By Wani Tombe Lako
Policies and politics of hate and revenge
June 22, 2013 (SSNA) — In part (3) of these series of articles; it was argued that, the perennial absence of First Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, from his office in Khartoum, as the then Vice President of the hitherto united Sudan, hurt South Sudanese interests. It also undermined his own political standing, nationally, regionally in Africa, and internationally. I am afraid that, he has not yet recovered from that. He was cocooned in Juba, for his personal interests and reasons, not to do with the comprehensive development of South Sudan. That attitude of indifference is still being demonstrated right now, by his administration, in Juba.
However, a political cynic may retort that, Lt. Gen. Mayardit could have run the government of national unity (GoNU), and the then government of South Sudan (GoSS), from Juba, no big deal. However, Juba was not the seat of the government of Sudan; it was the seat of the GoSS. All these issues have contributed to our current comprehensive ordeals in the RoSS. It was obvious that, we were starting, our governance of ourselves, by ourselves, on the wrong foot.
On the other hand, some more politically ruthless national and international commentators think that, we South Sudanese want to have our political cake and eat it at the same time. That is, we South Sudanese fought for many years for powers, and independence, and when we achieved them, we become overwhelmed with them. It now appears as if, we South Sudanese, under the failed leadership of the SPLM/A, are, politically, socially, culturally and morally, buckling and crumbling, under the combined weights of these powers and independence. We South Sudanese must do something quickly and urgently.
Alternatively; many more ruthless commentators think that, the political shoes of powers and independence appear to be oversized for South Sudanese. Under the rudderless leadership of the SPLM/A, South Sudanese appear to want to continue, to blame others, for their own failures. This may be a subjective blanket characterisation of South Sudanese’s political and other capabilities. However, how can we logically convince these ruthless commentators otherwise, with the kind of visionless and hate, and revenge saturated, leadership, as contemporaneously demonstrated by the SPLM/A in Juba?
To return to the failures of the SPLM/A that the President was on about in 2007, it was, and it is now, obvious, to many political observers of the political landscape in South Sudan that, vengeful institutionalisation of tribalism and nepotism in South Sudan, has jointly undermined the confidence of many South Sudanese in the SPLM/A. Many South Sudanese and as well as foreigners, watch in horror, as the then GoSS, and extant RoSS, embarked on tribal manipulation of various political, judicial, security, economic, financial, legislative, socio-cultural, and administrative institutions along tribal lines.
Many South Sudanese are not happy in the manner in which the RoSS is being managed by the SPLM/A, under the direct supervision of Lt. Gen. Mayardit. Many South Sudanese are wondering, as to whether this is going to be their destiny in South Sudan, where institutionalisation of tribalism with impunity is going to be the cornerstone of the RoSS, for the foreseeable future? The institutionalisation of tribalism is a very dangerous failure on the side of the SPLM/A, and it is a dangerous violation of the Interim/Transitional Constitution of the RoSS. Therefore, the SPLM/A ought to know that, they are violating the human rights of the majority of South Sudanese by institutionalising tribalism and its paraphernalia in South Sudan.
I can strongly argue that, during the era of the internal self-determination, (200-2011), the SPLM/A violated the CPA; and the Interim/Transitional Constitution of South Sudan with impunity. Again, now, in the era of external self-determination, the SPLM/A is violating the Interim/Transitional Constitution of South Sudan with impunity. The leaders, operatives and members of the SPLM/A are ruling South Sudan through policies and politics of hate and revenge. When someone like me defends the peoples of South Sudan against these comprehensive violations of their human rights, by the SPLM/A, I am called a traitor.
For example, within the letter and spirit of the CPA, which was, and still is, the main sources of the Interim/Transitional Constitution of the Goss and the RoSS, the Power Sharing Protocol signed on 26th May 2004, says in subsection 126.96.36.199 Freedom From Discrimination that, “the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.
