South Sudan gained its independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011. South Sudan broke away from Sudan after an independence vote that was the end of a 2005 peace treaty that stopped the years of the Civil war that left two million people dead and four million displaced (Hutchinson and Jok 98). It is in the process of becoming one of the International Community’s next significant state building projects. Though this was welcomed with trepidation and joy, it also brought about numerous challenges, despite the country being endowed with significant amounts of natural resources. This include high levels of poverty and deprivation; food insecurity; poor economic infrastructure; low levels of human capital accumulation; high levels of corruption, insecurity and continued conflicts with the Republic of Sudan (Arnold 502).
The South Sudan citizens have a long way to go in ensuring that their country becomes successful. Even though South Sudanese citizens welcomed independence, it did not have much impact as they expected (Hutchinson and Jok 100). Most probably, the post-independence developments cause the citizens of South Sudan to question a need for having separated with Sudan. The country’s independence from Sudan has subjected more challenges to the citizens of South Sudan as compared to the benefits. Since the South Sudanese citizens did not entirely trust Sudan’s talks on the unity for the two states, they hoped for a continuation for some of the historic relations between South Sudan and Sudan. It was actually evident for people living near the borders as they lost the ability to engage in the cross border trade. Trade was a significant pillar in their lives as it was a means for their livelihoods. Any military confrontation would also harm the wellbeing of people and jeopardize the security of the people living at the borders.
South Sudan independence provided the new country with numerous opportunities to improve the human development. However, the government must incorporate institutional reforms that are genuine to ensure that the citizens of South Sudan will direct these opportunities into sustainable development. At independence, the citizens of the new country had high hopes that the country would provide relevant stake holders groups to adopt and put up institutional provisions capable of restricting state custodians. Unfortunately, the country is yet to undertake necessary steps to ensure reconstitution and reconstruction of the state structures that were inherited from the Republic of Sudan.
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Weak Civil Society
The civil society is still too weak and fragile to make the government undertake the institutional reforms. Even though the private media are increasingly developing, it is yet to achieve the ability to function as an effective observer to the government as well as to have the government implement its constitutional functions. This has left the government unable to efficiently manage religious and ethnic diversity, provide the favorable environment for wealth creation, and reduce corruption and public financial malfeasance.
Even though the country is under an effective international assistance and a strong development oriented leadership, the progress in state building is likely to be slow. This is because the country faces numerous challenges, which can only be overcome with time. The leadership of South Sudan is vulnerable to innumerable rival groups’ demands for political inclusion as well as access to the country’s resources in its quest for stability. This makes it very hard for the government to attain a consistent development. Instead, the clienteles’ structures found on tribes, ethnic groups and clans are being built using the states resources and institutions. This has brought about tribal and ethnic conflicts.
Reliance on External Donor Support
The country also relies heavily on the donor support, and it has brought a number of problems. International support has failed to achieve its goals of stability and state building. In fact, it has often had unintended consequences. For instance, the external aid in the education and health sectors represents an indirect subsidy to the government. This allows the government to focus on its own resources on funding clientele structures (Beswick 29). Decentralization of the political and administrative structures that the donor support has created is costly and functions as a support instrument.
Corruption and Insecurity
Apparently, Juba is unwilling to reduce security forces’ endemic corruption and human rights violations. This has raised concerns as to whether the international aid is necessary at all. The international donors are supposed to focus more on human rights and corruption. Multilateral and bilateral support should be made conditional on the development of both areas. At the same time, the donors’ ability to impact both areas should not be overestimated as the oil revenues constitute a significant financial independence for the government. In regard to the unpredictable outcomes of the international aid and the frail prediction of success, donors should reduce their aspirations for South Sudan.
While South Sudan gained its independence, the border had never been defined leading to oil disputes. This has lead to the continued suffering of people. The freeze on oil production has seen the two countries lose millions of dollars, thus leading to the lost revenue (Arnold 497). An economic crisis has made inflation increase food prices beyond the capability of ordinary citizens. If the borders are not clearly defined, there is going to be more conflicts. In order to solve this, proper border demarcation will assist in solving or reducing the chance of encroachment. In order to achieve this, the International community must pressure South Sudan and Sudan to focus on something specific. Agreements between the two nations will also help in resolving issues. This will ensure that peace is enhanced in the country, and the important building blocks for a prosperous and stable future for the citizens are provided. The two nations should also avoid any one-sided decisions that would risk a return of violence. This will ensure that the citizens will live in security, dignity, and prosperity.
Conflicts on Resources
Tensions and ethnic divisions are erupting in South Sudan. This makes it a challenge for the community leaders to provide services, such as education, sanitation services and health, and to improve infrastructure, such as water systems (Arnold 492). After years of displacement, conflicts have been arising over the past and present, including how resources are going to be shared, resettlement areas, and the rebuilding of a devastated land. For instance, women and children walk for long distances in search of clean drinking water. Some walk as far as 11 miles. Even as they wait to for their turn to fetch the water, new and past tensions still erupt over how much water each family should take. Others are still struggling to live as a community after years of displacement.
Even though Sudan’s government may be blamed for local economic and social ills of South Sudan, there are many indicators of differences between those who run the government in Juba and the rest of the citizens. For instance, the soldiers and veterans who defend the citizens’ freedom daily suffer a lot as they go for months without being paid their salaries. Those working in the Ministry of Defense receive their payment in the first turn. The unpaid months could even be forgotten, and thus, the soldiers’ families go hungry every day.
