Saturday, September 21, 2013

State-Society Relations in South Sudan

Kate Almquist Knopf, who has followed events in Sudan and South Sudan closely for years, wrote a paper for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in September 2013 titled "Fragility and State-Society Relations in South Sudan."

Karen Almquist Knopf/Twitter
She argues that the government of the Republic of South Sudan since independence in July 2011 has disappointed citizens and international partners alike. Ethnic divisions, long exploited by Khartoum during the war, have deepened because of the perception of Dinka dominance in the government.

While the population remains resilient, efforts to meet South Sudan's many challenges will fail unless there is greater trust and social cohesion between the government and citizens. Government actions to vilify ethnic communities home to rebel groups --such as the Murle population in Jonglei state -- and failure to hold security services accountable for attacks on civilians, destroy social cohesion across communities and prevent trust in the state.

She concludes that South Sudan's leadership can set a new course toward legitimacy, stability, and sustained development if it prioritizes building trust and social cohesion with the South Sudanese population.

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