By Kor Rualmim
March 1, 2014 - Depending on who you talk to, the politicians in South Sudan will tell you that our problem is lack of democracy and they only say this when they are no longer in position of power. Everyone else will tell you that it’s lack of development, corruption, and you name it. In earnest, it is critical that you define the problem first and then search for a solution.
Given the diversity of South Sudan in terms of ideas, ethnicity, and demography, it is difficult to define what our common problem is; the youths have grievances, the women have grievances, the elderly have grievances and everyone else has a grievance.
Now, you have a non-peaceful revolutionary society where people are at each other’s throats, possibly with a knife, spear or gun. And all this is because both the Any Anya I revolution and the SPLM/A revolution failed to address our main problems. Currently, a third revolution is underway also seeking to address some of our major socio-economic challenges. And there is no guarantee that this third revolution to will properly address our common problems as a people NOT necessarily as tribes but it’s worth a try.
One of the main problems that the previous revolutions failed to adequately address is the creation of an effective redistribution system. We gained tens of billions of dollars from the sale of our oil during the last eight years and little or none of that money went to the average south Sudanese. The current government in Juba failed to create a basis for human development because of the apparent lack of a proper redistribution system.
Now, the point I am trying to make is how do you make sure that the current revolution does not fall in the same trap? How do you make sure that the people who are now rising up in thousands to overthrow the status quo eventually get what they want? A possible departure of Gen. Salva Kiir from power whether voluntarily or by force may not necessarily mean the end of our problems. If we maintain the status quo, as we did after the signing of the CPA, then we will continue to have a revolutionary society driven by lack of things.
The leadership of the SPLM/A-in-Opposition has the obligation to articulate the mission of the third revolution and how it will address the mistakes made in the past. And this must start with popular consultations on most critical issues, especially with regards to the peace talks in Addis Ababa. I hate anarchy as much as I hate central command and as such I don’t think everyone should be in Addis at the peace talks to address their concern. I believe the parties involved should device ways to properly consult with the public at home and in diaspora to gather what people really want and present that as the guiding principle during the negotiations. Failure by the Opposition to include as many segments of the marginalized masses as possible may as well create discontent and outrage with the OPPOSITION.
Kor Rualmim is a South Sudanese born software Engineer based in Lincoln, NE – USA. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.