Briefing 30 / Africa 09 August 2005 Garang's Death: Implications for Peace in Sudan The Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) leadership has acted quickly so far to regroup and reorganise, but the loss in a fatal helicopter crash on 30 July 2005 of John Garang, the only leader the movement has known in its 21 years, creates an opening for spoilers on all sides to exploit any signs of uncertainty. Share Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Whatsapp Save Print Download PDF Full Report Also available in العربية English العربية I. Overview The Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) leadership has acted quickly so far to regroup and reorganise, but the loss in a fatal helicopter crash on 30 July 2005 of John Garang, the only leader the movement has known in its 21 years, creates an opening for spoilers on all sides to exploit any signs of uncertainty. The country is at risk of eventually losing a peace agreement that was already looking somewhat shaky. Garang's movement must prove it can hold together without his authoritarian hand and unmatched prestige. It is now somewhat less likely to be able to make a major contribution to resolving the war and humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur or solving the simmering problems of eastern Sudan. The odds of southern secession have increased, to the discomfort of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum. Key international players like the U.S., who helped broker the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), will have to do much more to help the parties save it. Measures are needed in three areas to stabilise the situation in the short term: First, the government and the SPLM must do everything in their power to prevent a recurrence of the inter-communal violence that erupted in Khartoum and parts of the South. They should increase joint efforts to appeal for calm, and the SPLM needs to have full access to the media and freedom of movement in possible hot spots in the North. The government must do more to restore law and order in the capital and ensure security forces accord due process to all suspected of involvement in violence regardless of their origin. Garang's successor, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, needs to be installed as First Vice President on 9 August as the latest plans call for so the full Government of National Unity can be launched without delay. Secondly, the new SPLM leaders must remain united in the face of what will surely be efforts to divide them and undermine the movement. Remaking the SPLM into an open, transparent body inclusive in its decision-making was an important challenge Garang had just begun to deal with; it is more critical than ever now that he is gone. Thirdly, increased public and diplomatic support for the peace agreement and particularly the SPLM is needed at this difficult time. The troika partners, the U.S., UK and Norway, have a particular responsibility. Washington's appointment of a Special Representative was important but more must be done to ensure that hard-line elements in Khartoum opposed to the CPA do not exploit Garang's death to back away from its strict implementation. The UN Security Council must react quickly to any violations of the CPA's timetable in order to keep the parties on course. The UN should move rapidly to bring deployment of its peacekeeping mission in the South back on schedule. It could also helpfully offer assistance in coordinating and facilitating investigation into the cause of the crash so that multiple inquiries do not undermine each other, and chances are maximised for the conclusions to be widely accepted. Nairobi/Brussels, 9 August 2005 Related Tags Sudan More for you Q&A / Africa A Breakthrough in Sudan’s Impasse? Op-Ed / Africa The U.S. Must Raise the Stakes for Sudan’s Coup Leaders Up Next U.S. Congressional Testimony / Africa Sudan’s Imperilled Transition: Policy Recommendations for the U.S.