Sunday January 9 2011

SOUTH SUDAN: Countdown to freedom

By John Malesh


At long last the people of south Sudan cast their votes on a referendum (plebiscite) which many analysts believe would split apart the Africa first largest country, leading to the independent of the south Sudan as a sovereign entity.

An independent south Sudan would definitely mean freedom for the south Sudanese who have been under the yoke of different oppressors as they exchanged hands between the Turks, the Egyptians, the British and the Arabs over the last two centuries. The price for our freedom was not given on the golden plate but was paid by the precious blood of our gallant forefathers and the freedom fighters which was crowned by our fallen hero who was none other than Dr John Garang De Mabior who believed, fought and died for Sudan of equality, justice and freedom for all.

Things in common
South Sudanese and Ugandans have too many things in common. We have lived, intermarried and co-existed peacefully and amicably for centuries or perhaps time immemorial. We must capitalize on the strength of these commonalities.

One of our politicians from south Sudan has coined a very interesting term and he called it “Suganda” that’s south Sudan and Uganda uniting and coming together. In fact what has made unity of north and south Sudan “unattractive” is the lack of strong cultural ties or more aptly “blood relation” between the two parts of the Sudan whatever hard they have tried to make the unity attractive. But all the efforts have been in vain and the session is eminent!!

South Sudan “Free Nation” would provide further business opportunities for many Ugandans who have already established trade links with south Sudan over the years. Uganda’s economy was believed to have shocked-absorbed the global financial crisis because of its trade links with DR Congo and south Sudan.

Uganda’s contribution
Uganda should do its best as it has done in the past to incessantly extend a helping –hand to south Sudan in terms of professional, technical and logistical support that’s desperately needed as an emerging nation.

One of the south Sudanese in Uganda commented that when the time comes for south Sudan to join the East African Community (EAC), south Sudan will be the natural, intimate partner with Uganda in the community should for instance, Rwanda and Burundi or Kenya and Tanzania walk together.

About four Million southerners are registered in the referendum exercises as eligible voters, who are expected to participate in the forthcoming referendum, which will offer the opportunity to southerners to choose between either to remain united with the northerners or secede.

Rev Malesh, is Director of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan Support Office in Kampala, Uganda.