In four weeks time, the South of the Sudan will know its long awaited political destiny. People there shall vote on January 9 2011 (22 days from today) and results are expected to be released a week later. All systems and indicators point to birth of a new nation in the horn of Africa and indeed in the Africa continent. The Sudanese authorities have invested enough time and resources to ensure the process goes ahead as planned. Congratulation to all. Southerners in the process are beaming with hope as they unmistakably look ahead for their hard won freedom. Hail the new born King and new born nation!
If that is the case (freedom around the corner) for the people of Southern Sudan, then there are number of issues the leaders in Juba should revist/restart thinking earlier as everyone look into the birth of a nation in February 2011. Of course our leaders aren't sleeping, they had actually gone ahead of us on these issues. What some of us would want to do however is to remind them once more unless they forget. The unit assign with that duty of making amends/adjustments is called Southern Sudan Constitution Review Commission or whatever name, and there is a gentleman who often shy away from meeting the media heading it.
Let me bore you to mention a few, and hope our debate should lead somewhere. Please note that the author shall only highlight some of the issues with no much elaboration. Here we go: one of the issues is the name of the new nation; is "Southern Sudan" a name we would retain and if we need to change it, what name are you preparing to give to the 'baby'. Anyanya One had "Azania" as a name of the Republic, a name with rich meaning, what about you? I believe in divorce, the two partners severe any grain of relationship. This is to allow for an identity creation on the side of the partners. In our case, the same is true, we ought to create our own identity; name is one topping the list!
Second, our new nation needs to adapt a different coat of arm other than the eagle one we have in our document and everywhere. Baffalo has come out strongly as a possible coat of arm for our nation. Whether animals are slow or not, baffalo has a historical ties in as far as our struggle is concerned. That is right from Anyanya One War. If you think birds are ok, then fine. Let's go to the third issue: the currency note. Boma was suggested and if we think our nation will have menatory problems to print money or cut that root, then let's prepare to have our own currency note name not pound. But if we feel keeping pound, then some artistical touches to change some manuscripts are required in our current notes.
How about the army and the party; will S prefix makes any further meaning when we break away? I don't think and know you will agree here. The army is suggested to be called Azania Armed Forces (AAF) and the SPLM to take Azania People's Party (APP), with its flag different from the current flag of the nation. Even this flag for our country can be 'trimmed' to look different from that of another country we neighbor.
Fifth issue is the language in our books. Arabic can't be our national language. During the Regional Government in the 1970s (High Executive Council), Moru language was chosen as our national language due to its easy vowels and structure. Why don't we revisit this idea or craft another one from among 29 or so beautiful languages. Some people say, our Arabic Juba could be developed, hmmm!, but if we are interested in foreign language, then Kiswahili is another language we can give it a try. Already we have a good number of people speaking it and as we intend to go East African, this could work well with us.
The other issue we said our leaders in Juba are working on it and that we just remind them in this note is the need to register or lobby for inclusion in the East African Bloc immediately after independence. This could help us economically to be specific, as the nation is planning to move the refinery activity to Lamu. Politically we need a group that identify with us in many respect.
Seven and eight issues -for our new born nation- are internal matters of prime importance. Khartoum has all along tell the wold that we can't manage ourselves, and subsequently, the graving of a new nation will only lead to a failed state in Africa. If we are to prove them wrong, our think tanks are to invest in food security, education and infrastructure. These are key sectors, we really mean business. Some leaders in Africa in recent times have moved away their populous and countries from bread begging status to bread importers. Malawi and Nimibia are two key examples of how a brain of man can turn misfortunates to fortunes. We have enough arid land and hard working people, why not till the land.
A policy is needed from the top and money pour there. In few years, we can see the fruits of our plans. Road construction (weather road) is the best infrastructure a country can employ to stay on the path of development. Mr. Anthony Makana (the road man) borrow money for that purpose; we will pay it!
Our institutions are to be detribalized and positions given to any qualified Southerners on the basis of meritocracy. We have said this many times and we must not be quiet when nothing changes. Some ministries are becoming monopolies of certain ethnic group and this phenomenon must stop! Army hasn't been spare either, pockets of appointments and transfers are questionable. Some institutions have turned these offices to private centers, where everyone speaks vernacular during office hours.
Another issue before we go is the life span of the current government. Are we prepare to go for another election and if yes, where is the money and time to go another gruesome exercise. It is suggested the April tenur of five years should go they way it is, and thereafter the country can go for another election in December 2015. Healing and reconciliations are matters on the table now.
You can go and on, but the bottom line is this: we have to be free and free from everything that relates us again to Khartoum. Our social institutions are to change, especially the one with Arabic culture. Our government shouldn't just jump to foreign culture leaving behind our beautiful cutlures. Even now we are hearing our government going parliament way by scrapping religion from institutional system. Pariament rush to secularism catch before taking in to account what constitutes our social behaviors. Its unfortunate that our law makers don't open their sessions these days with words of prayers, what a disaster waiting that House. The Government should have avoided such blunder. Happy Nativity to all!
Isaiah Abraham is from Juba