The making of civil war in South Sudan

By Wani Tombe Lako

February 9, 2013 (SSNA) — Just less than twenty four months in its existence as an independent sovereign State, the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) is already dangerously exhibiting signs of a steadily advancing civil war. Others shall react to this fact as being the thinking of an alarmist, and a political sadist. To these others, I shall simply say that, it is not only a matter of if a civil war breaks out in South Sudan, but, rather, it is a matter of when this civil war breaks out, how we shall stop it. Those discerning others ought to be able to see how the current rulers of the RoSS are steadily and surely making the next civil war as between the peoples and tribes of South Sudan happen more sooner than later.

It appears that, the current rulers of South Sudan want to follow textbook procedures of independence, civil war, anarchy, and permanent chaos. This is the classical political history of the majority of Third World countries, in which club, the RoSS now belongs. Others shall again say that, that is not a valid assessment of the political situation in South Sudan.

However, extremely objective analyses of comprehensive variables of civil wars in Third World countries, especially African countries, point to the definitive conclusion that, the RoSS is heading towards a certain catastrophic civil war, unless, a miracle happens, or unless, there is a radical change of political morality, and another radical change, in the notion and practice of governance in South Sudan. Without any of the above happening, South Sudanese ought to prepare for unavoidable civil war. It is sad to say this, but it is true.

I have already said somewhere that, the current rulers of South Sudan behave as if they are only sojourning in South Sudan, and they are on their way to some destinations, where their permanent residents are. This may then explain the kind of reckless attitude which is displayed in the comprehensive governance of South Sudan. When a government chooses to communicate with its peoples through the barrel of the gun over small and big issues, you can only rest assured that, that government is preparing the ground for a major confrontation as between the peoples and the rulers. The place is awash with examples. Take Gaddafi’s Libya and many other countries around the world.

The rulers of South Sudan are exactly behaving in a fashion which does not encourage the peoples herein, to stand up and defend the government. Sometimes back, in my open letter to the President of the RoSS, I mentioned that, the peoples of South Sudan are the only guarantee for the stability of South Sudan, and everybody in South Sudan, including the government. However, should the rulers of South Sudan antagonise the peoples of South Sudan, through their various acts and omissions, the peoples of South Sudan shall easily turn from the shield protecting the government of South Sudan, to thorns piercing the government of South Sudan. This is not an incitement, but a simple deductive and inductive reasoning respectively, based on everyday life experiences around the globe.

However, here in South Sudan, there are many dangerous variables which are being concretised as the most volatile variables for the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan. One such variable is the collapsing civil society in South Sudan. For some South Sudanese, especially those who were born and grew up in places like Juba, it is alarmingly clear to such people how the notion and practice of civil society is fast being destroyed and made to collapse in South Sudan.

By civil society I mean the network of mores, values, traditions, customs, conventions, and cultures of the peoples which made it possible for us to have and sustain a human society, which is distinguishable from animal society, where animal society means both tamed and wild animals alike. The proliferations of crimes of rape, brutal homicides, brutal and grievous bodily harm, armed robberies, looting, senseless human aggression and threats of violence in society are but some of those exigencies of a collapsing civil society. When human beings can no more rely on the police force, and other agencies of law and order, because, these agencies are suspected of indulgences, in criminal conducts, you can rest assured that, the notion and practice of civil society in such a society, is, but dead, and buried. That is the classical situation here in South Sudan.

Here in South Sudan, we shall soon resort to self-help laws in order to survive. In fact, here, in South Sudan, since the birth of the RoSS, the Darwinian Theory of the Survival of the Fittest has been used with impunity. The danger with self-help laws is that, it breads anarchy and which shall then lead to total chaos in society. However, it can be succinctly argued that, the notion and practice of constructive civil society is no more. The structural aspects of South Sudanese human society, as the skeletal framework of South Sudan is being euphemistically peddled as symbol and integrity of united and functional civil society in South Sudan. The politicisation of everything in South Sudan appears to have gone astray. It is no more serving the cardinal interests of the peoples of South Sudan. We need human society before political society of South Sudan.   

