South Sudan and the nation building!

"Disagreement does’t mean disapproval." Oprah Winfrey.

By: Dhano Obongo

January 3, 2016 (SSNA) — I have been delving in a debate within myself as to what could possibly be the proper way to expound a presentation to offer to my dear countrymen in the wake of the opening of a new year. I concluded however, that the above-mentioned concept seemed the suitable subject to consider.

Apparently, South Sudan is a new nation, therefore, nation-building is imperative to debate and discuss among our intelligentsia community.

The crux is that, nation-building is nothing more than creating or erecting a national identity under the authority of a government. It’s sometimes explained as national development, or the wide procedures through which nations come into existence.

Virtually, the objective of a nation-building is to amalgamate within geographic bounds the people of that region into a state, which is politically steady and sustainable over time.

Now, the central question becomes: who exactly are the nation’s builders? In our humble judgment, they are the ethnic members of a state who use inventiveness to change the national community through a governmental authority. Overall, their agendas embrace national security, education, public affairs and economics, among others.

In addition, we have recently observed nation-building transforming newly independent countries on the continent of Africa as well as in the Balkan countries. in essence, nation-building in regions cut out by the former colonials authorities or empires, developed without regards to frontiers. The process of nation-building altered many countries to become sustainable and communicative national entities with a spirit of nationalism among ethnic communities.

More so, the concept of nation -building embraces the formation of a national language, national airlines, national stadiums, national day, anthem, flag and folklore, etc.

At a deeper level, however, national character is developed and purposely built among diverse ethnic groups becoming a nation. That holds truth in several recently created countries where the colonial exercise of a policy to divide-and- rule resulted in ethnically varies inhabitants.

Many fresh countries have been overwhelmed by tribalism and clan fostering jealousy between ethnic groups within the nation. In some circumstances, this caused their near breakdown. A living example was the efforts by Biafra in Nigeria to split the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1967. Consider the request of Somalian community in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia for whole freedom!

The Rawanda’s massacre in the 1990’s , plus the earlier glitches experienced by former united Sudan, can also be linked to the lack of resolving the double apartheid of racial or religious unity with in the country! 

Meanwhile, sociopolitical history has often shown problems in uniting countries with similar ethnic make-up, but diverse colonial experience. Fruitful examples like Cameron do exist, but disappointments like the Senegambia confederation confirms the difficulties of bonding francophone and Anglophone regions.

Ironically, there has been some misconception between the usage of the term nation-building and that of state-building. Yet the two terms are always practiced interchangeably in North America continent.

Thus, the two terminologies have equally thin and different meaning in the political science arena. The first referring to national identity, where as the last to infrastructure and the institutions of the country.

Nonetheless, the political scholars’ argument has been troubled further by the reality of two very diverse schools of thoughts of state-building as a native procedure.

The misperception over terms means presently, nation-building has come to be used in a totally diverse perspective. With reference to what has been briefly defined by its advocates as " the use of armed force in the aftermath of a conflict to underpin an enduring transition to democracy." In this logic, nation-building would be better referred to as state-building. The later implies careful determination by foreign authority to a concept or connection of the institutions of the national power, agreeing to an example that might be adequately acquainted to the foreign authority, yet is always considered foreign, and even undermining. by this logic, state-building has characteristics of huge investment, armed forces, provisional power, and the practice of publicity to communicate government strategy and/or policy.

South Sudan, as a brand-new nation, can learn from those nations, which gone through their nation-building, as well as their state-building challenges.

May God bless our nation!

Ambassador, Dhanojak Obongo, is the author of the book titled: Clash of Two Cultures. He was the Deputy Head of Mission of the South Sudan Embassy in the United States of America, from 2012-2014. He also served as State Minister of Finance in his native state of Jonglei. He can reached for comments at [email protected].

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