Is Sudan Becoming Africa’s 55th State After Referendum?

Sudan – a country in north-eastern Africa also the largest in Africa and the Arab world and the tenth largest in the world by area is about to be split into two on the conditions of a 2005 deal to end almost two decades of conflict between the north and south.

The referendum which started on Jan, 9 and runs till Jan, 15 will see almost 4 million legally registered southern Sudanese taking part in deciding (voting) this fate for their dear country.


The Islamic-oriented governments have been favored by the military regimes dominating national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century.

Map of Republic of Sudan

These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese.

The first civil war ended in 1972, but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords;

a final Naivasha peace treaty of January 2005 granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, after which a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held.

Geographical Location:

With an approximate population of 44 million people; Sudan is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world’s longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides.

Below are comments, blogs, tweets and stories from other parts of the world on Sudan’s Referendum:

President of the United States: Barrack Obama on Sudan Referendum:

January 09, 2011

I am extremely pleased that polling has started for the Southern Sudan Referendum, and congratulate the people of Southern Sudan who are determining their own destiny. This is an historic step in the years-long process to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war between north and south. The international community is united and determined to ensure that all parties in Sudan live up to their obligations. We know that there are those who may try to disrupt the voting. Voters must be allowed access to polling stations, and must be able to cast their ballots free from intimidation and coercion. All sides should refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or provocative actions that could raise tensions or prevent voters from expressing their will. Violence in the Abyei region should cease. And while a successful vote will be cause for celebration, an enormous amount of work remains to ensure the people of Sudan can live with security and dignity. The world will be watching in the coming days, and the United States will remain fully committed to helping the parties solve critical post-referendum issues regardless of the outcome of the vote.

The BBC News on Africa did a feature: Q&A: Southern Sudan Referendum which answers all questions from curious minds on the current happenings in Sudan.

Who qualifies to vote?

Only southerners are eligible to take part in the poll, which means most people think the outcome is bound to be independence. Nearly all of those who registered already live in the south – the hundreds of thousands of people who fled to the north during the war seem to have either gone home to register – as they were urged to do by southern leaders – or not bothered.  But at least 60% of registered voters must take part for the referendum to be valid – with low literacy levels and little history of voting, this may be more difficult to achieve than the simple majority needed for a verdict either way.

Tyler Hicks from the New York Times traveled to Sudan and took photos of Southern-Sudanese returning home for a Historic vote.

After all the years of guerrilla warfare and hardship, people here are deeply invested in holding a peaceful referendum and building the world’s newest nation.

Also, on the 2nd day (Jan, 10) of the referendum; RFI English reported: Huge Turnout on Second Day of Voting in Referendum

Many people were wearing their best clothes as they cast their vote on whether to break away from the mainly Arab Muslim north of the country. The large turnout on Monday, the second of the seven days of the polling, brings the south a step closer to the 60 per cent turnout needed to validate the referendum. This figure was agreed in a 2005 peace deal between the north and the south.

Global Voices Online’s Ndesanjo Macha aggregated feeds on Sudan’s referendum from the social (Twitter) platforms and came out with an interesting post: Southern Sudan Independence Referendum on Twitter. You can also follow the story and discussions on twitter by following the hash-tag: #SudanRef as very interesting comments and updates keeps coming from Sudan passionates.

Daniel A. Daniel (USA) made a strong appeal in his article: The birth of the world’s newest nation (South Sudan) for the South Sudan News Agency and he even quoted the Late Sudanese Rebel Leader Dr. Garang de Mabior:

“Sudan will never be the same again” once said by: Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

Fellow countrymen and women, youths, veterans and patriots, and to all undecided voters worldwide. The decision for our land to secede now is depends on you, and   failure to do it right can jeopardized the future of our beloved nation called south Sudan, its matter of life and death, its matter to choose between slavery and liberty, and second class citizenry, and to walk tall. Therefore, I urge all (the registered candidates); go to the polling station (earlier better than later), please, cast your vote for the separation of south Sudan to be an Independent country by July 09th, 2011. Vote for peace, stability, freedom, liberty, equality, and justice, for all. Your thumb print will make a difference, no for ugly unity, yes for the attractive separation. South Sudan Nation Oyee…


What does this split mean for Africa in economic terms? Are we ready for state No. 55?

Do you think after the referendum; the south would be able to build its own government and economy?

Will such a country like  South Sudan be able to survive in terms of globalization and policy making?

Does it make sense to split up countries only because of religious, economic and ethnic reason which are not survivable?

From Dr. Henrik Scheller : Project Manager – Future Challenges Organization



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Haiti Needs Your Help NOW…

On Tuesday, at 21:53GMT the Caribbean nation of Haiti was hit by its strongest earthquake in more than 200 years, causing what is being described as “a catastrophe of major proportions”.

Heavy casualties are feared after numerous buildings were leveled by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Rumors have it that, about 100,000 people are feared dead but that number is yet to be ascertain.  Major landmarks, including the Presidential Palace, National Assembly and Port au Prince Cathedral have been destroyed.

I find it very disheartening to think that Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, along with its administrative, health, governance, and diplomatic faculties has been rendered incapable in mere seconds. To make matters worse, the majority of the foreigners based in Haiti – relief and aid workers – have also suffered numerous losses with the UN reporting damages to its properties and possible staff deaths in the hundreds.

“#HAITI” has been a trending topic on twitter until I just realized, it’s no more.

