Sudan will soon cease to be the largest country on the continent. It won’t even be the second or third biggest. Soon, the language of Junubi, kaffirs and slaves in Sudan will die. Soon the newly born baby will be seen. The much ignored, exploited and despised will take their future in their own hands. It’s just soon and very soon.

Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of South Sudan (and vice president of Sudan) has said that Southern Sudanese have two choices come next elections-cum- referendums about the future of this biggest country in Africa: to vote for toto freedom or to vote for being second class citizens in their own motherland. This can not be something to pooh pooh.

"When you reach your ballot boxes, the choice is yours: you want to vote for unity so that you become a second class in your own country, that is your choice," Kiir said addressing worshipers at a Juba cathedral. "If you want to vote for independence so that you are a free person in your independent state, that will be your own choice and we will respect the choice of the people," he continued.

Logically, all sane people will vote for freedom. Apart from being their leader’s vision, they are tired of the thuggish and exploitative North. The South has no reason to solemnize any marriage with the North.

Khartoum’s skeptics wrongly think that if the South goes solo, she will be orphaned. On the contrary, the South has a good partner in Kenya even Uganda. Presently, the South gets almost all of its supplies from and through Kenya. Kenya has hosted Southerners since the inception of the concept of emancipation. Nairobi was a hub and bastion for leaders of Southern Sudan's freedom fighters. So, warm and strong was the relationship between Kenya and the late John Garang. Southern Sudan will thus be more at home doing business with a reliable and supportive partner than the suspicious and bully one.

Being a baby in the making, Southern Sudan has a brighter future in the East African Community than in Khartoum. After all, Khartoum needs the South more than the South needs it thanks to how it underdeveloped, degraded, neglected and exploited it for long. There is nothing that gears the North to support the re-unification of Sudan but resources in the South, especially oil. Will the South allow itself to be bitten twice?

Racism and ideological differences

North Africans regard themselves as Arabs. Northerners discriminate against Southerners for two reasons: One, Southerners are either Christians or traditionalists and two, they’re blacker than they. With time, the perception of colour-though artificially conceived (for even northerners are Africans)-and hate influence from the Arab world is likely to go even deeper. Northerners do not like Southerners. But given that the South is awash with oil, they’ve no alternative.

Incorporating South Sudan in the East African Community should be done with all assurance and urgency as it has more to offer than Burundi and Rwanda put together.

Another thing that is likely to force Khartoum regime to its knees is the whole burden of Darfur. There are fears that Darfur may team up with the oil-rich South so as to take and Square circle on the north and assume power of the whole Sudan thereby making the dominant northerners to become subjects of their former subjects. This shocks President Omar Bashir to the bone.

Though separation defeats the spirit of African unity, it is better than wasting time wrangling and scheming against one another. Hither we can borrow a leaf from Eritrea. Its secession from Ethiopia enhanced peace and tranquility in the region.

On the one hand, some people are blaming Mayardit as being myopic and a separatist different from his predecessor, the late John Garang de Mabior Atem who wanted to take Khartoum through the ballot box. It must be appreciated that things have changed since the untimely demise of Garang. By then it was easy to take Khartoum by the way of referendum. But currently, it is easy to take Khartoum and re-unify Sudan by going solo so as to team up with Darfur and reclaim it.

Khartoum, without oil, will be nothing but a sitting duck. Though many fear that marriage of convenience with China can hamper its reclamation, this is hogwash. China, just like any other moneymaker, will bet on the winning horse. This being the situation, it remains to be seen if going solo for South Sudan means gain or peril.

Source: The African Executive Magazine Nov. 25, 2009.