Opinion: The pandemic is no time for fiscal distancing (By Akinwumi A. Adesina)

Akinwumi A. Adesina is President of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org)

These are very difficult days, as the world faces one of its worst challenges ever: the novel coronavirus pandemic. And it seems almost no nation is spared. As infection rates rise, so does panic across financial markets, as economies drastically slow down and supply chains are severely disrupted.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. As such, it can no longer be business as usual.

Each day, the situation evolves and requires constant reviews of precautionary measures and strategies. In the midst of all this, we must all worry about the ability of every nation to respond to this crisis. And we must ensure that developing nations are prepared to navigate these uncharted waters fully.

That’s why I support the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ urgent call for special resources for the world’s developing countries.

In the face of this pandemic, we must put lives above resources and health above debt. Why? Because developing economies are the most vulnerable at this time. Our remedies must go beyond simply lending more. We must go the extra mile and provide countries with much-needed and urgent financial relief — and that includes developing countries under sanctions.

According to the independent, global think tank ODI in its report on the impact of economic sanctions, for decades, sanctions have decimated investments in public health care systems in quite a number of countries.

Today, the already stretched systems as noted in the 2019 Global Health Security Index will find it difficult to face up to a clear and present danger that now threatens our collective existence.

Only those that are alive can pay back debts.

Sanctions work against economies but not against the virus. If countries that are under sanctions are unable to respond and provide critical care for their citizens or protect them, then the virus will soon “sanction” the world.

In my Yoruba language, there is a saying. “Be careful when you throw stones in the open market. It may hit a member of your family.“

That’s why I also strongly support the call by the UN Secretary-General that debts of low-income countries be suspended in these fast-moving and uncertain times.

But I call for even bolder actions, and there are several reasons for doing so.

First, the economies of developing countries, despite years of great progress, remain extremely fragile and ill equipped to deal with this pandemic. They are more likely to be buried with the heavy fiscal pressure they now face with the coronavirus.

Second, many of the countries in Africa depend on commodities for export earnings. The collapse of oil prices has thrown African economies into distress. According the AFDB’s 2020 Africa Economic Outlook, they simply are not able to meet budgets as planned under pre-coronavirus oil price benchmarks.

The impact has been immediate in the oil and gas sector, as noted in a recent CNN news analysis.

In the current environment, we can anticipate an acute shortage of buyers who, for understandable reasons, will reallocate resources to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. African countries that depend on tourism receipts as a key source of revenue are also in a straightjacket.

Third, while rich countries have resources to spare, evidenced by trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus, developing countries are hampered with bare-bones resources.

The fact is, if we do not collectively defeat the coronavirus in Africa, we will not defeat it anywhere else in the world. This is an existential challenge that requires all hands to be on deck. Today, more than ever, we must be our brothers and sisters’ keepers.

Around the world, countries at more advanced stages in the outbreak are announcing liquidity relief, debt restructuring, forbearance on loan repayments, relaxation of standard regulations and initiatives.

In the United States, packages of more than $2 trillion have already been announced, in addition to a reduction in Federal Reserve lending rates and liquidity support to keep markets operating. In Europe, the larger economies have announced stimulus measures in excess of 1 trillion Euros. Additionally, even larger packages are expected.

As developed countries put in place programs to compensate workers for lost wages for staying at home for social distancing, another problem has emerged — fiscal distancing.

Think for a moment what this means for Africa.

The African Development Bank estimates that Covid-19 could cost Africa a GDP loss between $22.1 billion, in the base case scenario, and $88.3 billion in the worst case scenario. This is equivalent to a projected GDP growth contraction of between 0.7 and 2.8 percentage points in 2020. It is even likely that Africa might fall into recession this year if the current situation persists.

The Covid-19 shock will further squeeze fiscal space in the continent as deficits are estimated to widen by 3.5 to 4.9 percentage points, increasing Africa’s financing gap by an additional $110 to $154 billion in 2020.

Our estimates indicate that Africa’s total public debt could increase, under the base case scenario, from $1.86 trillion at the end of 2019 to over $2 trillion in 2020, compared to $1.9 trillion projected in a ‘no pandemic’ scenario. According to a March 2020 Bank report, these figures could reach $2.1 trillion in 2020 under the worst case scenario.

This, therefore, is a time for bold actions. We should temporarily defer the debt owed to multilateral development banks and international financial institutions. This can be done by re-profiling loans to create fiscal space for countries to deal with this crisis.

That means that loan principals due to international financial institutions in 2020 could be deferred. I am calling for temporary forbearance, not forgiveness. What’s good for bilateral and commercial debt must be good for multilateral debt.

That way, we will avoid moral hazards, and rating agencies will be less inclined to penalize any institution on the potential risk to their Preferred Creditor Status.  The focus of the world should now be on helping everyone, as a risk to one is a risk to all.

There is no coronavirus for developed countries and a coronavirus for developing and debt-stressed countries. We are all in this together.

Multilateral and bilateral financial institutions must work together with commercial creditors in Africa, especially to defer loan payments and give Africa the fiscal space it needs.

We stand ready to support Africa in the short term and for the long haul. We are ready to deploy up to $50 billion over five years in projects to help with adjustment costs that Africa will face as it deals with the knock-on effects of Covid-19, long after the current storm subsides.

But more support will be needed. Let’s lift all sanctions, for now. Even in wartime, ceasefires are called for humanitarian reasons. In such situations, there is a time to pause for relief materials to reach affected populations. The novel coronavirus is a war against all of us. All lives matter.

For this reason, we must avoid fiscal distancing at this time. A stitch in time will save nine.

Social distancing is imperative now. Fiscal distancing is not.

*Akinwumi A. Adesina is President of the African Development Bank Group

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: www.AfDB.org

Presidential Lessons in Crisis Management

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Chris Good.

