The International community must stop blocking the Referendum for Southern Sudan!!
By John Yien Tut Bok Joak
March 30, 2010 (SSNA) — The imminent birth of a new state in the region sends a shiver to those opposed to freedom and dignity for the peoples of Southern Sudan who have been exploited for over five decades. Therefore, we unanimously support the stand of the President of the Government of Southern Sudan’s (GOSS) President, H.E Salva Kiir and H.E Vice president Dr. Riek Machar Teny on their continued call for self-determination of South Sudan. The opposition parties and whoever is not ready for elections in April 2010 are reminded that they should mind their own business instead of bringing the Darfur issue to delay the elections.
Darfur, in reality is not interested in the Southern Sudan problems because they, Darfurians are kith and kin with the clique in the North, and are known to be associated with that part of the North in order to maintain the status quo to portray a false image of a politically United Sudan. The opposition parties do not want to take part in the elections yet they should remember that they themselves, just like the Darfurians, refused to join the SPLM or the government of Sudan in signing the peace process in Nairobi, Kenya in 2005. So they should not complain now that the CPA was an agreement between the SPLM/A and Al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP). Though they do not want to admit it, they should agree that the CPA was partly enjoyed by the whole country, because at least it has stopped the bloodshed of many of the soldiers from both sides, as well as civilians. If the opposition parties are sincere, they could ask for the elections to be delayed until November 2010 for example without propping other conditions which are irrelevant to the Southern Sudan question.
Darfur has its own problems; otherwise they would have joined SPLM/A, which was fighting for the rights of the oppressed and all the marginalized people in Sudan at that time. Since Darfur has its own Agenda, we will never and never ever accept that the blood of our brothers, fathers, mothers, and children go in vain. Never at all. The South will secede from the North and will be independent. It will adopt a confederate System like the Swiss (Confederation Heltivique) System where all regions will be autonomous and run their affairs, leaving matters concerning defense, currency, customs, foreign affairs and the Court of Appeal to be the responsibility of the Federal Government of South Sudan (Democratic and transparent) which will have representatives elected by the people from the regions. This system will ensure equal representation of the regions and thus tribal groups with their diverse languages, dialects, cultures will be accommodated contributing to the emergence of a harmonious society because we will all be members of the same family.
In addition to that, some south Sudanese are more qualified to address these issues specially the author of this article will answer the challenges which will face our new born nation such as challenges of multicultural and multi-ethnic society.
The main causes of conflicts within Multicultural States:
What tools and procedures are available to States in order to meet the growing challenges of Multiculturalism?, Federalism and Decentralization: self-rule and share rule (power sharing, separation of powers within Multicultural state) as tool of conflict Management and conflict resolution, balance of powers in the multicultural State, resolving the problem of minorities against majority rule within the multicultural State, issue of resources sharing within multicultural State, protection of human rights and rule of law within multicultural State, peaceful conflict resolution, the significance of sovereignty, problems of State sovereignty, sovereignty and legitimacy of the law, legitimacy and democracy,etc.
Propaganda from Khartoum and some parts of the international community focuses on whether the south could be a viable State. Southerners generally reject this message. Nobody denies that an independent south will face problems, but they believe they can overcome those problems, particularly when they are separated from Khartoum, which they believe is manipulating and exacerbating problems in the south. Tension and conflict between southern ethnic groups and factions is an ongoing problem which must be addressed whether Sudan is united or the south is independent; thus it should not be used as an argument for one option or the other. Surprisingly, it has been receiving very little attention whether the NORTH will be a viable state if the south secedes. The centre-periphery dynamic suggests that peripheral areas (including Darfur, Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, the "Eastern Front", and the far north) will still be agitating against "the centre".
Those crying aloud that South Sudan will be gripped with ethnic violence are propagating the interests of third parties and should not be allowed to succeed with rumors mongering. The West and their surrogates, the so called Arabs, who have been the cause of problems in the South for generations, will not be there to perpetuate their policies of divide & rule and exploit when we are a free state. It is now that SPLM has to advocate seriously for independence and to assure the West and skeptics that accountable government will be established, corruption will be dealt with scrupulously, nepotism, tribalism, and all the ..isms will be permanently consigned to the abyss.
