Clearing the Dimming Vision of the Liberation of South Sudan: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Independence

Shortly after independence, South Sudan was plunged into a civil war that has intermittently devastated the country ever since. Though essentially a struggle for power between and among individual leaders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA), which had championed the struggle since its inception in 1983, the war soon began to be perceived as an ethnic conflict that primarily pitted the Dinka and the Nuer against each other. Since then, the people of South Sudan who had been fighting and sacrificing for the ideals of freedom, equality, dignity, and prosperity have been reduced to a nation massively displaced internally or forced into refuge in the neighbouring countries or dispersed as refugees in many countries around the world. In this review, I contextualize my observations by highlighting three main issues. The first issue is that major developments in South Sudan during and after the liberation struggle have been a process of a dynamic interplay between internal and external forces. The second is that the crises the country has faced since independence have emerged as a result of power struggle between and among the leaders and their associates at the national level, with the relative neglect of the rest of the country. My last point is that the policy synthesis of these two factors calls for collaborative efforts with the country’s international partners in responding to the underlying challenges, both at national and local levels.