Well, it was, and it is, obvious that, the SPLM/A has grossly violated the above subsection. For instance, the phenomenon of permanent displacement of other South Sudanese, in Greater Equatoria by some more militarily equipped South Sudanese, without any concern from the RoSS, is against all human rights norms. These practices violate the right to possession and ownership of property, by the many South Sudanese, so forcefully displaced.
These practices also violate the right to individual self-determination as a human being, and this has detrimental effects on the integrities and dignities of these affected South Sudanese. There are also the violations of aggregate rights to shelter, as many South Sudanese so displaced, cannot use their lands for building human shelters. There are also the violations of aggregate rights to life.
These processes of forceful displacements render the so displaced South Sudanese vulnerable to starvations to death. They are unable to produce their food, nor to practice any life sustaining mode of production. These people are basically subsistence producers, dependent on the land so forcefully taken away from them. Such forceful displacements also threaten the sociological, cultural, and moral values of the people, whose land has been forcefully taken away from them.
The encroachment of other human persons; with different outlooks to life, and who then try to impose their alien norms, on these vulnerable people, is considered a matter of cultural genocide. These are serious human rights issues that the RoSS is ignoring to its peril. The people doing the displacement in Greater Equatoria are SPLM/A tribal militias, who also double as herdsmen, guarding and looking after the livestock of many senior SPLM/A politicians, leaders and commanders.
Further more, the vengeful allocation of counties to various states in South Sudan, on the basis of tribal strength, within the institutions of the extant RoSS, under the control of the SPLM/A is culpable. It is counterproductive to all semblances of equality, and equity in South Sudan. It is very obvious to every Bari man and woman for example that, their rights to participate in universal elections as means of choosing their leaders is very dangerously undermined, by these SPLM/A policies of distributing counties in the South Sudan.
Now then, how on earth can the Bari people for example, be equitably represented, in Parliament? All of them are lumped in just one single county, due to hateful and vengeful as well as a malicious strategy, to curtail and undermine their democratic rights. They cannot effectively participate, in the decision-making processes, in their own country? The SPLM/A know that, this is a very serious violation of the Interim/Transitional Constitution of South Sudan. However, they just do not bother, because, they are hateful and vengeful.
The extra judicial and illegal detention of South Sudanese for tribal, ethnic, and partisan reasons is a heinous violation of the human rights of those culpably detained. These practices are serious and dangerous violation of the Interim/Transitional Constitution of South Sudan. The SPLM/A and concomitantly, the RoSS are oblivious, and unconcerned, about the continuous detention of South Sudanese in Juba, and elsewhere in South Sudan, without proper legal procedures. SPLM/A officers and officials, continue to hold some South Sudanese in detention without valid reasons for such holdings.
For example, the then President of the GoSS, and the current President of the RoSS, in 2007, said that, “…the CPA…ushered in radical change in Sudan’s body politics in order to put an end once and for all to armed conflicts in our country and stifle potential sources of conflicts…”. It was, and it is still true that, the CPA ushered in radical changes in South Sudan’s body politics. The CPA gave birth to the sovereign RoSS and the breaking up of the hitherto united Sudan. However, when speaking of change, we should be aware that, there are both positive and negative changes.
Therefore, there are radical changes in the lives of South Sudanese. The fact that, the majority of us, in South Sudan, voted for the establishment of the RoSS ought to be considered as a positive development. That is, the formalistic legal, and constitutional secession of South Sudan, from the rest of the Sudan. However, critical analyses of this secession indicate that, we in fact, were almost independent from 2005, safe, for the absence of independent foreign policy, and a seat at the UN and such like.
Deep inside rural South Sudan, even in some urban and semi-urban centres in South Sudan, this territorial and associated legal and constitutional secession of South Sudan, from the rest of the Sudan means nothing. The ordinary peoples of South Sudan want to see tangible rewards, and benefits that come with this secession. They want to see that, they are safe in their villages, and in their urban centres. They want to see that they have enough food and such basic wants for life sustenance. The overwhelming majority of South Sudanese do not live in, nor do they experience, positive changes, as a result of the secession. They see the same people ruling them, with the same arrogance plus hateful and vengeful attitudes, imbued in political and security indifference.
