Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 16 May 2014

Federalism Based on Ethnic Solidarity: a workable Solution to S. Sudanese crisis


By Mark Y. Lual

May 15, 2014 - The nationalism in expense of one’s ethnic identity that has been spearheaded the pro Arab polices of old Sudan have been inherited by the SPLM/A to weaken the South Sudanese’ commitment to nationalism as common aspiration and raised questions about who would think to be honored more than the other where democracy has become a dominant feature of the modern epoch by upgrading equality, Solidarity and freedom for all. As the world moved into this modern era, the South Sudan, exhausted by 3 civil wars, should seek a new basis of national unity in diversity, beginning tentatively with a set of treaties establishing economic linkages through "ethnic solidarity" so that they could better express their uniqueness in the federal arrangement. By the end of the supposed interim/transitional period/ years those ethnic based states will be developed into South Sudan federal sates, a new-style of political invention in Africa that proved successful in the neighboring Ethiopia and Nigeria.

The South Sudan nation has been essentially in a confused state since independence by imposing Republicanism system of government on them while many of its informed citizens are dreaming of the Parliamentarianism and Federalism form of government to govern them with for it leads to decentralization of powers and services. It is by far the most advanced and comprehensive example of the new phenomenon of federal linkages but is by no means the only one. In many ways it paves the way for the citizenry dignity that results in the mobilization toward meaningful development. Indeed, we may expect the S under its various peace deals to become the model for post independence federation. Many studies of the S, especially under its previous name, the Southern Sudan, explore and document mops of the South Sudan munities’ traditional settings as federalist in their culture.

From the first, the vision for South Sudan nation was a secular federal state. The conventional expectation of those who sought it originally was federation, a United States of Africa. When SPLM efforts at democracy federation failed with the immediate friendship with the Ethiopian communist Dergue, the Democrats federalists and the separatists were fought against by the communists and the unionists, who were by then favored the Dergue. Through the establishment by treaties (1987&2002) of unifying authorities for specific but disguised purposes which were fleeting achieved intermittently, but short lived

It is they who laid the foundation, wittingly or unwittingly, for the disunity, while strenuously denying that they had any tribalism intentions, for strategic reasons. Thus, the development of a new-style ethnic federalism has been overlooked by many. Until very recently, the SOUTH SUDAN have realized this latest SPLM initiated war has victimized the SOUTH SUDAN solidarity thus creating a sense of ethnic identity then geographical as one is targeted based on their ethnic identity.

It hardly need be said that the failure of the United States of Africa movement and its replacement by the nationalism in expense of your ethnic identity as has been preached the ruling party, will lead to the lost unity within diversity. Every South Sudan was seen as serving particular ethnic groups. This was particularly true of those South Sudan ethnic groups that joined the SPLM in masses at its earlier stages. As long as the communist movement, turned in to ruling elite- SPLM, still believes in the communist hierarchy, those who joined them late were/are denied access to its powerful organs like Liberation Council and Political Bureau. At the same time they are still harboring that old hostility, particularly democrats and the separatist, had to be linked somehow in a golden net that would keep them from being recognized as people - dehumanizing them-calling them names that would cause an irrational person think when they kill these, they are doing good job to the elite. They also realized denying them economic progress and the national top jobs especially their army officers-named to be unconfirmed.

The principal features that will stand out and marked the coming ethnic federal state of South Sudan as a new-style polity: One of the requirement for a people to share a state is a common heritage because we believe in philosophy that solidarity cannot be created but can be fostered; for example to solve the Acholo-Mahdi problem is to put the Mahdi together with the Moro groups and join up the Achiolo with the Luo speaking of the Equatoria. The second was the transfer of powers to the states on geographical basis, whereby unrelated communities caused many untold suffering to masses. This proved unsuccessful in many parts of the country whereby a people of the same state cannot share a hospital and other public institutions could, at least in part, work directly with the citizens from other ethnic groups in the state, although in some states it had to work through tolerance; Jonglei(Bor) state proved it wrong to put an incompatible ethnic group in a state.

