By James Tot Mathiang
September 11, 2015 (SSNA) — What are the root causes of Civil-War in South Sudan? And who is actually the ruler in South Sudan? South Sudan the newest country in the world has a unique type of ruling/government that could barely be found elsewhere in the world.
In the past, there were more significant types of ruling in all European History. There were bad systems and good systems. A good number of examples of such government systems in Europe are: Absolute Monarchy of France, Anarchy of Spain, the communism of the Soviet Union, Theocracy of Rome, Oligarchy of Russian Federation in 1991, and Dictatorship in Germany. Nevertheless, all of these types of governments were supposedly ran by men and women of great intelligence and ability to rule and guided by a set of laws, but not influenced by insignificant individuals. While in South Sudan, Salva Kiir as a president find himself overridden by his tribal men and women who seemingly appear to be more educated and more intelligent than the president himself.
If you are among the millions who are wonder why the newest country on earth is in turmoil, this writer will ease some of your curiosity by highlighting the root causes of this civil war. The reason why South Sudan is in disarray today is because South Sudan is uniquely governed by unsubstantiated and unwritten laws. In every government system, the terms of ruling tend to mean how the leadership and government structure is chosen, or obtain power and how much complete power the government has over structure, economics, states and localities of the country. Yet, in theory South Sudan is not rule by the constitutions written in the book, but rather it is governed by individuals whose goal is not to develop the country, but to destroy the whole country and its people.
Salva Kiir of South Sudan, in simple term is not the ruler of the country, but he is symbolically present as a president. Likewise, South Sudan is technically ruled by the ruthless, power- greed and uncivilized group called “the Jieng or Dinka Council of elders”. The Dinka council of elders as they called themselves is consists of Shepherds, and high school dropout individuals who called themselves lawyers. The group has created uncivilized policies that led to this anarchy the country is in today.
Some of the policies the Dinka Council of Elders has created are:
- First, the power of the government is placed in the hand of a single body, that is the Dinka Council of Elders. Every member of the Dinka council of elders has been given an absolute power to endorse or reject any decision made by South Sudan parliament or the president himself. The power of the government of South Sudan is split into many sections of Dinka lead by the following: Malong Awan of Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Salva Mathok of Warrap, Awet Akot of Lake State, and Kuol Manyang Juk of Jonglei.
- Second, the Dinka Council of Elders has created a policy that silenced or imprisoned the government critics. The Dinka Council of Elders has recruited and trained unsophisticated individuals from the villages to oversee the security of the country. To make the matter worse, this group of security does not speak the ordinary languages that the South Sudanese people speak. These security agents speak only their own dialect or Dinka language. For instance, if you are accused of criticizing the president or the Dinka Council of Elders your chance of surviving is limited because these security agents cannot negotiate with you given the language barrier. The group is instructed to kidnap and kill anyone who criticizes President Salva Kiir or the Dinka Council of Elders.
- Third, the Jieng or Dinka council of Elders has instructed the president that the whole budget intends for the country must be put in the accounts outside South Sudan, because they naively think that they would run away with the money if the country fall apart. Each member of the Dinka council of Elders has bought three or more houses outside South Sudan, especially East African countries, South Africa, Canada, United States of America, Europe and Australia.
- Fourth, each individual from the Dinka Council of Elders has hired foreign traders from East Africa to run their businesses in South Sudan. That means all the businesses are theoretically run by Jieng Council of Elders. Every contract in South Sudan, whether it is a government or non-government contract, is overseen by either a member of the Salva Kiir family or a member of the Dinka Council of Elders. For instance, in 2012 Mary Ayan the First Lady, has ordered one of her relatives from Alberta, Canada to go to South Sudan and run a business there. Mary Ayan the wife of Salva Kiir Mayerdiit, has given two million US Dollars to her relative to buy foods for military personnel who were deployed along Sudan and South Sudan border, especially those in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity State.
