Maya: South Sudanese cultural norms in the fight against corruption

Realizing good governance, transparency, accountability and corruption free South Sudan is a collective responsibility, Maya Cultural Organization has taken an initiative to research out the root causes of corruption in South Sudan, targeting to figure out cultural norms that influence or resist corruption.


Maya Cultural Organization is a civil society organization registered in South Sudan to advocate for good governance, accountability, transparence and corruption free society, taking in to account our positive cultural values.


The research was conducted under the theme: back to our roots in the constitution process. The research targets South Sudanese positive cultural values that resist corruption.

The Director of Maya Cultural Organization Mr. Mawa Nemaya Joseph said that rural communities in South Sudan did not understand the definition of the word corruption right. “People understand corruption as a fight” Mawa explained. And that the survey has also indicated that the rural communities are less informed about the efforts of the government in the fight against corruption.


Mawa said that corruption is defined in various ways as follows;  Kual  Dinka community of the Greater bahr-al gazelle, ugugate in muru language, whereas the Kakwa community towards the Uganda border in Morobo County define it as Budu/mumuluga, Lulubo community of the Central Equatoria call corruption as Korakora (lolopugo) and  Lokoros of Eastern Equatoria defined corruption as Koch-Koch. The research expelled that few people among the conducted communities can explain what corruption mean while majority have less information about


Mawa also said that many people modernly defined corruption as process where a person does not provide the required services to another person or group of people with an intention of acquiring personal benefits.



The survey has indicated that the most dominating forms of Corruption include bribery which is the most dominant in the scene by being the most outspoken. Followed by, tribalism, favoritism and embezzlement. And that bribery is in most case initiated by service providers; meanwhile a lesser percentage indicated that service recipients initiated bribery.


“We realized that Greed/selfishness, poor & untimely wages, high marriage costs, extended families/huge responsibilities are the main causes of corruption in our communities” Mawa said.


“The survey sought that there is a limited access of anti-corruption information to the rural communities” Mawa. He said that anti-corruption massages are confided to the urban areas with limited access to the rural areas. And that there were cultural teachings to the young ones in the evening especially near fire e.g. don’t steal; do what is right, isolation of the corrupt in the society. Exposing the wrong doers through songs, also preaching their names in community gatherings are the methods used to combat corruption in the past.


According to Mawa, there is inadequate consultation between government and the communities and that the local communities are willing to participate in the fight against corruption.