The likelihood of xenophobia in South Sudan

BY: Luka Madhieu Kuot, SOUTH SUDAN, MAY/30/2013, SSN;

With the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 that gave Southern Sudan a semi-autonomy rule for six years followed by successful referendum in January 2011 that gave total and full independent South Sudan from Northern Sudan, the South Sudanese citizens would think that, the independence would have been an independence for everything whether it is social, economic, political or any other of independence and self-regulating.

They thought that, they would come back with full swing of re-integration and lives re-establishment in their own Country where they will enjoy their social services, economic and political rights freely and liberally.

Like when the refugees and IDPs return from where they had fled the war to, some did not make it to their imaginative residences as they had left long time ago, however, they end up dwelling in urban areas like wau, Aweil, Juba, Malakal, Renk, Yei, Torit, Yambio, Rumbek, Bentinu, Kuacjok, Bor and other towns in South Sudan. Not because they don’t like to reach their places of origin but it was due to lack of essential and basic services in those parts of South Sudan where they had left a decade or more than decade ago.

They want to be where such social amenities are accessible and costless like when they were in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Libya and Khartoum where the basic services comparable to education, food, shelter, water, health and other infrastructures are available and reachable at no cost or expenses in their daily lives.

This was because they think that their settlements in the remote areas will be difficult and hard to their lives if they reach there without sufficient social and basic services to those places in the Country side.

This make it to be hard and little a bit to them However; their settlement in those aforementioned areas in most parts of South Sudan sparked a lot of reactions and speculations from various groups of stakeholders in ten States of South Sudan because of its implications in the lives of the local people like land grabbing/encroachments, economics scarcity on natural resources, cultural frictions with local people and other economic, social and political competition in those settlements or dwellings.

A current and practical example is that, some of the current MPs representing National and States Assemblies are not originally from those towns/constituencies but from other places in their respective states. Currently, the occupation of those seats to the national and state assembly will have an economic, social and political impact to the residents of those towns and elsewhere in South Sudan.

The author will leave it to you at your own discretion and to find it out how it is impacting the lives of those residents and their local economy at that level given the employment opportunity and jobs creations and how it affects them politically and socially too.

This is one side of the coin at the prospective of the local people like people from Juba, Wau, Aweil and other towns in South Sudan.

However, the other side of the coin is that when the returnees and IDPs themselves were also thinking that settling in these big towns will give them opportunities like employment and businesses, an expectation that has not materialized from that moment up to now.

Why, because the Government of South Sudan has no capacity to accommodate everybody at its capacity and volumes as nascent as it is currently meanwhile business opportunities are also given to the foreigners or dominated by them in all over South Sudanese towns. In another way, the Government of South Sudan is preaching their motto of ‘’bringing towns to people,’’ rather than encouraging rural-urban migration.

A motto that will not be executed unless services are brought to the people first rather than people expected to be there first without available services and enough resources in those intended places.

This is the question that majority of South Sudanese citizens could not understand even up to now, they are asking why the government cannot give employment to the citizen?

This is something of a phenomenon in South Sudan whether you are educated or uneducated but there are nowhere to go and lodge a complaint because there are no laws articulated to advocate for this right in the country.

If you go to areas like Juba town under those big and tall story buildings or Aweil, Wau and Malakal under mahogany, mango trees and teashops, you can get a lot of people defying the Government of failure to create job opportunities for youth and the poor in most parts of South Sudan or because the government did not address the issue of poverty and its root causes among the citizens in South Sudan especially in most remote areas in the country.

This is a big and serious problem; an issue that GOSS would need to address in due course but because of its nascent stage and severe austerity measures caused by shut down of oil production in January 2012 that took big portion of the national budget, it will take them long time to solve this problem of employment in south Sudan where most of the youth are staying idly without jobs in all over most cities where more than 50% of the populations are living below the poverty line (less than a dollar per day…World Bank reports).

However, the big question is that where will this lack of employment lead to? Automatically, the answer is crystal and clear that it will lead to serious poverty among the indigenous people of South Sudan and the poverty will take people to crimes and the crimes will drag the Country to war again if it is not addressed in due course.

And this war will not be racial, religious or marginalization war but it will be an economic war that will take place between the poor and rich elicit in the government of South Sudan.

