The stakes in the South Sudanese conflict are high. The peace process needs to be revitalized and rigorously pursued to bring a lasting settlement to the conflict.
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The Republic of South Sudan is fighting to survive. The crisis in the world’s newest nation is essentially a problem of governance, not a natural disaster.
When South Sudan gained independence, it was easy to predict that the path towards the construction of a new state would have been full of obstacles.
With functional and participatory institutions, South Sudan may well reclaim itself as a diverse nation within the regional and international environment.
To prevent conflicts like the one in South Sudan, SSA must devise an institutional framework capable of diluting tribes’ expectations for equal control of political power.
The politicians in Juba are refusing to admit that this recent surge of violence is fueled by tribalism. Indeed, South Sudan is on the brink of civil war and state failure.
Rather than being the instigator of conflict, ethnic divisions in South Sudan are a fault line along which clashes between elites are transmitted outwards.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the South Sudanese state’s creation, the country is still plagued with many of the issues it has faced for decades. Indeed, it’s only because we have inflated expectations of states that we believed it would be any different.
How well South Sudan is able to realize its full economic potential will be determined by what the government does during the next few years in respect to institutional reforms and state reconstruction. Hence, the “right” institutional environment is vital for the country.
A trend towards enforced public political loyalty has been enhanced by independence and the renewed wars and conflicts South Sudan faces.
There is a need for greater in-depth research into local perceptions and understandings of violence, which must underpin any external support to short and long-term reconciliation.
While South Sudan is clearly facing great problems and even grave danger at the moment, there is still room for optimism. The people are resilient and determined, they are proud of their new nation, and they have a remarkable capacity for hope.