• Archbishop Paulino Lukudu

A chaotic South Sudan: where next?

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu, Juba

This article reflects the real political process in South Sudan, and not the complex implementation of the R-ARCSS. It is not meant to offend.

When you follow South Sudanese politics closely, you will understand that we are a nation in chaos. We are ruled either by political parties or community politics.

When the High Level Revitalisation (HLRF) kicked off in Addis Ababa, it was the political parties who were invited to discuss a road map forward for sustainable peace in South Sudan. Long story short, it was those same political parties who signed the R-ARCSS and committed to its implementation in word and spirit.

South Sudanese delegates in Addis Ababa, 2018.

Two years on, however, the R-ARCSS’ implementation is still centred on the formation of a Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU). This is not yet complete.. Those who signed the agreement as friends of South Sudan are nowhere to be seen, and the political parties have grown horns. Some have become superior and some have become inferior, some good boys and others bad boys. All over, the the darkness of implementation looms.

However, it must be noted that this is shading light into the darkness rather than cursing said darkness. The matter must be treated with a high sense of intellect and responsibility.

At present, South Sudan is missing a governor. There are only 9 out of 10. This is simply because one community rejects another community’s gubernatorial appointment. The question is: who is superior in deciding the fate of such appointments? The party or the community? Judge for yourself.

This dichotomy is seen not only in the appointment of one governor. It has also become a model for lower appointments. It is analog politics versus digital politics manifest. A nation of communities is emerging, while the nation of political parties is diminishing.

Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state which to this day lacks a governor.

South Sudan is the land of drama. Here, you can see that which can’t be witnessed in any other part of the world.

The Political Parties Act, the Transitional Constitution and the R-ARCSS has embarrassed the principles of party political pluralism. Today, your tribe can decide your political fate more than your party or qualifications.

Indeed, we are a lost nation. For example, when we need a Parliamentary Speaker, the intellectuals will say that the former speaker was from Tribe A, so the new speaker must be from Tribe B. Not because Tribe B can deliver more than Tribe A, but simply because Tribe A has already tested the leadership. Will unity ever be attractive with such mindsets? Illusion and confusion appears to be the order of the day.

One day, all 64+ tribes will have their own political parties if our leaders continue to think community politics are better than party politics. This can amount only to a situation of divide and conquer.

Linking tribes and politics is more deadly than COVID and ebola combined. It is disastrous for the growth of the nation, leading to ethnic cleansing, genocide, tribalism and anarchy.

To conclude, South Sudan needs a democratic ideological rebirth, enforced by rule of law. The tribe must be separated from politics, and electoral competition encouraged. Despite this, we need a new South Sudan before any election, or else we will sink into a deep abyss.

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