The majority of South Sudanese are especially very confused, when they are told that, they are hungry because, political Khartoum refused them food, by closing down all borders crossing with South Sudan. They innocently ask, but, we are an independent country; why do we want political Khartoum to feed us? Some may even ask, as to what did our leaders do to protect us from these eventualities of secession from the rest of the Sudan? Unfortunately for our ordinary peoples in South Sudan, current SPLM/A rulers of South Sudan, do not know how to answer these questions, because, they never contemplated that, things were going to turn out like this. The SPLM/A rulers in Juba and elsewhere in South Sudan, want to have their political cake and eat it at the same time.
However, it is possible and practicable to carry out radical and comprehensive positive changes in a seceded South Sudan, if, we South Sudanese, have the will, and foresight to do so. We need positive developmental attitude. We need robust and dynamic, as well as all embracing and inclusive individual, group, and societal attitudes. However, right from 2005, up to date, in South Sudan, all that had happened are physical transformation of the landscape, with total exclusion of the human person.
Those SPLM/A rulers, who assumed the governance of South Sudan from 2005 to date, are dangerously imbued with dangerously static mindset, when it comes to issues of comprehensive social development of the peoples of South Sudan. Positive and radical social changes could not occur, in South Sudan, from 2005 to date, because, these SPLM/A rulers herein, are overwhelmed with policies and politics of hate and revenge. These SPLM/A rulers, in South Sudan, are predominantly imbued with deconstructive political intentions, as well as vacuous and hollow, unachievable, aspirational political slogans.
I strongly believe that, the spirit and the letter, as well as the literature and text of comprehensive radical and positive changes, contained in the CPA as well as in the Interim/Transitional Constitutions documents, as the political, legal, moral wombs; that delivered the RoSS, have not been comprehended by the leaders, operatives and members of the SPLM/A. These SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, lacked and still lack the capacities, capabilities, and the will, to translate the CPA as well as the Interim/Transitional Constitution, into beneficial and tangible goods and services on the ground, for the peoples of South Sudan. This is the true essence of external self-determination, as far as the peoples of South Sudan are concerned.
Therefore, if the doctrine of extern self-determination cannot provide the peoples of South Sudan with the food, clean water, hospitals, security, protection, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and some other freedoms and rights and privileges, then what good is this external self-determination? The meaning of external self-determination does not mean that, the peoples of South Sudan shall secede from the rest of the Sudan, in order to create the opportunities for these SPLM/A leaders, operatives, and members, to enjoy more exclusive powers and wealth, at the expense of the downtrodden peoples of South Sudan.
External self-determination does not mean that, the ordinary peoples of South Sudan are to enjoy the good life by proxy. That is, they enjoy life through the happiness of their rulers and their rulers’ children. This is not the right of external self-determination that the majority of our peoples voted for. That is why; many of them are beginning to wonder about the meaning of this external self-determination. Majority of South Sudanese are already disenchanted by this SPLM/A style of external self-determination.
Some SPLM/A apologists shall retort that, but, ‘Rome was not built in one day’. Fair enough, but Rome was built over centuries through positive human reason; and positive will to improve, and that is why, I am writing this piece. I am literally saying that, SPLM/A was not wired, and is not going to be rewired, with those human values and mores, which are necessary for the construction and reconstruction of functional human society. SPLM/A is a comprehensively destructive tool, sustained by hate and revenge. SPLM/A leaders have already declared that, ‘they cannot forget, and they cannot forgive…and those who disagree with them end up dead’. These are not the qualities of constructive human leaders, based on any minimum indices of civilised human values.
The radical change that is being peddled does not only mean legal and constitutional secession from the rest of the Sudan, under the supervision of the SPLM/A. It means more than that. It does not mean the offensive tribal monopoly of all political and administrative posts in the RoSS by the kith and kin of SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members only. The radical positive change ought to mean the participation of all sons and daughters of South Sudan in the process of governance. The radical positive change ought to mean the jettisoning of primordial and parochial politics of hate and revenge, to be replaced by politics of love and positive reciprocity.
