Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas to all ... and happy Idd al Adha too

"Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to men on earth
on whom his favour rests!"

Have a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year 2007. Happy Idd al Adha to my Muslim friends too! I forgot! See you all in the new year!

I am going on my holidays.

Sudan accepts UN/AU hybrid force

Atlast, atlast, atlast!

The Sudanese government has atlast agreed to the UN hybrid force for Darfur! The government had been dragging its feet for a long time over the issue. Now a compromise on the hybrid AU-UN force seems to be favourable for the government, albeit with lots of reservation.

The time is now right to put things in order in Darfur. The hybrid force alone cannot bring peace to Darfur. Efforts must now be exerted for concurrent peace talks to end the suffering. An all inclusive peace shouldbe the goal, not fragmented deals with renegade groups that only worsen the situation.

And let there be peace in Darfur...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas curfew in Juba

It is not going to be a good Christmas in Juba with the curfew in place.

Christmas in Juba is not only the the day. The traditional midnight service is the must attend service for many. As far back as I can remember, I have never missed this service, even during the hard faces of the war. There had always been allowances made for people to attend the midnight service without being harassed or arrested.

I hope the GOSS security will grant the people of Juba the chance to take part in the mid night mass.

So does it also mean no all night parties and new year bonanzas?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

10 bulls for LRA rebels

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda cannot cease to amuse. He has a good sense of humour too!

In their slow-moving peace process in Juba, President Museveni is sending 10 bulls as Christmas present to the rebels LRA in their assembly places. He said it is a sign of good will in the talks.


Saturday, December 16, 2006


I will be away for the next three days on a short trip and there won't be new postings. Have fun wherever you are.

South Sudan (2): the case for separation

Welcome back. Let us now see the arguements for separation. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January 2005 give the South the right to secede in a referundum after six years interime period. Did they have a case?

What had made the peace talks between the SPLA and government take such a long time to conclude was the issue of trust. South Sudanese have lost complete trust on the successive governments in Khartoum. Abel Alier, the former Vice President of the Sudan (from South Sudan) under Nimeri puts it bluntly in his book that 'Too Many Agreements Dishonoured'. That is why the option for separation was vital for the movement to sign an agreement.

There are many other reasons to opt for a separate country. South Sudan has not gained anything in the fifty years of independence, thanks to the leadership in Khartoum who show to that. There are no functional infrastructure, no proper schools or health service and poverty is wides spread. Maybe standing alone thy can do something on their own instead of remaining marginalized.

After abrogating the Addis Abab Agreemnt and declaring Sharia in the country in 1983, Numeri had effectively excluded the South Sudan, which is predominantly Christian from the system. How can South Sudanese in their own country become become second class citizens? And no Christian can ever dream of becoming the president (for example) in an Islamic country. The presidency is not that of a selected few. Everyone should have the right (even if on paper) to be president, like any other person in Nimule, Berber, Foro Buranga, Dinder or Jazeera Aba!

South Sudan has the most untapped resource, in both human and natural. The vast oil reserves in the South could give its economy might that can rival South Africa in growth. There are also other minerals like gold and diamonds. The vast agricultural lands could serve as the breadbasket of Africa. The opportunities are endless.

And capacity? South Sudanese diaspora are the learned and skilled if they could all return to build. They have not been sleeping out there, coz there are professionals of all types. They can do the job. In a multi-tribal society, tensions are expected. The NIF are only fueling them by buying unsuspecting poor tribal chiefs and militia leaders to do their dirty job for them.

The temporary marriage in the form of Government of National Unity (GONU) has no unity to show for it. They are trying to sell the idea of 'making unity attractive' by pleasing the South Sudanese so that they will not vote for independence come 2011. The Arab countries are pouring in money: Egypt woeing with scholarships, Kuwait wants to build five star hotels, etc. The question has always been: what could they do in six years, that they couldn't do in 50? Where were they?

And don't you tell South Sudanese about African Unity! They know that Eritrea went it separate ways from Ethiopia and the United Nations blessed the separation of East Timor! You cannot definitely deny all these.

So should the South separate? I don't think I have been exhaustive of the arguements, but I believe the answer will be known after the ballot in 2011. However, what happens between now and that day is everyone's guess: the unionists will use every sinew to see that the country remains united, by hook or crook. And the separatists have their owns ways too.

