Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

By Simon Deng Kuol Deng, New York, USA


Do Not Confuse a Camouflaged Call for Confederation for Call Federalism

June 6, 2017 (SSB) — The Constitutional structure of American federalism distributes authority and powers between the national and state governments. These powers distribute to the national and state government are involved the exclusive powers and other powers, which must be shared by the national and state governments. This paper focuses on analyzing the definition of American federalism; powers divide and share by the national and state governments; advantages and disadvantages of American federalism; role of the national courts in defining the divisions of the powers, which include the concurrent shared powers between the national and state governments; and national budget as a tool of federalism for delegating authority to the states.


As it has often been the case in American history, federalism system is once again a major focus of political debate (LaCroix, 2010) of how the national and state government could have the relationship to serve the Americans accordingly to the powers that the Constitution of the United States and states have provided. The relationship of the national government to the states has been the subject of intense debate since the founding (Magleby et la., 2014) of American federalism. Alison LaCroix’s new book traces the modem debate over federalism back to its 18th-century origins.

In her view, 18th century Americans developed a new federal ideology characterized by the core belief that multiple independent levels of government could legitimately exist within a single polity (Benton, 1985) and that such an arrangement was not a defect to be lamented but a virtue to be celebrated (Benton, 1985). The debates of the 1760s through the 1780s culminated in a new constitutionalization of federalism, a process that was continued into the 1800s.


Crises in Context: South Sudan with Alan Boswell

By Ariun Enkhsaikhan, Communications Associate

Alan Boswell is a journalist, writing on South Sudan, conflict and statebuilding. This interview was conducted as part of the “Crises in Context” educational awareness campaign at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.


The tragicomedy of the South Sudanese politics: SPLM-IG vs SPLM-IO

In what context and in which environment did you experience South Sudan?

I first came to South Sudan as a journalist in 2009, and then moved to South Sudan in early 2010 through the April 2010 elections and 2011 referendum and independence. I’ve traveled in and out of South Sudan and Sudan ever since doing journalism and conflict research.

How have your feelings towards the situation in South Sudan evolved over the past six years, since its independence?

Thanks to my travels around South Sudan and up-close exposure to South Sudan’s toxic politics, I never was bullish on South Sudan as a stable country or the [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)] as a ruling party, which is evident in the articles I wrote leading up to independence and soon after. Still, all of us who witnessed South Sudan’s birth as a country experienced the hope embodied in its independence. The collapse of South Sudan may not be a surprise but that has made the catastrophe no less depressing to watch.

As far as an evolution in my thinking on South Sudan: At first, as a journalist, I was very focused on America’s problematic and largely-deluded love affair with South Sudan’s ruling party, the SPLM. In the years since, I’ve come to view South Sudan’s challenges as far more rooted in its structural deficits as a political or security entity than in any particular shortfalls of its leaders and institutions. (This perspective is very much a minority one in the policy world, which instinctually adheres to the Great Man theory of history.) South Sudan was a radical political experiment in reverse-engineered statebuilding – a radical experiment really without precedent, undertaken without the depth of consideration or care that such an experiment demanded. The experiment failed and continues to fail at the cost of far too many lives and the destruction of whole societies. We didn’t care enough to know better. We still don’t. Thus far there has been very little attempt to even try and learn the lessons of what went wrong.


Juba Regime Carries Secularism to the Grave

By Dr. Costello Garang Ring Lual, Germany

John Garang wih the family of Jambo

Dr. John Garang with the family of Jambo

April 19, 2017 (SSB) — Secularism means the separation of State and Church or Mosque or Synagogue. The term is not synonymous with atheism or permissiveness, as is often feared by conservative religious societies or somehow misunderstood by those with permissive tendencies, as we now witness in Juba.

Dr. John Garang used to argue, when the complex issue of the implementation of the Islamic Sharia and the institution of an “Islamic state” in Sudan was being discussed, that the state doesn’t go to the mosque to pray and hence shouldn’t be described as “Islamic”.

In most of my last discussions with Sheikh Hassan Turabi before he passed on, he kept repeating his well-known position on the issue of diverse “book religions”. He said that all book religions; Christianity and Judaism included, in “their pure not distorted or westernised forms”, are pure Islam.

These book religions demand total “submission to God”, which leads to the term Islam. Such understanding means that the term “Islamic” is not necessarily needed to have an “Islamic state”, which according to Turabi’s final position, could be home to Christians and Jews alike, since he saw them all as Muslims, “who submitted to God”.


By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda

New Sudan Vision-John Garang


March 21, 2017 (SSB) — National building begins with ideological building.  Without defining and identifying proper ideology, the nation remains confused, corrupt and stranded.  As it has been defined, an ideology is a collection of beliefs held by an individual, group or society. It can also be described as a set of conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one’s beliefs, goals, expectations, and motivations.

 In this regard, an ideology is a comprehensive normative vision that is followed by people, governments, or other groups that is considered the correct way by the majority of the population, as argued in several philosophical tendencies. Hence, as those of Karl Marx and Frederick Engel observed in their work, the ideology is set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of society such as the elite to be followed by all members of society.

In relation to politics, the ideology refers to the system of abstracted meaning applied to public matters, thus making it central to politics. Implicitly, in societies that distinguish between public and private life, every political or economic tendency entails ideology, whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought. In the Althusserian sense, Ideology is “the imaginary relation to the real conditions of existence”.

Where the nation does not have a clear ideology like South Sudan, the whole system becomes corrupt as there is no ideology that directs people on what to do, when to do it, where to do it, how to do it and why it should be done.


How tribalism drives graft and impedes real progress

By Makau Mutua | Saturday, Mar 11th 2017


I have said it before, and will do so here again — no nation, or people, have ever become great without a great elite. Countries are only as great as their elites. Several states in Asia — South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Japan, and India — are Exhibit A.

Even North Korea — in spite of being ruled by a dynasty of a megalomaniacal family of dictators — has proven that a tiny state can exert power on the global stage. Not every lunatic can do what test-tube dictator Kim Jong Un is doing — unsettle and paralyse the great United States into a checkmate. That’s why I want to interrogate the cancer of corruption, and how it stunts states. My definition of corruption isn’t boilerplate.

Let’s take South Korea as a singular illustration of my thesis. In the early 1960s, South Korea was as underdeveloped — and backward — as Kenya, or Ghana. But in three decades, South Korea became a top-15 global economy where Kenya and Ghana remained mired at the bottom of the heap. South Koreans over 50 years of age have a faint memory of unheated huts, earthen floors, and muddy roads.


Past Governments: The Interplay Between Power Politics and Ethnicity in the Republic of South Sudan under a Tribocratic Paradigm (Part 2)

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan

RSS coat of ARMS

South Sudan’s coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

March 6, 2017 (SSB) — They say that a picture is worth thousand words. And indeed the following illustrative figures, based on past governments of President Salva Kiir Mayaardit, paint a telling picture of the dynamic interplay between power politics and ethnicity in the Republic of South Sudan under a Tribocratic Paradigm.

This is a summary of tribocratic analysis of President Kiir’s past government according to the prevailing political forces–four political caucuses, thirteen political constituencies and one hundred and thirty five political sections–in South Sudan, based on The Principles of Tribocracy—Part 5


Past Governments: The Interplay Between Power Politics and Ethnicity in the Republic of South Sudan under a Tribocratic Paradigm (Part 1)

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan

RSS coat of ARMS

South Sudan’s coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

February 26, 2017 (SSB) — They say that a picture is worth thousand words. And indeed the following illustrative figures, based on past governments of President Salva Kiir Mayaardit, paint a telling picture of the dynamic interplay between power politics and ethnicity in the Republic of South Sudan under a Tribocratic Paradigm.


Morphophonemic Reforms in Thuɔŋjäŋ Orthography: An Excerpt from “Thuɔŋjäŋ Cïdmënde”

Morphophonemic Reforms in Thuɔŋjäŋ Orthography: An Excerpt from “Thuɔŋjäŋ Cïdmënde” (Click the PDF)

“Ideas are constructed in specific languages, and if we believe that ideas are important in development, in the determination of relations of wealth, power and values in a society, then … we cannot divorce issues of language and writing from issues of wealth, power and values” and as such, the contemporary African intellectuals “…will grow their roots in African languages and cultures. They will also learn the best they can from all world languages and cultures. They will view themselves as scouts in foreign linguistic territories and guides in their own linguistic space. In other words, they will take whatever is most advanced in those languages and cultures and translate those ideas into their own languages. They will see their role as that of doing for African languages and cultures what all writers and intellectuals of other cultures and histories have done for theirs”, Ngugi wa Thiong’o

By Alëw Majɔg Alëw, Malaysia


1.0 Introduction

Whereas Thuɔŋjäŋ is arguably one of the few written and well researched South Sudanese languages, a host of orthographic challenges remain unresolved. These challenges are rooted in the unmarked phonemes and inaccurate morphophonemic designations that emanated from earlier missionary work in the language. There is a general consensus among a handful of western linguists, who researched into the language, on the approach that any new orthographic reforms, necessary as most of them content, should follow.

Nevertheless, discussions and proposals for reforms have so far focused on mostly the vowel system (representation of tones and length, having had the breathiness aspect already settled by Dhuruai’s umlauted vowels). The morphophonemic anomalies which form part of the reforms proposed in “Thuɔŋjäŋ Cïdmëndë”, a radical proposal for a total revision and revam of Thuɔŋjäŋ orthography and grammar, have not been raised or addressed anywhere in the available literature on  the language. This note, an excerpt from “Thuɔŋjäŋ Cïdmënde”, provides a brief explanation and illustration on only the morphophonemic reforms on [b, p], [d, t], [dh, th], [k, g], [u, w] and [i, y] as codas in lone morphemes (or single basic word unit) and for [u, w] and [i, y] as nuclei (or median letters in words).

