Saturday, 16 January 2016

Reconciliation is Indispensable: (Where South Sudan has failed)

Reconciliation is Indispensable: (Where South Sudan has failed)

South Sudan is currently perceived as a failed state. Truthfully, this sentiment is not far from the truth. South Sudan's government has already exacerbated a disgruntled, tired and suffering people who were sold the idea of justice, liberty and prosperity, but instead received a system of oligarchy, non-reflective of the SPLM's original Marxist ideology.

Our currently practiced ideals are unrepresentative of the ideology the liberation struggle fought for; the rich and poor divide is expansive and ever-growing, people are neglected basic human rights and necessities such as healthcare and education, infrastructure is almost non-existent outside of the capital city, the justice system is feeble and in many cases invalid, and security is poor due to an undisciplined, divided and neglected national army. 

With the current conflict a number of solutions have been followed through including the implementation of 28 new states. This solution has its proponents and opponents, but will truthfully enable people to control their areas without interference of those who are not native to it. Other solutions include the reabsorption of those who were disgruntled with the government (IO, FD etc.) These solutions are 'solutions' to the current crisis but they do not address the primary issues of South Sudan. It can be concluded that the government that implemented these changes glossed over the problems underneath the main layer, thereby ignoring the internal issues of South Sudan, and thus ignoring the root causes of the nation's problems.

Rebellions are primarily grievance-driven or at least rebel leaders will use grievance as a guise for rebellion. Rebellions in many cases can also be resource-driven as seen in the case of Sierra Leone and the diamonds. In the case of South Sudan, if one looks at the series of events in the last two years, and all of the available evidence, it can be interpreted that grievance was used as a tool to legitimise the unconstitutional overthrow of the current government and head of state. 

'Democratic reforms' has been the beat of the opposition parties' drums and their supporters danced along to the beat while singing that the current head of state is a dictator. Now most of them (the rebels) are back in Juba, rejoining the government they were so against. 

It's not a matter of praise, just a matter of acknowledgement, that Dr Machar did attempt reconciliation with the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission. But as with all of his ventures, the intentions behind his actions are impure. 

Regardless, the SSPRC was sadly and predictably disregarded by the SPLM, who may have viewed the liberation as enough accountability for the unjust some of the South Sudanese people have endured during the war. Back to the main point, Dr Machar's intentions with the National Reconciliation Commission was in actuality a political ploy (just like his crocodile tears during his apology for the Bor Massacre in 1991), to gain ground and popularity, and achieve success through the ballot box. 

Coupled with his history of disloyalty to the SPLM and the South Sudanese people in general, he's unreliable and untrustworthy. The saying, 'a leopard never changes its spots', is perfectly applicable to Dr Machar, particularly when you hold into account the current conflict and its deja vu slaughter of civilians in Bor Town. 

During the civil war, the SPLM and Khartoum have both committed considerable atrocities; either under military reasoning or tribalism. However, there has never been any actual admission, any tangible accountability and any consequential reconciliation. 

While Bashir of the Khartoum government has been indicted by the ICC for the atrocities in the Darfur Region, Bashir has never truly been held accountable for the genocide in South Sudan. Internal admission, accountability and reconciliation is primary, however, the same has to come from the neighbour, to at least guarantee there's no bad blood or a possibility of the neighbouring states (which truly have to depend on one another), going back to war (in many instances the possibility was high). Unfortunately, the SPLM-IO was able to upkeep their assault due to the support they were receiving from Khartoum. Khartoum has been working for years to destabilise the Central/East Africa region. Is it not odd that they are often consulted on South Sudan's internal conflict? Anyway one can conclude that holding Sudan accountable for what they have done to the South for many a decades is in itself a feat that will probably never see the light of day. 

Lastly, without admission and accountability, victims cannot forgive, therefore not let go of grudges pinning them to the pain and anger which came from their wretched treatment. Until then, reprisals will still occur with a series of widely acceptable justifications (i.e. an eye for an eye), tribalism will continue to flare up and in instances of power struggle, tribal discrepancies will be used by said personalities for their own personal ambitions (as seen in the current conflict). 

Any long-term solutions to South Sudan's current problems should consider problems from the bottom right to the top and should typically include the primary contenders; the civilians. While effort has been made by IGAD to include civilians as stakeholders in previous peace talks. Unfortunately again, civilians of South Sudan continue to have an opinion, yet not a voice; they continue to receive the short end of the stick. 

The elite are primarily to blame for the lack of reconciliation and the neglect of the civilians. The nation that was fought for is here, but the high level of entitlement has been damaging. 

There's also a level of arrogance, ignorance and inconsideration regarding the civilians, who have also participated in the libration struggle, offered themselves to the SPLA in their times of need and sacrificed their lives because they were unfortunate enough to remain.

It goes without saying that the most important group in the creation of the country and the maintenance of its stability and progression, continue to be the most neglected group, paying the heaviest price in the current conflict.

It remains to be seen what the current solution will bring to South Sudanese, but one thing is clear is that they have reunited to loot the people once again.