South Sudan: Democracy or Dictatorship, the Fall of the Republic.

Posted: June 21, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles, Reports

By Mr. Adut Naar

Demo-cracy or Demo-crazy?

Demo-cracy or Demo-crazy?


I have to confess! As a matter of scholarly, it’s extremely difficult to talk about the republic of South Sudan or its issues in a purely objective mode of communication; precisely because: this polity follows no line of the established political theorizing (as they have been practiced from the days of the Greeks, even the Romans, the Chinese or the American and French Revolutions). Whether it disagrees with the ancient wisdom is another; but it too must be ‘scholarly’. And neither does it follow anything consistent with its indigenous norms; I mean its political, social or economic make-up is at odds with anything conventional: political or otherwise.

This article attempts to explain issues pertaining to the relationship that inherently exists: between the state and its citizenry; it’s an illustration of the situation from an objective observation or standpoint view; and presents somewhat general theory of the political theorizing that humanity has found ‘almost’ compatible with its free nature, albeit modifications: Democracy. I will begin with the basic document of the land: Its Constitution. The aim is to demonstrate somewhat should be its key objective: Making Peace a way of Life in South Sudan; turning tribes into a single nation. ‘South Sudan’ must clearly stipulate: What it really means to be a citizen of that land. Whether the land owns the citizens or they own the land: that verdict is important to hear; but is sadly lacking. I will briefly touch on the successive constitutional making’s failures. Recall the Southern Sudan’s and the current, Transitional one’s (-and maybe, just may be another Transitional one and so on) and demonstrate that constitutional failures I thus outlined above.

My view is that such failures will persist: irrespective of how many constitutions written or to be written; for they stem from: the denial of the ‘internal’ differences; and which consequentially thwarts any compromise it should entail; but one may say they are personal, subjective views. I agree. And I am completely aware of the geo-political culture of that ‘land’: including telling the “youth” to wait ‘until’ they’re ‘old’ enough to talk about their future; not when they’ve learned what it takes to be a society morally or otherwise. In fact, the word “youth” in this part of the world, is a vague one. It has no clear distinction of say, at what age is the “youth” or even “old man” is old enough to be ‘wise’; or in the case of youth in particular, precisely at what “age” is his or her “consent” considered his or her own view on anything, and when is an individual youth, is considered wise enough to talk about what? And when is he wise enough than the old man; and whether such a ‘competition’ is unwinnable for youth at all. But is this attenable? I leave that for you to decide its truth.

But, my friends: if I made myself clear. This is a struggle in itself that this country has to first and foremost “solve”. I expressed them here, however, not as ‘privilege’ or am I ‘entitled’ to do so; but to urge or demonstrate my concerns. The article is informed by this author three-time visits to South Sudan. And its situation continues to deteriorate-indeed, the republic that all of us would like to see, has fallen since the day of its proclamation: for it was not strong enough in its autonomous or teenage age to stand up.

Since the formation of a sovereign South Sudan, the “would be” citizens of this brand new nation have tried to tear down the heightened bars of secrecy to the information on the so-called permanent constitution of South Sudan. Already, the process to draft the constitution had in many respects, been the subject of intense controversy. And so far, only a few have queried such secrecy and voiced their concerns in regards to the making of the basic document of the land and what should be expected, notably: Luka Biöng Deng in his article dated march 12th, 2013 and published by Sudan Tribune pointed out a “violation” to the then interim Constitution of the then Southern Sudan. What he seems to argue here, is that: by the time of the ‘interim constitution’ it was meant that if Southern Sudan were to succeed(and indeed it happened), that constitution were to be deemed “permanent) and no further constitution(s) were to be written; thus its “violation” in according to him.

However, it is not a mere “scanning out” of the violation and the expectations of the same for the document that is understood only by foreign-educated individuals; and who used it to advance their interests in expense of a blind owner, that might warrant the most crucial document to be made in regards to: individual liberty, the continuity of government, solve problems of internal matters, and other necessary provisions: [a] “legitimacy” or “permanence” that all of us would like to see in south Sudan. But, rather, on what it should provide as “solution” to the nation’s structural, yet urgent concerns, thus by confronting the pressing issues on the nation-building project heads-on: how to turns tribes into citizens and make peace dependent on, and a way of life to the south Sudanese people.

