Refocusing on nation-building beyond tribal mindsets and ethnic lines

Photo: BBC

By James Tot Mathiang

The obstacles to progress and development in South Sudan 

January 20, 2023 (SSNA) — Why does South Sudan remain poor despite its untapped natural resources? South Sudan has a long history of civil wars and instability, which has hindered the country from taking advantage of its natural resources. In addition, corruption has been rampant, leading to a lack of proper infrastructure and investment in the country. Both civil war and corruption have prevented South Sudan from developing and utilizing its resources for economic gain.

What can the South Sudanese do to rid their country of corruption, tribalism, and a lack of opportunity for education?

To create a more prosperous future, the South Sudanese must take action to address the underlying issues of corruption, tribalism, and a lack of access to education. South Sudan remains poor due to the lack of infrastructure and investment needed to utilize the country’s resources, as well as the ongoing civil conflict that has weakened the economy. The government of South Sudan must prioritize the development of education and healthcare systems in order to create a more informed and healthier population. The government must also focus on increasing economic growth, creating stable institutions that can ensure transparency in government, and working to end the civil conflict in order to provide peace and security for the population. Additionally, they must strive to increase transparency and accountability in government, and work to reduce the influence of tribalism.

Is it possible for South Sudanese to give up their tribal mindsets and hegemonies?

To rid the country of corruption, tribalism, and lack of education, South Sudanese must extend their vision beyond tribal perspectives. South Sudanese can invest in education and infrastructure. These investments can build strong institutions, and promote transparency and accountability at all levels of the government. To give up their tribal mindsets and hegemonies, the South Sudanese would need to focus on creating a unified identity and culture that transcends ethnic lines. This could be achieved through shared experiences, education, and language.

South Sudan is one of the newest countries in the world. This underdeveloped country is blessed with untapped natural resources that would have made it the richest country in Africa if the country was not at war with itself. South Sudan has an abundance of oil, natural gas, gold, uranium, and other minerals that have not been developed due to the ongoing civil war. If the war was to end, the country could use these resources to generate wealth and stimulate economic development. Despite its potential, South Sudan remains in a state of tribal conflict and poverty, a tragic example of the destruction that civil unrest can bring. Despite these natural resources, South Sudan remains one of the world’s poorest countries. However, the civil war and subsequent instability have hindered the country’s economic development and have caused many to suffer poverty and despair. This instability has caused foreign investors to be hesitant to invest in South Sudan and has left the country’s infrastructure weak. Moreover, the country lacks the resources to make use of its own natural resources, leaving them untapped and preventing the country from becoming the prosperous nation it could be. Consequently, South Sudan has failed to effectively utilize its resources and is yet to experience the tangible benefits of its potential wealth. Those with knowledge of South Sudan’s natural resources have been wondering why the people of South Sudan are starving and relying on foreign aid for food. For instance, South Sudan is one of the top oil-producing countries in Africa, yet it lacks the infrastructure to refine and export its oil, resulting in a loss of potential revenue.

Steps forward:

Elimination of Corruption: how hundreds of billions of dollars disappear in South Sudan

This author referred to corruption in South Sudan as an “infectious disease”. This is because corruption often starts with a few people in power and then spreads quickly to those who are connected to them. The culture of corruption in South Sudan appears to be accepted as the norm and continues to spread. This unchecked spread of corruption can have devastating and long-lasting effects, impacting the economy and social welfare of the entire nation.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2021 ranked 180 different countries based on perceived levels of corruption in the public sector. And South Sudan was ranked last on the list.

Corruption in South Sudan comes in different forms, and it can take place at any level of the government. Forms of corruption vary but can include bribery, lobbying, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. It also leads to the misallocation of resources. This is because resources that could have been used to benefit the public are instead being diverted to benefit those in positions of power. This can contribute to worsening inequalities between the wealthy and the poor, as well as a decrease in trust in the government. Other ways of doing corruption in South Sudan include, but are not limited to creating fake projects, offering unlimited hotel accommodations, unofficial contracts to foreigners, ghost names on payrolls; and providing luxurious cars, better known as the “V8,” for government officials. As a result, government officials enjoy a lifestyle of luxury and opulence while the majority of citizens live in poverty and uncertainty. This is like a modern-day version of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, with government officials living a life of abundance while the rest of the population has to struggle to make ends meet.

Bribery and nepotism in the public sphere, embezzlement, and theft of public funds, and even the manipulation of legal documents and processes become common practices in the country. All of these activities can have serious consequences for the people of South Sudan.

