Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Redefining poverty by the number of holes in the socks!

I am richer than Mr Paul Wolfowitz, the President of the World Bank . At least by one measure: the number of holes in my socks!

Despite being responsible for the World's famous body, Mr Paul couldn't afford a new pair of socks. During a visit to a mosque in Turkey, he took off his shoes and lo, and behold! There were holes in the socks, with the big toes peeking out!

Come on that must be a kind of a joke, you know. How can that happen to a man like that? He may be dedicated to freeing the world from poverty - but he seems unable to get himself out of it, that is if he is considered poor with a salary of $391,440.

Dirty smelly, socks or clean socks with holes, anyone?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bashir and the AU: more questions remain

Darfur is proving to be a great embarassment for the African Union. Praised as an African response to solve and African problem the African, it is turning out to be the AU's undoing. So it is pertinent that the body does something right and sends the right signal. But is Khartoum listening?

Sudan has all it takes to make a geat nation: large country, diverse groups and race, multi-religious, abandon natural resources with oil in the fore front. You name it. However, our series of governments seem intent on losing all these for mere chance of holding power forever.

The AU is acting to save its reputation. It will certainly be awkward for Sudan to head the AU while it is fighting rebels in Darfur and also overseeing AU peace keepers. No one in Khartoum seems to find this ironic. The focus on the deteriorating situation in Darfur comes second, in my humble opinion.

Lots of questions remain and will be unanswered for a long time. What does Bashir and his government stand to gain by making Sudan a pariah state in the world? Why are they pushing the patience of the international community over an issue that can be easily solved?

That said, what are the chances that Sudan will have the chair of the AU next year? Will there be peace by the end of 2007? Will Khartoum say enough is enough? Who has the power to make things move ahead?

Let there be change in Darfur. Let there be peace.

Bashir lost bid for AU chair

So the African heads have spoken. In the traditional way of resolving conflicts, the post of the AU chair has gone to Ghana

You can give a sigh, but what deal has been made for next year? Nobody is speaking about it yet.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Black Kush for President 2008!

I want to run for the presidency in 2008. You got it wrong: not of Sudan, but of the United States of America! To come to think of it many people are throwing their hats into the ring and I guess I should try my luck too. When Tom, Dick and Harry are trying, why not me?

Both Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls are busy testing the waters to consider a run for the top job. They rangef from the only black guy so far, Barack Obama, to the fomer first lady Hilary Clinton (Democrats) to the Republican camp including McCain, Duncan and Tom.

With such heavy weights in the run, I guess I should wait a bit longer and try something closer to home. Sudan is also holding elections sometime in 2008, a result of the CPA. If Garang were alive he would have been a strong contender, since he was both loved and hated in the North. He could have gotten all the votes in El Matema (he liked their coffee, don't know why) Will Bashir run?

Unlike the Sudanese election (I have never voted in my life though) the American one is decided by the voters conviction of what you could do for the country. Our format is the African way: I vote for my tribe and I rig when I cannot gurantee winning. Simple. Dinka vote for Dinka, Nuer for Nuer, Shaiggy for Shaiggy and Fur for the Fur. The Party comes second. African democracy has a long way to go.

Black Kush for 2008? Unlikely. However, come 2008, I will be there to let my voice be heard and make my vote count. I will wait my turn, when the old and rusted thugs die out. As for the USA 2008 run, I give my vote to Barack Obama the novice who will deliver a hat trick. (Seriously, I don't believe Americans will vote for a Black president.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bashir AU Chairman?

We shall be reliving last year's drama at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa. Will they give the Chairmanship to president Omar el Bashir, as agreed in 2006?

I will not bet on that . . . The ground is already set for another confrontation.

To hang or not to hang . . .

There is too much hanging going on in the world these days. I was not able to comment on the high profile hangings of Saddam Hussein and his friends, but not because I approve of them, but merely because I thought a lot has been said already.

