[Guest-posted by Captain Marlow]
Southern Sudan breaks a taboo
Southern Sudan looks to break with African tradition
A peace agreement in Sudan has paved the way for an independent southern Sudanese state in six years’ time, which would break with Africa’s traditional refusal to redraw post-colonial borders. * Any new southern Sudanese state would probably look to East Africa rather than Khartoum, altering the geopolitical and resource balances in the region and alarming Egypt. * Any change in borders could encourage other secessionist movements in Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [Jane’s Foreign Report – first posted to http://frp.janes.com – 2 November 2005]
That the OAU always refused to consider redrawing the borders after the various hastily (due to the Cold War) conceded “independences” is understandable. The situation was chaotic and delicate and did not need other complications. To put in discussion colonial borders would have triggered a splintering of the new nations along tribal lines.
However, four decades have passed, and some of the old arrangements, devised to facilitate the colonial administration of immense territories, appear for what they are: artificial and, under present circumstances, unworkable. Undoubtedly, it is a can of worms, but it must be opened; the sooner, the better. Sudan, DR Congo, perhaps even Nigeria and South Africa, have internal divisions that can be solved only by seriously addressing the problem (federation, semi-autonomy, equitable sharing of resources, &c), before – as it is happening in Sudan – they are solved through war and genocide.