Sadly, though, this proposal will not give rooms to issues of internal peace, to be discussed in luxurious hotels in foreign lands: something that I personally see, given the usual catastrophic nightmares that preceded them, as nothing less than a “vulture’s tourism”. And gatherings in foreign states, often in luxurious hotels in the names of peace is nothing but “Scavenging” for deals after heinous distraction of human lives which have no value for indemnities. I said above ‘this proposal will not give rooms’ for our matters of “peace” to be discussed, or “solutions” imported from foreign countries. But dictated by the agreement we make as the south Sudanese people or citizens: hence our constitution solving our problems.

My contention here, however, is that such document which automatically becomes the supreme law of the land by the time of passage will continue to solve no problem in South Sudan: given the diversity of south Sudan whether ethnical, authoritarian or democratic– a system might be. We’ve to make sure, given the depth and structure that some of these issues might have, “constitution” as “a permanent document” on our internal agreement should solve most of them, once and for all.

In so doing, and with assiduous interpretations of the constitution, would “dictate” to south Sudanese people that Peace is a way of Life in South Sudan. And not be discussed or brought from foreign lands (how many Addis Ababa peace agreements that have been signed in the names of south Sudan).

As Professor Beny and Dr. Adam (2014) observe: “the root causes of [the current] crisis are deeper and structural”. The duos go on to list among other pressing issues: poor governance, tribalism, nepotism and corruption–issues according to them, should: “be addressed within a comprehensive and inclusive framework”. While I agree with these sentiments, I would also like to draw attention to other relevant issues often overlooked not only by academic commentators who would, nevertheless, wish to see South Sudan succeeds as a viable state, but also overlooked by those who under obscured processes are involved in the making of the basic document(s) of South Sudan—its constitution. Wether deemed permanent or temporary will always solve nothing of the issues that it should address.

Equally important is on how consistent, professor Laura Nyantung Beny in particular, has continued to raise these issues for quite sometimes, yet nothing has been done about them, despite how helpful her insights are to the ruling elites. The fact that SPLM’s popularity has plummeted and has politically lost its direction is self-evident, as a result of pervasive corruption; nepotism and tribalism: To an extent that these practices are becoming accepted way of doing business in south Sudan.

As always is a case with politics, the continuing effort to conflate accusations, both false and true, is tendentious; but as a mass movement, the SPLM was seen or considered by the ‘same’ South Sudanese people somewhat, not forming part of the elite of the society, but to bring about pervasive changes in existing social, economic, or political institutions; and throughout its earlier days, was frequently characterized by Dr. Garang’s charismatic leadership—thus, its seamless relationship with the then “southern Sudan” masses at the time. So, the society really knows, through feelings and treatment they get from the current government and a country they helped founded. Hence the loss of direction of the SPLM party, that south Sudanese are talking about.

The constitutional Failures: the neglect of the root causes.

The Transitional Constitution that currently governed the South Sudan as sovereign entity makes the president of South Sudan one of the most powerful in Africa. While necessary to be presumably above prevailing government institutions, according to most modern government theorizing. The president cannot, in south Sudan, one could say, a clear slam door to democracy, be impeached by parliament; and has the power to prorogue the parliament of any of the 10 states, sacks or deposes the elected governors and call for elections within three months (often when he pleases: until today, there hasn’t been any by-elections in regards to this).

From as far as the establishment of the autonomous Southern Sudan, well into the current days dubbed “The Transitional Periods” of south Sudan, the so-called Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) members had and have not, in my opinion, looked critically on the inherent, yet potentially divisive topics; which, either perceived or felt might prevent South Sudan from becoming a viable state. And had these perpetual issues been given their due attentions, the commission would, perhaps suggest functional mechanisms: institutional or otherwise or ways on how to forge beyond those grounds—in fact having some of these issues enshrine (d) into the supreme law of the land. In the above preceding, I highlighted what constitution- as our agreement, not imported foreign product, should solve.

But in lieu of that, a “constitution” making in South Sudan is a contentious one, often marred by threats or intimidations, secrecy, haste and poor communications. It’s not seen as an opportunity to collectively devise objective mechanisms on which to conduct ourselves, yet within the confines of our authority and responsibility—what do we think that, the role of our “state” should be? Instead and often is the case, others demand more rights, not less, from others—not citizens demanding rights from the state—though with an exorbitant responsibility, including extracting “taxes” even from an unemployed citizenry(a welfare “to” state one could say) and other extortions enforced on them. What I mean by that is this: nowhere in the world does an unemployed citizen pay taxes to state authorities. If so, then I referred to this as the ‘welfare to state’. Not state welfare for its citizens: which the modern state theorists emphasized.

Partly responsible for burying things under the rug in regards to constitution makings in south Sudan is, schism to deter the “knowns” and ostensible denial of the “reality” that any nation befalls its citizens.

Always essential (a codified constitution), more importantly to the nations which emerge troubled by a colossal of issues this programme is often and again, poorly communicated and hastened in without equipping the stakeholders with necessary knowledge to enable them participate in its making.

And while the government communication is poor and wrong, is one thing. The other is that: It potentially risks, alongside the already wide spread resentment, being seen as conveying a message as if the citizens now belonged to government and not the country.

That is why, I think, the Commission(s) on Constitution should not concern itself with the issue of how much power and who to immensely concentrate it on his or her hands, but with issues it should recommend to deemed constitutional regardless of whoever rules South Sudan; it has the capacity of a critical eye purposely tasked with (I presume): first and foremost embarking on researching the very “nature”–on which the present-day South Sudan communities are based or built on; their sense of Order or democracy; their sense of diversity and equality; where their day-to-day allegiances and loyalties lie; whether the communities (internal nations) that make up South Sudan prefer the “modern” system of governance or not; and whether they’re aware of the role of state or government; and whether each community is happy and aware of the existence of the other communities and recognised their right to exist and yet occupy the same physical space with them—south Sudan.

A notorious fact of which South Sudanese shouldn’t shy away from is that: South Sudan is a mere assemblage of communities with ethnically -entrenched views about each other, and who may be in one way or other, nations in their own rights. And are thus, given the statehood of South Sudan, these nations, irrespective of their feelings, are nations themselves within a nation and that fact must be recognised.

Take for example in South Sudan, by picking on random, one of the elected MPs, and compare him or her with a tribal chief. And also ask a South Sudanese citizen again at random, to tell you who he or she thinks can get away with the claim of ‘representing’ people and can command influence? – I am pretty sure as a Sudanese tribal chief does both. So, the question is what is the use of the modern governance in South Sudan anyway? I mean where or what is the basis of government in South Sudan?

Although other democratic states for example: the United Kingdom have managed to steer a successful nation-building efforts for years without a codified constitution, constitutions have come to embody or symbolise the highest laws of a sovereign nation. In addition to moral appeal, they act as the permanent basis of which, subsequent, often numerous documents (statutory or acts) continue to be based upon.

While I wish to see South Sudan having its codified constitution and assiduous implementations, one thing that I personally would like to see in regards to this document whether it is to be permanent or not, is to make sure the issue of “internal nations” is addressed. Addressing this issue would entail, not only solutions to the “deeper and structural issues” that professor Beny and Adam (2014) raised as critical; and if without an enabling environment, would continue to woe South Sudan into abyss—political or tribal. But, would imbue the often hypothetically over-used words: “lasting solution or long lasting peace” with a sense of hope and necessary meaning in South Sudan.

Currently in south Sudan, as Beny and Adam note, the reverse of this is true: citizens are turned through poor governance, nepotism, corruption and tribalism into tribes. I am not at this point, questioning albeit its absence, what it means to be a South Sudan citizen? Rather, on what platform? South Sudan stands. To many Africans, alongside South Sudan, the conception of a state or government or political authority, say, is fluid in nature; it is not either the collective way we ought to live or the creation of an enabling environment for one to decide on what [s]he wants to do within the prevailing opportunity. For that matter and for African states to succeed the conception of a state oughts to have a philosophical base-a base for what it means for the continuity or discontinuity for its citizenry. Something, up to more than a half of a century in independence is still painfully lacking. One thing that most Africans agree on is that “the power” of a state or government kills. Yes! We all know that. But for what reason(s) should a human life that we ‘know ‘have to perish in the hands of an institution whose “good” is to avoid such unnecessary demise, is indeed unanswered. Though this piece is not on African states and their sense of citizenship, I am happy to have registered my indignant with the issue as above.