This will be implemented through an established government commission composed of qualified, respected personalities who will be assisted by technocrats from the World Bank and other renowned financial institutions that manage audit, both financial and management performance in all the institutions. The western world, especially Europe, is aware of its own interest in the Sudan question, primarily to safeguard its investments in the North of the country and indirectly use the South as buffer to prevent Al Qaeda elements moving further southwards. How long are we going to be used for other people’s interests? The Western world is so selfish, on the one hand they came out in full force to stop the war in Kosovo because it was right at their backyard and was threatening to spill over the borders which would have been costly.
The only solution was intervene en-masse, even justifying military force to contain the anarchy in a small area and effectively preventing refugees from coming to destabilize their peace. That is why they were able to solve the problem of Kosovo, because they were fed up with the people of Kosovo coming to their countries as refugees in big numbers costing millions of dollars of the European tax payers for their upkeep. When the People from Kosovo voted for separation successfully, still other countries in Europe do not want to accept that fact, but their National Assembly declared Kosovo an independent state, and since then, over sixty countries have recognized Kosovo and have since joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. So whether the western world wants it or not, South Sudan has made a decision, for good or for worst, it will leave this marriage of inconvenience go its way with coalition of the willing.
Our present Southern leaders have to play their role too, to advocate seriously with our friends inside and outside and bring them to their side. With the exploitation of petrol, South Sudan should start working hard to convince the world that they will develop the south with its available resources and will seek aid for long-term large development projects. The International Agreements on use of the waters of the Nile should be re visited so that Egypt, which for decades had exclusively and unquestionable use of this natural resource understands that these waters that form the Nile, include other countries in the great Lakes region, including Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda but not only the Sudan. So GOSS has a big task waiting and should do its research in order to be well placed to discuss the agreements which involve the countries in the region. Our leaders should look to President Obama for inspiration and draw lessons to bring change to South Sudan.
Those who hated him because they did not want him to succeed as a black person tried to make things difficult for him, but as wise as he is and as intelligent as he is, he is proving to the world what he could do with the power that he has. He did things which no any US President except him has done, passed the health bill for over 30 million Americans to have at least some health coverage which his predecessors failed to do. So let Salva Kïir be another example of Obama to show the world that South Sudan can and will be a viable state. In the final analysis, South Sudan is better off alone than with Khartoum’s Northern dominated regime. We have to ask ourselves what we have gained from 50 years of unholy marriage with Khartoum. There is nothing to speak good of but the sadness brought about by war, perpetuated by proxy militias and the so called mujahadins (mercenaries per se), destruction of the minds and bodies of countless people, looting of natural resources for example illegal transportation of wood on government aircraft for personal enrichment, poverty, displacement, deprivation of all kinds and the list goes on and on. And yet the West thinks given another 3 to 5 years, infra structure will be developed in the South by Khartoum.
The West is playing poker game. why did they not urge Khartoum to make Unity Attractive in the first place by aggressively pushing for large scale development programmes and making available funds to the South after the CPA was signed and why do they think they can do this now when we have re discovered ourselves and now want freedom through independence so as to do things on our own way? The question of ethnic violence or civil war erupting after such a vote for independence is a creation by those who want to maintain the status quo. When we are all together in one country, we will sit down and thrash out our differences. Of course you expect problems after such a change, which is natural but this will be temporary and will wither out with time as people begin to taste the fruits of freedom during and after the transition (referendum). The West or those advocating postponement of elections should not think we could degenerate into a situation like Somalia because we are not influenced by imported ideologies. We should be given the chance to demonstrate our self-worth.
We had after the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement well established democratic institutions for the first time in the South, an executive, an independent judiciary and a legislature that functioned well until this agreement was abrogated by the North which led to the second war from 1983 to 2005 when the CPA was signed ending years of hostility. During this period, many more Southerners have acquired training and skills abroad and in-country and these will be put at the disposal of the new country to be. The current institutions will only need to be revamped and strengthened with technical support from the international community. We should all support the efforts of President Salva Kiir in his rejection of what the West and our adversaries are saying. Forwards march for the long awaited independence of South Sudan. Together we can bring change to the motherland and Praise be to the Lord.
The author is a Master Degree Holder in International relations specialized in International negotiation and Policy-making, graduated from Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, SPLM Representative in Switzerland, and also did postgraduate studies in Federalism, constitutionalism and Democratic Governance in Multicultural society at Institute of Federalism, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He can be reach via E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]