Abyei Final Status: A Mismanaged and Unyielding Stalemate
Author: Zacharia Diing Akol
Organization: The Sudd Institute
Type: Weekly Reviews
As the month of October draws to a close, the future of the final status of the disputed region of Abyei remains disappointingly uncertain and extremely unpredictable. The unyielding stalemate between South Sudan and Sudan is a remarkable test that challenges not only the leadership and credibility of the African Union, a body that is tasked to facilitate the resolution of the conflict through mediation, but equally that of the Government of South Sudan. It should be recalled that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 signed between South Sudan’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) led government of Sudan, gave the people of Abyei the right to self-determination. According to the CPA, the Abyei referendum was slated to take place concurrently with that of Southern Sudan in January 2011. However, this did not happen because of disagreement between the peace partners over who should be eligible to vote in such an exercise. Besides the stalemate over Abyei and with the deal on oil flow being the exception, the two sides are practically embroiled in a deadlock on a myriad of post-independence issues.
Zacharia Diing Akol is the Director of Training at the Sudd Institute. Diing has extensive experience in community outreach, government and organizational leadership. He is currently working on M.Res./Ph.D. in political science at the London School of Economics. Diing’s research interests include the role of civil society organizations in peacebuilding, traditional leadership and democratic governance, post-conflict reconstruction, faith and public policy, and the dynamics of civil war.
Before co-founding the Sudd Institute Diing served as a consultant for the Government of South Sudan, evaluating parliamentary activities and government programs. He was also a Transitional Justice Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, a Project Luke Fellow at the Overseas Ministries Studies Center in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Diing has facilitated short courses on conflict resolution, peace building, leadership and administration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Malakal and Renk, South Sudan and given public lectures on Sudan and South Sudan at numerous universities across the United States.
Diing holds a Master’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego and two Bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University in Public Policy & Administration and Policy & Applied Economics.