John Garang: “Our tribes and regions will not unite us; only South Sudanism will unite us”

Posted: November 26, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Apioth Mayom, Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

Our Tribes, religions and regions will never unite us; only South Sudanism will unite us as Dr. John Garang would have said

By Ngoi Thuech, Dodoma, Tanzania

John Garang

John Garang’s prophecy

Monday, November 26, 2018 (PW) —- We are all caught up in the most stupendous midst of peace. It is not that we are only tired of war, in essence, no one gets to enjoy the good things a life can offer in a time of war. Martin Luther King, Jr once said that “those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” Our people are still sensitive to the psychological traumas of the recent war and we ought to perpetually avoid weaponizing words as tools for further ethnic divisions and hatred.

Instead of being too sensitive to fight each other over ethnicity, we should rather be quick to defend each other when such ethnic hatred ensues. Peace is hard to maintain, but people can easily be provoked to fight themselves and in a matter of a few months, they could easily destroy relationships that took decades to create, not to mention the billions of dollars that were spent on building the infrastructure.

So, instead of returning a fire for fire, peace would only elude us and we could end up with one war after another. We are better off finding shared commonalities that will act as binding knots to keep us together in times of uncertainties instead of focusing on the different aspects that we don’t know about each other yet. Our liberation hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior used to say that our tribes, religions, and regions would never unite us; it is only Sudanism (now South Sudanism) that will unite us.

Corruption and tribalism are the ticking time bombs of our contemporary era. These twin problems would never go away by our wishful thinking. Kenya has been independent since 1963 and tribalism is still endemic in the mainstream Kenyan society. Tribalism is the invisible disease which keeps dragging millions of Africans to fight wars and compete for resources of survival in every chance encounter.

Our military committed heinous crimes against the civilians, and many people started associating the government with the Dinka simply because it was being led by Salva Kiir, a Dinka. These people started arming themselves with hatred and divisive politics against the Dinka from that time henceforth. On the same vein, once the SPLM/A-IO and National Salvation Front (NAS) came to the fore, Nuer and the majority of tribes in Equatoria began flocking to join the ranks and files of these fledgling movements.

Even up to this very moment, the message put forward by the Thomas Cirillo Swaka as to why he refused to endorse the final peace agreement was because it didn’t address the root causes of the conflict; that same message still echoes among a vast array of followers of NAS up to this very day. We seem to continue to follow the same pattern of wherever one of our tribesmen goes, we all follow him even if it may cause an apocalyptic war of destruction and death.

This phenomenon has also been a shameful occurrence in our neighboring country of Kenya; once the elections come around, politicians who lack public appeal to win a substantial amount of votes at the ballot box turn to their tribal members to amass support at their political bases. For South Sudan to write a brand new chapter for our national progress, don’t we think we have been stuck with the same sad reality of pitting one tribe with another tribe for centuries now?

We stand to lose in every way when we stand as separate tribal nationalities rather than pulling together as a diverse array of tribes standing under one nation of South Sudan. No one is advocating for a total abandonment and dismantling of all the tribes to form one national tribe call South Sudan; as far as I am concerned, I have never found a nation which was founded on such false premises, to begin with.

All we have to do is to continue being a member of the Shilluk community, while at the same time find avenues to form communal or societal alliances with different nationalities at varied South Sudan clubs or organizations such as South Sudan Engineering Association, South Sudan Women’s Lawyers Association, South Sudan Academy of the Natural Sciences, and so on and so forth.

A woman from Bari may be mathematically gifted and so is a woman from Rumbek; there is no reason for these two women to compromise their shared relation over an ancient tribal relation of nationality which was speculated to have originated from the same ancestral people. Their shared relation of Mathematical intelligence can take them as far as the Royal British Academic of Mathematics.

Furthermore, no one really gets a monthly salary or wages because Mr. Puot hails from the great Nuer tribe; the money we earn to keep the flesh on our bones come from being a biologist or an environmental scientist, and all these professions socialize us to work with a diverse array of tribal nationalities. All in all, we do not only belong to one specific tribe of our ethnic origin; in essence, we also belong to varied tribes that our society continues to create for us.

We also belong to a tribe of engineers, doctors, the national football team, and entrepreneurs. Once we fell prey to the exclusive tribe of Bari people, we also lose to benefit from being national tribal members of South Sudanese engineers. For us to put an end to tribalism and corruption, we have to find alternative ways to call to service a charming nationalistic leader endowed with charming appeals to harvest a national identity which will continue to bring us together going into the future.

Our politicians continue to learn new corrupt ways from our sisterly countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and combine that with how tribalism still create one political upheaval after another. South Sudanese are confronted with a sad reality by which they need to create a brand new path, totally different from everyone else; just like when Thomas Sankara created something out of nothing.

We have a chance to create our unique national identity, totally different from everyone else in this part of the world. The time to create our new South Sudanism is now!

Ngoi Thuech is a South Sudanese blogger that works and lives in Dodoma, Tanzania. He is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam. He blogs on a mirage of South Sudanese issues ranging from politics to culture  He can be reached at

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

  1. Harria Ghum says:

    It’s really aworse time to get this peace today


  2. […] John Garang: “Our tribes and regions will not unite us; only South Sudanism will unite us” […]


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