Three words are emblazoned on South Sudan’s Coat of Arms. The murder of Isaiah Abraham represents a failure to uphold and protect these fundamental principles.
Let those who believe the liberation struggle is over take note. The struggle for liberation continues unabated and the nature of this struggle shall be as challenging as that which secured our secession from the bigoted order in the north.
Ours is now a struggle for liberation from poverty, liberation from illiteracy, liberation from insecurity and ultimately liberation from mediocracy. It is a struggle for the very soul of our nascent country.
Ours is a blessed land. Of that there is no doubt. It is rich in resources, both human and material, waiting patiently to be tapped. Through these resources can be realised the dream of a strong nation, a pillar in our region, a bastion of those fundamental principles of liberty, justice and prosperity emblazoned quite rightly upon our national banner. A shining star to guide the way in these bleak and uncertain times.
Clearly, the facade of nationhood does not a nation make. Sovereignty, a border, governmental and civil institutions, roads, cities, embassies abroad, a seat at the United Nations. All these are mere allusions to nationhood. True nationhood is attained through a common vision much more so than shared experiences and geographical proximity. This surely can be attested by the bitter Balkan civil wars that saw the former Yugoslavian nation-state tear itself apart though its peoples had lived in apparent harmony for nearly half a century.
But our nation has a vision. A vision based on the three fundamental principles of liberty, justice and prosperity. Principles that are supposed to be the driving force behind the actions of each and every citizen, especially those who have been honoured with the privilege of leadership.
Where there is a commitment to LIBERTY; then freedom of movement, of association, of opinion and from harm is assured.
Where there is a commitment to JUSTICE; then fairness, equal opportunities, proportionate sanction and a society based on the merit and aptitude of the individual are enshrined.
Where there is a commitment to PROSPERITY; then free enterprise, absolute transparency, aspiration and the drive to personal development are promoted.
A commitment to these fundamental principles is an absolute antidote to the destructive effects of tribalism, nepotism and rampant corruption. When each and every action and initiative is candidly measured against its impact on our common liberty, our justice and our prosperity, we shall lead ourselves inexorably to the rule of law, a vibrant and effective political, civic and commercial environment, and a deep rooted faith by the common man in our national project. A robust and prosperous nation able to easily weather the violent storms of the global political and economic environment.
But can it be said that we all share in this vision?
The death of Isaiah Abraham may point to the contrary. The Information Minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has admitted that security forces now believe the murder was more likely than not a targeted assassination.
July 2011 witnessed the absolute independence of our nation. From that point on, there could be no one to blame for our state of affairs than ourselves. Our setbacks, our disasters, our failures – all these are, in a sense, a consequence of our common lack of imagination and innovation in facing the many challenges that have been presented us.
Abroad, our people are renowned for excelling in academia. On the field of battle, our glorious liberation forces proved the better soldier than the enemy. It is only right that we expect excellence in the application at home. Even where we succeed, we must believe wholeheartedly that we can and must do better. It is only right that we look deep within ourselves, that we constantly question our actions and motivations, and in so doing, ensuring we can better calibrate our responses to future challenges and crises.
A refusal to introspection, is an acceptance of mediocracy. The national dialogue so vociferously pursued by the likes of the late Isaiah Abraham is an essential component of this introspection. Should it be proven that Isaiah Abraham was indeed assassinated, then those few who would silence this dialogue, are much more than a hindrance to the majority who just want to get on with the difficult work of building our nation on the firmest of foundations. They represent a clear and present danger to the development of the nation and a threat to the future prosperity of her people.
At this point, I urge you to re-read the quote at the top of this blog. Those who have commented on the death of Isaiah Abraham and insisted that the victory of liberty is always assured should take careful note.
May God bless South Sudan and all her people. One Nation, One People, One Destiny!