The intervention of investors is both an urgent and strategic issue here. The abundance of the different natural resources and broad opportunities for wider investments stands to defy all the reasons behind the sufferings of the people in these parts of the world.
Equally true for possible investors to come and invest in the virgin lands of south Sudan, the authorities of the region need to promote peace and stability. And nothing here can justify the constant association of any levels of investment with the south’s choice of either unity or secession. However as secession seems to be the most likely choice for our people, then we have a moral duty to make sure that both peace and stability prevail so that we can develop. And it is never going to work the other way round.
As for the average south Sudanese, the CPA comes to an end in 2011, after which if the referendum doesn’t take place, the fate of the whole country enters a political limbo. Sudan can only become peacefully united or separated through holding a fair and credible referendum where southerners will choose between the two options. Confederation which is coming up recently is no more than putting hurdles in the way of the plebiscite. Since it is nowhere mentioned in the CPA document, then tabling it at this particular moment in time is a clear violations of the agreement itself.
Confederation is indeed a compromise, not between secession and unity, but simply another form for the latter. Until we as southerners determine our position on sovereignty, there can never be any room for sound future issues. Talks of confederation are themselves as tricky as anything else. And given the way things stand right now, I even believe that should confederation between south Sudan and its neighbors become a necessity for its survival as a state, then with the experience of the Islamic Laws in the northern Sudan, we may be better off confederating with the countries of the East African Community, than turning again to the north as if our collective memories are failing us.
Another issue I also found quite distorting in the news is the demarcation of the North/South Sudan borders. The fact that it could be some of the issues where the African Union’s (AU) assistance might be sought, a comment by one reporter that such an assignment may contradict with the organization’s principles of maintaining the colonial bounders of Africa sounds rather sinister.
Let us get it right, for the disputed borders between the north and the south that needs to be demarcated is to be based on Sudan’s colonial maps as they stand on the eve of the 1956. That is exactly what we are asking the AU to do in its capacity as a stake holder in the CPA. It is with the aim of fully implementing this agreement, to the spirit and letter something that the US administration, AU, EU and the entire International community has engaged themselves as signatories, that the people of south Sudan continue to seek their positive involvement.
It is now about time that the CPA is fully implemented of the CPA, as well as putting the post referendum arrangements in place. However nobody in the NCP-SPLM partnership will be allowed to misinterpret to us that confederation still remains an option when the two sides had since long put it out of the political equation, dating back to the Abuja 1 and Abuja 2 peace talks , years even before reaching the current and final structure of the CPA.
I can only conclude my article by reflecting on what was raised up in one of the fora by a concerned South Sudanese elder, who prefers to remain anonymous, and he called it food for thought, and I quote:
“The UN representative in the Sudan promised that "his organization will provide technical and logistical support and, in addition will play the role of observer." What does that mean? Supply transportation and manpower? Will the UN intervene if an uneducated person is being forced to vote a certain way? Can they nullify the result of a rigged plebiscite? Will they not conclude that "by African Standards" it was acceptable? Meaning, in Africa cheating is a way of life, therefore acceptable. “He said.
“The responsibility lies on us to educate the people, to make them aware of what they are up against and to listen to no one but their own hearts. They must be willing to resist coercion, to death if need be. We must tell the people to stand up for themselves. Only when the people defy the corrupt government can we win. “He added.
If we were collectively cowed into accepting the forged Census results, and the equally rigged April 2010 national Election’s results, although it is no longer a secret that those two important CPA bench marks were seriously marred by ‘state sponsored’ fraud, so are we now also prepared to put up with a rigged referendum in the waiting?
It is my wish that all our concerned citizens and members of the various civil societies take a critical look into the rapidly changing events on the ground. But as it is often the case that even the most educated amongst us can be tempted to keep silent in order the save their lives or jobs or win the approval of the current NCP-SPLM crews while they recklessly sail with us over the most angry political waves. Let us be ready to address the uncertainties ahead as a people with one destiny, if we are ever to reach that common destination.
The author, Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, a South Sudanese residing in the United Kingdom. Can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com