Why Juba is Courting a Velvet Revolution in South Sudan?

By Julius Nyambur Marko-Wani, New York, USA

January 27, 2012 (SSNA) — I am not Ngundeng, the Nuer Greatest Prophet, who prophesized the unfolding events bedeviling South Sudan—and perhaps Sudan—but I can assert, and with precise certainty, that the federal authority of South Sudan in Juba is unknowingly sitting on a deadly political volcano. It is just a matter of tolling the bell and the youth will soon launch a mass movement that will either dictate the formulation and implementation of policies in juba, or take over the leadership altogether. This, I baptize it the inevitable Tsunami.

Does Juba know that its unprecedented failures to: prosecute corrupt criminals, abate ethnic decimation, and above all, reversing Dr. Garang’s concept of “taking towns to the people” is deepening public cynicism and eroding the legitimacy of the state of South Sudan? The above reasons are sufficient grounds to invoke fury, which by all accounts warrant a call for a regime change. Let me reiterate here that I smell formidable uprisings knocking. This, the “Captain” in charge of affairs in Juba’s White/State House, as well as the MPs in the SSLA, can take to the bank. It’s a fact that I am aware of, a fact that I know. It’s not fiction. And it’s going to be a civilian revolution.

Revolutions—whether velvet or turbulent—are almost always never advertised. They just take off. In other words, they are what we used to call “Gum Barau!” during our hay days in the bush. In the case of what is evolving in Juba, and in other southern towns, the “volcanoes” are being tickled by the federal government in Juba, surprisingly. They are swelling with such excited rapidity like never before. My crystal ball tells me that the patient hoi polloi is “pregnant” with at least quintuplets. The anger, frustration, and the outrage are just inches away. The worst juba can do, and I am sure it can afford is, to hasten the situation further by just another omission or commission. I pray it’s going to be an omission, because there are already too many faulty commissions. Below are the five reasons why I strongly think “Junubeen Spring” is imminent.

The first and foremost revolution instigator is the Political Patronage: Recycling the old guards in the expense of fresh, mentally-dynamic young intellectuals who are so capable of propelling the newest republic into a viable, democratic state. That the current government in Juba was as a result of compromises between the SPLM mainstream on one hand, and the numerous minor autonomy-seeking parties on the other, is not deniable. But what is equally unobjectionable is the fact that all the liberation fronts were fought by young men who are now being sidelined.

The second problem is Political Instigation and Ethnic Militarization. Whereas the youth of South Sudan are positively involved in embracing and fostering a national cohesion among themselves, tribal kingpins, just in egoistic quest for political dealership (not leadership), are adversely engaging in recruitment of folks from their ethnic backyards to take up guns, not to protect the national territory from external aggression, but in preparation for eventualities in event one lose an electoral position. Pathetically, where do these arms end up being used for?

The third, and the most fundamental, agitation is Kleptocracy or corruption. Defined as the system of government in Juba whereby those in power seek to maintain status and advance personal gain at the expense of the poor citizens. Juba is dually known as the most prospective place to exact business venture, as well as a more likely to be the most morally perverse city in East Africa. Sadly, the very same cliques who control power in Juba determine the direction and the context in which the juiciest contracts are awarded. Again, Junubeen youth are never trusted, thus can hardly get any of those contracts—let alone their management.

My second last piece of advice to the government is prompted by its Sluggish Decision making in Juba and at States Headquarters. It’s indisputable that what is doable in say, one hour, in any other country is what takes a week to be accomplished in South Sudan. The number of bills passed within a given year remained piecemeal; the provision of services to the voters is, of course, the debt people owed and not the opposite as expected; timely response to tribal conflicts is no longer within the purview of the national security responsibility, but a game contest presumably left to the mercy of ethnic military patrons (now that war is unofficially privatized in South Sudan), I should say; and not the least, Dr. Garang’s philosophy of “taking towns to the people” is being severely trampled upon and reversed to “bringing people to town,” which in turn depletes agricultural efforts, speeds up the growth of urban ills and so the prices of goods.

And currently there is the abhorrent Exclusion of Youth in the Leadership Affairs as well as in the Constitution Review Process. Politicians in juba are either simply ignorant or are just lucratively oblivious to the South Sudanese youth anger caused by the authority continued lack of appreciation of the youth unmatched contributions during the war, during the CPA campaigns and demonstrations in diaspora, as well as the educational initiatives undertaken by the youth in various capacities. At this juncture, one thing has become common knowledge: either we are being ruled by a Machiavellian or, it’s the case that our God-chosen Joshua is surrounded by bunch of little Machiavellians who are either powerful enough to coerce our beloved Joshua, or cunningly witty to distort what Joshua has appended signature on into what they will. This begs the question—which book among all the texts by Machiavelli, advises rewarding inaptitude to lead and sidelining the real heroes and heroines (youth) of the final, independence liberation?  

Having been left out in literally every aspect of national building, the last mistake was to snub the role of the youth in the constitution review process. This was a serious slap in the face. Now the daggers are drawn; all youth groups are now mobilizing, irrespective of ethnic backgrounds, to form a strong coalition that must stop the new republic from being brought to her knees at their watch. As for them, the time is now, and the price is right. Peace and democracy must prevail. On the other hand, the government’s hands aren’t tied; it should value vibrant ideas to dormancy; competent inclusiveness to redundant accommodation; and should allow for dialogue, debates, expression of competing and opposing perspectives, without undue repression.

Here runs my independent advice.

Julius Nyambur Wani is reachable at: [email protected]. He can also be visited at julius-nyambur.blogspot.com – The Independent Advisor

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