Lessons Learnt and the way forward

By Lero O. Odola*
July 1, 2006


Can South Sudan afford another dishonoring of peace accord? This question and many others are lingering in the mind of ever Southern Sudanese. The generation that fought in Anya-Nya One has experienced and saw the Addis Ababa Accord of 1972 crumble in 1983, a short ten years.  The vast voiceless majority of people of South Sudan may be asking this burning question silently. Dr. Garang has made it clear that it is “up to you to decide to be free or become a second class citizen in your own country”. Marginalized people were kept in the back shadows in the past as described wisely as follows:

“When a black person led any coup in Sudan, it is called inequitable coup plot, but when the so-called Arabs made a coup, they called it coup scheme attempt” {the late Dr. John Garang} “Look at the so- called Arabs of Sudan, in their intention and discriminatory action against the indigenous people.  They kept the best foot ball player at the back as a goal keeper because he is black” {Father Philip Abass Gubush}.

At this time we see greed for power and wealth as real problems facing us as we draw near to 2011 to vote. The ranks on top in the South seem divided without common stand for the vast population to follow. In the past we saw local autonomy “Hkuma Mutut” of Juba as the late Garang used to say.  Our leaders were easily divided and become busy to fulfill self interest. How can we accumulate wealth and forget to orient and lead the people? We have learned successfully how to wage liberation wars but we failed to reach the ultimate goal because the wealth and power mislead most of our former leaders.  Some of such leaders are again appearing on stage to grab the KCPA and lead or pull us back to zero. The liberation wars have made the Southern Sudanese famous in the entire world but the world wonders why we are too slow and easy to forget the ultimate prices on the way to freedom.  How and why do we make wealth and fail to lead? The exemption of South Sudan from sanction is a hint of realization of our broad different culture, economic, social, and religion from the North. South Sudan is already an independent state in the eye of world viewers.

The list of lessons learnt through struggle for freedom over the years is very long. They were the manifestations of the war that just ended. For instance, the massive protest against digging of the Jonglie Canal in 1974 was one thing.  Plans to exploit and export the oil through Port Sudan.  Akobo mutiny opposing relocation of Anyanya one soldiers to the North on March 3rd 1975. The decree of re-division of the South [“Hkuma Mutut”] into three regions, in June, 1983, which was a clear message of divides and rule policy. These and other challenges were the millstone issues through the years of liberation. There are more challenges ahead that we must together and firmly tackle before 2011 to prevent the history from reoccurring.  Thus, in this new era, we need to do something more extraordinary to demonstrate to our helpless people the results of our long hunting season.

As we come closer to the dead line of 2011 to vote for self determination, we see more of chaos than good because a large group of people are afraid of self determination. This group is enjoying with the Arabs at this time.  Freedom from the North puts them in crossroads of survival.  They anticipate losing prestige and jobs both in the South and North.  The Jallaba will surely discard them if the South goes away. They will have no more use to the Arabs.  This group does not care to think about the ultimate price paid during the last 22 years of war. 

In the round table Conference of Juba in 1947 The South was misled and voted for a united Sudan. The blame went to our leaders of the day even though lack of well educated people was a major factor. The Addis Ababa agreement was different in that there were more elite people and more seasoned politicians. In 1983 we buried the Addis Ababa Accord. It was greed and power that killed it and caused us lives and 22 years to regain recognition by the Arabs. Are we going to see more of the same this time with the KCPA?  Our great leader, Dr. Garang, gave us the road map already by repeating this all the time: It is “up to you to decide to be free or become second class citizens in your own country”.

Children, elderly, women, and disable persons who died during the civil war must not die in vain. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement must be handled carefully and protected wisely. The leaders of the Southern Sudan are those who came directly from the war. They know better but must be vigilant to see and identify wolves wearing goatskins. More than fifty years of war must not be wasted. These wolves were the ones who bought out the Addis Ababa Agreement. Most of them are pretending to be friends but have their legs spread in between the North and the South. The Arabs like them because they are still in effective use mainly to kill the CPA.

The Southern leaders must value the effects of war on the entire population of the Southern Sudan. They must quickly provide basic needs to the largely war traumatized population like clinics, water and schools for children.  “Sudan is the largest, the richest and most divest country in East Africa, if there is no peace and prosperity in the Sudan it may affect the whole of the continent” [Salim Ahmed Salim].We have the resources. If used wisely we can deliver the needed peace easily to the population. Without delivering anything as it is now, the Southern Sudanese remain a people without a government and the GoSS remains a government without its people. Government and people are far apart. That is why we see refugees returning back to the refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda, Congo and Ethiopia.  The IDPs in Khartoum, Juba, Malakal, Wau, and where else are uncertain whether theirs home stead or other parts in South are safe to live.  The Kenya Compressive Peace Agreement they expected is partly not there.  Notorious militias are still looting and killing people. Cattle rustling, child abduction, and raids still being exercise frequently in most part of Southern Sudan.  Tribes are uneasy about their common borders.  Some have been displaced by another. The government is not ready to settle disputes or it does not have it on program at all. Urgent house keeping is needed in most part of the South Sudan Counties and Payams.

To avoid another dishonoring of agreements, the GoSS must show presence by delivering the basics for the population to settle to plough the land, children to go to school, the sick to get fitting treatment. The GoSS then will find it easy for people to receive the orientation toward 2011 vote for self determination.

Lero O Odola is a Sudanese, currently lives in the USA, and he can be reached at   lero.odola@mnsu.edu  or lero.odola@blueearth.co.mn.us















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