It is important to recognize, however, that corruption does not just come from the top down – it can also originate from the bottom up. Thus, anyone can become corrupted from the top down. People in positions of power and influence often show nepotism by favoring family members, relatives, or friends. This is especially true in sectors such as oil, customs, and finance where they can easily access country revenue. Therefore, it is imperative to have mechanisms in place to ensure that government personnel are held accountable for their actions and that corruption is addressed in a timely manner. This can create an environment of impunity, leading to cycles of corruption that can be difficult to break. Additionally, these practices can lead to distrust in government and a lack of confidence in the governing systems, which can further exacerbate the issue. This corruption can give rise to a culture of impunity, where people feel that they can get away with illegal activities.

It is essential that governments have effective systems in place for monitoring and punishing corrupt practices, as well as for deterring future misconduct. By doing so, South Sudan can address the various forms of corruption that plague its society. These forms of corruption include the creation of phantom projects, lavish hospitality extended to foreigners, ghost employees on payrolls, and the distribution of luxury vehicles among government officials. Moreover, government transparency and accountability should be actively promoted in order to create a culture of integrity and trust. When this is achieved, South Sudan can establish a system of checks and balances that will help to combat corruption and create a safer, fairer society for all. This will allow the people to hold their government to account and ensure that their interests are represented in policy and legislation. Additionally, it will help to foster a culture of integrity among public servants and ensure that the public’s trust in the government is maintained.

To recover the country’s wealth once and for all, this writer suggests that the government should do the following:

  • The government should declare that it is constitutionally illegal to hire members of one’s family or close friends. This is necessary to make sure that nepotism and favoritism have no place in public office. This would help to ensure that there is no nepotism and that the most qualified individuals are selected for positions. By making it constitutionally illegal to hire family members and close friends, it would guarantee that all hires are based solely on merit. Furthermore, this would promote transparency and fairness in the hiring process, leading to a more competent and diverse range of individuals in public office. This also ensures that the most qualified candidate is chosen for any given job, and it would also help to prevent favoritism and unfairness in the workplace.
  • Remove ministers, MPs, and other officials from the hotels they have occupied since 2005.  The government’s hotel expenses should be eliminated to help reduce the government’s expenses, increase revenue, and create more jobs, and it would also help the economy. This action, in turn, could stimulate the national economy, improving the quality of life for citizens. By eliminating the need for hotels, officials would be encouraged to live in their own houses or pay for expenses. If the government no longer needed to pay for hotel stays, the money saved could be used to hire more teachers, providing educational opportunities to more people. This could result in more jobs and revenue, while still reducing the government’s expenses. Additionally, the reduced expenses and increased revenue could help stimulate economic growth, leading to an improved quality of life for citizens. Providing more teachers, could not only increase the number of jobs, but also lead to a higher GDP, leading to greater economic growth, better wages, and improved quality of life for the whole population.
  • Review illegal wealth obtained through corruption.  Reviewing illegal wealth obtained through corruption is important in order to ensure that those who have gained wealth through dishonest means cannot continue to benefit from it. This helps to ensure that the wealth is redistributed to those who are more deserving, and it also helps to discourage the practice of corruption.
  • restructure immigration policies. Update tax regulations to reflect the changes. H. Increase resources to support compliance with the new policies. Implement strategies to create economic stability and progress. For example, immigration policies should be updated to reflect the current economic landscape and to ensure that there are sufficient resources available for those seeking to immigrate and do business. Tax regulations should also be updated to address any discrepancies in the existing system and to ensure that foreign businesses are paying their fair share. Finally, resources should be increased in order to ensure that there is compliance with the new policies. This will create economic stability and progress by creating a more level playing field for everyone.
  • Reform labor guidelines and pool policies: By reforming labor guidelines, businesses would be able to hire more employees and work with a larger pool of talent.
  • Improve oversight to ensure compliance with laws and regulations: Improved oversight would help ensure that businesses are following laws and regulations,
  • Revise business laws and operations.  Revising business laws and operations would help businesses become more efficient and competitive. Additionally, streamlining operations and processes could result in an even greater increase in efficiency and productivity, enabling businesses to better compete in the global market.
  • Restructure immigration policies. Update tax regulations to reflect the changes. Increase resources to support compliance with the new policies. Implement strategies to create economic stability and progress. For example, immigration policies should be updated to reflect the current economic landscape and to ensure that there are sufficient resources available for those seeking to immigrate and do business. Tax regulations should also be updated to address any discrepancies in the existing system and to ensure that foreign businesses are paying their fair share. Finally, resources should be increased in order to ensure that there is compliance with the new policies. This will create economic stability and progress by creating a more level playing field for everyone.
  • The government needs to increase taxes on high-income earners and large corporations, invest in infrastructure and job creation, provide incentives for businesses to invest in promoting technology, and reduce the amount of money the government spends on the military. Moreover, the government should also focus on strengthening anti-corruption measures to ensure that the money recovered is used efficiently and effectively. By doing this, the government can create jobs and increase the country’s wealth.

