The Implications for Post-Trauma in the Post-Conflict Settings of South Sudan

Posted: June 12, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Featured Articles, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Malual Jangdit Garang, Juba, South Sudan


June 12, 2017 (SSB) — Post-Conflict Trauma is a hurtful feeling occurred as the outcomes of traumatic experience that one encountered or witnessed during the protracted civil war or ethnic violence in the post-conflict settings. In essence, the majority of South Sudanese population developed post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, anxiety and memories of trauma persist for a long period of time and interfere with one’s thinking to function in life.

In South Sudan, it is indisputably that, the majority of the SPLA former soldiers known today as the SPLA Veterans are traumatized and this emotional and mental disorder is seen as a main reason that compels President Salva Kiir Mayardit to fire those who disagreed with him despite their commitment, steadfastness and loyalty to the SPLM/A party.

I argue that, the mental health problem is a main factor that leads to President Salva Kiir’s fiasco, fear, and mistrust in which he resorts to issue Presidential Decree of Relieving His Opponents and Appointing His Cronies. Hence, Presidential Decree is translated as an outcome of his past traumatic experience according his mistrust, and fear of being toppled by those who disagreed with him.

Therefore, I suggest that, South Sudanese should use psychological methods as the conceptual frameworks to treat the mental and emotional disorders. Therefore, the psychoanalysis is a holistic approach to healing those who are suffering from the post-traumatic stress disorder in the conflict-affected communities. Not only the affected communities, even the current SPLM/A megalomania leaders needed rehabilitation to recover from their post-traumatic events.

For example, President Salva Kiir Mayardit spent most of life in the bush where he encountered the traumatic events such mass execution, sexual and physical abuses on the civilians. Even though, he was not victimized, but he was in charge of those who were abused.

Therefore, the burden of shouldering the abuses on the civilians and solving them affected his mind and sometime, the traumatic events re-occurred in his mind’s eye and this flashback “memories of trauma” affected his critical thinking and ability and made him fear that, the criminals who committed atrocities and infamous crimes in the bush, may now kill him including those who bear personal grudge against him.

For example, Kiir Mayardit sacked King Paul, suspended Awet Akot and put Michael Makuei Lueth in the retired list while appointed the former opponents of SPLM/A who were fighting the SPLM/A on behalf of Khartoum and this is a clear devil theory that explains political and social cries arise from the deliberate actions of misguided leaders rather than as a natural result of conditions.

For example, Martin Elia Lomuor, Lul Ruai Koang, James Ajongo Mawut, and many renegades that General Salva Kiir appointed them to the high positions in military and civil administration. However, the former liberators were relieved and put on the reserved in retirement.

In essence, General Kiir relieves his opponents and appoints his cronies at his behest as a fundamental way of holding on power despite public frustration about his rules. Indisputably, SPLM/A is hijacked by the former foes and hijack sets panic, a sudden feeling of anxiety, especially among many members of SPLM party. It is rumoured that, President Kiir Mayardit is going to issue his presidential decree to remove Michael Makuei, Aguer Panyang and Daniel Awet Akot with many people who are discontent with his failure.

Not only that, it is rumoured that, Akot Lual, Akol Koor persuaded President Salva Kiir to relieve Michael Makuei with all Dinka Bor MPS in Juba Parliament and send them back to Jonglei State and this reshuffle is a dangerous move and political miscalculation that may create schism between Dinka Bor and Bahr El Ghazal including many Dinka people who are dissatisfied with Kiir’s humiliating failure.  This is why I argue that, President Salva Kiir needs therapy, treatment of mental or behavioural problems that is meant to rehabilitate him.

In fact, President Kiir is a megalomania leader and a slow-thinking politician known too many as a sluggish snail according to his vice, and sloth with a torpid mind. In fact, his vice, and apathetic approach are the main factors that lead to his political failure, causing tribal hatred and political animosity across the nation. Conversely, I condemn such deadly sin of sloth and political inability that unleashed genocidal ethnic war and ethnic targeted killings of the civilians.

In consequence, the growing political agitation is a result of Kiir’s cult of personality, which defines his attitudes, interests, behavioural patterns, emotional responses and social roles during his reign of terror. For example, his lame apology during the National Day of Prayers and National Dialogue despite public growing political agitation describes his political fiasco and flaw. Not only public growing political mistrust of his reign, but General Salva Kiir shows his lack of confidence in SPLM leadership.

Thus, the division of SPLM into mutually antagonistic factions is seen as the weakness of Kiir’s leadership and his lack of political experience may not lead the nation into peacefulness, and development. For example, General Kiir admonished King Paul for his leaving Juba for Aweil after his dismissal stating, “Malong should have thanked me for the times he spent as the chief of General Staffs,” this hateful speech is politically naïve statement that describes his lack of rhetoric, the ability to use language effectively, especially to persuade or influence people.

Sadly, South Sudan’s politics is, but a surface wave on its sea of political corruption and tribalism that shows the nation on the verge of political and economic crisis as well as cauldron of social and political ferment due to the weakness of Kiir’s autocratic government. Kiir’s despotic government is in tandem of grave structural problems due to the sacking of SPLM/A linchpins.

However, President Salva Kiir does not know the political ramification of “deracination,” and proxy. General Kiir substituted the liberators with their former traitors and thus, subrogation “Substitution” saddened a few intellectuals like Michael Makuei Lueth and Daniel Awet Akot to approach and reproach Salva Kiir Mayardit, telling him to step down and let the people of South Sudan to choose their visionary leader who will steer the nation towards prosperity and political stabilization and detribalization.

In fact, the apotheosis of fighting for independence turned to be curse and deep grief as well as anxiety of redundancy and thus, political animosity caused a major split, and this breakaway with SPLM party needed to be addressed as an essential approach to bringing peace and reconciliation. However, President Salva Kiir does not trust his former allies. General Salva Kiir views the SPLM unification as interregnum, the period of time between the end of his reign and the beginning of his regime change.

Actually, I argue that, President Kiir’s theory of ethnic and clan division and re-division across the nation is ruination for national unity, development, prosperity and peaceful-coexistence. General Salva Kiir is dividing the nation based on the tribes and clans due to his distrust and mistrust. In fact, General Salva Kiir applied this theory of divide and rule in order to hold on power despite the consequence of the ethnic division.

Perhaps, President Kiir Mayardit needs rehabilitation and thus, therapy is essential to help him get back from post-traumatic stress disorder that makes him suspicious, doubting his former allies (SPLM/A founders). I suggest that, psychotherapy will help General Kiir to trust his former comrades and unite splitting SPLM members. Therefore, the SPLM unity will bring peace and mutual understanding.

In fact, forgiveness and repentance is a salve to soothe the grievance and our wounded hearts. However, we did not accept our misconduct and feel regretful and thus, lack of empathy and compassion would not allow peace and reconciliation to materialize according to my perspectives. General Salva Kiir is trying to destrablise the ethnically and culturally divided society, he once tribalized and divided it.

In essence, it is not essential to speak out our minds rather than to take the grave structural problems into consideration and action. President Salva Kiir has failed the nation in many ways. South Sudan is built on the solid rock of corruption, tribalism, nepotism and despotism under his neo-patrimonial regime. Even though, Mr. Salva Kiir, “The Chairman of Party,” is sluggishly pulling the ramshackle nation out of corruption, nepotism and despotism’s pit he once dug, however, all his attempts are in vain.

To support my argument, Kiir administration fails to address the rising terrorist acts, human trafficking and ethnic targeted killings despite the clan and tribal conflicts. I argue that, President Salva should explore the reconciliatory modalities by using the theory of the ethnic conflict resolution to destribalise the hostile tribes, and clans and salvage the peace process rather than launching National Dialogue.

On the other hand, I suggest that, Kiir’s administration should use restorative justice, a system of criminal justice which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large rather than his pretext “so-called National Dialogue,” as well as transitional justice that consists of judicial and non-judicial measures implemented in order to redress legacies of human rights abuses.

Particularly, the transitional justice should entail criminal prosecutions truths, commissions, reparations programs and various kinds of institutional reforms such as constitutional and economic reforms as the conceptual frameworks to achieve everlasting peace and reconciliation.

Thereafter, the resignation of President Salva Kiir is an essential approach to re-establish a just and free society regardless of gender, sex, age and tribal, cultural and political affiliation.

Malual Jangdit Garang, is the author of ‘The Dispersed Seeds: Story of Lost Boys; Unpublished Manuscripts, ‘The Dilapidated Nation,’ ‘The Invisible Devil,’ a novel and Poem, ‘The Red Arse Earth,’ Political satire and humour about ethnic war in South Sudan. You can reach him via his email: malual garang

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.

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