North-South Sudan economic war

By John A. Akec

July 30, 2011 — If you think there are ethics to guide the current economic war that is taking shape between the Republic of Sudan and the newly independent South Sudan, be ready to be disappointed. As far as Sudan government is concerned, and in the words of its finance minister Ali Mahmud, his government is ready to do whatever it takes to protect North Sudan economy (Sudani, 12 July 2011, Issue 1992). Literally, that is what Sudan government has embarked on by fighting South Sudan economically hands off the glove, hitting hard under the belt, and taking no prisoners following the pattern of the 22-year war conflict that was waged against them by Sudan Liberation Army (SPLA) in the South and other areas of the North, a war that eventually led to separation of the South from the rest of the country on 9th July 2011.

What it is that the North is doing economically to the South that can be depicted in such harsh terms? And what has the new nation done to engender such an angry response from their erstwhile protagonists? Could anything have been done differently to avoid the economic war? And what kind of loss or gains we expect each party is going to incur in this unfortunate conflict? There are no easy answers.

How North Sudan is Waging its Economic War against South Sudan?

A few months in run up to South Sudan independence, the government in Khartoum stopped transportation of fuel and food items from the North to the South. Prices of the fuel rocketed in the South. People parked their cars in their homes and walked to work or risked spending long hours in queues to get a few gallons of petrol for arm and a leg. That fuel came from Kenya and Uganda. Then came the mass relief of Sudanese of Southern origin from the army and civil service in the North and ordering private sector employers to follow suite, a month ahead of declaration of South Sudan independence; a move that was roundly condemned by a wide spectrum of Northern Sudanese civil society which regarded it as inhumane and an attempt to export mass unemployment to the South.

In air travel, luck or coincidence was the ally of Khartoum government. The only 2 Fokker aircrafts owned by Feeder Airline were grounded by a manufacturer order, warning of faulty fog detection system. This is the only South Sudan based passenger-airliner connecting Khartoum and South Sudan main cities. Khartoum aviation authorities also refused to grant landing permit in Khartoum International Airport to Feeder’s new Boeing aircraft. That gave the Northern airliners a monopoly of air travel business between Khartoum and South Sudan. Airfares tripled beyond what many Southerners can afford.

A few days before the declaration of South Sudan independence, all accounts of South Sudanese institutions with central bank were frozen. The electronic banking system used by the Bank of South Sudan (BOSS) and ministry of Finance in the South and the Central bank in Khartoum whose server was maintained in Khartoum was closed down, making it impossible to move funds between BOSS and its branches and between BOSS and other commercial banks in South Sudan or anywhere in the world. Then North launched its new currency barely two days after South Sudan launch of its currency and declaring as illegal tender the 2 billons worth of Sudanese pounds currently circulating in the South, a move that will cost South Sudan US$ 700 million. Finally, the Khartoum government asked Juba to pay US 32 for every barrel of crude oil transported through their pipeline, the highest ever charge in the world for rendering similar service, according to South Sudan officials.

What has South Sudan committed against Khartoum to merit this severe punishment?

According to leading figures in Sudan ruling party, the National Congress Party (NCP), South Sudan government is doing everything it could to politically destabilize the North, although they would rarely admit publicly that such sentiments are behind their economic furry against the world’s newest nation.

Putting aside the unresolved issues over border demarcation and contested Abyei area, the government of South Sudan is being accused by Khartoum of supporting the recent armed insurgency in South Kordofan with potential rebellion in Blue Nile State, and extending help to Darfur’s armed movements. The statement by the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, in his independence-day speech that he ’will not forget the people of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur, was interpreted in the North as a public confession to interfere in Sudan internal affairs.

Worst, South Sudan is seen by the North as the linchpin of the West in the ’war’ against Khartoum regime which the West has long accused of committing crimes against humanity in Darfur and possibly in South Kordofan. Recently, the NCP stalwart and presidential assistant, Nafi Ali Nafi, warned the South Sudan government to “distant itself from the West if they dream of building any cooperative relations with the North.” Read economic cooperation.

The Road Not Taken

South Sudan had six years to insulate itself from impacts of North economic embargo, or at least minimize such impacts. However, it would seem that no one saw it coming, or rather there are countless things that could have been done and they haven’t. Furthermore, South Sudan should try to be seen to play positive influence in Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur- difficult yet worth trying. On their part, the Khartoum government should reach a fair deal with armed movements in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, a settlement that is not less brave than the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that successfully brought relative peace after 22 years of conflict.