I am definitely anti-capital punishment. Most countries have reasons for constitutional hangings. That will need a different post to argue that out. And most countries have banned capital countries like in the European Union, and some African countries are currrently pushing for its removal too.

Innocent people have been wrongly hanged or just to deter others. Are they justified? The recent sentence of the Bulgarian nurses and other in Libya is raising eye brows about capital punishment (hat tip: Mimz ). Libya has its own reasons for pushing for their execution, whether they are right or not is not the issue.

There is this disturbing news coming out Singapore on the death sentence meted out on the young Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, 21 Nigerian executed for drug smuggling. It has been proven that he had no knowledge that the drugs have been planted in his luggage, but nevertheless sentenced for being STUPID/FOOLISH? Does this deserve death? Singapore has one of the strictest laws on drugs punishable by death.

If there is something in the world that Sudan shares with the USA, it is the death penalty! No one knows how many people are executed in Sudan every year. I remember the early years in which people were executed for possessing dollars!

Friday, January 19, 2007

If the world were a village of 100 people...

I love demography! This is what the world would be like if it were a village of just 1oo people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same:

The village would have 60 Asians, 14 Africans, 12 Europeans, 8 Latin Americans, 5 from the USA and Canada, and 1 from the South Pacific

51 would be male, 49 would be female
82 would be non-white; 18 white
67 would be non-Christian; 33 would be Christian
80 would live in substandard housing
67 would be unable to read
50 would be malnourished
and 1 dying of starvation
33 would be without access to a safe water supply
39 would lack access to improved sanitation
24 would not have any electricity
(And of the 76 that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)
7 people would have access to the Internet
1 would have a college education
1 would have HIV
2 would be near birth; 1 near death
5 would control 32% of the entire world’s wealth;
all 5 would be US citizens
33 would be receiving --and attempting to live on--
only 3% of the income of “the village”

And lastly, English is the most frequently studied language but most frequently SPOKEN language changes twice a day: when the Chinese get up, it is Mandarin; when they go to bed, it is English!

Interesting? Check out here what it would look like if the world were a village of 1000 people. Why not do that for your country. You will need the national statistics to reduce it to 1000 people! I am trying out for Sudan.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Viva Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Africa's first elected femal president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, is now one year in office. The burly woman has shown that our African women can make it to the country's top job and excel.

And now for the comparison: which other African country, and for that matter, middle east country will boast the next female head of state? Ummmm, not for the next 50 years!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Darfur rebels losing their vision

The recent news of the formation of a new rebel group in Darfur is disturbing, to say the least. When movements and groups start breaking up into splinter groups, know that it is the beginning of the end. It is a clear message that they have lost the collective vision of their struggle.

A bit of history from South Sudan can help clarify my argument. In early 1990's the NIF government in Khartoum engineered the of the SPLA by inciting tribal differences, personal feuds and using money among the leardership. SPLA broke up into rival factions and signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement with Khartoum. Famous names include the current Foreign Minister Lam Akol, Riak Machar, Arok Thon and Karbino Kwanyinh Bol. SPLA became so weak that the government almost took back the whole liberated areas from them.

What happened then? GoS never honoured that peace and the agreement fell through. Those who signed the agreement fled from Khartoum to rejoin the SPLA (Riak Machar and Lam Akol) while others perished in supicious circumstnaces (Karbino Kwanyin and Arok Thon). It was only after the reunification that SPLA became strong enough to negotiate the final CPA from a position of strength.

If the Darfurians should learn something it is this: being united increase their chances of getting what they want through negotiations. They should sort out their common enemy before dealing with the minor internal matters and interests. Spliting up like that clouds the vision and increases the suffering of the people they claim to be fighting for.

The English say "divided we fall" and the Arab saying "me and my brother against my enemy" (am I correct?) sums up nicely . . .

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Creation of a new rebel group in Darfur

If this is not madness, I don't what else it could be. It just makes the whole Darfur more complicated and messy than it already is...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Just what does the LRA want?

What do they want? Angered by Kiir and Bashir's speeches in Juba, the LRA said they are not getting back to the peace talks. What a set back. It seems we are back to square one, again.

Kiir and Bashir: the tit-for-tat game continuous

The Juba confrontation between Kiir and Bashir over the CPA implementation was a welcome for many south Sudanese.

They will continue to hit out at each other until they agree to disagree? We wait and see.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fluent Sudani and the Sudanese flag

Sudanese blogger Fluent Sudani published this article in his blog on January 4th that I find revolting, I must admit.

SD Flag restoration

Multiple Sudani forums discussed the issue of our homeland flag. Some say it exculdes presence of southern Christians. I am profound with the current flag because it's history that ties it. Ta'aysha patriots kicked out the Brit. colonists out of our land, gained us indepedence.

Yes, I recognize southern Sudanese and respect them, but they simply were not a part of country's rebelion. We come to an end in wasteful seconds, change remarkable exhortions or our fathers! I refrain from imaging this thought.

Each color has a fascinating meaning.

Red represents bloodshed of patriots. Green represents land color. White represents soul purity. Black represents independence struggle.

Nonetheless, I have an alternative flag module I attached to this entry below. The only change is "La Illah ila Allah, Muhamadon rasool Allah" defined as: there is no God but Allah and Muhammed (pbuh) is his last prophet.

I believe in freedom of speech and each person is entitled to his ideas and dreams. I am one of those who believed that the Sudanese flag is unrepresentative of the people. Flags, like national anthems should reflect the multi-ethnic and multi-religious identity of the country.

But first his claims that south Sudanese were not part of the rebelion that kick the colonialist is utter nonesense. South Sudanese have resisted for a long time and many died fighting the British occupiers. The Shilluk Kingdom with its powerful Reth stands to witness to this.

What happened, and is happening in the Sudan today is the fabrication of history by the bunch of NIF croonies in the government. The history books being thought now inludes a chapter entitle "the entry of people in the Sudan". When I was studying history, that very chapter was entitle "the entry of the Arabs to Sudan". This is an example of the fabrication going on. References to other cultures, languages and believes are being erased. You can never erased the history of the ancient Christian Kingdoms in northern Sudan.

What alarms me most is the sentiment being carried in the article. Fluent Sudani seems to think other people don't count in the country. Denying the existence and contribution of the whole Sudanese people is tantamount to suicide. When a bunch of arabs claim the whole country to themselves, what will the rest of the people do? Forget about religion: have you asked yourself why there was war in the south and the east, and the current war in west?

I thought such ideas were left in the 20th century. When I am not represented in the running of my country, what options do I have? You can play around with the flag, adding whatever you want. Keep it, but give me back the name, for Sudan belongs to the blacks.

And Fluent Sudani, I see that you have removed my blog from your "Fellow Sudanese Bloggers"... Are you in anyway saying I am not Sudanese?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq – Darfur. We must pray for them all.”

Watch this advertisement by the Arab American Institute on Darfur here, while President Bashir says, again, that UN forces not needed in Darfur!

"Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq – Darfur. We must pray for them all.” I just wonder why they separated Darfur from the rest with a dash??? Are they trying to say somethings else?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Houston, we have a problem with CPA!

It is better than never. At last VP Salva Kiir got the guts to confront President Bashir about the slow progress in the implementation of the CPA.

During the ceremony in Juba marking the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the CPA, Kiir said all is not right. However, Bashir lashed out angrily and blamed the members of the SPLM for not taking their positions in government.

Now who should take the blame? This confrontation is long overdue. It should have happen long time ago. I would say both sides are dragging their feet.

Many observers are certain that Khartoum government is putting obstacles in the process of implementation. Little actions that seems insignificant but are huge. Let me us my president: why are there still militias in Sudan? why has he rejected the report of the Abyei border commision? why are SAF forces still in most parts of South Sudan?