Credibility of these reforms

For the benefit of readers, I would like to, first and foremost, underline that I am not a linguist nor did I have a conventional training in this field to speak with authority on these proposed reforms. But usually linguists work with native speakers of a language in issues like these. Hence, as a passionate and analytical native speaker, I will attempt to illustrate the logic that necessitates these reforms which I believe are necessary to adopt if we are to retain the authenticity and ease the grammar of the language, Thuɔŋjäŋ. Radical as they may be, I hope they will be understandable and sensible to other native speakers.

Furthermore, the proposal on these reforms is a conclusion of observational and intuitive research work done with many Muɔnyjiëëŋ/Jiëëŋ; those who are literate in other languages as well as Thuɔŋjäŋ and those who are completely illiterate (only monolingual in spoken Thuɔŋjäŋ). While the former group may sometimes have their pronunciations corrupted under the influence of second langauges they are literate in, observations from the latter group remarkably manifest and support the validity of these reforms. It is therefore helpful to refer to this group where further investigations and substantiation are needed.

Another point to underscore is that, unlike dialect-specific spelling and other grammatical issues, these observations cut across all dialects and are in no way dialect constrained (at least as far as I have noted from my discussion with speakers of different dialects).


By Simon Deng Kuol Deng, New York, USA


Demo-cracy or Demo-crazy?

November 8, 2016 (SSB) — My political philosophy is rooted on high degrees of believing that God has created humans with the rights and responsibility to recognize the necessity of having kind of nation state and government as the repository of the power aimed at protecting their common interests. Humans used to distinguish the functions of the nation state and government as the functions of public affairs, which means that, they recognize themselves as the possessors of the nation state and government.

Furthermore, humans recognize the offices of the nation state and government as the public offices in which they have rights to delegate individuals who may be interested in doing the public works for consent fixed periods of time for the purposes of providing humans’ legal needs such as law and order, security needs such as national defense, economy needs such as trade and employment, and social needs such as health care and education. While, they used to consider or regard the functions of individuals outside the nation state and government as the private affairs.

The nation state and government offices have designed to remain the public trust for the reason that people entrust the public offices of the state nation and government to the individuals who are capable of responding to the people’s general needs. Thus, the nation state and government consider by people as the repository of power, which they delegate to the public officials for the purposes of protecting the common or public interests. People expect public officials to serve the public interest with fairness and also manage public resources properly on a daily basis.


Captain John Garang’s February 1972 letter to Ambassador Dominic Akech Mohammed

Southern Sudan, 5 February, 1972 

Dear Dominic:

Thank you for the correspondence you dispatched to this end on January 25th, instantly. Very lucky, I go them today from Kampala through the lorry. It is lucky because I am leaving tomorrow morning for the interior, about 500 miles footwork from where we last met and I will not be back for over 7 months, maybe more.

Find here enclosed a copy of a letter I wrote to General Lagu and the negotiations committee. I have handwritten it (it is 2:00 a.m) since I have packed my typewriter for tomorrow’s long journey. You may type it and if necessary you have my permission to use it BUT AFTER the negotiations ONLY so as not to prejudice the same. As you can see I am not in favor of these so-called negotiations nor do I have any illusions that much will come out of them. What is more, a settlement with the enemy at the present time is not in the best interests of the Southern Sudanese people, the Sudanese people and the African people for some of the reasons given in the attached seven page letter.


28 states of RSS

The 28 states of the Republic of South Sudan

July 7, 2016 (SSB) — In his remarks during a workshop in Juba attended by the spokesperson of Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny, General Paul Malong Awan declared that the national army will be restructured based on the policy of proportional representation of all ethnic communities of South Sudan.

Quoting the SPLA chief of general staff, Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan, this is how National Courier reports the news:

“BILPHAM: SPLA to adopt proportional representation to curtail tribal dominance. ‪The SPLA Chief of General Staff, LTGEN Paul Malong Awan has announced that the SPLA shall start implementing the policy of proportional representation. Lt. Gen Malong said, ‘I have agreed to transform the army to represent all ethnicities as per country population of tribes to avoid domination of army’ by any one given tribe. This means that the number of personnel of the SPLA of a given tribe shall reflect representative percentage in the overall population of that given tribe. For example, if Zande represents 5% of the entire population of South Sudan then the number of personnel of Zande origin in the SPLA shall be 5% of the entire army. This shall apply as well to the officer corps, where 5% of the entire officer corps shall be Zande etc.”

See “The Principle of Tribocracy (Part 3)”, section IV (for Dr. Riek Machar) and section V (for President Kiir), written in March 2015, for more information about the application of tribocracy to the national army (security quandary during the IGAD peace negotiation).

By David Mayen Ayarbior, Juba, South Sudan

our founding fathers, splm-a

Salva Kiir, John Garang, William Nyuon, Arok Thon and Kerubino Kuanyin

May 9, 2016 (SSB) —- Under this column (“Notes of Statecraft”) in the esteemed newspaper The Nation Mirror as-well-as on the esteemed online blog, I intend to sometimes post a few extracts from my 2013 book titled “House of War: Civil War and State Failure in Africa.”  This is motivated by the fact that not so many people have come across the book and my belief that knowledge sharing is the engine of social progress. The extracts bellow are from Chapter Three (Literature Review) where I engaged various perspectives of other writers on causes of state failure in Africa (Page 38-41). We can thus look at some sociostructural causes of state failure as viewed by a couple of African writers:

Said Adjumobi (2001), an African historian, attributes state failure in Africa to the structure of modern African states in which the main binding sociopolitical force between citizens is the institutionalization of ethnic entitlements rather than citizenship. He observes that the term nation-state suggests a collectivity of nationalities all bound together in a state through the tie of citizenship. Hence, he defines the institution of citizenship as, “that political artifact through which a state constitutes and perpetually reproduces itself as a form of social organization” (p.152).


A Tribocratic Analysis of the New Cabinet for the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) of South Sudan

In this article, the author argues that the recent formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) has violated the principle of Tribocracy because President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar have marginalized the Dinka (-4%), Equatorians (-3%) and Nuer (-2%) while over-representing the Minority Group (+9%). The Dinka should have been given 16 ministers; the Equatorians 13 ministers; the Nuer 8 ministers and the Minority Group 4 ministers, which translates to 38%, 32%, 19% and 11% of the cabinet respectively.

By PaanLuel Wël, Bor, Jonglei State

28 states of RSS

The 28 states of the Republic of South Sudan


May 4, 2016 (SSB)  —  Under tribocratic dispensation, there are four political caucuses, seventeen political constituencies and numerous political sections in the Republic of South Sudan. The political caucuses are the Dinka, Nuer, Equatorian and the Minority Group. The Minority Group are those ethnic communities that are not Dinka, not Nuer and not Equatorian, such as the Shilluk, Murle, Fertit, Anyuak etc. The political constituencies, a subset of the political caucuses, are: the Rek Dinka, Agaar Dinka, Padang Dinka and Bor Dinka for the Dinka political caucus; the Western, Central and Eastern Equatorians for the Equatorian political caucus; the Lou Nuer, the Jikany Nuer, the Liech Nuer and the Phow Nuer for the Nuer political caucus, and lastly, the Shilluk, Fertit, Mukaji, Buny, Anyuak and Luo for the Minority Group political caucus. Based on the 2008 census, the Dinka political caucus represent 38% of the national population; the Equatorian 32%; the Nuer 19%, and the Minority Group 11%.

For the political constituencies within the Dinka political caucus, the Rek Dinka (Gogrial, Tonj and Aweil) represent the largest portion of the national population at 19.86%; the Agaar Dinka (Aliab, Atuot, Agaar, Chiech and Gok) represent 7.93%; the Padang Dinka (Panaruu, Thoi, Abyei, Luach, Ageer, Paweny, Rut, Aloor, Nyiel, Abiliang, Dongjol and Ngok Lual-Yak) represent 5.88%, and the Bor Dinka (Nyarweng, Hol, Bor, and Twic East,) represent 4.50%. For the political constituencies within the Nuer political caucus, the Liech Nuer (Leek, Nyuong, Dok, Bul, Hak, Jangei, and Western Jikany) represent 5.87%; the Jikany Nuer (Gajaak, Gajook and Gaguong) represent 5.29%; the Lou Nuer (Akobo, Nyirol and Uror) represent 5.13%, and the Phow Nuer (Gawaar, Laak and Thiang) represent 3.02%.

For the political constituencies within the Equatorian political caucus, the Central Equatorians (Bari, Mundari, Kuku, Pajulu, Kakwa, Lokoya, Nyangwara, and Keliko) represent 13.36%; the Eastern Equatorians (Lotuho, Buya, Taposa, Madi, Acholi, Lango, Didinga, Logir Lopit, Pari, Tenet, Horiok, Nyagatom, Dongotano) represent 10.99%, and the Western Equatorians (Zande, Mundu, Moru, Balanda, Baka, Avukaya, Jur-Bhel) represent 7.48%. For the political constituencies within the Minority Group political caucus, the Shilluk (Chollo kingdom) represent 2.98%; the Fertit (Balanda, Jur-Chat) represent 2.49%; the Luo (Jur-Chol, Jur-Bhel) represent 2.04%; the Mukaji (Murle, Kachipo and Jie) represent 1.79%; the Anyuak (Pochalla) represent 0.80%, and the Maban (Buny) represent 0.55%.


Kenya is a cruel marriage, it’s time we talk divorce

By DAVID NDII, Nairobi, Kenya


Do Not Confuse a Camouflaged Call for Confederation for Call Federalism

March 28, 2016 (SSB)  —-  A decade ago, Prof Bethuel Ogot, one of the country’s towering intellectuals, pronounced the “Kenya project” dead. Kenya has never been a more distant idea than it is now at the beginning of the 21st Century. Nationalism is dead, replaced by sub-nationalism. The tribe has eaten the nation. Few years ago, the country exploded into an orgy of political violence.

