Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UN approves Darfur forces

The UN has unanimously passed theresolution authorising the deployment of over 20 thousand peace keepers. Now let the waiting begin . . .

A hero remembered

Two years ago, the former freedom fighter and Vice President of the Sudan Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in a helicopter crash in the junlges of South Sudan. In his honour, the Sudanese lit candles, laid wreaths and pledged support of the CPA. However, the expectations of the peace is slowly turning into desparation.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Husband sticking by his wife

Despite the stories of desperation in the midst of the conflict in Darfur, some stories can bring a smile on your face.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Go, Muna, Go!

I got this picture of Muna Jabir celebrating her gold in the women's 400 m hurdles at the All African Games in Algeria. Notice any changes?

One, she has not covered her head and two, she is wearing a vest, instead of long sleeve shirt! :) The rest I leave for Drima! Is she wearing long trainings or shorts? Uhmmm . . .

But I can say this: there are changes happening in how the Sudanese their view women! Muna will do us proud in a long run.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome, Baba Moi

I believe it is coming at the right moment. The appointment of former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi as the envoy to Sudan is a step in the right direction. It should not be seen only as an effort of the Kenyan government to safe guard its interest in South Sudan. There is more than that at stake.

Two years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the CPA is facing big problems. Many of the protocols have not been implemented fully, let alone tried. Abyei is still an issue. SAF has not redeployed from South Sudan rich oil fields and the militias are still at large. The litany of woes continuous.

Kenya does not want to stand on the sideline and see its efforts of bringing peace to Sudan unravel in front of their eyes. Moi should ensure that the CPA is implemented in full and the referundum is held in 2011. He may face difficulties on the way, but I believe Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi is ready for the task.

Welcome, Mr Moi.

The suffering Sudanese refugees in Egypt

What is happening to the Sudanese refugees in Egypt is the worse that could befall a refugee. I am getting reliable information of summary arrests, intimidation and beatings of the refugees. What is filtering into the media is just the tip of the iceberg.

Egypt is bend on preventing the refugees from crossing into Israel, killing afew every other day. Their are hundreds languishing in Egyptian prisons, like the infamous "Haris al Awal" prison somewhere near the Israeli border. What is the Sudanese government doing? What is the SPLM doing? What is the UNHCR doing? What deal has the Egyptians struck with the Israeli government to prevent the border crossings?

The brutality with which the Egyptian police is responding is utterly unwarranted. How can you shoot unarmed civilians? Even if they try to cross the border illegally? Unless they are drug smugglers, I see no reason at all. It brings to mind the massacre of the Sudanese refugees in December 2005, when more than 100 (officially 23) died and hundreds others missing.

Conspiracy theories abound about it all: that Egypt does not want to let the refugees either go further or return home! How are they benefiting from their stay? Millions of dollars are being sent every year into Egypt from relatives abroad to their families left behind in Egypt. It may sound rediculous, but you are welcome to do the statistics. If that is not the case, why is even the voluntary repatriation been stopped?

I respect Egyptian authority to try to settle the issues, but they should be more prudent in their approaches. Killing them makes the situation worse.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Only 3 Gold Medals for Sudan at AAG

I have been following the action at the All Africa Games in Algeria which is just ending. I am a fan of sports and was looking for representation and hoping that Sudan wins something.

Sudan participated only in athletics, taking along 20 young athletes. Why is a huge country like Sudan participating in only one discipline? Can we produce athletes in all the others? I find it strange indeed.

Sudan should do more to promote all the sports in the country and scout the length and breadth to get good and young athletes into the games. Unfortunately, all the participants were from one part of the country. I believe there is a huge talent out there that can be put into good use. The yearly Schools Competition can be used as well.

Thanks to Mouna Djaber, Kaki Abubaker and Yamile Aldama for the three Gold medals. Unfortunately, the efforts are not being covered by the Sudanese media.

Bashir in Darfur

Why is the high profile visit of President Bashir to Darfur causing a stir? Is it not only logical that a president visits any part of his country? These are the questions, but they seem to be different when it comes to Darfur.

The Sudanese media is hyping the visit to show case that Darfur is getting peaceful, although he travelled to the region amid massive security of his own! And his call for peace and development? It is being called propanda in the West, because he finds himself squeezed on all fronts.

Yah, the playing field is still littered with conspiracy, etc. But peace will come to Darfur oneday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

How the UN is re-colonizing Africa . . .

And the rest of the third world. Just food for thought, guys. . .