President Trump has embraced the mantle of “wartime president,” but in a Washington Post op-ed, noted presidential historian Michael Beschloss (who published his latest book, “Presidents of War,” in 2018) offers lessons on wartime leadership from some of Trump’s predecessors. Among those he extracts: “Level with the public,” unlike James K. Polk, who “fabricated” a pretext for war with Mexico; work “to unite the country against the common enemy,” as FDR did in rallying a divided nation to war against Hitler; show empathy, as Lincoln did for Civil War casualties; build confidence in a victory plan, as Kennedy did during the Cuban missile crisis; warn that more bad news could be on the horizon before it comes, as FDR did after Pearl Harbor; and put trust in wise experts, as Lincoln did with Grant.

At Politico Magazine, John Harris worries over another comparison, asking if Trump will fare as Herbert Hoover did amid the onset of the Great Depression. Like Trump, Harris writes, Hoover assumed the presidency without having held elective office before, but unlike Trump (who has faced challenges in business) Hoover had made it to a late stage in life relatively untested. When the test came, Hoover suffered a “breakdown,” as described by the contemporary columnist Walter Lippmann—not a psychological one, as Harris reviews it, but a political one, in which Hoover “found himself trapped by experience and instincts that suddenly were irrelevant to the moment.” Trump has used bluster and self-promotion to succeed in business and politics, Harris writes, wondering if he has a trait that can serve crisis managers best: the ability to adapt.

In Latin America, Covid-19 Separates Populists From Pragmatists

Latin America’s governments have responded to Covid-19 in very different ways, Frida Ghitis writes for the World Politics Review, but left-right politics have little to do with it. Rather, “a president’s own personal and populist proclivities” have “become the determining factor” in how a given country handles Covid-19, Ghitis writes.

In Brazil, right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the virus, while left-leaning populist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico has similarly eschewed precautions. But “[n]o government has put on a more surreal performance than President Daniel Ortega’s in Nicaragua, where the former Marxist guerrilla leader governs alongside his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo,” Ghitis writes. “As the virus started claiming victims in Central America, the eccentric Murillo called for a popular march against the virus—just the kind of mass gathering that public health experts warned should be shut down. Thousands of Ortega loyalists took to the streets in a parade Murillo aptly named, ‘Love in the Time of Coronavirus.’”

Pragmatists, meanwhile, have taken things seriously regardless of ideological slant. Ghitis singles out Argentina; left-leaning Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra, whose response was swift and sweeping; and conservative Colombian President Iván Duque, who addressed the nation in a “somber” tone.

China’s Covid-19 Deflections

Covid-19 may have originated in China, but the Chinese government has aggressively sought to deflect blame, David Gitter, Sandy Lu, and Brock Erdahl write for Foreign Policy. Lower-level spokesmen with the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggested the US may have seeded the virus in Wuhan, and although Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai seemed to contradict them, the authors suggest this is merely a good-cop, bad-cop routine. Chinese state media has also suggested the virus came from Italy, they note, surmising the Chinese Communist Party is doing whatever it can to protect its reputation. Disinformation watcher Laura Rosenberger of the German Marshall Fund, meanwhile, tells Axios that China has taken a page from Russia’s disinformation playbook, offering up contradictory narratives to sow confusion.

“To be sure, Beijing may well decide this messaging is counterproductive and cool it down,” Gitter, Lu, and Erdahl conclude. “But for now bellicose conspiracies and smooth-talking diplomats all are working under the same orders: redirect blame away from the [Chinese Communist Party] for the greatest global health catastrophe of our time.”

Lies in the Time of Coronavirus

As Covid-19 sweeps over the globe, observers are noting that disinformation abounds, in various forms. Typically unreliable websites have taken up Covid-19 as a topic—Karen Kornbluh and Ellen Goodman of the German Marshall Fund write that “of the top ten outlets that repeatedly share false content, eight out of ten are pushing misleading or outright false articles about coronavirus”—while The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz points out that Alex Jones and Infowars are hawking products containing colloidal silver, claiming it fights viruses, despite the FDA’s clear statement that there are “no FDA-approved medical countermeasures for COVID-19.” More traditional government propaganda is a problem, too: German public-media outlet Deutsche Welle reports that Iranian officials have obscured the virus’s severity and, in at least one case, blamed the US.

As for what to do about all this, Kristin Lord and Elayne Deelen of New America remind us that media literacy and healthy skepticism are the best medicines, and in an essay for The Atlantic, Andy Carvin and Graham Brookie of the Atlantic Council recommend epistemic best practices (checking sources, checking one’s own biases) and turning down the temperature: “Your tone matters. And screaming into the void online or at someone in particular isn’t likely to make things better.”

An Oil Collapse Could Shake the World Economy Even Further

Covid-19 is hurting industries across the economy—Lufthansa’s CEO tells Der Spiegel, predictably, that the airline is “barely generating revenues any longer” amid transportation shutdowns—but oil could take a particularly severe hit, according to two essays in Foreign Affairs. The Saudi-Russian feud had already sunk prices, and amid the global shock of Covid-19, a “resulting collapse in demand will be bigger than any recorded since oil became a global commodity,” Daniel Yergin writes. “The decline in global consumption in April alone will be seven times bigger than the biggest quarterly decline following the 2008–9 financial crisis. In areas that lack access to storage and markets, the price of a barrel of oil could fall to zero.”

That will carry massive implications, Amy Myers Jaffe writes—particularly for developing countries that rely on oil exports, already face high debt, and count on oil prices in the $50-per-barrel range when drawing up their budgets. “Oil-linked debt troubles could explode across the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa in 2020, setting off financial crises and potentially even defaults that would be felt around the world,” Jaffe predicts—a catastrophe for world financial markets, where portfolios include oil-related and emerging-market investments.

And as the world economy confronts a Covid-19 crisis, an oil collapse could deprive it of a safety net it unfurled after the 2008 crash, when oil-rich countries helped out: “Tiny Qatar injected billions of dollars into Barclays during that crisis and helped secure emergency support to UBS and Credit Suisse,” Yaffe writes. “The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority simultaneously invested $7.5 billion in bonds issued by Citigroup to shore up that bank, while the United Arab Emirates injected $19.0 billion into its own banks to keep them afloat.” This time, that help is less likely to arrive.