Failing that, the Khartoum will continue to wage its brutal economic embargo on South Sudan, which will suffer greatly in short-term. However, in the long run, Khartoum risks provoking political uprising if it is seen to be incapable of achieving peace in the 3 areas as well as failing to forge beneficial relations with South Sudan.

The author is vice chancellor of University of Northern Bahr El Ghazal in South Sudan, and chairperson of Academics and Researchers Forum for Development, a think-tank and advocacy group formed by the South Sudanese academics and researchers. The writer edits a blog: http://www.JohnAkecSouthSudan.blogs…. To get in touch, write to:


Melbourne first in the world to declaration south sudan an independence state

Hours long before juba, Australia melbourne’s south sudanese already erected the flage and declarateed “south sudan as independent state”.

The south sudan natives that made melbourne home after flewing war, were jiont by thousan of Australians in welcoming the birth of world newest “nation south sudan” as an independent nation.
A rapturous day, that took place in two halls, at Melbourne city council hall and Kingston city church hall.

from a distance, you can hear Women ululations cracking the wall, while men wailing “spla oyee! south sudan oyee!!!”or skipping around with faked shields and spears and danced their ways around the crowded hall waving flag, or flags attached, hanging them on their top or hats, or surface.
it was spectacular shows, flags everywhere, some Wearing as a face paint or carrying it, very high, or/and on car bonnets at car park, you can see other flags hung out the windows and some choos to bounced their cars painted with south sudan flags colours,up and down as it go in delight

other men and women choose to stand still or take to the corner and wept openly or head down, as if oblivious to the ear rupturing cheering, whistling and dancing.
one picture that will never leave my head is of an older man who was sitting next to me and start sobbing like little baby as what seen to be his daughter enmbraced him.It is very emotional and exciting moment.

all these started with one moment,a mock (SPLA) sudan people liberatio army parade, who marched and raised the flage of south sudan and lower the old North islamic state pan-arab’s flag hours before juba. that particular moment seem to have set emtionals high and send everybody on crying mood. an indication that this day is finally real.

Then, there were speech from governemnt of souths sudan of representive, australians’ churches leaders, poilitical parties representatives,and independent politicain, at fedral, state and local government.

And final, the day was graced with dances from all south sudanese tribes, with especial dance ocassion coming from the people fo Nuba mt, the crowd gave them standing ovalation twice, on entrance and exits. An indication that Nuba is part forever part of south sudan as GOd have intended it and that south sudan is with them thick and throw..
After all tradtional dance, people sit down to watch the SSTV live coverage from the actual declaration of independent in Juba the capital of the south sudan.

Khartoum Poisoned 100 “Southern Sudanese Street Children” to clear the market of loitering

South sudanese’s street kids in Khartoum, north sudan capital

Several news agencies have reported mass poisoned and up to 100 children were found dead from different market centers
journalist for Gurtong , Peter Lokale Nakimangole, based in TORIT, South sudan, reported what been
Described by southern Sudan official as an evil proportion to Nazis gassing’… that up to Hundreds of street children from Southern Sudan or Africans stock are allegedly poisoned to death in different markets of Khartoum city between June 26th-27th,

Speaking to Peter Lokale Nakimangole, one woman that called herself Elizabeth said that There are South Sudanese street families locally known as ‘shamasin’ whose kids loiter around various towns of north Sudan, habitually sniffing glue, smoking cigarettes, and usually find nowhere to sleep in the market as days and nights pass,”
purportedly, northern Sudanese traders carry-out to clear them out by placing “poison into water” along corridors adjacent to shops where these destitute groups of children drink” she explained to Gurtong news

South Sudanese officials reacted very angrily explained gurtong news
“This must have been planned basically as a part of opposing the upcoming Independence celebration for the soon to be Republic of South Sudan, on 9th July, 2011”. Said South Sudanese officials

Mary Aporu, a south Sudanese residing in Khartoum told Gurtong that Suk Weida where a big number of South Sudanese reside has registered the highest death toll so far and the figures are still being tallied from other markets in the city.

“Now Fears have flared among Southerners, some stranded or have rescheduled flights to south sudan in the upcoming historic celebrations,” Aporu, a mother of 4 elaborated.

