Archive for: December 2013

In Memory of Isaiah Abraham: He lives forever!

BY: Elhag Paul, South Sudan, DEC/04/2013, SSN;

Sometime in the last quarter of yesteryear, late Isaiah Abraham wrote two crucial articles invoking the principle of realpolitik visa viz the oil shut down and the border issue of Mile 14 in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state. Isaiah’s main aim seemingly was the interest of Republic of South Sudan above all.

To him, the ideology of SPLM and its off shoot in the Sudan could be sacrificed for the well-being of South Sudan. Truly, a bold thought of a South Sudanese patriot at a time of real crisis triggered by the idiocy of SPLM Oyee.

When he wrote those articles that cost him his life, it appeared that Isaiah was no longer a committed Oyeeite. He had become a pragmatist and this could be seen from his thinking in those articles. In a sense he was right to emphasise action in relation to the interest of the country.

The SPLM decoders must have sensed the developing shift in Isaiah’s overall ideology which must have irked them.

In addition to this, Isaiah was openly pro Riek Machar. It looked like Riek was his role model. In his writings he made subtle reference to Rieks’s intellectuality as a justification for taking over power from president Kiir.

This must have been the last straw and sadly, “they” decided to end his life for the greater interest of the Jieng which is to maintain power at all cost to execute the project of Jienganisation spoken about by Mabior Garang the son of late Dr John Garang in his interview with Pan African Vision of 22nd August 2013.

On 5th December 2013, Isaiah will have been gone for a year. All his contribution to SPLM Oyee and South Sudan meant nothing to president Kiir and his organisation. They just disposed of him as if he was not a human being with rights to life simply for taking a patriotic stand in his last two articles.

Dreadful, is it not?

But the most painful thing is that 8 months after killing him, president Kiir embarked on the same path recommended by Isaiah. So Isaiah was right after all. It is now obvious he was sacrificed for nothing.

President Kiir now is being pressured and squeezed by Bashir and the international community to cut ties with SPLM North and worse still he appears to have sold out the border areas of Mile 14 including Abyei silently to Khartoum. What a waste and utter incompetence!

Isaiah Abraham’s assassination is a classic case of Jieng on Jieng violence that does not serve any purpose other than advancing crude terrorism to silence critics whose unintended consequence has led to loss of valuable land and resources to Bashir.

The message was that if the Jieng could do away with one of their own, then they could do away easily with critics from the oppressed groups. Hence, the list of death cleverly issued out through Wandit of security immediately after the killing of Isaiah Abraham, please see ‘Salva Kiir’s Death List’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201301180132.html?page=3 and ‘Republic of South Sudan – a Rotten Society Mismanaging Itself Into Self Destruction’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201303070023.html

Some of us in that list accept that the Republic of South Sudan is ruled by criminals headed by an oafish president and whether the list was unveiled or not, like everybody else in RSS no one is safe in all forms or shapes.

So, death does not faze some of us. After all, who does not die? All of us biologically are programmed by nature to come to an end.

President Kiir’s abhorrence of opinion writers is a wrong stance. Invoking violence including killing and terror will not cow the people down into submission. Unfortunately for his government things do not work like that in the real world.

When powers that would be used to silence people, the silenced will find other means to express themselves. It was the iconic Ernesto Che Guevara, the leftist guerrilla fighter of South America who noted elsewhere that, “Silence is an argument carried out by other means.”

Basically meaning no one can stop people from expressing themselves. It is easier to control people who freely speak out and express themselves than those who are silenced and forced to work underground. The latter is more lethal for when they strike back, their blow totally crashes the adversary.

The system in Juba should take note of this point because it is the same principle that swept the regimes of oppression in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya etc.

The West is able to develop and maintain peace because they manage the various freedoms appropriately. For example, they receive critique positively to help them improve governance and the image of the party in power.

They disarm the opposition by quietly doing what the critics point out if useful and strategize on the other ideas they do not want. So they do not need to resort to extreme violence or killing of critics but rather to harvest their ideas which then allow the country to develop. With such management everybody becomes a winner from the individual citizen to the country.

President Kiir and the SPLM Oyee failed to learn the art of human management from other countries with experience like Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. They have all along been content with their militaristic culture tearing the country apart. If only they had acquired human management knowledge and skills they could have avoided their current predicament.

