Opinion: From tribalism & ignorance to pluralism – Towards peaceful coexistence

By Gabriel M. Maliah

President Kiir flanked by members of the tribal Jieng Council of Elders (File photo)
President Kiir flanked by members of the tribal Jieng Council of Elders (File photo)

August 29th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – Quote: “Ethnic differences exist; of course they exist on the African continent. They are not necessarily political differences, however. They don’t necessarily cause people to kill each other. They become so-called ‘tribalism’ when they are politicized in a particular framework. And in post-independence Africa they have been politicized largely by sections of the so-called AFRICAN ELITES,”  ~ Walter Rodney

If one tries to look back critically at the ways South Sudanese people have been handling their social affairs and diversities since pre-colonial periods until independence of Sudan in 1956 and up to independence of South Sudan from Sudan July 9, 2011, there was nothing basically wrong with their social cohesions and cultural diversities. The recent culture of violence and hatreds amongst the ordinary south Sudanese have been inculcated into their minds by some SELF-INTERESTED south Sudanese politicians.

People cannot expect durable peace in the country when there is: Too much tribalism, rampant corruption that encourage unjustified enrichments, no well-functioning government, no equitable distribution of resources, no acceptance of others’ right and no implementation of rule of law.

The South Sudanese problems are simply and squarely tribalism, ignorance and failures of leadership. However, if such tribal leaders could stop their tribal mindsets and start preaching peace, reconciliation and national dialogue. I believe South Sudanese people would emerge victorious, though they have almost given up on any thing called BETTER life; ideally which is supposed to be the standard mandate of any government.

People of the world cannot care about us, until we start caring for our own selves. We are a proud people and therefore must create peaceful coexistence amongst ourselves, bearing in mind that:

The Western world does not and will not care until we care about ourselves;  The Eastern world does not and will not care until we show them that we can care for ourselves; The UN body does not and will not care until we care for ourselves first; The AU body does not and will not care until we show them that we love ourselves; The IGAD countries do not and will not care until we unconditionally care for ourselves;

Fake friends do not and will not stop making empty promises that they truly care for our survival until we prove them that they will definitely not care for breakdown of our country until we care; Thus, the true secret key to our survival is ours, begins in our own hands and not primarily from our neighbors as we would like to perceive.

In summary, if you think it through or wisely enough then you will agree with me, that we have created massive international markets for dishonest regional and international stakeholders that have invested heavily in our social and political differences. Yet we are expecting those same people to now, “turn into new peace makers”, and solve our problems.

As South Sudanese people, we need to know that, our interests come first, resolve our problems by means of genuine reconciliation and national dialogue; otherwise the nation will perish if we depend entirely on fake friends, regional and international dishonest stakeholders.

We should not still be talking about targeting ourselves unnecessarily and practicing tribalism in 2019 AD, when the rest of the world is busy transforming the lives of their societies, uniting ranks for sustainable peace and development. The question that you must ask yourself is, “Where are we heading?” The answer to which, you might find will be, Undefined!!!

As a matter of fact, Let us embrace peace and live in harmony so that the surviving youths after this senseless war should be the workforce of our manufacturing companies, agricultural firms and other related businesses in the country. To you Mr. President and other top political leaders, we say, “the ball, is in your courts”, you can play it, in either the strategies of Liverpool or Barcelona of June 2019. However, do note that if you play in the Barcelona way, we will all perish and if in the Liverpool way, we will survive and build our nation. Avoiding repeat of the strife, that has already costs this great nation the lives of around 2.5 million people, in pursuit of its independence.

The author is a master’s student at Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria and can be reached via email: matutmaliah@ymail.com

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