Thomas Sankara: An Upright Man

Source: Author: Adjei-Gyamfi Yaw

On 15 October, Africa joins hands with the people of Burkina Faso to celebrate the life and work of this great African icon.

Many nationalist leaders took up frontline roles to liberate their people from colonialism, regardless of the life-threatening conditions and consequences that prevailed at the time. African people were facing harsh conditions in their homelands due to colonial domination and exploitation. North of Ghana’s border is Burkina Faso, a country that owes its birth to a young, selfless and dynamic Pan-Africanist leader, Thomas Isidore Sankara. He was the leader of Burkina Faso’s revolutionary government from 1983 to 1987. To embody the new autonomy and rebirth, he renamed the country, changing from “Upper Volta” to “Burkina Faso”, which means “Land of Upright Men”.
(FILES) A file picture taken on February 7, 1986 shows Captain Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, giving a press conference in Paris. An autopsy on the supposed remains of Burkina Faso’s iconic ex-president Thomas Sankara, who was killed in a 1987 coup, showed he was ‘riddled with bullets”, a lawyer for his family said October 13, 2015. Lawyer Ambroise Farama emphasised she was still waiting for the results of DNA tests to confirm the body was that of the revolutionary former army captain but said “there is every reason to believe” the remains exhumed from a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou in May were his. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GEORGE
In an interview, Ernest Harsch, the biographer of Thomas Sankara, paints a vivid image of the remarkable personality of this legendary African icon:
He did not like the general pomp that came with the office. He was interested in ideas. He’d think for a while, then respond to your questions. In terms of public events, he really knew how to talk to people. He was a great orator. He loved to joke. He often played with the French language and coined new terms. He often made puns. So, he had a sense of humour. In Burkina Faso, you’d see him riding around the capital on a bicycle or walking around on foot without an entourage.
Such was the affability and the humility of Sankara.
On 15 October, Africa joins hands with the people of Burkina Faso to celebrate the life and work of this great African icon. The continent celebrates his unwavering commitment and dedication to the resistance of the continued oppression of the Burkinabe people by the colonial authority of France.
Sankara is also remembered for the strides he made to develop his country in areas of education, health and gender empowerment, as well as his fiery desire to eradicate corruption and its effects. This article highlights the legacy of Sankara, with a clear reflection of what he stood for in his lifetime. Juxtaposed with the life and legacy of this illustrious son of Africa, the last section looks at the general bankruptcy of leadership in Africa today.
Exactly what did Thomas Sankara want for his country?
Noel Nebie, a retired professor of economics, told Al-Jazeera: “Sankara wanted a thriving Burkina Faso, relying on local human and natural resources, as opposed to foreign aid, and starting with agriculture, which represents more than 32 percent of the country’s GDP and employs 80 percent of the working population. He smashed the economic elite who controlled most of the arable land and granted access to subsistence farmers. That improved production, making the country almost self-sufficient.”

As an ardent advocate of self-sufficiency and a strong opposition to foreign aid or intervention, Sankara held the conviction that “he who feeds you, controls you”.

Sankara’s foreign policy was largely focused on anti-imperialism, with his government shunning all foreign aid. He insisted on debt reduction, nationalising all land and mineral wealth, and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritising education with a nationwide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2,5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles. As an ardent advocate of self-sufficiency and a strong opposition to foreign aid or intervention, Sankara held the conviction that “he who feeds you, controls you.” Sankara was vocal against the sustained neo-colonial penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance. He called for a united front of African nations to renounce their foreign debt and argued that the poor and exploited did not have an onus to repay money to the rich and exploiting. In a speech delivered by Sankara in October 1984, he declared, “I come here to bring you fraternal greetings from a country whose 7 million children, women and men refuse to die of hunger, ignorance and thirst any longer.”
Taking a similar stance to the revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara, Sankara voiced his displeasure over the arrogant treatment of the people of Burkina Faso by the rulers of the imperialist world. He vehemently criticised the impoverished conditions of the Burkinabe people and showed a strong determination to uphold the dignity of his people who had suffered savagely due to colonialism and neo-colonialism. Sankara had sworn to oppose the continued oppression of Africans and refused to subscribe to the economic bondage of class society and its unholy consequences.
To address prevailing land imbalances, Sankara embarked on a redistribution of land from the colonial ‘landlords’, returning it to the peasants. As a result, wheat production rose in three years from 1 700 kilogram per hectare to 3 800 kilogram per hectare, making the country self-sufficient in terms of food. He also campaigned against the importation of apples from France when Burkina Faso had tropical fruits that could not be sold. As a way to promote the growth of the local industry and national pride, Sankara impressed upon public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen.
The modest nature of Sankara is one of the most prominent features of this African legend. He remained a humble leader who won the hearts and admiration of all his people and followers. He lived a relatively modest lifestyle, doing away with the luxuries widely associated with the oligarchs of Africa. As president, he had his salary cut to US$450 a month and reduced his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer. Sankara stood out from the leaders who led the freedom struggle for liberation in Africa. This was because he was a communist. He believed that “a world built on different economic and social foundations can be created not by technocrats, financial wizards or politicians, but by the masses of workers and peasants whose labour, joined with the riches of nature, is the source of all wealth”. A devoted Marxist, he drew inspiration for his fight for the emancipation of the working class from his belief that Marxism was not a set of “European ideals” that were alien to the class struggle in Africa.

Sankara agreed with the words of Marcus Mosiah Garvey: “Education is the medium through which a people can prepare for their own civilisation and the advancement and glory of their own race.” Sankara recognised the importance of education in order to liberate his people from colonial damnation.

He initiated a nation-wide literacy campaign, increasing the literacy rate from 13 percent in 1983 to 73 percent in 1987.
Sankara also understood the importance of women in the success of the revolution and the overall development of a nation. He empowered the women of Burkina Faso. As Pathfinder Press states, “From the very beginning, one of the hallmarks of the revolutionary course Sankara fought for was the mobilisation of women to fight for their emancipation.”
His commitment to women’s rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions.
In October 1983, he declared in a speech that “the revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or out of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph. Women hold up the other half of the sky”. He appointed women to high governmental positions, encouraged them to work, recruited them into the military and granted pregnancy leave during education. His commitment to women’s rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions.