But, with the citizenship of such “assemblage” nation based primarily on kinships to either of the clustered communities, South Sudan as a “state” is morally lacking a convincing platform on which it’s or is to be based on—whether Salva Kiir or anyone else is a president of South Sudan.

In the same way, others might optimistically think that the sole purpose of South Sudan is, if at all there’s a such, to transform these disparate nations with their highly entrenched animosities or differences into a single nation is fine, but the methods are either not on the grounds or there isn’t a functional capacity on the side of the South Sudan’s elite’s echelon to envisage them.

Imagine how hard it is, presently in South Sudan: to ideally transform an Equatorian (proud to be Equatorian and yet a South Sudan citizen) into a Nuer and vice-versa.

I think, therefore, it would be wise to concede to the tribal nature of the citizenry of the South Sudanese people, and simultaneously seeking other viable ways for how to peacefully co-exist; as Akol rightfully puts: “Refusing to recognize the reality of our diversity in the last 50 years of independence has not lessened tribalism; if anything tribalism has continued to blossom under that denial”. We should accept tribes alongside their “progressive values of our cultures” as moral basis of a sovereignty to warrant the case of unity and diversity in South Sudan. And by so doing, we’d turn tribes into citizens (emphasis below).

So, a more manageable, “administrative” division of the current South Sudan should be sought after, primarily into three (3) autonomous, internal nations, which should serve as the legitimate, yet moral platform(s) on which a sovereign South Sudan could be based on; suggestively into: The kingdom of Shilluk territory, The Panjäng (the current Dinka territory/nation), Equatoria, and The Nuer or Naathland, etc., and recognised them in virtue of a codified constitution– their rights to exist as nations within South Sudan. It seems though, those agitating for federalism may be aiming for something along this similar line of reasoning. But, I have no intention to argue for or against “federalism” here. My view is that: As a “decentralized” system, it would, in the case of South Sudan, it’s no less the same with what GOSS is today-minus “ousting” of elected governors and replace them with somewhat cronies.

But, what worth being talk about is whether the system works: “GOSS” or “federal”.

In virtue of “devotional” I stated about, however, the call for a similar constitution can be traced back as far as early 2000s in a conference dubbed “the House of Nationalities” in Nairobi, Kenya. Although Switzerland was at the time of that conference, a guide, chiefly due to its ability in creating an enabling environment for its disparate communities in forming a viable nation and for peaceful co-existence.

Similarly, for the case of South Sudan, the idea was, inter alia on how: “How can the more than sixty ethnic communities living in the South Sudan unite while preserving their diversity and keeping their dignity?” Although neither rejected nor taken, the idea has recently been re-invoked in the early days of this conflict, by Jacob J. Akol (2014)–himself a participant of the conference at the time.

In his article “What’s next for a Lasting Peace and Unity in South Sudan?” [And why] “We should use this crisis as an opportunity to revisit what we recognised before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Independence”. In it, Mr. Akol suggests that: “we should [the south Sudanese people] go deeper than that to critically look at who we really are as a people and what it is that we should recognize, give form and respect as the basis for our unity”. By “Than that”, Akol means the presumably defunct regions: Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria, and the Upper Nile.

While concurring with Akol on notional use of these “regions” at political bargaining; their current use should in the first place be deemed unjustified right away from the autonomous days of the southern Sudan and through into the current days of a sovereign South Sudan since: the South Sudanese Constitution recognised only the current ten (10) states, and not the former.

But having said that, and even at the time of writing this piece and in the advent of the conflict, regional overtones could be heard, particularly from some officials in states or in the Government of South Sudan, and of Equatorian political footings. Government chief whip and an elected MP from Eastern Equatoria, Tulio Odongi Ayahu, for example, while urging restraint and dialogues and in talks with the country’s vice-president, Igga, warned that: “the Equatoria region would not be a participant in the conflict”. Here, I would say that, not only does “Equatoria” not exist, but would recommend that it existence be guaranteed by an agreed upon constitution of South Sudan. But, no reason(s), if ethnicity is any guides, it would not allow Upper Nile stays as “Upper Nile” given the horror that the ethnic members of the Dinka tribes face when this very region plunges into violence: political or otherwise: in 1991 and December 2013.