Among the markets where hundreds of South Sudanese street children poisoned are Suk(market) sita, Suk Omduruman, Suk Afrenji and Suk Al Harabi.

The Eastern Equatoria State Deputy Governor, Nartisio Loluke Manir who is deeply concerned over innocent South Sudanese in the north strongly condemned the move, He told Gurtong that together with the eastern equatorial State Governor Hon. Luise Lobong, are making contacts with other in the north and south to establish and investigate the matter.

The head of Khartoum State’s Criminal Police Department, Major General Mohamed Ahmed was quoted while saying in a statement that 60 homeless people between ages of 13 and 25 had died mysteriously in different parts of the North Sudanese towns, confirming that all these deaths were caused by a consumption of methanol and other toxic substances.

“6 suspects accused of being dealers or suppliers have been arrested”. Declared Khartoum State’s Criminal Police Department, Major General Mohamed Ahmed

Gurtong news agency estimated that over 35,000 homeless south Sudanese children live in Khartoum, displaced armed conflicts from various regions in south and western Sudan

Ater Majok drafted by NBA club LA Lakers received pessimistic reaction from Americans media

24 hours have since passed as Sudanese and Nigerians are still recovering from happiness in celebrating momentum achievements for Ater majok and Chukwudiebere Maduabum
But it is not all celebration at media dog house and with some NBA fans at the social network. They have decided not to be part of merriment of NBA 58th draft pick historical. As I wrote this article, Ater is trendy on twitter/facebook, something reserve for Hollywood celebrities on drugs and alcohol addiction or Prince William marriage to girl called Kate.
Apparently, media and social network are eventful discussing ater’s pick as “waste of a pick” that He’ll never play in the NBA; they say that as soon as NBA season started; lake will stash him away somewhere “like many other draft last pick.
“He’d be stash in Europe or NBA D league” said ESPN commentator.
Matt Charboneau, a leading columnist from Detroit, Described Ater draft as how ridiculous the NBA draft has become.
“We chalk it up to the mystery of the draft…Teams and their executives must be smarter by finding the superstar nobody knew about. But when was the last time that happened? That type of thinking usually leads to colossal busts and throw-away picks” he wrote in his today column.
But all is just anger of jealousy and having non-America kids having a chance. This writer just like many other today revealing himself and why he is Angered, apparent there are many Americans kid that deserved that chance than Ater, he was very specific about a kid from Detroit called Kalin Lucas, who according to him led Michigan State to two straight Final Fours and became the Spartans’ fifth all-time leading scorer was left wondering about his future.
“Why selected some dude from Sudan, who went to Australia and ended up at UConn in 2009. While there, he didn’t even average point and left after a year before apparently wowing the NBA gurus at a camp in Italy a couple week’s ago.” and he wonder?
But it wasn’t Ater alone, these guys seem to have jeaslesy problem of having Africans drafted into NBA saying “You will never hear about Maduabum, Targuy Ngombo or Ater Majok” he declared
Another sport writer Dexter Fishmore wrote “Lakers Go Obscure with 56th And 58th Picks” saying that Ater Majok Pretty much no one expected him to be taken in this year’s draft, that he’s extremely raw in almost every respect. At UConn he shot only 42 percent, and according to Draft Express he “lacks great deal of strength, balance and coordination, and possesses very little in the ways of experience or feel for the game.” In other words, don’t expect to see him in a Laker uniform soon, if ever
Ken Berger, a Senior Writer, added that the Draft was troubled, saying reading names like Ater Majok amongst other, Known to only a handful of basketball-watching humans until Thursday made laughs and makes him wonder if and when majok ever makes it to the NBA
I could go on about this, thousand other articles and numerous forums that sound exactly negatively the same. TVs like ESPN describing Ater today as unknown when they had him on their programs many time. Not even single news outlet has any prospective chance of Ater pulling on LA Laker jumper ever.
But i know these people don’t know Ater at all, two years ago, there was these countless news too, that he was deluded for declaring himself NBA draftee and contemplating an aspirations in the NBA but today he is laughing, he made his dream for being drafted.
Most Sudanese do remember very well that When he signed with University of Connecticut. He was rendered something of a joke that was to be bash; all media commentator commented were never encouraging.
”When he made the Boomers team for China, went to turkey to play in Europe, When he played for Perth, When he played for the Gold Coast and When he declared for the draft the 1st time and the 2nd time, he was laughs at like crazy.
Now that he is drafted the negative mount to 100 time, I know one day he will make the LA laker team roster and he will be bashed saying he is never get off the bench”. And when he get off the bench, he would non-performer
Obviously, Media don’t know that Ater must have what it takes to be drafted in the first place! He has physical attributes and athletic abilities suited to the NBA game, and he knows very well that These attributes alone will not get him an NBA game, that why he’d solidify determination to work hard on his game to continually improve. I certainly would say to anyone that this opportunity the Lakers gave Ater will prove all his critics wrong. And within short time will he’d triumph and will star in NBA’s games
He deserves the opportunity. And for many Sudanese, Ater Majok being drafted is successes in itself. But will the media ever know that? It was almost as if it were personal. But thank coach smith and those who have been supportive and recognize the accomplishment of Ater potential (especially as a refugee making his way in a new country)
But if Ater doesn’t successes in being an NBA star, then this process was itself a success for him, he still be richer in experience and wealth
He’d be the one when the NBA draft was winding down at around midnight with only three selections remaining, and NBA second-in-command Adam Silver called out a name no one expected to hear.

