The Constitution of Tribal Nationalists

By Odongi Ibalu-Kirram

It is in full swing but unattested to—corruption and bad leadership—and the mood in GoSS is one of: if south Sudan becomes a country for her picking the cue from Kenya and Nigeria is all the more necessary if not inevitable. Even Darfur rebel leaders seems finding it irresistible to return home only with a message of probable peace courtesy of Nigeria without that country’s long-standing culture of corruption stacked away in their suitcases as souvenirs.

When John Garang suddenly kicked the bucket a thunderous applause followed a wholesale of hew and haw. Then a perplexed Salva Kiir grinned with delight before anxiously but resolutely taking on the mantle of supreme power in south and nominally in whole Sudan with less military squabble and no bureaucratic hindrance, a move so unusual. Numbingly he said, good riddance!

With a more publicized “democratic?” Tsar in control many though things are changing for the better. Unbearable, however, to Garang deluded village-mates and bootlickers who were under illusion that they’re “born to rule” was the fact that they painfully had to eat their words. Until now these class of people never genuinely mourn the late revolutionary son of the Sudan, instead they are grieving for end of luxury and the snobbery value they used to wield about throughout his tenure.

Yes, it was Salva Kiir who made us aware that cronyism and nepotism was a Garang specialty and a mores of his Bor people. Now that he’s the big shot we must ask the bold question: how and why on earth did the instantaneous eruption of the current contemptuous tribo-politico whim: “Gogrial-Aweil Kitchen Cabinet” come about, Mr. President?

Obviously Salva Kiir never scolded and accused his predecessor for self-seeking and corruption, the revelations of 2004 Rumbek meeting was nothing short of a media fib. When millions of dollars are siphoned abroad in an emulative mafia style reminiscent of, though superseding Garang era, and typical of a privilege once selectively reserved for those old sleazy-bags in Kenya National Rainbow Coalition government and its corruption is detestable only in words but better in practice counterparts in populous Nigeria, we are told the god-send Tsar (Kiir, regime) is neither demonstrating incompetence nor craziness but striving to introduce democracy, proper accountability and good governance to rid off GoSS from Garang legacy of corruption.

May be with Garang sadly comfy in his grave the once hyped democratic credentials attached to Kiir personality now begins to evaporate. Why? Ever heard the axiom, when powerless always cry righteous and taint your boss image to pave your road ahead. But when in position of power, why, just do as you see fit and dismiss critique of your wrongs as lack of appreciation, assassination attempts and malicious gossips completely without substance.

John Garang never authored the prevailing constitution of tribal nationalism; it was there before Kokora times and Sudanese themselves jointly perfected it. According to history all those persons who ever assumed leadership their sin was quickly to load the entire government with their tribe mates, friends and relatives before bossing of how intelligent, charismatic, powerful, domineering and demagogic notwithstanding they are. To them this is how modern nation building is done, woe to you!

One of SPLA/M forward-looking stalwart, Monsur Khalid, remarked that Sudanese ought to work on eradicating “harakat unsurya” as a precondition or so to fast-track the country towards an abiding sense of oneness. Never the less such advice usually falls on deaf ears. People with an incessant vile thirst of tribal politics and nationalism never cease preaching for the consummation of this villainous religion like sport.

In an effort to deter an unwanted crisis the GoSS policy and decision makers would better alter their behavior. 30 years down the line, a sense of rectitude is yet absent from southern leaders who still continue to see things in black and white. We cannot pretentiously aspire to build a non-war society and a new southern identity coupled with unity meanwhile cast racial slurs against and falsely accusing others to have never partaken in war. How silly and ludicrous that some people claim without them Arabs would have overrun south Sudan and mercilessly kill all and sundry!

To realize their obsessive goal these zealous tribalists now adopt a cunning stratagem to terrorize many into buying their “one tribe fought and one tribe must dominate” hogwash. Those poor civil servants working in various GoSS ministries bearing the brunt of this ruse must resist, reject and thus remind those ignorant fellows to abandon their harmful counterfeit politics for peace sake.

When some mad and mal-adjusted former SPLA men allied to the said tribe pontificate on this subject one wonders whether some half-informed southerner in Norway seconding this conceited notion understands he/she is adding value to half-truth and a well-rehearsed agenda aim at normalizing what’s not frankly normal? Have some of you taken liberty to scavenge the dustbin of history enough for some refreshing insight so to spare us from consuming opinions lacking in substance? It is false that one tribe fought the protracted revolutionary war against the bigger enemy; it is, however, true that one tribe managed to budge the revolutionary struggle from turning into a real success; it is criminal and barbaric that one ethnic grouping reasoning through the muscle of her statistical advantage wants to reap gains from GoSS dishonestly. Will this tribe suffering from sheer demons of ignorance accept the responsibility of all war crimes committed and be ready to suffer the consequence if need be because it thinks it fought alone? These people could certainly help talking some sense into their heads.

Look at the naivety of these tribal snobs, while they will have us believe their tribe singly fought, when asked who committed most war atrocities they are quick to retort, Oh No! In the spirit of nation building, they say, don’t point figures just let us spread the blame evenly across all the nationalities. But when comes to claiming war-time credits we are told one tribe must be afforded a license to loot public funds and dominate every aspect of GoSS as it is evident in Juba, that this is a right derived from engagement in a liberation war. Is it not a contravention of the first tenet of nation’s building to crowd the entire government system with friends, family members and one tribe?

The celebrated Spanish-American philosopher, George Santanya long warned, “Those who forget history are condemn to repeat it.” Just as history testifies when a row broke out between Joseph Oduho and William Deng, instead of talking reconciliation and forgiveness William Deng is said to have left Kampala for Khartoum to conclude a marriage of convenience with the enemy much to disappointment and weakening of Nya-Nya (I) all in the name of position. SPLA/M will remain some years later none-the-wiser because tradition dictates those south of the Sudan must always betray their own interest so to remain underdogs for good. What did Riak Machar, Lam Akol and many others do? They all rushed to Khartoum to forge a recherché of specious agreements with the same common enemy thus dealing a severe body blow to the movement because they deferred with Garang and refused to learn from history.

With things unchanged in the post-Garang era who must now bear blame for the prevailing evil activities since he was the usual culprit? Unfortunately, in south Sudan it is hard to distinguish between the so-called educated and the non-educated. Not long ago some self-styled quasi-intellectual Gogriel boys in Canada bragged in a letter that they are the chosen ones send to shepherd south Sudanese to nowhere but hell. In their view, to think of any southerner becoming a leader after Kiir is hallucination and asking the impossible. That Kiir and Gogriel people will rule south Sudan until Jesus Christ returned. To which I add, for sure just as Bor people have ruled Sudan since they were born.

Salva Kiir is a fallible human being and he/subordinates must be told where they are erring not peppered with glee. Napoleon used to think France without him is doomed to be anarchic, but he was up for a rude awakening. If you continue to think public property is yours, soon like Napoleon and some Garang village mates, you would also bitterly chew your words. History is the overall best school and teacher. Learn from it and we would have a wonderful way of life in Sudan.

Odongi Ibalu-Kirram resides in South Africa he can be reached at:







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