Workshop II by the Ebony Center in conjunction with
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT IN SOUTH SUDAN THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT POLICY FORUM
9th -10th MAY 2015 JUBA GRAND HOTEL
Topics of the day 2: Leadership and combating tribalism
Edmund Yakani (Executive Director-CEPO)
Dr.Michael Roberto Kenyi (Ebony Centre)
Dr.Lual Deng (Ebony Centre- Moderator)
by Edmund Yakani
(Executive Director-CEPO Community Empowerment for Progress Organization)
Nationalism can be built through exposing citizens to the various cultures in South Sudan and people should move away from the tendency to identify each other based on negative stereotype. Mr. Yakani pointed out that leadership requires vision and as a former University of Juba student he noted that there were tendencies for student elections to go along tribal lines. He formed an organization and they called themselves ‘Reformists’ and their achievements were as follows:
- They were the first group to elect a woman as the president of their group
- First group to have a multi-tribal composition where membership was based along ideology and not tribal identity
- They targeted new students in order to encourage them to have a different mindset from the more established discriminatory environment in existence
Youth should realize that they have allowed people to influence them to their own detriment rather than use their power as 75% of the population to influence important agenda. Leadership should be an act of governing and a lack of leadership is what makes a lot of people marginalized. There are three areas of leadership
- Influence of others refers to people in higher levels of leadership influence the lower levels (governors dictating to county commissioners).
- Interests of dominant groups (cliques with the same interest dominate the system in order to continue benefitting).
- Public Interest (leadership is for the good of the people). Questions and Comments
- South Sudanese youth do not have positive role models in government to look up to.
Generational gaps are a challenge to the learning of history and important leadership skills
- There should be issue based platforms and forums for the youth to address specific challenges Peoples support for leadership should be based on ideology and not tribal or regional identity.
- Democratic systems that support empowerment and delegation of duties to the youth will give the youth the power to do something.
- Youth should demand for answers on their issues and can mobilize each other at the county or payam level in order build their power to effect change.
- Leadership should be about serving the masses
- There should be a program for university students to be mobilized during holidays to offer support to secondary schools around the country.
- Presentation 3 by Khamis Cosmas (CEPO) Topic: Countering Hate Speech on social media
- CEPO conducts surveys and tries to mitigate violence in social media by joining groups on social media platforms such as Facebook and countering postings of hate speech in the comments sections. CEPO also conducts research and surveys on local websites such as Gurtong, Tamazuj and Nyamilepedia to monitor patterns of hate speech.
- Hate speech is a major obstacle to peace and stability in communities. Social media is one of the features of contemporary media. It presents opportunities for spreading of information beyond traditional media target audiences and on the other hand presents a formidable challenge to online governance when there is misuse or distortion of content to manipulate attitudes and incite violence.
Gatwech Koang (Ebony Centre)
- Leadership should be about bringing change. Tribal identities are not conducive to freedom of speech and physical safety of all citizens of a country. In the South Sudanese diaspora national associations are declining while tribal associations are rising. National Identities are not prioritized and more emphasis is given to regional or tribal affiliations.
- 75%-85% take their tribal identity as national identity
- 10%-20% take their regional identity as their national identity
- 5%-10% take South Sudanese as their national identity
If there is no unity and people continue to believe in stereotypes about other groups then everyone becomes dehumanized in the others’ perspective.
Mr.Edmund Yakani (CEPO)
We are responsible for our globally and regionally. Since the December 2013 conflict South Sudanese have been labeled as savage arm bearers who are always ready to kill each other along tribal lines. In a recent Intercommunity dialogue (Bari and Mundari) held in Nyakuron Centre in Juba that Mr. Yakani moderating he noticed that people tend to react to words and not issues and thus these processes are very sensitive to use of language.