Contrary to Many Expectations The South Will Win – Part I
By Tadjadine Bechir Niam
Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Nasser, Houphouet-Boigny, Keita, Olympio, Kenyaatta, Kaunda, Nyerer, etc., are all founding fathers of Africa; the old generations, our leaders, the nationalist as many of us called them. They successfully challenged the might of the British Empire, the French Colonialists and the European powers over the last century and opened the doors for independence. They promised nation- building, realized their aspirations and hopes, worked for development, pledged to provide education and health, all very ambitious plan, but little has been achieved despite all their and our continues efforts to overcome difficulties.
Sudan is an example of an African country that suffered almost continuous war since political independence in January 1, 1956. The South Sudan went to war early in August 1955, when the central government denied semi–autonomous powers to the region, a popular demand of the people of the South at the time. In 1972, the Addis-Ababa Agreement brought tranquility of 10 years before war broke out again between South and the central government in 1983 led by Col. Dr. John Garang Dembour. After bitter and serious fighting with huge casualties from both parties, an agreement was reached between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army(SPLM/A). The two parties negotiated and signed the CPA agreement in Nairobi, Kenya reached on 2005. Among many promises from both parties, they firmly committed themselves to honor smooth implementation and a good faith effort to make unity attractive to the people of South Sudan, who were given the right to a referendum on their independence on January 9th 2010. If the indeed secede, this will divide the largest country in Africa in two.
As the referendum is likely to lead to the creation of a new state - the first in Africa since Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. A lot of speculation and questions have been raised. The main of them is whether the two ruling parties (NCP & SPLM/A) will be able to conduct constructive post –referendum measures to grant smooth separation. The parties widely differ on how best to tackle all these problems and create positive long-term relationships. So far the senior officials from the NCP & SPLM/A have failed to agree on crucial issues such as citizenship, nationality, currency, assets and liability, and international treaties. No doubt these issues are decisive in making secession peaceful or violent. The South will also face other numerous challenges including the sharing of power between the dominant SPLM/A and other Southern opposition political parties, the accusations by the Central Government that the South is harboring Darfur rebels, the religious differences between the populations, the final demarcation of the borders (although most of this has been achieved), the oil-rich area of Abyei, the Constitutional Court’s deliberation on the legality of the secession process and its review of the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) (despite the remarks made by SSRC Chairman, Prof. Khalil), cattle raiding, conflicts related to grazing rights, allegations of widespread corruption and a lack of transparency, lack of services and infrastructure, ethnic tensions between different tribes, and the accommodations and services for returnees from the North. Despite all these challenges, the leaders of South Sudan will move forward with strong determination and win the independence of their people, once and for all. How they will accomplish this will be the subject of Part II of this series.
Tadjadine Bechir Niam
Researcher in International Affairs & Diplomacy and Secretary for Negotiations of Liberation Justice Movement/Army(LJM/A)
Doha 19th 2010