Friday, December 15, 2006

SPLA soldiers on rampage in Juba

I felt like crying . . . Not again! There are gun shots going around in Juba! Former soldiers of the SPLA are on the streets demanding to paid their salaries. Sudantribune was quick to report it here.

It is sad how things can go. Of all the people in the movement, SPLM seems to have forgotten their foot soldiers. After getting into government and squandering money, those very soldiers who fought gallantly for change have been thrown to the back.

It is a sad situation for a country does not honour its veterans. These soldiers must be the first to be paid and not cheated of their dues. Who is going to defend the country and fight for the government if the soldiers refuse? How can you expect them to keep peace when they are hungry, knowing tha a hungry man is an angry man.

Salva Kir should listen to voice of reason. His arm length approach to events is going to cause the people of South Sudan dearly, again. He should show strong leadership, rid the country of corruption and restore confidence of the people in his government. Otherwise, the future of South Sudna is hanging in a balance.

Why Southern Sudanese feel trapped

I just thought I should pause with this article on South Sudan. I got it here.

Inside the mud-and-wattle structures, eating places by day and pubs by night, littering the Juba streets, people often hurdle to discuss the future of Southern Sudan. But they are discovering that it’s becoming harder to discuss the future without discussing the wave of insecurity across the country.

“The reason for these incidents is not what many people think it is,” Dr Kenyi Spencer, told this writer outside one such makeshift iron-roofed eating place, a swirl of dust from the fast moving cars, blurring the view between us.Initially, the Lord’s Resistance Army took the blame for the attacks. The Government of Southern Sudan later blamed the Sudan Armed Forces.

The reason, many analysts said, was that the Khartoum traders had hired the Sudan Armed Forces elements to disrupt trade between Uganda and Southern Sudan. That trade, which has made Uganda's border points at Arua and Nimule boom towns, has also given the people an alternative source for goods and brought prices down. In the past goods here in Southern Sudan came from Khartoum, which is much farther from Juba than is Kampala.

But to many analysts, the reason for the attacks is shaping out to be different – and much, much worse and costly – than initially believable.That reason has to do with the future of Sudan.

“The people in Khartoum want to make it impossible for the referendum to take place,” said Spencer, an economist, who returned from South Africa to help rebuild his country.

But to get to that stage, there will have to be a referendum in 2011, according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the two parties in 2004. Blocking that referendum, to many Sudanese, is the key to blocking secession. As accusations intensify that Khartoum is fanning insecurity in order to torpedo a referendum that would allow the people of the south to determine their destiny, the Sudanese Defense Minister this week passed the blame to the Lord’s Resistance Army. “Those are the Sudanese LRA from Southern Sudan,” the Khartoum minister of Defense Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein said this week, as he traded words with the SPLA officials, The Juba Post, the south’s largest newspaper, reports in next week’s issue.

Ending the insecurity in the south, the official said Wednesday, during a security meeting is a responsibility for the Southern Sudan government. But the Government of Southern Sudan officials say the perpetrators are not LRA. Oyai Odeng, the SPLA Chief of Staff told Hussein that the perpetrators have been identified as Sudan Armed Forces personnel.

Last week, two SPLA guards and another person were killed a kilometer from Juba by attackers the SPLA said planned to set fire on a military depot.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

South Sudan (1): the case against separation

It had been clear from the outset that South Sudanese have a case for separation. However, before taking that angle, let us discuss the case against separation.

Secession is no longer palatable in the world. The African Union is pushing for 'African Union' and not keen on already established countries to break up. A united Africa is what they want and therefore frowns at South Sudan to even thnk about such options. The former leader of the movement Dr John Garang de Mabior is clever not to raise it. He always says he is fighting for a new Sudan, and won hearts around the world.

The other reason is that of capacity. As mentioned by the British before independence, South Sudan is not capable of being a nation on its own. It is still lacking in capacity and competence. Iliteracy is widespread, no infrastructure of any kind, and could not survive on its own.

Many people also believe that the South Sudanese lack the vision of a nation. Its societies are still broken along tribal lines. There are still tribal rivalries between the big three tribes: dinka, nuer and shilluk. If South is to separate, there will surely be another war among themselves for power! The NIF seems to use this fault line very well indeed!

