The Politics and Practices of the Common Enemy of the South Sudan:
The situation of "a common enemy" for the people of the Equatoria state in South Sudan reminds me of a story I first read in the book Politics of Self-Reliance in Africa. The story is titled "the Gentleman of the Jungle". You may already know the story very well. I will, however, briefly recite it for the benefit of those who have not heard it before or just to refresh your memory:
According to this story, the Gentleman of the Jungle is the lion. One day a man is seated, relaxing inside his house. The lion says to the man "it is so cold outside here, can I just let my head in the house." Of course, the man allows first, the lion's head into the house, followed by the shoulder, and then front legs. When the lion completely inside, it says to the man "there is not enough room for you and me in the house, get out!" The man who owns the house is thrown out and the lion takes over the house. This story is interesting because it is the lion who now determines the fate of the house once inside rather than the man who built.
The story of the man and the lion is exactly what is happening to the indigenous people of the Equatoria state of south Sudan. During the war the regime of Khartoum soldiers forced the Southern Sudanese to vacate their lands and flee into other regions, urban centres or to the neighbouring countries as refugees as well as internal displaced persons (IDP). As the war was initially dominated by the Dinka, they were the first to be displaced from their regions, and they moved south to the Equatoria state, displacing the Equatorians who were forced to flee to the urban centres or to the neighbouring countries.
In the process of settling the villages vacated, both the Arabs renamed equatorial's cities they occupied and the Dinka's also renamed these places using their own names.
The problem with this issue is that it may become very divisive for southern Sudanese. Instead of a "common enemy" for the southern Sudan, the Dinka and the Khartoum regime have become the common enemy for the Equatorians. It is obvious that the Dinka renamed the villages using their own names because they felt these reminded them of their old villages they left behind. This is not difficult to comprehend since the feeling of "home" is very important as the homestead is a person's base. Unfortunately, what the Dinka and those who are following the Khartoum regime are doing is that they are not only alienating the Equatorians from their total environment, but also sowing seeds of discord among the people of south Sudan. For example, Juba is the base, and homestead for Equatorians, and their way of life. Now, they are being forced out of this city where they have attachment for economic, political, cultural, and religious reasons for ages.
The Khartoum regime did not bring armies from north of Sudan, but recruited the soldiers from the local population as a result of the divisions that exist among the Southern Sudanese. The Khartoum regime has helped set community against community, state against state, and clan against clan. Instead of uniting and focusing on one common southern Sudan enemy, the Dinka have helped empower the Khartoum regime over all the spheres of the local community. In other words, the Khartoum regime is now using Southerners to oppress themselves.
In my view, one of the most serious results of Khartoum regime and its followers within SPLA/M was to alienate Equatorians from political power and their cultural environments. You can see that all the ministers, ambassadors and high ranking officials of the government of South Sudan (GOSS) are mainly from one tribe or one state, in other word there is no equal representation of all the Southerners in the GOSS.
To alienate Equatorians from their political and cultural way is to deprive them from their power base. Alienation from one's environment brings the disease that be could call "not knowing oneself"
In my view as Equatorians, we should not hide our heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that there is no problem or that we can solve the problems of the 150,000 Dinkas in Yei by importing other tribes from their base, and homestead, and settle them in Equatorial State (Yei city). We should address this problem head-on. It was the Equatorians who fought back one year ago when Dr. John Garang was killed in a plane crash. The whole world witnessed the burning of northerners' shops in Juba, but not in Malakal, and Wau. Equatorians should think twice why Juba is to be the capital of the South Sudan government or otherwise Equatorians will become victims of CPA? Also, the lack of leadership in Equatorial is number one problem in Equatorial State; some one must stand up against and make the injustice visible.