Independent Referendum to be closely monitored and implemented
Sudan as a nation has never known peace since her independent from Britain in 1956. There were always inter or intra tribal conflicts, regional division, ideological fragmentations and religious conflagration. There were two protracted civil wars and Darfur conflict that resulted into genocide. These intractable problems have never gone away and the constancy of these problems has disorganized the largest land mass country in Africa. Sudan is endowed with natural resources notably crude oil but massive poverty, diseases and wars have become the landmark of the troubled land.
At this moment emerges a window of opportunity from the notably Peace Accord made between the Islamic North and mostly Christian South that called for a referendum in January for the self-determination of the South. This opportunity to end the wars, genocide and abhorrent status quo in Sudan cannot be allowed to flatter away. The Bush administration must be acknowledged for their contribution to the advancing of peace making between the warring factions in Sudan that culminated to the Peace Accord, subsequently with the scheduled forthcoming independent referendum in January.
The Obama administration and United Nations must utilize all the leverage they can muster to make sure that the Sudanese government of President Omar al-Bashir do not back down from the timetable and the implementation of the accord. Earlier, President al-Bashir was indicted by International Criminal Court at Hague for war crime in the Darfur genocide. Although President al-Bashir has assented that he will abide by the outcome of the referendum which will surely result to the secession of the Southern Sudan but the watchful eye of the world is still necessary.
Sudan's President al-Bashir (r.) and First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit (Southern leader) Pics: Christian Monitor
United Nations must make the necessary arrangement to ensure that the outcome of the referendum will be honored in orderly framework. The presidential candidate Barrack Obama was talking up the issue of Sudan during his campaign for presidency and was showing all the signs of being on top of it once he got elected. The critics of Obama administration including Human Rights organizations and some members of US congress were complaining that his policy on Sudan is murky and that may be unfounded.
President Obama administration is backing the independent referendum which he reiterated America’s support during his appearance at the United Nations conference in September. President Obama said, "The stakes are enormous, we all know the terrible price paid by the Sudanese people the last time north and south were engulfed in war -- some 2 million people killed."
The United Nations General Assembly cannot afford to be playing child’s picnic with the issue of Sudan because the downside will be a horrible ramification that will quadrupled human sufferings that comes with massive loss of lives, property destruction and with unspoken tolls of hardship. United Nations has to put more resources and energy by aiding African Union and listening to the counsel of Nigeria’s Professor Gambari, United Nations Special envoy to the Arab League Summit that he is offering in order for the cessation of the violence to be sustainable. African Union (AU) can be of great help because Sudan is in their turf but AU lacks the necessary fund, resources and logistic to implement the accord singlehanded.
Khartoum government may likely back down from the accord without any credible power breathing down over their back. Bashir government has every reason to withdraw from the peace accord because the oil resource is in the south. Therefore the United States and United Nations can bring firmness on the issue that will not provide the Khartoum incentive to be become reluctant to implement the accord.
This is not the time to appease tyrants and dictators who are not willing to work together with global community to foster tranquility and peace in their corner of the world. As Sudan is aspiring to be a democratic nation and a responsible nation she will follow up with the peace accord and avert further destruction of her land. President Bashir has to display a statesmanship with responsibility that will convince the peace loving people of our globe that his quest for peace and unity is without doubt.
Peace can be made self-evident not by words and promises but action and commitment to peace. The world community must be willing to work with the Sudanese government to bring to an end the wars and disease in the land. At the end of the day if the South ratified the referendum by voting Yes, then their self-determination will be honored and respected. And that will mark a new chapter in the annals of peace making and a new dawn of peace will commence in the troubled land of Sudan.
In 21st century Africa, peace is a precious resource and Africa must be willing to do anything within her power to maintain a peaceful continent. The greatest bearer of brunt of African wars, instability and dilemma are women and children. The children of Africa and Sudan must be protected from wars, diseases and abuses emitted by their selfish leaders and war lords who were bent on implementing ideas and policies that do not promote peace, liberty and unity in the political landscape.