Sunday, December 5, 2021

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

National healing and reconciliation; a painful road but unavoidable

By Suzanne Jambo

April 1, 2013 – The new nation of the Republic of South Sudan, younger than five years old and is already largely perceived and/or suffering from a most chronic and crippling disease; inefficiency, retardation and excuses! The parasite causing this terrible disease significantly, include tribalism and nepotism. Tribalism and nepotism as seen in the new RSS (like has been happening largely in Africa too, sadly) is when a member of a particular tribe uses his/her tribal affiliation to favor his/her community or uses that relationship to commit crimes against other communities and yet a (the) tainted justice system may not or doesn’t provide justice. Don’t get me wrong, belonging to a tribe or ethnic community is our way of life as Africans, it’s our identity. Any African nation which has no identity is not a cultured nation. Africa is beautifully cultured and so must we, its sons and daughters. We must have our identities and be proud of! HOWEVER, negative ethnicity or tribalism is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! When community(s) or any member of some community(s) use their membership in order to dominate against others, attack or discriminate against other tribes/ethnicities in the name of his/her tribe/ethnicity it becomes negative and therefore it turns into tribalism.

What good will it benefit a nation, least of all the World’s newest nation for its majority citizens to feel pessimistic and demoralized in all levels, already….where is the gain here and what is the objective of attempting to destroy a nation before it even started picking itself from the rabble of conflicts, insurmountable sacrifices and tragedies…?

HOWEVER, I personally remain optimistic! For if we have made these great strides toward achieving our Freedom, we can overcome and kill the parasite of negative tribalism and ethnicity!

So how does the parasite of negative tribalism and ethnicity flourish in a nation as ours? The laboratory of manufacturing such negative socio-cultural ills are nothing but selfish greedy parading around as leaders and politicians, notoriously known for this, they stir up conflicts between, among and against other communities; inter and intra tribal war-fares or simple antognization and inciting of one community against another etc. Hence, community exploitation by some notorious leaders for own selfish gains is another breeding factor for the parasite for the spread of negative ethnicity and tribalism. All because of his/her/their own selfish incompetent battles of hunger for power, thus power struggle is another breeding factor. Exploitative or ‘favouring’ factors for such political antics by greedy selfish leaders include misconceptionaly; “not enough resources” to all, really it is due to inequitable distribution (many of us may say it is our community’s fight over resources, but the fact is mismanagement and corruption; we have plenty!). These same political leaders will go further to entrench community animosity by ensuring unequal distribution of power and development including basic social services. Unfortunately, our largely lack of education and civic empowerment are major contributing detrimental factors which are prone to exploitation and isolation of communities from each other to see the real truth; i.e. selfish greedy politicians and leaders hunger and thirst for power and money all at once and quick!!!

SO, how can we heal from negative tribalism and ethnicity? How can we ensure efficiency and a more competent new nation? How can we embrace one another?

My humble contribution here, we have at least five immediate discourse of action; FIRSTLY, we must embrace national healing and reconciliation fully. We must hold broad-base (much broader than currently going on) communal consultations, conferences, gatherings and meetings and we must never tire of such efforts, now and always and on-going no matter what. It is through such platforms where ALL will have a chance to freely and earnestly contribute toward the diagnosis process and toward our healing processes. A sense of belonging with/to one another. All communities must contribute and be effectively involved on this. SECONDLY, and parallel to this public participation to healing and seeking solutions, the government must immediately embark on far more patriotic equitable endeavours including transparent and equitable national resources allocation and distribution among all nationalities, regions, communities and people of the Republic. This should include equitable and parallel development and access to social services. THIRDLY, the issue of power must be constructively and publicly handled and managed. We are a federal system of government, hence, we begin with firstly ensuring proper decentralization of power and alongside local communities ways (in harmony and consultative processes) of governance so as to empower our traditional rule together with elected and appointed public ‘modern’ system. This way, we enshrine participatory governance as well as greater empowerment of communities so they are not (mis)led astray by selfish greedy corrupt leaders or be used to destabilize the rule of law by whosoever. The communities themselves become a formidable positive force in both policy formulations, implementation, ultimately part and parcel of good governance and security, FOURTHLY, no one is above the law! Justice must be administered equally to/on all citizens and tribes. Regardless of public office position one holds, he/she is not above the law! No community should feel privileged or above the law either of their large numbers or because they may have notable ‘powerful’ people in government or army! Anyone found to have committed a crime, must be brought to the justice system. The judiciary and justice system must be seen as impartial, adhering to the law and striving fir fairness and justice for all. FIFTHLY AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, socio-cultural education IS A MUST. We RSS citizens must be taught from early schooling stages of the beauty of us all etc. All national media especially must be empowered to educate us all of our versatilities, our uniqueness, our equality and our duties to ensure no one is culturally or tribally abused, insulted or dominated for we are all equal! Leaders especially politicians must be required and seen to embrace our diverse cultures, to promote our rich cultural heritage and ensure equitability and fairness during public duty performance. They must also be held accountable on e.g. incitment, hate speeches and inequitability or nepotism and negative tribalism and ethnicity. They must be evaluated in their public offices along such vitally important bench marks.

National healing and reconciliation must be effected by deeds within local context and implementable verifiable metrix-like bench marks development. LEST our national healing and reconciliation remains another elusive political rehtoric song!

Suzanne Jambo is a South Sudanese lawyer, communities & human rights activist and is the current SPLM Secretary for External Relations. She can be reached via email: [email protected]