During a service in New York City at the time of the referendum, which
offered prayers from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Native American
traditions, David Bassiouni from south Sudan and a former senior U.N.
staff member for UNICEF, thanked those who had gathered: "[The
referendum] marks a milestone in the lives of people in Sudan; many of
us thought we'd never see this day…We are hopeful that God has brought
us this far." Southern Sudan has never had the opportunity to decide
for itself, he added.
Permit me to express a few candid thoughts about the period leading to
the July 9th independence:
1- President al-Bashir and his National Congress Party have long
sought an exclusively Islamic and Arab country, so the formal creation
of South Sudan helps them to achieve their goal. With 98.8% of the
more than three million southerners who voted for independence in a
referendum deemed free and fair by all observers, both peoples will
clearly benefit from an amicable divorce resulting from irreconcilable
differences over half a century of suffering, violence, two million
deaths and many more displaced families. Congratulations to Omar
al-Bashir for accepting the outcome of the referendum and offering to
support the creation of a “brotherly” nation.
2- The 6-months of negotiations prior to July 9 seem to be going
reasonably well. The setting of boundaries, especially in oil-rich
Abyei region, the citizenship of both many southern families living in
the North and northerners in the South, the sharing of oil revenues,
with the only pipeline lying in the North but 80% of the tapped oil
lying in the South, and the $35-40 billion present national debt-these
and other issues need goodwill and careful thought to resolve them.
3-Good governance—perhaps drawing on the excellent precedents of
Botswana and other sub-Saharan countries—seems to be one key to a
successful transition. South Sudan must ensure that the Khartoum model
is not transferred to their new capital. As Hustin Laku of Ottawa said
recently on TVO’s Steve Paikin show, South Sudan should create an
African model of democracy rather than seek to import practices from
elsewhere. Permit me to add some additional governance suggestions by
• “The SPLM must understand and apply the concept of 'servant
leadership' in the new South Sudan state. Robert Greenleaf explains
‘the great leader is first experienced as a servant to others’.
According to Greenleaf, ‘a servant leader is one who is a servant
first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve
others first, and to make sure that other people's highest priority
needs are being served’.”
• “The way ahead is creation of a multi-national state that
subscribes to the principles of equality, acceptance, respect,
freedom, separation of religion from state, peace, collaborative
governance, reconciliation initiatives, the need for the creation of
national consciousness and an awareness of common values... Failure to
do so (will cause) the 63 plus tribal groups (to) rebel against the
South Sudan government because the government is not inclusive...”
• “It is important the new government in Juba must encourage
the role of Diaspora(s) in the development of South Sudan.”
Dr John Garang
• “It is important that women be (equal to men in) the new
South Sudan state” (The late John Garang, revered leader of the Sudan
Peoples’ Liberation Movement, once said that women are the “poorest of
the poor and the marginalized of the marginalized.”)
• “Equal representation from all groups…”
• “(The) SPLM leadership can talk about unity, but unity will
not exist without fight(ing) against tribalism, corruption, nepotism,
and ethnic favouritism.”
. “Maintain peaceful relationship with the North for the peace of
Ambassador John Schram
Canada’s former ambassador to Sudan, John Schram, on the same Paikin
show added that Canada and the estimated 40,000 Sudanese diaspora
across this country here are willing to help with infrastructure, such
as schools and hospitals. Diasporas in other countries want to help.
Schram noted that among the countries which also want to help are the
U.S., U.K, France, Germany and Norway.
I would stress the need for cooperation and interaction with the
international community based on the principles of political democracy
(protection of human rights, an open market based on clear rules and
strong judicial system).
Canada and other nations should be positioning themselves now to
assist as requested. Our taxpayers have sent about $800-million to
Sudan since 2006 alone.
There are in fact good reasons for optimism about brighter days ahead
for Africans generally. Multiparty democracy has swept through much of
continent. By 2000, 32 out of 54 African heads of state had been
chosen in elections against rivals backed by opposition parties.
One lesson from Africa is that economic renewal and democratisation
best go hand in hand. Botswana and Mauritius have experienced the
highest long-term growth rates, while also enjoying the longest period
of democratic governance. Positive growth has returned to Benin,
Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa, where the resurgence of democracy
has been strong. Those having the most difficulties during the 1990s
were not cases of failed democratisation but failed governance.
Another encouraging development across Africa is the resurgence of
civil society, which has been at the forefront of the struggles to
dislodge authoritarian regimes. It is in states everywhere where civil
society and independent media are weak that the greatest challenges to
genuine electoral competition and accountability exist.
African perseverance towards a better future inspires us all to do our
best in making Africa a continent of peace and prosperity. The world
community must continue to devote serious attention to Africa. Every
effort should be made to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals
to end poverty and hunger, establish universal education, gender
equality, and child and maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, promote
environmental sustainability and global partnerships.
Here are two additional recommendations to consider:
Strengthen investment in education
Nelson Mandela said, "No one is born hating another person because of
the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People
must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught
to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its
opposite. ....Education is the great engine of personal development.
It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a
doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine,
that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great
nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given,
that separates one person from another."
Who can disagree? Indeed education is one of the most effective ways
to help tackle poverty, diseases and ethnocultural conflicts and other
challenges facing Africans. As a result of the rising level of
education, in a continent that was once almost entirely dependent on
foreign aid, there are now 16 countries that have achieved annual
growth rates in excess of 4.5 percent for more than a decade. Several
African countries, including Senegal, Mozambique, Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, Uganda, and Ghana are on course to cut the number of people
living in poverty by half.
Encourage the establishment and enforcement of corporate social responsibility
Three-quarters of Africa’s foreign trade is based on the extraction of
natural resources. Corporations that are involved in the resource
extraction should be encouraged and in some cases regulated to ensure
that they support and respect the protection of internationally
proclaimed human rights as well as the environment.
Corporations should be encouraged to take initiatives in support of
the rule of the law instead of being complicit in corruption which
undermines the development of the rule of law. The governments of
developed countries should take lessons learned from the current
economic crisis and apply them in regulating corporations with
operations in Africa.
Nelson Mandela said: "I dream of of an Africa which is in peace with
itself. I dream of the realisation of the unity of Africa, whereby its
leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this
To realise Mandela's dream, that of John Garang and so many others who
gave their lives for the people of South Sudan, and millions of others
in Africa and around the world, for a continent united in peace and
prosperity, we must be first and foremost united in our shared
responsibility to help build governance systems that encourage
accountability and deter corruption by strengthening the rule of law
and respect for human dignity.
In post-dependence Kenya, people used a slogan for pulling together
and that slogan was 'harambee'. Harambee was a call to cooperate in
the name of national development. Today, the world community must come
together to address political, social, economic and environmental
issues in South Sudan as we address these problems elsewhere. Only
when we achieve this solidarity will we achieve a true African
renaissance, one of peace and prosperity.