It is this gap in human management that sadly led to Isaiah losing his life at the hands of his own comrades in the belief that he was being silenced to secure the government.

But, have they really silenced Isaiah? This is a very important question whose answer will remain to haunt his killers. Think about it. I thought deeply about this question to satisfy my own curiosity and what I have concluded is that killing does not help in anyway but actually works to bring the killers down. It is a self-defeating exercise of idiots.

Killing Isaiah has not silenced him. Although Isaiah is physically dead, he still lives and communicates with us and he will continue to communicate with generations to come.

Further, Isaiah lives in his children and family, he lives in the body politic of RSS and most importantly he lives in the various papers where he opined. Isaiah’s writings interact and will interact with us, with many other people of different races and nations and with the future generations. Unlike his killers whose exit from this earth will certainly mean death in real sense of the word.

However, Isaiah as now and unlike his killers will continue to be remembered for his writings. This underscores the point that the pen used appropriately for advancement of human rights and freedoms immortalises the writer.

When people write and quote or refer to Isaiah’s work like I have done here, he automatically springs to life and instantly speaks to us through his written work and work of others. So the bullet that took away Isaiah’s life has not taken away his mouth.

Whether his murderers like it or not, Isaiah continues to speak. Whoever killed him, please take note of this point – bullets and violence have a limited effect. These are the weapons of cowards who do not have the courage to confront the opposition.

Bullets can not silence those whose intention is good and spread with the pen, the mightiest of swords that ever existed in the world.

To drive the message home, let us think about this point in relation to the case of Dr Martin Luther King. Dr King wrote and spoke out against injustice in the USA and he was killed by the dark forces of his time.

Since his killing, he has become more of a formidable force in inspiring generations after generation in struggles for human rights. Thus, although Dr King is not physically with us, he continues to speak, inspire and lead us to fight for the greater good of humanity. What about his killers? Are they remembered?

Again, look at the written work of the enlightenment philosophers like Jean Jacque Rousseau, Marquis de Condorcet, Baron de Montesquieu, Rene Descartes….etc done centuries ago which have influenced the world considerably and continue to do so.

The work of these noble people was done in a hostile environment full of censorship, but these thinkers persevered and persisted. Some thinkers such as Rousseau had to flee from France into exile in Geneva for their lives. As you can see this is not different from the atmosphere in South Sudan now. The important thing is that their pens immortalised them.

Isaiah indisputably was the strongest asset of the SPLM. He was its most articulate defender in the blogger-sphere. He capably stood out butting any criticism directed at the organisation. He deconstructed the written ideas of SPLM opponents to defend the indefensible.

For that from the depth of my heart I respect him not for his robust defence of his organisation only but for his unwavering commitment to what he believed in – a man of principle.

Isaiah was the symbol of the maturity of the SPLM. He was proud to be an SPLM member in spite of all its weaknesses. To date it beats my mind why the SPLM could not see how invaluable Isaiah was to it. What a tragic thing! Gut wrenching but that is the brutal nature of SPLM.

By killing Isaiah, SPLM killed itself and blew off its last hope. It is now an empty shell that makes a lot of noise without any substance.

The culture of violence that Dr John Garang constructed terrorised the entire SPLM/A and South Sudanese in the liberated areas which enabled him to build his cult of personality.

This resulted in the appalling worship of Garang and his ideas thereby destroying any foundation for growth of good leadership structure in the SPLM and arguably South Sudan.

When Garang died, South Sudan had to make do with under par Kiir as a leader. A person without any capacity to lead a country. Kiir’s inability clearly can be seen in how he is mismanaging his party and our country.

The Grapevine has it that he has unknowingly been manipulated and converted to become a South Sudan Democratic Forum member as the principles and ideology he now follows are of this latter party whose leadership together with Telar Deng and Aleu Ayieny Aleu guardedly surround the president and isolate him from all other groups including SPLM party members.

This possibly could be the reason why president Kiir appears not to care about the well-being of SPLM Oyee any more.

As I write there is a serious confusion and power struggle going on in SPLM with the country remaining unmanaged. It is not known who is to be believed.

Do the people have to take president Kiir serious or to take his deputy Gen. Wani Igga serious? Both are issuing statements contradicting each other with regards to management of the party.