SPLM should also take some of the blame for not raising all the issues that has to do with the CPA. I still couldn't remember the last time VP Kiir addressed the people of South Sudan on the progress. He surrounded himself with lots of incompetent people whose sole aims were to amass wealth for themselves through corruption.

There are people in the government who would never have made had Garang been around. They are destroying the prestine dream he had for the south. Two years down the road infrastructure is still lacking; schools without teachers and benches; major towns without electricity; insecurity rampant. Who do we blame for all these woes?

If only Dr John Garang de Mabior were around, none of these would have happened. I salute those who continue to hold the ideals and values he fought and died for.

Monday, January 08, 2007

CPA: two years down the road

On 9th January 2005, the government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement sidgned the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Nairobi, Kenya. The CPA came after years of haggling and discussions leading to the end of 20 years of civil war in the south of the country.

Two years on, there are still problems with the implementation of the agreement. Although some of the provisions of the agrrement were being implemented, the bigger and important points were being ignored.

The Abyei Border Commision is not tackled, oil sharing is still hidden and shroud in secrecy, government still holds back legislations for civil service employment and changes, emergency laws are still in place, government still maintains militias in South Sudan and have not completed the withdrawal of the SAF; the woes continue.

The international community should not turn a blind eye to these massive drawbacks. Darfur should not be allowed to take the concentration on the slow implementation of the CPA in the south. For their part all the funds pledged by the international community should be released to strengthen the government of south Sudan.

The people in the South are at least happy that the guns have fallen silent. The government should not be allowed to abrogate on agreements signed. They have a history, like the Addis Ababa Accord of 1972, abrogated by Nimeri's government. The SPLM should watch out. This should not be allowed to continue.

With elections comming up in 2008, there is great fear that delays in them will affect the 2011 referundum in South Sudan. There should be country-wide population census to support the election and referundum.

For most people in South Sudan, this is the real independence day, when the south gained self-autonomy. Let us not throw away the gains so far . . .

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Yet again, the UN shows itself unfit for purpose

"It wouldn't be the first time. If UN personnel have, as alleged, been molesting children in southern Sudan, they will be following in a long tradition of abuse. Around the world, UN officials have run smuggling and prostitution rings, stolen and sold supplies, and traded food for sex. Sometimes, the racket becomes institutionalised, as when UN contractors collaborated with Ba'athists on the oil-for-food boondoggle."

Well, so much for the UN. Read the rest of the Daily Telegraph article here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

UN peace keepers abuse children in S. Sudan

What do you do when the people you invited into your house start to misbehave? Anyone would say chase them out. But when it comes to the UN ...

The reports that some UN peace keeping soldiers in Juba had been abusing children as young as 12 years in Juba is disturbing. What is wrong with these peace keepers? Are they so over sexed that they go around looking for children?

The issue is not new. There have been accusations in Congo and Sierre Leone of UN peace keepers behaving like that. All these are complicating the UN mission in Sudan.

With such reports coming out, who will blame Sudan for refusing UN peace keepers from coming to Darfur? Peace Keepers who not only try to keep peace but also abuse and rape children. It is not enough to just investigate the issues. It may take years to gather evidence and prosecute the perpetrators of such heinous crimes.

Th UN should take this seriously. It will not be long before the tight is turn against these peace keepers by the locals.

I will say chase them...

UPDATE: . Four UN peace keepers removed

The UN has removed four peace keepers from South Sudan after the abuse.

The countries I visited map

So mine looks like this. I beat you by 1 % Mimz! I have 3 % heheheheheh ...

You can also create your own visited country map here

Tip: Mimz

Who needs Oprah?

Who needs Oprah? Everybody does, it seems, but the 150 young girls in South Africa are the happiest today!

Oprah Winfrey, the American tv-talkshow host and philantrophist has open her dream school for girls in South Africa.

