BY: Marial Mach, A’duot, Australia, MAY/12/2016, SSN;
It’s always worth celebrating, at least, by the people with a moral compass, when the rage of war is abridged from the catalysts of disaster to the level of an isolated violence. Whether you are an inept campaigner of an exaggerated and mythical, political legitimacy of the ruler, and the challenger, or an advocate of the dying people, subjected to a war that was avoidable, there is one thing ostensibly inevitable.
The last two-half years, since the war broke out in December 2013, have resembled a netherworld for the impoverish civilians across our great land, as unswayed politicians, military leaders, and their unscrupulous apologists, savage the lives and hopes that were slowly salvaged, after the shocks of the nearly five decades of war with the north and innumerable internal strives.
From the outlooks of radioactive war lobbies, the current window of peace is not good enough to sell political and ethnic propaganda which are not, in any essence, capable of assuring both irrational promises of the regime charge, as posited by some sections of our politics or an illusion at the halls of the power, that the government functioned like a colonial despot with less or no accountability whatsoever.
Having said that, it does not imply the author is under any means of illusion that things will unexpectedly be normal, once comes the government of the national unity.
The new government won’t function from a purposive unitary standpoint, but it will be operated as a utility site where psychotic individuals will be deployed in what I unapologetically called a political psychopathy; a mechanism of political and social moral disengagement which is extensively playing a greater role in the political and military violence.
It will be an avenue for the civil war boosters to continue and have a second chance in the political spotlight and of course, a ticket to mug public funds. What may be affected slightly by the new government, I believe, is the notion of political laisser-faire and perhaps the cherished commitment to the use of violence to force the political change.
That, of course, is not proficient in changing the working hypothesis in the minds of aggravated masses; that no one who stumped for the war, or the current political crisis in the country should give advice about the catastrophe now, or should get listened to.
Hence, the incoming administration will ascend on challenges of enormous scales: peace to build, the war to end and prevent, economy to fix, and large-scale Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) and refugees to settle. And most importantly, preventing the threat of the entire country not only from collapsing but also from becoming resentful between those who have and those who have not.
This assumption lies in the simple truth that the disproportionate privileges enjoyed by those in power may in near future create cumulative inducements for those people who have nothing to demand a systematic change and that call has been violently resisted and it may lead to another crisis unless the leaders rapidly revise their extreme egocentricity and apply moral-political consciousness.
In contrast to these issues, the major question is what does the new government, yet to be formed anyway, bring to the country’s destitute population?
The easiest, straightforward answer is nothing to the population.
This conclusion may seem little too insolent, or to some extent, I may be accused of being ignorant. First, because new political and security arrangement between the two factions of the SPLM did actually end the major part of the war, and second, the transition may lead to long-lasting political consensus, sustainable peace, and stability.
These are probable, and they need to be acknowledged.
What could be said, however, is the reality that such political arrangement pointed to how disputants should be able to divide the stakes, political authority, for instance, but how such arrangement should support the building of effective, accountable, and democratic institutions and civil societies that meet the needs of people is elusive.
The above suppositions are true only in the creeds of the political concession theory and in the conflict resolution and they tend to function only when the war-crazy buffoons test the acrimonious part of the violence they engineered through their intellect of political immaturity and impunity, and that I believe, in not the case in our situation.
Our political leaders have not learned their lesson, nor does it seem to be any consequence for the initiation of the war. What is coming inevitably in the ways of the leaders, which in my opinion, have committed war crimes is the reward for incumbency and reinsertion.
That promise is celebrated in Juba and in a subterranean world of Fagak where the SPLM in Opposition set up their imaginary political capital, as well as in many other mongoose-burrows across the country.
Why this is the case is intricate, but a careful review of the record of our political system and leader’s behaviours show a number of continuities with liberation tendencies, notably concerning with militarized politics and great power presence in the hands of the core political and military leaders.
Thus, various political commentators and experts have ridiculed the surface idea of democracy on the lips of South Sudan’s leaders, and which is, in fact, a falsified euphemism of what really caused the current war that will bring about the power-sharing arrangement.
The experts’ conclusion is that SPLM, in all its factions, operate a kleptocratic system where the power is obtained and used for personal benefit rather than service delivery to the governed, and I am not contesting, I agreed with that accusation.
Kleptocrats, of course, stock the looted money away in foreign accounts to serve as the rainy-day fund in the event they lost the power and that is not foreign to our rulers either. So, what will come with the new administration is an absolute individual ticket to power.
President Salva will keep the continuity of the status quo on behalf of his supporters while Dr. Riek, as First Vice President, will reward his political and military allies for returning him to power, a job well-done. Like those who remained in the government, their position allocations will, of course, be used to access the scarce resources, as well as used as the source of political influence.
The key outcome in this case, is a perpetual continuity of political and economic savagery by the same old leaders through the tactics of violence or the threats that usually come when one feels aggrieved to mobilise an armed faction when dismissed or discharged from lucrative and influential roles in the government, or even in the various rebellion sectors as we have seen recently.
The conclusion of what the government of national unity means to the politicians is what Jean-François Bayart called ‘The Politics of the Belly’. Bayart’s context is a classic portrayal of the nature of many African states buried deep in the mass of the savagery of the present status of political practices.
Bayart emphasis lies on the persistence of deeply entrenched patterns of statecraft, and, insofar as he recalled the impact of despotic formal institutions on the extent of political and economic outcomes. Bayart emphasizes the ordinariness of African societies, referring them as ‘ordinary and particularly ordinary in their politics’.
Whereas most students of contemporary politics study corruption around individual responsibilities, the context of The Politics of the Belly’ includes the role played by the state in aiding and abetting political deficiencies and corrupt practices. It is this process that the current political scientists tend to refer as criminalisation of the state. The criminalisation of the state, if we had to take it in South Sudan’s context would mean chronicles totality of state-supported criminal activities.
The ordinariness of our politics lies in political practices and with leaders who see the forms of political normality in violent competition for power where one form his own militancy to force his employment, institutionalised fraud and the plundering of public resources, the growth of private armies, the privatisation of state institutions, and the development of economies of plunder.
Within these political imperceptiveness lies the weakness of our leaders. No one, especially those who seem to understand politics better ever had a dream to see changes overnight in a country emerging from war and lacking every institutional capacity and at the same time led by almost erudite revolutionaries.
But what is also true is that outright embezzlement in the form of the state-sponsored bourgeoisie, cling to power or attempt to seize it by force are now a historical artefact in some part of the world, even though some leaders in Africa make them seem little exotic.
South Sudan as new states have not reached such dictatorial stage yet, but it has failed or it is failing on multiple fronts and the questions worth debating is what to blame for the failure; the legacy of wars or a blind personal ambitions among the leaders?
To end this note, what the people of South Sudan will get from the incoming government is a constant pattern of despotic political opportunism at different levels. My assumption is that factionalism and political violence is not something that happens only as an accident, but a political scheme glossed in structural condition of the SPLM/SPLA’s politics.
It’s proceeding from a desire to liquidate influences and power into possessions. I believed that the precariousness of our political equilibria is not a demonstration of total ethnic hostilities or an inadequacy of the state, but it becomes the case only because of uncontrolled reciprocal greediness of political elites.
For all the benefits of the doubt, I should say freedom of thought entitled every person to believe, or disagree, and this article is not devoid of that fact either, on my behalf as an author and for others to contest what I said.
Marial Mach, A’duot, is a South Sudanese resides in Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com