President Kiir says SPLM structures: the politburo and the National Liberation Council are dissolved and a new body would be formed. On the other hand, Igga is saying the meeting of NLC will take place on 9th Dec. 2013. Which is which and who should be believed?

It appears that Igga is challenging Kiir’s leadership subtly by dismissing what the president has said. While this is going on, Riek is hedging his stall.

With all this, honestly should this hopeless criminal party still be leading the country? This is a matter that needs urgent attention from the people.

Precisely, it is this confused, irrational and destructive management that has made accountability impossible in the country. Isaiah’s case is somewhere lost in this chaos.

Sometimes I wonder what Isaiah would have made of the current situation in South Sudan.

In reflection, when Isaiah was killed, the senior members of SPLM reacted to his killing by promising a swift investigation with justice. At one point it was announced that the FBI, the American body responsible for criminal investigation, would be coming to join the South Sudan Police to carry out the enquiry.

This was wildly drummed up misleading the public that the case would be taken seriously. It is one year now since Isaiah death and there is no sign of the investigation or findings.

What type of human beings are we who can not value and fight for a man who was in the trenches; in the relentless open rains of south Sudan; in the heat of battles facing the Arabs; in the tough desert of Jonglie on the way to Buma Hills; a man who contributed to South Sudan?

Those who promised justice during Isaiah’s burial have conveniently disappeared from the public space. They need to be reminded because the fact that Isaiah’s case has not progressed should spur them into action.

Therefore, those who forcefully proclaimed their support to get justice for Isaiah’s family should look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves whether they were honest with their declarations during the burial.

Please see, ‘Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: Verbatim from the Memorial Service of Isaiah Abraham’ http://www.southsudannation.com/tribute-to-isaiah-abraham-verbatim-from-the-memorial-services-of-isaiah-abraham/

If these powerful members of SPLM knew that they could not live up to their words, why did they promise a dead man’s family justice? Why did they lie to a dead man’s family, friends, relatives and the country at large? Where is their humanity and integrity?

It is not too late for them to bring the killers to account if they truly wanted to. For essentially the case of Isaiah is a case of the state against his killers.

Unfortunately the killers seem to be the very people charged with the affairs of the state. Thus it is abundantly clear that if any justice is to be achieved for Isaiah and all the other victims of SPLM Oyee, there needs to be a change of the status quo.

Since the coming of SPLM in 1983 into the political space of South Sudan, justice disappeared in South Sudan. There is no accountability of any kind in any area of life in the country.

Truly South Sudan is a lawless jungle. Until when is South Sudan going to bleed and continue to be run like a monkey colony?

Let me conclude by saying that on this first anniversary of Isaiah’s death I have spoken about his tragic story, what his work means to society and where his work situates him in relation to existence.

I personally want to remember him first and foremost as a human being, a son of a deeply hurting mother, a father, a husband, an uncle, a nephew and cousin.

I want to remember him as someone who bravely fought for the emancipation of South Sudan.

Though we wrote furiously from distant opposing perspectives we thought one outcome for our country: a functioning peaceful democracy.

It is not important which perspective was/is right but the act of involvement itself with the intention to be part of a solution is what mattered.

In this Isaiah most unfortunately paid with his dear life and worst still his family has been denied justice like all the other victims of the system. RIP

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

South Sudanese unique-society versus Western style democracy: A dark tunnel ahead

BY: AGOK TAKPINY, Australia, DEC/03/2013, SSN;

Hello my fellow South Sudanese, I greet you all in the name of South Sudan. One of my nieces (Acinkoc) had this to say on her Facebook a while ago:

“If you don’t focus so much on what Europeans did to Africa in yesteryears, and focus your energy on improving your current life, your descendants will still be crying about “how bad” Europeans treated their ancestors (and that’s you today) you owe abundant life to your future generations, let them not inherit your tears & bitterness.”

After reading this powerful statement, I begun to ask myself a question, what can we (us today) do in order for future generations not to inherit our tears & bitterness?

Some may say, well we fought and earned our own country from the successive rogue regimes in Khartoum. Notwithstanding the hard and heroic work done by men and women under Dr John Garang in enormous difficulties in order for us and the future generations to have a country that we call home, the bigger task which is to maintain a stable Country is right in our hands.

Which is why the answer to the question above beg me to go back to the history to find what the Europeans did to African.

