THE NEW STATE OF SOUTHERN SUDAN AND THE AFRICA UNION
THE NEW STATE OF SOUTHERN SUDAN AND THE AFRICA UNION
Come 9 January 2011, the Southern part of Sudan will be participating in a referendum by which they will be deciding on whether they want to remain as part of the largest state by land area in Africa or to stand separately as another separate state. This is no news to most of us as that has been a long complicated process resulting in an inevitable end. In this decision, every one of us knew the result before it even take place as the Southern members of the state have for a long time used every means possible to be a separate state. By every standard of self determination, there is every reason for these people to live as a separate entity if they so wished. In fact, it is in the interest of all freedom loving people for these to be the case, as this has a lot to do with government, development and security of the people.
On this day when a new state is born on our land, the AU (Africa Union) member states will be increasing from 53 to 54. In other words, though no single piece of land has been added to the AU territory, what has actually happened is an increase in the number of governments from 53 to 54. Equally, there is not going to be an increase of the total population of the AU which at this point is about 986 million, rather the same people as they were before will be tagged with a different names and identities in the AU, as they will be the same number of people under two separate administrations than it was before.
The first thing in the mind of every one of us is that there are a lot of good things that we all hope will be coming with this new nation. It is equally very important for us to understand that there are going to be certain bad things that will be coming with this separation. What we are all basically doing is making assumptions about all the good things. We however failed to also accept the reality that it is our duty to make assumptions about the bad things that will possibly be coming to Africa with the new state.
One thing that all of us will not want to be thinking about is an all out persistent war between these two new nations, as we did witnessed in the cases of Ethiopia-Eritrea separation and the Moroccan-Sahrawi states. We hope this will not be the case in the AU with these new developments but how could these hope be sustain as hopes alone by themselves are not good enough. There is a feeling in us as we all wish that this become a peaceful separation by two willing states but the reality is that, the separation is not voluntary or peaceful, as it seems. In fact the separation of these people is more of the making of the UN, EU and the USA than by the AU itself. The separation is more by the will and power of the Western nations than by all the will of the two parties or even the will of all the citizens of the 53 AU member stats. Are we even considered as stakeholders in this Sudanese crisis at all by our status as the citizens of fellow AU member states? Is it not even possible to consider the fact that we the citizens of the AU member states would have voted in favour of these separation had it been an option given to by the AUC Chairmanship candidate if it had been part of his/her campaign promises in the AU election?
It is absolutely the truth that by leaving the Sudanese alone, the South will never have had the choice under the present AU circumstances of deciding whether they want to be alone or to work with the North as a single state. In fact, the North would have continued to keep the South even against their wish and the North will give us every reason to do that. The reason for holding on to any part of Sudan as a single entity or part of any AU member states by another, even when it is inevitable to do so, is not for any other than an economic reason which those holding the power will never want to mention as their aim.
In every part of Africa, there are a group of people who want to separate from the existing government under which they have found themselves and their simple reason for the separation is that they are being denied a fair share of their resources. The big question is how many of these separations are we going to witness before our common sense tell us that the destiny of selling these natural resources to our colonial masters is not the solution of our duty to our citizens? How many more of these separation will take place before we realize that handing over our God's given resources to our colonial masters just for royalty, will not be the answer to the question of our quest for industrialization? How can our nationhood and survival be based on just selling of our natural resources than what we are capable of doing in terms of our ability to add value to whatever we have on this land? What are doing that just giving away the sacred resources of our land only to get back common sense called technological output? Why are we not aware of the only reason of why we are incapable of adding common sense to these resources than common sense itself? Is it not all about adding some common sense to what nature has already give to us and then use it? Is that not what the whole thing is all about?
Now that the control of resources is considered as the fundamental premises of the separations, our ability to imagine the magnitude of the war that could break out if the most unfortunate happens is easier. In this light, the importance of considering the parties actively involved in the contention of resources control can not be overlooked. The first in this contention is the current Sudanese government in Khartoum that has already been enjoying a degree of monopoly over these resources in the common name of Sudan. The second party are the Southern Sudanese themselves who at this moment are of the strong view that they are being marginalized in the control of these resources thus; they want to take absolute control than to share with their Northern exploiters. The third and mostly indirect but active party is the West as; the USA, EU, IMF and the World Bank, whose survival as industrialized nations also depend on the control of the same natural resources.
In fact, the best way to put this is like the big strange bully helping the small boy to get his bar of chocolate from the big bother so that the big bully can help the small boy to eat his food. In fact, the West are helping the Southern Sudanese to get their portion of the Sudanese resources from the north who have decided to embarking on trading with the Chinese so that the Southerners will now be trading with the West freely.
Now assuming the worst happen and there result an out break of war between the South and the Northern Sudan, the West will not even have to think before they find themselves fully backing the Southern Sudanese in a fight against their own brothers with whom they have been together for over a century. In these circumstances, the Southerners have every right to defend themselves and their new sovereignty, like we in Ghana will naturally want to defend our sovereignty. The South will naturally want to use any weapon they could lay their hands on to defend them selves against the North. But what are we all going to be doing when the West makes available deadly toxic chemical weapons to our desperate brothers to kill their life long enemies of the north like the way the Americans gave Saddam Hussein weapons to gas the Iranians or the kinds of weapons give to the Israelites to wipe out the Palestinians? The North might also be getting some chemical weapon from their Chinese and Russian allies to defend themselves against their brothers from the South whom they shall be seeing as the imperialist's stooges like the way the Northern Koreans refer to the openly American backed brothers in South Korea. Are the rest of us on the land of the AU going to be running to the UN to make our complains about our common senselessness or we are going to be pretending we do not know what is happening on our own land because we do not want to hurt our masters of the “west”? Or as it is being the case in Cote d'Ivoire with the ECOMOG going in to kill the Ivoirians to appease their western masters, as a means of avoiding the Western powers to come in with their deadly chemical weapons, we shall be massing up an AU army to join in the killing of the Northern Sudanese imperialists' tagged “aggressors”?
We all hope it does not happen this way but wished our brothers of the newly UN midwife separated states leave obediently like the rest of us who are living “miserably” as oppressed people in their humble contribution to the “International Community” of the West. We hope it so, despite the fact that some of us have long ago lost hope in not practically taking our destiny into our own hands in this struggle of “who control the resources of Africa”?
What is happening in Sudan today by the UN backed by the colonial masters is exactly what happened on the continent of Africa 400 years ago in which people from outside the continent play a key role, on who owns what and who does not? We are still faced with the 21st century of an African continent having a common formal institution in terms of the Africa Union with a population of Approx 987 million people still having to live with outsiders being the determinants of what we do on our land. The difference is, 400 years ago we were a people without any common institution of governance whose authority span beyond 53 nation states. Today, under the AU, after almost 47 years of the OAU, we are just as good as we were 400 years ago, when our fathers go about almost naked. It is even sad when one is fully aware that in every African village is another moron with an academic title of Professor or Doctor “KO-MINI”. In fact the AU is as good as it does not exist. Prior to the AU, we are as good as the caveman and after the AU, we are just exactly what we are as would have been the case without it. The AU is even scared of the external imperial powers than we in our various countries do, as the institution is just a carbon copy of the UN, when actually it was supposed to be like the powerful United States of the African Continent.
What is happening in Sudan is a division of sovereignty from one into two separate sovereignties. So if it is possible to divide a single sovereignty into two separate sovereignties, then the same single sovereignty can be divided into four sovereignties and so on. It therefore follows that a single sovereignty can be divided into 53 separate sovereignties s we have in the AU today. Is that not what could have been the original version of our continent of Africa before the paled skinned people come from the sea to change our destiny forever? Well, this is a contestable version of the history of the African state before the advent of the external powers.
The above trend of possibilities of converting a single sovereignty into several sovereignties also means that several sovereignties of 53 states can conveniently be converted into a single sovereignty. So the formation of the AU means the creation of a single African wide sovereignty out of the existing several sovereignties on the continent, was the dream of our fathers. While we in this generation clearly appeared not to know exactly what we are doing in the AU, the Sudanese experience is a clear indication that the commonsense of sovereignty conversion on our land is not physically in our hand internally but in the external hands of the Western powers. The question is that, could this be a psychological phenomenon? Could we reverse this misconception?
The Sudanese experience is the most recent proof of the two ways in which sovereignty conversion is possible. The first is by the use of force that characterized the colonial invasions by which our modern states were formed. The People of Southern Sudan tried the application of force by fighting the North in an open warfare for more than 25 years and clearly that did not work, as they have to settle down eventually for a peaceful settlement through the ballot box means of decision making. The other approach is the use of democracy other wise referred to, as in this case as Referendum. In this, the people concerned are allowed to express themselves through the ballot box. It is this simple mechanism that we in the ACTION GROUP OF AFRICA (AGA) advocate for, as the solution of the challenges of the Africa Union's authority. We clearly are saying that the renewable of four year's mandate directly by the approx. 987 million citizens of the AU 53 member states combined, in the decision of who become to the Chairman of the AUC, is the answer.
One thing I know very well is that Sudan does not belong to Al Bashir alone neither does Southern Sudan belong to Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. In fact, the referendum is a clear proof of this. Why is Al Bashir not stopping it? Is this in accordance with his will?
This is also a proof that these individuals, like all the other Africa nations heads of state, are mere custodians of the sovereignty of the people by a conditional agreement. Unfortunately almost all of them fell they are gods in charge of our destiny than a mere mortals. In other words, as a free people, it is the people right and duty to be consulted by the ballot box, on anything leading to change relating to the condition of the people's sovereignty. That is exactly what democracy is all about!
The only time the people are not consulted on the issue pertaining to an adjustment in the status of their sovereignty, is when the people are not free but under a king as subjects. In fact, that was exactly our status under our colonial masters and now the United Nations. This is exactly what our fathers fought for with their lives as our independent. This is the only reason why our fathers formed the OAU (Organization of the African Unity) immediately after our independent despite the already existing UN. In deed all our fathers wanted for us is to have our Union of nation of free people in which everyone shall be part and parcel of voting for who become the president of the Authority of our Union.
Painfully, the very organization of free people of the African continent that we have also formed for our people as the AU is today treating us as if we are subjects than the free people we all proclaimed to be together! This principles of consultation by a free people by the ballot box, applies to internal decisions of who become our internal representatives and equally must be so on external issues of our sovereignty, pertaining to the AU.
President Al Bashir in the name of the people of Sudan has mistakenly been acting alone as the sole sovereignty of Sudan in the AU. This action of one person thinking he is an unconditional sovereignty of a member state starved the Union of the needed people's sovereignty that would have allowed the Union to be able to make the solution to this problem an Africa Union thing. In fact, the direct involvement of the people in the election of the Chairman of the AU Commission by the people of both the Northern and the Southern Sudan would have eliminated the USA-EU-UN-IMF-World Bank factor. We could have achieved the same result much more democratically than is the case now. We could have avoided the situation that arose in the negotiating process of the North and South divide where factions were refusing to acknowledge the authority of the African Union in favour of external powers. This option would not have been the case, like no soul on earth is capable of coming between any state of the United State of America and the authority of the Union's president elect.
We have now ended up with a nation that is mid-wife by outsiders unto whom she will for a very long time remain loyal. We are now faced with a challenge of moving on into another era of the AU that will be in another odd position of independently managing both the Northern and the Southern Sudanese states as the members of the Union without unnecessary external interferences. We now have to contend with the newly Southern Sudanese state until she is fully grilled into shape by the UN, like most of our zombie states that only understand foreign languages and non of ours.
The satiation created is an environment for international armed dealers to make their profits in a thousand folds by selling arms to our people to kill themselves. Does this not send a lot shivers down the spines? In fact the area will become a tensed region immediately after the 9th of January. As if this will not be enough, the Western powers will again be approaching the Northern Sudanese government with the need to allow for another referendum on Darfur, thereby making the final AU member states to be 55 “independent entities” without the AU herself doing nothing like a moron.
Yes, we even need more new states to be created from the existing states of Africa as it will be allowing governments, developments and security to get closer to the people. But are the government in our minds the kinds that will be selling natural resources and burdening the people with heavy taxations for nothing? Are we just creating governments and practicing local democracies for nothing just because others are doing so or we are creating governments that will be adding value to the lives of our people? Are we OK with this deception of doing democracy only when and where the West wants us to democracy and, not where and when we really think we have to be democratic? Is this AU commission mass disenfranchisement of the majority of our citizens in the election of the Chairman of the AU Commission, a western thing or rather, just lack of our own common sense?
It is important to appreciate the fact that governments are like a factory and the smaller the government, the lesser its competitiveness in the midst of far larger governments despite the fact that it brings itself closer to the governed. So as we strive in our mutational effort in breaking down government into smaller components, from larger ones, by a referendum (democratic election) to allow it effectively meet up with the need of the people, common sense equally demand that we owe it a duty to ourselves to employ the same mechanism in the AU Commission to allow us enjoy the economic of scale that comes with the larger size of an authority.
Yes, we have started a new year. The future looks very bleak to most of us as we witness uncountable anomalies in our Union. It is a clear case of our Union's policy to clearly isolate her self from an international pressure on one of her member states than taking on the shock, while internal issue remain internal. Each member is still the one taking on all the bashing of the powerful nation's as our situation overnight becomes international one than the AU issue. In fact, at a drop of just a pin in any AU member state, the whole Western world hear it and it suddenly become the world duty to solve the problem, while the AU pretend to be the dummy boy of the western masters. What we should have been experiencing is having the AU to be the one receiving the bashing as it is now the case in India. It is just a common thing for the French to fly directly from Europe into Cote d'Ivoire to defend their interest with their sophisticated solders as the AU feel that is normal. It is also a normal thing to have solders from India and Pakistan armed on our land like was the case in our colonial era under the pretext of giving us security, in the name of the UN.
The AU is not a debtor institution but rather all her members are indebted to the powerful western nations. In the present circumstances, it is not the business of the AU for a member state to be fighting tooth and nail with Trafigura from powerful European nations for dumping toxic waste on our land as that is considered internal matter but it become the duty of the AU as the police constable of the world when an internal election is being manipulated to silence us on our demand for justice? The duty of development and good governance that is based on the votes of the people is not applicable to the AU but to the member states, as we have the UN with whip chasing us up and down, in the name of democracy.
We believe in our selves as a free people of the Africa Union in our right to be part of the democratic election of choosing the Chairman of the Union Commission. On this, we are starting a legal battle with the AU Commission by initiating a court case against the Commission of the Union, this year, 2011. We appeal to all free people of the Union to join this effort of getting the Union to stop its hypocrisy of refusing to understand that if a piece of sovereignty can be broken into pieces by the ballot box, then several pieces of sovereignties can be fused together by the same democracy of the ballot box. Democracy must be “democracy” as in government of the people, by the people and for the people of the AU. Enough of the hypocrisy and deceptions of some people as “democracy”!
Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Action Group of Africa (AGA)
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