Tackling Social Transformation In South Sudan

Recently, there has been a global paradigm shift towards stability. More than ever, the world has shown willingness to engage in capacity building within Africa.

From civil society organisations, governments, private sectors, African institutions and agencies to international partners have acknowledged the prerequisite to transform conflict through stability and long-term peacebuilding. It is only through that process that financial investment will flow into the continent, and stir up development and prosperity. Unfortunately, in the case of South Sudan, the country is affected by growing corruption and ineffectiveness, which has had a major impact on the development process of South Sudan.

There is a strong view amongst the South Sudanese population that the enduring instability, poor governance, and slow development have hindered the exaltation experienced during the independence celebration. People feel disappointed by the way the government manages the country’s affairs. It is believed that the government’s poor social transformation process has distorted South Sudanese patriotic sentiment.

Focusing on socio-political dynamics, it has been noticed that following the South Sudan cessation from Sudan, some behavioral changes have evolved. We observed that the values of solidarity and brotherhood have been turned into a mockery and hypocrisy. Cultural, ethnic, and tribes’ diversity have exacerbated this situation. Bearing in mind that South Sudan is an embryonic democratic state, efforts must be deployed towards achieving social and political inclusion through South Sudanese diversity.

In addition, there is growing autocratic behavior evolving amongst the leaders and the elite group in South Sudan. It is no surprise that some believe that they were born with particular leading skills that make others’ opinion to be undermined or ignored at all. For state building capacity purpose, and fostering democracy, people should be able to trust and accept each other whether Christian or Muslim.

The above-mentioned lethargic constituents have deepened pre-existing social challenges. While South Sudan is working in operating economic dynamics and addressing security issues, fragmentations from ethnic discrimination, social injustice, poor state infrastructures, poor health system, lack of national cohesion have rendered South Sudanese government irresponsive to the social, political and economic challenges.

Therefore, from the above analysis the following interrogations arise: how efficiently can the South Sudanese Government address current political, social and economic challenges? How does the South Sudanese government intend to address these challenges? What role will international partners, political analysts, civil society groups and religious leaders play towards building a responsive developmental (transformative) framework?

What is happening presently must be seen and understood as a wake up call on the state of governance performance. While attempts to destabilize the South Sudanese government have failed, it has served to demonstrate how vulnerable and ineffective the state is. As we are all aware that most of conflicts in Africa arise from dissatisfactions stemming from accentuating poverty, poor service delivery, and lack of access to basic needs, social injustice, human right abuses, economic hardship, youth unemployment and above all the lack political consensus.

Almost 2.5 million people are in dire need of basic services; food, shelter, good drinking water and many more. Over 10 000 people have been killed since the violent outbreak on December 15, 2013 in the South Sudan capital, Juba. Reports suggest that unless firm actions are taken by the government towards building peace, security and social cohesion, the country will land itself in the category of failed state.

Consequently, South Sudanese leaders need to wake up and save the country from falling apart. People expect leaders to stand in similar situations and turn things around expeditiously, with common understanding and inclusive strategies and policies. Leaders need to be leaders of the state, not leaders of individuals or a group. The first thing that they (leaders) can do is to reconcile, resolve their differences in a national democratic forum approach, while taking into consideration the suffering that our people have undergone.

Since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement, the leaders have not been very active in reconciling the state, which was devastated for decades by war and conflicts. They did not at all prioritize the delivery of basic services to the people instead; they have been using the public funds for their individuals needs. South Sudan is one of the most corrupt states in Africa and also in the world.

As mentioned above, leaders need to reconcile and sort out all their differences for the sake of the suffering of South Sudanese innocent civilians. Following the reconciliation, after when the leaders reconcile, they will now be able to cohesively reconcile the nation and comprehensively move the nation forwards. However, looking at the intensity of the current crises in the country; there should be a formed interim government to do the national dialogue, national reconciliation and bring peace and harmony back to the country. In the actual volatile and shaky environment, it is advisable that the 2015 election should be postponed to 2016 to allow reconciliation and national dialogue take place.

Article by Chuol Chot Pouch

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