By Wani Tombe Lako
June 15, 2013 (SSNA) -- If an objective South Sudanese, were to step outside, her/his legal, constitutional, socio-cultural, and psychological figurative coat; and then, look at South Sudan, as an objective neutral bystander, she/he, could see, many hitherto, invisible realities. One of such realities shall be that, South Sudan is, but, a tumultuous mixture, of raw human hatreds. These raw human hatreds have effectively, and dangerously, blinded us South Sudanese, to the extent that, we are unable to see, all comprehensive dangers, that are about to annihilate us all.
The raw human hatreds I am on about, include, political, tribal, linguistic, ethno-racial, socio-cultural, religious and moral hatreds. The frightening operationalisation of these myriad of hatreds is effected via the agency of herd mentality as well as herd morality. These phenomena of herd mentality and herd morality have made the majority of us afflicted with truth phobia. Human reason and equanimity are sacrificed at the altar of intellectual anarchy, fuelled by raw human hatreds, and sustained by the said herd mentality and herd morality.
We South Sudanese have become alarmingly frightened of truth. To us, truth seems overwhelming. It also appears that, we in South Sudan, behave as if, we do not have the moral, religious, human, physical, psychological and socio-cultural capacities, to bear, know, and withstand the weight of truth; whatever that truth is; about ourselves. A cynical, but an objective political bystander, may also conclude that, we South Sudanese are political masochists.
For example, we pretend everyday that, we live in a democratic society in South Sudan. We pretend everyday that we live in a peaceful society in South Sudan. We pretend everyday that, we live in a multicultural loving society in South Sudan. We pretend everyday that, we live in a secured society, where, daughters, sons, sisters, wives, brothers, husbands, fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, and such like; can walk freely, without the relative, let alone absolute fear, of being hurt in South Sudan. We pretend everyday that, we have a caring and loving police force and service in South Sudan. We pretend everyday that, we are lovingly united as peoples and tribes in South Sudan, and that, it is only malicious and envious foreigners and outsiders, who want to make us hate ourselves.
All these acts of pretending, are because, we fear to tell ourselves the truth. For God’s sake, let us be brave enough, and tell nothing, but the naked truth, about our own selves. These orgies of pretending in South Sudan, has led to the systemic demise and deconstruction of all formations of positive human values and moralities in South Sudan. Keen humane eyes can easily and honestly see; the purposive construction of unknown and alien animalistic value systems, and immoralities in South Sudan, to masquerade as liberation and self-determination cultures.
For example, in the village of Gumbo, just five miles from Juba, a group of individuals, have forcibly fenced-off my family’s freehold orchard, along the banks of the Kadoro stream, and stationed armed military guards there. Therefore, announcing the confiscation and land grabbing of a freehold which has been in my family’s possession and ownership, and which we cultivated and farmed, for fifty one (51) years, until the secession of South Sudan from the rest of the Sudan in 2011.
As if for a good measure, some of these individuals went ahead and grabbed our living compound, close to this orchard and in which, my beloved uncle, the late Uncle Albano Wani Lako Lokitari was laid to rest. His eldest son, the late Angelo Jada Wani Lako, married the youngest sister of the Speaker of our Parliament, Honourable James Wani Igga. These land grabbers immorally desecrated, vandalised and violated this grave and resting place of the late Uncle Albano Wani Lako Lokitari, and they exhumed his remains; and threw them away! These land grabbers proceeded to build a pit latrine in the so desecrated grave. Now, are we supposed to call this liberation and self-determination culture in South Sudan?
This personal tragedy aside, at the national level, the said tumultuous mixture of raw human hatreds, in South Sudan, has led to the entrenchment of: reactive policies and politics, emotional policies and politics, policies and politics of hate and revenge, policies and politics as well as economics of elites, and the quest for military solutions to all minor and major political problems. On the other hand, because of such dangerously unique comprehensive environments; the making of national policies, strategies, and development programmes on the hoofs, has been normalised.
Issues of reactive policies and politics in South Sudan
Due to ubiquitous deficit, and absence of national think-tanks, the Republic of South Sudan, is run on the bases of reactive primordial tribal, as well as, parochial anthropological initiatives, and folklore anecdotes, masquerading as state of the art statesmanship, and refined comprehensive national strategies. This is the tragedy of South Sudan.
Knowledge, skills, experiences, refined prudent attitudes and such like appear to irritate those in charge of governance in South Sudan. These rulers of South Sudan refuse to appreciate the fact that, governments running various European and American countries, on which South Sudan relies, for comprehensive support, are made more comprehensively agile, by the ubiquitous presence of such think-tanks. These think-tanks are comprehensively proactive and foresighted.
On the other hand, in South Sudan, there is the danger of cordoning off, of the President herein, with circles of misleading and ill-informed advisors, who include relatives, tribesmen and tribeswomen, and others. I can confidently and objectively argue that, 90% of these so-called Presidential Advisors are devoid of relevant skills, knowledge, experiences, initiatives and attitudes for such sensitive constitutional posts in South Sudan. Die-hard support for the SPLM as the ruling political party in South Sudan is not a good index of qualification for the position of a Presidential Advisor.
