"In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns" – Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
Sovereignty could be defined as the power to do everything in a state without accountability, to make laws, to execute and to apply them, to impose and collect taxes and levy contributions, to make war or peace, to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like, (http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0300.htm). All the above are true of sovereignty and that is what totalitarian regimes take to assume sovereignty over their subjects. However, all cannot be done unless the peoples' representatives or deputies agree and sanction each one of them to happen. Meaning that, the people are the makers of sovereignty, and that there can be no concept of sovereignty – even at the level of despots or totalitarian regimes – if the people are not mentioned in one way or another in the exercise of sovereign rights.
The quotation at the beginning of this topic and the one bellow this paragraph say it all. Sovereignty of the people could mean very many things connected with the people's supremacy over their governments. It could simply mean that governments of the day – democratic governments of course – are indebted to the people who elected them to power. Thus, they must respect the will of the people or else they will be removed by the very people whenever they so choose by either impeaching them through their representatives/deputies in parliaments or getting rid of them during elections. The third US President 1801-09, Thomas Jefferson, elaborated on the sovereignty of the people in the following statement, entitled: "Sovereignty Unaffected by Change in Government."
"I consider the people who constitute a society or nation as the source of all authority in that nation; as free to transact their common concerns by any agents they think proper; to change these agents individually, or the organization of them in form or function whenever they please; that all the acts done by these agents under the authority of the nation are the acts of the nation, are obligatory on them and ensure to their use, and can in no wise be annulled or affected by any change in the form of the government or of the persons administering it." – French Treaties, 1793, Memorial Edition (ME): 3:227 (http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0300.htm).
The Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) are aware that the GoSS is indeed the government of the people and for the people. What the people of South Sudan don’t know is that they are not sovereign in the eyes of some members of SPLM/A who are currently running the affairs of South Sudan? Even though a good number of those in SPLM/A and GoSS are both trying to do their best to acknowledge the sovereignty of the South Sudanese people, there is a good number of them who continue to make South Sudan a dangerous place to live in, in many aspects, let alone accepting the fact the people they are ruling are sovereignty.
There are those in GoSS and SPLM/A who say, they liberated the South and as such those who did not participate in the liberation struggle must pay for it. So those who did not participate in the liberation struggle have gone through hell. They are insulted, sometimes called the enemy; arrested and detained without trial; robbed of their precious belongings like pieces of land. They are harassed and sometimes tortured in various security check points in South Sudan like a journalist reporting for Khartoum Monitor newspaper in Rumbek. They are shot dead like the doctor in Yei and an SPLA Brigadier in SPLA Headquarters in New Site, Juba, and occupation of people's land illegally like in Acholi, Madi, Didinga, Kapoeta, southern Bari and other homelands in South Sudan.
Where is the sovereignty of the people of South Sudan in all the above? Do the SPLM/A and GoSS know that it is the same people who might have lost their sovereignty now but who will not only regain it in the near future but determine who rules the South in that very near future? Unless lack of interest in embracing democratic principles is encouraged for a while, and that would mean the opposite of democracy: despotism, unity may remain to be a far fetched reality.
SPLM/A has called for a serious democratic transformation of the Sudan as a whole. This transformation cannot come from a vacuum. It has to begin by seeing the SPLM/A take the lead in such a transformation. For this transformation to become a reality, however, the SPLM/A has to be seen laying down an exemplary foundation of democracy in South Sudan. Otherwise, it will become very difficult for SPLM/A to call on a democratic transformation in the rest of the country when it has failed to implement it in the South. To implement this democratic transformation, the SPLM/A has to start by giving the people what belongs to them: sovereignty over government but not the way round.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
"In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns" – Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
"As long as the differences and diversities of mankind exist, democracy must allow for compromise, for accommodation, and for the recognition of differences" – Eugene McCarthy.
