The Senseless War of Attrition over Scarce Resources and Power in South Sudan

Posted: April 30, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

The Tossing of the African Breadbasket: On the Senseless Fight over Resources in South Sudan

By Mayak Deng Aruei, USA


April 30, 2017 (SSB) — When nothing is forthcoming, people dream of change, and a quick fix to the ailing governance in the country can hardly be achieved by guns alone. Let’s be honest for a minute, the ongoing military wrangle in South Sudan is about power and the wealth that comes with being in power. Until South Sudan make a lasting political arrangement (Constitution), any power hungry person with the mobs to execute his cause can put the country into mess at any time.

A forced change of leaders through violence is not the change that South Sudanese want. The landlocked country has been on the locked down within a very short period of time (famine). In any nation, the very people who pay dearly are the children, elderly and women. There has been enormous suffering on both sides of the conflict, and in the fiercest political rivalry between the President Salva Kiir’s SPLM faction and Dr. Riek Machar’s SPLM-in-Opposition.

The mercilessness of the divided opposition has by far complicated the Peace Agreement that the world and the Region have invested a great deal to restore normalcy in South Sudan. It’s very clear from opinionated records by politically informed citizens and Reports from international Groups that there have been so many misconducts on both sides of the raging conflict in the country.

Just a quick recap, an attempt to change President Salva Kiir through violence invite tribal political card, and at the end, no meaningful peace whatsoever.

Elders and the nation of South Sudan

Before painting the picture about the South Sudan’s wise men, it is important for readers to be given a glimpse. This portion of the article is directed to the “intellectual brains behind the council of elders” whoever they may be, and their political clubs in South Sudan. For the sake of the innocent lives, South Sudan’s elders need to put their political skills on the table, and resolve the conflict immediately.

So far, as the only hope, elders are no longer physically removed from the conflict because living by the edge of a collapsing economy has hurt everyone in the country. Make no mistake, some prominent elders have joined the youth forum, and they are talking from the bottom of their hearts.

In the light of unforgiving stories of the South Sudan’s bloody civil war, people close to the president, particularly the most trusted guys need to examine themselves and look outside the circle. There is a fear that elders from all South Sudan’s 63 tribes have hands in the fighting that have engulfed the nation, destroyed the common heritage and torn the country apart. The flashbacks in the years to come would be loathsome/vile.

The Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) , though a dead framework, it was a roadmap that had provisions, if implemented can create a conducive environment for armed oppositions as well as political dissidents in the country. This does not compromise the genesis of the war because both sides have their unfounded allegations and counter-allegations. The ultimate sources of deteriorating livelihoods can be traced to differing political ideologies or lack of one.

The recent appointment of Mama Rebecca de Mabior to the National Dialogue is a clear indication that some people within the Transitional Government of National Unity have seen the deadlock, and want to see a new page. And for the record, Mama Rebecca de Mabior has responded to her appointment into the National Dialogue the way a well positioned politician in any country would react to such news. Time and time again, approaches used by President Salva Kiir are hard to be understood, and his Advisors should be accountable.

Following through with the unfolding political twists in South Sudan, mounting pressures continue to question and shape the genuineness of the National Dialogue. This also take into account the appointment of John Luk Jok and Kosti Manibe as members of the national committee, among other prominent SPLM leaders. For reasons known to the South Sudan’s elites, people’s past and their credentials are poorly rated, and that is why South Sudan is bleeding badly.

In the civilized world, the practice for doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different result is called Insanity. How can people invest energies and times in framing and pushing their colleagues out of the Government and expect better results? For the spoons, those forced out of their jobs/positions never had anything good to say about the Government:  the cases of Telar Riing and Aleu Ayieny in 2008 are prime examples.

There is nothing technical about South Sudan’s political meltdown for there has never been space for Government’s employees to disagree with policies and still enjoy/keep their positions.

Messages to tribes in South Sudan

The wounds of the current conflict are too deep to heal, but citizens need to create a political environment where they can dialogue openly and accept all that have gone wrong. While it may be true that some communities in South Sudan have paid heavily in the war, there is still an obligation that each and every tribe, community, clan or section should not take South Sudan’s high seat as something people should die for. As citizens of this naturally rich country called South Sudan, interest of the nation in words and actions must be objective.

