Conflict Mapping in South Sudan Essay

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Conflict Mapping in South Sudan 7

1. An outlook of South Sudan

The Republic of South Sudan is the world’s youngest country that gained independence in 2011 but remains underdeveloped and plagued by civil war (Blanchard, 2016). South Sudan is an Eastern African landlocked country sharing borders with Sudan Uganda, Central Africa Republic, Kenya, DRC Congo, and Ethiopia. South Sudan is a resource-rich country with oil contributing to the largest share of the country’s GDP (King 2015). The country is a leading resource-rich country in Sub-Saharan Africa hosting the third largest oil reserves in the region. The country’s population is projected at 13.8 million 72% of the population aged below 30 years. South Sudan is characterized by ethnic diversity and accounts 60 diverse major ethnic groups with the Dinka accounting for 35.8% and the Nuer accounting for 15.6 % being the largest ethnic groups. However, it’s estimated that there are over 4 Million South Sudanese refugees by end of 2017, with half of the refugees fleeing to neighboring nations. The refugee crisis in South Sudan is the largest globally after Afghanistan and Syria (Dessalegn, 2017).

The economy of South Sudan has been deteriorating since independence in 2011 and characterized by underdeveloped infrastructure ranking poorest in multiple socioeconomic indicators (King 2015). The country has a triple-digit inflation rate and poverty is widespread. The World Bank estimates the population of South Sudanese living below the poverty line amounted to 82% by end of 2016, additionally literacy rates amounts to 27% implying that the country lacks in a skilled workforce. Dessalegn (2017) reports up to 95% of the population is dependent on agriculture which with the advent of war has declined in productivity. Although electricity is a critical backbone for an economy, only 2% of the South Sudanese population has access to electricity (King 2015).

2. The context of South Sudan Civil War

South Sudan has consistently been under the grip of political strife and civil war. While South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, the aftermath of independence has been a civil war that broke two years later on the December of 2013 as a consequence of political dispute (Radon & Logan, 2014). The emergence of civil war catastrophically reversed post-independence development and state-building efforts. The drivers of the chronic civil war in South Sudan is varied spanning from political dispute to pervasive militarization (Dessalegn, 2017; Strasser, 2016).
Blanchard (2016) notes that the consistent conflict in South Sudan demonstrates the sustained tension between the political elite and tribal differences

2.1. Political Dispute

Political struggle between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar that resulted to splitting of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and ethnic divisiveness between the leading ethnic group Dinka and Nuer have been identified as the root cause of the ongoing civil conflict in South Sudan (Strasser, 2016; Carlos & Gutschke, 2014). According to Dessalegn (2017), the conflict erupted from the controversy between President Kiir and Vice-President Machar. It’s notable that the tension between President Kiir and Vice President Machar began with the announcement of DR. Machar…

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…People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) with intent to unite the warring parties. A transitional power-sharing government was established in 2016 with Kiir as the President and Dr. Machar as the Vice President. The 53:33:7 power-sharing peace agreement mandated the parties commitment towards establishing a society governed with the rule of law. To effect the agreement, the parties were required to establish a transitional government to govern the country for 30 minutes upon which the country could hold elections.

Although the transitional power-sharing government has been a significant milestone for South Sudan, Blanchard (2016) cautions that the progress is limited. The peace deal is extensively contested, limiting the deals efficacy in terminating the chronic war. The allegation of mistrust between the government and opposition still lingers. Minimal progress has been realized as conflict erupted in Juba between the rebel forces and the government as a result of contention of the post-agreement security deal. Consequently, Vice-president Machar fled Juba to the bush and was immediately replaced by General Taban Deng Gai. Blanchard (2016) observes that mass displacement has been reported in one of Sudan largest cities, Wau, due to violence. The renewed conflict in 2016 has resulted in an additional 160,000 refugees fleeing to Uganda (Strasser, 2016)

5. Conclusion

The challenges for resolving the South Sudan civil war are myriad. The intensifying conflict accelerates the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, a country where basic infrastructures such as roads are still missing. The increasing debt, and declining oil reserves, hyperinflation extends strain on an already fragile economy......

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Blanchard, L. (2016). Conflict in South Sudan and the Challenges Ahead. Congregational Research Service.

Carlos, K, and Gutschke, T. (2014). South Sudan?s Newest War: When two old men divide a nation. GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

Dessalegn, A. (2017). The Cause and Consequence of Conflict in South Sudan. International Journal of Political Science and Development, 15-21.

King, K. (2015). Deteriorating Economic Situation. Juba, South Sudan: Oxfam.

Radon, J., & Logan, S. (2014). South Sudan: Governance Arrangements, War and Peace. Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 68, No.1.

Strasser, F. (2016, 12 15). South Sudan: Looming Genocide, Plans for Prevention. Retrieved from United States Institute for Peace:

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