The government failure to address violence and corruption resulting in ethnic divisions remains a major problem in South Sudan. Ending the political violence and the ethnic divisions must be given top priority, as well as changing peoples’ mindsets (Hutchinson and Jok 89). On the other hand, ignoring violence will guarantee major threat to the nation’s security. The disappointing challenges that the citizens have faced have resulted in feelings of anger, hatred revenge motives, and the ethnic divisions that there exist among the people. These feelings continue to reaffirm doubts about the future, deep mistrust, shattered hopes and even make people despair.
Creation of Substantial Development Projects
In order to cope with these challenges, a number of things have to be taken into consideration so as to liberate South Sudan. The country’s own needs are far-off its reach, and it will even be difficult for the country to catch up with its neighbors in the next ten years or more. There is a need for substantial development and investment projects that will see the country move forward. The country has to attract international investors into the private sector and seek to lower cost so as to close up the funding gap. All sections of the country are also to develop positive attitudes so as to inculcate a reciprocal nature of the connection to avoid the repetition of the painful past that people experienced.
Reconciliation and Forgiveness
South Sudan also needs to develop the Amnesty law that will help those who were responsible for injustice to the fellow South Sudanese citizens. This will help people to abandon their past, open a new page of their lives in history, and start rebuilding their nation again. Even though there are barriers between the imposters of injustice, the victims, and the social political violence, it is still possible to turn the dark experiences into a promising future and opportunities for development. The Amnesty law will bring hope and trust to the citizens of South Sudan. It will also bring about healing to the nation as people will forgive perpetrators of violence. Consequently, the government will be to address critical issues facing the country, such as health and social inequalities.
Upholding the Rule of Law
The Executive arm of the government should respect the rule of law. They should also respect the fact that all governmental organs are sovereign and free from interference. The government has to ensure that criminal cases are fully investigated and prosecuted and that each individual is accountable and responsible for his/her crimes without considering the person’s political ranks. This will eradicate impunity and will prevent the state and non-state actors from reckless abuse of human rights.
Oil Revenue Allocation
Oil revenue management will have a considerable influence on the national stability of the new state. Therefore, it will be of greater importance for the constitutional review process to consider this during the transition. Oil can become a crucial element in decentralizing authority and empowering the local as well as state politics in South Sudan. In coming up with a model to collect and distribute revenues, key decisions that will have political influences are supposed to be made. A national wide allocation of oil revenues must be agreed on. This can take several forms, including assignment of shared tax bases, revenue sharing, and fully centralized and decentralized systems.
Contracts and licensing should be paid attention to. The systems should distribute checks and balances around different institutions so as to avoid corruption. In regard to this, decisions have to be made on who is to authorize and regulate the sector, endorse contracts, review and set allocation formulas, and develop the sector. In structuring the oil revenue allocation policy, several variables have to be taken into consideration (Natsios 78). Volatility of global oil prices and the potential effect on the economic stability have to be taken into account. It has to be determined what kind of structure can absorb inevitable fluctuations in crude prices in the best way. Allocation should also be in correlation with the kind and level of expenditure responsibilities assigned to the state and the local government.
Despite Omar Al Bashir’s contributions to the formation of the new state, South Sudan can still do without him. During his reign, before South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, the country had experienced a lot of turmoil. Civil wars were on the increase, and conflicts were experienced, due to oil disputes. Millions of people from the south were displaced, thus leading to an increase in the number of refugees. This was met with criticism from the international community. He even prevented international aid organizations from bringing in the much needed basics, such as food and medical supplies, to the displaced persons. He was even issued with a warrant of arrest for committing crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur. This left the Sudanese citizens with dark memories as they had suffered a lot during the civil wars and conflicts. They, therefore, need time to heal from the past experiences that had happened during Omar Al Bashir’s reign. All that Al Bashir needs to do is to enter into lasting agreements that will see the resumption of oil production and open the border to trade.
In fact, South Sudan has been intending to resume oil production so as to make exports to the oil markets in January, 2013. This was to enable the country to improve its dire economic situation. However, oil production remains suspended, due to differences in the two countries. Omar’s government is failing when it comes to the commitment on the terms of reconciliation. South Sudan is much willing to end the conflicts; though, the Sudanese government is still unwilling to reciprocate, especially in the withdrawal of troops in the borders. This may create the possibility of another war. Consequently, the international community and advocacy groups have a role in facilitating mediation between Sudan and South Sudan (Nyaba 107). This is making South Sudan lag behind in terms of development, and only negotiations between the two nations can solve this. Al Bashir has to ensure that the young nation starts to achieve its goals and becomes a stable nation.
However, with the facilitation from the international groups, Al Bashir seems to be making some progress in ensuring that there is peace between the two nations. He has accepted to sign agreements regarding security. This will enhance key building blocks for a stable and thriving hope for both countries. However, both countries are to continue in mediations regarding the border disputes.
However, South Sudan has also seen some developments in some sectors. For instance, the education sector has undergone some developments. There is an increasing enrolment of students at the primary level, due to the increasing demand for secondary and higher education. The AES is also currently offering learning programs to more than 200,000 adults and youth.
South Sudan’s independence brought heightened hopes and expectations among leaders and citizens; living up to the standards championed will not be an easy undertaking. Decisions that are going to be made now and in the future will have an impact on the political, social and economic aspects of South Sudan. The government must be aware of the people’s past experiences and do its best to ensure that these people have a bright future ahead. In order to secure confidence of people, key transitional issues have to be considered so as to boost the financial and political accountability. Developments on these issues will enhance political consensus and stability. Positive results will not be achieved on the short term period. The Sudanese government should work hand in hand with the International community, which has been playing a key role in supporting the country. It is also important to highlight that South Sudan will remain in its underdevelopment trap unless it embraces the constitution that is inclusive and has people’s interests at heart incorporated with institutional arrangements that guarantee the rule of law.
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