Popular Opinion: The gimmick of tribalism and political confusion in South Sudan

Photo Courtesy/Left, Kiir, Right Riek Machar. The two warring commanders destabilizing South SudanPhoto Courtesy/Left, Kiir, Right Riek Machar. The two warring commanders destabilizing South Sudan

The gimmick of tribalism and political confusion attempting to create a weak arguments on the way-out dismissal.


Factors contributing to ‘tribalization’ of South Sudan and the way out of this civil war.

South Sudan was a country formed out of fragments of different rebel and militia factions whom United for their common cause, the independent of the republic of South Sudan.
Thanks to the president of the Government of Southern Sudan, the incumbent president of the republic of South Sudan (Salva Kiir Mayardit) for He United the entire Southern region of Sudan and prepared the process led to the birth of the Republic of South Sudan on 09 July 2011.

Congratulations Mr President for uniting us, but unfortunately he failed to remove some factors and institutional elements that divided and exploited us.

Following are the factors which contributed to divisions of the country in addition to the root causes two years after independent in 2013.

*Tribalization of the politics*

South Sudan is largely divided into ethnic lines by its politicians through a platform of political tribal associations. Those associations acts as an adhoc informal committee in the cause of any thread against a certain influencial politician that is belong to such a tribe. Those tribal associations are formed and led by senior politicians in the country who hold some senior positions in both national and state governments. The central government and military are the battle ground for those tribal associations through their influencial members in the government. the decisions of those tribal associations that are largely dominated by an individual interest of the senior member of such a tribes’ member are stronger than parliamentary decisions due to their implementation by their respective members in the executive and other officials in the central government.

*Unemployment* is one of the strongest factors contributing to the division of the country into ethnic lines. Large part of South Sudan is unpeaceful, regardless of the birth of the country. Large population of civlians aren’t disarmed successfully though an attempt was made by the government. This arm owned by civilians and the lack of employment due to immaturity of the government, contributed to an insecurity. Jonglei and Lake State constitute a clear example of this issue that is mainly expressed in form of cattle raid and theft. The incentives for insecurity is an opportunity for looted resources that stand as an only option for survival to the youths who can’t read and write. Economic policies that facilitate job creation aren’t developed at all. The oil and other resources money goes directly to payroll, making it the only option to get them is to join a government employment, which is very difficult for an illiterate but the only available job is joining a military. As a result of the poverty, it made most of the civil population become easy to get incited by the elites in the language of tribalism.

*Tribalization of the military* The recruitment process of South Sudanese army wasn’t mostly by conscription, although it had happened in 20s century during the early time of liberation struggle formation. The recruitment strategy is transformed by adding an incentive that could influence a voluntary enrollment by the civilians to the army. The only available and main incentive is to give a ranks. This ranking allowed the military to grow in large number and it was also used to reduce the number of armed criminal militias. The ranking system is determined by the experience in the ethnic/tribal militia and the position an individual hold in militia leadership. Most of them are among the current Generals who made up to 700 Generals during independent(according to report by the United Nations) making South Sudan the most country with large number of Generals in Africa during her independent day.This generals who had been a former milia knows nothing more than their loyalty to their respective tribe through any senior tribal politician in the state or national government.
The tribal associations are the decision makers and the coordinators of those tribal activities.

Such associations are JCE also known as Jieng Council of Elders, Equatoria Community, BN FA etc. Although some are weak due to their low status in power structures of the government.

The linking root of tribal institutions stretched from those tribal associations from top to their Generals in the military who had been a former milia leaders.

*The background of tribal political institutionalization*

The tribal associations are the expansion of the long product of political administration created by British during the colonialism. This system is currently existing in most of the areas which had been colonized by British, in form of Chiefdom. Chiefdom is a tribal political administration based on lineage/large family, instate of territorial administration. This Lineage leadership system has a very negative political and social consequences in South Sudan. I have to mention just a few example relevant to this topic. I wouldn’t mention all since it is not the theme of this article. The Chiefdom is a political administration formed on a blood line, making it hard for IDPs to integrate or assimilate in their new home, regardless of how long they spend in their new home. They are still being treated as an outsiders, unless assimilated through kinship whether by marriage or dropping their linage name and take the name of the natives’ lineage(assimilation).
An administrative unit in this chiefdom is named after the lineage of the large family it is ruling, not the territory it administered.