In our previous features, "Integral" mentioned – amongst other common causes of disunity in South Sudan – tribalism, nepotism, land grabbing and occupation, greed for government power, tendency to promote lawlessness by deliberately ignoring to establish law and order; and lack of interest in embracing democratic principles. It has already looked at all except the last one: the sixth cause of disunity – the lack of interest in embracing democratic principles.
Lack is shortage; interest is desire; embracing is to accept or welcome; and principles are moral rules guiding behaviours – call them tenets, doctrines, ethics or dogmas (Collins, 2000:346,325,196&477). In the context of "Integral", a shortage in desire or need to accept or welcome the tenets, doctrines, ethics or dogmas of democracy is the most serious cause of disunity in South Sudan. Being the most serious and thus important, "Integral" lined it up the last in the list for discussion so that it could try to exhaust it. Even though there is no such thing as exhausting discussion on democratic principles in a newspaper column like this one. But before discussing what we can, nonetheless, democracy as a word is intriguing and as such, a broader definition would be necessary so that the reader could follow easily.
Democracy is a system of government by which political sovereignty is retained by the people and exercised directly by citizens. In our contemporary history, democracy has been used to refer to a constitutional republic where the people have a voice through their elected representatives. The word democracy is derived from the Greek (dimokratia) "popular government" which was coined from (dēmos), "people" and (kratos), "rule, strength" in the middle of the 5th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy).
It could also be said that it is a system of government that recognises freedom of individuals in various aspects of political life – such as equality amongst citizens, justice in the relationship between the people and government, and the participation of the people in choosing those in government (Nnoli, O., 1986:117&118).
But the late US President, Abraham Lincoln's, definition of democracy: "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" (http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/whatsdem/whatdm2.htm) may be cloudy in the context of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS). This is more so because there are already a number of schools of thoughts in South Sudan but "Integral" will only mention two which argue that GoSS does not recognise freedom of individuals in various aspects of political life in South Sudan. The other group argues that GoSS is not elected by the people and so it cannot be for the people. "Integral", as a matter of principle for which it was conceived, however, agrees with the former and totally disagrees with the latter and maintains that GoSS is the government of the people and for the people. Because GoSS is not only the direct result of the peoples' struggle but the CPA, which created it, was negotiated on behalf of the people. As such it is incumbent upon GoSS not only to recognise but also to protect the individual rights of the people based on democratic principles.
Democracy may be a word familiar to most, but it is a concept still misunderstood and misused in a time when totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships alike have attempted to claim popular support by pinning democratic labels upon themselves (http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/whatsdem/whatdm2.htm).
The tenets, doctrines, ethics and dogmas of democracy which "Integral" referred to earlier in the column as democratic principles are in fact the values or pillars upon which democracy stands unshaken. These values or pillars are: sovereignty of the people; government based upon consent of the governed; majority rule; minority rights; guarantee of basic human rights; free and fair elections; equality before the law; due process of law; constitutional limits on government; social, economic, and political pluralism; values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise (http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/whatsdem/whatdm2.htm).
If properly followed, the values or pillars of democracy seen above here could effect the unity of the people of South Sudan. The questions to ask are: how many of these values or pillars of democracy have been followed by GoSS? It is true that some of these pillars are inapplicable as of now but they certainly will in 2008, that is less than six months away.
But observing these values or pillars of democracy, the readers who, for a reason or more, took democracy for granted would realise that there is truly more into democracy than meets the naked eye. Thus, to be fair to the argument that 'the shortage in desire or need to accept or welcome the tenets, doctrines, ethics or dogmas of democracy is the most serious cause of disunity in South Sudan', the above-mentioned values or pillars of democracy should really be looked at one by one and seen whether or not they are applied by SPLM/A and GoSS to enhance unity in South Sudan.
In our previous features, "Integral" mentioned – amongst other common causes of disunity in South Sudan – tribalism, nepotism, land grabbing and occupation, greed for government power, tendency to promote lawlessness by deliberately ignoring to establish law and order and lack of interest in embracing democratic principles. It has already looked at land grabbing and occupation. Today, "Integral" will be looking at the forth cause of disunity: greed for government power in South Sudan.
