Jul 8, 2011

Dear South Sudan

As-Salaam-Alaikum my friend, I hope you are doing well. I haven’t heard from you since our famous disagreement a couple of years ago. Quite honestly, I am still interested in your daughter but there is no way on earth I can afford two hundred heads of cows as dowry when I don’t even own a goat. However, you still remain a friend and I know I am your greatest inspiration. That’s rather obvious from your flag if you are asking yourself how I got to know that. 

I hope you don’t mind if I am the first one to congratulate you on your independence day. You have come a long way my friend and you deserve to throw yourself the biggest party of your life. By the way thank you for your invitation which I gladly accept, After all it’s long since I saw your daughter.

We have been friends for a long time and that will not change even as you celebrate your achievement of self rule. If anything, we need each other now more than ever. In your celebration mood though, I would like you to know where you are going as much as much as you know where you have come from. I tell you this because I do not want you to make the same mistakes I made forty seven years ago when I became independent.

I remember how I had to begin from scratch just like you intend to do as soon as the party is over. I scheduled my priorities and promised to prioritize my schedules. I even had economic blue prints like Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 drafted. This was my strategic plan which was intended to eradicate poverty, ignorance as well as disease.

I regret to tell you that drafting of ambitious economic blue prints is as far as I went. I don’t remember how I became vulnerable to dictatorship and tribal politics which beget bad governance. When my good friends Malaysia and Singapore went about catching up with the rest of the world, I unfortunately became a powder keg of ethnic mistrust and corruption which brought me down on my knees. Today 60% of my people live below the poverty index.

I do not want to bore you with my mistakes; neither do I want to scare you. My only wish is that you try to avoid the route that I took at all cost. At least your independence comes in a century of technological advancements and great international vigilance. I know you have some issues you need to sort out with your sister North but that should not prevent you from seeing the big picture. Remember you have a population of 11.5 million than you are now obligated to feed, educate and protect.

Hey, 375,000 barrels of oil at your disposal is quite something to be proud of but nothing to brag about. Remember I have heard world class tourist attractions for many years, some of them like Nairobi national park uniquely located within my capital city. However, my GDP per capita still remains under $1600. You therefore need to focus on maximizing the potential of whatever little you have.

I am told more than 50% of your people live below the poverty index. That should not worry you much because you are just beginning. What matters most is the pace at which you are willing to move forward. Empower your people by entrenching democratic politics in you governance as soon as now and avoid political squabbles by all means.

Attracting investments should be your key priority. The only sure way of achieving this is by building a reliable infrastructure all over within your boundaries. With your rich oil production capacity, you shouldn’t hesitate to supply all of us with energy.   

Finally my friend, I know your human resource is below capacity but you can count on me to start you off. In the mean time, you need to invest heavily in education. What I am telling you is rather obvious but not easy to implement without commitment and accountability. I only realized this a few years ago. That is when I embarked on another blue print of Vision 2030 which I hope not to mess up with again.

I wish you the very best even as I wish I had enough cows to finally get to marry your daughter.

Yours truly,


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