United Nations missions
1. Middle East (Untso, Jerusalem) 2. Kashmir (Unmogip) 3. Cyprus (Unficyp) 4. Golan Heights (Undof) 5. Lebanon (Unifil) 6. Western Sahara (Minurso) 7. DR Congo (Monuc)
8. Ethiopia/Eritrea (Unmee) 9. Liberia (Unmil) 10. Ivory Coast (Unoci) 11. Haiti (Minustah) 12. Sudan (Unmis) 13. Sierra Leone (Uniosil) 14. Burundi (Binub)

15. Afghanistan (Unama and Nato-led Isaf) 16. Kosovo (Unmik and Nato-led K-For) 17. East Timor (Unmit and Australian-led force) 18. Georgia (Unomig and Russian-led CIS force)

19. Darfur (African Union force) 20. Somalia (African Union force) 21. Sinai Peninsula (mainly US force) 22. Bosnia (EU - Eufor) 23. Tajikistan (Russian-led CIS border force) 24. Trans-Dniester (Russian force)


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What next, SPLM?

After a full week of meetings, the final speeches given, the files are closed, tickets boaught and all the heads of the SPLM Chapters around the world are packing and leaving the country? What next for the SPLM after the Chapters meeting?

Wani Igga urged them o be ambassador for the CPA in the diaspora, Joseph Lagu sang for them his famous war songs and the people danced. Bu is that all. These guys have travelled all these distances not to see Juba only. They have huge tasks on their soldiers.

The SPLM should be strenghthening its position in the country first, not outside. Two years after the CPA, the citizens have lost trust in the SPLM. With widespread corruption going unabated, poor services and lack of salaries for teachers, it could be even worse than these. Kiir had to put his house in order.

Even GOSS has a new nickname in Juba: Government Of Self-Service! The meeting could be over but the future is getting bleaker. God forbid.

Let there be water . . .

. . . and there was water, much water, under the sands in Darfur! Good news for the people. Now that "water" will end the cycle of violence, once the wells are dug, I hope they don't find another excuse to go to fight.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Coup or sabotage?

The report of the arrest of the leader of the splinter Umma Party, Mubarak al Fadil al-Mahdi, and some other opposition figures over charges of an attempted coup or sabotage is of concern to every citizen. The NCP is alleging that the groups plans to coause unrest in Khartoum, by recruiting retired gernerals from the troubled Darfur and Eastern Sudan into their ranks.

Whatever the truth behind the arrests will never be known. The facts are that the government is getting wary of opposition. Like in any other dictatorship, when you want to silent them up, what better charges than tramp up accusations of treason, in the name of national security?

We shall be monitoring to see where all these go. Turning Khartoum into another Bagdad is not the solution to Sudanese problems. The fact that things like these are happening calls on the NCP government to rethink its strategies. It is a clear sign of desgruntled majority in the streets.

Time to talk, again

Another Darfur peace talk starting in Libya, but without the rebels! No, the AU, UN and the Libyan government say they are laying down the blue prints for talks that will be restarted soon. Good to hear. At least, also, the rebels are talking to each other and are fronting one body for the talks with Khartoum.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

GOSS reshuffle: timely or too late?

Two years after the formation of the Government of South Sudan, South Sudanese are still waiting to see the fruits of the peace. A government that started almost from scratch is being bombarded left, right and center for corruption, inactivity and ineffectiveness. We shall be taking stock, but let me first say some few words on the reshuffle.

The reshuffle is long overdue, as far as I can see. GOSS turn out to be corrupt and the only thing they were good at was squandering government money. No one in the government is clean from the president down to the last MP. They all want to make money at the expense of the people without delivering any services. The only plus for Kiir is that he started acting.

For instance: government contracts were awarded to companies without the normal bidding processes, kickbacks pocketed by the dealers. In the end no work gets done and no one is accountable for the mess. Riak Machar is said to always ask new companies coming into south Sudan "what is my share in this venture?" Unbelieveable.

Rebecca Garang, the wife of our great hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior surprised everyone with her behaviour. Initially thought to be the champion of the CPA and anti-corruption, she has yet to explain where all the money had gone for the reconstruction of the roads in Juba. Juba town is a shame to move in. The roads are worse than they were before the GOSS take over. Potholes everywhere. Instead, she was busy siphoning money into her private businesses. Bogus Italian companies were given huge contracts to repair the roads in Juba one year ago, but up to now the only thing they do is fill the potholes with concrete (see photo), something never heard of in the world!

And the electricity in Juba? And the finance Minister scandal? How about the Ministry of Health? The woes are too many. I leave them for next time.

The reshuffle? Better late than never, at least.

Stoves that save lives . . .

How can stoves that use fire wood safe lives in Darfur? Strange, but it is something that is happening. A group of scientists have built a special stove that uses less firewood for effective cooking. Result: it reduces the number of trips to gather firewood, thus less chances of attacks and rapes.

Ingenious. More people are doing lttile things for great achievements. They are flaming hope in Darfur.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Am back

I am back to blogging. Unfortunately, I will not be blogging from my base coz of work relocation. I will be missing the SPLM International Chapters meeting in Juba and the effects of the new reshuffle of GOSS ministers. There is optimism in the air in Juba . . .

More to come. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

07.07.07 . . .

Even if you are not superstitious, today is not that ordinary . . .