Overthrow and death

On 15 October 1987, Thomas Sankara was murdered in a coup d’état, which was engineered by his trusted friend, brother and right-hand man in the revolution, Blaise Campaore. He was killed, along with 12 other officials, by his former colleague. Sankara’s body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave, while his widow, Mariam, and their two children fled the nation. This was a disgraceful moment in the history of Burkina Faso. Campaore overturned most of Sankara’s policies and returned to the IMF. His dictatorship remained in power for 27 years until overthrown by popular protests in 2014.

General bankruptcy of leadership in Africa

At a time when Africans are desperately looking for development options and a way to regain an economically independent Africa, as envisaged by Sankara, Africa is bereft of such revolutionary-spirited leaders to spur on the fight for the economic emancipation and liberation of the continent. Much has been made of the discourse surrounding the potential re-colonisation of Africa by the emerging neo-colonial ‘kid on the block’—China.
October 14 marked the anniversary of the passing of another of Africa’s founding fathers of Pan Africanism, Julius Mwalimu Kambarage Nyere. In moments such as these, African leaders must revisit the ideals of these selfless leaders, who wished for nothing but the total emancipation of the African continent. Just as Sankara professed a week before his dastardly murder, “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”
Poor governance is one of the factors that have plunged the continent into extreme levels of poverty and the far-reaching effects of low standards of living. Governance among Africans has been plagued with political and economic failures and this has seemingly provided proof of the incapability of Africans to rule themselves.
African governments are characterised by corruption, nepotism and political instability. Tsenay Serequerberhan (1998) posited that, “In fact, the 1970s and the 1980s have already been for Africa a period of ‘endemic famine’ orchestrated by the criminal incompetence and political subservience of African governments to European, North American and Soviet interests.” Corruption among leaders on the African continent has been a major setback to Africa’s attempt to realise successes in the globalised economy. This canker on the continent has blinded the leaders of Africa to appreciate the altruistic purpose for which they have been placed at the helm of affairs of the state. It is almost impossible to dissociate extreme poverty and wilful inequality from countries faced with sky-high levels of corruption. It is not an issue that affects governance only at the national level, but it also undermines collective African efforts at addressing common developmental challenges.
Corruption in Africa has helped to further concentrate income and wealth, which ought to be directed towards the development of her people, in the hands of the privileged few, to the detriment ofmany through the unequal and inequitable distribution of resources. Africa’s inability on the part of governments to deal effectively with poverty has been, to a large extent, due to corruption. Pan Africanism has lost its shine among African leaders, with African governments still under the shackles of neo-colonialism. The Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) was meant to be a glowing reflection of the achievements of Pan Africanism, but is nothing but a laughing stock that cannot fund its own budget: An office complex to host its meetings had to be a ‘gift’ from China. On a day when we celebrate the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara, it is imperative to realise that “African leaders have so much to learn from Sankara about humility and public service”, as was said by Samsk Le Jah, a musician. For Alex Duval Smith, “While Burkina Faso’s former leader may not be the poster boy of revolution, like Argentine-born Che Guevara, many taxis across West Africa have a round sticker of him in his beret on their windscreens.”

Nobel Peace Prize for Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed called ‘well-deserved honor’

Nile Explorer Editor
“It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia and I can imagine that the rest of Africa’s leaders will take it positively to work on (the) peace-building process on our continent.” This was the reaction of Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, when he was told by the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that he was the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
The announcement on Oct. 11 by the committee was far from a surprise. Abiy, 43, had been bookmakers’ second favorite to win, behind the teenage Swedish climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg.
Still, the decision amounted to profound recognition of the efforts and success of an indefatigable peacemaker in a continent wracked by conflict and violence.
Nile explorer juba south sudan
The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10 on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
The Ethiopian leader’s biggest achievement to date is ending two decades of hostility and restoring ties with long-term enemy Eritrea that had been frozen since a 1998-2000 border war. “I have said often that winds of hope are blowing ever stronger across Africa. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is one of the main reasons why,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10 on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. (AFP)
During the border war, Abiy, who was born in Ethiopia to a Muslim father and Christian mother, led a spy team on a reconnaissance mission into areas held by the Eritrean Defence Forces. But when he became prime minister, he was quick to launch a peace offensive.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Abiy was honored for his “decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”
However, it added that the prize is “meant to recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the east and northeast African regions.
“Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone. When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President (Isaias) Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalise the peace process between the two countries.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”
IN NUMBERS
9 million – Value of the Nobel Peace Prize in Swedish crowns
301 – Candidates who were nominated for the award
The principles of the agreement are set out in the declarations that Abiy and Afwerki signed in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, and in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah in July and September of last year.
Dan Smith, head of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said by choosing Abiy, the committee is seeking to encourage the peace process, echoing the 1994 peace prize shared by Israeli and Palestinian leaders and the 1993 award for moves toward reconciliation in South Africa.
“It is a case of wanting a constructive intervention in the peace process … to give leverage and encouragement,” he said.
“The challenge now is internal for Abiy, with Ethiopia needing to deal with the consequences of long-term violence, including 3 million displaced people and the need to continue the political process.”
Abiy took office in April 2018 after the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn following three years of violent anti-government protests in Africa’s second-most populous country.
The ruling coalition had already begun making conciliatory measures, but it was Abiy who sped up the reforms.

