to promote themselves military generals so they get richer finacially after being reintegrated to the national army.

  • Dr. Lako,

    thanks for telling the population the truth. Khartoum takes the war in our country as another chance to stretch its evil hand to punish us. The reason is that our government negotiate as a hungry person who is dying within the next two hours if not give porridge. This agreement was reached within less than a week. Khartom is exploiting our weakness because our government has divided us into tribal lines with an aim of looting more public funds. Juba reached this agreement in a hurry like a thief who is afraid ot being caught and want sell the stollen goods in a great hurry. Juba does not care the suffering of its poor citizens

    When Sudan was one nation, Khartoum loves foreigners than we South Sudanese whom they considered non arabs. When one studies our government of South Sudan deeply, one finds out that it loves foreigners than the South Sundanese who are non dinkas. Actually the dinka inheritted this segregation from their uncls, the arabs. Just come here to Juba, you will find for yourself how non dinkas a mistreated by foreigners and how the foreigners are respected by our own government. I have withnessed one of non dinka boys querreled with a foreigner trader, a dinka police came. Instead of finding the truth, he began beating the innocent boy just like what the police in Khartoum did to us when we happen to have problems with an ethiopian or an eritrean citizen.

    Just follow the new on going agreement about hiring teachers from Zimbabwe. There are alot of teachers in South Sudan. But because many of them are non dinkas, the government is crossing many borders to bring teachers from abroad. How can you imagine this if you are a teacher who has a very law pay or unemployeed? This is a joke and these are some of the reasons we insist calling for reforms. We need to share in decision making, we can not longer afford watching the jenge council of elders imposing every decision on us. Let this money for hiring teachers from foreign lands be allocated for upgrading the teachers of our nation. Enough is enough. We must not keep silent any more.

    And once again thank you Dr. Kwajok and may God bless you and gives you strength so that you continue giving awareness to the citizens of this beloved nation.

    • Tolio

      DINGIT NA TUGGÖ

      You’ve no qualified teachers in Equatoria. Outsourcing teachers from overseas is the best way to improve the poor literacy in South Sudan.

      It is good to get quality education than to have a bunch of incompetent teachers teaching people some garbage.

      In my hometown, students get the best education from our homegrown veteran teachers and European academics.

  • Every appointment and promotion weather in the military or non military was and is alway done through NEPOTISM. This must be stopped straight away. Like malon, he already threatening and the Council of awirin are already threatening to go for war if he is sacked from the military and if the 28 tribal states are reversed. Nonsense, the jenge are still keeping high hope this country is continue to be the same. Let them dream. The voice calling for reforms is higher than before.

    We will apply the same words Garang told the jalaba not to climb to the top of the tree and decide to shout dividing the wealth of the country without the knowledge of the other. We will never let the jenge shouting that they are the only liberators of this country. Every thing will end up With GENUINE FEDERAL RULE. Full stop. If there are some more jenge like tolio the rat who always forgets that he has got no head, let them dream. THIS COUNTRY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME THE WAY IT IS RIGHT NOW. LOOTERS LIKE BASHIR WILL MOVE TO THEIR STATES TO BE NEAR BASHIR.

  • How many daughters you got you poor boy for those poor and angriest from North Shopkeepers!

  • Like you beek who got you from mesriya and bagara by Your prostitute mother. Dont you know that you have two biological fathers, a bagara and a mesriya?

    tolio, it is too late for you to ignore employing your own people. By the way the economy of the country is heading to zero. You must accept the reforms, this is the only thing you have to do. I do not understand why you love things to be forced on you just like the signing of the peace agreement. We will never give up as long as we enjoy seeing your asses burning in hell. The NeXT thing we want to see is the accountability of the Juba massacre.

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