By: Nguen Nyol. Critic and Advocate, DEC/29/2018, SSN;
I write this piece to help project a narrative of peace, stability and good citizenship. It’s my New Year GIFT to the nation I spent my childhood, my youth and now my prime life fighting for it to be a free nation from war but developed and prosperous.
It’s my hope that this article shall not be censored. It’s an uncensored opinion about peace, stability and war in a country that we all fought for, for over 192 years to be a nation among nations.
The point therein is to go beyond mediocrity and understand our country’s fundamental problems – South Sudan’s problems.
Many people have projected false narratives as our country’s fundamental problems. These false narratives are still being projected today to advance hell bent false agendas of misconstrued representation of facts. Therefore, this can’t be allowed!
Amateurs or not, many emerging political analysts, veteran politicians and educated men and women, made some attempts and identified leadership failure and corruption as our fundamental problems in South Sudan.a
Through my observations, leadership failure and corruption are not our fundamental problems in this country. Leadership failure and corruption can’t be our fundamental problems that have killed half million people, sent 4 million South Sudanese to refugee camps in the neighboring countries and 2.3 million to IDPs in the last five years.
It’s my understanding that greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and faulty old-man-know-how mentality are our problems.
Leadership failure and corruption are misplaced labels, positioned to conceal the truth in the name of preventing the nation’s decay. These are wrong means to allow South Sudan to free itself from abyss and its man-made disasters.
That being said, these attempts are good for general characteristics of our consequential problems, but failed to capture the essence and gist of South Sudan’s fundamental problems.
At this juncture, it’s imperative to stress that the problems we have in this country aren’t the old Sudan’s problems, but the new South Sudan’s fundamental problems, which include greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and old wise man syndrome of faulty know how.
For your information, these days in South Sudan, old age does not equate to wisdom. It doesn’t any longer reflect real meaning of African proverb which says, “what an old man can see while sitting can seen by a young man while standing.”
After having returned to South Sudan for the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), I have observed our people’s behaviors and actions with keen interest. Surprisingly, I was taken aback by the mediocrity – sheer idiocy and lust for money in our people.
Most of the problems of our old age folks, learned men and women, veteran politicians and political leaders of different political strips are indifference and succumbing to the reality of the day.
They are far removed from our country’s situational problems. Indeed, their actions and behaviors showcased a pathetic approach to nation building and a new political dispensation in this country.
As such, I came to terms with this sad reality that our people have lost focus. They deviated from managing our crises in order to make this country a viable state among nations.
These issues of greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and old wise man mentality, solely rooted on a faulty “know-how” have destroyed our social fabrics. As a matter of fact, these items are strategically deployed to enhance ill-conceived quest and accumulation of wealth and power.
While I familiarize myself with these realities, I am also mindful that few individuals might argue otherwise.
Settled for the fact that our fundamental problems are nothing but anchored on leadership failure, absence of law and order and rampant corruption, which I respectfully disagree.
However, I gave these positions marginal respect and precautionary understanding in the name of personal opinions.
An essence, this is the beauty of having a diverse political view, opinion and school of thoughts in a country that’s supposed to prosper and develop on a solid foundation, cemented by one people’s blood and sweat.
My fundamental disagreement in this regard is not to deny the fact that we have no leadership problems or law and order and rampant corruption challenges, but rather to point out that these are signs and symptoms of the biggest problems.
These biggest problems in this context are centered on products of greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and entitlement, which I correctly put as an old wise man syndrome. In my best judgment, these are South Sudan fundamental problems. They must be correctly identified, named and address amicably.
Surprisingly, everyone in South Sudan want to be insanely rich, insanely powerful, and overnight becomes supreme king of all bosses with unquestionably power and wealth but with zero deeds and little education or at times none.
This insane quest of richness and power grab out of thin air and in the midst of abject poverty took root, and few have succeeded. As a result, it has emboldened and created leadership failure and corruption argument simply because our people have lost moral compass but set a stage for crooks to thrives and kill in earnest.
Our big men and women in position power, centre of power if you will, educated or not, are after uncontrolled search for richness and power without deeds involved. This is solely based on my observation for the last two months in Juba.