After securing peace with Eritrea, he swiftly released dissidents from jail, apologized for state brutality and welcomed home exiled armed groups. Those actions sparked optimism in a region blighted by violence.
Since then, Abiy has played a significant role in bringing peace to the Horn of Africa region, from Sudan to Somalia and Djibouti, all of which at some time have had border disputes. Small wonder, then, fellow African leaders were among the first to congratulate him.
The “warmest felicitations” were sent by Liberian President George Weah, who said in a tweet: “I hereby join the rest of Africa and the world at large in celebrating with the great people of Ethiopia and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Award.”
Somalian President Mohamed Farmaajo called Abiy a “deserving winner” via Twitter, adding “I have enjoyed working with him on strengthening regional cooperation.”
Meanwhile, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said the award was “a reminder to us all that peace is one of the most critical ingredients needed to make Africa successful.”
Speaking to CNN, Biniam Getaneh, an Ethiopian poet and writer, described the award as a “big win” not only for Abiy and Ethiopia but for Africa, too. “Despite the shortcomings of the reform he introduced and the man himself, I believe he is deserving of this international recognition simply for his peace efforts with Eritrea,” he said.
Congratulations came in from Arab leaders, too. “My sincere congratulations to my dear friend Dr. Abiy Ahmed on winning the #NobelPeacePrize,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said in a tweet.
“He is a wise man who has brought peace and hope to his country and region. The prize is a well-deserved honour for an extraordinary leader.”
Abiy visited the Gulf in July last year, when he and Afwerki were honored with the UAE’s highest civil honor for their reconciliation efforts. Sheikh Mohammed had conferred the Order of Zayed on the two leaders on that occasion.
Ethiopian town of Zala Ambesa where there were clashes with Eritrean forces during a border war between the two countries in the late 1990s.

In addition to resolving the border dispute with Eritrea, Abiy’s government has promised to liberalize the bureaucratic, state-controlled Ethiopian economy, overturned bans on many political parties and dismissed or arrested many senior officials accused of corruption, torture or murder.

Despite the abundant international recognition for his work, however, Abiy faces big challenges, with many wondering if he can control the political forces he has unleashed in a country of 100 million people.
The biggest threats appear to come from elements within the ruling coalition who feel disempowered and from new, ethnically based parties eager to flex their muscles in next year’s elections.
Abiy survived an assassination attempt amid riots in June 2016 and faced down a mutiny from his own military by challenging — and then defeating — them in a push-up competition.
The loosening of political freedoms means that many regional power brokers are demanding more influence and resources, fueling ethnic conflicts around the country.
In June, a rogue state militia leader killed the head of the Amhara region and other senior officials in what the government described as a regional coup attempt.
Abiy also faces high expectations from young Ethiopians who want jobs, development and opportunities, and feel the government still has much to do to improve daily life in the country.
The same sentiments were echoed by Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, who said: “There is a lot achieved already in reforming Ethiopia to a democracy, but there is also a long way to go. Rome was not made in a day and neither will peace or democratic development be achieved in a short period of time.”

Lands and Borders

Writer/Author: Dr Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey PHD

Lands and Borders: Something must be mysterious, mischievous or misleading South Sudanese politicians over issue of lands, community borders and regional boundaries.

Not much is known about lands and borders conflicts among the people of South Sudan until the coming of the British colonial authority in 1899. However, there had been movements of people from one place to another for reasons of natural disasters, wars or running away from Turks and Arabs human slavers-adventurers. Those immigrations stopped as from 1899, when the British took over the land and governed it until first January 1956.

Our masters then, the British, who told us to have liberated us from slavery, changed their minds and handed us back into slavery and Arabs racism in Khartoum in 1946. Collectively, South Sudanese rejected the annexation of South Sudan and unification arrangements with Khartoum and took up arms in August 1955.

In January 2005, the Arms liberation movement: The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/ARMY), led by firmly abled leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, prevailed over and negotiated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with Khartoum-Arabs’ government. Dr. John was fully aware of the lands and borders conflicts that would surface during and after the implementation of the CPA. Garang wanted the land of Sudan to belong to communities and not to belong to public (government), since the Sudan government was/is the main thief of the communities’ lands.

As South Sudan processed to move away from Sudan in 2005, the borders were not the same in accordance with the decolonization’s international law declared by UN and Confirmed by the AU: that “the former African colonies shall adopt the colonial borders and boundaries as they stand from the date, month and year of the independence.” Thus the CPA stipulates that the borders and boundaries between Sudan and South Sudan shall remain as they stood on 1.1.1956, the time the British left Khartoum.

With assumptions and without verification of the borders at the time, the Interim Government of Southern Sudan inherited the decentralized system of 25 states’ prescribed-constitution and hurried up to Juba to govern the ten states. Definitely, these same politicians who have been in war against one another, are the ones masterminding the disinformation and propaganda, accusing the Dinka community of the famous lands-grabbing and thieving. Shamefully incredible!

Coming next: is there really mistaken solution in regards to proposals and counter proposals of states: 10, 21, 28, 32 or Equatoria’s 39?

Opposition leaders BACK HOME!

NILE EXPLORER

Writer/Author: Dr Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey PHD

Let me, on my own, welcome Dr. Riek Machar Teny, his accompanying delegation and friends of peace to Juba. I have witnessed, through YouTube video images at Juba Airport, the warm reception, accorded to him, inclusively by the public at large, the Government of President Salva Kiir and some leaders of political parties. I guest that the reception was not for a war hero, but for a peace hero. People of South Sudan are peace lovers. They had fought a just war, 1955-2005, to liberate themselves and their country, from Arabs racial domination and colonialism. Thus making the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the only hope and the way forward available for a genuine peace, change and unity of the country.

The coming of Dr. Riek Machar today, 9 September 2019, to Juba should effect a way forward in the implementation of R-ARCSS of September 2018. The delay to implement the R-ARCSS “letter and Spirit” confirms the statement that “politicians lack political will.” This statement should be ended for good. Among many questions being asked is “what are the issues expected to be resolved by President Salva and Dr. Riek?”

President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar meetings may break the blockade over the slow or lazy implementation of gate-opening issues to a successful peace deals. These gate-opening issues to the “wholesale”
successful implementation of R-ARCSS, are seen, among others to be: (a) the security arrangements and formation of the National army; (b) restoration of freedoms: assembly, press, democracy and the rule of law. This will pave the way to free movements of people including the returning refugees and the returning IDPs to their original homes, and (c) the funding to enforce the implementation smoothly timely.

