On 05 January a youth association by the name of the ‘Nuer Youth for Equality and Justice’, issued a public letter of the Black Book genre deploring the preponderance of Dinka Bahr el-Ghazal in the ranks of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS). The association, claiming to represent Nuer youth in South Sudan and East Africa, expressed particular grievance regarding recent appointments in the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, the emergent foreign affairs ministry of the independent South. The letter referred to the appointment of nine new diplomats as another instance of “the fever of Gogrialization of the South which has become the dominant recruitment policy of the government of President Salva Kiir”, Gogrial being the President’s area of origin and the Dinka Bahr el-Ghazal his ethnic kinsmen.
The angered effendiya hopeful advised President Kiir to take courses in ethnic equality to guarantee the independent South Sudan safe passage considering that symptoms of ethnic violence have already made themselves manifest in the rebellions of the discontent SPLA officers, George Athor, Gatluak Gai and David Yau Yau.
The complaint of the Nuer Youth echoes the distress of the Southern elite at their meagre share in Sudanization, the process by which the Sudanese took over positions formerly occupied by their British colonial masters at the eve of Sudan’s independence, a concern that continued to fuel the civil war between North and South despites attempts at redress in the Addis Ababa Accord (1972) and in the CPA (2005). In the words of Bullen Alier, a leading figure in the anti-colonial Southern Officials Welfare Committee and a cabinet minister in the 1954 self-rule cabinet, “each boat and aircraft brought Northerners for appointment to the administration, police or the army, and the flow at times looked like an invasion”; and rightfully so, the Sudan-wide process of Sudanization turned to a strict programme of Northernization. Out of the spoils of 734 vacant positions Southerners occupied only six, a situation that the prime minister of the self-rule government, Ismail al-Azhari, explained away with an excuse worse that the deed. Al-Azhari claimed that “no Southerner was fit to occupy a post above assistant district commissioner” (Ibrahim, A.A. “Sudan Nationalism or Sudan Nationalisms”).
The spoils of liberation, as it were, are now on display. In the late years of the
agreement the Lagu vs Alier dispute evolved into a self-defeating row over entitlements sacrificing the very South at the feet of Numayri. How the independent South handles the demands of its hungry effendiya today will eventually establish the route of its development, de-ethnicization or gogrialization. Addis Ababa