The Politics of Hard Times in South Sudan

BY: Dhaal Mapuor Aterdit, SOUTH SUDAN, JUN/24/2013, SSN;

The journey to the land of milk and honey was finally marked by a great jubilee of autonomy in totality which was at last granted to South Sudanese on 9th July 2011. After a result of the landslide vote against the unity of the Sudan, the big regional and international organizations, all in unison tone of voice allowed South Sudan to breakaway from Sudan. It was a trek full of multitudes hazardous odds. It was a thorny and bumpy walk to freedom.

The dream of self-determination has been in the minds of South Sudanese since the early years of World War I. South Sudan was kept in a closed door for many decades without seeing the shining features of the contemporary humankind. Anglo-Egyptian government in the Sudan led by Britain claimed that South Sudan was not ready for the exposure to the modern world. Nevertheless, Southern region of the then Sudan was lugged behind badly by this designed isolation.

Thanks to the veteran freedom combatants, SPLM/A peace-negotiating Team and all my fellow citizens who kept the dream of independence alive and made it a reality in 2011. There is a truth and something to be loved in becoming a self-governing state. Liberty at all spheres squarely was an optimistic truth.

In my own opinion, seeing the huge government seated in Juba and administered by South Sudanese is our great love for independence of our country. We love to be governed by our own selves.

A few months later after independence, wrangles over the oil transit fees emerged between Khartoum and Juba. Khartoum government demanded much of the oil income from South Sudan. It was seen as somewhat unbecoming by President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s administration in Juba. As a result, he ordered for the shut down of the oil production. South Sudan economy suffered a much crises and downturn.

Several government higher education institutions remained dysfunctional indefinitely, health centers faced by lack of medical services, salaries for civil servants started coming late for a month or two months, market prices sky rocketed and food insecurity heightened acutely. Steps for physical infrastructural development remained standstill.

In Jonglei State, tribal conflicts and insurgencies surged. Highway robberies and cattle raiding started to rise to the climax in Lakes, Warrap and Unity States. Inter and intra tribal and clannish fierce feuds widely increased so vigorously across the ten states.

Night burglary becomes a ground breaking model activity each and every night in Juba. They’re referred to as internal national security threats. They all need a political agenda to address every bit of them. Some external bystanders used to ascribe these communal sadistic conflicts as being caused by bush-mentality and high rate of illiteracy.

The country’s thick bushes become homes for tribal militias whose notion for the war is not clear and not reasonable. Surprisingly enough, some contenders for the State Legislative Assemblies who failed election in 2010 crazily took up arms and joined the bush only to deepen the great wound of the society by indiscriminately killing the citizens. Alas! I hate them profoundly.

The longest border line linking South Sudan and Sudan became a battle zone between the SPLA forces and Sudan Armed Forces. On 27th September 2012, an agreement was inked by the governments of Sudan and South Sudan under tight supervision of African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) which answered the question of the borders, security, economic matters (Oil Transport through the soil of Sudan and free trading), and nationals of the two states to move and reside in both countries without intimidation.

Just after months of the signing ceremony held in Addis Ababa, the whole agreement got off-center and the agreement files felt a very stinky smell of the dustbin of history. Mile 14 of the buffer-zone becomes a word of mouth from the Field Marshal Omer Hassan Al Bashir’s arrogant administration in Khartoum. He continued attacking SPLA positions within the vicinity of South Sudan and persisted transgressing the territorial integrity of our country.

This is what the international diplomatic charters refer to as external threat. It thus needs a political agenda to resolve it. The political actors in Juba are required to find a political solution to peripheral dangers which emit waves of fear among the locals.

Although the oil production resumed early this year, Al Bashir once again pointed accusation finger on Juba claiming that the mighty Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) is being armed and given scores of different logistic supplies by Juba. On this footing he ordered for an immediate and irreversible shutdown of an oil pipeline which carries South Sudan oil through Sudan to international market.

Corruption becomes widespread in the public sectors at all levels. Public funds are easily embezzled by individual public figures or senior civil servants. Some individual constitutional post holders and senior civil servants are turning the government into kleptocracy. Nepotism and favoritism become a rule in recruiting members of staffs in government and private sectors.

It is the politics of hard times in South Sudan. There is always prevention or else a panacea for everything in the world. Why is it like this in our beloved country that there is no deterrence and remedy for a few of these ills happening?

It is a hard time in politics that need critical political thinkers and scholars. It’s not the work of the live political performers only but it needs inputs from some of the level-headed academics in the major universities in South Sudan. We all need this political situation change. We need transparency applied in dealing with public funds and lucidity in employments.

We want insecurity subside and food deficiency dip low. We want to see schools made available to the communities in the urban centers and rural villages; and public universities equipped to meet international standards of learning.

We want to see roads network established to ease the movement of the civil population to and fro countryside and towns. We want the government to establish very strong international relations. We want many proficient medical practitioners for therapeutic and health services delivery.

We want a strong prevalence of rule of law and justice for all. We want politics of tribes replaced by politics of interest. En masse, we need to fashion a new paradigm of hope, peace and harmony for all the generations in our country.

Hope is the bedrock of our success. It is our fundamental foundation. We have hope that all these things will one day at a time come to an end.

1 Comment

  1. Mr. Dhaal,

    I agree with you in everything you said in your article. In order to build a young country like ours, first, we need good laws that bound all of us not just the ordinary citizens, but can also govern government officials from the very top to the toes. There should be no one above the law and no one beneath the law.
    Second, we need a well trained security personnel that can protect us from criminals. \
    Third, we need a president that will be able to protect us from domestic and foreign enemy through visionary politicians and equipped military. A president that travels to all states and talks to citizens of that state. A president that pays attention to what the citizens have to say and respects their opinions.
    Our country will never prosper under military rule only. We need fair laws that grant citizens of each state a right to choose their governor, commissioners, judges, and lawyers. We need laws that protect our businessmen and women’s properties. Nevertheless, we need proper regulations that protect our tribes from fighting. However, not all tribes are hostile.
    For example, in unity state, there is only one county that keeps poisoning the whole state since the beginning of the movement and the government does not want to do anything about it. In the same way, in Jongeli state there is only one tribe that is bullying other tribes. All these tensions could be managed if you have a good president and decent states governors.

    Thank you Mr. Dhaal for your bright thoughts.

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