Why South Sudan political rivals won’t reach out alike their Kenyan counterparts

Posted: March 16, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Deng Vanang, Dares Salaam, Tanzania

March 16, 2018 (SSB) — Responding to Kenya’s political arch-rivals last Friday surprise public handshake before zooming media cameras after grueling years and months of unease, People’s Democratic Movement, PDP Chairman, Hakim Dario wadded into the fray, imploring the main political rivals, Kiir and Machar in South Sudan to reciprocate the same good will gesture.

So that they turn a new page on more than four years old more politically divisive, militarily and economically crippling conflict.

So far none of the two gentlemen seems to heed the patriotic call from a nationalist, one Hakim Dario.

Going by no public comment from either of the two, we can only conclude that the guys are still dug in their own trenches undeterred.

The two main protagonists for the Presidency in South Sudan politics that is having parallel with that of Kenya may not reach out to each other as was done by their Kenyan counterparts whose unexpected handshake turned Friday of March 9th on which they met into yet another celebratory nationwide Good Friday.

South Sudan rivals not meeting any time soon as done by their Kenyan Counterparts, President Huru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, has something to do with less similarities than dissimilarities in political cultures of the two neighboring East African countries.

Known similarities between two political cultures can be political players who are more driven by ethnic sentiments of their tribes.

These tribes are long held rivals in political arena dating back to several decades or even centuries in both South Sudan and Kenya.

Similarly, one has been ruling the country with support of the other, but is not returning favor to the latter.

And the two fought together in one party, which is SPLM in South Sudan and KANU in Kenya, during their war against external oppressor, until they fell out soon after independence.

With the ruler remaining in control of independence party, SPLM for South Sudan and KANU for Kenya, while the opponent getting away with its pale shadow, SPLM In Opposition and Kenyan Peoples’ Union, KPU for South Sudan and Kenya respectively.

Whereas as per dissimilarities, unlike Kikuyu’s Kenyatta and Luo’s Odinga, our two gentlemen, Dinka’s Kiir and Nuer’s Machar already insured their investments safely in foreign capitals far beyond any foreseeable loss at home.

Besides acting in hostile political environment where tolerance is culturally scorned as cowardice, being accommodative is taken as a weakness and strong-arms tactic is a celebrated heroism against diplomatic give and take.

Much as one rival in South Sudan has driven the other into political oblivion, at least for now and in absence his guerrilla outfit is beaten into defensive position, unlike two Kenyan rivals who strongly held a sway against each other.

Odinga might have technically lost the race to the statehouse, isolated by the West, African Union and regional bloc, Igad, but he made up for those weak points.

Simply by denying Kenyatta the violent mass following as well as economic stability {which is no concern for South Sudanese establishment} as supporters of his NASA coalition boycotted goods and services that feed national treasury inform of taxes.

In addition to galvanizing a national anti-Kikuyu ethnic group resistance movement with likely implosion into full blown first ever civil war in Kenya, effectively depriving President Kenyatta of dazzling legacy he badly needed before retirement in 2022.

The author of several books, Deng Vanang, is a graduate of the Catholic University of East Africa in Kenya with a bachelor degree in Philosophy and political sciences. He got awarded with undergraduate diploma in public relations and management at Kenya school of exports and imports in Kenya. And in later years secured a post-graduate diploma in print media journalism from the University of Nairobi as well as a post-graduate diploma in peace and development studies at the University of Juba, among several short courses certificates in both information and governance from East African region and Republic of South Africa. He once served in SPLM/A during the war of liberation as political commissar and other political groupings in the post-war period. He became a Director in GoSS’ Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Juba until 2010 while serving as the columnist with various newspapers before and after the December 2013 conflict erupted. He can be reached via his email: dvanang@gmail.com


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