Armed Conflicts and the International Humanitarian Law: More Questions than Answers
In 2011, the world celebrated the birth of a new state in the heart of Africa, the Republic of South Sudan. Unfortunately, all this had to come only after the death of the founder and the father of the nation, Dr. John Garang. Actually he had the vision and the sense about building a nation out of a divided people. This blog story is revisiting what has already been shared earlier in this series some time back.
Africans still see their ethnic inclusiveness as key in forming a nation. The World Factbook shows the people of South Sudan as follows: Dinka 35.8%, Nuer 15.6%, Shilluk, Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi. Dinka are the leading majority followed by Nuer. The two are also political giants in South Sudan, their presence in the top leadership is critical for other groups. The breaking up of President Salva Kiir and his Vice President Dr. Machar is the recipe to chaos and this has been mentioned in the previous stories. Salva Kiir is from the numerous Dinka community while his rival is from the other numerous Nuer. This has brought a dramatic mistrust that we cannot wish away unless we expect a miracle to happen.
Another technical mistake in South Sudan is, the involvement of armed military in the matters of politics. Each civilian leader seems to be commanding a section of armed troops in the defense and security forces. Mr. Salva Kiir is the first democratically elected President by the people of South Sudan and he has the numbers from his Dinka group. However, he is also one of the fierce commanders of the armed forces on the ground. As he enjoys 100% of loyalty from his populous tribe, the Dinka, he may not get the same vote from other groups. To balance this problematic situation, Machar could attenuate the situation with his followers from Nuer community and render the forces balanced. But both have the military other than civilian rule and civilian democracy is just a disguise.
The third mistake in South Sudan is: both Kiir and Machar were to invest in nation building first then think of other things later. In any democracy, it is always a problem when it comes to sharing of the national cake. Those who fought for independence usually claim that the biggest portion must go to them when it comes to democracy. It is the same in other African democracies: Kenya, Burundi, among others. Those who have fought until the country achieves its status usually claim that they must lead when it comes to sharing of wealth. This is against equity and social justice. The Dinka will not easily allow other groups to get to the top without creating problems. It is unlikely that an Acholi may become the President without provoking the Dinka or the Nuer since the latter are the majority.
Power-sharing is always a big problem in multi-ethnic African nations including Kenya. The tendency is always to apply the exclusive approach and such tendencies rarely go down well for the nation. Shrewd leaders usually tend to command power by the barrel of the gun. It is a soft dictatorship that may not add value to the long-time struggle to bring South Sudan back to the track.
Oil money is another a silent killer of the young nation. Actually who is commanding the oil money? Where does the money go if the population is still poor? It is simple. Whoever has the gun, has the might, and the might makes right. Corruption has become the order of the day and every leader in power will always fight to ensure that he gets the best portion of the national revenue atorvastatin generic. This cannot allow peace to reign in South Sudan since such wealth shall also buy weapons to defend the wealthy.
South Sudan may find it difficult to correct the historical errors unless there is a sincere and mutual inclusiveness in the government. Firing of Dr. Machar was a grave mistake and ill advised. His absence has not helped in the peace process. Replacing him with Deng from the same community may appear to be the smartest move, but remember, he has the stake in the peace process in South Sudan. Some political analysts have disqualified him but lets not be on a hurry, he has troops behind him.
As we all wish that there should be quick solution in South Sudan, it is equally right to take precautions on the move of the international community. The question of African problems must require African solution is still valid. I know that nobody is clear about what is the African solution but it is the only way forward. Africans are losing confidence with ideas brewed in New York and implemented in Africa. The worst example is that of Libya. Libya is in turmoil. The intervention of the international community in Libya was a miscalculation that many African states will never forget.
The international community has been pouring money into South Sudan. The outcome has been grand corruption and the use of bullet as the only language governance. Governing people with the gun is a tyranny and not good for any democracy. Killing one who has questioned your act in South Sudan is like a small joke. Now people are getting immune to the sound of the gun in the streets of Juba.
The blunder has been done and we are under obligation to fix the situation before we get to human tragedy. Remember South Sudan may get into total anarchy and a quagmire if the situation is not reversed by the same African leadership. There must be serious commitment from the AU, East African Community and the Horn of Africa. God Bless South Sudan and the People!
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