By Longar Mathiec Wol, Nairobi, Kenya
January 10, 2017 (SSB) — When the comprehensive peace agreement was signed in Nairobi Kenya in the year 2005; the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior according to the agreement was to become a president of then autonomy South Sudan and the first vice president of the republic of Sudan. Due to that self-governing guaranteed to the people of south by CPA, he was mandated or has right to form the government of southern Sudan
Based on that; the first thing he did was to make sure that there was no power vacuum in the states. He has to appoint the caretakers governors. But what was so fascinating was not the appointment of those governors but the way those governors were appointed. Having in mind the vice called tribalism he decided to appoint the governor by appointing citizens from other states to governor of other states. What he knew was to try to reduce or eliminate the so call tribalism.
For instance, The former or defunct states of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northen Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap were headed by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Eng. Kuol Manyang Juk and Mr. John Koang Nyuon as governors respectively not only that, but almost all the states were headed by the citizens from other states. These are just example. But after he passed on, may his soul rest in peace. All the arrangement were dismantle. His vision passed on with him.
What we didn’t know was whether it could have work perfectly. But what I know it might have worked because people will be in the offices based on what they do to gladden the people of that state not because he or she is the son of that area. The relationship between the people of the state and the state government would be based on formality not on any other aspect as we seeing today. The appointment would be based on the merit not on relationship. What is happening in the states now is no longer an appointment based on personal experience and achievement in some cases may be. Governors are appointed based on the tribal influence when a certain tribe or group has much influence over the others the chance of governor coming from their tribe or group is inevitable.
The system of the government where south Sudanese is legible to vie in any states as long as he is qualified would reduce the level of tribal influence in the states and the country at large. Imagine the situation where the governor of let say, Gogrial state is a son or a daughter of Jubek state. Do you think the people of Gogrial state will talk tribal issues against the people of Equatoria? Or the situation where the son or daughter of eastern Nile or Fashoda become a governor of Wau states. In that it will silence the tribalists among the people because people won’t talk tribal politic having in mind that the governor comes from the tribe the might speak against.
If Dr. John Garang’s vision of Sudanism as he mentioned in some of his speech which stated “Arabism cannot unite us, Africanism cannot unite us, but Sudanism can unite us” that reflect the one Sudan position but if we put it in the context of south Sudan today, then I think south sudanism can unite us. Moving away from that will lead to the wrong direction.
I hope one day we will have south Sudan where every south Sudanese has right to contest any position in any part of the country. A south Sudan where my tribe or my background doesn’t matter but my qualification and capacity to fit in that position. A country where my qualification and experiences could take me any where I want. South Sudan where my Dinkaism, Nuerism, zandeism and so forth doesn’t matter but my South Sudanism matter.
If we continue to build on what he has started. I think it will not eliminate the tribalism but will reduce the level of ethnicity. I believe nothing impossible when there is political will; this tribalism can and will be eradicated if the people of South Sudan put all their efforts on eradicating it. It would take some time for the people to change but when the change it will bring to an end to this tribalistic act that conquered our country.
Dr. John Garang might have a vision that other people didn’t see. But unfortunately he has gone too soon with it. We could have waited to see how he would managed to defeat this disease call tribalism. So it has become a nightmare after he had gone. But since he has gone what are the plan and measures that we are putting in place that would eradicate tribalism.
Some of the avenues that we would use to eradicate the tribalism are no longer viable, for example, education is one tool that can be use in any country to eradicate tribalism. In other countries the education is unified, like primary leaving examination is done at one across the country and the children that finished primary examination are selected into different secondary schools nationwide. But in South Sudan every state does it primary leaving examination and join their high schools in their respective states. That alone is a social isolation. This young men and women should have been given a space through high school education to socialize. But that is not the case in our country, both primary and secondary education is a state affairs.
To be honest university education does not give enough time for the children to know themselves. In university, the social activities done are based on free will, to join or not to join them unlike secondary school activities where some of them are mandatory.
Also, some of the books that are taught in the country some of them are from neighboring countries. That alone is helping because the children turn to know more about other countries than their own. Some of those books also should contain certain topics that encourage cohesion, for example good citizens, the disadvantages of tribalism and issue relate to patriotism. In that way some will learn and change their minds on the process. Also, other sectors should incorporate activities that discourage tribalism.
So, what is the way forward? It up to the people of south Sudan to choose what is good for them. Whether to continue on their rough road of tribalism or to change. But continue on that route I don’t think it will bring anything good but destroy us. It is a time for us to revisit our strategies toward the elimination of the tribalism in south Sudan. South Sudan is a great country only if we avoid tribalism.
The author, Longar Mathiec Wol, is a South Sudanese student at United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, where he is pursuing Bachelor degree of Science in International Business Administration and Minoring in International Relations. He can be reached through email address: email@example.com.
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