Presidential Advisors are supposed to think on their political as well as technocratic knowledge and experience based feet; on behalf of the President, and indeed, on behalf of the nation. Presidential Advisors ought to be foresighted in their respective fields, and not to wait until they are advised by the President to think of something useful to do. Presidential Advisors ought to be saturated with the confidence of juggling comprehensive positive alternatives and scenarios, for the resolution of challenges and obstacles, without hurting specific and general national interests, within the remit of their short, medium, and long terms paradigms. For God’s sake, Presidential Advisors do not attack the President through the media in funeral and other places, in order to advance their own political careers and such like.
The culture of political accommodation, and other dubious reasons, for the appointment of such Presidential Advisors, have undermined and weakened, if not, killed, the supposedly comprehensively proactive and constructively productive roles, of Presidential Advisors in South Sudan. These Presidential Advisors are perched on the highest constitutional and political nests, on the constitutional and political pedestals of South Sudan. They hang high above cabinet ministers, and yet, the majority of them are waste of temporal and spatial resources. They are nothing, but reactive political dummies. In fact, the majority of them are political busy bodies, on constitutional and political stilts, to flatter the peoples of South Sudan.
It ought to be made clear that, constitutional posts of Presidential Advisors; are not constitutional and political incubators, for maturing and nursing of ambitious tribal young men and young women. They are not also some constitutional and political crucibles, for the purposes of recycling some illiterate and semi-illiterate quasi army generals; nor are they, realms and sites, for the containment of some ill-informed, money and wealth oriented political geriatrics. In fact, constitutional posts of Presidential Advisors are not also, counseling venues, for grieving widows and widowers, as the reaffirmation, and celebration of personality cult culture, and nothing more.
If some of these so-called Presidential Advisors cannot survive, without constitutional posts, let the Presidency create some work for them, even if such jobs include the digging and refilling of political trenches, within the SPLM as a political party, in South Sudan. What else can I say? All the issues raised above, about our Presidential Advisors, in South Sudan, have exposed the President of South Sudan, to comprehensive risks, of operating in uncertain, unpredictable and dangerously reactive political environment.
The President of South Sudan is akin to a driver, driving along a submerged bridge, with equally submerged sign posts and protective rails. These sign posts and protective rails are supposed to be his advisors. Alas, these advisors have since long gone to deep political sleep; and thus, submerged in political floods. Unfortunately for the President, he is not driving an amphibious vehicle.
Therefore, not only that, but the lack of effective Presidential Advisors, have rendered the President of South Sudan, vulnerable, to witty, and ever plotting others, within the cabinet of the government of South Sudan. It is extremely naïve, to think that, there are no ministers within the government of South Sudan, who are plotting day and night, as to how, to climb higher, to higher rungs of the political ladder, while smearing the lower, or even the higher rungs, of such a political ladder, with political and tribal greases, to fail the political grip, and other grips, of his /her political opponents, including the President.
The herd mentality and herd morality have produced political gangsters within the remit of governance in South Sudan. Unfortunately, some of us who think that, they are opinion makers and leaders operate on the bases of herd mentality and herd morality. It is only within our definition of intellectuality, whereby, a person is allowed, and indeed praised for declaring in a publicly published medium, that, he would like to kill so and so. This, in our version of liberation and self-determination culture, in South Sudan, is considered free speech, and thus, freedom of expression. This is the tragedy of South Sudan.
If David Miliband and Ed Miliband were South Sudanese brothers; the Miliband family would have been destroyed for good. Thanks God, these young men are British nationals, whose society knows the meaning of self-determination and associated freedom of expression. This means that, these Miliband brothers, do not suffer from herd mentality and herd morality. In fact, their supporters did not, and do not suffer from the same problem. South Sudan can only be saved if we despise raw human hatreds. You cannot want to kill another South Sudanese, just because the way he/she thinks, does not make you happy, or, it is too complicated for you to understand, its various dimensions.
Human societies, that survive on reactive impulses, of tumultuous raw human hatreds, cannot, and shall not be able to, positively move on. On the other hand, such human societies shall also labour under the weight of moral darkness, to the extent that, they shall lack the prerequisite moral and faith capacities and abilities, to constructively cleans themselves of their invariable wrongful past. Such human societies that survive on raw human hatreds, cannot, by all counts, parade themselves, as living faith societies that fear the living God.
The multifaceted benefits of good formal education in disciplines like sociology, theology, philosophy, economics, anthropology and, law are that, they lighten the cumulative weight of centuries of ignorance, mythology, and general state of nature. Not only that, they also shine penetrating living lights, into cognitive tunnels of darkness, as well as on the dangerously sharp and rough edges of hitherto unlit subjectivity, in order to perfect seamless passage, into the realms of humane, positive and constructive human reasons, for positive societal reciprocities. It means that, the brawn cannot, and should not, be allowed to rule the brain, and refined human objectively. We need that in South Sudan. See you in part two (2).
The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws and can be reached at wani.lako@ yahoo.com.