We all know that European left Africa 50 or so years ago, but why does the legacy of what they did still very much affecting African today? The answer to the sub-questions above in my opinion is that Europeans had created a system that ensures the lasting instability in Africa. This system is the current form of Western style democracy.

In the discussion that follows, you will notice that Western style democracy and our unique society are incompatible.

The aim of this piece of paper is to initiate the conversation about the type of democracy that suits our unique society (I defined unique society as a society that is fragmented, acutely illiterate, a society that does not know what are their rights and limitations, a society that prides itself as tribe more than as a country).

I will be using this phrase (unique-society) quiet frequently herein as it’s the focal point in the whole idea.

We all know the history of Africa, some more than others. Nevertheless, no one has articulated it as much as the internet site (exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu). Everything we know or need to know about African stagnation is in that site. However, what is not included in that internet site is how South Sudan can avoid falling into the same pit that ‘swallowed’ many African countries before us.

So how can South Sudan mitigate the risk of plunging into the same pit like many other African countries who got independence before us and instead create and maintain a system of government that seeks to work collectively for the betterment of her citizens?

I will sketch the type of governing system that we should have and how we would be doing it, should we decide to adapt it.

The time is right for South Sudanese to scrap the draft of the ‘permanent’ constitution that is currently being developed. South Sudanese need to sit down and create a governing system that is anti-tribalism, a governing system that every South Sudanese men and women understand and be proud of.

For this, I propose the formation of the Guardian Council to elect the president.

The Guardian Council

South Sudan is comprised of a unique society (a society that has no sense of nationalism). Majority of people identify themselves as Dinkas, Nuers, Bari, Shiluk, etc. with these attributes, it is hard to argue that the people of South Sudan can rationally decide and vote for a leader whose policies bear substances.

People of South Sudan will always vote for a president who is their tribesman. And according to the definition of democracy, the majority rules.

With this in mind, if you are a keen observer of Kenyan politics, you would have notice that Raila Odinga is far more experienced and tough talker than the current president, yet he cannot get the top job simply because the Kikuyu who make up about 22% of Kenya’s population always vote for their tribesmen.

In our case, the Dinka who make up 32% of South Sudan’s population would rule forever. This may sound good to some of my Dinka tribesmen, however, it can be a catalyst for unrest especially if other tribes feel they are being dominated.

With the idea of the Guardian Council, every tribe stand an equal chance to rule the people of South Sudan.

Furthermore, as we all know, politics is about spotting the opportunity and capitalising on it. Thus the fragmentation of South Sudanese society is something that politicians are keen to exploit. This means a leader will always care more for his tribe as there is an incentive for him to buffer his position against other “tribes”.

Therefore, to eliminate this fallacy tactic by the politicians, a system that disincentives it must be adapted. A president should be elected by the body that we would call ‘The Guardian Council’.

So what is the Guardian Council?
The Guardian Council would be made up of ten (10) members (one from each state). Each member of the Guardian Council must have a University degree or more (preferably from business or legal disciplines). Each member must have a clean record in regard to tribalism, corruption, and nepotism. The Council of States would then be charge to elect the Guardian Council.

The current Council of States would be reduce to (40) members (4 from each state) and the general assembly would be charge to elect them. Moreover, each member of the general assembly (MPs) must have a diploma or higher. In addition, each member of the general public who will be charged to elect the members of the general assembly must have a high school certificate or higher to be eligible to vote. The general assembly elections would have to be held every four (4) years.

To avoid the collusion between the Guardian Council and the would-be president, the Guardian Council would have to be well paid. In addition, they must not work in the government of the president that they have elected.

The term of the president in the office would be eight (8) years. After eight (8) years, the president must step down and must not run for the office of the president ever again.

The term of the Guardian Council members would be the same with that of the president which is eight (8) years. During the eighth (8th) year, the new members of the Guardian Council will have to be elected into office by October so that they can prepare for the election of the new president.

The multi-party system that we currently have would have to be abolished, everyone in the country would be under one party, and everyone will have an equal chance to become a president if they categorically convince the Guardian Council by detailing their plans as to why they want to lead the people of South Sudan.

So what are the benefits of the new system to the people of South Sudan if we adapt it?

