Articles and Analysies
With Insecurity and Tribalism the SPLM Will Not Lead the South to Independence By: Akic Adwok, UK
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May 6, 2009 - 5:17:57 PM

With Insecurity and Tribalism the SPLM Will Not Lead the South to Independence

By: Akic Adwok , UK

 It has been hard to believe that a virgin region like Southern Sudan could get worst in committing untold atrocities in the time of peace than it used to be in the time of war.

It has been heart-breaking to see this nation of more than 10 million people convulsed by political violence and tribalism that its government seems increasingly incapable and unwilling to halt the mounting vices. I believe it's the insecurity and tribalism that scares some of our potential leaders and keeps them awake at night more than other things else.

Unfortunately, increasing localized tribal conflicts and instances of insecurity are progressively eroding the relative stability in South Sudan . Many people have been forcibly displaced from their villages by tribal conflicts.

The GoSS under Mr. Salva Kiir has primarily failed its responsibility to protect and secure its citizens. This government has become disabled to professionalize its security and judicial system in order to increase the chances of stability of the people.

A lot of communities are complaining that they do not see the government protection and security in their areas, and that it is better if they arm themselves for self-defense.

The major worry, however, is the continuous infighting between South Sudan communities, which of course is not a new phenomenon, but has only reached the alarming rate of mass murders and massacres.  

See what the Dinka of Ngok and Dongjol did in the villages of the innocent peaceful Shilluk people of Anakdiar and Abanimo this year in Upper Nile State . Look at how these Dinkas used SPLA guns and ammunitions to kill their neighboring tribes with impunity and stop them fishing in Sobat River .

What will be the future of Upper Nile State and of Southern Sudan if the same situation continues to recur time after time? Anarchy, Chaos, Wounds and Deaths!

The current vices of tribalism and ethnic infighting are not occurring in isolation of other important factors. They are seriously related to land and cattle ownership. The cattle had been the main source of tribal tensions and clashes in the past and this is still going on today despite the SPLM/A that claims to have liberated the people of South Sudan from the burdens of oppressions.

With proliferation of modern machine-arms from SPLA stores, these tribal fighting have become more lethal and destructive than they use to be in the past when the fighters used local traditional weapons.

Without any doubt, the mounting insecurities and tribalism in the South could delay or even jeopardize the long-awaited independence of South Sudan . So far, so bad, these social evils have hindered freedom of movement and settlement for the people of Southern Sudan .

Above all, these continuous vices are damaging the prospects for any successful reintegration and integration of the communities of South Sudan into a one nation that is a sine qua non for qualifying for an independent country.

If the GoSS and the SPLM are really for the interest of the people of South Sudan , then they should become serious to develop clear and coherent security strategies all the citizens of Southern Sudan , irrespective of their ethnic identities.

Inadequacy in security measures as is the case of the GoSS and the SPLA today is not something to ignore or take for granted with an expected miracle from I do-not-know-where. It is a question of valuable lives of the citizens. As much as the GoSS, SPLM and SPLA leaders are so sensitive to surround themselves with security bodyguards, the same sensitivity should also be applied to the ordinary citizens.

Every Southerners need security as a priority for him or her to live in peace and contribute to development functions. Even the relief organizations need security in the first place before they could distribute whatever they intend to help the people of Southern Sudan with.

One day I raised the lack of a security strategy with several officials of SPLM/A here in the United Kingdom , and I discovered with dismay that for them the security meant mainly monitoring, identifying the patterns of abuses, detecting the killers, and reporting and sharing the information among the citizens.

Yes, these sets of activities are important but they represent just the beginning the ultimate goals: responding to human rights violations, working with the competent authorities, addressing impunity, and redressing the loss. Tribal tensions could get eased pro-actively through greater support for local authorities to organize joint peace-building meetings on the basis of reconciliation after identifying the bad elements and punishing them for the committed crimes.

SPLM/A should take a more proactive stance to provide physical security to all the civilians under imminent tribal threat of violence. There should never be any discrimination between communities in this regard.

Given the current status of SPLA forces and their equipments, the mission should focus on conflict prevention and tension diffusion initiatives rather than too-late reactions. Some time

I have found it very disturbing that the GoSS funds for many years did not allocate resources for protection and security at the grass-roots levels. Everything is budgeted and finished up at the high level that is often detached from the real situations on the ground, except when things have fallen apart. These high level security officials are fond of investigating the already-committed crimes with irreparable damages rather than preventing them.

Real security is about prevention of losses in life and properties more than investigations of what had gone wrong and evil in the society. The GoSS needs strong preventive police who are well trained in law and order, and in counseling for the victims and potential criminals.

The SPLM-ruling party has failed to understand that lack of peace dividends in all States of Southern Sudan have far-reaching implications that could threaten the success of the CPA and independence of South Sudan.

The current SPLM leadership has proven that it will never ever lead Southerners to independence. Thus, a swift change is needed if the pathetic situation has to improve in the South.  

In other words, President Salva Kiir must go home with his kitchen cabinet to pave the way for betterment of the South. International engagement is urgently needed here to rescue the South Sudan from the brink of the unfolding leadership crisis in the South under SPLM dominance.

This perilous situation is being ignored amid the focus on the indictment of President Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court. Yet this situation is more dangerous than the ICC case as far, as the condition of the common citizens on the ground is concerned.

So far, the social services and livelihood opportunities for communities have remained minimal while tribal tensions and localized conflicts are on the rise.

South Sudan is also facing an economic crisis due to the drop in oil prices. This is creating a potential for new economic insecurity in addition to the social one. If these threats are not addressed urgently, they will block the bright prospects for independence of South Sudan as well as peace in the whole Sudan.

By:  Akic Adwok, [email protected]


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