South Sudan: Which system(s) of governance do you use? While the salient quality of the government is its sincerity and directness towards its citizens; a remedy, in my view, lies with an outright “devolution” from the so-called “decentralized system” of governance currently in some form of use in South Sudan. Though similar in contents with the decentralised systems, devolution in particular has, since its introduction in the United Kingdom by the Blair’s government, proven records of success and usefulness as a viable form of governance. Even the Kenyan republic, albeit within the presidential context has in the recent past considered it as an alternative to its administrative woes.

And although I am aware and others too: have noted it– the difference between a liberal civic state and an illiberal ethnic state (Pfaff 1993: 162; Ignatieff 1993; and Kymlicka 2002:345). No doubts such contrasts exist between south Sudan and the United Kingdom, with the former being purely ethnical, and if we add illiteracy into the comparison equation, not only would we contrast between one with aims for its citizens with one without aims, but contrasting between one with similar nature of political settings and has devised a solution for it, and one without such a solution. (South Sudan). The point that I am trying to make here is that: as an applicable policy, just like the UK’S devolution, where: Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own elected governments’ representatives, responsible and answerable to their people, is worthy replication in South Sudan.

Furthermore, South Sudan, in order to expedite its transition to democracy, and urgent pursuit of legislative reforms, it should move away from the presidential system of a republic to a parliamentary one. To briefly elaborate, in a parliamentary (World Bank suspects it as the most credible version of democracy), unlike the presidential system, and while both may recognise the judicial independence, the linkages between the branches of continuity of government are obvious![in a parliamentary] For example: the executive is dependent either direct or indirect on the legislative, since a first requirement of entering into an executive branch of government is first and foremost dependent on being an elected member of parliament. Therefore, “the executive, strictly and often formed by the majority party or coalition of parties already elected members in the legislature, with a majority of the votes, thus, enabling them to pass legislation of urgent importance” (Bates, J, 1986).

As often with the parliamentary systems, the Prime Minister (also an elected MP) is the head of the government of the day. Not only would this system provide us a vibrant form of a democracy (through parliamentary debates) directly with the Prime Minister, but also would provide us with another vacancy of importance-the presidency. Ceremonial as always is the case of parliamentary republics, it should be the post worthy of rotation as suggested by others seeking a rotational position in South Sudan.

And in a presidential system as is the case with South Sudan, the president is, through a universal suffrage elected differently from the legislature and would go on to form an executive (from even unelected members) of his choice (mostly his party’s cronies). At worse still, is when the legislature is composed of members of different party (ies), if US is of any guides, a stalemate or legislative gridlock occurs. This may explain why many African opposition parties do not in any case win presidential or parliamentary elections- the executive in one way or another would prevent that.

Moreover, South Sudan should consider an endorsement of the shadow cabinet (in a sense of executive) as a legitimate alternative to government (s) of the day. The benefits will be immediate. It would deny legitimacy or bases to those groups, who by finding no means of entering into government posts, often choose to wage unnecessary wars against people and the state in the names of “liberation”. As ambassador page notes, in the leads up to the current political impasse in South Sudan, that: “ there was not as much support for Machar in an organised manner, but a general discontent over the economic and political spheres, tied to crackdown on personal freedoms that resulted in a national disunity of an identity only forged by war” McNeish (2013). This suggests that neither opposition to this government or the SPLM is just an opposition to itself: Machar is an insider to both SPLM or Goss; and has nothing new or alternative to offer to the south Sudanese people; and thus either SPLM, SPLM-in-opposition are not oppositions: share the same history (ies) and run on the same software.

More so, “given the past and current horrific and often ethnically motivated human rights violations, South Sudan should implement national truth, justice and reconciliation processes” and “If South Sudan does not implement such measures, supported by international mechanisms, the country will not realise lasting peace”, Beny and Adam (2014).

The role of an ethnic factor in South Sudan: Democracy or Dinkocracy?

