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Thursday 21 July 2011

South Sudan Should Not Reinvent the Wheel

After nearly fifty decades of armed struggle, the Southern Sudanese have finally gained their independence from the oppressive Khartoum regime. However, the independence celebrations witnessed on July 9 and the pomp and colour that marked them could be short lived if the discontent currently brewing in the new nation is anything to go by.

Having gone to the bush to fight marginalization, it is unfortunate that the Republic of South Sudan is now facing the same accusation from the minority groups and those who fought alongside the SPLA but have since decamped after being locked out of key government and military positions. If peace is to prevail in the new nation-state, President Salva Kiir Myardit must bring back these discontented groups to the mainstream political arena. The Dinka and the Nuer ethnic communities should not be left to dominate public positions as if they are the only ones who fought for independence. 

The issue of disarmament must also be taken seriously. It is dangerous for a country to usher in independence with so many dangerous weapons in the hands of the militia. It is equally dangerous for a country to gain independence with a controversial constitution that only favours the ruling party.

If South Sudan is to succeed in its reconstruction efforts, it must stem the rising xenophobia that has seen a number of foreign investors, especially Kenyans being killed in mysterious circumstances. Kenya offered refuge to thousands of Southern Sudanese at the height of the civil war, with the top SPLM command still having plush homes in Nairobi. It is therefore unfortunate that Kenyans should receive donkey thanks.

But above all, President Kiir’s government must address the runaway corruption that is threatening to tear the very fabric of the nation. Despite having neighbours that are known to be corrupt, the Republic of South Sudan should not copy and perfect the art of corruption. Africa’s 54th nation must prove to the world that its independence was well deserved and that it can govern itself.

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