But where will the fighting start given the current economic and social atmosphere in South Sudan, the Author foresee that it will begin with xenophobia where the nationals will dislike the foreigners because of businesses and employment chauvinism in all private and public sectors in South Sudan or it‘ll end up targeting the current corrupted cadres in the government of South Sudan if the majority of south Sudanese citizens who are poor are wise enough to distinguish their causes of poor asking questions of why, how and where are our resources and rights?

But who will be blamed should such scenarios prevailed? It is for sure the government who will be held liable for it because of its failure to formulate the policies that govern the employment and establish the rights of employment in the Country. Even laws related to the migration and asylum as you can see the country is full of foreigners from bottom to the brim.

Currently, there are millions of economic migrants from Uganda, Kenya, DRC, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Northern Sudan in South Sudan who’re moving freely in the country without any laws governing and regulating their movement in the country either right away from the entry at the border point or even when they are inside the country.

They are the ones working as the hawkers, bars and restaurants, doing petty business, having brothels in most parts of the country including military barracks, washing clothes and shining shoes and cutting fingers and toes (manicure) in every street in the country.

What about the nationals, what will they do? Now in countries like Uganda and Kenyan, can you get an opportunity for such a business or employment not matter what or whoever you are? I don’t think whether that can happened but why is it allowed now here in South Sudan to prevail?

Meanwhile the nationals are staying idly and worthlessly. And they will stay more indolently and apathetically like this given this situation, how long will this business and employment chauvinism be tolerated by the youth and the poor in this country?

Again, the author of the opinion that the state of affairs will one time explode into xenophobia (dislike of foreigners) like what had happened in Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2008 and 2009.

But the innocent foreigners will be victims for no reason because it is not their failure to get jobs or be employed in other Countries, however, it‘ll be a failure of the host government (RoSS) who failed to formulate the laws that oversee and regulate the employment in the country or who failed to implement the laws and giving the opportunity to her citizens rather than to the foreigners.

For instant, how many foreigners are working now in GOSS‘s offices as classified and unclassified staffs leaving the fellow citizens without employment and worthless in the streets?

Currently, South Sudan economy is gaining nothing but losing on hourly and daily bases at all cost to Khartoum, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea but our government cannot realize and analyse that.

If you want to attest this, go to Kenya Commercial Bank (Kcb) and Equity Bank (EQ) in Juba or other states where KCB or EQ are in South Sudan, you will experience how many individuals from those nationalities aforementioned are carrying to the Bank for deposit or transfer back to their Countries every day. This is a huge lost to the economy of this country and nobody dares to look into it in our government.

The government of South Sudan needs to look into this problem and address it before it happens in the future by formulating laws that give an employment opportunity to the nationals rather than foreigners and to avoid xenophobia in the future in this Country or otherwise there is going to be likelihood of xenophobia in the nearest future given the current economic, social and political situation in our Country.

Luka Madhieu Kuot can be reached at


  1. Dau-network says:

    Thanks, author.
    There are 2 things making it difficult for foreigners to go.
    First, our people have few professionals in most of the careers such as: plotting, internet security for finance , Radiology Drs which is need 11 years to studying in west, just mentioned few.
    Second to that, our people don’t like manual jobs like some jobs you have mentioned above. everyone want office jobs even though you are not qualified for any. so we can not blame government for the last point..
    For my point of view, many people studied relevant courses instead to balancing a market .
    To me, government should set a system, that when you go for studies should be must to register with government and officials should have to orient students about the fields which need many people but failed to do so by students could result of giving a priority jobs to obedient students who follow government rules.

  2. King Baai says:

    Dau Network,
    How dare you lie to the public that South Sudanese are not qualified, that is the same ideologies with the government of South Sudan. How can you lie now. Remember that we 40-50% graduates in this country and we have to utilize our opportunities instead of foreigners.

    XENOPHOBIA is inevitable

  3. Dau-network says:

    King Baai.
    It’s NOT a matter of degrees, masters and PHDS without at least skills in advanced world of today!
    I can tell you, dinka Bor made a survey in 2011 about illiteracy and literates. they got 74 PHDS holders , 137 masters and so many degree holders within the population of 270.000 THOUSANDS of 3 counties but nothing really changes we have seen, because 70% percent never had work placements before they went back to SOUTH Sudan which Dr John Garang termed as a “EMPTY” or PRACTICAL without theory mean BLINDNESS .
    Can you tell the public how many RADIOLOGY DRs in South Sudan, no even one Oncologists who can treat cancers and so many challenging fields. please make accurate research before jumping to non-basic criticism.

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