Our people are in desperate quest to be rich and wealthy for no good reasons and deeds. But simply because they were in the bush during the war liberation or were in Khartoum making their living in the name of those who were in the bush-fighting or that they are simply from a certain tribe(s). These are the sad realities we have in this country.
Another sad thing is, these issues aren’t rhetorics and politicking anymore. They are the gist of a nation’s dynamic and misplaced development ideals.
As a matter of fact, these people would kill in the name of getting rich and becoming powerful. They have done so even to the maximum and with lethal consequences against those whom they wrongly think have crossed their lines and would hinder their speeds of accumulating wealth and rise to fame.
As these crooks bulldoze their ways through to richness and fame, few learned men and women in this country who still possess some moral compass cowardly refused to say no even for the sake of illiterate innocent and voiceless majority in the village. We are doomed! This country is doomed if nothing changes.
For this reason, it’s fitting to state that there is no more logic and no more good ideals, old days, which sanctioned moral duty for nation’s prosperity and empowerment. Instead, an uncontrollable quest for wealth and fame leads but often patched up by fake lip service.
This is to say that our good old days of moral ideals and nationalism, which were often duty driven by national agendas have died and were buried six feet deep down with our forefathers.
Our people’s nationalism and patriotic zeal died without autopsy. Today’s politics and country national interest in South Sudan are driven by perpetual self interest and tribal agenda.
Almost everyone in South Sudan now is after money, wealth and fame. No political agenda for common man and woman on the street and the next generations.
Few individuals who have consolidated richness and power through faulty schemes are often showing off wealth and richness daily. Sadly for wealth, richness and power they did not sow or sweat for.
When one asked how they could have managed to acquire such a massive wealth in such a short time? Instead of answering the question, they often revert to tribal bigotry and even would want to chop off one’s neck for asking a question just to conceal their ill-gotten wealth.
This is a fact and applies to anyone irrespective of their tribes in this country. Everyone has been and can be a victim.
This is the saddest and paradoxical reality in our country. A country we all fought for with our sweat and blood in order for us to find everlasting peace and stability. It’s sad but true, that any assigned portfolio in South Sudan is deemed a project to gain instant wealth.
This is true across this country, which is the reason why I agreed with president Salva Kiir Mayardit of late. When he stated that all along, all supposed good comrades, men and women whom he has deployed and entrusted to lead in various portfolios in this country turned looters.
To my readers, this is the sadistic state of affairs our country is in. To make the matter was worse, few cadres can thump their chests in agreement but no action.
Vast majority of our people chose insincere route and mistook it for unshakable loyalty, which is wrong. Unshakable loyalty for nation’s prosperity and development isn’t about faulty sincerity but genuine honesty.
Most learned South Sudanese in position of power in South Sudan particularly are amazingly insincere to the core. There are particularly insincere on matters that required nothing but genuine honesty and frankness. The fact of the matter is, our political leadership has not been honest to us – the populace.
For instance, our people were kept in the dark even when South Sudan was becoming independent. We became a nation prematurely with no plans for development, good governance, prosperous and principled frameworks for stable nation.
To put it bluntly, the instruments meant to ensure lasting peace and nation’s viability were not set forth.
Our records have revealed that machinery for nationhood with respect to institutions were left to chances. No prior preparations to prevent internal contradictions after independence.
Especially, internal contradictions such as tribal politic, greed and tribal hegemony which eventually cause civil war in 2013. Our country has no proactive plans then, after independence, and even now.
South Sudan then and currently is operating on the emergency basis, which is often based on tribal undertone. In a layman’s term, we react to events and expect miracles and positive outcomes when in fact failures are proven outcomes in such scenarios.
On a similar note, most of our political leaders and academia have outrightly lost sincerity, intellectualism and moral ideals of revealing nothing but truth about our nation’s decay and misdeeds that caused nation’s decay.
This is the sad state of affairs our country find itself in now and possibly for unforeseeable future if nothing change.
To that effect, few morally conscious political pundits and academia are sadly cowardly to hiding by opportunists and illiterate majority. Especially those who controlled our country’s political stage through gossip, intimidation and threat.