There may be some people who will be wondering why Prof Ogot is talking about Kenya in terms of projects and ideas. Is Kenya not a concrete reality, an internationally recognised sovereign state?

Although the notion of a nation as an idea is an old one, it is Benedict Anderson’s 1983 book Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism that offered the most cogent articulation of the concept, and in so doing shaped the contemporary study of nationalism.


What is Government in the View of Dr. John Garang? Dr. John Garang Talking to the SPLA Military Officers about Leadership and the Role of the Government in Readiness for the Post-CPA Era in the Republic of South Sudan


The Genius of Dr. John Garang: Speeches on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); Paperback – November 26, 2015 by Dr. John Garang (Author), PaanLuel Wël (Editor)

November 27, 2015 (SSB)  —  With the advent of peace, comrades, we have reached a new phase of our armed struggle, a new phase of transforming the guns and the bullets—that is military power—into political power, and using the political power to achieve socio-economic development rapidly. This is because there is no meaning of revolution—the revolution is meaningless, unless it makes our people happy, unless the masses of our people, as a result of our glorious revolution, become prosperous.

Socio-economic prosperity quantifiable with the degree to which people go ahead and advance in their individual and communal lives: they get food, they get shelter, they get clean drinking water, they get healthcare services, they get social amenities, they get economic infrastructure such as roads, they get jobs and so forth. Unless we provide these essential services to our people, unless the revolution provide these things to our people, then the people will prefer the government of the NIF that provide salt to the government of the SPLM that does not provide anything to its people.

This is simple arithmetic: if the SPLM cannot deliver anything and we just shout REVOLUTION! REVOLUTION!; and yet the cattle of the people are not vaccinated; their children are not vaccinated or sent to school; there is nothing to eat, there are no roads, there are no basic necessities of life—there is no cloth, no needle, not even a razor blade—when the barest minimum of essential things of life are not available, then the people will drive us into the sea, even though there is no sea here, they will find one. Mind you, we have no other choice.


“…it is our survival that is at stake. Therefore, survival itself, if nothing else, will force us to fully implement this document.” —John Garang, January 2002 

John Garang, Salva Kiir, Riek Machar and James Wani Igga

John Garang, Salva Kiir, Riek Machar and James Wani Igga

“”…To your question about whether we, Dr. John Garang and Dr. Riek Machar, are now really reconciled and reunited and whether we are therefore going to honor this peace agreement unlike the 1993 Washington Agreement that you said to have been dishonored by us: well, maybe you have a point to doubt, but at least your doubts should start to go away because here we are in front of you and in front of the international media…With respect to whether we are going to honor this agreement, unlike the 1993 Washington Agreement, my answer is YES, we are serious to abide by it. The agreement does not belong to us, both leadership of the two movements, it belongs to you; it belongs to the people. And so in its implementations, honoring or dishonoring of the agreement, it will be your responsibility as well to hold us to it, as well as it is our responsibility to give guidance with respect to its implementations. Otherwise, as Dr. Riek said, we have suffered long enough, eleven years of suffering, of confusion and of aimless infighting. So the situation as of now, as we said in the signed reconciliation document, it is our survival that is at stake. Therefore, survival itself, if nothing else, will force us to fully implement this [peace] document.””….DR. JOHN GARANG’S STATEMENT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESS BETWEEN THE SPLM/A AND THE SPDF OF DR. RIEK MACHAR TENY, NAIROBI, KENYA, JANUARY 5-6, 2002


Solution Modalities in the Sudan Conflict as Envisaged Through Dr. John Garang’s Vision of The New Sudan



There are five political scenarios but only two solution models. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I will present this analysis using Venn diagrams. ‘Model 3’ is the present Islamic Arab Sudan. It is the problem. The non-Arab and non-Muslims are excluded from this type of Sudan. Now it is even worse. To be included in this Sudan one has to be an NIF.

This model is unstable. It has led to two wars: the Anyanya war and the present SPLM-SPLA war. That is the Old Sudan and it must go or else the Africans can break away and establish an independent state of their own under ‘Model 5’.

We can also have a United Black African Sudan as in ‘Model 4’. It is a hypothetical model but it is not far-fetched. If the thirty one percent Arab population can claim to have an Arab Sudan, there is no reason why the sixty nine percent who are Africans cannot claim a Black African Sudan. This model is also unstable.

The non-Africans can resist this model and call for their own state, also under ‘Model 5’. Then we could agree on the transitional ‘Model 2’. This is the confederal model. The essence of it is that we have two states; one in the North and one in the South linked by a central authority responsible for the matters in which we have an agreement. These are what we call the ‘commonalities’. It is a model to end the war. You end the war by accepting the realities of the country.

There is no way, for instance, in which we can compromise on the question of Islamic Sharia no matter how it is coated. We believe that we must leave the issue of Sharia or no Sharia to each state to decide. Those who want it can have it one hundred percent. They can cut off their hands if they want to. We are opposed to the practice but we are not going to stick out our necks for it.



Meanwhile in the South, we would have a secular state. This model can end the war and can be stable during the interim period. Thus during the interim period, if the Southern economy works very well, the pilgrimage might be to Juba rather than to Mecca.

This is how communism collapsed. It was undermined through the demonstration effect. In this respect, this model is subversive. The Confederal model can lead to the creation of the New Sudan through the expansion of the commonalities over time. This is the preferred outcome of ‘model 1’.

I want to underline here that choosing one of these models is not like multiple choice exam questions where you say, what do you want, A, B, C, D, or E, choose one of them. NO. It is NOT. These models are not electives. Whatever model you choose, you got to fight for it, you got to struggle for it.

And so, for example, in the existing model 3 here of the Arab-Islamic Sudan state, it is in existent and it is in existent by sheer force. It is not there because someone just pick it; it is there simply because it is being enforced by force. If you, for instance, want model 2 or model 1 or model 5, you got to struggle for it, you have to fight for them.

I am saying this, stressing this, because some strange Southerners say we want model 5 (separation) and then they sit back in their chairs and they wait for it to come: but how will it comes ya jamaa? I mean, how could it ever possibly comes to them in their chairs in foreign capital cities, or worse, while they are in Khartoum?




Ajang Barach-Magaar, Nairobi, Kenya

A selfie of Ajang Barach Daau

A selfie of Ajang Barach Daau

June 4, 2015 (SSB)  —  This article is generally addressed to the public, and in particular to the folks that are touted to be ardent apologists of feminism. For quite a long time now, I have had to humble myself and begrudgingly bottle up as crusaders of feminism defend it with an aesthetic devotion of a juvenile, mostly elsewhere.

The primary purpose of the article is to remind everyone of some well-established, brutal human behavioural realities. The biological discrepancies between the dominant man and sullen woman extend far beyond the anatomical aspects. There are marked physical and intellectual inequalities between the two genders.

The male superiority is sufficiently certain to serve as a point of departure from the spurious equality that people have arbitrarily imposed on modern societies. Feminism is a dangerous philosophy confounded by relative poverty of knowledge of evolutionary science.

In any human population, the female’s physical and intellectual inferiority is strikingly evident. Taxonomy of our distant posterity might eventually sub-divide Homo sapiens by placing women in a distinct, inferior sub-species. Some Scientists have even already suggested Homo frontalis for man, and Homo perietalis for woman. But let’s defer deliberations on that subject to a future date.

There may be a few exceptions, incidences where a woman exhibits venerable capabilities, vastly superior to the average man; evidence of this trend has been observed in studies involving the weak, emaciated and effeminate man, congenital idiot or a senile man. But as Gustave Le Bon brilliantly observed, this is as rare as the birth of any monstrosity – like the birth of a gorilla with two heads.

First of all, the behavioural patterns of the juvenile of both genders conspicuously resemble the woman during their early stages of development. As they hurtle headlong towards maturity, the male acquires superior intellectual and physical traits. The girl undergoes an arrested development. She continues to be timid, emotional and irregular in her actions. In fact, a mature woman is a stunted man! She is a replica of man’s past and a lower state of civilization.

As Gutave Le Bon succinctly quipped, women are closer to children and savages than they are to grown up civilized men. If you are a Dinka, then you must have witnessed a girl submitting to an elemental force during a marriage. Submission is a profound manifestation of inferiority. The explanation for the redundancy in women is encapsulated in our tortuous evolutionary history. The guiding generalities for our supremely disproportionate behavioural ramifications were the selective pressures.

The tasks of man have always involved complicated, high stake manoeuvres. Our ancestors used to hunt to mince off a living from their wild environment. As we all know, history is replete with innumerable instances where the hunter becomes the hunted. Our hunter progenitors had to balance between the risks of family starvation and avoid being devoured by the carnivals while scampering about on the remote Savana.

Taking this analogy as nicely elucidated by Charles Darwin, we can conclude that natural selection would have eliminated the weak, and allowed the strong to thrive. So a muscular, fast, intelligent hunter would be more apt to survive the hunt and bring back home the meal. This was in stark contrast to the woman who was exclusively restricted to a sedentary life of child-bearing and house-keeping.

Therefore, the woman’s brain & physique weren’t adequately challenged. Reports amongst South Sudanese Australians suggest that a substantial portion of women opt to offer child day care services. I’m genuinely not baffled by this widespread eventuality. For all practical purposes, even the woman of our modern era would optimally excel in small, repetitive role!

Secondly, there’s a stiffer competition for wives amongst men than amongst women in their bid to get husbands. To eclipse the chasing pack and carry off the prize (the wife), the man must not only be physically superior to his rivals, but also ought to be wittier. The man who is unfortunate enough to be deficient of these benevolent qualities have historically been dumped to the periphery of any society.

Through time, natural selection eventually ensures his descendants fizzle out of the gene pool, effectively rendering him extinct. While the man essentially requires these to gain a competitive edge, the woman only needs to be beautiful in order to summon his attention. She is also only tasked with choosing a suitable spouse, a far mundane challenge.

