The Principles of Tribocracy—Part 4

Posted: May 4, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Editorials, Featured Articles, History, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, PaanLuel Wël, Philosophy

A Tribocratic Analysis of the New Cabinet for the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) of South Sudan

In this article, the author argues that the recent formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) has violated the principle of Tribocracy because President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar have marginalized the Dinka (-4%), Equatorians (-3%) and Nuer (-2%) while over-representing the Minority Group (+9%). The Dinka should have been given 16 ministers; the Equatorians 13 ministers; the Nuer 8 ministers and the Minority Group 4 ministers, which translates to 38%, 32%, 19% and 11% of the cabinet respectively.

By PaanLuel Wël, Bor, Jonglei State

28 states of RSS

The 28 states of the Republic of South Sudan

I

May 4, 2016 (SSB)  —  Under tribocratic dispensation, there are four political caucuses, seventeen political constituencies and numerous political sections in the Republic of South Sudan. The political caucuses are the Dinka, Nuer, Equatorian and the Minority Group. The Minority Group are those ethnic communities that are not Dinka, not Nuer and not Equatorian, such as the Shilluk, Murle, Fertit, Anyuak etc. The political constituencies, a subset of the political caucuses, are: the Rek Dinka, Agaar Dinka, Padang Dinka and Bor Dinka for the Dinka political caucus; the Western, Central and Eastern Equatorians for the Equatorian political caucus; the Lou Nuer, the Jikany Nuer, the Liech Nuer and the Phow Nuer for the Nuer political caucus, and lastly, the Shilluk, Fertit, Mukaji, Buny, Anyuak and Luo for the Minority Group political caucus. Based on the 2008 census, the Dinka political caucus represent 38% of the national population; the Equatorian 32%; the Nuer 19%, and the Minority Group 11%.

For the political constituencies within the Dinka political caucus, the Rek Dinka (Gogrial, Tonj and Aweil) represent the largest portion of the national population at 19.86%; the Agaar Dinka (Aliab, Atuot, Agaar, Chiech and Gok) represent 7.93%; the Padang Dinka (Panaruu, Thoi, Abyei, Luach, Ageer, Paweny, Rut, Aloor, Nyiel, Abiliang, Dongjol and Ngok Lual-Yak) represent 5.88%, and the Bor Dinka (Nyarweng, Hol, Bor, and Twic East,) represent 4.50%. For the political constituencies within the Nuer political caucus, the Liech Nuer (Leek, Nyuong, Dok, Bul, Hak, Jangei, and Western Jikany) represent 5.87%; the Jikany Nuer (Gajaak, Gajook and Gaguong) represent 5.29%; the Lou Nuer (Akobo, Nyirol and Uror) represent 5.13%, and the Phow Nuer (Gawaar, Laak and Thiang) represent 3.02%.

For the political constituencies within the Equatorian political caucus, the Central Equatorians (Bari, Mundari, Kuku, Pajulu, Kakwa, Lokoya, Nyangwara, and Keliko) represent 13.36%; the Eastern Equatorians (Lotuho, Buya, Taposa, Madi, Acholi, Lango, Didinga, Logir Lopit, Pari, Tenet, Horiok, Nyagatom, Dongotano) represent 10.99%, and the Western Equatorians (Zande, Mundu, Moru, Balanda, Baka, Avukaya, Jur-Bhel) represent 7.48%. For the political constituencies within the Minority Group political caucus, the Shilluk (Chollo kingdom) represent 2.98%; the Fertit (Balanda, Jur-Chat) represent 2.49%; the Luo (Jur-Chol, Jur-Bhel) represent 2.04%; the Mukaji (Murle, Kachipo and Jie) represent 1.79%; the Anyuak (Pochalla) represent 0.80%, and the Maban (Buny) represent 0.55%.

Tribocracy is a political philosophy which postulates that equality, fairness and justice in political representation and access to national resources in a multi-ethnic nation can only be achieved, promoted and sustained through the principle of equitable, just and fair tribal representation in the national government. That is, each and every representative of a particular political caucus and constituency in that country should hold a number of government posts proportionate to the percentage of the total population that the caucus and constituency represent in that country in order to achieve, promote and sustain fair and equitable political representation and access to national resources across all caucuses and constituencies comprising that country.

For example, if the Nuer political caucus is 19.33% of South Sudan population and the Rek Dinka political constituency is 19.86%, then, under tribocratic dispensation, it is fair and just to give 19.86% of the national government to the Rek Dinka and 19.33% to the Nuer although, by South Sudanese standard, the Nuer tribe is a nation, while the Rek Dinka are a subset of the Dinka nation. Similarly, the Lou Nuer (5.13%) would claim more of the national government than the entire Chollo kingdom (2.98%) under tribocracy. Rather than arbitrary presidential decrees, the appointment of political leaders—access to national resources and monopoly over national security—should be determined by the tyranny of numbers, just as it is for the elections of the president, governors, MPs etc. That is the principle of tribocracy.

II

With that background in place, I am going to provide a tribocratic analysis of the entire cabinet of the transitional government of national unity. Secondly, I am going to examine the ministerial lineups of President Salva Kiir’s and Dr. Riek Machar’s political camps in light of the forthcoming general elections. Since the elections will be determined by the four political caucuses and the seventeen political constituencies, the distributions of ministerial posts among the caucuses and constituencies in South Sudan will showcase the political acumen or foolhardiness of the two leaders. Thirdly, if presidential elections were to be determined solely by ministerial appointments under a tribocratic dispensation, who would win between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar? Find out in Part 2 of this article.

Table I: A Tribocratic Analysis of the New Cabinet for the TGoNU

S/no Minister Position Caucus Constituency Party
1. Mr. Salva Kiir Mayaardit President of the Republic and C-in-C of the SPLA Dinka Rek Dinka SPLM
2. Mrs. Awut Deng Acuil Minister, Gender and Social Welfare Dinka Rek Dinka SPLM
3. Mr. Deng Deng Hoc Minister, General Education and Instructions Dinka Rek Dinka SPLM
4. Mr. Mayik Ayii Deng Minister, Office of the President Dinka Rek Dinka SPLM
5. Mr. Dhieu Mathok Diing Minister, Energy and Dams Dinka Rek Dinka SPLM-IO
6. Mrs. Elizabeth Achuei Yol Deputy Minister, Labor and Public Service Dinka Rek Dinka SPLM-IO
7. Mr. Kuol Manyang Juuk Minister, Defense and Veteran Affairs Dinka Bor Dinka SPLM
8. Mr. Michael Makwei Lueth Minister, Information and Broadcasting Dinka Bor Dinka SPLM
9.      . Mr. Mabior Garang de Mabior Minister, Water Resources and Irrigation Dinka Bor Dinka SPLM-IO
10.

 

Mr. David Deng Athorbei Minister, Finance and Economic Planning Dinka Agaar Dinka SPLM
11. Mr. Akol Paul Khordit Deputy Minister, Information and Broadcasting Dinka Agaar Dinka SPLM
12. Mr. Stephen Dhieu Dau Minister, Trade and Industry Dinka Padang Dinka SPLM
13. Mr. Deng Aloor Kuol Minister, Foreign Affairs Dinka Padang Dinka G-10
14. Mrs. Nadia Arop Dudi Minister, Culture, Youth and Sports Dinka Padang Dinka SPLM
15. Mr. James Wani Igga Vice President, Republic of South Sudan Equatorian Central Equatorian SPLM
16. Mr. Martin Elia Lomoro Minister, Cabinet Affairs Equatorian Central Equatorian SSDF
17. Mr. Alfred Ladu Gore Minister, Interior Equatorian Central Equatorian SPLM-IO
18. Mr. James Janga Duku Minister, Livestock and Fisheries Equatorian Central Equatorian SPLM
19. Mrs. Jemma Nunu Kumba Minister, Wildlife and Tourism Equatorian Western Equatorian SPLM
20. Mr. Peter Bashir Gbandi Minister, Parliamentary Affairs Equatorian Western Equatorian SPLM
21. Mr. Richard K. Mulla Minister, Federal Affairs Equatorian Western Equatorian SPLM-IO
22. Mr. Obote Mamur Mete Minister, National Security Service Equatorian Eastern Equatorian SPLM
23. Mrs. Mary Alphonse Lodira Minister, Land and Housing Equatorian Eastern Equatorian SPLM-IO
24. Mrs. Josephine Napon Minister, Environment and Forestry Equatorian Eastern Equatorian SPLM
25. Mr. Cirino Hiteng Ofuho Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs and Equatorian Eastern Equatorian G-10
26. Mr. Martison Oturomoi Deputy Minister, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Equatorian Eastern Equatorian SPLM
27. Mr. Riek Machar Teny 1st Vice President, Republic of South Sudan Nuer Liech Nuer SPLM-IO
28. Mr. Taban Deng Ghai Minister, Mining Nuer Liech Nuer SPLM-IO
29. Mr. John Luk Jok Minister, Transport Nuer Lou Nuer G-10
30. Mr. Riek Gai Kok Minister, Health Nuer Lou Nuer SPLM
31. Mr. Hussein Mar Nyuot Minister, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Nuer Lou Nuer SPLM-IO
32. Mr. Dak Duop Bichiok Minister, Petroleum Nuer Jikany Nuer SPLM-IO
33. Mr. Gabriel Duop Lam Deputy Minister, Interior Nuer Phow Nuer SPLM-IO
34. Paulino Wanawila Minister, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minority Group Fertit SPLM
35. Rebecca Joshua Okwaci Minister, Roads and Bridges Minority Group Shilluk SPLM
36. Peter Adwok Nyaba Minister, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minority Group Shilluk  

SPLM-IO

37. Mr. Lam Akol Ajawin Minister, Agriculture and Food Security Minority Group Shilluk SPLM-DC
38. Mr. Peter Marcello Nasir Jelenge Minister, Labor and Public Service Minority Group Fertit SPLM-10
39. Mary Jervas Yak Deputy Minister, Finance and Economic Minority Group Fertit SPLM
40. David Yau Yau Jangkuch Deputy Minister, Defense and Veteran Affairs Minority Group Murle Cobra Faction
41. Mr. Kornelio Kon Ngu Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Food Security Minority Group Luo NUP

Table II:  A Tribocratic Analysis of Ministries: Political Constituencies

S/no Political Caucus Political Constituency Caucus

Percent

National Percent Ministers Allocated caucus %Min. national %Min.
1. Dinka Rek Dinka 52% 19.86% 6 42.85% 14.63%
Agaar Dinka 21% 7.93% 2 14.29% 4.88%
Padang Dinka 15% 5.88% 3 21.43% 7.32%
Bor Dinka 12% 4.50% 3 21.43% 7.32%
2. Nuer Liech Nuer 30% 5.87% 2 28.57% 4.88%
Jikany Nuer 27% 5.29% 1 14.29% 2.44%
Lou Nuer 26% 5.13% 3 42.86% 7.32%
Phow Nuer 16% 3.02% 1 14.29% 2.44%
3. Equatorian Central Equatorian 42% 13.36% 4 33.33% 9.76%
Eastern Equatorian 34% 10.99% 5 41.67% 12.19%
Western Equatorian 24% 7.48% 3 25.0% 7.32%
4. Minority Group Shilluk 28% 2.98% 3 37.50% 7.32%
Fertit 23% 2.49% 3 37.50% 7.32%
Luo 19% 2.04% 1 12.50% 2.44%
Mukaji 17% 1.79% 1 12.50% 2.44%
Anyuak 8% 0.80% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Maban 5% 0.55% 0 0.0% 0.0%

– 

Table III:  A Tribocratic Analysis of Ministries: Political Caucus

S/no Political Caucus National Percentage Ministers Allocated Percentage share of Ministers Remarks (less/more)
1.        Dinka 38% 14 34% -4%
2.        Equatorian 32% 12 29% -3%
3.        Nuer 19% 7 17% -2%
4.        Minority Group 11% 8 20% +9%
5.        Total 100% 41 100% 0%

III

Table I denotes the political caucuses and constituencies and the political party affiliation of the 41 members of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU)—three members of the collegiate presidency, the 30 ministers and the 8 deputy ministers. From Table III, we can deduce that, of the 41 members of the cabinet, 14 are from the Dinka political caucus; 12 from the Equatorian; 7 from the Nuer and 8 from the Minority Group. Putting it differently, 34% of the cabinet is Dinka; 29% Equatorian; 17% Nuer and 20% Minority Group. Given the fact that the Dinka political caucus is 38% of the national population, it means that the Dinka political caucus, which occupies 34% of the cabinet, is underrepresented by -4%. Similarly, the Equatorian political caucus, which is about 32% of the national population but only takes 29% of the cabinet, is disadvantaged by -3%, while the Nuer political caucus, at 19% of the national population but only 17% of the cabinet, is underrepresented by -2%.

The reason why the Dinka, Equatorian and Nuer are underrepresented (marginalized?) is because the Minority Group, which is only 11% of the national population but represent 20% of the cabinet, is overrepresented by +9%. In order to achieve tribocratic equilibrium—a fair, equal and just distribution of political positions, access to national resources and national security—the presidency should have given each and every political caucus and constituency their proportionate share according to the national population. In other words, of the 41 members of the cabinet, the Dinka political caucus should have been given 16 ministers; the Equatorian caucus 13 ministers; the Nuer caucus 8 ministers and the Minority Group caucus 4 ministers, which translates to 38%, 32%, 19% and 11% of the cabinet respectively. This would be fair, equal and just for all the political caucuses of the Republic of South Sudan since it would be based on their respective share of the national population.

Table II shows the tribocratic analysis of each of the four political caucuses using the benchmark of political constituencies. For example, the Dinka political caucus has 14 ministers to be shared among the four political constituencies: Rek, Agaar, Padang and Bor. The Rek Dinka political constituency, which is about 52% of the Dinka political caucus and 19.86% of the national population, has been allocated 6 ministries; this translate roughly to 43% of the Dinka political caucus and about 15% of the entire national cabinet. Thus, tribocratically speaking, the Rek Dinka constituency is marginalized by about -9% within the Dinka caucus and by -5% nationally. Even within the Rek Dinka constituency, of the 6 ministries, only two—President Salva Kiir (Awan-Chan) and Deputy Minister Elizabeth Achuei Yol (Twic Mayardit) are from Gogrial Dinka section. Tonj Dinka has two—Awut Deng Achuil and Mayik Ayii Deng, while Aweil Dinka has two—Deng Deng Hoc and Dr. Dhieu Mathok Diing. Future talks of “Gogrialism” or “Gogrialization” of South Sudan must bear witness to this somber reminder.

The Agaar Dinka constituency, which is about 21% of the Dinka caucus and 8% of South Sudan population, has been offered two ministries, which translates to 14% of the Dinka caucus and 5% of the national cabinet. It is therefore underrepresented by about -7% within the Dinka caucus and -3% nationally. Of the two ministries, one is from Atuot (David Deng Athorbei) while the other one is from Agaar (Akol Paul Khordit). There is no minister from the Aliab, Ciec, or Gok sections. Unlike the Rek and Agaar Dinka political constituencies, the Padang and Bor Dinka constituencies have been overrepresented, both nationally and within the Dinka political caucus. For example, the Padang Dinka constituency, which is about 15% of the Dinka caucus and 6% of national population has been given 3 ministries, which is equal to 21% of the Dinka caucus and 7% of the national government. Thus, the Padang Dinka constituency is overrepresented by +7% within the Dinka caucus and by +1 at the national level. Of the three ministers, one is from Abyei (Deng Aloor Kuol), one is from Ruweng (Dr. Nadia Arop Dudi), while one, Stephen Dhieu Dau, is from Upper Nile. There are no ministers for the remaining 10 political sections of the Padang Dinka constituency.

Similarly, the Bor Dinka political constituency, which is around 12% of the Dinka caucus and 5% of national population has been given 3 ministries, which is equal to 21% of the Dinka caucus and 7% of the national government. Thus, the Bor Dinka constituency is overrepresented by +9% within the Dinka caucus and by +2 at the national government. Of the three ministries, two—Kuol Manyang Juuk and Michael Makwei Lueth—are from the Bor section, while the other one, Mabior Garang de Mabior, is from the Twic East section. There are no ministers from the Hol and Nyarweng sections. Interestingly, Mabior Garang is being celebrated as the first minister from the Twic East political section in an independent South Sudan. There has never been a minister from either Hol or Nyarweng since the inauguration of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) in 2005.

The Nuer political caucus has 7 ministers to be shared among the four political constituencies of Liech, Jikany, Lou and Phow. The Liech Nuer political constituency, which is about 30% of the Nuer political caucus and 6% of the national population, has been allocated 2 ministries; this translates roughly to 29% of the Nuer political caucus and about 5% of the entire national cabinet. It is therefore underrepresented by about -1% within the Nuer caucus and -1% nationally. Of the two ministries, one is from the Dok section (Dr. Riek Machar) while the other one is from Western Jikany section (Taban Deng Ghai). There is no minister from the Bul, Leek, Nyuong, Hak or Jangei section. Most notably, President Kiir failed to appoint a minister from the Bul Nuer section—his allies against Dr. Riek Machar. If the current governor of Northern Liech State, Dr. Joseph Nguen Monytuil, were to be replaced with someone from the SPLM-IO, then the Bul Nuer section will likely join hands with Peter Gatdet and launch an armed rebellion against the TGoNU.

The Jikany Nuer constituency, with about 27% of the Nuer political caucus and 5% of the national population, has been allocated 1 ministry, which translates to 14% of the Nuer political caucus and about 2.4% of the entire national cabinet. The Jikany Nuer constituency is therefore disadvantaged by -13% within the Nuer caucus and -3% at the national government. Their one minister is the former governor of Upper Nile state, Dak Duop Bichiok, who hails from the Gajaak section. There is no minister for either the Gajook or the Gaguong section. The Lou Nuer constituency, with about 26% of the Nuer political caucus and 5% of the national population, has been allocated 3 ministries, which translates to 43% of the Nuer political caucus and about 7% of the entire national cabinet. The Lou Nuer constituency is therefore overrepresented by +17% within the Nuer caucus and +2% at the national government. Of the three ministers, one is from the government (Dr. Riek Ghai Kok), another from the SPLM-IO (Hussain Mar Nyuot), and the last one is from G-10 (John Luk Jok). Apparently, the Lou Nuer community—like the Bor Dinka and the Chollo Kingdom—seems to have adopted the old adage, never put all your eggs in one basket.

The Phow Nuer constituency, with about 16% of the Nuer political caucus and 3% of the national population, has been offered 1 ministry, which translates to 14% of the Nuer political caucus and about 2.4% of the entire national cabinet. The Phow Nuer constituency is therefore underrepresented by -2% within the Nuer caucus and -1% at the national government. The minister is the former state minister for law enforcement and security in Jonglei state, Gabriel Duop Lam, who is from the Gawaar section. Generally, the Liech, Jikany and Phow political constituencies have been underrepresented while the Lou Nuer constituency is overrepresented, both within the Nuer caucus and at the national level. The most ideal tribocratic equilibrium would have been to give 2 ministers each to the Liech, Jikany and Lou constituencies and one minister to Phow. That is to say, one minister should have been taken away from Lou and given to Jikany so as to achieve a tribocratic equilibrium of 30%, 27%, 26% and 16% to the Liech, Jikany, Lou and Phow Nuer political constituencies respectively.

The Equatorian political caucus has 12 ministers to be shared among the three political constituencies—the Central Equatorians, Eastern Equatorians and Western Equatorians. The Central Equatorian political constituency, which is about 42% of the Equatorian political caucus and 13% of the national population, has been allocated 4 ministries; this translates roughly to 33% of the Equatorian political caucus and about 10% of the entire national cabinet. It is therefore underrepresented by about -9% within the Equatorian caucus and -3% nationally. Of the four ministers, two are from the Bari section (James Wani Igga and Alfred Ladu Gore), one from the Pajulu section (Martin Elia Lomoro) and the other one from Kuku (James Janga Duku). There are no ministers from the Mundari, Kakwa, Lokoya, Nyangwara, and Keliko sections.

The Eastern Equatorian constituency, with about 34% of the Equatorian political caucus and 11% of the national population, has been offered 5 ministries, which translates to 42% of the Equatorian political caucus and about 12% of the entire national cabinet. The Eastern Equatorian constituency is therefore overrepresented by +7% within the Equatorian caucus and +1% at the national government. Of the five ministers, two are from the Lotuho section (Obote Mamur Mete, and Cirino Hiteng Ofuho), one is from the Buya section (Martison Oturomoi), one is from the Didinga section (Mary Alphonse Lodira) and the last one is from the Taposa section (Josephine Napon). There are no ministers from the Madi, Acholi, Lango, Logir, Lopit, Pari, Tenet, Horiok, Nyagatom, and Dongotano sections.

The Western Equatorian constituency, with about 24% of the Equatorian political caucus and 7% of the national population, has been given 3 ministries, which translates to 25% of the Equatorian political caucus and about 7% of the entire national cabinet. It is therefore overrepresented by +1% within the Equatorian caucus but has evened out at the national government. Of the three ministers, one is from the Zande section (Jemma Nunu Kumba), another one is from the Baka section (Peter Bashir Gbandi) while the third one is from the Moro section (Richard K. Mulla). There is no minister from the Mundu, Balanda, Avukaya, or Jur-Bhel sections.

Generally speaking, the Central Equatorian political constituency has been underrepresented, both within the Equatorian caucus and at the national level; the Western Equatorian constituency is overrepresented within the Equatorian caucus but has evened out at the national government, while the Eastern Equatorian constituency is overrepresented, both within the Equatorian caucus and at the national level. The most ideal tribocratic equilibrium would have been to give 5 ministers to the Central Equatorian political constituency; 4 ministers to the Eastern Equatorian constituency and 3 ministers to the Western Equatorian constituency. That is, one minister should have been taken away from the Eastern Equatorian constituency and given to the Central Equatorian constituency so as to achieve a tribocratic equilibrium of 42%, 34% and 24% for the Central, Eastern and Western Equatorian political constituencies respectively.

The Minority Group political caucus has 8 ministers to be shared among the six political constituencies of the Shilluk, Fertit, Luo, Mukaji, Anyuak and Maban. The Shilluk political constituency, with about 28% of the Minority Group political caucus and 3% of the national population, has been given 3 ministries, which translates to 38% of the Minority Group political caucus and about 7% of the national government. Therefore, the Shilluk constituency is overrepresented by +9% within the Minority Group caucus and by +4% at the national government. The Fertit political constituency, with about 23% of the Minority Group political caucus and 2% of the national population, has been offered 3 ministries, which translates to 38% of the Minority Group political caucus and about 7% of the national government. Therefore, the Fertit constituency is overrepresented by +15% within the Minority Group caucus and by +5% at the national government.

On the other hand, the Luo political constituency, with about 19% of the Minority Group political caucus and 2% of the national population, has been allocated 1 ministry, which translates to 13% of the Minority Group political caucus and about 2% of the national government. Therefore, the Luo constituency is underrepresented by -6% within the Minority Group caucus but has evened out at the national government. The Mukaji political constituency, with about 17% of the Minority Group political caucus and 2% of the national population, has been given 1 ministry, which translates to 13% of the Minority Group political caucus and about 2% of the national government. Therefore, the Mukaji constituency is underrepresented by -4% within the Minority Group caucus but has evened out at the national government. There is no minister for either the Anyuak or Maban constituencies, which means that they have been both underrepresented by -8% and -5% respectively within the Minority Group caucus and by -1% each at the national government.

While the Shilluk and Fertit constituencies are overrepresented, the Luo, Mukaji, Anyuak and Maban constituencies have been marginalized, particularly within the Minority Group caucus. The most ideal tribocratic equilibrium would have been to give two ministers each to the Shilluk and Fertit constituencies and one minister each to the Luo, Mukaji, Anyuak and Maban constituencies. This is to say that one minister each should have been taken away from the Shilluk and Fertit constituencies and given to the Anyuak and Maban constituencies so as to achieve a tribocratic equilibrium of 28%, 23%, 19%, 17%, 8% and 5% to the Shilluk, Fertit, Luo, Mukaji, Anyuak and Maban political constituencies respectively.

IV

For the apparent marginalization of the Dinka and Nuer political caucuses within the national cabinet, one might counter-argue that the Dinka and Nuer caucuses are more than well compensated in other representations such as the army, the judiciary, the central bank and the legislative assembly. For example, of the three heads of the SPLA sectors, two are from the Nuer caucus and one is from the Dinka caucus. Moreover, the heads of the central bank and the judiciary are from the Dinka caucus. The eight divisions of the national army are headed by men from the Dinka and Nuer caucuses. The chief of general staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, is from the Dinka caucus, while most of his deputies are from the Dinka and Nuer caucuses. Likewise, people from the Equatorian caucus occupy about 80% of the NGOs workforce in South Sudan. Thus, while the Minority Group (ironic, right?) seems to have marginalized the rest of the political caucuses within the current national government, they are hardly represented adequately in other areas of national affairs. And possibly, considering all the previous governments, this is the first government in which they have been well represented at all.

However, for the sake of fairness, justice and equality in relation to political power, access to national resource and security, the presidency should have given each political caucus, constituency and section a number of ministerial posts proportionate to their share of the national population. Of the 41 members of the cabinet, the Dinka political caucus should have been given 16 ministers; the Equatorian caucus 13 ministers; the Nuer caucus 8 ministers and the Minority Group caucus 4 ministers, which translates to 38%, 32%, 19% and 11% of the cabinet respectively. The same logic should have also prevailed within each and every political constituency and section of the above political caucus.