As a result, the nation is paralyzed. Nothing moves and no progress. Yet, up to this point in time, no one dares to tell the ugliest truth.
In the face of these gruesome mistakes, our people still meticulously expected things to change for better, when zero efforts, zero sincerity and zero accountability prevail. This is the overall situation and behavior of our men and women in this big village, called Juba.
To be honest and for these things to change, and for South Sudan to be peaceful and stable, we must be honest to ourselves and correct our wrongs. We must be proactive; we must plan things ahead. And above all, we must accept the fact that our lack of sincerity is one of our country’s fundamental problems.
The question of tribal mindset is huge in South Sudan. To be specific, the Dinka and the Nuer are battling this out in an open. In the field of AK47 where thinking and power of the brain is limited. This is what caused the Juba Nuer massacre and the war of December 15th, 2013.
This tribal mindset is an issue and it’s one of our fundamental problems in South Sudan. To be precise, it’s more prevalent among and mostly pronounced by our elders, who are politicians and military leaders.
For example, these elderly politicians and military men and women have gone as far as labeling tribes with certain names. This is wrong, dangerous and it must be challenged and stopped in earnest.
These false narratives and narrow perceptions of tribes are concocted political realities with selfish end gains. By and large, such concocted political realities have tarnished South Sudan’s good image and reputations aboard.
South Sudan and South Sudanese aboard are nobody but no one business. If anything, we are considered failed state and savages of tall order. Our elders don’t see and hear things because they don’t venture out of South Sudan. They think everything is good for South Sudan and its people aboard, which is quite the opposite.
It’s time to change course without forgetting that those who’ve committed heinous crimes against innocent South Sudanese, for the last five years of war, and in the pursuit of selfish end gains of wealth and fame, must be held to account on both sides.
Old wise-man syndrome
In South Sudan, old wise-man syndrome is an issue and real. Imagine, in South Sudan, 80 years old men and women are still politically active. They still consider themselves relevant, wise and are heading liquidative portfolios, yet, they cannot think or are physically able. They seem to forgot the fact that they have impaired abstract thinking and level consciousness due to old age.
Because of these impaired abstract thinking and level consciousness, in the line of duty, they nap, sip tea in hotel boardrooms with zero papers, play cards under trees, get married day-in and day- out, and more importantly glorify tribal politics as nation’s agenda.
Thus, as a good citizen, it’s my honest opinion that these veterans, these old men and women have done their part. The time is now for them to transition to glorifying retirement with good legacy intact.
Our elders can no longer pretend and claim to know better, and growing younger yearly without considering natural human’s biological clock kicking in.
It is time for our elders to lay back, take a back seat and allow our young, energetic and educated South Sudanese men and women to take the lead. To stop this nation’s decay, tribal conflict and war but allow development to reach a new height in South Sudan.
Our country is in crisis, and in times like these, we must not allow tribal mindset mentality. It’s a backward thinking and it’s no longer relevant. So much so, it’s an outdated – old age tribal strategy meant to pit tribes, brothers or sisters against each other. We are better than this; South Sudan is better than that considering our long walk to independence.
Thus I asked our elders men and women, to let go of old tribal thinking but pave ways for our young and energetic men and women to challenge themselves intellectually and politically on how to develop South Sudan.
How to mature South Sudan socially, economically and politically among other nations without a single drop of blood.
In closing, I must reinstate that our fundamental problems in this country are not leadership failure and corruption but greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and old wise-man syndrome crowned by faulty know-how.
It’s time to do way with these devious attitudes and correct ourselves for the betterment of this country. We got no time left for wheels spinning or merry-go-around.
Finally, I must remind our people that sincerity, cemented by law and order is key. No nation has thrived and reached a new height based on tribal mindset. So much so, there is nowhere in the world where old men and women died politicking with never-ending political brightness or un-diminishing talents. We are not an exception; South Sudan cannot be an exception.
This is my New Year GIFT to our nation and its people. Happy Holidays! Let’s embrace peace and stability as we celebrates Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019.
- Nguen is a South Sudanese political analyst, commentator and advocate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org