At this point dear reader, I must stop, for this is certainly not a scientific paper where you would expect a catalogue of postulations to serve as justifications behind the aetiology of the female’s inferiority. My argument was to demonstrate why feminism is a farce. In this paragraph, I would like to summarise my case. In 1860s (please refer to T. Bischoff’s work), Scientists performed series of craniometric experiments to determine the size of the woman’s brain.

The highest measurement ever obtained from a woman was 1,565 grams and it belonged to a woman who had killed her husband. Throughout human history, the woman has always played second fiddle to the man. Any deviation from this norm must be closely monitored. Too much of grandeur might be detrimental for some people. The women who have always proved superior to men have never made the requisite grade of good wives, or house-keepers.

Instead of lending a helping hand to the feminists, I feel that they deserve to be treated to a chorus of utmost contempt. Those who advance feminist views should be educated on the dangerous warmongering they are engaging in as equating a woman to a man would propagate perpetual elevation in the disintegration of family unit. The general implications of this should be better imagined than experienced.

In conclusion, the boy child is born brave, with all the hopes and responsibilities of the future. It is the man who is constantly active in combatting the hurdles of human advancement. Let the girl child remain weak and vulnerable. In evolutionary terms, education induces an almost insignificant transformation in anyone. Nothing will ever harmonise our biological disparities.

Formulating ideas for the welfare of women as a prelude to elevating them to equal societal status as men is an idea of a feeble logical maxim. This facet of activism is a sheer waste of everybody’s energy. Its proponents must know that there are phenomena that you cannot exonerate by just fighting.

The man will always be the serial paragon of wisdom in any human society. Nature has confined women to a position of permanent inferiority. Not even a professorial virtuosity can astutely counter the woman’s innate propensity of excelling in indolence, skewed logic and domination by emotions.

The author, Ajang Barach-Magaar, is a 4th Year Student of B.Sc. Biomedical Technology at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and can be reached through his email: Dau Barach <>

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 does reserve the right to edit the material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

Cabral at 90: Unity and struggle continue in Africa

By Dr. Ama Biney.*

Source: Pambazuka News.

In this special issue on Amilcar Cabral (photo) we seek to return to the life, writings, legacy, political, social, economic and cultural insights of this revolutionary figure whilst examining what he means to Africans and their struggles of today.

Amilcar Cabral would be 90 years old on 12 September 2014 if his life had not been cruelly cut short by reactionary forces on 20 January 1973. He was 49 years old at the time and therefore 20 January 2014 marks forty one years since his brutal assassination. Cabral risks becoming an obscure figure to new and younger generations not only in Africa but globally who are able to reel off sportsmen and women, musicians and celebrities, rather than revolutionary internationalist figures such as Cabral. Therefore in an attempt to reinsert Cabral into the consciousness of African people and progressive peace loving citizens around the world, Pambazuka News celebrates the short life, thought and contribution of this almost forgotten figure who was not only an agronomist, guerrilla fighter, but a poet and political theoretician committed to the unity of Africa and Africans.

Forty-one years since the assassination of Cabral, much has changed in the world and much has remained the same. Apart from Africa’s last colony of Western Sahara, the rest of Africa has achieved flag independence but remains economically enslaved to Western neoliberal capitalism whilst the majority of Africa’s people continue to live in wretched conditions. In studying Cabral’s life and writings they will give further inspiration to the present generation who face new conditions of a globalised world in which empire has reconfigured itself with African allies of imperialism and as globalised imperialism seeks to depoliticise ordinary people and disconnect them from African history. In returning to the writings and speeches of Cabral, we reconnect ourselves to a struggle devoted to genuine socio-economic and political transformation in Guinea Bissau which ordinary people were empowered to be subjects of history and reconstruct a new society. Revisiting this national liberation struggle should inspire us to do the same today.


In our times Cabral’s praxis, that is, theory combined with practice, remains relevant to progressive Africans, activists in social justice movements in Africa and around the world. His thoughts and practice can teach us something in our own specific struggles and concrete conditions of today. However, to this, Cabral, if he were alive today, is likely to have cautioned that: ‘rice is cooked inside the pot and not outside.’ This political principle and practice that he strongly upheld is beautifully conveyed in this African proverb. As the political theoretician he was, he insisted to militants of his Partido Africano da Independencia da Guiné e Cabo Verde (African Party of Guinea and Cape Verde, otherwise known as the PAIGC) that it was essential ‘to start out from the reality of our land – to be realists.’ To put it differently, he insisted that it was fundamental that the positive and negative, strengths and weaknesses of every reality had to be carefully evaluated on its own merits. He told PAIGC militants: ‘A very important aspect of a national liberation struggle is that those who lead the struggle must never confuse what they have in their head with reality.’ The correct diagnosis of a particular reality was for Cabral fundamental ‘so as to guide the struggle correctly.’ Moreover, he insisted that: ‘reality never exists in isolation,’ for the reality in Guinea and Cape Verde was integral to the reality of West Africa and with the reality of the world, ‘although there might be other realities between these.’


Cabral, like Frantz Fanon, was clear that the characteristic failure of post-independent Africa was the absence of ideology underlying the political programmes, policies and vision of political parties. At the Tricontinental conference, Cabral said:

‘The ideological deficiency within the national liberation movements, not to say the total lack of ideology – reflecting as this does an ignorance of the historical reality which these movements claim to transform – makes for one of the greatest weaknesses in our struggle against imperialism, if not the greatest weakness of all.’

To a group of African American militants in 1972, he said: ‘To have ideology doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to define whether you are communist, socialist, or something like this. To have ideology is to know what you want in your own condition.’

Neither did Cabral have pretensions to be Marxist or Leninist. When asked in 1971 by a European journalist to what extent Marxism and Leninism as an ideology had been relevant to the national liberation struggle of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Cabral responded thus:

‘Moving from the realities of one’s own country towards the creation of an ideology for one’s struggle doesn’t imply that one has pretensions to be a Marx or a Lenin or any other great ideologist, but is simply a necessary part of the struggle. I confess that we didn’t know these great theorists terribly well when we began. We didn’t know them half as well as we do now. We needed to know them, as I’ve said in order to judge in what measure we could borrow from their experience to help our situation – but not necessarily to apply the ideology blindly just because it’s very good. This is where we stand on this.’

In short, we must take from Cabral that today’s progressive individuals and their movements must theorise out of their concretely lived situations of self-understanding within the context of their specific history. Yet, they must learn from the experiences of others, to the extent that the experiences of others are useful to them in finding solutions to socio-economic, political and ecological problems. In this way, for Cabral, theory and ideology were neither static nor dogmatic but both were in ceaseless and uncompromising efforts of open-ended reflection in relation to a particular reality and specific history.

At the first Tricontinental Conference in Havana in 1966, Cabral said: ‘It is useful to recall in this tricontinental gathering, so rich in experience and example, that no matter how close may be the similarity between cases and between the identities of our enemy, national liberation and social revolution are not for export. They are – and every day they become more so – the outcome of a local and national elaboration that is more or less influenced by external factors (favourable or not), but essentially is formed and conditioned by the historical reality of each people, and is carried to success by right solutions to the internal contradictions which arise in this reality.’


Much has been written on Cabral’s position on national liberation and culture and specifically that the national liberation struggle was a struggle to reclaim African culture; and yet how that cultural reality is dictated by economic conditions of underdevelopment. Whilst he acknowledged the strengths of ‘various African cultures,’ we should note Cabral recognised a plurality of African cultures. He also observed that ‘culture develops in an uneven process, at the level of a continent, a ‘race’ or even a society.’ He was a realist and a candid political theoretician in also pointing out the weaknesses of African culture. From 19-24 November 1969 he held a series of seminars for PAIGC cadres at which he said:

‘Our struggle is based on our culture, because culture is the fruit of history and it is a strength. But our culture is filled with weakness in the face of nature. It is essential to know this… Various comrades who are sitting here have an amulet at their waist, in the belief that this will allow them to escape Portuguese bullets. But not one of you can say to me that no one of the comrades who already died in our struggle had an amulet at his waist. They all had them! It is just that in our struggle we have to respect this, we have to respect this because we start out from reality.’

Cabral advanced to point out that such practices are also an ‘obstacle to the struggle’ which is also complex. In many parts of the African continent particular reactionary cultural practices and notions exist that impede socio-economic development. For example, in the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone during the 1990s many soldiers wore amulets believing that they would protect them from injury and death from opposing militias. Similarly in some African countries albino individuals are murdered believing their body parts hold magical powers to be used in rituals. Today it is only the rapid and widescale advancement of education and science that can eradicate such pernicious ideas and practices.

Moreover, Cabral did not consider African cultures as sealed from other cultural influences. In his own words he said:

‘A people who free themselves from foreign domination will not be culturally free unless, without underestimating the importance of positive contributions from the oppressor’s culture and other cultures, they return to the upward paths of their own culture. The latter is nourished by the living reality of the environment and rejects harmful influences such as any kind of subjection to foreign cultures. We see therefore, that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practise cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture.’

Therefore, one of the many challenges confronting African people in our current globalised world is to critically evaluate aspects of the seemingly hegemonic nature of Western culture that is positive and negative. By internalising the harmful aspects of Western culture we continue to be unconsciously perpetuating our own oppression.

Cabral also identifies the fact that ‘political leaders – even the most famous – may be culturally alienated.’ There are African leaders today who use the slogan of culture to oppress others who are gay or lesbian by upholding heterosexism as the cultural norm and defining what is culturally acceptable and unacceptable for African women to wear, whether that is trousers or mini skirts.


Basil Davidson, the great British historian referred to Cabral as not only the ‘inspirer’ of the PAIGC but ‘its leader, its relentless critic: a man of unforgettable moral resonance and strength of purpose’ whom he met in 1960. Deplorably today Africa’s leadership lacks men and women of the integrity of the generation of the era of Mandela and Cabral. In Cabral’s address entitled, ‘Our Party and the Struggle must be led by the best sons and daughters of our people’ there are a number of ethical and political principles he outlines that remain relevant to political parties and social movements in Africa today. Cabral is outspoken in denouncing party militants who ‘have sought comfort, to flee from responsibilities, an easier life, to begin enjoying themselves, thinking that they already have independence in their grasp.’ He continues with this frankness when he says: ‘And we must throw out those who do not understand, however much it hurts us.’ He urges each individual to be vigilant ‘for the struggle is a selective process; the struggle shows us to everyone, and shows who we are.’ Inevitably struggles for social and political justice soon separate the wheat from the chaff; the politically sincere from the politically insincere, the politically honest from the politically dishonest. That is why he states that: ‘struggle is daily action against ourselves and against the enemy.’ This enemy now manifests in Africa in the form of a petty bourgeoisie who are Eurocentric in their aspirations and support neoliberal economic policies whilst colluding with outside interests in order to fulfil their own narrow class interests and power base. Therefore, at this present juncture in Africa’s history, progressive forces must be aware that this particular class in Africa is as detrimental to the interests of the African poor as are the forces of ‘stealth imperialism’ operating in the form of the IMF, World Bank, AFRICOM and various multi-lateral aid agencies.

Cabral identifies patriarchcal attitudes embedded in the views of some male militants within the party who resist women taking up their responsibilities as a problem. To cite him at some length:

‘A particular instance was the occasional stubborn, silent resistance to the presence of women among the leadership. Some comrades do their utmost to prevent women taking charge, even when there are women who have more ability to lead than they do. Unhappily some of our women comrades have not been able to maintain the respect and the necessary dignity to protect their position as persons in authority. They were not able to escape certain temptations, or at least to shoulder certain responsibilities without complexes. But the men comrades, some, do not want to understand that liberty for our people means that women as well must play a part, and that the strength of our Party is worth more if women join in as well to lead with the men. Many folk say that Cabral has an obsession about giving women leadership positions as well. They say: ‘Let him do it, but we shall sabotage it afterwards.’ That comes from folk who have not yet understood anything. They can sabotage today, sabotage tomorrow, but one day it will catch up with them.’

Cabral also castigates those male PAIGC commissars who prefer a woman to become a mistress instead of him helping her to become a doctor, teacher or soldier using the authority of the party to satisfy not only his own stomach but his lust. Today, despite the progress some African countries have made in the political representation of women in national assemblies such as South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi with women claiming over 30% of parliamentary seats, in many African universities and schools young girls and women continue to be subjected to sexual harassment and sex for grades as the sugar daddy phenomenon exists. Men in positions of power abuse these positions for sexual gratification and the perceived status and ego derived from such sexual exploitation.

Cabral urges opportunists within the Party to be unmasked and emphasises collective leadership in opposition to ‘the tendency of some comrades [is] to monopolise leadership just for themselves.’

Today this destructive monopolisation of leadership continues. Post-colonial Africa has witnessed waves of civil wars e.g. Liberia, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, the DRC, the CAR and currently in South Sudan, to name a few. These wars were clearly not guided by ethical or ideological principles in the conduct nor goals of the war. Civilians were hacked to death in many of these countries and women raped. Today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), and in South Sudan, deaths and atrocities of African people continue with impunity as these conflicts make victims of innocent civilians.

Political leaders such as former Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar, who was sacked by President Salva Kiir in July 2013 does not abide by the rules of the political game and has resorted to violence for political ends. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is a political rivalry of male egos that has been played out in many African countries since independence and has tragically resorted to each side resorting to their phallic guns as a means of resolution of their political ambitions to rule. Machar and war leaders in the CAR and the DRC are bereft of any noble political and ethical ideals that motivated Cabral’s generation. Meanwhile, it is stunning to know that in a country that is just over two years newly born, two and a half billion dollars of oil money has been stolen by South Sudanese officials and ministers. What kind of ethics underlies the behaviour of such individuals who deprive their citizens of life in medicine, functioning roads and a future through education? How is it possible to morally justify the use of children as child soldiers in Africa’s various past and on-going wars?


Clearly the watchwords of many of Africa’s leaders have been antithetical to those Cabral advocated. It could be argued that idealism infused Cabral’s political thought. He was clear that certain principles were essential to political work such as: ‘explain to the population what is happening in the struggle, what the party is endeavouring to do at any given moment, and what the criminal intentions of the enemy may be.’

Cabral was a dialectician in that he was sensitive to the contradictory character of human existence; he strived within himself and encouraged others to become better human beings. Hence he urged:

‘Educate ourselves, educate other people, the population in general, to fight fear and ignorance, to eliminate little by little the subjugation to nature and natural forces which our economy has not yet mastered. Convince little by little, in particular the militants of the Party, that we shall end by conquering the fear of nature, and that man is the strongest force in nature. Demand from responsible Party members that they dedicate themselves seriously to study, that they interest themselves in the things and problems of our daily life and struggle in their fundamental and essential aspect, and not simply in their appearance … Learn from life, learn from our people, learn from books, learn from the experience of others. Never stop learning.’

Many of the general watchwords of Cabral reveal his deep commitment to ethics. For example, he tells PAIGC members: ‘We must constantly be more aware of the errors and mistakes we make so that we can correct our work and constantly do better in the service of our Party. The mistakes we make should not dishearten us, just as the victories we score should not make us forget our mistakes.’

He evokes Gramsci’s ‘pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will’ when he pronounces the following:

‘So in the light of favourable prospects for our struggle, we must study each problem thoroughly and find the best solution for it. Think in order to act and act in order to be able to think better. We must as always face the present and the future with optimism, but without losing sight of realities and particularly of the special difficulties of our struggle. We must always bear in mind and carry out the watchwords of our Party: hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.’


Cabral’s watchwords have a pertinence in our times for we must ‘know well our own strength and the enemy strength.’ Most important of all his watchwords and relevance for our times is the need for Africans to foster the principle and practice of criticism and self-criticism with integrity. In his own words:

‘Develop the spirit of criticism between militants and responsible workers. Give everyone at every level the opportunity to criticize, to give his opinion about the work and behaviour of the action of others. Accept criticism, wherever it comes from, as a contribution to improving the work of the Party, as a demonstration of active interest in the internal life of our organisation.’

The failure to destroy the colonially inherited institutions of the state is one of the principal failures of post-independent political parties, [38] but equally disastrous has been the failure to practice and nurture democratic values among multi-ethnic communities in the forging of a new and tolerant Africa. Consequently, during the post-colonial period and currently, this lack of democratic tolerance and inclusivity has given rise to many examples of ethnic cleansing, communal tensions, extremism in the form of Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, genocide and xenophobia in various parts of Africa.

Cabral’s intimate knowledge of Guinea through his work as an agronomist put him directly in touch with many of the country’s ethnic groups such as the Fulas, Balantes, Manjaco, Mandinga, Baiote, Beafada, Saracole, Mancanha, Bijago, Sosso. He believed that whilst there were economic, social and cultural differences among these diverse groups, they could unite around principles and interests. This belief led him to wage a struggle to unify the islands of Cape Verde with mainland Guinea. His belief in unity of his country was amplified to the rest of the continent in founding the Conference of Nationalist Organisations of Portuguese territories (CONCP) in 1961 which incorporated Angola and Mozambique. This organisation worked for the independence of all the former Portuguese colonial territories. His Pan-Africanist convictions are also revealed in his informal talk with over 120 African Americans in 1972 where he connects the struggles of people of African descent to those in Africa. Cabral’s honesty is evident here in the manner he answers the questions put to him by his audience. He also tells them that as they ‘become conscious of their responsibilities to the struggle in Africa’ it does not mean they all have to leave America and ‘go fight in Africa’. He says to his audience:

‘That is not being realistic in our opinion. History is a very strong chain. We have to accept the limits of history but not the limits imposed by the societies where we are living. There is a difference. We think that all you can do here is to develop your own conditions in the sense of progress, in the sense of history and in the sense of the total realization of your aspirations as human beings is a contribution to us. It is also a contribution for you to never forget that you are Africans.’

His brutal honesty is also seen in his interaction with the African Americans when he is asked about the role of women in the struggle for liberation. Cabral responds by pointing out the differences in Fula society in which a woman is considered to be like a piece of property; in Balante society where women are not owned and other matriarchcal societies. He points out that whilst the PAIGC has made great achievements, there remains much to be done. This is Cabral’s candid view on the question of the oppression of women:

‘We are very far from what we want to do, but this is not a problem that can be solved by Cabral signing a decree. It’s all part of the process of transformation, of change in the material conditions of the existence of our people, but also in the minds of the women, because sometimes the greatest difficulty is not only in the men but in the women too.’

In short, Cabral is correct in identifying that patriarchcal ideology has also been internalised by women who also resist change as many men may do and this gravely complicates overhauling the status quo of gender relations.


Cabral’s Pan-Africanism also had an internationalist dimension for he believed that racism ‘is not eternal in any latitude of the world. It is the result of historical and economic conditions. And we cannot answer racism with racism. It is not possible.’ In his ‘Message to the People of Portugal’ broadcast in 1969, he made clear that a distinction needed to be made between the people of Portugal and Portuguese colonialism. He called for fraternal cooperation with the people of Portugal. He appealed to them to oppose the slaughter of their own sons in a continued war; he thanked the Portuguese people who had recently participated in demonstrations against Portugal’s colonial wars. Cabral’s humanism towards prisoners of war is revealed when he states: ‘We consider that a prisoner-of-war deserves respect, because he is giving his life, whether or not the cause he is fighting for is just.’

In his address to African Americans he acknowledged the support from the countries making up the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as well as moral, political, and material support from the Soviet Union and China.