Comprehensive positive change does not just occur because we have seceded from the rest of the Sudan, and then just celebrate this secession in expensive political rallies. Positive change must be believed in for it to occur. I lost hope of anything good, coming out from the conducts of the SPLM/A, as far as 2005, due to the fashion in which, they were managing the GoSS. I knew then, that, the leaders, operatives and members of the, SPLM/A were not working towards this positive change during the era of internal self-determination (2005-2011). I was also convinced that, the SPLM/A had no intention of achieving this positive change in a seceded South Sudan from 2011 to date; and I am being proven right now.
In fact, during the era of internal self-determination in South Sudan (2005-2011), the SPLM/A, implemented policies, which entrenched profound negative political changes, and which in turn, acted as concrete templates, for current comprehensive failures, in the management of sovereign South Sudan. I am afraid that, if this is allowed to continue beyond 2015, it will indeed set South Sudan back by more than a hundred years.
The SPLM/A is morally bankrupt to the extent that, it cannot lead us in South Sudan by any positive human example. For example, if, during the era of internal self-determination in South Sudan (2005-2011); SPLM/A operatives, broke down constitutional prisons, to criminally, and illegally, get out their convicted relatives, to enjoy, illegal freedoms. What kind of moral values do you think, the peoples of South Sudan can expect from the leadership of SPLM/A in a seceded South Sudan? Am I not justified, in questioning, the constitutional, legal, moral, religious, and socio-cultural abilities, of the SPLM/A, in governing an independent South Sudan?
Right from the word go, as far as 2005, the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, perfected an aggressive attitude of not wanting to be cross examined, by the peoples of South Sudan, as regards their performances, in the governance of South Sudan. For example, one of their underdeveloped, classical intellectual tools was, always to retort that, they were starting from zero. Therefore, whenever the peoples of South Sudan complained about the lack of goods and services, even about the lack of security, the SPLM/A rulers retort that, they were starting from zero. How could they have started their security from zero, if, every one of them, was protected by armoured cars, including tanks, and platoons of armed to the teeth relatives?
On the issues of educational and other services, the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, were politically and emotionally, anaesthetising the peoples of South Sudan that, the Jallabas in political Khartoum, were withholding their moneies, and thus, they were starting from zero. However, the foreign bank accounts of these SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members were bulging with the same monies, which were supposed, to be in Khartoum, detained by the Jallabas. Well, it did not last long, before the President of the RoSS himself, announced to the world that, the SPLM/A, did not start from zero after all; and he was pleading with his comrades, to return the looted billions of dollars, and such like, back home, to South Sudan, but via Kenya. This is the tragedy of sovereign South Sudan.
The late Dr Garang once said that, “…there can be a smoke in southern Sudan without fire…”. However, I maintain that, the peoples of South Sudan shall be the jury and the judges. The rumours about excessive embezzlement of public funds, by SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, were all over the world right from 2005. However, those of us non-SPLM/A South Sudanese were always categorised as black Jallabas, for just pointing out that, SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, were embezzling the fortunes of the downtrodden peoples of South Sudan with impunity. From 2005 onwards, the political, moral and socio-cultural as well as tribal stages, for total underdevelopment of South Sudan, were set, by the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members.
It was ubiquitously obvious to some of us that, the comprehensive environments, developed by the SPLM/A, in South Sudan, were not conducive whatsoever, for the establishment of an independent sovereign state, to be handed in a golden plate to the SPLM/A. It was not that, nor is it that, the peoples of South Sudan do not deserve their own country; it was, and it is, the fact that, the peoples of South Sudan were going to be cheated, and are being cheated; out of the fruits of this independent sovereign country. What is now happening in South Sudan is exactly the actualisation and operationalisation of those fears. See you in (Part 5).
The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He be reached at [email protected]