Fake projects

Nepotism is a dangerous form of corruption that has destroyed South Sudan. The theft of billions of dollars has victimized the people of South Sudan in the name of fake projects. It is common for people with family members, relatives, or friends working in the financial or oil sectors to create fake road projects and request multimillion-dollar financing for them. Sadly, South Sudan’s states are not connected, despite millions of dollars being donated to non-profit organizations that promised to build roads. Despite this, many politicians have continued to exploit the system, taking advantage of the lack of accountability and misappropriating funds for their own use. This exploitation of the system is enabled by the lack of transparency in the financial and oil sectors. This makes it difficult to track where the money is going and who is receiving it. The lack of transparency has made it easy for politicians to divert funds away from the development of roads and other infrastructure projects. This has resulted in a lack of progress in the country, and it is the people of South Sudan who suffer the most from this. As a result, these politicians are able to use the money for their own personal gain, instead of using it to improve the infrastructure in their states. Without proper regulation, these politicians have free reign to take advantage of their positions and use the money to fund personal interests, such as luxury vacations or expensive cars. Instead, they use it to benefit the people they are supposed to serve. Therefore, it is vital that regulators ensure that these politicians adhere to the highest ethical standards so that resource money is spent responsibly.

Suspension of hotels accommodation

For the country to move forward and recover from this dreadful poverty, the president should eliminate hotel accommodations. This program costs the government millions of dollars each month.

A few months after the comprehensive peace agreement was signed and implemented, in 2005, the warlords who had fought the Sudanese government for more than 20 years in the North, most of whom had never been to a town, began pouring into South Sudan towns, including Juba, the capital city. Due to Sudan’s government’s inability to accommodate hundreds of South Sudanese guerrilla fighters, formerly of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the government had to use local hotels as accommodations for the rebels. This situation created a difficult challenge for the government. It had to find a way to manage a large number of people in a limited number of hotel rooms. The government also had to find a way to pay for the hotel rooms, as guerrilla fighters were not able to pay for their own accommodations. This was a difficult task given the large number of people staying in the hotels. To effectively manage the situation, the government had to develop a robust system of oversight to ensure that peace partners adhered to the rules set by the hotels and that their payments were properly handled.

However, it appears that what had been intended as a short stay and emergency accommodation for South Sudanese officials and former fighters by the Sudanese government, has now become a habitual practice by the government of South Sudan. To ensure that all parties involved are adequately supervised, the government has mandated a strict set of guidelines to be followed and proper payment methods to be implemented. This was initially intended to be a temporary measure, yet, unfortunately, has become a common occurrence in South Sudan. This is due to the fact that the South Sudanese government has struggled to find suitable housing for its citizens, and its limited resources have made it difficult to secure alternative accommodations for these individuals.

Since the hotel accommodations program has become a routine for South Sudanese officials, the government has to take extra steps to ensure that the temporary stay of its officials does not become an ongoing, permanent arrangement. Consequently, the government of South Sudan has been struggling to find a viable solution to this issue. This is similar to trying to put a square peg in a round hole. No matter how hard the government tries, those who have stayed in hotels since 2005 will resist the change. The difficulty lies in the fact that the existing system is incompatible with the proposed tax regime, making it difficult to enforce. People who have been accustomed to the old system will find it difficult to adjust to the newly implemented one. This resistance is likely to prevent the government from successfully introducing the proposed system for hotel accommodations.