Prior to the ensuing conflict, of which according to Aid agencies has over a thousand people killed and further thousands displaced. The south Sudanese politics suffered from some form of severe derogatory criticisms, including characterising its polity as “Dinkocracy” in reference to a perceived dominance by the ethnics’ members from the Dinka tribe. Whether there’s any truth in such a characterisation of Dinkas in government or other sectors in the country is hard to tell-as “truth” in this part of the world, according to Ivan Simonovic, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, is “itself ethnicized”. Truth, he says: “depends on what ethnic background you have [he]. He adds: “when I talked to displaced people, victims and their families in camps in Juba, Bentiu and Bor, I found their perception of the conflict so influenced by their ethnic affiliation that it was as if they lived in different realities”. This’s how unclear uncovering the nature of the truth in this conflict could be.

But, What’s clear however, whatever the dimension of the conflict is: ethnical or political, is that, they are primarily the results of self-seeking group leaders-‘ethnic entrepreneurs’, who encourage feelings of resentment and inequality amongst ethnic members in order to justify maintaining control over them, and to justify their intentions for seeking government positions or leaderships.

Capitalism of blood: the rise of ethnic entrepreneurships

In South Sudan, ethnicity induced politicians (always ethnic elites) have incentives to keep group members in a (real or perceived) position of disadvantage, since their ethic based clientele (through ethnicity) and salaries would be gone if ethnic members become individualistic, albeit in the larger society.

These “junk” elites, which Karl Marx would call “ethnic bourgeoisies”, manipulate ethnic members by keeping them ill-informed about their true opportunities in a country they rightfully own. For them, politics and ethnicity have no clear distinction: where ethnicity stops, there’s no politics, and where politics stops, there’s no ethnicity. A belief well entrenched in them to an extent that their public utterances are more often than others laced with ethnic overtones, such as the derogatory Dinkocracy. The victim, clearly, is the state. And therefore opposing what does not exist; such as “Dinkocracy” is a meaningless agenda.

Anyone doubting this situation in South Sudan today would doubt some truth in this story about the motivations of some ethnic leaders. “Minority as well majority” group leaders can be as cynical and self-serving as political elites in the mainstream society of any developed nation. The fact that all government employees are “nominated” from payam (district) level administrators to the Council of States (south Sudan’s equivalent of the senate) members to obtain loyalty is in itself making things worse.

But as Will Kymlicka opines: “the fact that people are asked to reason in abstraction forms from their own social position, natural talents, and personal preferences when thinking about others does not mean that they must ignore the particular preferences, talents, and social position of others”(Kymlicka, 2002). In this sense, ethnic Dinkas may numerically be the majority in south Sudan and is possible that one Dinka may politically support another Dinka, but there aren’t such things as “Dinka mind” which might warrant an ideologically based derogatory as “Dinkocracy” in south Sudan. In this regard, south Sudan might neither have, nor isn’t one of the democracy or the Dinkocracy as alleged. In lieu, until functional modes of governance are devised, it’s a theatre for ethnicity induced politicians to continue what they do to ensure their political positions and material survival—essentially through blood(s) of the dis-informed citizenry; hence “capitalism” of blood.

The Emergence of Perpetual realities and prejudices against itself: South Sudan, the struggle continues.

One could say that, south Sudan is nation of refugees. And that’s vacuously true given the troubled history of the then unified Sudan, where throughout the 50 years of independence, the present south Sudan was a theatre for devastating civil wars. One of them, the second Sudanese civil war culminated into its independence from the rest of the Sudan. Throughout those periods, its inhabitants spread throughout the region and the world (mostly Australia and New Zealand, Europe and North America) in search for refuge and better livings. Those who remained, either as: active rebels with their hosts being remote villages in the south or lived in those outposts. Together I will, for the purposes of this discussion, and according to their sense of feelings, refer to them as “liberators”. Yet a few of them looked east of the region and briefly settled as refugees before being resettled into countries willing to receive them as permanent refugees by the United Nations High Commission, or the UNHCR as the war persisted. This’s the beginning of a factional group known as the “Diasporians” in Juba today.

