South Sudan: The State We Aspire To
by Peter Adwok Nyaba
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A “must read” for anyone attempting to understand the roots of conflict within African politics.
This book provides a detailed account of the difficult processes regarding the birth of a nation.
What problems arose during the struggle for independence in South Sudan?
How did corruption and ethnic animosity undermine reason?
Lastly, and sadly, how did it all implode into today’s state, where ethnic cleansing is the norm and honest civil rule is the exception?
A change in power often sends shockwaves through a young nation. South Sudan is no different.
Gen. Salva Kiir’s rise as the new leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (following the death of Dr. John Garang in 2005) brought forth a series of changes that only further endangered the lives of the South Sudanese people.
For a new country, the first question that often arises is: What steps can a newly formed nation take to unite its people?
Unfortunately, in this young country, the differences between ethnic groups have only grown worse as bias and lobbying continue to degrade group relations.
Whether it’s self-serving Jieng Elders kidnapping the political process via Salva Kiir, or a non-existent ethnic balance of representation, South Sudan is rife with internal conflict.
The need for unity and purpose as clearly stated by Peter Nyaba, is woven throughout the text.
Is the framework clearly laid out for a better Sudanese future? Time will tell in this nation to which history has been so unkind.
"The political development in South Sudan vindicates that the SPLM did not exist as a functional entity separate to and different from the SPLA (Nyaba, 2000). We have therefore been lying to ourselves and to our people about the political reality in the liberation movement. The SPLM is only the man at the top and that is all. It was first Dr Garang, and when he died, Salva Kiir took over. This explains why Salva Kiir alone dismissed his Deputy Chair and the Secretary-General of the SPLM. Salva Kiir dismissed his government and nobody dared talk. Salva Kiir imposed on the SSLA as Speaker Hon. Manasseh Magok Rundial, and nobody protested when he threatened to close the August House if the members rejected his nominee. Salva Kiir emasculated every institution including the army top brass, for how could he have recruited, trained and armed a private army of three thousand men?
The SPLM did not have functional institutions, of that I convinced myself long ago. It is through the apparent absence of the SPLM that ethnic and regional lobbies occupied the political void. Some of us did not keep quiet; we spoke our minds, criticising the dysfunctionality. However, since there was no forum for airing our views, we resorted to the media, and this elicited hostility from the leadership. The SPLM top leadership, leaders, cadres and bona fide members are collectively responsible for what is happening to this young nation. We have wilfully abandoned the ideals for which our people sacrificed themselves in the wars of national liberation
President Salva Kiir Mayardit rules South Sudan not through the SPLM party and the state institutions, but through a tribal lobby known as ‘Jieng Council of Elders’ drawn from the twenty-four Jieng sections in seven out of ten states in South Sudan. A cursory view of the list of these elders reveals that many of them are highly enlightened individuals, politicians and lawmakers. Some of them were part of the ‘Dinka Unity’ politics that precipitated the ‘kokora’ and the dismantling of the Southern Region in the eighties. They are indeed part of the patronage system that has informalised the state institutions and turned South Sudan into a limited liability enterprise."
Peter Adwok Nyaba was the Minister for Higher Education for South Sudan from 2011 to 2013. He is a civil society activist. Mr. Nyaba has carried out several studies commissioned by international humanitarian agencies operating in southern Sudan. In 1997 he wrote the Noma Award winning book: The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View.
“I have criticised the SPLM leadership for its dismal performance in GOSS over the last six years and I really mean it! There is no justification whatsoever for this performance except that the SPLM suffered from a congenital ailment which affected its leaders.”
- P. Nyaba
The information and views set out in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. Neither the publishers nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the nature, veracity or accuracy of the information contained herein or the use which may be made thereof.