The joy of independence
Like many Africans before us, independence brought great joy to the people of South Sudan. There was great optimism that after decades of Khartoum oppressive rule and the subsequent brutal civil war, political freedom and independence would provide a voice for all citizens in the political process.

Moreover, there was wide-spread belief that with independence, South Sudan government would be able to use political and economic resources to provide their citizens with basic social and economic services: education, health care, housing, and employment.

However, like many African countries who got their independence before us, the joy of independence and expectations for better living conditions started to wean shortly after.

If someone asked you or I a question as to why things are going backward in our country? It is almost certain that our answer would be the “government is squandering our resources”. This may or may not be true, however, to find the answer for that question, we have to look at the factors that foster malpractices by African governments of which South Sudan government is part of the pack.

If we study critically the legacy of post-independence African governments, one can conclude that South Sudan is exactly following the same terrifying path. The internet site (exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu) postulated that given the colonial legacy, the first African governments after independence were faced with a multitude of urgent political problems.

Most of these problems come under three large categories:

(1) Sovereignty and security.
(2) National Unity
(3) Basic human services

1. “Sovereignty is a fancy term for authority and power to insure security. The brand new African governments inherited countries that were created by colonialism. These colonies were created and maintained by the force of the colonial governments. Not without cause, the new independent governments were concerned that once colonial rule ended, there would be a strong chance that newly independent countries would face the possibility of disintegration. Consequently, one of the top priorities of the new governments was to ensure the sovereignty and security of their new nation-state”.

A good example in the case of South Sudan was the Panthou war. In April 2012, the SPLA under the directives from president Kiir stormed Panthou and took control of it from SAF (Sudan Armed Forces). Initially, there was a sense of jubilation among South Sudanese citizens, people felt that the government was serious in ensuring the sovereignty and protection of South Sudan’s borders.

The statement from president Kiir “we will not withdraw from Panthou” was an ice on the cake. However, things didn’t turn out the way we would have hoped for, the so-called SPLA “orderly withdrawal” and the subsequent international disappointment on South Sudanese government in the way they handled the situation, turned the supposedly jubilant South Sudanese citizens to question the capabilities of South Sudanese government in running the newly established country’s affairs.

Consequently, some senior members of the SPLM led government begun to reposition themselves as better alternatives to the president (i.e. the leadership wrangling starts). Leadership wrangling in the government diverted the attention of all government officials from the much needed development.

The president has been switched into the defensive mode, all other senior MPs who want to be in the cabinet but failed to be there are constantly working ‘underground’ to destabilise the government simply because they want who they think will put them in the cabinet to be the president, nobody among them including the president cares about the future of the country, all they care is to get or maintain a position.

Hence, with the proposed system, there would be no incentives for these other senior members of SPLM to work against their leader as they know that he/she will step down at the end of the term regardless.

The president himself will work hard for his legacy and not merely to maintain the presidency. The result will be more synergy and thus prosperity and stability in South Sudan.

(2) National Unity. “Remember that. with the exception of a few colonies such as Swaziland and Somalia, European powers created colonies in Africa that were comprised of many different languages, religious, and ethnic groups. Moreover, colonial governments through the practice of indirect rule and divide and rule, created colonial societies that were often deeply divided along ethnic lines.

However, central to the very idea of a nation-state is the necessity of national unity. A nation-state has no chance of remaining a nation-state if it is deeply divided along ethnic or religious lines. National unity is essential for the success of any country. Consequently, a top priority of the new African governments was the development of national unity”.

By now, if you are like me, you would have probably be tired of hearing president Kiir granting the amnesty to various ethnically-comprised rebel groups. Some people questioned why president Kiir keep granting amnesty to criminals who have blood on their hands? Nevertheless, others applaud the persistent by the president to unite the people of South Sudan.

As we all know when David Yau Yau came to join the South Sudan government in response to the first amnesty, he was made a major general despite the fact that he never attended a formal military training. The president thought other rebel groups would abandon their rebellions and join the government with the hope that they would get good positions.

And indeed, many did come back and join the government although Yau Yau did make a U-turn. All these efforts cost money and energy at the expense of much needed development.

Moreover, the people of South Sudan are inherently tribal minded, we lack rationale thinking, we make decisions based on tribal mindset. The Dinka call Nuer “nyagat” (rebel), the Nuer think Dinkas are dictators and have been leading for long and it is about time the Nuer take over by all means.

The Equatorians call both Dinka and Nuer “uncivilised, arrogant, land grabbers”, and the Murle don’t give a heck about what others thinks.

All these weaknesses are being capitalised upon by the politicians, they use their tribesmen to get positions in the government, some help engineer problems between tribes so that they can come in and “offer” to mediate between the warring tribes, their sole propose of doing so is to gain a bargaining power.

Ironically, when they get what they want, they often forget the very people who help them get the position. These created a society that does not trust the government.

However, with the proposed system of government, all these politicians will have no gains in using their tribes as bargaining power. They will instead strive to achieve stability and prosperity in their communities by working together with the president as a team.

(3) Basic human services: “Colonial governments paid little attention to meeting the basic social needs of citizens. This was particularly true in the areas of education, health-care, and housing and adequate employment opportunities. New nationalist governments came to power on the promise that they would work towards meeting these important needs for all citizens. The legitimacy of the first independent governments in Africa depended on their ability to meet these needs”.

If you have travelled the world like me, you would have observed that there is no other country in the world where American dollars are in such a high demand. The recent supposedly “responsible” fiscal policy announcement by the South Sudan central bank governor to devalue the pound, and the subsequent embarrassing reversal of that decision was a perfect example of South Sudanese’s extreme dependency on US dollars.

As a result of the civil war which is the longest in Africa, South Sudan lacks quality housing, no quality of education, no modern healthcare facilities, and no modern economy. These conditions left thousands of South Sudanese with no choice but to take their families to neighbouring countries (Kenya and Uganda).

However, what is worrisome is that the government is busy with its internal crises, there are no plans or initiatives to develop the mentioned sectors which would see South Sudanese returning to their country in large numbers.

However the proposed system would eliminate the government’s internal crises, hence the government would be able to focus on delivering basic services to the people of South Sudan.

Some of you may argue that the problem is Salva Kiir and his “incompetent” government, some people suggest that if somebody else takes over then everything else that is currently bothering the people of South Sudan would be alright.

However, the internet site (exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu) in their studies of Types of African governments 1960 – 1990, painted a bleak picture of what may await South Sudan if we do not change the current system.

The exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu explained:

“At their independence, each African country had a constitution that, like the U.S. Constitution, established the “rules and regulations” of government. These constitutions often reflected the systems of government of the colonial power. You will remember that Britain and France had the most colonies in Africa. The governments of Britain and France are multi-party democracies. In this system, two or more political parties compete in regularly scheduled elections to control the government.

At independence, the French and British territories had a constitution that resembled that of their colonial power. The French system is sometimes called a presidential system that where, like in the United States, the president and executive branch have considerable power. State power is shared by the national assembly, or legislative branch.

French colonies, such as Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mali inherited this system in which there is a balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Britain, on the other hand, has a parliamentary system. In a parliamentary system, the national assembly (what in the U.S. is the Congress) selects the executive cabinet from among the members of the national assembly. The head of government in this system is called a Prime Minister. African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone inherited a parliamentary system.

If you looked at these governments in 1980, twenty years after independence, they did not look like the British and French models imposed at independence. What happened?

…The government structures inherited by independent governments were weak and lacked capacity. However, governments were called upon to provide social services and develop economic infrastructure. Colonially inherited government structures were not suitable, it would seem, to meet the new political demands of independent African countries.

The constitutions that were developed for the newly independent countries were different from the political systems developed by the colonial state. As you can imagine, there was tension between the old colonial system and the new constitutional system.

Underdeveloped economies provided scarce revenues for governments to use in meeting the great demands for social services and to stimulate economic growth. With limited economic means, governments were not able to meet the legitimate needs of its citizens. Lack of government response led to growing popular dissatisfaction in many African countries. This situation put tremendous strain on the political system.

Finally, one of the most difficult political problems newly independent governments faced was that of developing national unity among people who were divided along ethnic, language and religious lines. Imagine what happened in countries divided along ethnic lines when newly independent governments were not able to meet the expectation of the citizens.

Governments faced with growing opposition often used limited government resources on specific groups of people in an attempt to gain support of that group. The favoured group was often the ethnic or language group of the political elite. This led to increasing ethnic tensions as the ethnic groups not favoured struggled to receive what they considered to be their fair share of government support.