Others took Khartoum, the then nation’s capital as their home, with majority settling skimpily as internally displaced persons, or, the IDPS, a few of them based on political status and significance could settle as “Sudanese”. And are mostly designated the “khartoumers” including those, who before the autonomy, lived in then Sudanese government -controlled areas in major urban centres such as Juba, Malakal and Wau.

This group, by the earlier 2000’s began through Egypt, a migratory process of abandoning Khartoum in search of bettering their opportunities similar to the ones who at first looked east of the region(Uganda and Kenya), then resettled into western-oriented economies: North America, Europe(western& northern), Australia and New Zealand. This’s the second diaspora community of Sudanese or south Sudanese descent presently colliding together over the opportunities of their indigenous nation. The result is what karl Marx called class antagonism.

By the times of autonomous southern Sudan, through into current days of an independent south Sudan, both groups, while hopeful of having played crucial roles have met and meeting each other for the first time in South Sudan. Despite the ruling party, the SPLM promises of the “first class” citizenship in the new country, a call often accompanied by the over-used, emotionally- charged phrase, “our people”(often so misused that it has lost its lustre). The relationships aren’t easy, and the “classes” multiply even further. Often characterised by the labelling or designate ‘belittle and cowardice’, first: to the Khartoumer and the diaspora groups by the liberators.

Liberators: the key protagonists

(Daily Monitor, 3 February, 2014) characterised this group, often: a highly militarised section of the society that is yet to embrace democratic institutions of governance; arms in the wrong hands and a tendency to resort to violence to achieve political ends; and the indiscipline of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) a former guerrilla outfit that is yet to transform itself into a conventional army. This group claim itself “the liberators” of south Sudan: With majority of them forming the ruling class of South Sudan; and no body in south Sudan doubts. The doubts, however, is on mishandling of the society and the badly missed roles of government. They should expect no “peace” without justice.

But one could say that south Sudan is effectively still at struggle—perpetual in nature and prejudice against itself. Unlike the “independence” struggle which united the society, this struggle divides it and continuous to do so. Thus, “a Post-independence South Sudan produced three types of people who are supposed to work together in the civil service but are competing with each other, owing to their backgrounds”: A perpetual situation that the Ugandan Daily Monitor called “the south Sudan’s unfinished business”.

Besides their belligerent mentality, they do not believe in state entitlements, rather they think they “deserve” the government at all levels. “They have developed a military culture, with neither diplomacy nor skills in modern management styles. When given positions, they act with militancy and impunity, and often abuse their offices. Yet they feel that they deserve more because of the risks they took”. This has resulted from the days of autonomy to present into “a situation where people are appointed into positions even without [prior] experience and the educational capacity to handle the jobs”. This’s plausible a claim is, and perhaps a beacon of both corruption and nepotism, which despite government reshufflement after reshufflement the tendentious habit continue to persist at all levels of the government. Only the establishment of permanent impartial institutions, aided by yet impartial and active judiciary could fight such theft-laden vices in the society.

Khartoumers and the Diasporians: the enemy of my enemy is my friend in a sense of entitlement battle of south Sudanese citizenship.

The khartoumers: primarily those who previously remained in Khartoum-controlled areas in major urban centres such as Juba, Malakal and Wau and indeed Khartoum itself (Daily Monitor, 3, February, 2014).

Even though they might be Christians, these people have internalised Arab culture in terms of their clothing, language, culinary habits and their worldview. They refer to both the Diasporians and the rebels as “pharats”: meaning “uncivilized”. Whether they’re right and how relevant it’s to government posts, is hard to tell. But they generally believe they deserve a bigger share in the government because they were the ones who were brave enough to remain while others ran away. Some of them studied in Arabic and cannot communicate in English, the official language. In their take on the diasporian group, they refer to them as “those [who] ran away from trouble and left them to endure the brunt of the war”.

This view is echoed and believed by the liberators. A marriage seemly brought about, by the old adage that: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” in a war of entitlement battle of South Sudanesecitizenship.

Furthermore, though the diasporian group attained some good education, unparalleled by the south Sudan and even those in the region, during their time in exile, but also acquired different cultures, their attitudes and worldviews are in sharp contrasts with either the liberators or the khartoumers. They refer to them as merely backward mentally and indeed uncivilised humanly: reminiscent of “the third world mentality”. Something which, despite some of them occupying key government departments, “… their instructions are never followed because those responsible for implementation below them are either out of touch with what they are saying or are outright opposed”.