Greed could be defined as excessive desire – "excessive desire for food, wealth, etc." (Collins, 2000:270). A person who secures food for a group of people but tends to take the lion share is a greedy person. Thus, greed for government power in the context of "Integral" means taking the lion share from a government that is supposed to be for the people.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was negotiated by Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) and the National Congress Party (NCP). The power sharing protocol of the CPA did work out percentages for the country's political parties' shares within the governments at the national, southern and state levels. The CPA distributed these shares in form of percentages as follows: NCP 70 percent and SPLM/A 10 percent in the North. SPLM/A 70 percent and NCP 10 percent in the South. Other political parties in North and South Sudan 20 percent each, (CPA Chapter II, Power Sharing, Part IV, 126.96.36.199& 188.8.131.52.) This is how power was distributed in the Sudan as per the CPA.
Given the percentages above, there is obviously no doubt that NCP and SPLM/A exercised greed when allocating these percentages. The rationale should have been that the NCP, having represented the people of North Sudan, should have shared the cake's lion share with the Northern Sudanese. In the same negotiations the SPLM/A represented the people of South Sudan and the rationale should have secured the lion share for the people of the South Sudan and not the SPLM/A as a political party.
This kind of percentage distribution, especially in South Sudan should have been seen by the SPLM/A as disuniting rather than uniting factor. Why, especially in South and not the North Sudan? It is because the people of the North have had – over the years – their political synchs developed and controlled in the sense that they cannot fight over who rules or gets what share in power. More so, they have enjoyed political power since independence and most of those who are politically conscious are not poor.
In the South, however, South Sudanese didn't enjoy any government power since the days of the Regional High Executive Council (RHEC). As such government power meant a lot to almost all its nationalities and tribes then as it means to them now. Irrespective of this fact, however, Anyanya fighters didn't have any element of greediness for government power when compared to the SPLM/A today. They negotiated the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement for the people of the South and the rationale of giving power to a non-combatant, Abel Alier, was a testimony to that.
Those who fought in Anyanya movement did not impose themselves over those who did not fight. Instead, they gave more than 30 percent of government power – a percentage which SPLM/A believes is the share of the rest of South Sudanese – to those it believes did not fight the war. Why did they do that? One would obviously speculate a number of reasons.
The first one of these reasons is that, it seemed that the Anyanya fighters wholeheartedly wanted to demonstrate to the people of South Sudan that they were fighting for them and not for themselves and government power. The second reason is that, the Anyanya fighters likely understood that running a government is not like fighting the war and as such it felt like it should utilize those from within the government-controlled areas who worked in the government system to work in the RHEC. The last and most important reason is that, it seemed like they were aiming at achieving the highest level of unity in South Sudan by being careful not to step on anyone's toes.
This spirit was not seen in the SPLM/A when they came home as a result of the CPA. The first thing SPLM/A had to do was leave a power vacuum by shutting down the Coordinating Council for South Sudan (CCSS) before forming the GoSS, firing governors, states ministers, commissioners and government advisors before appointing new ones; and closing parliaments in the ten South Sudan States before appointing new members. As a result of this a power vacuum of more than six months was unnecessarily created in South Sudan. South Sudan at states level was left at the mercy of its governments' secretaries headed by what they called States' Supervisors. The real reason for this action was believed to be connected to hate and dislike for those who did not fight the war.
When GoSS was formed, SPLM/A moved in and replaced the most experienced manpower with some of the most educated but certainly inexperienced personnel in government system. They discouraged fellow South Sudanese from living with them in the South, saying: 'you're either with us or against us'. In the South a person has to be an SPLM/A in order to get a job. They innocently implicated fellow brothers – some of whom have languished in SPLM/A jails for more than two-three years – for refusing to join them. In a nutshell, SPLM/A favoured its own cadres and either ignored or detained those others who are not members of the SPLM/A.