For a chief as a judge in those areas ruled by Chiefdom (mainly in the village),the political administrations create a clear demarcation in one village based on lineage which is the basic political unit with a structure of Paramount Chief, Head Chief, Chief, and Headmen. This denied an opportunities to the IDPs. Different lineage in one small village regardless of their population, are being ruled by different chiefs. Any conflict happened between their members is easy to divide them according to their chiefs. Some tribal laws also make the matter worst by moving an accountability from an individual criminal to an entire lineage making the criminal less accountable and expanding the actors of the conflict. this political system mainly in the village lead to unresolvable conflict between different chiefs in one village.

Although this chiefdom is replaced with Payam administrators, executive directors, town mayors, Bloc leaders etc in the administrative aspect and lawyers at the judiciary department. They exist and still active in the village up to now performing both administrative and judiciary tusks.
They are not active in the lowers level at the cities but transformed into large number of political ethnic associations by the politicians on their interest in the pretext of the entire tribal interests defense at the cities.

*Weaknesses of uppernile independent nation purposed by some individuals*

The issue of Upper Nile independent Nation is a wish but not objective reality.
Upper Nile region has nothing binding it toward more unity and peaceful separate from the rest of South Sudan. If you assume to attribute the instability of South Sudan on diversity, the same apply to uppernile regardless of the fact that it’s population is less though while diverse. It has more than four different tribes.
What is rocking South Sudan is not a problem of vastness of the territory or population, but a weak development initiation for a young nation(inexperiences), leadership struggle and corruption through an instruments of Tribal institutions to manipulate the government structures.

All those contributing factors and root causes aren’t solvable by mean of uppernile independence because they still can drag Upper whom you advocate for toward civil if achieved let’s say it.

*Weaknesses of Naath Nations’ argument.*

I already listed few among the contributing factors above, here are the root causes;

1- A political struggle with in SPLM Party.
2- An ethnic incitement to achieve apolitical interest that is to rule by the ring leaders.
3- the Leadership failure by the ring leaders.
4- Poor formation, development and structuring of government institutions.

If you are suggesting the idea of Naath nation, how does it has to solve when indeed the problem isn’t a bout the diversity but the above factors I mentioned?

Don’t you think those factors if not taken care of can also destroy a clan, instate of tribe or nation as you call it?
Human never run short of what to fight over, take an example of Somalia. Although are issue is different from theirs, their example suggest indeed that homogeneity isn’t enough for peace and development.

To the human being, conflict/war can be managed but not eradicated, hence it has nothing to do with homogeneity as long as man is a social animal. Where there is two people, there is both peace and conflict but different is in how to manage them. Homogeneity isn’t an option as well as heterogeneity isn’t the cause of the problem.

*Negotiated surrendering under a pretext of peace in Juba now*
This current peace exist just by wish and ignorant.
Here is why;

The security arrangement is not implemented.
The cease-fire is violated in Moroto mainly.
Just to mention those two.

If not a violation, than what is the nature of the violation?
If it’s indeed a violation but we are frustrated by being out of Juba, does it accommodate the Name ‘Peace’ whom we use to say always?

What advantage and disadvantage do we expect in going to Juba with a references from the previous incidents of peace violations led to Congo escape?

*How to achieve a genuine peace*

Peace is a settlement of a situation between two parties who are mostly in a security dilemma. It is when both sides expect an enormous destructive power from each others, than see the only hope of survival from the negotiation.
Peace is a result of a mutual thread hence both side feels to lost, than they create a safety for themselves through negotiation.

If one side is strong and the other is weak, there is no need for peace negotiation’s genuinely implementable but only assimilation is what usually exist like what exactly is taking place in Juba. As long as the powerful has no thread in assimilating the weak.

I have to touch Riek Machar in this point since he is my Chairman and Commander in Chief. For the following reasons;

He decide my own fade.
He doesn’t own this IO privately for me to go somewhere when uncomfortable with a management. I have a right to expose the weaknesses.

The above failure is in front of Riek and the worst part is his irrational slogan that say “things are fine” what does it tell, when he claim things to be fine while there are a clear facts opposing what he says? Isn’t it ignorant and surrendering?
I am very sure implementation of the negotiation is over but resuming is a surrendering negotiation. A saying goes “end justify the mean, meaning 2013 incident and Congo escape justify Gatmachar doesn’t knows I all. How can you let something result negative against you when you knows it all?

If it’s because you think you are always untouchable by any harm, is it a good leadership style to drag your followers to death?

If we doubt him to do a miracle, is it in which way?
Staying with Kiir on power is a justification of surrender. African election is never been free and fair. Overthrowing Kiir by force is impossible since he is not trying but just enjoying his salary for first-vice presidency.

How will he get power please tell me?
Riek Machar need to be removed and appoint another person in his place.

Latjor Yang Pidor
TNC member

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