By Suzanne Jambo
March 21, 2013 - Words can never be enough to emphasize how our people have ALL paid the price most dearly during our entire struggle for Freedom. No one was spared, from EVERY part of our Beloved Country, EVERY South Sudanese suffered, pained, sacrificed and cried! ALL South Sudanese communities contributed in every bit of the way in our Struggle. NOT ONE individual single-handedly and NOT ONE single community gave to our Freedom more than another! The pain and sacrifices were always shared. Thus, the ’Prize’; the new found RSS, must be ’shared’ equally and enjoyed fully by ALL; equally, equitably and transparently! No discrimination, no cheating, no monopoly, favoritism or ’ownership’ of any processes (in public positions, wealth, develpment & prosperity etc) by anyone, individuals or community(s)!
Admittedly, statistics may show us the varied demographic distribution of our People that we have ’larger’ nationalities/ethnic communities etc than others in the RSS. Thus, it maybe unavoidable and is rather a realistic factor for these larger in numbers communities to be seen almost in all spheres and processes of our Country and hence, may appear like a dominant factor by default as a result. Often may not necessarily be by design.... HOWEVER, one would hope that any dominance eg in public appointments is simply by a sheer default or better still by competence/merit and NOT for the purpose of domination and discrimination in the exclusion of other RSS’ citizens! We must strive to make that distinction, lest we all (’smaller’ and ’larger’ communities alike..) fall under the ’mythical trap-cum-exploitative’; "Tribalism", a political gimmick, selfishly often driven by power-hungry politicians, their croonies and tragically too, ’innocent’ citizens alike in the RSS and Africa for that matter!
It is also imperative to appreciate and acknowledge rightfully so, that the Struggle for Freedom and independence of the South begun by our heroes and heroines of Any Nya One, 1955 - 1972 which, was characterized then as anti-colonial armed grassroots struggle liberation movement. It is equally vital to distinctively acknowledge that at the time; in the 1950s, the Any Nya One was a phenomenal liberation movement as it waged a struggle from layers of oppressions. As historically established, the political supreme North of Sudan which, oppressed, enslaved and exploited the South over the centuries, these negative and extremely basic rights violations coupled up with former colonialists (the British rule enjoined later by the Egyptians; the Condominium Rule which ruled the former Greater Sudan till it’s independence in January 1956), were, indeed such characteristics of the complexity of the nature of the Struggle which, Any Nya One had to battle with in as early as 1955!!!
A complex cause indeed; tainted and heavy-weighed by layers of ’conspiratorial’ colonial rule which, instead of leaving the Country in 1956, as similarly was being done at the time in other parts of Africa, the colonialists instead opted for a change of rulers but similar ruling style; non-indigenous and totally exploitative oppressive regime from the Political North (of Sudan), the Egyptians etc. Talk of change of faces and hands, but not the ruling style; the South continued to be oppressed and inhumanely exploited. Notably however, the Any Nya One freedom struggle was a synonymous African political consciousness trend in the 1950s and 1960s.
Would someone be right, mistaken or wrong if we assume that since Anya Nya One was started in Torit, Eastern Equatoria, hence it was an ’Equatorian’ liberation movement? Further, should we assume that it was Equatorians who must and ought to ’own’ our rise of the FIRST POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS and consequnetly leading to today’s ultimate Freedom simply because it was started in Equatoria and led and fought mainly then by Equatorians.....? The simple straightforward answer is NO! Any Nya One was and shall always remain a national grassroots movement aimed at liberating all South Sudanese then and always when was started in 1955 till we achieved our independence in July 2011.
SIMILARILY, the SPLM/A war in 1983 - 2005 started by leaders from mainly the larger/greater Dinka community, the Late Hero Dr. John Garang himself was a Dinka yet the SPLM/A was not and is never to be looked at, perceived, by practice or otherwise to be a ’Dinka’ movement. It is a national grassroots liberation movement intended to liberate all of us South Sudanese from North Sudan’s oppression, historical injustices and toward our full empowerment. Let this aim never be abused or hijacked or misconstrued, by individuals or any community or communities.
The onus now and continually shall always be so on the SPLM/A to ensure that this is the case; no ’tribal’ or any form of chauvinism-cum discrimination be the order of the day. The SPLM/A must thus always reflect, faithfully on it’s vision and ensure it’s own adherence to it’s mission of liberating South Sudanese and not oppressing or discriminating against any citizen, community on any grounds whatsoever. NEITHER DOES ANYONE PARTICULAR individual ’own’, the SPLM/A, our gained Freedom nor gives any community or individuals the right to ’own’ or feel more entitled than the rest of us South Sudanese. Be it our national wealth, resources, development in all endevours, public appointments, nationality or identification - FOR THIS CULMINATES TO DISCRIMINATION! We are ALL entitled and EQUALLY SO!
Mass corruption, nepotism, tribalism, incompetence, clinging unto power, domination, isolation, discrimination, marginalization, political short-sightedness, inefficiency, abuse of power, manipulation, machinations and politicking will NOT AND CAN NOT lead any nation, moreso at this very early stage of nation-building in the RSS. Neither can such antics be used as an excuse from answerability to public accountability or used as a scapegoat to dodge addressing the emerging new form of injustices! The chilling fear of retaliation and counter retaliation and worst of all may force people to barbaric mob justice; the truth maybe lost in such exploitative political chaos pitting against one another!
For those of us, ex-freedom fighters and libration leaders, lets not turn into tyrants as commonly been experienced in and around Africa by former liberation movements-cum ruling parties. Let’s live up to our own words which we say during ’day-time’ in public functions and not what some of us do ’at night’ when we go about scheming, conniving and plotting against a bright promising present and future for the RSS. For it’s only a matter of time before the population will say Enough is Enough. lets not fool ourselves, for every one of those who wrongs(ed) them shall be subjected to justice processes or, worst to their way of seeking justice; mob justice!
Encouraged by the recent on-going highly applauded by the public, it’s good to register our appreciation of efforts by H. E. Comrade President Salvage Kiir to pave way for a more efficient national army, this has been highly welcomed. We would wish that it will be received by all in the same spirit; the national army must be a professional one and with relatively new and competent trained forces. Equally important, we urge the good comrade and the RSS government leadership and policy making processes to look into the other organized security organs; the police and the judiciary to truly reflect both competence and the good versatile qualified sons and daughters of the RSS! The same applies to the executive in the various ministries, national commissions such as the Anti Corruption, The Physically challenged etc, as well as the varied arms of the government eg revenue authorities, financial institutions and many more. It is imperative that the RSS must be represented nationally and internationally by all it’s competent sons and daughters. Monopoly will only breed resentment and the latter will only breed disconent and disharmony leading to stagnation and or chaos! We need a healthier nation, NOW and surely!
Last but not least, my peronsal appeal, which, I believe is a most genuine sentiment echoed by most RSS citizens; those of us who’ve ’expired’ and/or have looted ’more than enough’ from public funds or simply too old to effectively function for such a young nation; please come clean and retire gracefully, you ’know’ yourself(s) kindly do that and swiftly so instead of blocking our young nation from prospering; the majority of it’s citizens who are so eager to begin putting the right seeds to save this youngest on earth Nation and to see the light and be!
Suzanne Jambo is a South Sudanese lawyer, communities & human rights activist and is the current SPLM Secretary for External Relations and can be reached via email: email@example.com