Rationale again would have it that the entire staff of the CCSS, except its ministers, should have been maintained. Those, whom the SPLM/A desired should take over from the undersecretaries and other directors should have been given at least six months, may be a year, to train the incoming undersecretaries and directors. But to completely remove experienced non-combatants from public offices and replace them with inexperienced SPLM/A cadres – some of whom have not even worked in government and hence enjoy no experience whatsoever – is as unfair as it is greedily disuniting the people of South Sudan.
The CPA shares in governments that brought all the political parties in the Sudan into partnership will end in 2009. The general election scheduled for 2009 will usher in a new era in which parties will develop coalitions with each other to achieve a simple majority in order to control the executive at the national, southern and states' levels and houses at the national, southern and states' levels in the Sudan. The question is: how would other parties in the South feel about the SPLM/A and the opposite is certainly true in the North?
Greedy politicians have not helped any state(s) in our glob to prosper. Greedy politicians all over the world are destructive because of their corrupt nature. They lead a solitary and isolative life. They cannot contribute to the welfare of communities that elect them let alone their state(s). They have proven to be greedy for power, racially motivated with all their words and actions only to gather support to continue in power. There is no such thing as having the people in mind. Rather it is only their political survival in their thoughts. (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/85670).
SPLM/A fought for deliverance of the people of Sudan from all evils of the past. But seeing what is happening today, especially the manner in which the liberator (SPLM/A) is seen more often than not behaving like an oppressor in the South; South Sudanese may be far from unity. It should be the liberator who should tirelessly work to unite the people of the South in particular and the Sudan in general but not to insist on following the ways that are likely to disunite the people like greed for government power. Deliverance of a people cannot be achieved in the absence of their unity. Unity should really mean nothing but the final results of deliverance, since deliverance – as we all know – means leave from every evil. The biggest of every evil is the disunity of a people.
GoSS, led by H.E. 1st-Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the First Vice-President of the Republic, has some time at its disposal to manipulate in the interest of fighting greed within the SPLM/A to achieve a higher level of unity in South Sudan. It is important to isolate the SPLM/A from being synonymous with GoSS. SPLM/A is a political party which enjoys support from a good number of South Sudanese and Sudanese in general but not all of them. GoSS on the other hand is a government for every South Sudanese irrespective of which party s/he comes from. "Integral" is not saying anything new but what everybody in SPLM/A and GoSS knows but unable to accept that they are separable. Continued maintenance of greediness by the SPLM/A within GoSS breeds dislike and hate amongst people of a common destiny and that will not help the unity of South Sudanese.
A few questions are important to ask in the conclusion of this topic: what will happen if SPLM/A fails to win an absolute majority in South Sudan during 2009 elections and loses government power? Will it be wise to say that, SPLM/A has failed the elections and so the party that comes to power must greedily fire every SPLM/A member within the civil service? Or must SPLM/A fight tooth and nail to maintain the status-quo even if it fails the elections? Shall the people of South Sudan then achieve their desired unity of purpose?
In our previous features, "Integral" mentioned – amongst other common causes of disunity in South Sudan – tribalism, nepotism, land grabbing and occupation, greed for government power, tendency to promote lawlessness by deliberately ignoring to establish law and order and lack of interest in embracing democratic principles. It has already looked into tribalism and nepotism. For the new readers to get acquainted they should refer to Khartoum Monitor Newspaper issues no. 1564, 1568 and 1570 respectively. "Integral" will be looking at the third cause of disunity: land grabbing and occupation, in South Sudan today.
Land grabbing and occupation cannot be defined as a single word could be. However, since a definition is beneficial for the readers of "Integral", each and every one of these three English words will have to be defined separately.
Land means a solid part of the earth's surface or property consisting of land (Collins, 2000:348). Grabbing, on the other hand, means to snatch or seize (Collins, 2000:268). Occupation as an English synonym and amongst other meanings denotes possession or control (Collins' Thesaurus, 2000:420). Putting it in our context, the phrase 'land grabbing and occupation' in past tense form would mean 'land snatched and controlled' by someone who does not own it.
Land grabbing and occupation cases have been reported many a times in South Sudan. There are vast areas of land grabbed and occupied by people who do not own them in areas like Juba and Southern Bari areas in Central Equatoria; and Nimule, Budi and Kapoeta, in Eastern Equatoria. In Juba, peoples' pieces of land have been literally grabbed or seized. The latest example is the case that involved 'Home & Away building' (http://ohiyok-oduho.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-04-14T04%3A33%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7)। This building is built on the land or property of the late Dr. Ronald Voga, plot no. 52, in Juba.
Meanwhile, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Bor and Bahr Al Ghazal who were settled in Lobonok, Nimule, Budi and Kapoeta areas have literally refused to return to their original homes. These IDPs insist that they deserve to settle anywhere in South Sudan because they liberated it. In other words, they are there to stay whether anybody likes it or not. Most of these IDPs are from the Dinka tribe.
Land grabbing and occupation, however, a common phenomenon, especially in post war periods. It could become endemic when there no rule of law. Meaning that those armed with political or gun power could abuse it. This appeared to be the case with few individuals within the Dinka tribe who seem to be exercising tribalism, nepotism, land grabbing and occupation. This action is tantamount to behaviour of an occupying force or a colonial master, especially when government authorities turn a blind eye and seal off ears from seeing and hearing the practice respectively.
Using statements like: 'we deserve to settle anywhere in the South because we liberated it' is as unfortunate as it is disuniting. Land should be acquired through legal means but not seized by force of anything. It is unforeseeable that anybody from Equatoria, for example, would go to Bor, Gogrial, Aweil and Rumbek to claim somebody's land. Why then should some individuals within the Dinka tribe think that they have rights over other people's lands when all South Sudanese did contribute – in their own ways – to the struggle in South Sudan?
By grabbing or seizing what is not yours and sarcastically telling whoever has his/her land grabbed and occupied that, 'we deserve to settle anywhere in the South because we liberated it', a clear message is deliberately sent to those whose lands are grabbed and occupied that they are irrelevant in their own ancestral lands. A message as loud clear and deliberate as this will always continue to widen the gap of disunity in South Sudan. It was and remains to be this notion of making others irrelevant that is likely to disintegrate the entire Sudan, let alone the South.
In the last century, South Sudan went to the bush from as early as 1955; the people of the Southern Blue Nile, the Nuba Mountains and Eastern Sudan went to the bush in the 1980s-1990s; and the people of Darfur in 2003 of this century. One of the many reasons to fight was and remains to be common: the notion that other Sudanese are irrelevant in a country that is equally theirs.
South Sudanese had gone to the bush to fight in order to ensure freedom, equality and justice for all in the South, yet some South Sudanese audaciously refer to other South Sudanese as irrelevant. Is there any such thing as irrelevant between people of one country? This is unlikely. However, there are few individuals within the Dinka community in South Sudan who are seriously agitating for land grabbing and occupation. It is this group of individuals that the entire Dinka community needs to work to educate and discourage from causing disunity and any future conflict in South Sudan.
They should be told not to use – for land grabbing and occupation – an army like the SPLA, which is supposed to be for all South Sudanese and other SPLM areas and not a tribe or a party; a government like GoSS led by the SPLM, which is supposed to serve everyone in South Sudan and other SPLM areas and not the SPLM and the Dinka tribe; and a party like the SPLM, which includes people from other areas in the Sudan and not the Dinka alone.
No one is against the Dinka as the very individual trouble makers would want the rest of the Dinka to believe. They have always referred to articles that expose them as written by hired pens – hired by Jallaba – to be more precise. Why should anyone who tries to expose the few individuals within the South who are bent on causing disunity by using SPLA and SPLM to practice tribalism, nepotism, and grab and occupy lands that are not theirs be referred to as hired pen?