A different approach is needed to ensure that South Sudan’s parliament and the cabinet agree on a way to move forward. The main term here is “viable solution.” A viable solution is one that is practical and can be implemented successfully. The situation is similar to a house party that has gotten out of control: the initial invitations have been accepted, but more and more people keep showing up, and the house has become overcrowded with people the host can’t get rid of. In this case, the host is the government of South Sudan, and they are looking for a way to bring the party back under control. It does this because it is cognizant of the limited resources available while addressing the needs of the country’s population. Currently, most government officials such as MPs, ministers, military generals, governors, and others have been staying in hotels since then. Any costs incurred are covered by the South Sudanese government.  To accomplish this goal, the government is taking proactive steps to ensure the responsible use of resources, including scrutinizing the spending of all personnel living in hotels and requiring that all costs be accounted for.

Since the government has expanded, hotels are costing the government more money, which makes the issue even worse. This current government is led by a cabinet of 34 ministers, 10 deputy ministers, and five vice presidents, plus 550 members of the parliament. Can you imagine how much money the government would spend if half of this number of both the cabinet and MPs were accommodated in hotels for one year?

An ex-official who was one of the first people to stay in hotels in Juba, back in 2005, recently spoke with me. This ex-official revealed that senior government officials are not the only ones who are accommodated by the government in hotels; their families and relatives are also accommodated at the government’s expense. This is a common practice in many African countries, where government officials often use their positions to accumulate wealth and enrich their friends and family members. As a result, government funds are often misused to pay for luxury accommodations for government officials and their families, rather than being used to benefit the public. Surprisingly, this ex-official also noted that these accommodations do not come at a cheap price for the government, and are far from cost-effective. In my discussion with this former official, I asked how much it costs to stay in a hotel in Juba. He estimated the cost of a standard hotel room to be between $150 and $200 US per night. Based on this huge number of people accommodated by the government in the hotels in Juba, it would be impossible to estimate the cost per year. This cost to the government is likely in the millions of dollars per year, given the number of people the government is accommodating in these hotels. Furthermore, the cost of food, drinks, and other amenities provided by the hotels is likely to add to the overall cost. I think even Albert Einstein wouldn’t be able to figure out how much cash is paid by the South Sudan government each month. Therefore, it is safe to say that the cost of hotel rooms in Juba is astronomical.

Luxurious cars for South Sudan officials and heads of departments

Purchases of luxury cars for South Sudanese officials and department heads should also be eliminated to ensure financial stability. Additionally, more stringent financial regulations should be implemented to reduce wasteful spending. In South Sudan, owning a V8 car is a symbol of prestige or high class. But the cost of a V8 is over $100,000. A soldier who requested anonymity said his monthly salary is 10,000 SSP (roughly 30 or 40 US dollars), but he hasn’t received it for more than 5 months. Despite the symbolic power of owning a V8 car, it is simply not financially feasible for the vast majority of South Sudanese. These people are struggling to make ends meet with salaries that are a fraction of the cost of a V8. The fact that owning a V8 car is seen as a symbol of prestige illustrates how vastly unequal the economic situation is in South Sudan. It also highlights how difficult it is for the average person to make ends meet when their salary is so far below the cost of a luxury item. This economic disparity is further highlighted by the fact that many government officials and department heads have purchased luxury cars. This is despite the strain it puts on an already struggling economy. Now imagine the monthly salary for an ordinary soldier is 10,000 South Sudanese Pounds. This only serves to show the stark contrast between the privileged few who can afford such luxuries and those that are struggling to make ends meet on a small salary. How many soldiers would have been paid $100,000 (the value of one V8)? Based on this roughly calculated amount, $100,000 US is sufficient to pay two to three brigades or battalions a month. The absurdity of this comparison serves to further highlight the inequality between the wealthy elite and the financially disadvantaged citizens of South Sudan. It is mind-boggling to think that one V8 could pay the salaries of two to three battalions for an entire month.

Tribalism: to get rid of tribalism

As things stand now, the South Sudan government should criminalize and outlaw tribalism and hatred among its people. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said to Americans, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Therefore, the Sudanese must either learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools. To bring this to fruition, the South Sudan government should enact legislation that condemns tribalism and hatred and put in place measures to counter these social ills. The logical conclusion is that if South Sudan is to be successful, its citizens must reject tribalism, hatred, and prejudice and work together in harmony and unity. As one of the most tribally diverse countries in Africa, South Sudan has taken tribal lines to a whole new level. In other words, tribal lines are more extreme in South Sudan than in most African countries.

This is because the citizens of South Sudan have developed a strong sense of ethnic identity over the years, with each tribe having adopted a wrong sense of looking down on other tribes, and some believe in tribal hegemony. This has led to tribal conflict and violence, making it difficult for the country to move forward. This tribalism has made it difficult for South Sudanese to come together, hampering any progress and development of the nation. To achieve peace, progress, and prosperity, the citizens of South Sudan must work together and embrace each other’s differences. This will create an environment of peace and understanding.