“With the 58th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select … Ater Majok the third-to-last overall and also select Darius Morris of Michigan (41st overall), Andrew Goudelock of College of Charleston (46th), Chukwudiebere Maduabum of Nigeria (56th and later traded for a future draft pick)” .

Sudanese -Australian ( Ater majok) drafted by the LA Lakers

The long journey of hard word have finally paid-off , Ater Majok will be playing at basketball’s biggest competition after being drafted by NBA glamour club Los Angeles Lakers.
After years in refugee camp in Egypt, Ater settled with his family in Sydney through united nation humanitarian resttlement program.
He pick-up basketball at outer western sydney suburb of Blacktown street and work hard through it to be was selected with the 58th overall pick by the Lakers.
The 208cm tall Majok was the last of the Lakers’ four second-round picks, and will gets to play alongside the NBA biggest superstar Kobe Bryant.
Majok, abruptly left the University of Connecticut last September where He averaged 2.3 points and three rebounds in 26 games with the Huskies before leaving after one season to play professionally in Turkey and Australia for the Perth Wildcats and Gold Coast Blaze in the last NBL season, averaging a moderate 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14 games.
The Blaze released Majok in March to allow him to prepare for the draft.
He was eligible for the draft through his time at the University of Connecticut, where he averaged just 2.3 points and three rebounds in 26 games with the Huskies, before leaving after one season to play professionally in Turkey and Australia.

ATer will be 5th Sudanese –born and from Dinka tribe to be drafted by NBA clubs after Manut Bol, Lual Deng, Deng Gai, Longar Longar

Community here in Australia wishes him best of luck to succeed in his career as NBA player As South Sudanese are celebrating the birth of their new independent country, next week, July 9th, T

Why I am not a good South Sudanese Woman

You might think I am a rebel without a cause, but you do not understand the cause.

I make my own stand, weather you agree on not, but I respect you right to disagree and not your right to impose that disagreement on me.

I refuse to accept this assign role – in the name of culture or a good Sudanese woman. In fact, I would make a terrible candidate for it; I lack both the qualification and most importantly, the will to accomplish its fundamental assumptions. Indeed, I plan to make no one a good wife- I just hope to be a good person. One who does not think that I have to bend over backward and forget the risk of breaking my own back.

I accept that I am this woman. I refuse to struggle with it anymore. To struggle with the idea that good Sudanese women ‘shut up’ when told. That they do not speak up for what they believe in and fight for their right to live a dignified life. I refuse to relinquish my mind, to willingly be blind and to pretend to be stupid so that I can simply be ‘celebrated’ whilst I suffer in silence- tormented by the truth- if even that truth be my own. For what worth is it, to be part of a world or a culture that do not accept the ‘truth’ of your existence, except to the degree of your degradation.

Call me a Kawaja, or a victim of mental colonization, go a head, that what you normally run to. The argument, that this is not our culture; that it is foreign invention invading out culture purely. But what then is Sudanese culture? Why should I refuse one master and accept another? When you tell me that Women rights are not Sudanese culture, what then is Sudanese culture? Is it, by default or outright acknowledgement, ‘wrong against ‘women? Is beating wives, and sister, and nieces to death? Is force marriage, underage marriage, rape among other? If those right and provision articulated, to prevent discrimination – some time fatale discrimination against women, are not parts of Sudanese culture? What is really left to be part of Sudanese culture? Should I even ask?