In regards to aid, he was blunt in stating that: ‘we let each people give us the aid they can, and we never accept conditions with the aid.’ If Cabral had lived, it would have been interesting to see how he would have navigated the entanglement of conditionalities of donor countries and multi-lateral aid agencies which many African countries have failed to escape from in the last 50 years of so-called independence. In the late 1960s Cabral was uncompromising on aid and volunteers, for he said to Basil Davidson: ‘We want no volunteers… We shall turn them back if they present themselves. Foreign military advisers or commanders, or any other foreign personnel, are the last thing we shall accept. They would rob my people of their one chance of achieving a historical meaning of themselves: of reasserting their own history, of recapturing their own identity.’ Perhaps it is the case that among the army of Western and African development consultants in the various NGO outfits and personnel up and down the African continent, many also rob Africans of the chance of ‘reasserting their own history, of recapturing their own identity’ today?

Since the decade of the 1970s Africa has received billions of dollars of aid which has instead maintained client regimes of one kind or another in Africa with little regard to whether these regimes were providing a decent living for their citizens with the funds allegedly allocate to ‘aid’ these countries.

The issues of identity and dignity that Cabral wrote about are reflected in other struggles around the world apart from the African continent. In Brazil and Columbia, just to give two examples among many, struggles by indigenous people to remain on their land as logging and new highways and dams are built are destroying the livelihood of indigenous people. That land is intimately tied to a people’s identity and dignity was profoundly understood by Cabral. If he were alive today he would certainly identify with the struggle of the indigenous Awa, a group of nomadic hunter gathers who are threatened in Marahao state in Brazil by loggers encroaching on their land and the hundreds of African communities who have been dispossessed of their land through land deals to foreign investors by neo-colonial African governments.


The vast majority of African people continue to struggle on the continent despite the myth of an ‘Africa is rising’ narrative. African people continue to fight against GMOs, land deals, unfair mining practices and oil extraction that leaves ecological pillage and plunder in communities; against unfair working conditions; and for human rights. As Cabral poignantly pointed out in one of his oft repeated quotes:

‘Always remember that the people do not struggle for ideas, for things in the heads of individuals. The people struggle and accept the sacrifices demanded by the struggle, but in order to gain material advantages, to be able to live a better life in peace, to see their lives progress and to ensure their children’s future.’

The revolt in Guinea Bissau that turned into a revolution led by the PAIGC in 1956 was inextricably tied to the creation of new socio-economic structures. “Build the revolution as you fight” was both the slogan and concrete practice of the PAIGC. Consequently the mobilised masses of people of Guinea Bissau together with the PAIGC built alternative schools, clinics and engaged in economic programmes throughout the liberated areas as the beginnings of the new type of society they wished to live in.

In this Pambazuka special issue on Cabral, we have a number of articles that examine the impact of Cabral’s legacy on the Black Liberation Movement; revisit his ‘weapon of theory’; evaluate Cabral’s position on imperialism, neo-colonialism, Pan-Africanism, socialist revolution and cultural politics. They are by no means an exhaustive evaluation of Cabral’s political and social thought. However, they are a small contribution to the much needed celebration and reflection on his critical relevance for Africans today.

*Ama Biney (Dr) is a scholar-activist and Acting Editor-in-Chief of Pambazuka News.


Africa: a continent drenched in the blood of revolutionary heroes

Between 1961 and 1973, six African independence leaders were assassinated by their ex-colonial rulers, including Patrice Lumumba of Congo, who was killed 50 years ago today

Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of newly independent Congo, was the second of five leaders of independence movements in African countries to be assassinated in the 1960s by their former colonial masters, or their agents.

A sixth, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, was ousted in a western-backed coup in 1966, and a seventh, Amilcar Cabral, leader of the west African liberation movement against Portugal of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde or PAIGC) in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, was assassinated in 1973.

Lumumba’s death in 1961 followed on from that of the opposition leader of Cameroon, Felix Moumie, poisoned in 1960. Sylvanus Olympio, leader of Togo was killed in 1963. Mehdi Ben Barka, leader of the Moroccan opposition movement was kidnapped in France in 1965 and his body never found. Eduardo Mondlane, leader of Mozambique’s Frelimo, fighting for independence from the Portuguese, died from a parcel bomb in 1969.

The loss 50 years ago of this group of leaders, who all knew each other, and had a common political project based on national dignity, crippled each of their countries, and the African continent. The effects are still evident today.

Ben Barka and Cabral were revolutionary theoreticians – as significant as Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara. Their influence reverberated far beyond their own continent. At the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, organised by Ben Barka before his death, Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s closing speech referred to “one of the most lucid and brilliant leaders in Africa, Comrade Amílcar Cabral, who instilled in us tremendous confidence in the future and the success of his struggle for liberation.”

The Third World Movement, challenging the economic and political world dominance of the colonial powers, the US, and the neocolonial leaders favoured by the west, would have two short decades of ambition and optimism despite the long shadow of its great leaders’ deaths.

Today, it is impossible to touch down at the (far from modernised) airport of Lubumbashi in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo – in 1961 known as Elizabethville, in Congo (then renamed Zaire) – without a shiver of recollection of the haunting photograph taken of Lumumba there shortly before his assassination, and after beatings, torture and a long, long flight in custody across the vast country which had so loved him. This particular failure of the United Nations to protect one man and his two colleagues was every bit as significant as that in Srebrenica in 1995, when 8,000 men and boys were killed.

Lumumba’s own words, written to his wife just four months after the exhilaration of independence day in the capital Kinshasa are a reminder of who he was and why he meant so much to so many people then, and still does today.

“Dead, living, free, or in prison on the orders of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside… History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets… a history of glory and dignity.”

Lumumba would not have been surprised that his successor, Joseph Mobuto was the US strategic ally in Africa for 30 years. Congo was too rich, too big, and too important for the west to lose control as they would have had Lumumba lived.

How ironic that Mobuto was succeeded by Laurent Desire Kabila, whose 10th anniversary of assassination, by his own guards, falls just one day before Lumumba’s? (There are conflicting reports as to the exact date of Kabila’s death, a good overview can be found here).

Kabila came to power in 1997 as the useful figurehead of the armies of Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola. He trailed some historical legitimacy from his involvement in one of the rebellions against Mobuto, inspired by Lumumba’s death. Che Guevara was then, in 1965, deep in his second-last catastrophic attempt to change the world, working then from his concept of Lumumba’s Congo.

When Kabila sprang from obscurity in 1997 as leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Che’s African diaries from eastern Congo had not yet been published, with the acid comment, “I know Kabila well enough not to have any illusions about him.”

In Kabila’s first chaotic weeks in power in 1997, the great Tanzanian leader, Julius Nyerere visited Kinshasa and addressed the new and unformed leadership. “There are no uncles any more for Congo, do not wait for them to come and help you – the country is yours and you must take the responsibility for it and for your people,” he said.

As one of those present told me: “They did not like Nyerere’s speech, they could not wait to use their new power to make allies with foreign businessmen and get rich themselves – just like the others.” But Lumumba’s ideas are still alive, and he himself had no illusions that the road to dignity for his people would be extremely long.

 The Application of Tribocratic Dispensation to the Hurting Stalemate of the South Sudanese’ Peace Talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba

In the life of every person there comes a point when he realizes that out of all the seemingly limitless possibilities of his youth he has in fact become one actuality. No longer is life a broad plain with forests and mountains beckoning all-around, but it becomes apparent that one’s journey across the meadows has indeed followed a regular path, that one can no longer go this way or that. The desire to reconcile an experience of freedom with a determined environment is the lament of poetry and the dilemma of philosophy.– Opening Sentence, Henry Kissinger’s Undergraduate Thesis, Harvard University, 1949.

Celebrating the Fruition of the CPA

Celebrating the Fruition of the CPA


March 6, 2015 (SSB) —  During the intra-SPLM/A reconciliation meeting in Rumbek, Lakes state, between Chairman John Garang and his deputy, Commander Salva Kiir Mayaardit following the 2004 Yei crisis, Garang told the gathering that the SPLM was entering a new era of democratic dispensation in which anyone dissatisfied with the way the party and/or the country would be governed will not have any excuse to resort to a military coup to make his or her point.

With his characteristic humor, Garang gave an example of Commander Riek Machar, saying that there would be “no need for coup d’état anymore, so for example my friend, Dr. Riek Machar, will not need to make a coup because he can form his own party if he is discontented with the SPLM.”[1]

Barely two years after the independence of the Republic of South Sudan, Riek Machar is back in the bush, accused of having instigated a failed military coup against the government of President Salva Kiir Mayaardit.

In his own words, according to Riek Machar, he is fighting for political reforms and democratic transformation in South Sudan, but according to the government, Riek Machar has eschewed democratic means in preference for a military force to remove a democratically and constitutionally elected government.

The government’s supporters insist that the government is legitimate and constitutional because the people of South Sudan gave it a resounding 98% of their votes, democratically electing it.

As explained in “Bullet or Ballot: Resolving the Burgeoning Conflict in South Sudan—Part One, Two and Three[2] and in “The Hurting Stalemate of South Sudan’s Peace Talks—Part One and Two[3], the conflict that erupted on December 15th, 2013, was triggered by a perilous power struggle within the ruling SPLM party.

At the commencement of the conflict, the government wanted nothing but the blood-dripping head of Riek Machar while the rebels, backed by the white army, were shouting, “Kiir must go”.

The civil war ensued with the repeated gain and loss of Bor, Bentiu, Malakal, and Nasir towns. The rebels’ momentum began to fizzle in mid 2014. Presently, the government controls all the major towns of South Sudan. Nonetheless, some of these cities are vulnerable to rebel attack.

The rebels can potentially retake Nasir and/or Bentiu and use them as their assembly points in preparation for the interim government. More likely, the rebels might use such strategic towns as their military bases throughout the interim period since they are campaigning for two separate but equal armies in Addis Ababa.

