News / Africa

South Sudan Struggles in Its Infancy

South Sudan Struggles in Its Infancy
South Sudan Struggles in Its Infancy
Nico Colombant

Six months after the exuberance of independence, South Sudan is struggling with major challenges, including recurring internal violence, large scale corruption, daunting security sector reform and growing disputes with Sudan to the north.

Deadly clashes between rival communities in Jonglei state in recent weeks have displaced tens of thousands of civilians and killed a yet to be determined number of people. The clashes followed similar violence in the same state in August, just weeks after South Sudan came into existence.

Eric Reeves, a Sudan researcher at Smith College, says it has been an extremely difficult beginning, in terms of security. “The situation is rather grim and for a number of reasons, some of them have to do with the ethnic rivalries we have seen on display in gruesome fashion in Jonglei and elsewhere in South Sudan.  The renegade rebel groups like the South Sudan Liberation Army supplied by Khartoum have also proven very destabilizing," he said.

For its part, Sudan’s government has accused South Sudan of funding and arming cross-border former Sudan People’s Liberation Army fighters.

Former leaders from the SPLA, which fought a two-decade civil war against Sudan, now head the South Sudanese government in Juba.

The two governments have been unable to make progress on several outstanding issues that peace deals and the official breakup failed to fully address. One is how to share oil revenue, which comes from South Sudan but transits through Sudan.

Analysts agree that issue will be very complicated to resolve. But they say there also are pressing issues over which officials from South Sudan could take more control.

Jonathan Temin, from the United States Institute of Peace, says he would like to see officials instill more national pride. “One of the greatest challenges South Sudan faces now is defining itself and creating a greater sense of what it means to be South Sudanese.  As in many parts of Africa, people in South Sudan tend to identify first with their ethnic group and only second or third with their country, and particularly when the country is as new as South Sudan is, it is a particular challenge," he said.

J. Peter Pham, the Africa director for the Atlantic Council, says creating development, infrastructure, economic growth and opportunity is also extremely crucial.

He would like to see more emphasis on agriculture. “We are talking about a country that is 80 percent arable, well watered, yet less than 10 percent of that space that could be dedicated to agriculture is actually even farmed," he said.

A Sudan and South Sudan expert at Fordham University, Amir Idris, is fearful for South Sudanese if economic and social issues are not addressed quickly. “This cycle of violence will continue and South Sudan will suffer from that, and the SPLA itself might fragment along ethnic lines and that is going to create a serious problem for both the government of South Sudan and the international community," he said.

The international community, including the U.S. government, pushed hard diplomatically for ending the civil war and bringing about the creation of South Sudan.
Idris says he believes too much emphasis is now being put on the capital, Juba, and the country’s government structure, rather than effective nation building.

South Sudan analysts say they also worry about reports of large scale corruption among government leaders and how outside aid may not be benefiting most South Sudanese. They say they fear this also could lead to more infighting.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs