South Sudan: Will the election of 2018 make a difference

Posted: November 3, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Deng Mayik Atem, USA

kiir election

June 2015 elections

November 2, 2016 (SSB) — A year that will require a moral integrity from those who had been silent for far too long and the question is “will the election of 2018 make a difference?” Will it herald an age of peace and development for South Sudan? Only if we first have reconciliation. Only if we first find common cause that transcends tribes and regions. Only when we start the process of forgiveness. The buried bodies of our relatives and neighbors, the suffering of our people, demands reconciliation.

However, we have not started the process of accepting and forgiving one another. Instead we go on killing and raping. Instead we go on blaming and attacking. Why? Why have our leaders not started us along the route of reconciliation, a trek that is long overdue? Do they want our country to have internal peace? Or, is it their goal to keep us fighting one another? To keep us killing and butchering?

Why would they want that? The answer lies in our resources. To this date no comprehensive study has been done of our nation’s true wealth. We have only some idea of what we have beyond oil. It is likely that we have many minerals and gems that the world would want. Who will control that wealth? Who is trying to control it now? Who is taking money, Land Cruisers, even cows in exchange for putting off such a survey and a clear discussion of our national resources?

At this point, our oil in not flowing and on the surface the income of the government has stopped. Still, weapons arrive. Still the few live the good life in Juba while most of our people barely exist. Still, the sons and daughters of the elites vacation in Dubai and Europe while the children in the villages do not have well trained teachers and nurses.

Reconciliation could change all that, but without that process, South Sudan is going to continue to bleed. It is time to stop the blood. Our people from all tribes and regions have suffered enough. Let us reconcile and move forward. Let us make sure that the election in 2018 will mean progress for our people.

Deng Mayik Atem, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” is currently Secretary General of the South Sudanese Community Association in Arizona. A graduate of Arizona State University, Mr. Atem has dual citizenship in the US and South Sudan, and recently visited the country of his birth to see family he has not seen for over thirty years and to attend a Twic State Conference on governance. He is currently writing a memoir, “A JOURNEY ACROSS WORLDS”. He is reachable at

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.


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