Seminal national undertakings such as the selection of the national government should be based on the reality and understanding of the political caucuses, constituencies and sections because disgruntlement or contentment with any weighty decision made  by the presidency is invariably rationalized to the extent with which the political, economic and security interests of these political caucuses, constituencies and sections are taken care of according to their proportional share of the national population. This is the true meaning of justice, fairness and the essence of equality. Anything else is just a smokescreen—a dangerous recipe for national disaster.

Take for instance how pivotal decisions are made on the presidential level. Have you ever pondered how the president makes seminal decisions before they are decreed to the SSTV? I mean, what guides his political decisions and actions? And on what basis should his pronouncements be judged as to whether they are fair, just and equal? Merit and competence you may venture, but what determines merit and competence in a country like South Sudan? Corruption. If merit is about quality education and enviable resumes (CV), then it is all predetermined by filthy money and shady political connections. Who has the money and political connections? The 75 Mafia.

Our prized possessions—experience and education, merit and competence—are therefore another way to feed and nourish the beast of corruption because if you are not corrupt like the 75 mafia, then it is highly unlikely you will gain merit and competence. You need money to procure good quality education; moreover, you need strong, deep political, security and economic connections to gain good experience and competence. Unfortunately, only the sons and daughters of the most corrupt are the ones going to the best schools because they have the money and would therefore be in the position to gain the necessary experiences and competence because of their daddy’s or mummy’s political, security and economic connections. While this may not be the rule, it is neither the exception in South Sudan.

The constitution in its current form—and whatever form it might later metastasize into—is useless because it is not being followed, and worse still, is irrelevant to our political environment since it is based on an alien notion of power politics. There is, therefore, an exigency to invent and embrace a new way, a better stratagem, to manage the country, to make seminal political decisions such as cabinet selections; we need a yardstick not just to guide Benydit in his decision-making but also as a benchmark to reproach or praise his actions and pronouncements.

If fairness, justice, equality, peace and national harmony are to be the solid pillars of our national consciousness, then we must stop burying our heads in the sand of complacency in the name of making cabinet appointments and other national decisions on the purported rationale of “merit and competence”, which, sadly, in more cases than not, is not even remotely adhered to. It gives one person, in the form of the presidency, unwarranted powers and influence to satiate his whims. One effective, practical and relevant method to do this is to identify the reality of the political situation in South Sudan through the political forces that drive and influence political wave, direction, depth and intensity.

In the recently decreed cabinet apportionments, what everyone rushes to find out about individuals picked is neither their competence, the merit of their respective appointments nor their democratic credentials. Rather, it is the political caucuses, constituencies and sections those ministers hail from. Are they from the Dinka, Equatorian, Nuer or the Minority Group caucus? This is why the most controversial aspect of the newly inaugurated cabinet is the appointment of three full cabinet members from the Chollo Kingdom, Bor Dinka and Lou Nuer political constituencies. Why is it a big deal? Aren’t they qualified? They are. Weren’t they picked on merit? Possibly all were. But still, something just reeks about the decision: their respective political constituencies. No other political constituency has three full ministers in the Republic of South Sudan.

Put simply, let’s stop the destructive pretense of being a Democratic Republic of South Sudan where a democratically elected president has the mandate and confidence of the people to make decisions that put food on the table, send kids to school, fund economic infrastructure and social amenities, safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, among others. It isn’t working and it will not work. And it has nothing to do with Salva Kiir as the current president or Dr. Riek Machar or James Wani or Pagan Amum or even Madam Rebecca Nyandeng as aspiring presidential candidates: it is systemic.

Our procedural democracy does not bring political stability, economic development and social prosperity; our constitution is not worth the paper it is written on; our presidency has become a system where cabinet appointments are merely favors for our leader to bestow whimsically without due regards to the reality of our political situation; our briefcase political parties make a mockery of democracy, and above all, our intellectuals parrot and ape undigested foreign ideas with no relevancy, practicality and usefulness to the reality of our socio-political and economic growth as a nation.

PaanLuel Wël, the managing editor of PaanLuel Wel: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB), graduated with a double major in Economics and Philosophy from The George Washington University, Washington D.C, USA. He is the author of Who Killed Dr. John Garang, the editor of the essential speeches and writings of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, published as The Genius of Dr. John Garang, vol. 1-3, as well as a co-editor (with Simon Yel Yel) of President Sakva Kiir’s speeches before and after independence: Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South SudanYou can reach him through his email: paanluel2011@gmail.com or Facebook page

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