The constituents of South Sudanese civil society are falling part, and their decadence is constitutionally the decadence of the whole civil society of South Sudan. An objective bystander can even observe that, there is a feeling of unease in the units of this so-called South Sudanese civil society. Some of these units feel coerced to belong to this repulsive body called South Sudan due to the myriad of antisocial and inhuman norms and behaviours which tend to undermine the humanity in many human persons in South Sudan, and thus, engender the feeling of loathing against the supposed universal society of South Sudan. These are ripe recipes for civil wars in South Sudan. However, the rulers of South Sudan appear to be unconcerned with these dangerous signs of comprehensive social instability.

The other dangerous variable of civil war in South Sudan is the forced systemic and strategic settlement of Equatoria by particular peoples in South Sudan. Whenever this issue is mentioned, many voices in South Sudan cry foul. These voices think that, others like me, who keep on talking about this issue, are, but tribalists who do not want the homogenisation of South Sudan. That is, for South Sudan to become one loving homogenous whole, the villagers and citizens of Equatoria must be displaced from their villages and made unable to cultivate in their farmland.

Anybody who wants to understand what I am on about, should make a tour of Central Equatoria, and gauge the magnitude, and intensity of village displacement, experienced by villagers. Try to examine the amount of anger and despair in these peoples’ lives and tell them that, it is fine because they are working towards a united South Sudan through their deprivation. Paradoxically, many among the ruling elites in Juba have got ranches and such like in Bari villages and in some counties like Yei and such like.

At the moment, many of these peoples who are displacing countless villagers from their homeland believe that, it is their legal right to displace these helpless villagers, and the argument is that, these villages were liberated from the Arabs. I do not want to discuss these issues here, because, I do not understand the logic of liberating Bari villages from the Arabs. I am not good at discussing issues which are illogical. At any rate, there are too much injustices being meted out to many peoples in Equatoria. Many villages are being settled by other South Sudanese without thinking for a moment about the fate of those whom they are displacing from their villages.

Just imagine, if you were a Bari villager, who has been made to relocate to Juba as a squatter, because some of your so called South Sudanese brothers, have chased you away from your village. Here you are in Juba, homeless, and you are being asked to join a protest march, against some occupation of land by some people in the border areas. Would you sincerely joint such a march, and protest, while your own home is being forcibly occupied by South Sudanese? Do you think you have nationalism in you, within the definition of South Sudanese nationalism, whereby, your self-determination is being made to survive as squatter in your own country? These issues may appear mundane to those others, who have not experienced the agony of being displaced, from their villages, by fellow South Sudanese, just because, those displacing other South Sudanese, are backed by the government of South Sudan.

For those of you who would like to know, there are many States in South Sudan, outside of Equatoria, where, non State citizens are not even allowed to own one square meter of land, let alone setting up ranches in far off villages. Some nearby state have of recent past chased away some South Sudanese from the State, because to them, they are aliens. Whether the government of South Sudan wants to believe it or not, if the settlement of Equatoria continues at this alarming rate, and with the consequences which are being felt by the peoples of Equatoria, it is only reasonable to say that, this issue shall become one of the factors for the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan.

The other factors and variables, which shall lead to the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, are political, economic, and financial marginalisations of many peoples in South Sudan. If the peoples of South Sudan have been historically justified to revolt against, and subsequently breakaway from the rest of Sudan, due to issues of comprehensive marginalisations and exclusion, then, the same shall happen in South Sudan. At the moment, more than 80% of the population of South Sudan is comprehensively marginalised by a few others who are enjoying the benefits of secession and such like at the expense of the majority. Now, the peoples of South Sudan know that, they are suffering not because some Arabs are torturing them. The peoples of South Sudan know that, they are suffering, because, the rulers of South Sudan are torturing them.

The unfortunate thing is that, these comprehensive marginalisations of the majority of the peoples of South Sudan are made the more painful, by tribal arrogance, of those identified by the majority of South Sudanese, as being the political oligarchs, in South Sudan. I do not understand, why, the thinkers of these rulers, do not provide reasonable advice to their brethrens. I am saying brethrens because, pieces of advice, emanating from people like me, and many others, are always looked at from tribal perspective, and treated with suspicion, even if the same pieces of advice glitter with logics, and objectivity. This is the tragedy of South Sudan.

The Author can be reached at [email protected]

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