Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sudan Referendum 2011

While I was working in Sudan from 2001-2005, the conflicts (civil war) between the Sudanese central government (north Sudan, majority Muslims, Arabs) and “Sudan People’s Liberation Movement” SPLM (south Sudan, majority Christians & Animists, black Africans) who was termed “rebels” continuously erupted. The southerners accused the government’s tactics of suppression, marginalization and unbalance wealth distribution. Both parties eventually signed the Naivasha Agreement in 2005 and truce was called. The agreement was to develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. It further set a timetable for Southerners independence referendum in 2011.

At that time, I had predicted the country/ the 2 parties would split up in the end, based on the factors of widely different cultures, traditions, mentalities, high illiteracy, lasting poverty, corruptions, contradictory political philosophy etc. This 6-year transition period was too short to change the mentality.

The initial polling result of the referendum announced up to 98% of the votes opted for independence. The Central government led by Omar al-Bashir by no mean would agree to split this largest African country into 2, the government would never let the fertile and resources rich southern lands out of their grips.

The next step, I predict the government may do some tricks to agree with concession to buy time and plan to strengthen their hold in the South. They can’t afford to initiate next round of civil war to jeopardize the booming economy. No matter how, President al-Bashir wouldn't give a damn to the world for his humanitarian accuse.

In case that the Southerners succeed to claim independency, I’m afraid the new land would probably turn out to be another Congo, and another outlaw sooner or later.