OpEd, Politics

Multipartism gone wrong

By Agar Mayor Gai-Makoon

South Sudan has seventeen political parties, with SSOA—a group of eight parties taken as one. They have different definition of our problems with distinct solutions from one another.

But their respective aim in their view is making sure that South Sudan is stable, democratic and economically prosperous. It is though notable that as we hope for elections next year, many political parties are being formed.

This political polarization will continue to grow as long as the existing parties continue to be divided and less committed to the ideals on which South Sudan was founded.

The people are in dire need of a reliable political stakeholder—the one that will bring stability and peace for them to go about doing their businesses in freedom and full protection of their life and property.

Until this one is found, many parties will emerge claiming to be the savior. The growth of multipartyism is eminent and unstoppable. However, it is important to note that many parties solving our problems is unlikely.

There are two important reasons why multipartyism won’t make any good difference in our current situation. One is multipartyism can further widen our tribal gaps. We see that in South Sudan, people are already divided and in serious economic and political turmoil.

When you get out there asking anyone why we are in this situation, the answer always depend on the tribal background of that asked person. When you ask a Bari, he will say Dinka and Nuer are the problem. The same to Dinka or Nuer, they will always point on one another accusing themselves of the failure of the government and for division of the country on tribal basis.

Parties can also go the same trend. Parties can be regarded as a tool for furthering specific tribe’s agenda in times of division and tribalism. It is important to note that multipartyism can only thrive when government and individuals’ backgrounds are separate things.

It does not make enough sense to paint a tribe bad just because someone has failed to deliver their public mandate and hails from there. This is not and can never generate genuine solutions to our problems. There are instances however, where it is well placed to blame people as a block.

In Rwanda, you can blame Hutus for their Hutu ten commandments document that is among contributing factors for the Rwandan genocide of 1994. This document preached hatred against the Tutsi and that further widened the differences that already existed between the two tribes.

The end result was so inhuman and perhaps, humiliating to the future generations of the two Rwandan tribes. More than a million lives were lost in just ninety days. Nowadays, it is near impossible not to talk about Rwanda when it comes to matters of war and death across the world.

This history teaches us two things—tribalism is costly and that promoters of this act put the future of coming generations at risk. It is God’s design that the world is full of many tribes.

We can never change that, but we can create ways that can make us live and do everything together without harming one another. And because tribalism is already warming up to destroy our country, let us not encourage what progresses it. Multipartyism is unhealthy now. All it can do in this crisis is widen the divide.

The second reason, more parties if armed are a threat to national security. They can use destructive means to achieve their party ideology. This is a threat both to people, their property and democracy.

Out of all our political parties, more than fifty percent are armed. They have used this power since the 2013 crisis. And all we have received so far is death, destruction and heightened tribalism.

It is therefore, unwise to keep forming more political parties. Instead, we should only build and restructure the existing ones.

The writer is former contributor to Juba Monitor

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