Don’t let them stop the carnival, yelled the long distance caller the other day….all the way from Honolulu in the United States.
It turned out he was following the story on South Sudan and political charges that the North is undermining plans for the independence celebrations of the South after a referendum that passed off rather peacefully in January.
Don’t let it happen, he cautioned in a threatening tone, or Africa would have little to showcase for the second half of 2011.
I am beginning to understand the implication, the setbacks and the holding of a worthless piece of paper to be called the title deed to South Sudan’s independence.
But, whosoever they are, ghost figures or otherwise, although the first stage of finger pointing is obviously on the once national Khartoum government now turned neighbor, it might very well be shadowy countries that feel threatened by the independence of the South.
Seemingly, there is still the air of distrust and suspicion that the government of President Omar el-Bashir would still force checkpoints into the Independence Day even though the July 2011 birth date is some four months away.
The ink has not even dried up on the figures written in the referendum patch when charges of moves to throttle the forthcoming independence of the South are being levied against the North.
It is definitely not a good omen as by now South Sudanese should be quietly learning the national anthem in Arabic and practicing Muslim postures as to how to hoist the national flag.
It will be a big miscalculation if the independence is scuttled by tribal heat remotely controlled from the North.
And by the way, the government in the North continues to carry out halting talks with the South on what President el-Bashir calls, ”strings of negotiations to complete before independence”. They smack of ulterior motives.
The talks are centered on the status of oil-rich Abyei located on the North-South border, the tricky issue of how to share the oil revenue and the biggest clanger, settling the 40 billion dollar foreign debt accrued by the South which the North is demanding.
Political analysts say and are showing documents of proof, that the North, which is euphemism for the el-Bashir government did extremely little to take development to the South.
The bright lights, four wheelers, skyscrapers and mosques are all centered in Khartoum and other Northern cities while the South have only 100 kilometres of paved roads, no reliable electricity grid and a health care and education system that are regarded as a joke.
Though the South is triggered by rivalry between ethnic groups, the flashlight of independence and that they could now do their own thing is looked on as a possible unifying force.
South Sudan’s President Salva Klir stands the chance to win the wrestling game with President el-Bashir and already political backers are saying the overwhelming vote for independence is round one.
As Sudan itself is the largest country in Africa so is it problems which also cover the issue of Darfur and East Sudan.
The Easterners are gearing for what they said is some form of linkage with the Northern government.
They are watching hawk-eyed as to how the South would wriggle its way out.
El-Bashir should also be watchful of the current unrest in North African states coupled with pressures of a urge chunk of unemployed and under-employed Sudanese youths. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer is the watchword.
By Rod Mac-Johnson