This author will highlight two major conflicts between the two largest tribes in South Sudan to give readers some insight into the current tribal conflicts in South Sudan. To further explore the complexity of the situation, the author will discuss the underlying causes of these conflicts and the potential solutions available to resolve them. Tribalism among South Sudanese was not as problematic during the civil wars when South Sudanese rebels fought against the Sudanese government. During the 21 years of civil war, there were a few tribal-related incidents that need to be mentioned in this article.

The first incident involving the Nuer tribe that was regarded as an intentional killing of Nuer civilians by the Dinka-led rebels took place in the 1980s. This incident set the stage for the long-standing tensions between the two tribes that persist to this day. A section of the Nuer tribe was targeted by the SPLA (South Sudanese rebels) in the mid-1980s, leading to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women, children, and the elderly. This tragedy highlighted the underlying animosity between the two tribes, which has only grown stronger with time, despite ongoing attempts to reconcile. In the 1980s, the former SPLA/SPLM leader, Dr. John Garang Mabior, who is Dinka by tribe, ordered his rebel forces to disarm some Gajaak Nuer members. This resulted in confrontations that led to the massacre of hundreds of Gajaak Nuer civilians. So many Nuer rebels became upset after Dr. John Garang massacred the Gajaak Nuer. However, they were controlled and convinced that fighting between the two largest tribes would endanger or put South Sudan’s liberation at risk. As a result, the two tribes agreed to a ceasefire and worked together to achieve independence from Sudan.

In 1991, a split occurred between the rebels’ leaders, which resulted in infighting among the South Sudanese rebels. This was due to a disagreement between two of the leaders over the direction of the movement and how to handle peace negotiations with the government. Subsequently, the movement became fragmented as each leader had his view, leading to internal conflict and divisions among the rebels. Additionally, the split occurred due to differences in the strategic approaches to the conflict between the rebels and the Sudan government. It ultimately led to increased violence as both sides sought to gain the upper hand. This ultimately weakened the rebel forces and made them less effective in their struggle against the government. Consequently, the rebel movement became divided and less effective, resulting in a disruption in the peace process. This led to a power struggle between the leaders, which created divisions in the rebel forces and undermined their ability to effectively fight the government. This power struggle resulted in a weakened rebel force and ultimately prevented a successful outcome to the peace negotiations. The fighting continued up to the home of Dr. John Garang. The ensuing violence tragically claimed the lives of innocent civilians, further heightening the tension between the two sides as they sought to gain control of the situation. As a consequence of the heightened tensions, civilian casualties escalated, resulting in an unspeakable tragedy for those who had no role in the conflict. This violence, which included the use of heavy artillery, caused significant destruction and loss of life, including the death of civilians who were caught in the crossfire.

Thus, the deaths of those civilians were considered the responsibility of Nuer tribe member Dr. Riek Machar, who was fighting Dr. John Garang. Despite the lack of evidence of Dr. Riek Machar’s forces intentionally killing innocent civilians, Dr. Garang spoke to the media and declared on BBC radio that a large number of civilians were massacred in his hometown and that Dr. Riek was to blame.

When the current president of South Sudan assumed the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA after the death of the South Sudanese rebel leader Dr. John Garang Mabior, the Dinka Bor’s top members of the SPLA/SPLM began using hateful rhetoric and referring to the 1991 incident as an intentional killing by the Nuer against Dinka. The Dinka Bor’s leaders used this rhetoric to gain support from other Dinkas, thus creating distrust and animosity between the two factions. By stoking fear and resentment, Dinka Bor was able to rally support for themselves and turn the population against their rivals. This enabled them to gain a powerful political advantage in the Dinka community and consolidate their power of Dinka. This resentment and distrust continue to this day, even deeper division between the Dinka and Nuer, creating an even greater divide between the two groups and making the prospects of peace and unity more distant than ever before. The resentment of 1991 created an atmosphere of distrust and animosity between the two communities which threatened to destabilize the entire country. This caused both sides to be on high alert for further provocations and outbreaks of violence, exacerbating tensions further.

