opinionBy Wani Tombe Lako
The peoples of South Sudan are now citizens of an independent sovereign State, known as the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS). The ruling political party in the RoSS is the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The place is awash with news, about much publicised extraordinary convention of the SPLM due to take place February instant. I just wish that, among the already known extraordinary agenda were issues connected with the name of this ruling party.
The name of this ruling party is creating too many practical and psychological problems for many senior and other members of this ruling party in South Sudan (SS). Many senior and other members of this ruling party in SS have become political Don Quixotes. They think that, the literal meaning of the name of this ruling party justifies the way the majority of them are conducting themselves, within the ambit of domestic and foreign policies of SS. Therefore, majority of members, of this ruling party, find it impossible to wane themselves, from the stale, constipating, and poisonous milk, flowing from the political mammary glands of this ruling political party.
The fashion in which, Khartoum has become the comprehensive hanger and scapegoat, on which the SPLM hangs and blame its comprehensive shortcomings, is becoming politically offensive and unacceptable to many discerning South Sudanese. Juba cannot just sit there, mimicking whatsoever Khartoum is doing. Juba needs to draw comprehensive functional domestic and foreign policies, which are not dependent on jingoistic and confrontational variables with any country and including the Republic of Sudan (RoS).
There is no Sudan to liberate. There is South Sudan to liberate from the dehumanising, and suffocating poverty, illiteracy and innumeracy, tribalism, insecurity, lawlessness, crippling unemployment, dictatorship, hate, and all other ills and evils of political clientelism. It is a fact that, we have fought bloody and nasty civil wars for what we have now achieved. We separated from the rest of the Sudan in order to be on our own.
We must stop blaming other peoples including the Sudanese for our hunger, thirst, cattle wrestling carnage, tribal warfare, embezzlements, lack of positive planning, and all unscrupulous policies and conducts that we indulge in. The more we continue to blame others, the more we look comprehensively inadequate. Even the current proliferation of rebel groups, call them militias, or whatever, if you will, the bottom line is that, these are South Sudanese. Whether they are being used by others, or they are not being used by others is immaterial. It is a South Sudanese ordeal, and we must find the solution within our own socio-economic, financial, political, moral, religious, tribal, and psychological formations.
The ruling party in Juba must forget liberating the whole Sudan now; it must save the SS from the danger of collapse. Please, let us move on. The senior and other members of the ruling party in Juba must learn to differentiate between personal problems and national issues. It is true that, current senior members of the ruling parties in Juba and Khartoum know themselves; their personal problems must not be allowed to stifle the futures of South Sudanese.
It is true that, the RoSS came to existence via human sacrifices; we must not found the solid moral pillars of this country on hate. Let us entrench the foundations of this nascent State on human reasonableness and love. The ruling party in SS must indoctrinate the peoples of SS with human reasonableness and love. The ruling party in SS can only lead us by positive example. I hope that, when the operatives and managers of the SPLM meet in Juba this month, they must not waste too much time on their own future political fortunes, as individuals and as a political party. They must concentrate on the viability of SS as a country, in which, they want to play their politics.
People are dying of hunger in Eastern Equatoria, women, children and men are being butchered on daily basis in Jonglei State, the whole of Greater Bahr El Ghazal is one massive killing tribal field, and Juba is a classical wild-west town; and yet, the SPLM is thinking about liberating the Sudan. Do we sincerely think that, Khartoum has something to do with all these misfortunes which have befallen our downtrodden peoples in these different places in SS? Can we blame the Jallabas for the human carnage in the homestead, and near the homestead of the President of SS? If the Jallabas have any thing to do with this, can the people in the homestead, and near the homestead of the President of the RoSS, not refuse to kill themselves? This sounds stupid, but, what else can I say?
Many senior SPLM politicians are in record, retorting that, South Sudanese politicians learnt the art of corruption, from the Jallabas. Now then, have the 4 billion dollars which have been looted, by the SPLM politicians, happened, because, the Jallabas have also looted, 4 billion dollars, or what? To become good liberators of South Sudan, do SPLM politicians have to mimic, what the Jallabas are doing in spirit and letter? Is Khartoum the guiding Star for Juba in all what Juba does? So, are we in South Sudan, going to blame the Jallabas, for making SPLM politicians, learn bad manners? So therefore, we can say, but for the Jallabas, our SPLM politicians are excellent politicians and rulers?
When I wrote the booklet titled, "Secession is not the panacea for the underdevelopment of South Sudan", many peoples in South Sudan called me all types of names. Many refused to see the logic beyond the word secession. Many of our downtrodden peoples were made to believe that, mere secession from the rest of the Sudan, shall miraculously transform the SS into land of milk and honey. Unfortunately, the majority of SPLM supporters, operatives, managers and leaders, also believed that, what we needed most was just breaking away from the rest of the Sudan, and the rest is history. Well, the rest is not going to be history, and shall never be history.
The philosophical, sovereign, social, cultural, legal, economic, financial, security and technological and many other implications of secession; within the remit of our own political paradigms, have been kept under thick political carpets, and the majority of our downtrodden peoples, have no clue about them. The majority of our peoples shall not know the true reasons why we seceded form the rest of the Sudan, besides the commonplace reasons of being free from comprehensive marginalisations, and to become first class citizens in a seceded SS. Now, in a seceded SS, how many of us feel free? The answer is, very few of us. How many of us feel like first class citizens in the seceded SS? The answer is, very few of us. How many of us are not marginalised in seceded SS? The answer is most of us are marginalised in SS.