 

Finally, the two leaders, Salva and Riek are expected to share views on national dialogue, reconciliation and and facets of shared value forgiveness, thus generating the lost trust and confidence. If this last meetings between the two leaders fail again, then South Sudan shall join the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Libya or Colombia in Latin America. We shouldn’t!

THE BIRTH OF TECHNOLOGY IN FOOTBALL GOALING AND VAR

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By Yasin Sentiba a.k.a Yacn Wv for Sportsdesk
No one saw Goal Line and VAR technology coming to the beautiful game of football, but it was a call away. After the  Frank Lampard goal didn’t stand in the 2010 World Cup fixture of Germany vs England were England eventually lost   4 – 1 had it been counted it would have been level 2 – 2 and who knows what would happen. Such goals especially the back in bar( crossbar goal ) as commonly kwown had a lot of questions on them especially not being awarded yet they had crossed the line an example was Pedro Mendez goal against Manchester United in 2005 in the premier league and the referees failure to award such goal gave birth to Goal line technology FIFA organized football events and across the Europeans Top leagues.
In 2012 FIFA World Cup goal line technology was introduced and top leagues in Europe embraced it however many football lovers always complained how it kills the rivalry of the game urging that its nature and it should be left out however a lot of questions were left un answered since Goal line technology only catered for the Ball crossing the Goal Line and didn’t look at the entire build up of the game. Due to the many unanswered questions in the Goal Line technology, this asked for a more advanced system which was later found and called VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE (VAR).
VAR is described as a match official who reviews decisions made by the centre referee with use of video footage and a headset communication. This was design look at mainly four aspects of football i.e
1. Goal/ No Goal , if an attacking team commits an offense ball in play, ball entering goal, offside, handball, offenses and encroachment during penalty kicks.the best example here is Thieny Henry’s handball goal against Ireland at the state de France in the second leg of the World Cup playoffs match in 2009, Ireland were cruelly denied when France qualified with a goal which should have been disallowed. Thierry Henry cleared handed the ball before setting up William Gallas to equalize on the night and go 2 – 1 head on aggregate.
2. Penalty/ No Penalty, Robert Pires winning a foul in the crystal palace box in the 2004 where palace were leading One Nil against Arsenal, equalizing it from a penalty spot the game ending 1 – 1 who know if hadn’t been for the Pires fouling of the referee Palace would have made Arsenal not have gone the entire season unbeaten.
3. Mistaken identity, As many football players have been booked and eventually sent off due to mistaken identity for example Cris Foy the centre referee booked Fabio da Silva of instead of his twin bother Rafael da Silva in the fixture of Manchester United vs Barnsley in the carling cup 2009-2010 season Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs mistakenly being sent off against Chelsea in the 2014 season insteady of Oxlade Chambalian.
4. Direct red card. This reminds us Abdul Kader Keita – Kaka in the Brazil vs Ivory Coast incident at the World Cup 2010 were Kaka was given a red card that should have not should and many football lovers described the incident as a totally unjustified sending off.
VAR initiative trying to bring out the equal game slogan of FIFA. VAR has caused so many contravecies in football on who should make the calls, when should VAR be reveiwed and when should the center referee go and check on the side screens. This has rose many eye brows of football lovers globally saying how it it killing beautiful games joy especially when awrongly scored goal is cancelled but all fans forget is that when one side walks away with unsporting behavior it’s killing the game and when awrongfull scored goal is cancelled, the other teams supporters and fan jubilate, all in all jubilation and joy still remains.
Many football fans and critics are saying how VAR is killing the intensity of the game saying how it’s time wasting but what is wrong with stopping play to correct the wrong. Like Jose Felix Mourinho put it only thrives will complain when cameras are installed.
Yasin Sentiba a.k.a Yacn Wv
+211928425594/+256785561334

Communique of the 868th meeting of the PSC on the state of foreign military presence in Africa, held on 14 August 2019

COMMUNIQUÉ

Adopted by the Peace and Security Council during its 868th meeting held on 14 August 2019 on state of foreign military presence in Africa: Implications on the implementation of the Common African Defence and Security Policy:

The Peace and Security Council,

Taking note of the statement made by H.E. Albert Ranganai Chimbindi, Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of August 2019, and the presentations made by Dr. Admore Kambudzi, Director of Peace and Security Department on behalf of the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui; also taking note of the presentation by Ambassador Kio Amieyeofori, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Further taking note of the statements made by the representatives of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);

Recalling its previous pronouncements on the issue of foreign military presence and external interference in Africa’s affairs, particularly communique PSC/PR/COMM(DCI) adopted at its 601st meeting held on 30 May 2016; communique PSC/PR/COMM(DCCLXXVI) adopted at its 776th meeting held on 24 May 2018; communique PSC/PR/COMM(DCCCXXIV) adopted at its 824th meeting held on 5 February 2019; and most recently, communique PSC/PR/COMM(DCCCLVII) adopted at its 857th meeting held on 5 July 2019, and communique PSC/PR/COMM(DCCCLXV) adopted at its 865th meeting held on 7 August 2019; In the above-mentioned communiques, the PSC strongly condemned the external interference, by whomsoever, into African peace and security issues, and warned that it will proceed to naming and shaming those involved in order to address this problem;

Underling the need for full implementation of Article 7(l) of the PSC Protocol emphasizing that external initiatives in the field of peace and security on the Continent take place within the framework of the Union’s objective and priorities as outlined in the AU relevant instruments;

Taking note of the fact that some AU Member States, within their sovereign status, have entered into bilateral and multilateral arrangements with non-African partners with a view to addressing and containing threats to peace and security on their respective territories.