At the same time, the favoured group not wanting to give up their position of privilege, attempted to maintain their privilege. Do you understand how a weak government, with limited resources can lead to ethnic tensions, that in turn further weaken the political system?

Given these factors many African governments faced serious political problems within a few years of independence. One of the ways to deal with political crisis is to change the system of government. The 1960s witnessed the initiation of two types of governments that were responses to political crisis.

Military Governments

Almost all African countries that gained their independence in the 1960s started out with multiparty systems. However by the end of the 1960s, only a handful of African countries maintained a multiparty system. Indeed by 1970, half of the independent countries in Africa had military governments. That is, the military took over control of the government.

Instead of elected civilians, the government was controlled by the military. Why do you think that there were so many military coups just a few years after these countries became independent?

Here are a few of the reasons given by some political scientists:
African governments inherited a weak political system from the colonial era. Consequently, the first African governments did not have the capacity to govern effectively. Military leaders, afraid that their countries would fall apart politically, decided that they could do a better job of governing.

Given the under-developed economic systems they inherited, many African governments were unable to meet the social and economic needs of their countries. This situation often led to a crisis of legitimacy. That is, the citizens became disillusioned –fed-up– with governments that could not provide basic social and economic services, such as jobs, education, and adequate health-care.

Military coup leaders in Africa often justified their taking power on the grounds that the prior civilian government had been unable to meet these basic needs.

The political environment of the early post-colonial years gave rise to ethnic tensions that at times became so severe as to threaten the political system. The military claimed a right to intervene and take power in order to stop ethnic and regional rivalries from developing into a civil war.

The strains on the political system in the early years of independence provided an environment in which corruption became widely practiced in some African countries. Government officials, often frustrated by their inability to be effective, used their government position to benefit themselves and members of their family.

Military leaders often used the pretext of widespread corruption to justify their taking power.

This is quite a list of weaknesses in the post-independence governments in Africa. Indeed, so fed up were the citizens of some countries, that they actually welcomed the early military coups. However, military regimes are not democratic; indeed, one of the first things that military governments do is dissolve the legislative branch of government.

Moreover, military governments in Africa were no more successful than civilian governments in addressing the political, social, and economic issues, which provided the environment in which the coup d’etats took place.

In spite of popular opposition to military rule, between 1960 and 1985 there were 131 attempted coups in Africa, of which 60 were successful! And three countries have had six successful military coups! Indeed, out of 54 independent African countries, only six countries have not experienced an attempted or successful coup since they became independent”.

Some of you may argue that South Sudan is different from other African countries; however, in my opinion, South Sudan’s current situation is identical to those experienced by African countries in the early years after attainment of their independence.

One of the approaches for South Sudan to preclude all of the mentioned issues herein is to adapt the Guardian Council system.

Keep in mind that the aim of this document is to start a conversation about the way forward in South Sudan. If you like the idea, spread it and advocate for it.

Agok Takpiny
Country: Australia

Nationalism or tribalism?: The South Sudanese citizens are yet to choose

BY: John Bith Aliap, South Australia, Adelaide, DEC/01/2013, SSN;

Accordingly, since the independence of the Republic of South Sudan, many people of South Sudan are caught up between choosing long-established tribal affiliation and adopting a united new identity, through nationalism. These circumstances of uncertainty in choosing the identity and loyalty may cause unprecedented perplexity amongst south Sudanese citizens.

The message I necessitate to convey to all South Sudanese in this regard is that the independence of our country has now been achieved and I consider that all South Sudanese should make a wise choice of nationalism and abandon the tribal hatred and habitual tribal loyalty in order to build a strong and prosperous, peaceful nation that respects its citizens.

It is an enormous challenge for the government of the Republic of South Sudan to effectively bring together all these tribal units under one and effective system of government.

It is a mission that needs the government to act responsibly and transparently to convince all the tribes in South Sudan that the current government is realistically a government that truly represents the people of South Sudan irrespective of their tribal position in the country.

Most of the debates in our modern-day South Sudan contain the question of diversity, and this has always been in the axis of debates. The Republic of South Sudan is made up of incompatible diversities which form its identity and international recognition as a sovereign country.

The government of South Sudan needs to comparatively balance the representation of different tribes in the government to evade the scenario of old Sudan that led to gash of the country that has once been the largest and most respected country in the African continent and the entire world.

