May 23, 2014 (SSNA) — Our major disease in South Sudan is tribalism which has bred nepotism, favoritism, hatred and lack of effective governance. This disease called tribalism is the one that made Kiir and Malong recruited 15,000 armed youth members entirely from Aweil and Kuajok.
This disease called tribalism is the one that made Dr. Riek Machar ran to the direction of Jonglei State when war broke out in Juba, knowing very well that he was going to be rescued by his Nuer tribesmen from Jonglei. He did not choose to run to the direction of Lakes State. He would be killed like his fellow tribesmen and women brutally killed in Juba.
This disease called tribalism is the one that made the 15,000 armed youth members of Aweil and Kuajok killed one ethnic community in Juba because they bore the name ‘Nuer’ with Riek Machar. Not to forget; Honourable Gier Chuang’s 7 bodyguards were also murdered based on the fact that "these are people of Greater Upper Nile". This very disease called tribalism has tempted South Sudan clerics (bishops, pastors and Sheikhs) allied with their tribes all along our differences even when war broke out in Juba. Nuer pastors and bishops were never spared.
This very disease called tribalism has made Nuer and Dinka Bor, Dinka and Parieng Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in UNMISS various camps countrywide and in Lakes State.
This very disease called tribalism is the one that has destroyed the SPLA and SPLM.
This disease called tribalism has made Juba to a tribal hub; where residential areas are surveyed and allocated on tribal lines. Good example is 107, Manga Teen etc. In these residential areas, you can hardly find a Nuer neighbouring a Dinka or a Shilluk neighbouring a Dinka or Nuer. This is pathetic! Even Kiir Mayardit knew that something absurd was going to happen but he never bothered as a leader. He instead went to his people and secretly recruited 15,000 youth to come and guard him should anything happen. And in fact it happened and people were killed as planned.
This very disease called tribalism has eaten up our dignity, our sense of shame and our allegiance for South Sudan. In the eyes of the world, we are viewed as insane, insensitive and people who do not love anything good. So, we are not worth associated with and valued.
So, if this disease is not eradicated, we will continue killing ourselves, destroying our hard-won dignity, will be creating anarchism and South Sudan will be a ghost state and those of us who will survive will end up filling other countries. And our precious natural resources will be exploited and enjoyed by Sudan and other neighbouring countries.
We, as youth, need to decide that Riek and Salva are never South Sudan or South Sudan’s betterment should never be determined by their existence. I appreciate that they helped us come out of bondage and they should leave us to march forward. I wish them see us grow in building South Sudan but if they are a problem to us, they should be told to retire homes.
So, the ongoing youth discussion in Nairobi should entirely focus on the root-causes of the existing conflict. Let the discussions also focus on the ongoing peace negotiations (let the discussions internalize the roadmap signed by president Salva and Dr. Machar). Let the discussions also look at the impediments of peace.
Let the discussions also have binding resolutions that can be shared with Juba and Machar’s team. I am afraid these discussions will be like other archaic discussions that have never borne fruits. I wish it a success and let the public know how they have gone!
The author can be reached at [email protected].