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

  1. Notes with concern over the increase in the establishment of foreign military presence and military bases in Africa; emphasizes that the defence and security of one country in Africa is directly linked to that of others as provided for in the Common African Defence and Security Policy and also in the AU Non-Aggression Pact; in this regard, underlines that these AU instruments constitute the bedrock of Africa’s collective defence and security; further expresses deep concern that albeit this increase of foreign military presence and military bases in different parts of the continent, the threats which they are supposedly expected to neutralize, continue to increase an intensity and geographic expansion in different parts of the Continent; also expresses concern that foreign military presence and military bases are contributing to the risk of rivalry and competition among foreign powers within Africa and undermining national sovereignty and peace efforts;
  2. Strongly condemns any external interference into the Africa’s peace and security affairs and urges that all external support to peace and security in Africa should be well coordinated and directed towards achieving AU’s objectives and priorities and should be provided within the framework of the relevant AU instruments;
  3. While appreciating the support of partners in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa, emphasizes that AU Member States and the AU Commission should enhance their efforts in popularizing and providing effective support towards the implementation of the Common African Defence and Security Policy and African States should guarantee that any external support, either bilateral or multilateral, is in conformity with this Policy;
  4. Underscores that collective defence and security in Africa is of high importance, taking into consideration the rapid increase of foreign military presence in the Continent; in this regard, appeals to all AU Member States that decide to host foreign military entities/bases in their countries to deploy necessary efforts to inform their neighbours, their respective Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanism (RECs/RMs) and the African Union and ensure that the signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) are in conformity with the provisions of the Common African Defence and Security Policy and other relevant AU policies on defence and security and that they contribute towards the objectives and priorities of the AU;
  5. Emphasizes the need for the AU Commission and the RECs/RMs to redouble their efforts to ensure the operationalization of the African Standby Force (ASF), which is the primary home-grown model in the Continent, to enable Africa to enhance its defence and security arrangements for AU Member States and their people; such a capability would provide Africa with the means to timeously respond to threats to peace and security; furthermore, stresses the importance for African countries to put more focus on capacitating their national forces, as well as promote intelligence sharing among themselves;
  6. Emphasizes the primary role of the African countries in managing their internal affairs and reaffirms its commitment to respect the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of each African state; therefore, encourages to all AU Member States which need support in capacitating their national defence and security forces and institutions to explore available avenues in the United Nations (UN) system and those in the RECs/RMs to provide such support, with a view to continue building mutual trust, confidence and collective capabilities and strength among African countries;
  7. Encourages AU Member States to enter into bilateral agreements in the matters of common interests on peace and security, in order to enhance coordination and share expertise and experience; further encourages Member States to emulate best practices on military operations among African states and RECs/RMs in addressing threats to peace and security and sustaining stability;
  8. Underscores the important role played by information, experience and intelligence sharing platforms, such as the Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes and calls for their further strengthening at higher political level; further stresses the need for promoting similar processes in other regions of the Continent;
  9. Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to regularly brief the Council on the status of the implementation of the Common African Defence and Security Policy and other relevant AU instruments on defence and security in the continent, in line with Article 14 of the Preamble of the Solemn Declaration of the Common African Defence and Security Policy, with a view to providing the opportunity to Council to review implementation and address any challenges that may be identified; In this regard, agrees to receive such briefing at least twice a year with the participation of CISSA;
  10. Requests the PSC Military Staff Committee to undertake a comprehensive study on foreign military presence and military bases in Africa, its advantages and disadvantages and submit proposals on the way forward for consideration by the PSC; in this context, agrees to provide a special report, within the spirit of the efforts to silence the guns in Africa, and to do so simultaneously with the report of the PSC on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa to the ordinary session of the Assembly of the AU to take place in January/February 2020;
  11. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

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Don’t You Dare Leave Us Behind

The G7 should deliver progress not promises on gender equality.

By Aya Chebbi, African Union’s first ever youth envoy.

Nearly 10 years have passed since the beginning of what we call the revolution of dignity, many of you refer to it as the ‘Arab spring’. I was a part of it. We were angry, we wanted a future where we could fulfil our potential. To break up old and entrenched structures limiting our potential, we, the young generation, realised that we needed to become leaders of our own development. Our struggle was also a struggle for voice as we did not see our views and hopes represented within our own governments. Even if the outcome and the progress of the protests vary from one country to another, there can be no doubt that the youth has changed the course of history.

What is particularly interesting, is that young women were powerful drivers of this movement. Their involvement went beyond direct participation in the protests. Be it as organizers, journalists or political activists – young women became the leading force in cyber-activism. Before I became a youth envoy of the African Union – I was one of these women. We seized the momentum to make our voices heard and our actions seen.

Take a closer look at the current situation in Sudan. The country is just starting a long journey moving away from decades of dictatorship. Very often women who were leading the calls for peaceful uprising against the military government. This is not a coincidence. Women have all the reasons in the world to stand up and take what is theirs. We are still miles away from having equal rights. According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate of change, it is going to take not less than 108 years to achieve gender equality. We can not wait that long.

Poverty is sexist

Just to give you an idea of how far away we are from gender equality: Most countries in the world limit the economic opportunities of women by law. More than 100 countries  even exclude women in particular from obtaining certain jobs. There are 18 countries, where it is legal for men to forbid their wives to work at all. Can you believe it? The poorer a country, the harder girls and women are hit. Poverty is sexist.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 52 million girls have no access to education – compared to 45 million boys. One out of three women do not have a bank account. Girls and women in Africa are at a significantly higher risk of contracting HIV than men. There are more child brides in the world than people living in the whole European Union – with unthinkable consequences for their psychological, social and economic development. This list could go on and on. So of course women take the streets. There will be no sustainable revolution without feminism. 

Gender equality – everyone benefits!

Not that the legal argument wasn’t reason enough but this is not just about justice. You literally couldn’t come up with a more stupid idea than leaving half of the population behind if you wanted to strive forward as a society. To phrase it positively: Girls and women have the biggest potential to bring extreme poverty to an end – once and for all.

If all women had full primary education, this would already lead to a massive drop of maternal mortality (-70 percent!). With higher education, women will not only have fewer children at a later point in life but they will also make significantly more money – which they often reinvest in their families and communities. This way everyone benefits. Equal access to education would generate more than 112 billion US dollars worth of tax revenues for developing countries. If women were given the same land rights as men, the harvest yields would improve so much that it could lift up to 150 million people out of chronic hunger. There are thousands of good reasons for gender equality and not a single one against it.