If that was to be true? If Sudanese culture does not recognize women as having rights? Then ask yourself; who in the world, if told, we will beat you, you will have no say in you life, you can be kill for making decision that are not consisted with our want and interest? Tell me, who in this world, if told that, will not reject it? Will not refuse it, rebuke it and fight for something better for themself? Does it take a Kawaja to understand that? Isn’t the pain of that reality too true to be ignored? Biologically when threatened, we fight or, flight became an option? It does not take a genius to figure that out. I need neither be Kawaja nor any other, to understand the condition of my existence- they are self evident.

So, what are you saying, when you say this is not our culture? Are you saying that we lack the intellectual capacity to see these wrongs and to create solution for them?

If what it take to be Sudanese or to be a good Sudanese woman, is to stand silent whilst I suffer – I refuse to be Sudanese

If what it means to be Sudanese is to relinquish my mind, in order to accept illogical conclusion reach by culture biases, then I refuse to be Sudanese

In fact, I accept all that I will be tag; all that I have been tag. For freedom…indeed freedom is what you are willing to give up your life for …let alone a reputation.

Nyadol William Nyuon.

Separation of Sudan settled South Sudanese in Australia


I am interesting to tell this as South Sudanese story, but this would be very hard to do. Because the South Sudanese story would need so many book pages. So I am better off doing this at a personal level.

First of all, I am one of the people from Southern Sudan that voted in favor of a separated country (results were 99% in favor of separation).

My perspective are shaped by war memories,( hard facts to wear away). These memories are not strictly personal, but too observational about other South Sudanese’s experiences.

South Sudanese went through horrible, unbelievable time: slavery, colonialism and Islamic fascism that created conditions for civil war that plunged the South Sudan into Death Valley. But I feel like this is not a chapter for these “civil war” stories, or I’m not in the right capacity to tell it as it is. There will be time for it.

Sincerely, I am interested not in my past but my future and that of my community and south Sudan. In fact, my feelings are absolutely shared all over by most of South Sudanese. I must declare! We, Southern Sudanese have been almost universally optimistic about our future as a result of this referendum. Our lives are filled with rich thoughts of changes for the better and the feeling that one has duties and things to go about and fulfill.

Sudan was an Africa nation–which has a fate no one can understand or change. Nonetheless, this referendum, brought solutions. Southerners will separate and go our own way, and that causes not just joyfulness, but a sense of self-determinism which for long time is missing. It gives people of South Sudan the privilege to unreservedly and freely obtain their rights, that would foster and assist them in the realizing every man’s full potential as they live with dignity, liberty, independence.

It would take meditative and abstract thinking for anyone who is not South Sudanese to understand the metaphysical aspects of voting for self-determination and separation. South Sudan, the world newest country, put every South Sudanese’s life back together and it soothes me.

People in the camps worried about everybody they loved back home and about the country itself. It is bad to spend your days visualizing your country going through torture. Thinking helplessly about the nation is the hardest part of war after you survive; it is unrelentingly hideous and butchered without mercy. It is an excruciating hell of a life to lead. and its Consequently make war and it outcome your inevitable autobiography.
You know, when war came to South Sudan, I was lucky. I got out of the war zone to be in a refugee camp in neighboring countries. Refugees’ camp was no walk in the park, but it wasn’t Sudan. But no one could truly escape the war no matter how far you seek safe haven.

While I was in the refugee camp, I would hear news from home that would make my heart sink: funerals every day of the week, being told that relatives of yours had been killed, or a kid that I had played with had been killed.

Even if you became blessed a second time and escape refugee camps and settle into a free and democratic country like Australia, it doesn’t take long for you to realized that you are not the same as everybody in the land. The tag African refugee from Sudan is equated to something else so humilating. And I am not talking about the abyss crack of discrimination, or the news about you and your country as the worst of Africa’s countries with vast natural resources and refugee camps. Sudan is reported as countries that can’t grow it own food and is depopulated by starvation, AIDS and war. Inhabitants are portrayed as uncivilized people that are half-naked, carrying Kalashnikovs with prominently exposed-ribs and bare breasted women

it is not just how war has annihilated the family, the law, and the state of Sudan, but also communities and individuals. After they have gone to a relatively peaceful and democratic country, they will be always be different. This is how it is.You are not only entrenched into a personal lonely and isolated struggle in Australia, but also some very far away woryings.

you go through my daily errands with always this large elephant in the room. The elephant is the country I left behind and seek asylum; Sudan is not just a country, it my family that I left behind too, my mother, sister and brothers and relatives who never left.