For example, sometimes ago, in the near past, I asked some one, an economic and financial question. This person is a senior member in the SPLM, and is a minister. I asked him, if we secede from the rest of the Sudan, and we have 100% control of the oil revenue, how are you, as the ruling party, going to use the money? His answerer was, "we shall tell the peoples of South Sudan the answer, not you". Well, the President of the RoSS has told us the answer now, within the remit of the 4 billion dollars looted.
When we seceded from the rest of the Sudan, we as the peoples of SS, did so without detail political, economic, financial, security, legal, constitutional, moral, and socio-cultural road maps, as to where do we want to be at certain political times, and how do we get there. We were just told, let us secede and we shall discover what we need to do. The SPLM as the ruling party has made many peoples of SS to begin questioning the primary logic of secession. The majority of the peoples in SS do not understand why for example, the SPLM, as the ruling party in SS, keep telling them that, they are suffering now in SS, because, political Khartoum is against them, and thus, it is responsible for their sufferings.
Did we separate from the rest of the Sudan, so that, Khartoum remains the guiding Star, for our domestic, and foreign policies? Is it reasonable at all, to make political Khartoum, the comprehensive indicator, for our domestic and international performances? A RoSS cabinet minister was quizzed about human rights in SS, and out of the blues, he said, "look at Darfur, and Blue Nile, we are better than the Sudan in upholding, and protecting the human rights of the human person". The question was not about comparative analyses of human rights case-law, of the two Sudans. This shows you the mindset of SPLM politicians. They want to be ministers in Juba, but, at the same time, they want to be guided by Khartoum, in terms of political and other cushions, to brake their various falls, as it were. This is unacceptable.
It is also unacceptable to blind the peoples of SS, with competition among SPLM politicians, in terms of Khartoum and Jallabas bashing. The content analysis, of various political and other utterances of top and junior ministers in Juba, is very demoralising. This has also infected politicians in the States. You will hear a remote and forlorn SPLM operative, in an obscure place in SS, blaming Khartoum for his local comprehensive dilemmas! What is happening to polity, politics, and policies and leadership in SS, under the SPLM?
How can the peoples of SS, celebrate the birth of sovereign RoSS, with honest joy, if they are being made to feel inadequate and insecure, by the appalling performances of SPLM as the ruling party in SS? How can the peoples of SS, celebrate the glory and sanctity of comprehensive freedoms, if they are being made to feel comprehensively unfree, by the shameful comprehensive performances of SPLM, as the ruling party in SS? How shall the peoples of SS, recover from excruciating traumas of prolonged civil strife, if the SPLM is perfecting the instruments of jingoism, as a way of diverting the attention of the peoples of SS, away from SPLM comprehensive failures, to rule and govern, the peoples of SS, according to requirements of constitutionalism and the rule of law?
We in SS must develop new economic, financial, social, and cultural templates, for comprehensive positive development of SS, without making the success of these templates, dependent on vacillations of the body temperature of the relationship between Juba and Khartoum. While relationships with Khartoum are crucial, they must not be characterised by tit-for-tat attitude of political adolescents. These relationships must be characterised by mature leadership and management, with inbuilt adjustment mechanisms, without destroying the whole framework of relationships. These adjustment mechanisms shall not require the movement of the whole government between Juba and Addis or any other capital. We must avoid reactive and panic imbued adjustment mechanisms.
Our foreign policy must not also become a single issue foreign policy, whereby, whenever we appear in the United Nations (UN) podium, our national address is always predicable. It is always about complaining against Khartoum. This undermines our standing. Suppose suddenly, Khartoum becomes shrewd, and unilaterally removes all the reasons for the complaining. What shall happen? I can tell you what shall happen. That shall be a catastrophe for the SPLM. The SPLM shall be left with nothing to do, and say. However, the comprehensive appalling living conditions of the peoples of SS shall continue to deteriorate, and the world shall be watching. For Khartoum is now out of the equation. What next?
I said what next above because, in reality, Khartoum is not the cause of the myriad of our domestic problems. The SPLM wants to use Khartoum as the wrong prescription for the wrong diagnosis. Most of our peoples in SS do not know that, the reasons why many governments in the West and elsewhere, appear to love the SPLM, is not because, these governments love the peoples of SS. It is only because, these Western governments, and the USA, have axes to grind against Khartoum as it were, and the SPLM wants to take the opportunity, to ride on these high waves of anti-Khartoum feelings in the West and USA. This is very dangerous. Suppose Khartoum's relations with the West are in tip-top conditions, and lucrative, including relations with the USA, where shall the SPLM go? Please think about this very hard!
Khartoum ought to be treated objectively. We must not use Khartoum to run our domestic and foreign policies. It is dangerous. Relations with Khartoum must be managed with political prudence, to maximise positive comprehensive reciprocities of the peoples of the two Sudans, not just governments. Our domestics and foreign policies must not become single issue policies. This thing called oil must not become the panacea for our underdevelopment. We are far better off, and richer without the oil if, we all work together, and not just the SPLM working alone, and working wrongly. Khartoum must not become the guiding Star of our domestic and foreign policies.
The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws.