Sunday, 29 December 2013

[RwandaLibre] South Sudan Learnt Nothing From Kenya and Rwanda


South Sudan Learnt Nothing From Kenya and Rwanda

Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY KOIGI WAMWERE

As we open the new year of 2014, amidst a clamor by African presidents
that they should never be prosecuted for crimes against humanity,
world's newest country South Sudan is burning in the fire of negative
ethnicity as if drawn into it by an irresistible death wish.

Though many people have warned against dangers of negative ethnicity,
many African countries continue to ignore the monster.

Consequently many have exploded as has South Sudan now and those which
have not, instead of guarding against a similar eventuality, they
laugh at the victim, as wood in the drying rack laughs at the wood in
the fire.

As is typical of victims of negative ethnicity everywhere, in South
Sudan, the Nuers are blaming Dinkas for their problems and Dinkas are
blaming the Nuers for disturbing their turn to eat.

But why did South Sudanese not learn their lesson from Rwanda or
Kenya's post election violence? Why are they not able to discern the
guile and false promises of negative ethnicity when it comes to them
as a saviour? Is it because they do not understand the dragon or how
it works?

The worst thing is when Africans and foreign friends live in the
denial that negative ethnicity is the ideology that is burning South
Sudan and most of Africa. A disease denied cannot be treated.

Negative ethnicity is neither ethnicity nor positive ethnicity that
rightly celebrates our ethnic roots and ethnic diversity. Negative
ethnicity is hate of others from other communities that we more
popularly call tribalism.

Negative ethnicity that we fatally embrace is related to
anti-Semitism and racism but Europeans, Americans and South Africans
spend more time fighting their evil ideologies than Africans spend
fighting theirs.

When ethnic elites are not at each other's throat, they will look
within their community for clans and tribesmen in other regions to

Negative ethnicity was a tool of colonial conquest that British ruling
minorities used to divide and rule their colonial subject majorities
in Africa and Asia.

In Sudan, the Arabic North Sudan used negative ethnicity to divide
Africans in the South. After independence, African elites did not
eradicate but perpetuated negative ethnicity as a tool of scrambling
for power and resources. But this scramble was bound to come to a head
as it has now.

Much as Africans tried to free themselves from the comb-web of
negative ethnicity, they have failed because capitalism, the system of
unbridled greed and the Machiavellian principle of "the end justifies
the means" has converted most African leaders into demagogues of
negative ethnicity to attain or retain power.

Everywhere negative ethnicity operates against nationalism, idealism
and multi-ethnic nation. As Samora Machel mourned that the tribe had
killed the nation of Mozambique, in Kenya, patriots also mourn that
the tribe has killed the nation.

The modus operandi of negative ethnicity is division, war and
balkanisation of the nation. Right now, unless the Nuer military
forces are quickly defeated by the Dinka military forces or a
political solution to the problems is quickly found, South Sudan might
balkanise into a Nuer South Sudan and a Dinka South Sudan.

In Africa, wars of negative ethnicity have killed more people than
those killed by any other ideology. Thanks to negative ethnicity,
Africa has witnessed ethnic civil wars, massacres and genocides in DR
Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi, Mali, Central
African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and now South Sudan. In
Somalia, clanism – a mutation of negative ethnicity – has destroyed
the whole country.

In most of Africa, negative ethnicity has become the ideology of
politics, religion, government, counties, emotions, love etc. We even
think with negative ethnicity, not minds. In Rwanda they call negative
ethnicity the ideology of genocide.

Its theatres of operation include churches, institutions of learning,
political parties, government ministries, public and private
companies, media, police and army.

As the ideology of devolution, in Kenya and South Sudan, negative
ethnicity has turned counties into ethnic enclaves wherein citizens
are people from majority communities and foreigners are those from
minority communities.

With the country split between citizens and foreigners, jobs and
business contracts will go to citizens and crumbs to foreigners.

Surprisingly, negative ethnicity has strength because it comes to
communities, never as an enemy, but as an ally, friend and saviour
from ethnic enemies. Where negative ethnicity engenders ethnic
discrimination, its beneficiaries always stand by it.

Negative ethnicity has given Africa its worst leaders. Rather than
pick the best leadership, it dictates election of the best soldiers of
the tribe rather than the best servants of the nation.

And though masses of ordinary people are the worst victims of
negative ethnicity, due to their poverty of ideas, they are its
greatest propagators. Instead of seeing themselves as poor workers and
farmers, they see themselves as communities and enemies of other

In Kenya, instead of working for ethnic equality, negative ethnicity
glorifies tyranny of ethnic numbers. Unfortunately, this
legitimisation of ethnic domination makes nonsense of national unity –
'we are one'. Ethnic minorities and majorities cannot be one.

Under President Kibaki, tyranny of ethnic numbers grew by leaps and
bounds. It won an election and now forms a government of two

In seemingly stable African countries, ethnic elites reconcile by
sharing resources and use the divided ethnic masses to reach top of
the food chain.

In ethnically-divided African countries, individuals cannot advocate
political accommodation of other communities without being labelled
traitors, just like moderate Hutus in Rwanda during the 1984 genocide.

To eradicate negative ethnicity, South Sudan needs a leader like
President Nyerere of Tanzania. And as she learns she cannot survive
divided by negative ethnicity, African countries that have not
exploded yet must learn from her and Rwanda.

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“Uwigize agatebo ayora ivi”. Ubutegetsi bukugira agatebo ukariyora uko bukeye n’uko bwije.

"Ce dont j’ai le plus peur, c’est des gens qui croient que, du jour au lendemain, on peut prendre une société, lui tordre le cou et en faire une autre."

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

“I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile."




1.Kumenya Amakuru n’amateka atabogamye ndetse n’Ibishobora Kukugiraho Ingaruka ni Uburenganzira Bwawe.

2.Kwisanzura mu Gutanga Ibitekerezo, Kurwanya Ubusumbane, Akarengane n’Ibindi Byose Bikubangamiye ni Uburenganzira Bwawe.