South Sudan Crisis: The Hope for the Hopeless
Date: 14th January 2014
This letter serves as a personal analysis of the current politico-ethnic crisis in South Sudan. It includes the cause, the effects and the way forward of this young nation of the world. Read it and analyze it. You are free to share your thoughts with me using the email address that will be given at the end of this article.
1. The causes of the current politico-ethnic crisis in South Sudan
Currently the causes of the politico-ethnic crisis in the new nation of the world are unclear. Different sources report different things regarding the root causes of the crisis. But what is the reason of writing this article if the author himself do not even know what to tell the public? I know that as the reader you may ask this important question. But for now, let us analyze what the other sources believe to be the cause or causes of this crisis in South Sudan. As the title suggests, we can surely call this crisis the “Politico-Ethnic Crisis” according to my understanding and what our media tells us every day.
You might have heard of the “Failed Coup Attempt” that took place in Juba on 15th December 2013 that is believed to be headed by the Former Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr Riek Machar Teny. But the evidences of the coup are not crystal clear according to other sources. Was there really a coup attempted by Riek and his allies? We just don’t know the answer. Only God and few individuals in South Sudan and the world know what went wrong between the presidential guards in Juba. I personally was in Juba that night until I left the area on 26th December 2013 for Yei. So far, there might have been an attempted coup or there was nothing like that. But what is important?
Finding the root cause would have been the best way to deal with the problem. A doctor or any health worker must first diagnose and find out the sickness before giving the right treatment and the doses of any drug or else the treatment can be given for a wrong sickness. The same thing applies for the current crisis in South Sudan. Both Kiir and Riek must tell the world what actually happened. But all of them speaks what they know is true. Kiir and his supporters announce the failed coup attempt, Riek and his supporters deny the same thing. So, how can we say that there was a coup attempt? How can we say that there was no coup attempt? To the current author, it is already useless to find out the root causes of this crisis. If you know the cause, that is fine, if you don’t know the cause, it is not the right time to struggle to get the answer.
2. The effects of the politico-ethnic crisis in South Sudan
The UN announces the grave need of the Internally Displaced People in South Sudan and the number is getting higher almost every day across the nation. There are thousands of people in UNMISS bases in Juba, Malakal and Bentiu. Many people ran for their lives to Uganda (Over 25, 000) and the number may soon arise. Thousands ran to Kenya (Kakuma) and thousands to Khartoum-Sudan. The world is saying that over 1, 000 people died apart from the 4, 000 who died militarily across the nation. Of course the vulnerable are always affected when any crisis occur being political or ethnic crisis. These people are surely women and children, the wounded and the elderly people. We have seen the Unity State capital Bentiu being burned down to ashes. Same thing with Malakal and Bor.
Every area is affected in varying degrees, being economy, businesses, and lives and are still being affected by this useless war. The worst effect of this useless and pointless war is the surrendering of our national resources to Khartoum just because of our internal issues that will soon be resolved whether through the gun battle or through talks. I could not endure seeing the South Sudanese in UNMISS compound being labeled as if they were animals – Nuer Dinka (Bentiu). To keep it short, this crisis has claimed more lives more than what the world can confess. But what is important right now? We need the quick end of this war. We need peace and it must come from our leaders. It must come from the fighting comrades. It must come from the communities being used by politicians without their knowledge. It must come from all of us.
3. What is the way forward for this politico-ethnic crisis in South Sudan?
This is the heart of this article. Anything with a cause or beginning must have an end. I’m writing as the patriotic South Sudanese who is both Nuer and Dinka by blood if there is anything like having a Nuer or Dinka blood. I have no side to support. I support all sides and that is why I felt like to share what I think is the solution to this useless and foolish war in my motherland. As mentioned earlier, finding out the cause of this crisis could easily lead to finding the solution for it. But the situation is already out of control, we need a solution and we need it now before finding out the root cause.
The solution to this crisis is cessation of hostilities from both sides. To me, no one will win this useless war. If Kiir and Riek are really thinking about the South Sudanese, then this war must stop and it must stop now. I am sure if Riek command his forces not to attack they will not attack and the same thing with Kiir. Please my two leaders, stopping the fight do not mean you are useless or coward or whatever word the world can use against you. It simply means you care for your people, the South Sudanese. Many do not even know what it means to be a South Sudanese let alone the power struggle between Kiir and Riek, yet they are the ones dying in front lines. I lost relatives both from Nuer and Dinka in the army as well as among civilians. I just long for an end to this crisis and it must end soon.
Please do not allow the world to believe the lie that “South Sudanese cannot lead themselves” as this has been a saying from our Arab brothers from the North/Sudan. Prove to the world that you are leaders with minds. Blaming whatever side like what happens on social media cannot and will not solve any problem. Your preconditions (Release of the detainees, etc) will never bring peace to those who seriously in need of it right now. Please think of your people, the same people you fought for before me, the current author was even born. Can you think back for a while and remember how far you came? This simple issue could not allow you to turn this beautiful nation into chaos. Please agree to put down your guns. Agree to save the lives of innocent people. Many are drowning in the Nile River; many are being killed by war related sicknesses all because of your anger and resentment.
The solution to this crisis is in the hands of Riek and Kiir the very leaders of South Sudan. This point three of this article, I wish it could be read to both Riek and Kiir. It is for them to see and think over it even though they already know about it. I am not writing this because they don’t know it, I write because I think it is the only solution to this crisis. If only these two leaders could agree to end it, they can do it without the help of anyone from the outside world.
To the fighting armies with generals and armed civilians, please understand that this crisis is originally political and it must remain as such. Please stop targeting harmless civilians based on their ethnic identify. I am the victim of this issue. I was almost killed twice in Juba and once in Yei just because I have marks on my forehead that resembles those of Nuer men. This is true from both sides. I know my message is heard to be implemented, but surely possible if we can only know that we are but one people in one nation. My message goes to Nuer and Dinka people that are currently turning this war into what it should not be – the tribal war. Please listen to me. War cannot solve anything. We fought for a long time in Sudan, but only the negations brought our peace that we are about to forget now. I appeal to Equatorian nationals to remain peaceful as they are. You are indeed true nationals of South Sudan and I just love that spirit you have.
May God bless South Sudan as we sing in our national anthem!
The author is a South Sudanese theologian and a tutor at Emmanuel Christian College in Yei River County, South Sudan. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org John Monyjok Maluth is the founder and CEO of the un-registered Discipleship Press, an independent Press in South Sudan. John has written computer manuals and The Principles of Conflict Management: In South Sudanese Perspective a book that is like a prophesy for the current issues in South Sudan. John is also a South Sudanese software developer with Microsoft Visual Studio. You can contact him using his website at https://discipleshippress.wordpress.com and use the “Contact Us” page for more views about the current issues in South Sudan.