By Anyangâ Nyongâo
Khartoum has adopted a policy of frustrating the independence of the Republic of South Sudan. It is doing everything to demoralise the young government in Juba and to alienate it from the people.
The latest series of bombardments are just the tip of the iceburg. And more tricks are up the sleeves of the warlords in Khartoum and the region should be aware and stop them. But let us trace our steps backward and see whether Khartoum has done anything to show any signs of good neighbourliness towards Juba.
First, after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the only article Khartoum respected was not to interfere with the coming into being of the new government in Juba. This was unstoppable; all eyes were focused on the event. The warlords in Khartoum would not have dared do anything to stop it.
The question, however, is: why did Khartoum give the event such a low profile in Sudan itself and internationally as well? Why did the Khartoum government play such a minimum role in supporting events in Juba on that day of immense jubilation across the globe? What role did the Sudanese embassies abroad play to bring all the Sudanese people together to welcome the new kid on the block of new nations?
In other words, by their behaviour ab initio, the government gurus in Khartoum were mourning and not celebrating the birth of the new baby in Juba. This mourning, unfortunately, has not ended. And Khartoum has decided to wipe her tears of pain by starving the new baby of her lifeline supplies: oil in particular.
Second, why has Khartoum not honoured the agreements between the two states to negotiate rather than fight over border issues, which even predate the CPA? If we go back to the geography of Sudan in 1954 it is very clear where the border is between the North and the South. This should be settled outside the issue of dividing or sharing oil revenues.
Let us be frank: Before oil was discovered along the border area, everybody agreed where Abyei and Heglig were: Squarely in the South. But with the discovery of oil and the Northern occupation of the South, matters became worse. The issue of the border was not only highly politicised, but internationalised as well.
There are now some foreign powers and oil interests, which would like the border issue to be settled in favour of Khartoum. But there are those of us who are appealing for history and reason to prevail.
The Juba government would be very happy to discuss issues of regional and economic integration between the two countries once the CPA is fully implemented and the principle of sovereignty respected by both countries. After all both are interested in joining the East African Community (EAC) as independent entities.
So why should the two be penny wise and pounds foolish by continuing to fight over undeveloped natural resources when they can develop these to the advantage of both states once they are in the EAC? Someone is being short-sighted in Khartoum.
And the short-sighted team is not the government in Khartoum or the Sudanese people in the North but a cabal of right wing warlords who have taken the government and the people hostage to their jihadist ideas. The sooner the world wakes up to this reality in Khartoum the better.