Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 16 March 2011

Tribal conflicts cause political, social and economic loss


ByLok Franco Kok

March 16, 2011 — The term “tribe” has no consistent meaning. It carries misleading historical and cultural assumptions. Tribal conflicts have weathered South Sudan’s history for many years and a complex tribal justice system has arisen as a result. Although today illiteracy eradication and development projects have played an important role in reducing tribal disputes, much remains to be done by the government to address longstanding truces and other unresolved tribal arguments.Much of the violence took place along ethnic lines.

Tribal custom dictates that every member of a tribe must participate in any war against it or be renounced by it, whatever the reasons of the war.Thus, no member hesitates to take part in tribal conflict, even if he does not believe in the reasons of the conflict. Some tribal conflicts happen because of a dispute over a land while others are caused by revenge killing,and abduction can also be a trigger.Political leaders have good reason to advance an ethnic conflict analysis, since it helps shift the focus away from their own role in events. While ethnic divisions don’t generally erupt spontaneously in conflict, they can be manipulated by those seeking to gain or maintain power.

Security concerns prevent government institutions from functioning effectively in certain areas and hamper participation in activities of local governing bodies.Swapping “tribal” for “ethnic” without questioning the underlying framework is indeed less racist, but scarcely more accurate or illuminating. In fact, the label “ethnic conflict” is itself a loaded term, downplaying political or economic cause.

At the outset, a stakeholder analysis was conducted to ensure that all major parties that had played and continued to play an active role in community life were represented in the project and had a chance to provide input into its activities. Conflict prevention is now officially a recognized and legitimate tool for planning, designing and implementing community-development projects.

Widespread presence of arms, illiteracy, weak power of the new state, lack of religious faith and the abuse of power by some militia leaders are the main causes of the tribal conflicts.To address the widespread presence of weapons, the government has tried to reduce the rate of conflicts by banning weapons from the hands of civilians a year after the signing of CPA, but there are many guns being buried during the civil war in the suburbs of all major town.

In a materialistic sense,the presence of militia groups in greater Upper Nile play a major role.Pure tribal enmity was behind the bloodshed of civilian, an analysis echoed across the media as the crisis unfolded.Ideology, politics and economics are merely modern-day complications.”

Since we can’t prevent conflict, the most important thing is to learn how to handle or manage it in productive ways. What is critical for resolving conflict is developing an understanding of, and a trust in, shared goals. However, there are several strategies for coping with conflict. Knowing when and how to use these techniques can make us more effective leader.We could recognize how our own attitudes and actions impact on others, we can Find new and effective techniques for managing negative emotions and the needs to develop coping strategies for dealing with difficult people and difficult situations as Identify those times when you have the right to walk away from a difficult situation.

We suppose to Learn some techniques for managing and dealing with anger,Understand what conflict is and how it can escalate.Proponents of tribal conflict resolution nevertheles s contend that age-old rituals and traditions of settlement and reconciliation are very effective ways of dealing with conflicts, and are worth nurturing.It is worth mentioning that prior to the end of the civil war, there might have some disparate civil society efforts in peacebuilding work which should revolved around a popular response aiming to end violence.

While there has not been a comprehensive, systematic evaluation of the peacebuilding and conflict resolution work of South Sudan civil society, a few lessons could eventually&nbs p;begins to emerge.

Following the cessation of hostilities and given the painful job of trying to put the country on track towards sustainable peace, civil society should faced with the monumental task of exploring and utilising alternative dispute resolution mechanisms with which to face the increasing demands for rebuilding cross-communal relations, particularly in areas hit hardest by violence.The need to ensure a solid resolution of longstanding complex issues was evident,Reliance on civil society henc e became necessary to undertake grassroots conflict resolution projects.

The second problem that must be overcome by any remedy for severe ethnic conflict is the security dilemma.
Regardless of the origins of ethnic strife, once violence (or abuse of state power by one group that controls it) reaches the point that ethnic communities cannot rely on the state to protect them, each community must mobilize to take responsibility for its own security.Under conditions of anarchy, each group’s mobilization constitutes a real
threat to the security of others for two reasons. First, the nationalist rhetoric that accompanies mobilization often seems to and often does indicate offensive intent. Under these conditions, group identity itself can be seen by other groups as a threat to their safety.

The reality of the mutual security threats means that solutions to ethnic conflicts must do more than undo the causes; until or unless the security dilemma can be reduced or eliminated, neither side can afford to demobilize.Further, offensive and defensive mobilization measures are more distinguishable when populations are separated than when they are mixed.In fact, even ethnic tension far short of war often undermines not just political appeals across ethnic lines but also appeals within a single group for cooperation with other groups.

The best-developed blueprint for civic peace in multi-ethnic state is power-sharing or "consociational democracy.This approach assumes that ethnicity is somewhat manipulable, but not so freely. Ethnic division, however, need not result in conflict; even if political mobilization is organized on ethnic lines, civil politics can be maintained if ethnic elites adhere to a power-sharing bargain that equitably protects all groups. The key components are: joint exercise of governmental power; proportional distribution of government funds and jobs; autonomy on ethnic issues (which, if groups are concentrated territorially, may be achieved by regional federation); and a minority veto on issues of vital importance to each group.

Even if power-sharing can avert potential ethnic conflicts or dampen mild ones, our concern here is whether it can bring peace under the conditions of intense violence and extreme ethnic mobilization that are likely to motivate intervention.

The author resides in South Sudan, he is reachable at jiiwa@live.com

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  • 17 March 2011 04:35, by Nyieth-Aguthon

    "Tribal conflicts cause political, social and economic loss. Yes, In south Sudan, the social distance, namely the misery, the anger, the tribal politics, the hatred, the sense of in justice and inequality, the virulent need for vengeance keeps spreading and must not be ruled out as nonsense or fabrication. Many of our politicians were NCP civil servants in the past, so they use human tragedy to push their political agendas far and wide.

    For south Sudan to break the spell of past malfunctions and to prosper, trusting societies would have to be care for. A new political culture and a new civilization of peace, absence of violence and democracy need to be forged.

    With all the points you have mentioned all the way through, many people will disagree with these facts and would like to see social turmoil. Tribal politics can lead to social instability, worsen the situation and even obstruct the development of society. So, any attempt to create a Lam Akol-like situation in South Sudan is doomed to failure. The Black and insider Arab (Lam Akol) intended to enter south Sudan Parliament via the NCP route. Salva Kiir need to exile him because he is a burden to our politics.

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