In the midst of this year’s famine, some splinter armed oppositions formed Resistance Movements, and their fight against the Regime and their own quest for change has exacerbated both the perilous security and economic situation in the country. If tribes are not responsible for the burning fire in the country, why is it so easy for the disgruntled politicians and army officers to mobilize youths so quick and have them fight for their own cause?

This is the right time for concerned South Sudanese around the globe to speak their minds, and take note of things that are out of the ordinary. As a country, South Sudan cannot afford a third fake peace, grievances must be resolved once and for all.

Youths and their shooting careers

My message to South Sudan’s youths is for them to lay down their weapons, create channels and forums where they can look themselves in the eyes, and start their future afresh. There is more to the nation of South Sudan than current power struggle. It is important for South Sudanese to recognize poor performances by the political class, and where their own failures become everyone’s responsibility.

The war is depleting the country’s resources, and youth leaders across the country need to opt out of violence, choose peaceful means to settle the anarchy in the country. The largest portion of the war is paid for by the youths: commitments, precious lives and times. All things considered, misconception about what Government really mean has defeated citizens’ collective responsibility.

A viable post-civil war reconstruction strategy must underscore the loopholes and deconstruct underground networks that have groomed the political malpractice throughout the country. It is for any one, and I meant any South Sudanese who has been following the political development in the country to speak up now, and against such practices. The world is so intertwined, and any educated person surfing the net know that South Sudan is no exception to have the highest regard to avoidable mistakes.

In this digital Age, nothing goes unnoticed, and fight for and over things that can be resolved peacefully can be so detrimental to the country. People may continue to blame select Groups for failures of others, and their affiliation with the West, the East or the Nile River, but ruling leaders’ inability to maneuver out of the crisis is something that has been overlooked for too long. The ongoing war in South Sudan is a decapitating civil war with painful experiences, but such stories can be used in the reconstruction of strong and stable South Sudan.

Women and their roles in the nation-building

When nations are at war, women are known for peacemaking, they are very auxiliary to the voices that call for calm. And in the context of South Sudanese women in the midst of the civil war, they are no exception, and they should continue to neutralize the warring parties. The lesser the voice of the South Sudanese women in crises, the greater the suffering of the innocent civilians. For good or bad, men have monopolized everything in the country. This is not a call for women to rebel against the system, but for them to know and play their roles.

In addition, civic education must reach to the heart of villages and special sessions ought to be designed for young girls. It is very true that women leaders have their voices heard through prayers, and places of worship, but little in the political forums. As one of the vocal South Sudan’s political activists, I urge South Sudanese women around the world to start joining political clubs, have their voices heard, talk about the significance of women in political arrangements.

The roles of women in the South Sudanese society has been diminished greatly, and not much can be said about them in the political arena. A society where violence is the rule of thumb (not women fault), a society where warlords own everyone, and a society where women don’t count much, so many are done in men’s ways. If there is a person out there who has nerve repudiate this statement, then let him/her elaborate how women’s voices matters to the president and the armed oppositions?

The only time we hear about the importance of women is when they are perishing in displaced camps, taking care of malnourished children and singing praising songs to the warlords in local churches. We have a long way to go as a country, but we must write down all the things that current leaders have missed, and start a new country from nothing.

In making the last touch on the article, tossing of the African breadbasket is a presentation of the events and the people who failed to make a difference while they had the opportunity to do so. For whatever the totality may mean to different readers, South Sudanese need to take back their country from fraudulent leaders, both in the Government and the monstrous armed oppositions who have been waging war since 2013.

The word “fraudulent leaders” come from documented forgeries on both sides: lies and fabrications in senseless loss of lives. In all corners of South Sudan, elders, youths, and women can bring about a meaningful change if they are united by the common goal (South Sudan). It’s a hard truth to be swallowed, but the amount of evidences are so overwhelming.

Next time you have your country back, please employ great minds, respect the will of the people, let selfless take the front seats, and more importantly, have the visionary steering the wheel. The call for peaceful South Sudan should not threaten lives of those who are very vocal (dead writers are Heroes). The least thing that a political class/elites can do is for them to eliminate voice for the voiceless.

©2017 Mayak Deng Aruei, a Doctoral Student in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development. He is a Social and Political Commentator, Peace and Human Rights Advocate. He can be reached 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 from.

  1. Alam says:

    truly sensible only if they will listen. Our country is not practical and will take a long time to be. Thanks for the well thought our piece brother!


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