The future of South Sudan

Category: Commentary
Published on Friday, 27 March 2009 15:53
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justin_laku
Justin Laku

On January 9th, 2005, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) and the Khartoum regime (NIF) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Kenya, after twenty three years of Sudan’s second civil war; one which took over two millions lives and internally displaced more than six million people. The civil war in the Sudan is one of the Africa’s longest, bloodiest and most inflexible conflicts.

Civil wars have been fought in Uganda (1981-86), Ethiopia (1974-91), Rwanda (1990-94), Liberia (1990-93), and Mozambique (1980-93). These were expressions of oppressed or excluded groups fighting their way from the periphery into power at the center to free themselves from oppressive rule by those who had been controlling the center.

In Southern Sudan, power sharing has been absent with regards to the separation of religion from the state, sharing of the natural resources, equality and justice among the Sudanese people.

Despite the CPA, power is still centralised in Khartoum and another point of tension and conflict is the identity of Sudan as an African nation. Despite Sudan being geographically located in Africa and mority of its population are Africans, majority of power is held a minority of its population who are Arabs.

The above are the main reasons behind the first and the second civil wars in 1950s, 1960s, and 1983s.

However, in the four years since the SPLA/M assumed power in Southern Sudan, the security situation has not seen significant improvement. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)'s military activities are still active in Central and Western Equatorial States. The Government of the South Sudan (GoSS) has failed to protect its citizens, and has been unable to disarm the Dinka tribesmen who continue to fight with Central, Eastern, and Western Equatorial civilians in Magwi County, Nimule, Yei, Yambio, and other part of Great Equatoria.

Most of the GOSS cabinet, deputies ministers, attorney generals, as well as the senior officers in the police force, prisons, military, civil and foreign service are from the Dinka tribe, including founder of the SPLA/M and the president of the South Sudan.

Dinkas in the SPLA constitutes the largest portion of the military personnel within the movement. The Dinka are able to use their domination to suppress other Southern Sudanese tribes instead of sharing the power with them just as Arabs did before 2005.

The Dinka's  plan appear to be to gain control over the natural resources of South, to rule over the rest of the South, kill, and imprison anyone or group who opposes the ill-conceived notion of “Dinka Born to Rule.”


The classic example is the appointment of hard-line proponent of Dinka nationalism Abel Alier as a ‘born to rule advisor’ to Salva Kiri Mayardit, for the purposes of implementing the policy of Dinka domination over others tribes.

Since the beginning of 2009, Eastern & Central Equatorial civilians have been killed, the Great Equatorial girls and women have suffered rape. The SPLA high officials have been appropriating Central & Eastern Equatorial lands and selling them to Somalian businessmen - leaving the land owners homeless and displaced. The culture of corruption is rampant with development money leaving South Sudan and end up in the foreign accounts in Canada, the U.S.A, Europe, and Australia.

The pattern of events is symptomatic of the lack of good governance and leadership within the SPLA/M. The GoSS has failed in educating the public in the importance of the democracy, fair elections, good governance whose components include accountability, legitimacy, democracy, equality, inclusiveness, transparency, coherency (conflict resolution), effectiveness and efficiency, and rule of law. The SPLA/M under the Dinkas regime have practiced democratic tribalism to gain greater power, rather than serve all of South Sudan through good governance. The international community and the donor states must intervene before it is too late.

With regards to the future of South Sudan and the referendum on sovereignty of the South; there appear to be two possible lines of development. One possibility is that the Dinkas’ partnership and cooperation of the NIF confers authority and power with the Dinkas to rule the South. The second possibility is that the bid to block the referendum in South succeeds, and the South remains part with the North. However, indications on the ground suggest that the referendum will take place but is not likely to be fair. In this case, civil war is likely to be the outcome.

Policy recommendations:

What could be done to rescue the situation in the South Sudan? Donor states must put pressure on the SPLA leadership to implement their commitments to good governance and full representation of all Southern Sudan tribes in the GoSS;

The European Union (EU), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the human rights organizations, the US State department, and the United Nations human right commission, must form a South Sudan-Fact Finding Mission Human Rights Committee to investigate the crimes committed against the great Equatorial citizens;

The rights of the victims must be protected, and those committing crimes against humanity be brought to justice. All the lands taken by force from the great Equatorial must be giving back to their owners.

“The racial theory brought Hitler and his friends to conclusion that the Germans as the only fully valuable nation, must rule over other nations. The English, racial theory brings Churchill and his friends to the conclusion that nations speaking the English language, being the only fully valuable nations, should rule over the remaining nations of the world."

The same theory brought Salva Kiir Mayardit and his friends to conclusion that people speaking Dinka language are the only people worthy to rule over the remaining of the South Sudan. Donor states and the international community at large must take these recommendations seriously.

What South Sudan needs is an understanding and realization of the Baganda concept of edbemde ery’obuntu - the democracy of freedom for a community and its individual members to be treated in a humane and civil manner. This would include freedom from severe political or social disorder, freedom for ordinary individuals to have their complaints and opinions heard by those in power, and fair and equal treatment by authorities.

Equality of treatment is paradoxically based on the disorder and injustice
produced by inequality.

Justin Laku lives and studies in Ottawa. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." ' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy40322 + '\'>'+addy_text40322+'<\/a>'; //-->

(Editor's note: While New Sudan Vision respects everyone's opinion on Sudanese issues, the editor requests that contributors air their views while making sure their opinions contribute to togetherness rather than divisiveness)