Despite being part and key contributors of the problems occurring in South Sudan, the citizens of South Sudan always turn and blame the government that the government has not done anything most urgently to salvage the tribal feuds.

The hostility amongst the tribes in South Sudan is accelerating at the uppermost rate. The impacts of tribal feuds have manifested itself through cattle raids and other numerous attacks like the recent Lou Nuer and the Murle cataclysm in Jongeli state where many innocent people lost their lives.

The practice of tribalism in South Sudan as our experiences have shown costs us exceedingly throughout our history, and we can not afford to continue practising this old practice which has a prospective to break our hardly won and newly born country into pieces.

The president of the Republic of South Sudan, Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir has recently shown a high-quality example when he offers amnesty to rebels groups who have previously and currently fighting the infant government of South Sudan, although some of them have declined to accept the amnesty.

This is a way forward to formulate our people in South Sudan to realise the importance of forgiveness and acceptance.

As the South Sudanese youth in particular and potential leaders of tomorrow, we need to take extra care about our involvement in tribally based conflicts which have nothing good to offer for the welfare of our country.

The youth are always the ones to act in terms of inconsistency amongst the tribes. The Youth of South Sudan need to retrospect on the benefits and disadvantages of the tribal warfare throughout the history of South Sudan.

This is where they can realise that the tribal feuds have done more harm than good in our lives. We need to avoid our infant country in taking the course of Somalization through sympathy of our tribally based hatred.

Leniency is the tool we all need as people of South Sudan to deal with issue of tribalism and other evil practices.

In actuality, our Vice president has besides led a fine example when he apologized to the Bor community for the atrocities he has committed during the 1991 split between himself and John Garang, the leader of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

The message I extend to all of the people of South Sudan is that reunion is an important process in healing past wounds and ending tribalism for merit good of our nation and its people.

All South Sudanese need to contribute to the nation building process based on an equal grip and with opportunity for equal contribution.

As our identities and lives are rooted in tribalism, we need to change these practices into something valuable such as nation building and national commitment.

There is nothing significant in being a tribal member apart from being nationalist who can whatever is seems to be good for the country.

We can face enormous challenges ahead if we keep in motion the journey of tribal war with each other through tribalism. The Republic of South Sudan will fall at a distance, if we do not change our traditional tribal identities, affiliation and loyalties into a unified national identity governed by our constitution and envisioned in our emblems such as our national anthem, our flag and our coat of arms.

These elements can dismiss the Arabs claim that the South Sudanese are unable to rule themselves and are divided.

There are multifarious consequences if the government of South Sudan creates institutions without first addressing the issue of tribalism.

All the government institutions and private institutions in South Sudan need to be tribal, corruption, favouritism and nepotism free so that the people of South Sudan remain united to face the challenges which are currently facing the country.

There are so many complaints now that a certain tribal groups have dominated some government institutions.

The government and the people of South Sudan must be warned that if tribalism becomes institutionalized, these institutions may serve as avenues of tribal division and hatred.

The looming institutionalization of tribalism within South Sudan government institutions has a panorama to create imbalance of power, unfair government and unequal employment, and these may widen the gap amongst the tribes in South Sudan.

Tribalism has blinded the people of South Sudan to the point where they can not recognize the reality on the ground. It has been our traditional tribal view that anything done by a member of another tribe is not always rightfully done and can often generate criticism.

We need to change this tribal view, and espouse nationalistic views that can advance our nation the ‘Republic of South Sudan’.

For example, when people talk about corruption in the government of South Sudan, they often referred to Dinka as being responsible for corruption simply because the president of the Republic of South Sudan comes from the Dinka tribe.

We all need to discard this tribalistic outlook and begin to respect our leaders irrespective of which tribe they may be from.

The reality is, the president of the Republic of South Sudan must always comes from a particular tribe within South Sudan, and whether we like it or not we must all exist within the geographical area of South Sudan as people of one nation.

In conclusion, I have discussed the concepts behind tribalism and nationalism in South Sudan and conclude that adopting a new identity through “nationalism” is the way forward for the people of the Republic of South Sudan to achieve development and live in peaceful co-existence amongst others.

The author of this work is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and can be corresponded at johnaliap2011@hotmail.com