GoSS, under H.E. 1st-Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, has to triple its efforts and seriously work to activate the land commissions in GoSS and the states in order to do the jobs assigned to them by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). It was unfortunate that the case of 'Home & Away' went to a civil court instead of a land commission tribunal. This was a mistake and one would hope that it is corrected in future by establishing land commission tribunals. These tribunals – in Juba and the ten Southern States – should be charged with the responsibilities of adjudicating land grabbing and occupation cases without prejudice. This is important, especially if GoSS is resolved that land grabbing and occupation will not only create disunity in South Sudan but is likely to ignite a future violent conflict in South Sudan.
"Integral" would like to take today's opportunity to sincerely apologize to its readers. In its intro, "Integral" notified the readers that it was to be published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on this page. This appeared not to have been the case. The inconsistency witnessed should not be attributed to Khartoum Monitor's (KM's) editorial. "Integral" is to blame. KM's editorial chooses the pages for its columns. It chose this page for "Integral". This page happens to be one of those pages that accommodate KM's coloured adverts. Nonetheless, readers should note that "Integral" will still be published three times a week but depending on KM's editorial decision to choose the dates within the week. Sorry for any inconveniencies caused.
In our first and previous features, "Integral" mentioned – amongst other common causes of disunity in South Sudan – tribalism, nepotism, land grabbing and occupation, greed for government power, tendency to promote lawlessness by deliberately ignoring to establish law and order and lack of interest in embracing democratic principles. In the previous feature, "Integral" discussed the first cause of disunity: tribalism. It promised to look at the other causes one by one. Today's feature will be looking at the second cause of disunity: nepotism, in South Sudan.
Nepotism means favouritism in business shown only to relatives and friends (Collins, 2000:409). Unlike tribalism, nepotism is the worst type of corruption. In addition to favouring relatives and friends, nepotism encourages sexual abuse and harassment of women and girls in larger work places like government ministries, governmental and non-governmental institutions. It has been reported that in some government ministries in the South ministers, undersecretaries and directors would not recommend employment and promotions of ladies unless they seek relationships – however short – with them to qualify.
This practice was said to have existed in South Sudan in the 70s and 80s of the last century. Senior officials in the then ministry of public service and administrative reforms made it a promise to employ after sexually harassing or literally having short relationships with girls and women who were seeking employment and deserved promotions like other members of the community with equal rights and opportunities.
Could anyone imagine the pain our dissent girls or married women – some probably widowed by the war – are going through? Could any ordinary citizen in South Sudan, with no relatives and friends in the government ministries and governmental institutions get a job, if nepotism by and large is the way to get a job? Aren't the above gross violations of girls' and women's basic human rights? Whom have we emancipated?
Let us assume that the GoSS has 100 ministers, including other constitutional post holders with ministerial portfolios in commissions and other government institutions like parliament and the army, how many would they employ from friends and relatives? Say each one of these officials would employ a hundred friends and relatives each – that would be 10,000 people – sometimes qualified relatives and friends but certainly not the best as would a board of selection choose. The 10,000 will continue to promote nepotism since it was nepotism which qualified them for employment in the first place. What would the leadership in the South be doing to the South? That would be widening the gap of division let alone the inflation of nepotism and the lowering down of the nationalism values?
Nepotism, however, is practiced by all communities in South Sudan – it is only the degree and frequency of practice that may differ. But by all standards, there are those who might have – at least by now – noticed that nepotism is bad. This is because has not seen any better performances from the employed relatives and/or friends. This situation has brought to surface two major reactions emanating from South Sudanese people: one, general discontent for the practice of nepotism; and two, the failure of the government or governmental institutions concerned to develop into better government or government institutions that deliver services to the people.
Both, the general discontent and government or governmental institutions' inability to deliver services to its people equally, sows the seeds of discord and that is disunity within a community that is supposed to be integrated. How could South Sudan possibly integrate when its people are divided along nepotistic lines – unable to become an essential part of a whole? The answer is that integration is illusive unless South Sudanese, irrespective of their party, tribal and religious affiliations work to accept each other.
