By Nhial Bol
Some disgruntled politicians, friends and some fellow citizens have been bothering me in the last few days asking me about some questions of what made Alfred Taban defected to SPLM- IO. Repeatedly I have been telling them that the decision is made and Taban is free to decide for himself what he thinks is right for him. However the aim of writing this article is to caution fellow citizens not to follow some of us to where we wanted to go because most of us who influenced the processes have reached a limitation of questioning God why He is leaving us alive at the times of allowing others to pass away. I assumed my former colleague has reached his limit to question some issues as a matter of his concern.
I also want to argue that Taban doesn’t want to be another Robert Mugabe of the media. He wants to show a good example of retirement from being like a beautiful young girl to a pimp because the practices continue in a different form. I called him that his decision is his right and wished him the best of luck.
As one of Taban’s oldest friends, I know he will not stand the silent prison (parliament) he has been appointed to. He may soon realise that he is a silent prisoner and he may decide to resign or just stay at home like many MPs I know do. From my experience of the situation, my friend Taban will suffer from frustration of ethnicization of the SPLM in general and IO politics in particular.
His going to IO will never bring anything to this country because of dramatic change invented by the ruling elites since 2005. The general trend is defecting from SPLM to SPLM IO but what We need is to redefine the nature of South Sudan politics especially to reshape the relationship between the state and the society. We need to redefine it and see to it that people’s sovereignty is manifest in the real constitution of our country.
Crossing here or there will never yield fruits. South Sudanese need to address the issue of diversity in order to accommodate the sense of diverse peoples living in our country. We were living in communal harmony under the external colonialism but those who took power following our independence decided to take measures to silence the dissident voices and this resulted into misrepresentation which is being challenged here and there.
What went wrong following our independence is the ethnicization of politics and this will soon frustrate Taban as he moves to rediscover himself. Ethnicization which is in the making has already culminated in violence, struggle for resources and power of the state because ethnic tensions are growing and if not quickly arrested this will threaten the peaceful existence of our country.
The very fact of the past years of the struggle will soon be in the headlines of the media, conferences. In view of the current events, ethnicity formation which is allowed has become one of the striking challenges featuring the future of this country. I am of the view that Taban and the group he joined will get it as a difficult task to adequately manage the ethnicity they initated even on paper and not to talk of ethnicity management in the political arena .
As people of one destiny, there is a way of avoiding to address the issues related to ethnicization of politics because it has increased ethnic competition as such it has added fuel to misrepresentation about the ethnic groups.
There is a strong notion within society that one position in the political power should go to particular tribe or else that particular tribe will never declare affliction. This policy has created shifting the prevailing balance of power especially among the leading and dominant tribes who are fighting over strategic resources.
One dominant tribe keeps on arguing that they liberated us and they must enjoy, such perception is seen as injustice and is directly telling us that we are heading to the wrong direction of the past when we used to be called Sudanese. For record purpose, take it that way, the past affects, the present and the future as well. Let us accept the reality that there is the sense of social inequalities today and it result from ethnicization of the state.
I hope that Taban will keep asking questions like when will the redefinition of our country start because what some of us see now is moving to be a complex situation. Since there is no explanation to the root cause of the current situation, we should expect our tribes to drive us to ashes. The mistake we made is that we combine politics with resources because ethnicization politics combined notions of culture to the process of political mobilization, where is the nation here?
Anyhow, whatever it takes, ethnicization will land this country into a demand for a quota system within the institutions if this nation is to be prevented from disintegration.