Dr Barnaba Marial: Communitarian and Prudential Politics are of Essence in South Sudan

By Wani Tombe Lako

Dear Dr Barnaba Marial;

May 20, 2013 (SSNA) — The birth of the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS); ought to have heralded in the flourishing of communitarian and prudential politics. Communitarian in the sense that; the RoSS is the comprehensive territorial and socio-cultural and political crucible in which, all of us, in South Sudan; in our myriads of tribes and customs belong; and where, we would love to be buried in; with the glory of belonging. Prudential in the sense  that; the RoSS ought to be guided by polity, politics, and policies, which are all aimed at achieving positive cumulative and comprehensive as well as integrated results, in which; harmful effects are greatly minimised in the interest of us all in the RoSS. I strongly believe that, we, in the RoSS, are politically mature to the extent that; we are very conscious of what we actually want in a government which is in power in the RoSS. I do not think that, we, in the RoSS, need some political baby-sitting, especially on issues that touch our everyday lives.  

We in the RoSS do not need political monitors; to daily monitor our political behaviours, including our political allegiances, vis-à-vis political parties. We are politically mature to the extent that, we know what is best for us as individuals and as members of various religious, social, professional and political groups. It is extremely misleading, to portray us, the discerning peoples of the RoSS, as needing some political lectures; by some political manipulators, on the highways and byways, of belonging to the RoSS. It is also fitting to strongly argue that; we, in the RoSS, know our duties; rights; obligations; and privileges. Therefore, for constructively communitarian politics to flourish in the RoSS; our freedoms of consciences must be respected and honoured by all those saddled with the responsibilities of managing the RoSS. The government of the RoSS must protect us from some political groups which appear to believe that, they alone monopolise the political freedom of association.

In the free and sovereign RoSS, while there is nothing like absolute freedom anywhere in the whole wide world, the relative freedom allowable by societal laws and rules of law in the RoSS, for the human society to function effectively and efficiently herein, there ought not to be others in the RoSS, who illegally arrogate to themselves, some authority to regulate the context within which, we must associate with, or become members of various political parties in the country. This regulatory and oversight powers assumed by those others, and to control the political development in South Sudan, verge on political ownership of our political consciences. We reject being considered as political and intellectual property of some self-serving political groups. These are the kinds of individuals who like to entrench the culture which appears to mean that; the only claim to political representation in South Sudan is predicated on the barrel of the AK47.

Dear Dr Barnaba Marial;

I strongly believe that; all citizens of the RoSS are free to belong to any political party in the country, as long as these political parties operate within socio-political and legal norms of the RoSS. It is unconstitutional to victimise some of us, who refused to belong to some armed groups; but yet; would like to voice our opinion in a peaceful fashion, through writing, as being pro-South Sudanese enemies, and thus, we have no right to live, work, and share in the general welfare and happiness of our brethrens and sisters, in the RoSS. Prudential leadership ought not to be premised on the argument that; some South Sudanese are more nationalistic than others; and thus, those more nationalistic South Sudanese are deemed as being peoples of the leadership; and those others are the enemies of the said leadership. These kinds of political taxonomies are dangerous precedents, and they do not serve the comprehensive interests of the RoSS and its honourable peoples.  

The prudential leadership meant here is that type of leadership which has the human capacity to joyfully celebrate the multiplicity of tribes and cultures in the RoSS, and thus, embrace all sons and daughters of the RoSS in their totalities. Any leadership which does not have the capacity to embrace all of us as its peoples, without any discrimination and exclusionist tendencies; must not be allowed by us the peoples, to be our leadership. It is an anathema and sinful for us to murder ourselves just because, we belong to different political parties. Communitarian politics demand that; the essence of politics is the welfare of the community; in this case; all of us in the RoSS. We, the peoples of the RoSS, ought to celebrate multi-parties system of governance, because, it is the only guarantee against party-political tyrannies. On the other hand; our tolerance of one another, within the remit of various political parties, is indicative of a mature polity, which we aspire to achieve. 

As long as various political parties have no ill feelings or harmful agenda against the peoples of South Sudan; these political parties ought not to be vilified by the very sons and daughters of the RoSS.  Allegiance to political parties, just like respect at the individual level, must be earned. You cannot coerce highly educated people to follow you even if you will murder them in the process, should they disagree with you. Many highly educated South Sudanese have lost their lives because they dare question some political logic of some political parties during this tortured short history of the RoSS.

For example; some of us must not be vilified for refusing to belong or follow political parties that are instruments of tribalism, nepotism, ethnic control and degradation of human dignity. On the other hand; we must not follow political parties whose leaders appear to be politically unstable to the extent that, their objectives in life appear to be leadership positions at all costs. We must not allow ourselves to become political pawns in the hands of those who want to have all their political eggs and eat them at same time.

Political times in this great country of the RoSS are changing, and we must be free to join any political party as long as it is not based on tribal, sectarian and dubious socio-cultural ideology. It is obvious to all enlightened minds and eyes that, current quest for peace and stability in the RoSS is being premised on the Unity, Independence, Sovereignty, and Integrity of this nation. That being the case, it is right and fitting that, this unity, independence, sovereignty and integrity must be sealed by all of us working together. Nobody is going to privatise the RoSS politically, so that, he alone has the political access card. We do not need any more bloodshed in the country. All South Sudanese of goodwill must come together in one solid march towards love and stability with themselves; and with all international neighbours; because; our peace and harmony as well as socio-economic development, within the RoSS, depend on peaceful coexistence among ourselves, and with our neighbours from all geographical directions of this nation.

In conclusion Dr Barnaba Marial;

The time has come for us in the RoSS to make precise cost-benefit-analysis in terms of all economic sectors; and in terms of all substantive and philosophical paradigms. The carnage being inflicted upon various communities in the RoSS; in the name of political disagreements; and therefore declarations of military confrontations to resolve hitherto civil and political misunderstandings are costing us in the RoSS too much. From the outset; there are no military issues to be resolved by any nation within national political parlance.

There are always political issues. Therefore; political issues must always find their rightful resolution places on negotiation tables. The rest are clear writings on the political walls; which any political and military baby can read and understand. We are sick and tired of wars. We refuse to be dragged into unnecessary wars against ourselves, and against neighbours with whom we should be consolidating other beneficial relationships instead of killing ourselves; for no good reasons whatsoever. We want our government to be asking itself questions like:-

a) what is happening to child mortality in the RoSS;
b) what is happening to the marginalisation of women in the RoSS;
c) what is happening to youth unemployment in the RoSS;
d) what is happening to poverty in the RoSS;
e) what is happening to perennial food shortages in the RoSS;
f) what is happening to threats of hunger and famine in the RoSS;
g) what is happening to general education in the RoSS;
h) what is happening to technical education in the RoSS;
i) what is happening to higher education in the RoSS;
j) what is happening to tribal warfare in the RoSS;
k) what is happening to rule of law in the RoSS;
l) what is happening to quality of governance in the RoSS;
m) what is happening to quality of civil service in the RoSS;
n) what is happening to inequality in the RoSS;
o) what is happening to inflation in the RoSS;
p) what is happening to the depletion of foreign reserve in the RoSS;
q) what is happening to money supply in the RoSS;
r) what is happening to sectoral and general development in the RoSS;
s) what is happening to internal; border, and international trade in the RoSS;
t) what is happening to corruption in the RoSS;
u) what is happening to deficit of meritocracy and accountability in the RoSS;
v) what is happening to human rights in the RoSS;
w) what is happening to rural development in the RoSS;
x) what is happening to social development in the RoSS; and
y) What is happening to morbidity in the RoSS?

I can go on infinitum in terms of issues which the peoples of the RoSS want their government to be involved in, and concerned with.

The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He can be contacted via [email protected]

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