- Fifth, Since the Jieng/Dinka Council of Elders is seen as a political entity who determines governmental decisions through the will of Dinka community, the Council is the one appoint and dismiss ministers, law enforcements, supreme courts in all 10 states, military officers, ambassadors, and also the important posts in civil services. All the non-Dinka working with the government of South Sudan are nominated and endorsed by the Dinka Council of Elders. The very weak and least popular in their own community are appointed by the Jieng/Dinka Council of Elders because he/she will do exactly what the Jieng Council of Elders wanted him/her to do.
With all the above facts about Jieng/Dinka Council of Elders, there was no doubt that there would by genocide in the country. Therefore, this writer predicted the Civil War and genocide in South Sudan. Please see read this article below:
April 30, 2013 (SSNA) — Since the South Sudan signed the comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the government of Sudan, it has had a very interesting history, marked by many years of patronage and partisan politics, imbued with nepotism, massive corruption and economic mismanagement, at the expense of public service politics. The political corruption and favourism associated with political appointments, manifested through nepotism and appointment of associates on the unmerited basis in South Sudan, have badly affected the economic development as well as transformational changes in the new nation. Those who had been lucky to be allies with the ruling elites and political leadership are the ones who are often rewarded, disregarding merit-based system. In so doing the leadership failed to unite the grassroots based on principle of inclusivity and sense of nationalism. Therefore, this article is intended to discuss the negative features of patronage politics, tribalism, lost of National Identity and diminishing of Nuer values and power in South Sudan.
Firstly, it may be argued that patronage politics are an observable fact present in every political system, whether developed, or developing countries. In fact in the South Sudan political system, some oppositions give their full support to patronage as a tolerable occurrence at the highest levels of government, where the heads of the ruling Party, especially the president is entitled to select his cabinet and the heads of departments (usually based on who he knows or who is close to him). However, evidence shows that patronage politics in South Sudan are dangerously destroying the country, because it has been practiced even at the county level, as well as in the military. The situation in South Sudan is equally true, patronage politics have continued to affect every part of government functionaries, that is leading to unpleasant insufficiency in service delivery (health care, education e.t.c..), and increase corruption. Some officials hire their office staff base on blood relationship or through their close friend’s recommendation. Therefore, most heads of departments or even some ministers in South Sudan government are holding those posts not based on their academic experience or qualifications, but because of their loyalty to the highest ranked people including the president himself. However, this nation has been entangled in its own bewildered web of favourism politics, and intense corruption, which have adversely affected the poor and makes poverty mitigation far away from actuality. The education and health care systems in South Sudan have been left lame ducked, because all the families of the South Sudan elites live in neighboring countries and the western world. So, the poor and ill managed schools and hospitals across the country are left for the poor. As a result of nepotism and patronage policies, the most qualified South Sudanese, including PhD holders, Engineers, Medical doctors, and their families are facing an unpredictable future in the country.
Lost of National Identity
Secondly, does the national identity matter anymore in the Republic of South Sudan? Believe it or not, some South Sudanese people have lost it all. The promotion of tribal identity in the new country is one of the most important causes of misunderstanding among politicians, as well as among the grassroots. The pressed issues I have observed among South Sudanese are greed and power struggles between tribes. Therefore, even the well educated South Sudanese, sometimes forget to mention the Republic of South Sudan, when they are asked where they from. Instead, they would say something like I am from “Dinka” or “Nuer” or “Shilluk,”and so forth. However, the question is what is ahead of us from now on? Well, the thinkers would argue that South Sudan is one inch away from slipping into Deep Ocean. That means that the tribal war in South Sudan is an inevitable, since the tribal wrestlings and bribery have moved to the forefront in South Sudan politics.
Tribalism in South Sudan
Thirdly, what causes the political struggles within the SPLM Party? The ill advice that the president receives in the daily basis does not only belittle the president, but it will lead the country to “chaotic evil”, which no one wanted to see. The laws and order, and good deeds in South Sudan are disdained, as the presidential advisors are promoting chaos and evil. These people hope to bring themselves to positions of power, glory and prestige in a system ruled by individual quirk, and their own fancy. The presidential advisors without fear of destruction are now adopting what so called “Chaotic Evil Code”.
These people seem to forget that the art of speaking is a valuable character trait of a leader. A good leader is one who is able to express himself and inspire others through his/her verbal expression, but not through bribery or political intimidation. Nevertheless, materials need is another important factor, that cannot be underestimated. As the scarcity of resources, and food shortage continued to rise in the new nation, the patronage politics and nepotism are elevated in a scary fashion. For example, the elites from the president’s side are increasingly defying the law, and violate all norms of political civility of the country. The latest instance is the political intimidations including the assassinations and bribery tactics.. The presidential decree has become a driving force intended to relieve officials, including the military officers who are not loyal to the president. This strategy is the most dangerous tactic that could create unnecessary genocide in South Sudan. Why the political inspiration to run for the top job in the democratic government has been politicized and seen as a threat to the country and to the president? The tribal hegemony is the only explanation of such a question. One wonders what kind of law, these future candidates violate? None. These people who show their interest in the presidency did not violate any law, as the meaning of a “democratic country” is concerned, but the tribal domination is an obstacle for the development of Southern Sudan. As a result of this tribal hegemony and ideology, the country’s wealth has been concentrated in the hands of a few.
Diminishing of Nuer Power in South Sudan
Fourth, why the Nuer power is fading? Well, there are many reasons why the Nuer power and values are diminishing. Since the signing of the CPA, the Nuer people have been victims of “divide and rule strategy”. This strategy is intended to break the Nuer “Mighty” into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then take control of those small pieces one by one. In order to maintain power, and influence, the Nuer adversaries will often work to keep the Nuer politicians and intellectuals from uniting. Back then, Nuer were so organized and powerful society in Sudan. According to encyclopedia of world cultures supplemented in 2002, the Nuer became part of the Sudan politics in the 1820s, when the nation-state was taking shape, beginning with the Ottoman invasion of Egypt in 1821. Like the other South Sudanese groups, the Nuer tribe has resisted incorporation into the Sudanese political structure. This resistance has led to the development of two distinct parts of the country: the north and the south”. In addition, Nuer people were egalitarian society in Sudan, and they were known for their bravery and unselfishness. Despite all these positive traits the Nuer people had in the past, Nuer at the present day are become followers and selfish. Prior to 1983, Nuer was the one leading the rebellions, but because of their low self-esteem, they gave up all the power, but not only that they end up killing their fellow Nuer who objected the idea of surrender. In 1991, Nuer were the one who came up with the idea of “Self-Determinations” which led to South Sudan independent and yet the history of the SPLM has been hijacked from them in the broad daylight. The economic meltdown or higher inflation rate in South Sudan, has forced weak hearted Nuer to increasingly become submissive to the Dinka elites, and become aggressive to their fellow Nuer. However, the bad news is that even some of the high ranked Nuer in the South Sudanese army (SPLA.), are living in fear of being dismissed from the army and so they too become submissive”.
So, for the world to save this country from further disintegrations there should be: First, creation of the merit-based system in every sector of the public service if effective public service delivery is to be achieved. This would mean strengthening the civil service agency to distance its operations from due political influence. Second, the country should focus more on systems and institutions, building process, to eradicate, patronage, bribery and nepotism. Third, there should be legislation that guide individual behaviors toward other tribes. Individuals from a particular tribe should be expected to follow the rules and norms established which hypothetically should create a region that morally blameless and free from tribal violences. Fourth, there must be term limits for the presidency, so that others would have a chance to lead the country. Last, the patronage and nepotism must be made illegal, so that the well qualified individuals would get opportunity to service the people. With all these in place, our country would be well-off, in the whole continent.
The author is a South Sudanese Canadian, who is advocating for peace in South Sudan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.