The world needs more people of her character and caliber. As she said, it is not enough to sign a cheque for the charities. It is necessary to get involved in the lives of people being changed by the donations. "At a certain point, you want to feel that connection," she added. Oprah spent a cool 40 million dollars to build The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.

I wish there are many people like her who go out of their way to contribute to education and poverty reduction. There are hundreds of the meanly rich Sudanese who did nothing. They just accumulate their wealth and does nothing to help their poor neighbours.

God bless you, Oprah.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The CPA cannot be bargained

An interesting commentary from the Juba Post.

"Regarding the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, the Sudan Government, led by the National Congress Party, has opted to use the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as a bargaining chip in their protest against the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur.

Some senior members of the National Congress Party (NCP) have repeatedly threatened that if UN peace keeping forces are deployed in Darfur, they (NCP) will cancel the CPA. How is the CPA cancelled? The CPA is a document that guarantees the people of Southern Sudan their rights as citizens of this country, and their fundamental rights as human beings. These rights of the people of Southern Sudan have been violated by successive regimes in the Sudan since independence in 1956.Human rights are God given and no human being has the right to violate them. Dishonoring the CPA will make the image of the NCP much worse in the international eye.

If the CPA is not destroyed outright, it can be tampered with by mounting insecurity. If the international community starts putting pressure on Khartoum by creating “no-fly zones” in Darfur and freezing government assets, the National Congress Party will react by tampering with peace in the South. If enough destruction is done, the international community will capitulate and let Darfur continue in its present, atrocious state.

There may or may not be a coincidence that SAF-aligned militia activity has increased recently in previous Khartoum controlled towns such as Juba and Malakal. As relations between Khartoum and the international community worsen, the ruling party uses the south as their ace playing card. Denying the Darfuri the right to be protected by an effective force is abuse of human rights. The real motive to all the human rights abuses in the Sudan centers on resources. The NCP wants all the resources in the Sudan in their hands so that part of it can be used to advance Islam into the interior of Africa, even through jihad.

The NCP/NIF, is scared of any discovery of the magnitude of atrocities committed in Darfur, and those responsible for the acts. The added pressure of the International Criminal Court adds to this fear. Much lies have been said, playing down the humanitarian situation there, and naturally the truth will be bitter.

The international community, in the name of humanity, should not retract from their determination to the violence in Darfur while the NCP/NIF should leave the CPA alone and face its failures in Darfur realistically. "

Monday, January 01, 2007

Will the new UN Secretary General deliver?

With the start of the new year, the former South Korean Foreign Minister Ban ki-Moon has taken over as the new United Nations Secretary General. The big question that will be on many people's minds is whether he can deliver.

Koffi Annan, who had been the world's number one diplomat for ten years had kept Africa at the top of UN agenda. Annan made sure the poor and under-privileged of the world are represented. He inititated and pushed programmes that focus on the developing world such as the MDGs.

With an Asian at the helm, will Africa still feature? Dafur remains the thorn in the world's flesh. It is unfortunate Annan steps down without seeing it ends.

It is best to give Ki-Moon the benefit of the doubt, though. Welcome, Mr Secretary General.

Welcome 2007!

It is the new year again! Welcome 2007.

The past year had been one with lots of ups and downs in Sudan. There are bad sides, very bad sides andvery, very bad sides for many people in the country. I don't want to dwell on all these bad times. However, I have high expectations for 2007.

Let 2007 be the year we see peace and stability in Sudan's Darfur region where more 250,000 lost their dear lives and thousands others displaced.

Let 2007 be the year we see real peace in South Sudan, implementation of the CPA to the letter, without the instability cause by the militias.

Let 2007 be the year when all Sudanese put their differences behind them and resolve to work together, building the nation that will be the envy of the world.

Let 2007 be the year all Sudanese people of all colours and creed enjoy the fruits and wealth of their country.

Let 2007 be the year that goes down in history as the turning point.

Let it be. Welcome 2007.