G7 summit: progress not promises

So, what is keeping us from changing the situation for girls and women? Unfortunately, the wheels of politics turn slowly at times. Sometimes, it needs an igniting moment for things to start changing for the better. This moment could be in one week’s time when African leaders, such as, President Ramaphosa, and Macky Sall  will meets with other world leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz (France). French president and host Emmanuel Macron has put the fight against inequality front and center of the summit’s agenda – with a focus on gender equality. If you only look at the rhetoric the attending leaders used in the past, you could get the impression that equal rights for men and women are within reach. No one is getting tired of highlighting how important it is to strengthen girls and women. But these are merely words. Nothing changes only through speaking. It’s action that counts. We should all demand progress not promises. And we should demand it right now.

It goes without saying that one summit alone will not change the world in the twinkling of an eye. But as I said: It can be the spark that ignites the fire for gender equality worldwide. For the first time ever, the G7 have not invited African leaders only for the family picture and a bit of chit chat in the end, but they have actually involved them in the whole negotiation process leading up to the actual summit. This is an absolute novelty and an opportunity for both an open dialogue and citizens holding their governments accountable. If the attending world leaders are truly interested in moving gender equality forward, there are three things we can and should expect:

1) Legislative and policy change

Every participating country at the G7 summit should commit to implementing at least two legislative or policy changes on gender equality by 2022 – either by abolishing discriminatory laws or by putting in place progressive ones. This could for instance include for Senegal criminalizing rape or ensuring national policies such as on education are gender responsive. Equal pay for equal work is another example. And that is the case for all countries.

2) Financial commitments

As described above, financing gender equality is one of the smartest investments one can make to fight extreme poverty and to spur a country’s development. The G7 should put money on the table to strengthen women and girls. They should ensure that the vast majority of their development aid contributes to gender equality and that at least 20 percent of their aid promotes this as a primary purpose. But also the African governments need to do their homework and invest their domestic resources in unleashing the potential of girls and women within their countries.

3) Accountability

In order to ensure that we don’t end up with empty promises but real progress, the G7 should put in place a new accountability and monitoring mechanism focused on delivering on gender equality. The monitoring process of course needs to be undertaken by an independent actor and in close cooperation with civil society.

The upcoming Biarritz summit is a litmus test to see what the G7 is made of. Historically, international cooperation, joint decisions and initiating global processes were what enhanced the legitimacy of the G7. Let’s hope we see progress not promises for women’s rights. We are not waiting 108 more years to receive what should be ours already.

Aya Chebbi, an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She is the first African Union Youth Envoy  and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet.

The Independent Day

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By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

When the first bullet of freedom broke out from the barrel of a gun on 18 August 1955, all South Sudanese rose up in unity behind their leaders: fr. Saturino Lohuhre, Aggrey Jadeen, William Deng, Joseph Oduho, Gordon Mortat and Joseph Lagu, the SANU/Anya-Nya-one top leaders from 1955 to 1983. The vision and mission was the sole liberation of territorial integrity of Southern Sudan, total freedom and independence from Khartoum, within the bounds of its three provinces of Equatoria, Bahr Al Ghazal and Upper Nile, as they stood from 1.1.1956, the time the British and Egyptians colonisers left Southern Sudan and Sudan. The SANU/Anya-Nya-one failed to accomplish the mission.

In 1980, the Anya-Patroitic-Front reenforced by Anya-Nya-two took off for a new liberation leadership, principled on Anya-Nya-one. This new leadership was composed of: Gordon Mortat Mayen, Elia Duang Arop, Dr. Mayar Akoon Wakbeek, Dr. Ajou Akuen Ajou, Agolong Chol and others (for Anya Patriotic Front, from 1972 to 1983). The extended Anya-Nya-Two leaders: Akuot Atem Mayen, Gai Tut, Abdellah Chuol, Joseph Oduho, Benjamin Bol Akok and others. They were united on the ground in South Sudan and abroad, fighting for independence of one South Sudan.

On 16 May 1983, Col. John Garang de Mabior, Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, major William Nyuon Beny, major Salva Kiir Mayardit, major Ngor Maciec, ignited the new liberation fire, this time from Bor, Jonglei military garrison and moved their military base to Ethiopian borders. Here Dr. John group joined hands with Anya-Nya-Two leaders. Dr. John and Anya- Nya-Two leaders, then in Ethiopia, differed on vision and mission over separating South Sudan from Sudan and unifying New Sudan approach. But, eventually, they two agreed to unity of their forces in one army one movement.

On 18 August 1983, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA/SPLM) were born. The SPLA/SPLM led by Dr. John, in its new manifesto and constitution, trajectories for liberation settled for revolution of what emerged to be known as “New Sudan;” taking the Sudan and South Sudan as a unit. Dr. John planned to transformed the Sudan for all the Sudanese, not just for the “Arab minority clique,” governing Khartoum and colonising South Sudan since 1956. Dr. John, in his capacity as a charismatic, political philosopher with major ideological commitments and as a good solider, managed the leadership of the Movement to a successful peaceful resolution in 2005. The 9 January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the SPLM and Khartoum Government, signed by Dr. John and President Al Bashir respectively, broke opened the way for democratic referendum, favouring yet, the successful unanimous vote of 99% for independence on 9 January 2011. Thus, for veterans freedom fighters, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and their colleagues in the leadership of the SPLM and Government, along with all the citizens of South Sudan, raised the Flag of the SPLM/SPLA, turned National, in the image of the abled leader John Garang, the people and the sovereign nation of South Sudan among the world nations.

This is the sovereign Independence Day we are about to commemorate and celebrate together in unity. We fought for it together, we voted unanimously for it together and we raised its flag together on 9 July 2011. There cannot be a genuine reason, whatsoever, for any one of us to refrain over the celebration and honouring of our sovereign flag since it is void of any political contention.

In my opinion the Opposition parties can celebrate alone in the premises of their parties if they don’t want to Join President Salva Kiir’s State celebrations, tomorrow 9 July 2019 at the freedom square.

God bless
Peace and security ever
Violence and war never. Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey