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South Sudan gets a chance to make its own mistakes...

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By CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

Posted  Monday, January 10   2011 at  00:00
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Any day now, we shall learn the results from the January 9 referendum vote in South Sudan on secession.

Short of Jesus Christ returning and miraculously altering the result, the vote will be in favour of secession, and the birth of Africa’s 54th nation (counting, as I do, the Sahrawi Republic).

The challenges facing “New Sudan,” are massive.

In nearly all respects, South Sudan is worse off than basket case Somalia. It barely has an education or health system.

In the remote parts, the people have never seen money; they use barter and live in medieval conditions.

The government will have to resettle tens of thousands of internally displaced people and returning refugees.

It will have to set up a central bank. It has to ensure that old rivalries and hostilities among Southern communities don’t flare up into war.

And, critically, that its arguments with Northern authorities in Khartoum don’t blow up too.

That said, it is important to make the point that nations don’t exist to succeed.

South Sudan, therefore, has the right to make its own mistakes, and go to hell and back on its own steam. That is the joy of Independence.

Indeed, South Sudan is cashing in its mistake chips like very few African countries did after Independence.

Barely six years since the peace agreement, and the SPLM taking over in the South, corruption has reached levels other African countries took 20 years to achieve...

When many African countries became independent, they were heavily reliant on a few agricultural commodities (sisal, cotton, coffee), or natural resources (copper, gold) for their national income.

It was easy money, and since the governments didn’t have to mollycoddle the population to be productive, they quickly became dictatorships because they did not need taxes from the people’s produce to keep the politicians, police, and army well fed.

Going by that scenario, one would think that South Sudan, which has oil. is likely to become just another corrupt African dictatorship.

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