What’s more, there are multitudes of Southerners who are still languishing in abject poverty and desolation in camps in neighboring countries, with millions of children growing up without education or basic health care. These children could still witness the horror of death in cold blood by beastly militia and maverick soldiers.

Although then there was a peace deal signed in 2005 in the Sudan, the possible war outbreak still loom. And that means children could still be conscripted into army, women could fall victim to rape, and others could be infected by the lethal diseases without medical care.

Accordingly, we were beleaguered, Although displaced physically from the dangers of our natural habitat (our land), this is not the case mentally. Our South Sudan “homeland” as a geographical or temporal destination looms like cloud covering all the time — it could be nostalgia induced. We were silently searching together for a country and relative stable life. And I can’t stop imagining that the the new nation will make South Sudanese’s circumstances better and people around the world will probably begin to glance at us another way.


Akech Yangdit completed the eight week journalism training program for Sudanese Australians run last year by the Centre for Advanced Journalism at The University of Melbourne with the support of the ABC, AMES, the Sidney Myer Foundation and the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Sudan referendum


In a few days the final result of the Sudanese vote will be announced and hopefully it will not cause any harm. Although the result will definitely be separation of South Sudan from the North, I’m waiting with my fingers crossed for the result. I had already started to define myself as southern Sudanese rather than just Sudanese, and pointing this out this has made a difference in my life.

Many young people my age did not cast their vote during the referendum. This may be because they do not care or they did not have enough time to go and vote. The reason why I had to drag myself out of bed to register and vote is because I want to be part of my country’s history so one day in the future I can tell my grandchildren that I made a difference by voting for separation. I’m tired of hearing about the number of southern Sudanese who die from hunger, disease, gunfire and so on. I want those who see a poor country when they hear the name South Sudan to think again before they make such judgments.

The result of referendum will be a reason for those children born in the First World or developed countries and their parents to go back home, especially those who use the excuse there isn’t work for them to do in the country. Now is the time – there are many things that need to be done, and the little ones who do not know their roots, can get to know their roots.

However, when the result is announced and there is a new independent South Sudan (or whatever its name will be), it may take southern Sudanese leaders some time to make changes to areas such as development within the country. When this happens my friend, let me tell you this, the new South Sudan will be the first country in Africa to have a strong economy. How do I know this? Well, already many southern Sudanese in the First World are thinking of going back home to make a difference in the country. And, I believe, in the years to come these numbers will only grow.

Southern Sudan Referendum


The Southern Sudanese referendum resulted from an agreement between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005.  After Anya Nya I (the First Sudanese Civil War) there was the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972. However, this agreement failed due to Khartoum Regime’s actions and the political climate between the North and South. In 1983, civil war erupted again (Anya Nya II), this war was basically a continuation of the Anya Nya I conflict.

In 2005, the above mentioned parties signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South. This ended the 21 year civil war which destroyed extensive amounts of southern Sudanese property, separated families and took 3 million lives.

During the Comprehensive Peace Agreement the SPLM and NCP agreed that after six years the Southern Sudanese people would be allowed to determine through referendum whether they would remain one country or secede.

The Southern Sudanese people were looking for assistance from the international community to ensure the referendum would be conducted on time, fairly and peacefully. The Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, said he appreciated that the southern Sudanese Referendum Commission, who conducted the ballot, achieved this peacefully and on time. He was also pleased to see the Sudanese community in Australia taking part in great numbers, a task which is not easily accomplished. Through the financial and moral support of the international community, particularly in places like Australia, USA, UK, European Union and other countries in Africa, the referendum was able to happen.

During the southern Sudanese referendum vote, I experienced many things. For example, one woman started crying when she deposited her ballot in the ballot box saying “if this nation is not going to be separate then do not blame us again because we’ve tried our best to separate the country”.  Because of the experiences of the generations, from our grandfathers and mothers to young children, this vote will mark a historical day which we will all remember.

