Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A new nation and hundred questions

A bridge Across White Nile- Sudan
Finally that happened, a new country registered their birth on the banks of White Nile. After long civil wars, which almost locked Sudan in the past, South was finally separated from North and most probably they will declare independence in July 9.Its indeed a commendable action from all the parties involved in the peace process to conduct the referendum with out much bloodshed and north for accepting the results peacefully. An overwhelming majority of 98.83% voted in favour of separation, resulting in the creation of a new state.

But is it over? Is the creation of South Sudan an answer for the all problems faced by Sudanese? Will the mere independence transform one of the least developed countries in the face of the earth and fill the dreams of the people? If the world history has anything to say, then the answer is no. As long as the the new administration is not able to find the solutions for the problems, which resulted in civil wars and separation, the fight is far from over.

If the state of democracy in the neighbouring states can be considered as an indication for the future, then the road ahead is more like a desert than an oasis. Many African countries fell in to the hands of dictators after enjoying a brief stint in democracy. In order to escape from the pit falls Juba have to work hard on creating new political institutions and developing the culture of democracy among the people.

But as usual, change is not easy, issues like gun culture and cattle raids required continued efforts and patience. Another major problem is a phenomenon called 'Curse of oil'. There is no reason to believe that South Sudan will be free from this decease, which already affected many of the African countries. South Sudan is blessed by both oil and nature. Protected areas of South Sudan have a spectacular wild life population and hosts the second biggest wildlife migrations in the world. But the question is  will the government be able to use the oil wealth for developing infrastructure, primary health care, education etc or will it fly over Alps? I can only wish that good sense will prevail over the politicians and they will be able to spend money for the benefit of the people rather than heavily arming the already heavily armed military.

The issues related to Citizenship, sharing oil revenues (South Sudan is a land locked country, oil have to travel through other countries to reach sea) and the future of Abyei are yet to be resolved. If not solved quickly, then Abyei have the potential to become a long running border issue between South and North. If experiences around the world have anything to teach, it will be better to complete the separation as fast as possible, otherwise another war will start for that stretch of land (Abyei). Responsibility of international community is not over by conducting referendum, this is the time for a nation building process along with overseeing a smooth separation and closure of partition book.

Future of Sudan will depend on How Juba will answer the critical questions in Initial years. My congratulations to all the people of South Sudan.


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