A Personal Perspective
It’s self evident that the civil unrest in the country was sparked by SPLM internal leadership contradictions, but tragically fuelled to great heights by what I would term here as “NUER -DINKA Siblings Rivalries”. The two largest ethnic groups with inherent propensity to extreme violence, coupled with other “unfavourable” Nilotic traits.
It’s therefore, extremely of importance to keep in mind, that, as we embark on the final stages of the Reunification (M7 45 days are running out) of SPLM, the crucial repair of the social fabric severely damaged by the current civil unrest between the NUER and DINKA.
Any SPLM reunification initiative that ignores the NUER -DINKA UNITY will likely struggle to achieve its central objective of ensuring National Unity and tranquillity in my humble opinion. Majority of NUER Community feel unfairly targeted and mistreated by their DINKA brothers. This fact isn’t rocket science.
A Reunified SPLM that doesn’t attempt to redress (Affirmative Action) this sense of injustice and political marginalization, by a large sections of NUER community, perceived or real, will do itself and the people of South Sudan at large, real great disservice.
The fortunate thing here is that the SPLM as a movement is NEITHER new to splits and reunifications NOR is it new to the idea of applying Affirmative action of various types to communities/groups or individuals belonging to certain communities with some sense of perceived or real marginalization/disadvantage.
Some senior and notable SPLM leaders were somewhat beneficiaries of this SPLM Affirmative action spirit. This is done to ensure some shared sense of UNITY of purpose among all South Sudanese.
From this point, allow me to frankly reiterate the following point to the intelligentsia, political and military leadership from my own Ethnic Community of DINKA and my own Region of Bar El Ghazal in particular; WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO IGNORE THE NUER. Otherwise, the management of the country/National affairs will continue to pose some serious challenges.
It’s a present fact that the political leadership of the NUER Community is largely divided between two (2) Main personalities with different political approach and style. The two main leaders are Gen Taban Deng Gai and Dr Riek Machar. WE CANNOT IGNORE BOTH GROUPS. one group must be chosen to work with.
Comrades (Paan-maa), the political choices before us are very clear, as we embark on the final stages of the Reunification of SPLM:
(a) Wait for Dr Riek Machar, a clear & self-confessed presidential aspirant/hopeful, to come and assume the 1st DEPUTY CHAIRMAN of SPLM. Prepare to compete with him within the party for SPLM presidential flag-bearer. Keeping in mind the lack of Political maturity and democratic institutions strong enough to peacefully manage the competition (1991, 2008, 2013 & 2016).
(b) Convene an Extraordinary SPLM Convention and immediately install Gen Taban Deng Gai as the 1st DEPUTY CHAIRMAN. Such that, the politically formidable team of KIIR-TABAN-WANI Presidential ticket can immediately begin to get organized for the eventual and imminent competition with their political detractors, soon to be brought to town by the Revitalized ARCISS in Addis.
It’s my humble conclusion, therefore, that treating Gen Taban Deng Gai and the NUER Community by extension with favour (Affirmative Action) and respect that he deserves, for his discipline and cooperation will go along way in repairing the badly damaged social fabric between the NUER and the DINKA Communities, which, like the SPLM REUNIFICATION could prove crucial to our pursuit for National Unity of purpose and tranquillity.