It was this mixture of reliance upon the ruling ethnic group in order to act and the authority to reach out directly to the people on a limited basis, with each particular combination and resulted in identity crisis in many parts of the country that cause determined armed struggles among the member states, that gives this new ethnic federalism proposal a firm acceptance. Moreover, the new federation quietly insisted upon democratic parliamentarianism as the required regime for federal states, a step that became particularly visibly workable in the cases of to afore mentioned states of Africa, which passed from dictatorship to democracy as a condition of their entrance into the democratic nations.

Following the unaccountable corruption by the SPLM that put the nation on the top list of the Failed States Index, when it seemed that the nation itself would fail, it took on new vigor in the 2012 and there began the talk about autocratic resistance for federalism-democracy which caused the current civil war. This the democratic voices in the SPLM advocated for the party democratization. After the war erupted and affected the whole nation-not only the SPLM members, how come do the SPLM elites would advocate only for SPLM unification? This is the question of our people. Both SPLM and the nation as a whole have subsequently run into problems whose cause is resistance to democratic aspiration of the people of South Sudan by the SPLM elites. This single party whose name is now on paper as a democratic, but has not been immediately democratic in practice. While the Addis Ababa peace is seen as to cease both national and the SPLM crisis in the end by all political parties on the both sides of the warring groups, the anti democratic voices that are put across now is that –the problem an SPLM problem therefore it would involve only the SPLM and their allies. By now it is clear that the all political groups of South Sudan, realizing the necessity to be represented so, are committed to the South Sudan peace, but they are not willing to give up their political identities only to be engulfed on the either side as SPLM.

The writer is a member of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), South Sudan. He can be reached at markyoh@yahoo.com

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  • 16 May 2014 08:27, by Akol Liai Mager

    That means "66 Federal States for 66 Tribes"? I don’t think that can work. The only workable approach is negotiating President Kiir and Riek Machar out Power and politic and South Sudan will be fine if this happen.

    repondre message

    • 16 May 2014 18:34, by Diversity

      What is meant here is not a tribe but an ethnic linkage like common ancestry.
      I agree with you in the omission of the two SPLM big brothers.

      repondre message

    • 16 May 2014 20:20, by Ito

      Mager, it is better for you not to comment on something you have no knowledge of. Federalism has nothing to do with tribes. what do you mean 66 tribes? Federal system mean the ten states will be empowered to run their own affairs, will have their constitution on all aspect and at the same time contribute to the federal government just like usa and Canada. are you stupid?

      repondre message

  • 17 May 2014 03:00, by Akol Liai Mager

    Well, Ten States was engineered by Khartoum to strengthen its divide-and-rule policies and should have not stay one day after an Independence of the South Sudan. It’s that divide-and-rule from Khartoum minority cliques that led to death of love, respect, tolerance and harmony in South Sudan. What South Sudan needs is not Federalism, rather, it needs a man or a lady with development in mind.

    repondre message

    • 17 May 2014 03:06, by Akol Liai Mager

      Where is nationalism and capabilities in South Sudan today where statesmen and women are categorised as not belong to our Boma, Payam, County and State if they happened to be from other States? This system in place is no less than independence states within a state if you guys don’t know.

      repondre message

      • 17 May 2014 03:15, by Akol Liai Mager

        These are what could happen when Ethnic’s based federalism is systematised: 1. Ngook-Lual Yak Jaang, Rurweng-Jaang and Abiliang-Jaang will claim their ethnic States and control of their resources including Oil and Agricultural Lands. 2. Foreign invasion is evitable in both North, East and South of South Sudan for the control of water and oil resources by these foreign forces.

        repondre message

        • 17 May 2014 03:21, by Akol Liai Mager

          3. Central Government which has taken Juba as its base will have no place in any of the states under the control of ethnic groups and therefore, South Sudan government will be a thing of the past. The best system of a state is that which takes care of its citizens by providing them with maximum security and basic services based on citizenship’s rights than ethnicity.

          repondre message

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