The New African State of South Sudan.

"It is incumbent upon those who have been placed in the leadership to identify the negative signs and eliminate them quickly. The leaders must lead by excellent examples. Let the people feel there has been a change and they are now all equal with everyone else as human beings..."

A Chronicle by Akena p’ Ojok to Gurtong
 
The clock is ticking away inexorably and as certainly as the rising sun towards the historic hour when another new African State shall be born, or is it shall be finally forcibly extracted from its mother’s womb with a pair of forceps? Whatever happens now, it seems as this baby with have to survive independently as best it can.
 
The story of Sudan (Land of the Black Peoples) begins, like all other African countries, with the story of Europe’s rapidly expanding economy of the Industrial Revolution and Slavery. Egypt sitting strategically on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the mouth of the greatest river of the world, River Nile, became its greatest trading partner.

Europe’s insatiable demand for ivory and slaves, and Egypt’s own demand for a large number of slaves for its foot-soldiers, forced Egypt to open up upper Nile for these commodities.
 
In 1821 the Turk ruler Muhammad Ali sent his two sons Ismail and Ibrahim with over 8,000 men strong army on horsebacks, to invade the upper Nile valley. By 1822 they had already despatched down the Nile over 30,000 black slaves of whom many were killed trying to escape and only half, mainly women and children, reached Cairo. Some gruesome stories were told about the brutality of the Turks.
 
‘They entered now for the first time in the territory of the negroes, of the Dinkas, Shilluks, and Nuers, who with their immensely long legs stood like storks in the swamps, and of other tribes so primitive that they smeared their bodies with red ochre And there were other pagan tribes who, like the ancient Egyptians before them, worshipped the sun and the moon and who even made sacrifices to the baobab tree.’
 
‘They followed the line of the Blue Nile….  rounding up without pity, any negro they could lay hands on, and when the villagers tried to fight back – shooting off their arrows, throwing lances, and rolling boulders down  from the heights – they were obliterated. The massacre made every one sick! Some 50,000 Sudanese had been killed in the process. It was the peace of death along the river’.
 
The little trading post El-Khartoum swelled to 35, 000 by 1824 with all sorts of people attracted by the lucrative trade in slaves, ivory and gold.
 
This trend continued unabated. The Turks proceeded up the Nile penetrating deeper into the heart of Africa in pursuit, capture and massacre of Black Africans. As the House of Lords passed The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1833 Bill, slave hunt and trade had intensified instead along the Nile Valley.
 
1837 the Turks had broken through the thick Sudd to the South. The Sudanese Arabs also joined in this inhumane and abominable trade and formed the Kuturia, armed traders, to raid for slaves, ivory and produce. A series of forts were built along the Nile so that equally ruthless and corrupt armed Egyptian administrators, the Jahdiya, could regulate the trade for higher profits as they also collected taxes.

By 1860, nine British and French slave companies were formed and were catching slaves upstream up to Wadelai/Pakwach and overland as far as Torit to the east and Yei to the west.

The struggle and fighting resulting into mutual hatred and suspicion between the Black Africans and Sudanese Arabs and the Egyptian Turks was complete and irreversible by this time.
 
Britain and Egypt declared sovereignty over Sudan. The Englishman Big Game hunter, Samuel Baker was commissioned as its first Governor 1869, and Gen Charles Gordon, and then German Emin Pasha 1878.

Baker travelled, this time as a conqueror/colonizer all the way to Kafu River and annexed all areas north of Kafu, including the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and present day Northern Uganda, into the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Major forts were Bor, Lado, Gondokoro, Nimule Dufile and   Wadelai.

By this time, Baker estimated that some 40,000 slaves and 4,000 tons of ivory was passing Khartoum downstream yearly, among the slaves of course were the Acoli, Alur Madi, Kakwa and Baari.

Sudan was ruled as two distinct regions of North and South Sudan. The South was divided into three provinces of Upper Nile, Bahr al Ghazal and Equatoria.
 
1880: The Mahdist Islamic Resistance declared war on Egypt and the British. Gen. Gordon, the Governor General of Sudan was beheaded in the defence of his palace in Khartoum 1885 and Sudan was liberated and was to rule itself for the next 13 years.

1898: Lord Kitchener’s British led army recaptured Sudan While the regular slave trade had stopped; the forceful conscription of black youth in the dervish ranks was wide spread and brutal. All in all some 500,000 humans lost their lives, Kitchner having massacred some 300,000 Sudanese.
 
1894: Nimule was established as a military river port to re-enforce or evacuate Kitchener from Khartoum. In their designs in the ‘Scrabble for Africa’, Nimule was to mark British presence on the Nile and deter the French and the Belgians from entering the Nile basin.

The British became actively engaged in colonizing the interior of Africa. Bunyoro-Kitara was now detached from the Equatoria Province of Sudan and lumped with Buganda etc to form the new Uganda Protectorate. ‘Northern Uganda remained in limbo between ‘Sudan’ and ‘Uganda’ until1902 when it was formally incorporated into Uganda.
 
1912: The British finally decided to draw a border line between Sudan and Uganda. The British Army surveyors were under specific instructions to ensure that Nimule was carved and remained in the Sudan in the hope that money from Khartoum would be more readily available to build a large port Nimule in their design of the great Cape to Cairo highway by road and waterway. (This accounts for the zig-zag border at Nimule).
 
1918 & 1938: The two great European wars (World War 1 & World War 2) ushered in many changes throughout the world. Many Africans died in these wars never knowing why they had to fight and die. (for example a E.E. Evans-Pritchard marched over a thousand fine young Anywa men to their deaths against Italian guns in Gambella Ethiopia).
 
1947: At a Juba Conference South and North Sudan were unified as one country. Of some 400 government jobs only two were given to black southerners.  Clearly the ethnic divide could not be ameliorated, especially in the common services such as the police and the army which in fact were considered as softer areas for cooperation.
 
1955: The squabbles that simmered under the surface broke to the open in the army. Some soldiers revolted and disappeared in the bushes. Anyanya One was born led by names like Lotada from Torit.
 
1956: Egypt wanted to hold on to Sudan as its colony, but in a typical British colonial duplicity, Britain sided with Sudan’s quest for independence, bringing  an end to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and Sudan was given Independence in January 1956.
 
1963: A revolt of Southern army officers was sparked off by a Northern officer who felt free to shoot a black colleague in contempt. The Southern Officers led by then Captain Joseph Lagu walked out and to the bush. Anyanya 2 had begun in earnest.

The liberation war was brought to an end only by negotiation in Addis Ababa 1972, in which Southern Sudan was given ‘Autonomous Region’ status, ending the 1947 Juba Accord. Gen Nimieri remained President and Gen Joseph Lagu became his Vice President. A half a dozen Southerners were appointed in government posts.
 
 
The World became crucially radicalized, the ideological war (erroneously called ‘Cold War’ continued apace, Israeli/ Palestinians/Lebanese wars, Fundamentalist Christian/Fundamentalist Islam. Clearly these happenings rekindled unrest inside Sudan. The terms of the Addis Ababa Accord of 1972 were not kept.
 
1983: President Nimeiri foolishly repudiated the Addis Ababa Accord of 1972, and hoping to remain in power by appeasing the Islamist Extremists in Khartoum and abroad, he pronounced that Sudan would once again become one State, and more so it would now be governed by the Islamic Sharia Laws. This sparked off wide spread protest among the Southern Sudanese, and also world wide among the Christians and freedom fighters.

Nimeiri tried to brutally suppress the rebellion to no avail. The rebellion spread to the army ranks and barracks among Southern officers and men who soon deserted their posts with guns and left for the vast bushes of the Sudan. Col John Garang, a Southerner who was still loyal to Nimieri was sent to negotiate with the rebels and quell the rebellion. It is said, the rebels managed to convince Garang to see their cause and join them. Garang did not only join them, but was asked to lead the rebellion.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) was born. SPLA received wide support, especially from the USA Christian Fundamentalists.
 
The Sudan government launched a war of attrition against The War of liberation of the Black Peoples of Sudan, which became protracted over 22 years, brutal and costly especially in terms of human life. It is estimated that some two millions souls were lost, especially women and children and a similar number were displaced. It pitted the Arab Sudanese against the Black African Sudanese and opened up centuries-old wounds of hate and contempt for each other.

Sudan’s development had come to a halt and nil economy. Successive Sudanese governments perpetuated and perpetuated the North/South divide. The condescending attitude towards and contempt of the Black Sudanese was in the increase rather than on the wane.
 
