What went wrong in South Sudan

no picture Kwoba @H_Kwoba
Member since November 8, 2013
  • 23 Posts

© UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0215/Knowles-Coursin

© UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0215/Knowles-Coursin

Sometime last week I happened to attend a forum discussing the very tragic South Sudan conflict. My attendance was mainly out of curiosity, I wanted to understand why people in my neighboring country were maiming each other and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. My interest was further fueled by the fact that the speakers were South Sudanese nationals and also present was an official from the mediation team[1]. I was also deeply interested in knowing how a very young country would jump into conflict that fast; they have barely memorized their national anthem.

December 15th

December 15th, will forever be engraved in the minds of many South Sudanese nationals. When most of us were busy preparing for Christmas celebrations, gun shots were heard somewhere in Juba. These shots would mark the beginning of a period of hardships for mothers and their children, men would drop their farming tools and grab machetes and firearms. December 15th, 2013 was the day when all hell broke loose in the capital of South Sudan, people would be forced out of their houses onto bushes, taps would run dry, food would become scarce and life would now be about survival.

So what caused the war?

The speakers at the meeting raised a lot of issues they considered possible causes, most of which, I thought, were not the real reasons but mere underlying factors, impediments to development but not war-causing issues. But there was one issue that was talked of by both parties - the lack of democracy in the ruling party. Well, apparently there have been issues brewing between them for a while now and that no one thought to they should be handled in a more diplomatic manner.

You might be wondering how it is that a president and his vice could disagree so much that blood would be spilled over it. You are not alone, I can’t fathom the thought. Two people who have been working together for more than two years could not settle their issues amicably and move on for the greater good. They had to start a war over it. The political leadership in South Sudan failed its youth; they have taken away a part of their life.

It is extremely sad that people were willing to fight each other for the sake of these two individuals. I cannot bring myself to understand any possible reason that would justify the killings and the displacement of thousands. It is very wrong!!!

I am closely following the talks in Ethiopia and hope for a resolution that will set this country off on a positive development pathway.

[1] The team leading the mediation of the two warring groups that is currently underway in South Sudan

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