Therefore, the liberators and khartoumers groups, who believe that those from the diaspora ran away from trouble and left them to endure the brunt of the war, with flimsy and out-dated education (though some of them were trained earlier, became soldiers and were rendered redundant after 21 years of war) they run south Sudan, not as an impartial country, but something, amounting to a property of their own.

A situation if Professor Reeves is right in seeing both the SPLM and the government reformed can be avoided.

There needs to be an overhaul in the governance. Reeves observe that:

The government of South Sudan right now reflects more than anything else [than] the structure of the guerrilla movement known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. But it’s not a guerrilla movement anymore; it’s a government of an independent country. And it needs to start acting like that. And it needs to reform governance in ways that make it much more democratic than it presently is (Gurtong, 28 January, 2014).

This is the universality of the theory of democracy as I mentioned earlier in this piece; and in absence of such reforms, south Sudan, though as an independent country, the struggle to hold itself as a country continues.

From constitutional failures, ethnic animosities, nation-building woes, and post-independent class struggles, the demands are great and dependent on the south Sudanese people, not outsiders to solve them; and no doubts that the subsequent life in south Sudan: would be determined by the issues that had their beginnings on the December 15th, 2013. But as a country, we’ve to forge ahead with or without that catastrophic event on our path: we should deserve better than this. Perhaps serving justice first to entail peace and continue our nation-building efforts; and perhaps entrusting ourselves to the rule of law and a new paradigm of government and governance to strengthen our unity, corporation and trust among ourselves.

               Long live the Republic!!

Mr Adut Naar is a final year student of Political Science degree, College of Arts: Victoria University, Melbourne Australia. With further interest in: Moral and political philosophy; International Law and the Global Justice.

And can be reached for comments or criticism in regards to the views herein; available at:

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are merely feelings of the author: has no an affiliation with, or influenced by, any political, Religious or Business entity. They’re neither a criticism to the government or meant in supports of anyone (group or individual) other than the South Sudanese people and those who sympathise with them.


Alex De Waal and Abdul Mohammed (12 December 2013). “South Sudan must resolve ethnic conflicts to be a nation at peace”. Retrieved on 29 January 2014.

Laura Nyantung Beny and Ahmed Hussain Adam (26 January 2014). “South Sudan crisis: Will the peace last?” (A sustainable peace requires addressing the root causes of the crisis and an inclusive national dialogue). Retrieved and viewed on 29 January 2014. From:

Kymlicka, W (2002), “Contemporary Political Philosophy”, an introduction, (New York: Oxford University Press).

Eric Reeves (22 January 2014). “Last Chance For Peace Slipping Away In South Sudan” (Even as the fighting seemed to divide people along ethnic lines, there have been pockets of hope and good will, as some Nuer and Dinka struggle to protect their neighbors and friends). Retrieved and Viewed on 29 January 2014. From:


Jacob Akol (3 January 2014). “What Next For A Lasting Peace And Unity In South Sudan?” (We should use this crisis as an opportunity to revisit what we recognised before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Independence). Retrieved and Viewed on January 29 2014. From:

T. St. John N. Bates (1986), “Parliament, Policy and Delegated Power”, Statute Law Review (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Radio Tamazuj (20 December 2013). Retrieved and Viewed on January 29 2014. From:

Hannah McNeish (17 December 2013). “South Sudan teeters on the brink” (Observers say ethnic tensions at the heart of ongoing fighting that may determine fate of the country). Retrieved and Viewed on 29 January2014.From: brink20131217131843385823.html.

Luka Biong Deng (12 march 2013). “What is expected from South Sudan Constitutional Review Commission: Part I?”RetrievedandViewedon29January2014 From: as Biöng to emphasis its Dinka phonetical authenticity]

DailyMonitor (Sunday).”SouthSudananditsunfinishedBusiness”.3February, 2014. Viewed and Retrieved from:

  1. David Aoloch Bion says:

    dinkacracy , this is false analogy , it is tool to hate some …………….


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