By Prof. Simon El Hag Kulusika
OPINION – Sudans Post last week published an opinion article written by Dr. Hakim Dario, the chairman of South Sudan’s People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). Dr Dario decried the name ‘South Sudan’. He wanted that name be replaced by ‘Equatoria Federal Republic’.
I agreed with him on change of name, a matter I have written about on several occasions and although I have reservation on the name Dr. Dario proposed, I would rephrase it as ‘Federal Republic of Equatoria’. Debates about this important matter must continue for more names three of which should be subject of a Referendum to be conducted in South Sudan alongside the general elections to be held at the expiration of the mandate of R -TGONU.
While debating a new name for the country now called South Sudan, political leaders, academicians, civic societies, other NGOs and intellectuals must begin to debate issues related to national integration. ‘South Sudan’ is a multi-ethnic country; a multicultural nation – state; a multilingual communities, where competing diversity predominates all aspects of the existence of people. Diversities that are characterized by pride, arrogance, tendencies for domination and more often than not outright hostility.
Under those situations it’s meaningless to speak or talk of a nation or even a nation – state. This has to be engineered through long processes of interactions and education. One such mechanism is national integrational processes to be spearheaded by a national integration council to be formed by a presidential order or decree. Prime minister Juwaharlall Nehro, first prime minister of India constituted such a council in 1961,just three years after the independence of India. He did so in order to eradicate ethnicity and casteism in India and to minimise religions extremism.
‘South Sudan’ needs such a council to create a sense of oneness and togetherness in our country. National integration helps the establishment of one nation, guided by federal and democratic principles and governance.
The starting point for national integration is an internal one. That is we must integrate people at clans or sub – clans level taking into account socio – political organisations of a particular ethnic group. E.g the Dinka people or nation comprises numbers of clans, sub – clans and sub – sub – clans formed in a Confederal basis . Each independent from the other, hence absence of one leader for the whole Dinka nation or people.
The Malwal, Agar,Aliab, Bor are independent clans. It’s only language and some religious rituals that unite them. But in the event of external threats they all act as one entity to defeat the aggressor. We need to integrate these clans before attempting a wider integration. The same can be said about the Nuer. As for eg the Ma’di of Pa Geri county there is also need for internal integration.
The Ma’di people comprises of several clans United by language and some rituals. They recognise an Opi -king as their leader. That is in their socio – political organisation they are unitary entity taking command from a centralised but flexible authority.
In ‘South Sudan’ we have nations organised on monarchical basis. Eg, the Shielluk and Zande (the latter used to have three kingdoms). They have common language and similar rituals in their respective kingdoms. Here the processes of integration are internally in motion, but pose serious challenges for a national processe of integration due to socio – political organisations contradictions with other organisations in ‘South Sudan’.
Other nations in the country fall within one or the other political organisations. They also need internal integration. Eg Bari, Lotuka , Taposa, luv, Jur,Kereish, Ndongo, Bongo, Murle, etc. It’s a difficult and expensive tasks,but it has to be undertaken if ‘SS’ is to aspire for stability and development.
The author a professor of laws at the Zambia Open University. He can be reached via: email@example.com, or his phone: +260973711250.
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