International Journal of Academic Research and Development

International Journal of Academic Research and Development


International Journal of Academic Research and Development
International Journal of Academic Research and Development
Vol. 4, Issue 4 (2019)

Fertit ethnic identity: A reflection on political struggle in Western Bahr-El-Ghazal, South Sudan


Wurok Chan Malith

The paper endeavors to strenuously unpack the prima facies catalysts pertaining to the construction of the Fertit Ethnic Identity in the former Western Bahr el Ghazal State. However, the pervasive issues of the formulation of the Fertit’s Ethnic Identity politically broached in the leeway of the 1970s. When it was vehemently expressed as persecution, margination and unequal distribution of power and resources, as well as the disrespect of the Ferity, after Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972. Consequently, the Fertit`s groups who culturally, share distinct, cultural traits that were helpful in articulating and sloganeering their own ethnic identity in the dexterous and assiduous political situation. As such the Fertit Ethnic Identity is a response of steadfast indemnifying for their political and economic representation and staunchly exaggerated by elite’s fiery ambition for power and abominable application of identity politics by the state in Sudan. Furthermore, in the leeway of 1980s, the nitty gritty of the Fertit's ethnic identity, we could find the pr-eminent and overarching issues, substantially, subsume imbalance in power-sharing, economic dividends, lack of respect for the Ferit’s tribes, exclusion from the security sector. Moreover, the land grabbing around Wau town which culminated in encroachment to the land belongs to Fertit and pugnacious alienation of the areas which were previously, owned by the Fertit's community. However, the situation turned catastrophic and violent owing to the division of the South into three subregions and misrepresentation of the Fertit from power-sharing in Wau, the killing and looting of Fertit's territory by the group using the name of SPLA and continued attacking of Fertit's area and the policy of the State which was based on arming of minor tribes as a counterinsurgency through supplying arms to that militia in the South. Meanwhile, the Fertit ethnic identity fervently and firmly resuscitates and revitalizes itself after the indepencase of South Sudan and the region is drawn willy nelly, into internecine conflict due to the following issues, political Struggle amidst the three ethnic groups the Dinka, the Lou and the Fertit, marginalization of Fertit in the State government, the ruling SPLM party and its previous loggerheads with the Fertit, the decision of relocation of Wau County without the Fertit's consent, indiscriminate nabbing of the Fertit`s elites, misrepresentation of the Fertit from the security of the area, exclusion of Fertit from Government`s houses and administration states, the movement of pastoralists and their subversion of Fertit`s farms and finally, empathic political unrest in South Sudan, incredibly led into gruesome conflict in the area with displacement of thousands of people, some of them sheltering in UN bases in Wau. As alluded above the repercussion of Fertit's Ethnic Identity to their citizenship which is a ramification of grievances owing to an unequal allocation of political power and resources ceded to them as a minority group in the region. Substantially Fertit ethnic identity led them to have a feeling of uncertainty and skepticism of being respected citizens of South Sudan. Consequently, it was conspicuously ushered in the leeway of the referendum, when a significant number of Fertit voted for unity which made Wau one of the centers with a considerable vote for the unity. However, owing to Fertit disquiet and discontent of political uncertainty in South Sudan, an enormous number of Fertit ethnic groups continuously reside in Sudan. Furthermore, some of Fertit people have acquired Sudanese Nationality and preferred to be Sudanese rather than South Sudanese. Additionally, Fertit people traditionally share cultural traits such as religion, and language with Northern Sudanese especially western Sudan which makes it easier for them to integrate, feel certain and accepted amidst Sudanese Societies. As such South Sudanese citizenship necessitates both ethnicity and territory of applicants as a precursor of granting citizenship. This evinces ethnic affiliation in the process and applicants have to portray their ethnic communities which means the importance of belonging to one of the indigenous communities in South Sudan. Such conditions make it arduous for people of cross-border ethnic communities or one of their parents is a member of a cross-community to easily access citizenship, nationality and other documents. As such Fertit as a group with a cross-border cultural heritage flounders some difficulties in accessing citizenship which requires strong witnesses. Moreover, Fertit ethnic identity which owes to grievances negatively tarnishes or negates their understanding of being respected South Sudanese citizens and people of South Sudan. This is very explicit from the presence of large Fertit community in Sudan due to political unrest and unresolved of their grievances. Which requires a political will to painstakingly address Fertit's grievances and to bring about a permanent peace into their area.
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How to cite this article:
Wurok Chan Malith. Fertit ethnic identity: A reflection on political struggle in Western Bahr-El-Ghazal, South Sudan. International Journal of Academic Research and Development, Volume 4, Issue 4, 2019, Pages 01-09
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