Considering all the problems and challenges that the southern Sudanese people have been through, the vote will result in separation. The southern Sudanese people are hoping to celebrate a new nation. These celebrations will be conducted around world, anywhere where Southern Sudanese people are, and the event will take place after the general announcement in Khartoum on 14 Feb 2011.

Post-referendum Sudan: a decadent North on a brink of total collapse, and a young South challenged by its people and its expectations.


Despite the fears, voting in the referendum in Sudan went smoothly and, as expected, has led to the establishment of a new state in South Sudan. The overwhelming vote for separation (99%) was strong evidence that colonial Sudan was a burden rather than a home. Amazingly, even the majority of those South Sudanese who live in the North, and who had decided not to leave it, voted for separation – this despite threats from the government that they would be treated as foreigners. Although the referendum was conducted in a civilised and peaceful manner, the threats and challenges remain. The road to a peaceful future and sustainable development for both countries will be a rocky one. There are enormous challenges ahead for both countries. In the North, the situation is very gloomy and the break-up is going to haunt the country for a long time. The blame-game between the regime and opposition parties as to who is responsible for the separation vote is already taking place. The regime shows no sign of having learnt lessons from the result. It is like the House of Bourbon; it has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. Turning a blind eye to reality is a norm for this regime.

The latest speech by the president Omer Albasheir is proof of his arrogance and one eyed mentality. Using very strong language, the president insisted that the separation of the South would be a turning point. Sudan would not compromise on the implementation of Sharia Law (Islamic law) anymore. There would be no more talk of ethnic diversity – Sudan would now be more monocultural than ever before. This irresponsible talk comes at a time when there are ongoing consultations in the Blue Nile region and Nuba mountains with people who are ethnically and culturally different from Northerners and who have the right to vote for self determination for their own territories. This rash and counterproductive attitude of the regime has  put the North on the brink of disaster. Their attitude of ‘my way or the highway’ has kept pushing the rest of the Sudanese ethnic groups who live in the North, and don’t share the regime’s ideology, to look for security in tribal and ethnic identities rather than citizenship, and has provoked tensions in many parts of the country, as we have seen in Darfur and east of Sudan. This catastrophic situation has brought the worst outcome possible; the total break-up of Sudan. The determination of the regime to adopt a policy of ‘one ideology fits all’ has left no room for hope and has made confrontation a real threat. A mass uprising or civil strike to bring down the regime is possible, and may well be the best outcome.

In the South, despite the mood of celebration, the fact is that the new government has inherited an impoverished country that needs to be built from scratch. As has been reported by many international organisations, the country lacks qualified people to run the bureaucracy and other state institutions. Half-century of war has left the country in tatters. For ages, the people of the South experienced nothing but ethnic and racial strife, illiteracy, instability and Northern rule has meant that people have clung to their tribal and clan identity rather than to a national identity.

Regardless of the potential for strife and serious development and national problems, the secession itself could provide the momentum needed to overcome the current and foreseeable obstacles. This can only happen if the new government avoids the North-South policies of the regime in the North, policies that demolished the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972 which gave the South a right to create its own government within a united Sudan. What was seen then as a big achievement for Southerners turned out to be a nightmare for those in the South who were not from the dominant Dinka tribes. They were treated by the ‘Dinka-state’ as second-class citizens. This legacy of prejudice and injustice will put pressure on the new government, which needs to assure minorities that the South is going to be for all Southerners, whatever their racial, tribal and ethnic backgrounds. To my knowledge, many of those who had been party to the 1972 agreement are involved in establishing the new government in the South. They should be aware of how the failures of the 1972 agreement came about and they should grasp the opportunity to avoid those failures now. The future of South Sudan depends on it.

The new government must “realise the ideals of good governance,  constructive management of diversity on the basis of full equality for all ethnic groups,  promotion of inclusive constitutional democracy,  respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms”. So wrote Dr Frances Mading Deng recently, a prominent former Southern politician to the president of the government of South Sudan. It must pursue “a fair distribution of resources, public services and employment opportunities”. He wrote that it must provide accountable financial management and the consolidation of peace through equitable socio-economic development.

These are challenging times for all the people of Sudan. With goodwill, good management and the support of the international community, the people of Sudan may finally experience peace, democracy and economic development.

Postscript: Abdulkhalig Alhassan, Sudanese writer and translator. Abdulkhalig recently completed the journalism training program for Sudanese Australians run by the Centre for Advanced Journalism at The University of Melbourne.