1989: Sudan has known no peace since 1955 and has been plagued with a series of army coups. There was yet another one in the name of Major General Omar al-Bashir.  Bashir did not only intensify the war, but introduced foreign elements and recruited the ‘Millitia’ that consisted entirely of ordinary people from the North and indoctrinating them to believe that they were fighting a holy war.

At this point the half-open door that had still remained open for a possible ‘reunion’ of Sudan was slammed shut. The moderate Northern Opposition Political Parties tried to re-open this door in Addis Abeba in vain. The fact that Bashir rushed the exploitation of Petroleum found mainly in the South and used the money to develop the North only and cynically buy guns to fight the South sealed the door of possible unity permanently.

There is no need for pretences here anymore. North Sudan and South Sudan cannot remain in one state. The only realistic and sensible thing to do is for each of them to go their separate ways.

The South Sudanese have chosen ‘FREEDOM IN SEPARATION rather than SLAVERY IN UNITY’. Surely Separation is better for even the North Sudan than the then on going blood shade. May be in the far distant future the North and South may then try to unite based on equality and respect for each other and necessity that may arise.
 
2005: The Americans did the most obvious and humane. The USA brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) (9 January, Nakuru Kenya), which in effect was a cease fire and a cooling off period of six years, long enough for Bashir to be able to see the naked truth and hard immediate and historical underlying facts of the matter, and sit down coolly and witness the extraction, ‘The Referendum Jan 2011’ of a new born, without his help or without even him contemplating picking up the gun again.

The painful memory of slavery is 190 years old, since 1821 when Muhammad Ali and sons marched into interior Africa. The process of South Sudan to finally remove the vestiges of the shackle is irreversible.
 
2011 Welcome aboard New African State of South Sudan.
 

South Sudan is a huge nation of some12 million inhabitants (when all get counted) on an area of 620,000 square kilometres. Juba is the capital and other important municipalities are Malakal, Kosti, Bor, Maridi, Rumbek, Wau, Yambio, Torit,Yei, Aweil, Bentieu. There are some 200 ethnic groups who speak various dialects, although African English and Juba Arabic are widely spoken.

The clans may be further grouped as Dinka/Nuer, Shilluk/Anywa/Acoli/Jur-Chol, Moru/Madi/Lugbbara, Baari/Pojullu/Kuuku/Kakaw/Lotuho/Mundari, Toposa/Lango/Didinga/Murle/Lokoya,  Zande/Makaraka/Kaliko/Mundu etc.
Ethnic numbers vary from the smallest, a paltry 7,000 to the largest 3 million persons.

The April Elections and now the January Referendum has shown the complexity of this new state. There are virtually no infrastructures for good governance. Against this backdrop, however, South Sudan is rich in minerals including Petroleum and gold, Vegetation, water, livestock and wild life. There is no reason why the new state should not succeed.
 
The picture looks ominous. This is a very huge responsibility that would make an ordinary person tremble. But President Salva Kiir and his Team are no ordinary men.
 
If, however, I have to have that audacity of hope, I would say that the Team should begin with its people. The people have suffered discrimination, segregation, humiliation and marginalization on top of a very long war.

These conditions are dehumanizing indeed and can twist ones world outlook. They are bitter inside them. They are suspicious and are on the lookout for these negative signs. Sadly, some may even create one where they do not find any. It is incumbent upon those who have been placed in the leadership to identify the negative signs and eliminate them quickly.

The leaders must lead by excellent examples. Let the people feel there has been a change and they are now all equal with everyone else as human beings and that he or she will not be discriminated because he or she is tall or short, fat or thin, darker skin than the other or speaks some other dialect or come from some other place. They are equal before the law and have the same opportunity to education and job.

It will pay handsomely as a prelude to development to prepare extended social and cultural programmes for the people to acquaint themselves deep in the remotest villages as well. They must develop brotherly/sisterly feelings towards each other. They must all believe in hard work and working together to build that country. The spirit of nationalism must be nurtured to grow quickly. Everything else will then fall in place.

The leaders must take advantage of the presently overwhelming global goodwill towards South Sudan.
 
Congratulations! I cannot wait another 190 hours.
 Akena p’Ojok 11.01.2011 London
 

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