Four years have passed since South Sudan seceded from Sudan, and the result so far is violence and internal crisis. Although the international community has stood by South Sudan, the latter continues to disappoint.
The ongoing violence and civil war in South Sudan have killed and displaced millions of innocent civilians. This young country, carved forcibly out of Africa’s largest nation (erstwhile an undivided Sudan), is an example of a failed state. Moreover, South Sudan recently expelled UN officials from its territory out of fear that cases of human rights violations might reach the rest of the world. Calls to reconsider the decision went unheard, and in response the United Nations Security Council was forced to impose travel bans and sanctions.
The Issue At Hand
One might wonder: why has South Sudan failed to get its act together?
The answer is simple: South Sudan is not meant to be a separate state. An undivided Sudan should exist in its place, and this forced partition has only made matters worse. South Sudan is unable to function as a cohesive unit, simply because it lacks all the basic ingredients that are required for nation-building.
However, now that South Sudan is a reality, why can it not exist in peace? To begin with, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) is not a freedom outfit. Instead, it is a regional terror organization that sought to destroy Sudan and carve a territory of its own that could be ruled with the help of military junta. With Western help, SPLM/A succeeded, and the result is evident.
As such, the SPLM/A lacks any vision for nation-building, nor does it have a roadmap for the future of South Sudan. All it can offer is a mechanism that crushes civilians with the help of military power, and helps a handful of capitalist overlords in their bid to exploit the natural resources of South Sudan. This is precisely why things keep getting worse in South Sudan: the number of casualties and refugees is ever on the rise!
Of course, attempts have been made to foster reconciliation and help South Sudan survive. There is no other option: pro-secession pundits in the West were projecting South Sudan to become the new cradle of democracy in Africa, and now that their dreams have fallen flat, every attempt is being made to somehow preserve South Sudan as a state.
These efforts are not successful. Agreements are signed and forgotten. President Kiir and rebel leader, Machar, refuse to give up and frankly, neither of them can be blamed. Both are merely puppets, and both wish to be the apex puppet — Machar accuses Kiir of having ambitions that are too big to swallow, whereas Kiir claims Machar wishes to oust his government.
So, is there any way South Sudan can survive?
To be very honest, the best way forward would be to rid South Sudan of these incompetent puppets, and consider a merger with Sudan.
The creation of South Sudan was a blunder, and the longer this country stays in existence, the worse things will become for its inhabitants. At the end of the day, in any civil war and social unrest, the civilians are the ones that suffer the most, and South Sudan’s case is no exception. As such, efforts should be made to reconcile and merge South Sudan with Sudan.
Just in case ego prevails over sanity and a merger is not acceptable, the next best route would be to initiate the peace process with Sudan as a mediator. Like it or not: Sudan knows South Sudan better than anyone else, be it UK, USA, Russia, China, or even its own African neighbors.
As such, Sudan must be included in any negotiated attempt to sort out the crisis in South Sudan.
That said, the time to act is now. In the past four years, South Sudan has witnessed nothing but violence, and further delay might prove disastrous for this failed state.