Potential Causes, Consequences of S. Sudan becoming a “Failed State”

Oxymoronically described as a ‘pre-failed’ state, the current crisis in South Sudan emanates from the failure of the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to transform into a democratic party, and a state army respectively. Borne out of a post-independence political indulgence and inclination marked by the absence of any credible and meaningful political and constitutional reform, it was not surprising that the crisis in the SPLM erupted at the top echelon of political power. During the armed struggle, the glue that kept the various divergent forces of the SPLM/A intact was their common enemy in Khartoum and their aspiration for self-determination and independence. 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. Now, that glue is not strong enough to hold all divergent views together, and the SPLM/A is no longer a liberation movement. Unless liberation movements democratize and deliver on their independence they will increasingly face popular protests that could develop into a crisis within the ruling party. It was a matter of time that the SPLM/A leadership to face the mounting grievances of the population. 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 resistant to abuses and misuse by the political wing of the relevant liberation movement, autocratic elements of the liberation movement may take over power. A prerequisite for a stable South Sudan, the author argues without a popularly vetted and democratically-endorsed permanent constitution, the transformation of South Sudan from a war-torn crisis-ridden country to a stable constitutional democracy will remain elusive forever. It also explains why the SPLM/A, the very political force expected and trusted by the people to deliver a democratic constitutional transformation of South Sudan, has effectively prevented South Sudan from achieving the same. Consequently, the author argues that constitutional transformation in South Sudan is unthinkable without the internal democratic reform of the SPLM/A. Similarly, from the perspective of mediation process, the incumbent and rebel groups in South Sudan current crisis are not the legitimate and de jure representatives of the South Sudanese people. They should not even be considered as the de facto legitimacy bearers. Recognizing dialogue between the current two SPLM factions led by the incumbent President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Dr Riek Machar for the SPLM/A-In Opposition will not solve the problem sustainably, the inclusive dialogue among all forces in South Sudan that can address major national questions within and out side of SPLM is in order. By explaining why the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led mediation efforts and transitional processes should avoid over reliance on the warring parties represent the population affected by conflicts. Accordingly, by explaining the current IGAD led mediation effort towards the establishment of transitional government of national unity, the author provides details on how an inclusive and comprehensive National Constitutive Dialogue (NCD) could help in constitutional making process delivers the necessary stability, legitimacy and constitutional democracy that the South Sudanese people who suffered for half a century.

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