Whereas preliminary peace talks had began in earlier 2014, it was not until the stalemate on the military fronts that the warring factions began to appreciate the IGAD-led South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The current military standoff has compelled the two warring parties to seek a political settlement of the crisis.

With the help of IGAD leaders, President Kiir and Riek Machar have, in principle, agreed to a power sharing deal under the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU), which would run for 30 months.

Nonetheless, the warring factions are yet to compromise on the leadership structure and the power sharing ratios for the interim government. Moreover, there is no agreement whatsoever on the thorny question of security arrangements (during the interim period) and integration of the rebel forces and their allied militias into the national army.

The rebels demand the position of the first vice president and separate armies during the 30-month interim period while the government rubbishes both ideas. Apparently, on the power-sharing ratio, both sides might grudgingly consent to the IGAD-proposed formula of 60% for the government, 30% for the rebels and 10% for other stakeholders such as the G-10 and other political parties.

In the third part of this article, I am going to apply the tribocratic dispensation to unravel the excruciating stalemate of the South Sudanese’ peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


In part one of this article, I have argued that the most coherent and effective method to achieve an equitable, fair and just system of governance in South Sudan in particular and Africa in general is to adopt and institutionalize tribocracy.

As revealed in part two of this article, under a tribocratic system, South Sudan would be divided by four major tribes, namely the Dinka who are about 38.18% of South Sudan’s national population; the Equatorian who are around 31.82%; the Nuer who are approximately 19.33% and the Minority Group who are roughly 10.65%.

In a fair and just system of governance in which representatives of a particular ethnic group hold a number of government posts proportionate to the percentage of the total population that the particular ethnic group represents, the Dinka would take 38.18% of the national government, the Equatorian 31.82%, the Nuer 19.33% and the Minority Group 10.65%.

When this doctrine is applied to the political mindset of the South Sudanese people that habitual swings between “our” government versus “their” government, it portends a revolutionary impact. Were we to take the idea to its logical conclusion, it means that a tribocratic government is truly the government of the South Sudanese, by the South Sudanese and for the South Sudanese.

It is a government in which each and every ethnic community is fairly and justly represented. With each tribe holding a number of government positions proportionate to the percentage of the total population that the particular tribe in question represents, the government would be seen as “ours” by those to whom justice has been done by a tribocratic system that enshrines fair and equitable political representation across all ethnic groups comprising that particular country.

Under a tribocratic system, how would we contrive and apply a workable formula to the political gridlock in Addis Ababa?

Well, the first logical step is to realize that the rebellion is overwhelmingly Nuer while the Dinka occupy the state security apparatus. Secondly, the IGAD-led peace process is likely to shortchange the Equatorian and the Minority Group, both politically and militarily.

In the recent session concerning security arrangement during the forthcoming interim period, for example, the crescendo of heated debates that ensued between the two warring factions reached a level where each party was accusing the other of a “tribal tendency to control the army for narrow political interests.”[4]

In turn, Hon. Peter Bashir Bandi, a government deputy minister for foreign affairs who is an Equatorian, took sides and attacked the two warring parties, accusing “them of deliberate intent to make the army [a] monopoly of Nuer and Dinka.”[5]

Evidently, although the rebels would pretend to be fighting for freedom and democratic transformation—while the government would pretend to be protecting the legitimate and constitutional institutions—in South Sudan, it is crystal clear that this is far from the truth.

As pointed out by Hon. Bashir Bandi, the Dinka and the Nuer communities are taking the Equatorian and the Minority group for a ride in Addis Ababa. If this dangerous slight is not rectified in time, the Dinka and the Nuer could end up dominating both the political and the military posts of the transitional government.

Firstly, not only will this be grossly unjust to the underrepresented communities, but is likely to incentivize violent rebellion in the sense that one must rebel and kill in order to get his or her fair and just share of the national cake.

Secondly, there is no viable and effective formula to share the transitional government of national unity in a way that would allow each of the four political tribes its fair share of the national government. Under the current peace negotiations in Addis Ababa, the Nuer would still end up dominating the national army in the interim period just as before the December 15th conflict.

Given the ominous way Riek Machar bragged to the Americans in May 2013 that President Kiir should remember that 80% of the South Sudan national army is Nuer, another domination of the national army by one community in South Sudan would herald more trouble in the not-so distant future. It must be avoided by all means if peace and political stability are to reign, once more, in South Sudan.

Most importantly, any government of national unity that would result from the Addis Ababa peace talks would never be “our” government. The Equatorian and the Minority Group would trash it as a government of the “Dinka” and the “Nuer”.

Meanwhile, the Dinka and the Nuer will not perceive it as “their” government either; instead, they would be jostling for absolute control of the pillars of power, a dangerous game that could reignite the conflict.


First of all, for the Addis Ababa peace talks to be meaningful, they have to produce a fair and just government of the four tribes of South Sudan. Secondly, the fair and just government should be seen by all South Sudanese as “their” government, rather than a government of the Dinka, of the Nuer, of the Equatorian or of the Minority Group.

To put it differently, the proposed transitional government of national unity must be 38.18% Dinka, 31.82% Equatorian, 19.33% Nuer and 10.65% Minority Group, both politically and militarily.

What this means is that should the warring factions end up with the IGAD-proposed ratio of 60% for the government, 30% for the rebels and 10% for G-10, then out of the 60% share of the government, 38.18% of the 60% should be given to the Dinka, 31.82% of the 60% to the Equatorian, 19.33% of the 60% to the Nuer, and 10.65% of the 60% to the Minority Group.

In other word, from the 60% allocated to the government, the Dinka under President Salva Kiir would get 22.91%; the Equatorian under President Salva Kiir 19.09%, the Nuer under President Salva Kiir 11.60% and the Minority Group under President Salva Kiir 6.39% of the interim government.

Likewise, for the 30% share given to the rebels under Riek Machar, the Dinka would take 38.18% of the 30%, the Equatorian 31.82% of the 30%, the Nuer 19.33% of the 30%, and the Minority Group 10.65% of the 30%.

Thus, from the 30% allocated to the rebels, the Dinka allied to Riek Machar would be given 11.45%, the Equatorian allied to Riek Machar 9.55%, the Nuer allied to Riek Machar 5.80%, and the Minority Group allied to Riek Machar 3.20% of the transitional government.

The same logic applies to the 10% slated for the G-10. Of the 10%, 38.18% of it should go to the Dinka, 31.82% of it to the Equatorian, 19.33% of it to the Nuer, and 10.65% of it to the Minority Group.

This would translate to 3.82% of the Dinka with the G-10, 3.18% of the Equatorian with the G-10, 1.93% of the Nuer with the G-10, and 1.07% of the Minority Group with the G-10.

The resultant transitional government of national unity under tribocratic dispensation would be seen and taken as “our” government by all the communities of South Sudan because it would be a fair and just government in which every tribe is equitable represented at the “eating table”.

This is because the total share of the Dinka under President Kiir (22.91%) plus those allied to Riek Machar (11.45%) and those with the G-10 (3.82%) would simply add up to 38.18%, which is exactly the percentage share of the Dinka proportionate to the percentage of the total population of South Sudan.

The total share of the Equatorian under President Kiir (19.09%) plus those allied to Riek Machar (9.55%) and those with the G-10 (3.18%) would simply add up to 31.82%, which is exactly the percentage share of the Equatorian proportionate to the percentage of the total population of South Sudan.

The total share of the Nuer under President Kiir (11.60%) plus those allied to Riek Machar (5.80%) and those with the G-10 (1.93%) would simply add up to 19.33%, which is exactly the percentage share of the Nuer proportionate to the percentage of the total population of South Sudan.

The total share of the Minority Group under President Kiir (6.39%) plus those allied to Riek Machar (3.20%) and those with the G-10 (1.07%) would simply add up to 10.65%, which is exactly the percentage share of the Minority Group proportionate to the percentage of the total population of South Sudan.

The above application of the tribocratic dispensation to political sharing of power during the interim period is also relevant to the security arrangement during and after the interim period. In order to avoid the abuse of and fear for the national army, the interim armed forces should be divided up among the four tribes. 38.18% should be Dinka, 31.82% Equatorian, 19.33 Nuer and 10.65% Minority Group.

If the warring parties conclude that the formula for army integration would be 60% for the government, 40% for the rebels, then the Dinka soldiers under the government should have 38.18% of the 60%, which is 22.91% of the national army; Equatorian 31.82% of the 60%, which is 19.09%; Nuer 19.33% of the 60%, which is 11.60%, while the Minority Group get 10.65% of the 60%, which is 6.39%.

Similarly, for the 40% assigned to the rebels, 38.18% of the 40% would be given to the Dinka, which amount to 15.27% of the rebels’ army; 31.82% of the 40% to the Equatorian, which is 12.73%; 19.33% of the 40% to the Nuer, which translate to 7.73%, and 10.65% of the 40% to the Minority Group which is 4.26%.

If we add up the percentage of the Dinka soldiers under the government (22.91%) to those allied to the rebels (15.27%), it would sum up to 38.18% of the national army, which is exactly the percentage share of the Dinka proportionate to the percentage of the total population of South Sudan.

Equally, the sum total of the Equatorian soldiers in the interim national army would be 31.82%, the Nuer 19.33%, and the Minority Group 10.65%, all of which are exactly their percentage shares proportionate to the percentage of the total population of South Sudan.


Indeed, the application of a tribocratic dispensation to the hurting stalemate of the Addis Ababa peace talks would untangle the deadlock over power sharing ratios and security arrangements in the most logical and effective way possible.

However, the lingering question in the mind of the reader is: why would the warring factions—the government under President Kiir and the rebels under Riek Machar—embrace the tribocratic dispensation as the best way to solve the political deadlock and security impasse in Addis Ababa?

Let’s begin first with the armed rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar: what is his main interest in the current conflict and what are his core challenges to achieving that particular goal?

