As the people of South Sudan participate in a plebiscite tomorrow to decide on secession and assert their autonomy, it is imperative that we spare a thought for them. Anything remotely close to elections and voting are always hotly contested, in Africa though, there seems to be a consistent dynamic: The outcome is almost always disputed and some leaders have an aversion to relinquishing power. The Southern Sudan issue is different in that its people are going to the polls to vote on whether they should stay a part of Sudan or break away. The highlight for me here, is the fact that there is the prospect of a bloodless and smooth transition for the people of Southern Sudan. I'm not saying there hasn't been any bloodshed, however to reach this point and beyond, I feel that it is momentous.
If this referendum works, it has the potential to be big. Big in a positive way. It could pave the way for many a secessionist movements, however, in a positive, diplomatic, peaceful, agreeable and negotiable manner. Sudan president Omar Al Bashir has been forced to stick to his promises of the referendum and this has helped in reaching an agreement with the leaders of Southern Sudan. I'm hoping for a peaceful referendum, an acceptance of the outcome and a smooth transtion thereafter. If all this happens then this can be a shining example for other Africans nations. India and Pakistan can also apply this to their conflict over Kashmir. And, I'm very much inclined to extend this concept to Russia in its conflict with nations such as Chechyna and Georgia. By accepting the outcome of the referendum other African nations and leaders have no excuse when it comes to negotiation, elections and the outcome.
The leader of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit (pictured above), is touted as being a humble and patient man. In my opinion he is also a stylish man with his trademark cowboy-like hat. He wears a suit and tops it off with his hat. That's a little bit of individual style and character in the midst of a storm.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.