South Sudan, the nation where communal and tribal violence reign

Posted: July 7, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Longar Mathiec Wol, Opinion Articles

When the communalism and tribalism become a national disaster while watching: South Sudan the nation where communal and tribal violence reign.

By Longar Mathiec Wol, Nairobi, Kenya

big fish vs small fish

big fish vs small fish

July 7, 2017 (SSB) — Called it tribalism or communalism they have the same negative impact. South Sudan is engulf in communal and tribal wars that threaten the national sovereignty if something is not done and in speed to stop it. We can’t afford to see the communalism and tribalism become a national disaster while we are just watching. It only nation where the communalism and tribalism reign.

What are we doing to stop it? Both the citizens and the government. The overpowered government in both state and national governments is unable to do anything while the innocent people pay heavy price while nothing is being done. Is it a time for traditional leaders to put their egos aside and rescue their communities. If that is not the case what will happen? Soon South Sudan is becoming ungovernable due to communal and tribal loyalty.

The citizens listen to their traditional leaders more than a government. The question would be, how could this communalism, sectionalism and tribalism be overcome? It is a questions that demands many answers based on personal understanding and perception. But before we go to discuss some of the reasons that caused this violence in south Sudan we need to first know little bit the differences between the terms communalism, sectionalism and tribalism mean.

 To begin with the differences between communalism, sectionalism and tribalism; the communalism is at the level of communities. It is intra-tribal violence. For instance the violence within Dinka tribe which is not sectionalism fall in the category of communalism. Sectionalism is when the sections within one tribe fight based on their sections, within Dinka there are many sections let say Dinka Bor and Dinka Rek for instance are some sections within in Dinka.

In case there is a fight between this two sections of Dinka God forbid. It is a sectionalism. An example of communalism is like what is happening in Gogrial state, the fight between Apuk and Aguok of Gogrial state is communalism war because the two belong to the same section “Dinka Rek” they only identified themselves based on community. While tribalism is the war between tribe, it’s inter tribe war for example the fight between Dinka and Nuer or let say Dinka and murle is a tribal war.

The communal and tribal violence are not something new in the country where ever one took the law in his or her own hands. South Sudanese are known for the tribal and communal wars that caused us a lot. It is the tribal and communal ideologies that drove our country to collapsible level. This characters has become like an electronic virus that can easily be transferred from one machine to another.

But what make me wonder is the level of spread, it is spreading like wild fire. Some of the places that were assumed to be peaceful is no longer the case.

Now the whole country is a hotspot of tribal and communal wars from all regions, whether from Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria, and upper Nile. In Upper Nile the Nuer with Dinka, Murle with Dinka, and so forth. In Bahr el Ghazal Sectionalism and communalism is getting worse among Dinka communities. People believe some root causes of these communal violence could be link with cattle rustling or cattle raiding among the communities.

The girl issue like pregnancies and eloping are other issues contributing toward the problem. In other place competition over the pasture or grazing land is another reason; for instant the Aguok and Apuk problem is likely to be retrieve to the pasture or grazing land known as Toch or swampy land.

Since there is no efforts or mechanism put in place to tackle these problem due to may be negligence or lack of knowledge on how to handle or lack of seriousness in that matter to resolve the disagreement. But the resolution of the problem needs dialogue; without dialogue the war will prevail as Adolf Hitler put it “when diplomacy ends, war begins” that means the more we talk the easier our problems become.

Some of these communities coexist for centuries even if there were some clashes, it was not at this scale we are seeing today and they were easily address, but why now? It means there is no one doing something to contain the violence. As Albert Einstein stated “the world is dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the good people who don’t do anything” our people specially politician are doing nothing about this, in fact some of them are behind chaos.

You can’t expect the problem creator to be a problem solver. Any conflict without people support somewhere specially tribal or communal conflict cannot last long unless they are using traditional weapons. But since they are using modern weapons where are they getting this weapons? Fine, someone might argued they buy them but what of the bullets where do they get them?

You can’t buy ammunitions to fight for almost two years while you are not an organization.  Where do they get this large amount of money to buy ammunitions? Where is the security? How do the ammunitions enter these areas? These are some of the question we need to ask ourselves. When we get answers to them then we will get a solution to these problems. It means they are being provided.

But who provided must be known because these ammunitions are means to be for the organize forces; or does that means there is a coalition of cartels between war funders and the generals from organize forces. Truth be told if we turn blind eyes to this heinous crime then why do we cry and it is clear system failure from security sector.

However, what is regrettable is the level this communal violence is spreading. It is spreading faster. The communal violence between two communities in Gogrial state has reached the worrying level and the disaster await us. The violence is spreading to the neighboring communities which is not healthy. But what I don’t understand is what the authorities on the ground doing?

Are the really addressing the root causes of the problem? A famous writer Albert Einstein once said “if I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spent 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it” but in our case the opposite is true we want to resolve a problem before we define the problem which will take us centuries. Call two communities let them explain their grievances and come up with the solution.

When the problem is define the solution is always within. But remember that we can’t solve problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” Einstein added. But our problem is miscalculation doing what has nothing to do with the problem. Gogrial state communal violence needs different approach apart from the old methods that has been used and prove to be unsuccessful.

When the state government failed or is unable to do something then it should be time for national government to step in, do something tangible. But our expectation is that if certain governor did it in the past and succeed then we think ever governor could do the same. But that is an insanity, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the difference results” stated Einstein.

Let take different method of resolving the problem as the communal violence spread to other communities as you have already seen, it reached Kuac and is coming to Wau. In every conflict there has to be mediator and the mediator in this case should be communities that are not involve in conflict but if they are all involve then who else would be in a position to mediate.

The whole process would be marred with suspicion among the communities and some of the reasons why mediation failed is due to lack of trust and neutrality. Let contain this violence from spreading to other communities. For instance there are killing being carried out on the members of Kuac and Wau Baai communities by the warrying communities nothing but the expansion of insecurity.

I am appealing to both side of the warrying communities to stop killing themselves and extending the violence beyond their respective communities. And for other communities involving is not a solution when your brothers fight be in their middle not involving yourself. Government should move in with speed to contain this violence from exploding beyond what we had already seen.

If this problem seems to be beyond the state capacity then national government should shoulder responsibility to disarm them and bring the culprit to book. In my view, the state government seems to be doing little, it is not exerting too much efforts to make sure that the war ended.

The author, Longar Mathiec Wol, is a concern South Sudanese citizen living in Nairobi Kenya. He can be reached through email address:

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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