The Crisis in South Sudan and Its Causes 4

The Real Reasons behind South Sudan Crisis

Borne out of a post-independence political indulgence and inclination marked by the absence of any credible and meaningful reform, it was not surprising that the crisis in the SPLM erupted at the top echelon of political power. During the armed struggle for independence, the glue that kept the various divergent forces of the SPLM intact was their common enemy in Khartoum and their aspiration for self-determination and independence.

Now, that glue is not strong enough to hold all divergent views together, and the SPLM is no longer a liberation movement. It is a ruling party, and as such should behave democratically to allow the South Sudanese people to exercise all the rights for which they fought. The SPLM has to discharge its responsibilities on behalf of all the functions of the state. Once independence is achieved, unless transformed into a democratic political force, it becomes only a matter of time before liberation movements face internal divisions and even total rejection by their various supporters.  Post-independence Africa, including the recent example of Eritrea, attests to this development.

It was a matter of time before the SPLM leadership had to face the mounting grievances of the population. After independence, Juba became the centre of South Sudan with its own peripheral areas inhabited by diverse communities demanding constitutional accommodation in one state. In post-liberation period, being a majority in number should not be construed as a majority in power with a license to do whatever one wishes. Juba, under the current leadership of SPLM, failed to take this into account. Disregarding the increasing discontent by the minority within SPLM, the leadership style of the top leaders of the SPLM focused on winning routine political scuffles and abandoned the task of nation building. Political instability has been accelerated by rampant corruption that is symptomatic of the country’s weak legislative, regulatory and enforcement mechanisms. Without military, legislative and other state institutions resilient to abuses and misuse by the political wing of the relevant liberation movement, autocratic elements of the movement may take over. The options they have are to either reform or accuse each other of failure to govern competently.

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