Thus GoSS, under the leadership of H.E. 1st-Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, needs to look at nepotism as the worst type of corruption. Nepotism should be regarded as public enemy number one in South Sudan. The wider context of corruption has to include nepotism. Therefore, nepotism, like tribalism, should really be outlawed. It could be made to join tribalism and the two could fall under one organisation – no matter what status is given to it – it must have powers to order arrests, try and convict the tribal and nepotistic leaders in our society. Those caught practicing nepotism within public offices and convicted should never again see public offices.
This would be a serious and protracted fight, which GoSS may not be able to fight to win alone. The GoSS could support and, on their behalf, solicit funds to assist civil society organisations that could help sensitize the public about the dangers of tribalism and nepotism and why they must be stopped in South Sudan.
Perusing through the introductory draft of "Integral" before publishing it on Saturday, June 28th, 2008, a colleague close to this author, reacted to the whole idea of addressing disunity in South Sudan. "What is the concept of this argument?" He inquired. "Why do people fear to address the issue of South Sudan's separation?" He asked.
"Integral" highly respects this individual and believes that he, before anybody could know about the "Integral" column, did open the debate. It is true that there are people who feel uncomfortable documenting their views on 'separation' of South Sudan from the Sudan in the North – just like there are Southerners who wouldn't like to mention 'unity of Sudan', but both engage in discussion over the issues – not in newspapers or public fora.
The general concept of the "Integral" is to address disunity in South Sudan. However, disunity in South Sudan cannot be addressed in the absence of Sudan's unity. Because South Sudanese leaders, including those interested in cessation, are not only holding some of this country's top government positions but they are major decision makers in the country. Some of them have not shied away from calling for the unity of this country based on new realities.
SPLM continues to call for the establishment of a new Sudan. The original concept of the new Sudan as conceived by the late Dr John Garang de Mabior is a "united, democratic and secular Sudan" based on Sudanese diversity. Hypothetically, it is difficult for South Sudanese leaders to work for unity of the Sudan when they have not united South Sudan?
In its maiden feature, "Integral" identified – amongst other elements – tribalism, nepotism, land grabbing and occupation, greed for government power, tendency to promote lawlessness by deliberately ignoring to establish law and order and lack of interest in embracing democratic principles as main causes for disunity in South Sudan. Let us look at each and every one of these causes and identify elements within it that disunite South Sudanese.
Tribalism is a noun that means "loyalty to a tribe." It originates from another noun: tribe, which means a "group of clans or families believed to have a common ancestry", (Collins, 2000:635).
"Integral" views tribalism as an important organisation in societies because it ensures unity of a tribe. It eases common difficulties in achieving unity of purpose in a tribe. It secures the tribe from any dangers in case it is threatened. If led by wise people, it could generally work towards ensuring universal peace and establishment of law and order within a larger community of people or state. It means that tribalism will have to explore newer horizons like looking beyond the tribe. Social Contract theorists would understand this perfectly well.
It is human to practice tribalism but a tribe that practices tribalism should be mindful of other tribes' interests. Thus, one would argue, that there is obviously no reason for any tribe in South Sudan to insist that it mainly fought the war and as such tribes X, Y and Z which did not participate in the war have to be physically abused, robbed of their belongings, tortured or even killed.
It is the physical abuse of innocent citizens, robbing of their belongings, torturing and even killing them – in a nutshell: violating peoples' basic human rights in the name of tribalism – promotes disunity in South Sudan.
GoSS, under 1st-Lt-Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, is believed to be trying its best under the circumstances but has to redouble its efforts to arrest tribalism in South Sudan. The parliament of South Sudan and those of the States should enact laws that outlaw the practice of tribalism in South Sudan. An anti-tribalism commission – charged with the responsibilities of combating tribal elements within South Sudan communities – should be established. Any individual(s) caught practicing tribalism should be removed from public office(s), arrested, tried and convicted of practicing tribalism; and should be denied any public office(s) in future.