IGAD should proritize an inclusive national dialogue instead of power sharing agreement
By Deng Akok Muoradid,
June 18th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — There are several forms of conflicts in South Sudan and their root causes are of course complex. The causes of internal South Sudanese conflict varied typhically involving historical grivalences, cattle rustling, child abduction, competition over the use of natural resources like land and water. These conflicts revolve around ethnic, cultural and l.inguistic division. The conflict in South Sudan did not start in 2013 or did not emerge due to the power struggle as the peace mediators have miscalculated it.
The international community would have first conducted a concrete research on the root causes of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan before mediating the talks. The ongoing revitalization forum in Ethiopia will never bring a sustainable and lasting peace to South Sudan because it focuses on allocating positions to various power hungery politicians rather than addressing the root causes of the conflict at the grassroot levels. The root cause of the ongoing conflict is not the power sruggle but the fact is that those power hungery politicians in the person of Riek Machar have taken advantage of the already existing hatre and emnity among the tribes of south Sudan.
For example, the history of the conflict between Dinka and Nuer can be traced back to the period of Turkish Eyptian Administration (1821-1885) and the root causes of that conflict varied from cattle rustling, competition over the grazing land, water and abduction of women and children. The emnity and hatre between dinka and nuer intensified during the second Sudanese civil war (1983-2005) when the Islamic government in khartuom armed some members of Nuer tribe in the name of militias against the Dinka. In addition, the split in the SPLM/A in 1991 also created emnity and hatre between Dinka and Nuer. The conflict in Wau among the Dinka, Luo and Feritit tribes was historically caused by the competition over the ownership of land and it escalated during the second Sudanse civil war especially in 1986 when the Sadig Al Madhi’s government armed the Fertit militias known as Salaam forces as a counter insurgency against the rebels of SPLA. The conflict among the Dinka, Mundari and Bari tribes is attributed to cattle rustling, land graping, competition over the grazing land and destruction of crops by the cattle. The division of the Southern region into three regions (kokora) in 1983 by Jaffar Nimeri’s government and the arming of Mundari militias by the Bashir’s government later deteriorated the relationship among the three major tribes, the Dinka, Mundari and Bari. The conflict in greater Jonglei among the Dinka, Murle and Nuer tribes is attributed to cattle rustling, child abduction and marginalization in the former Jonglei State. It is to be noted that the internal conflict among Dinka communities is rooted in the competition over the land, cattle rustling, girls etc. The example of internal conflicts among the Dinka communities are: Apuk and Aguok, Pakam and Rup, Luacjang and Luackoth, Apuk Padoc and Lou Paher, Gok and Agar etc. There are also internal conflicts Among Nuer communities and these conflicts include Lou and Gawer, Bul and Jikany and their root causes are same with the root causes of Dinka internal conflicts.
Therefore, all the above conflicts among the 64 tribes of South Sudan started before the independence and they have no political motive behind. What happened after the indepenence of South Sudan is that, the power hungry politicians quickly took the advantage of the existing hatre among the tribes by using them as the tools to achieve their political objectives. The IGAD should know that the power sharing agreement would not bring sustainable peace to South Sudan because the conflict participants on the ground are not fighting for the positions. Most of those who are currently patricipating in the conflict are fighting for the different reasons rather than the political aims. For example, the white army and the Gelweng are fighting over the cattle, grazing land etc. Some citizens have taken up arms to reclaim back their land and some have turned into crimnals along the roads in order to sustain their lives due to the economic hardship. All the above grivalences need a homegrown dialogue rather than the external mediation. Do IGAD think that the white army, the Gelweng and many other citizens who are fighting for different aims rather than the political objective will lay down their weapons because of the power sharing agreement? The power sharing agreement will address the grivalences of those few power hungry politicians who are on the street of foreign cities while the conflict patricipants on the ground are excluded.
The IGAD should have prioritized an inclusive national dialogue that aims at addressing the root causes of the ongoing conflict at the grassroot level instead of this power sharing agreement, which focuses on allocating positions to the position seekers. The inclusive national dialogue that I am prefering should comprise of all the people especially the rebels; the government, the yuoth, the community elders and many others in order to enable the South Sudanese resolve their differences internally and amicably.
The author is a prominent activist and a student at the University of Juba. He can be reached via mobile: +211914606064, +211921637574 OR Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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