Contrary to his public utterances that he is fighting for political reform and democratic transformation in South Sudan, Riek Machar’s short-term political interest is to get himself back into the government as the first vice president or prime minister of the Republic of South Sudan.

His long-term goal is to capitalize on his position within the interim government to endear himself to and gain more political support from all sections of the South Sudanese society in order to win the next presidential election at the end of the transitional government.

The main political challenge bedeviling Riek Machar, since the days of the 1991 Nasir Coup, is the tag of “Nuer leader”. The Nasir coup fell apart and Riek Machar had to surrender to Khartoum precisely because he failed to get political and military backing from other South Sudanese communities with the exception of the Nuer—his tribe.

In this current war, Riek Machar has only succeeded in mobilizing the Nuer nation. While there are some few Dinka and Equatorian and Minority Group within the rank and file of the rebel movement, the fact of the matter is that about 99.99% of the armed men fighting and dying on the rebel side are Nuer. More than 99% of the rebel leadership is Nuer, too.

Naturally, Riek Machar is a Nuer leader in charge of a Nuer movement fighting for the interest of the Nuer community in the Republic of South Sudan. Chances of a Nuer leader—riding on the wave of the white army and the Nuer political backing—actually winning the next presidential election are very slim, if not utterly impossible.

Therefore, the most logical favor that Riek Machar can do himself is to wean himself off the ideology of Nuerism. This is informed by the fact that if Riek Machar can’t take power by force when the Nuer, in his own bragging, were “80%” of the national army, then the military option is out of the question.

Given what happened on December 15th, it is inconceivable that there will ever be another day that the Nuer would be “80%” of the South Sudan national army.

Consequently, for Riek Machar, the only road leading to the presidency is the democratic means—of ballot rather than bullet. In highly tribalized nations like South Sudan, the size of the community of the aspiring leader does really matter.

Those from larger communities do have better prospects of winning the presidency relative to those from smaller ones.

Unlike his arch-rival President Kiir whose ethnic constituency constitutes about 40% of South Sudan national population, Riek Machar’s ethnic community amounts to around 20% of the national population.

Riek Machar, for that reason, needs more support from the Dinka, the Equatorian, and the Minority Group than Salva Kiir. That is to say, on the surface, Riek Machar has more reasons to embrace and advocate for the tribocratic dispensation as a power sharing mechanism in Addis Ababa than President Kiir.

Tribocracy will give Riek Machar a much-needed foothold within the political constituencies of the Dinka, the Equatorian and the Minority Group. Through tribocratic dispensation, Riek Machar can redeem himself—changing from being a Nuer leader leading a Nuer movement for Nuer interests to a South Sudanese leader leading the South Sudanese people for national interest.

His political base in the interim government would shift from its current predominantly Nuer army and Nuer political base to 38.18% Dinka, 31.82% Equatorian, 19.33% Nuer and 10.65% Minority Group. Once his core supporters are fairly distributed all over the Republic of South Sudan, Riek Machar will definitely have a better shot at the presidency than at any time in the living history of South Sudan.


How about President Salva Kiir: what is his overriding interest in the current conflict and what are his cores political and security challenges?

Contrary to his public declarations about the sanctity of a constitutional government, President Kiir short-term political interest is to lead the interim government while his long-term interest is to win the forthcoming presidential election at the end of the provisional period of 30 months.

However, his main challenge is how to prevent the Nuer from re-dominating both the government and the army in the forthcoming transitional government of national unity.

Before the dissolution of government in July 2013, the Nuer, who are around 19% of South Sudan national population, reportedly made up about 70% of the national army and were more than fairly represented in the government. The vice president was a Nuer, and so was the chief of general staffs, the minister for defense, and the minister for justice.

Of the three sectors of the South Sudanese national army, two were (and still are) headed by Nuer, and of the eight divisions of the national army, about half were occupied by Nuer. The number of Nuer ministers in the government was more than 19%, their proportionate percentage relative to the national population.

The main challenge confronting President Kiir now is twofold. Firstly, President Kiir will try to prevent the re-domination of the national army by the Nuer, a security scenario that the government believes contributed to the outbreak of the war in December 2013.

Secondly, with most of the top Nuer politicians still on the side of the government, it would be a dizzying dilemma for President Kiir to satisfy his Nuer allies without creating a precarious situation where the Nuer dominate the transitional government politically.

In addition, President Kiir’s political and security dilemma is complicated by the fact that while the rebels are predominantly Nuer, there are still many Nuer soldiers and senior politicians on the side of the government.

First and foremost, the number of Nuer politicians coming into the transitional government plus those already on the side of the government would obviously mean that the Nuer would get more than their fair share of the transitional government.

The application of tribocracy would enable President Kiir to kill two birds with one stone—scale down Nuer political representation in the interim government without appearing to have betrayed his Nuer allies who have stood steadfastly on his side.

Unlike the Dinka and Equatorian and Minority Group on the side of Riek Machar, President Kiir’s allies have mobilized sufficient political and military manpower in the current conflict. Hardly any member of the Dinka, Equatorian and Minority Group are fighting and dying on the side of the rebels while thousands of Nuer, Equatorian and the Minority Group are fighting and dying on the side of the government.

The best thing one can say about those Dinka, Equatorian and Minority Group members supporting Riek Machar is that they are simply camping in foreign capital cities while the Nuer are the only ones fighting and dying in the war against the government.

In sharp contrast, about 25% of the government forces could still be Nuer, fighting and dying mostly in and around Bentiu, Nasir, Malakal and Renk. What this mean is that without the application of tribocratic dispensation, the Nuer soldiers (the rebels plus those who elected to remain on the side of the government) could still be more than 70% of the national army during and after the interim period.

Discernibly, President Kiir and his camp would feel threaten by that reality given the alleged failed military coup launched by Riek Machar on 15 December 2013. President Kiir has every legitimate reason to worry about the re-domination of the national army by the Nuer not least because of the ethnic dimension in the present civil war.

Indeed, in May 2013, Riek Machar ominously hinted at the possibility of violence and reportedly boasted to Akshaya Kumar, a Sudan and South Sudan policy analyst with the Enough Project in Washington DC, USA, that President Kiir “should know that the army is 80 percent Nuer.”[6]

One of the security guarantees that the IGAD-led peace talks in Addis Ababa should sufficiently address is a scenario whereby political leaders like Salva Kiir and Riek Machar resort to using the national army to advance their political ambitions.

The best—and the fairest—security guarantee is to divide the national army among the four major tribes—38.18% to the Dinka, 31.82% to the Equatorian, 19.33% to the Nuer and 10.65% to the Minority Group. For President Kiir, this will solve the security quandary about the re-domination of the army by the Nuer.

And while the question of the white army, Mathiang Anyoor and Dot-ku-Bany, plus other ethnic-based militias, has been a deal-breaker in Addis Ababa, under tribocratic dispensation, the question would be about the maximum number of soldiers in the national army that South Sudan can economically maintain, which would then be smoothly carved up according to the tribocratic ratios.

The main concern would be that none of the four major tribes should be allowed to exceed their respective percentage share of the national population according to the official results of the May 2009 Sudan fifth population and housing census.

Most importantly for President Kiir, who has been touted by the rebels as a Dinka president of a Dinka dominated government protected by state security apparatus run by Dinka men, the application of tribocratic dispensation will free him from creeping “Dinkocracy” in the Republic of South Sudan.

In readiness for the next presidential election at the expiration of the transitional government of national unity, President Kiir will have a well-entrenched political base among the Dinka, the Equatorian, the Nuer and the Minority Group.

Combined with the trappings of the incumbency, tribocracy will enable President Kiir to stride ahead of his political contenders such as Riek Machar, Pagan Amum and Madam Rebecca Nyandeng in the next presidential race.


Through tribocratic dispensation, the South Sudan people can amicably and satisfactorily unravel the frustrating logjam of the South Sudanese peace talks in Addis Ababa. Because tribocracy works like a machine, everything is predictable, and everything is preordained.

Certainly, tribocracy is the most equitable way to allocate power in a power sharing transitional government because each representative of the Dinka, the Equatorian, the Nuer and the Minority Group would hold a number of interim government posts—political and military ones—proportionate to the percentage of the total population that each of these particular four tribes represents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Naturally, this would be a free and fair system of power sharing. Justice would be done because each political camp would be allocated its fair and rightful share in the transitional government of national unity as predetermined by their population size. No political group would feel unjustly marginalized in the political, economic and security aspects of the interim government.

Political stability would ensue; peace and national development would flourish and the evils of the tribalized war that have been battering South Sudan would be greatly blunted.

Holistically speaking, each of the four tribes would represent its fair and just share of the national government, politically and militarily. Hence, the question of Dinka domination, the threat of Nuer rebellion, the resurgence of Equatorian neo-kokora-ism, and the marginalization of Minority Group would be resolved, once and for all.

Surely, an interim government in which the Dinka represent 38.18%, Equatorian 31.82%, Nuer 19.33% and the Minority Group 10.65%—both politically and militarily—is truly a transitional government of national unity.

PaanLuel Wël is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB). He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or email:

[1] “The Minutes of the Historical 2004 SPLM Meeting in Rumbek” in “The Genius of Dr. John Garang” edited by PaanLuel Wël (2013).

[2] Bullet or Ballot: Resolving the Burgeoning Conflict in South Sudan—Part 1, 2 and 3, by PaanLuel Wël (2014)

[3] The Hurting Stalemate of the South Sudan’s Peace Talks—Part 1 and 2, by PaanLuel Wël (2015)

[4] Heated Debate over Security Arrangement in Addis Ababa, 1 March 2015, on website.

[5] Heated Debate over Security Arrangement in Addis Ababa, 1 March 2015, on website.

[6] Unmade in the USA: The Inside Story of a Foreign-Policy Failure, by Ty McCormick who is an associate editor at Foreign Policy magazine in the USA, (March 2015)

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