With lack of capacity at the top, South Sudan could easily deteriorate into another Somalia. Foreign countries could easily plunder the vast resources of the country.

What could avoid the South State from goiung into war with the North? The wide border between them could be potential for trouble spots, along the oil fields located close to the North.

How true are these arguements? It will not be easy to sell such ideas to South Sudanese though! These are just a collection of the few being trowled around. Next let us turn to the case for for separation.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

World's oldest person dies at 116

How did she do it, I mean to survive to the age of 116? Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden was the world's oldest person.

The infant mortality rate, the probability of a child dying before the first year of live in Sudan is 62/1,000. The life expectancy is a mere 57 years!

Yet here is a human like us who lived to be 116 and had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren!

How the Danes solve their speeding problems!

Have your city got speeding problems? Borrow a leaf from the Danes! Check out at halalhippie! It may work, especially in the Arab world!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

South Sudan: to separate or not to separate

A lot of people had been asking me about my views concerning the issue f separation of the South Sudan from the rest of the country. I think this is a real issue for most people during this hard time in the country.

I want to put forward a collection of vews from both perspectives: to separate or not to separate. Before delving into this two views, I would like to give first some backgrounds that formed the views to be shared and be as neutral as I can.

During the British colonial rule in Sudan, South Sudan was governed separately from the North. The Closed District Act ensured that separate development. However, before independence Britain offered the South unity with the North during the famous Juba Conference in 1947. The idea was that the South has better chance of development as part of the North, who are more educated and advanced than the South.

The South Sudanese at that time were not happy and mutinied in Torit in 1955 which led to the 17 years of civil war during the Anya Anya Movement. This war came to an end in 1972 with the Addis Ababa Accord giving South Sudan self autonomy. Unfortunately, former president Numeri abrogated the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1983 and declared Islamic Sharia in Sudan.

In 1983 as a result of Numeris misplaced actions, South Sudan took up arms again with the formation of the SPLA. Peace only came more than 20 years later with the signing of the CPA in Nairobi in 2005. The peace came only after two important elements were included in the agreement: the separation of religion and state and the right of South Sudan to secession (self-determination) Other elements include SPLA keeping its army and autonomy.

With the CPA South Sudanese have for the first time the right to choose between unity and separation. South Sudanese have lost confidence in the successive governments that have dishonoured many aggreements and cannot be trusted. The South remained under-developed and marginalized.

The choice for unity is being played out by selling what is referred to as "making unity attractive". In other words, if South Sudanese witness benefits and development during the six years of Government of National Unity, they will vote for unity.

So should the South separate? I will be putting forward the arguements for and against separation in my coming posts.

Friday, December 08, 2006

How Egypt is woeing South Sudan

It was no surprise when the news came out that the Egyptian government has granted scholarships to South Sudanese to study there. It is not news for the obvious reasons.

Any common man in the streets of South Sudan knows what Egypt was after: the Nile. Egypt was so nervous about the Nile waters that it can do anything to avoid people use the water! The Egyptian involvement in South Sudan goes far back in history.

Following the Addis Ababa Agreemnt in 1972 that brought an end to the first civil war, Egypt offered hundreds of scholarship for South Sudanese. This was also in order to secure the digging of the controversial Jongule Canal. It was controversial because of the environmental impact to the ecoystem in the sudd region.

What is new this tme round? With the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005, South Sudan has for the first time the right to vote in a referundum for unity or separation. Egypt was openly opposed to the separation of South Sudan and initially opposed the article on separation during the peace negotiations. Now that it is already signed, Egypt wants to strengthen relationship with South Sudan and influence the results of the referundum.

It will take more than Egyptian meddling and Arab World interference to change the course of history. The drive to make "unity attractive" is never going to work. South Sudanese need genuine effort of reconciliation, not thinly veiled attractive packages.

It was only last December 31, that many South Sudanese refugees died in the Egyptian capital at the hands of their notorious police. It is still fresh in the minds of the people.

Our sons and daughters can go to Egypt for education, but that will never be an influence during referundum come 2011! Like a beautiful maiden, it will not be easy to win the heart of South Sudan.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thoughts . . .

Take a minute to think
And think of the things you thought . . .