For me, frequent misidentifications of tribalism in South Sudan are, in essence, individualistic and selfish acts designed to exploit victims of justice. They are shields used by oligarchs and the autocratic class to expand their lottacracy and the oppression of the masses.
To defend their loots, selfish perpetrators seek cover by using their biological cultures for protection, fooling opponents and securing backing in defence against opposing leaders and misled cultural affiliates.
Close examination could easily reveal that the loot is being enjoyed by close circles of associates and relatives while the rest of the tribe or clan is left destitute. Sympathy with the poor and destitute is used to seek further gain. Many perpetrators are family crooks who use the names but do not respect the ideologies of tribal and cultural groups.
Those who have read House of War Africa by David Deng Mayen may argue that it is normal that in African politics, a tribe may be fooled into believing that their self-proclaimed leader is acting for a common cause and rallying for defence. However, experience has shown that when there is an avenue to share a dividend, exclusion occurs.
Fighting tribalism sounds tribalistic. Let us call for unity in diversity. Let us call for fairness, justice, and collaboration. Let us recognise and incorporate our identified entities in South Sudan. Let us not fool ourselves by creating false harmony built on elusive utopian concepts of uniformity.
In His infinite wisdom, our Creator created our tribes to love each other. Happiest are those who love others as they love themselves. Only when others are in peace can we enjoy a peaceful existence.
Colonisers and exploiters sewed seeds of discourse and made false promises of protection. Everyone knows the policies of divide and rule.
TCRSS articles 1(4),1(5), 33, and 36(4) define South Sudan as the homeland of many culturally distinct peoples. Each of these populations deserves to govern itself with its own beliefs and values. To command national unity and interdependence, national institutions must reflect the diversity of South Sudan. No one should be excluded nor marginalised.
South Sudanese governance must be based on the diversity of our cultures. R-ACRSS proclaimed federation in our contexts. SSND called for thirty-nine states and a national government that incorporates and recognises the geocultural existence of greater Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Equatoria.
I add that we need established election systems and a national government composed of representatives from the thirty-nine states and the three greater regions. Gender and minority questions must be addressed. Culturally affirmative actions must be taken.
Countries like Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Indonesia are peaceful and developed because unity in diversity is recognised in their federation.
South Sudan’s electoral system must include minority quotas, multiple parties, and parliamentary democracy.
We are challenged by elitist political and military oligarchy turned colonisers in South Sudan. In partnership with kleptocratic autocracy, they loot in the name of modernity and education. They fool us, telling us that our leaders are eating with their tribes. That is why it is easy to mobilise in the name of fighting tribalism for transformation, but this is hypocrisy.
TCRSS articles 166, 167, and 168(1 and 2) explicitly mandate that the Council of Traditional Authority Leaders (COTAL) must be composed of tricameral and bicameral house members in national and state legislature. Only oligarchs and autocratic leadership would vehemently oppose. This is constitutional. If COTAL is recognised, incorporated, and instituted at all levels, there will be a chance for sustainable development and peaceful coexistence.
Disgruntled anarchists will be pacified by COTAL. Peaceful dialogue will emerge and prevail. The rule of law and good governance will be protected by interactive participation by all in unity and diversity.
Oligarchs and autocratic chauvinists should no longer be misled to believe that there is real tribalism.