In 2012, the Dinka used the country’s power and secretly recruited thousands of Dinka youth who eventually participated in the genocide against the Nuer. These Dinka youth, armed with weapons and hate, became the driving force behind the violence and destruction that occurred on December 15, 2013. The Dinka had a vested interest in controlling the territory through military force and saw the recruitment of youth as a way to maintain their power. The youth were indoctrinated with anti-Nuer rhetoric to fuel their hate and were given weapons to use against the Nuer people. The genocide and the tragedy that ensued would not have been possible without the recruitment of the Dinka youth, and their willingness to use violence and hatred to achieve the goals of the Dinka power structure. The genocide against the Nuer was engineered by Dinka elites to take revenge on their people who were otherwise caught in the crossfire, in 1991. As a result of the genocide, the opposition leader, who happened to come from the Nuer tribe, was installed as leader of the civil-defense forces better known as the White Army. These Dinka youth, driven by vengeance and a thirst for power, unleashed a wave of violence and destruction against the Nuer that was unprecedented in its intensity and scale. The genocide, though organized by Dinka elites, put innocent people from both sides in harm’s way. In the aftermath, the opposition leader from the Nuer tribe was appointed to lead the White Army in an attempt to bring peace and stability to the region. The white army was responding to the genocide against their people, the Nuer. The White Army responded with a vengeance, putting an end to the genocidal campaign and restoring stability to the region. South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir, on the other hand, used 1991 to gain the Dinka tribe’s unconditional support. This has caused a rift in the country, making it difficult for the government to effectively unite the population and resolve any existing conflicts.

Today, distrust and hostility still plague South Sudan, resulting in unrest and violence. It is well documented that senior government officials like General Kuol Manyang and Honorable Michael Makuei Lueth leveraged the 1991 incident to gain support from other Dinka sub-communities, including the president. This rhetoric has had a lasting and damaging effect, contributing to the continuation of a hostile and divided relationship between the two sides. It is now clear that senior government officials used the 1991 incident as a tool to gain political power. This eventually resulted in the consolidation of Dinka’s power at the highest levels of government. This rhetoric shifted the public discourse and opinion of the incident away from a human rights issue, and instead framed it as an ideological struggle between two sides, creating a deep-seated animosity that will last for decades. This has had a long-term effect, with both sides using the incident to further their own political and social agendas. As a result, this toxic rhetoric has left a deep scar on the relationship between the Dinka and the other South Sudanese. This has had a lasting impact on how the two groups view each other. In the years since the incident, both sides have sought to shape public opinion by highlighting the event and its implications. This has led to an increase in negative stereotypes and mistrust between the two sides and a decrease in cooperation and dialogue.

In April 2014, Honourable Michael Makuei Lueth incited the Bor youth to attack the Nuer who were sheltered at the United Nations Protection Camp in Bor town. During this unprovoked attack on the Nuer civilians in the UN Camp, 54 IDPs were killed and more than 100 IDPs were wounded. The long-term effects of this animosity have been particularly damaging as it has perpetuated a cycle of hostility between the two sides.

The Solution to end tribal conflicts and hatred in South Sudan:

Education and awareness are key to ending tribal conflicts and hatred in South Sudan. Teaching people to understand the different cultures and beliefs of those in other tribes, as well as teaching them to respect the rights of others, will help to create a more peaceful and tolerant society. Additionally, providing access to education and economic opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their ethnic background, will help to reduce the economic disparities that can lead to tribal conflict.

South Sudan’s government should adopt the Rwandan law that prohibits people from asking their fellow Rwandans about their tribal affiliation. This law would encourage individuals to focus on shared experiences and common goals, rather than differences, to create a more unified country. South Sudanese must develop an identity and culture that transcends ethnic lines. To achieve this, South Sudan’s government should build upon this Rwandan law and create a comprehensive identity and culture that is inclusive of all ethnicities. This will encourage respect, understanding, and collaboration. Again, this would be an effective step towards healing the deep divides between tribes and helping to foster a sense of unity in South Sudan. It would also encourage people to focus on what unites them, rather than the differences between them. This also could be achieved through shared experiences, education, and language. Shared experiences, such as public events, holidays, and cultural activities, could help to bring people together and foster a sense of National identity. Education could be used to promote understanding of different cultures, with an emphasis on the commonalities between them. Language could also be used to unite people, as learning a new language can bring people closer together and provide a shared understanding of each other.

The author of this article is a South Sudanese-born Canadian citizen. He has a BA in Global Development Studies, and a Post Graduate in Psychology- specializing in Mental Health. A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation, and Mental Health Partitioner; a Certified Pharmacy Technician. You can reach the author at [email protected].

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