My tweets: “I can’t believe #Haiti is no more trending on Twitter. Wot’s w/ all this useless trending topics? KMT. Pple needs help in Haiti. #HelpHaiti” should let you know how concerned I’m about the situation in Haiti and how willing I’m in spreading more info about ways people can help the survivors of the earth-quake.

Even though #Haiti isn’t trending on twitter as at this time, Wyclef Jean’s #YELE is trending on twitter.

In search for accurate blog posts to aggregate from Ghana about the Haiti-Quake, I came across a few posts from members of the Ghana Blogging Group and other blogs worth reading.

Ethan Zuckerman, one of the donors who sponsored my trip to Copenhagen for COP15 and also a great contributor of Global Voices Online [an international citizen media organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of bloggers and other producers of citizen media, with a special focus on the developing world] wrote about how reporters are racing to Haiti to report on the disaster, but voices are already making themselves heard from the decimated city. He also mentioned how Georgia Popplewell has been rounding-up tweets from Haiti on the Global Voice Special Haiti-Quake page.

Georgia is a list person I must say. She has started a list on Twitter, aggregating accounts of people who are posting from Haiti. On her post about “List and the Haiti Earthquake” she mentioned how she can’t live without “LISTS” as they are a way of escaping thoughts about death been described by Umberto Eco. She also wrote about she spent the whole day of Jan 13, following the aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti.

I just came across Troy Livesay’s informative tweets and long story blog about new developments in Haiti. She’s really worth following for more updates. From Troy’s blog;

Mass graves are being used; the bodies are seen stacked in trucks and around town. Many people will be buried without their families ever knowing where they were when they died.

Plans are underway to open a clinic to serve our area. We need prayers that the plane is allowed to land with our people and supplies. They are supposed to be able to get in the next 36 hours but we pray that it actually comes to pass. We cannot begin without them.

Water purification in the form of a safe chlorine product is being made around the clock and will be distributed for people to add to their dirty water source and be able to make it safe to drink.

I have never fully understood the wonder of social networking until now, seriously thank God, for Twitter, Facebook, Skype and all blogging platforms!

Kasja Hallberg-Adu had this to say about social Media and how it’s going to help in the Haiti crisis; “If anyone ever doubted that blogging and tweeting could go beyond navel gazing, I guess today we have evidence of the contrary. Hopefully this access to on the ground information will also make a difference to the Haitian people.

Nsoromma…Child of the Heavens requested, a prayer be said for the good people of Haiti. She writes:

Say a prayer for Haiti please!

Prayers are free, but financially you can help in the following ways:

>> Donation to UNICEF >> Donation to CARE >> Donation to Christian Aid

President Barack Obama and former presidents of the United States; George W Bush and Bill Clinton launched a national drive to raised funds for the survivors of Haiti. Obama has already pledged US$100milion as a relief fund for Haiti.

Yasmeen H. Nsiah [Soap maker from 2009’s MakerFaireAfrica held in Accra] have also started a campaign to mobilize donations both in cash and in-kind for survivors of Haiti-quake.

She created a group on Facebook; GHANAIAN HELPERS FOR HAITI and posted this info up: “A short code has been set up for the Red Cross in Ghana. Text HAITI to 1990 to donate GHC1.00 to the Red Cross in Ghana or text HAITI to 1960 to give through the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. You can text multiple times!

You can also send your donations through other NGOs. But in order to ensure you’re not being scammed, here are lists of reputable NGOs with operations in Haiti with whom you can donate to:

YELE Haiti, Partners In Health, Red Cross, World Food Program, Save The Children and Doctors Without Borders

May the victims of this quake rest in perfect peace…!

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Global Voices @ 5.

The month of October, 2009 saw me joining Global Voices Online shortly after I had met Georgia Popplewell, who’s the director of the Global Voices Online Community. I was introduced to her by Eduardo Avila [Founder and Director of the Bolivian Voices Project] after we had met at Maker Faire Africa which was held in Accra, Ghana from 14th -16th August, 2009.

Global Voices @ 5 Candles

The very first time I heard about Global Voices was during one of Ghana Bloggers monthly meet-up somewhere in Accra. Emmanuel K. Bensah spoke about his contributing to their works from Ghana and I really enjoyed all that he said about them. Since then, I have been looking out for a chance to join the group and also contribute my quota. That chance finally opened in Oct, 2009…

West-Africa’s Celebrity Journalist, Ameyaw Debrah once asked me shortly after my post on Blog Action Day; “What Global Voices Online is? Answering him wasn’t that difficult at all because I had started writing and contributing.

“Global Voices Online is a network of bloggers and citizen journalists mostly who are volunteers that follow, report, and summarizes what is going on in the blogosphere in every corner of the world” was my answer to him.

Of all the authors at GV, Ethan Zuckerman, Solana Larsen & Georgia Popplewell are those whose works/writing inspires me a lot. There’s no single day, I am not reading from any them to stay abreast with whatever is happening out there. Before writing this post, I had read about David Sasaki’s retrospectives on GV’s first 5yrs is really worth reading…!

Since Global Voices are made of volunteers [myself] who are self-less and willing to bring the news, interviews and discussions around the globe to your door, a little donation in supporting our works won’t be a bad idea at all. You can send all your donations through various means here: Global Voices Donation

Honestly speaking, 5yrs of online presence and keeping people everywhere updated on the latest happenings around the world in different languages is just too much. I feel so elated to be a part of the GVO Community.

Global Voices at 5, many more years of connecting, informing and inspiring is yet to come.