BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, USA, SEPT/30/2015, SSN;
The revolving news in South Sudan centers around the pulling out of the SPLA-Government forces in various Barracks in Juba. In order for a meaningful Peace to return to South Sudan, Regional powers and world’s superpowers have concluded that forces loyal to the Government are to be relocated to some 25 kilometers (15.6 miles) away from the South Sudanese Capital (Juba), and to allow for the reorganization of all the armed forces after the first 18-months of the Interim period.
Thy shall not fear the national army more than the common enemy up north. The fear is deeply rooted in all that took place in mid-December, 2013 and early-January, 2014, a very contested account that shattered the nation’s economy, bewildered citizens and created a power vacuum throughout the country.
For close to two years, unapologetic Government’s supporters fooled around, misled themselves, failed to sell their nationalistic agendas to the world at large, and the Region through the remote control of the world’s influential nations rewarded the man South Sudanese called a “serial Killer” with a very powerful position in the upcoming government.
The sharp turn in diplomatic puzzles led to the negotiated peace, and then came the designated First Vice President of the Transitional Government of National Unity(TGNU) of the Republic of South Sudan.
What followed shortly thereafter was the invitation of the Rebels’ leader (Riek Machar) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and subsequent failure by the elected president to attend the meeting of world’s leaders.
The already ailing and unpopular Government of President Salva Kiir dished further when the real vice president of the Republic of South Sudan (James Wani Igga) was not received by US diplomats at the Port of Entry.
Peace is here, but the reputation of the Republic of South Sudan has been tarnished. Our oneness as South Sudanese remains more like salt in the deep Sea.
First of all, South Sudanese loyal to President Salva Kiir are very frustrated to see Dr. Riek Machar return to Juba powerful than when he left on a hot pursuit, but these angers are end-results of the unpatriotic running of the national programs.
The ongoing mocking of the supposedly elected government is residue that can best be credited to uncle-ism that have engulfed South Sudan for the past 9 years and left the nation to the mercy of scavengers.
When the political deadlock was at its highest peak during the peace negotiations, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, had this to say about the conflict in South Sudan: “Legitimacy is not a presumed right of any government. It is conferred by the people, and it is sustained only by demonstrating leadership to protect and serve all citizens—responsibilities the government has neglected.”
That was a bombshell on the South Sudanese warring factions, and it has been shown in conduct.
A nation cannot employ incompetent Representatives & still expect the Government to be respected around the Globe.
As of now, South Sudanese are famous: they are known as brutal killers in Africa (thousands killed in 6-weeks time), the most corrupt people in the Region ($ 4.5 billion stolen by 75 officials), and they are Tribalists of all time (tribal militias murdered innocent and torched villages mercilessly).
In relative terms, what does Dr. Riek Machar’s new assignment mean to South Sudanese?
For those who have been following the political development in South Sudan for the past 21-months, there is good reason to be worried.
In couple of weeks, South Sudanese will have the most powerful First Vice President ever. His new roles have already shaken the foundation of the political establishment in South Sudan.
Just two days ago, the two leaders (Kiir & Riek) made very unusual moves.
On the side of the Government, President Salva Kiir Mayardit assigned Lt. General Bapiny Monytuil of the South Sudan Liberation Army(SSLA) to the post of deputy chief of general staff for Moral and Political orientation, a position once held by General Isaac Mamur, later given to General George Athor Deng, then General Chol Thon Balok and now to General Bapiny Monytuil.
With Dr. Riek Machar taking on the second position next to the president, he promoted prominent warlords (General Gatwech Dual, General Dau Aturjong Nyuol and notorious General John Olony Thabo).
The fact that the two armies would be managed separately for the first 18-months of the Interim Government, people should be very concerned.
Adding to the already fragile political situation in the country, Dr. Riek Machar of the SPLM-IO is to appoint two Governors (Unity & Upper Nile states).
Having said that, Caretaker Governor Joseph Nguen Monytuil of the Unity state is gone, and Caretaker Governor General Chol Thon Balok of the Upper Nile state and who’s position has been given to Joseph Nguen Monytuil’s brother is also gone.
In the words of Burkina Faso Revolutionary, Captain Thomas Sankara, “a soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal.”
That is exactly what South Sudanese militias have been doing for the last 9 years of self-governing (2006-2015).
Since Dr. Riek Machar’s new national role is likely to affect Government’s armed militias, the gear is likely to go in reverse, and today’s Government supporters would be tomorrow Rebels.
Having emerged from many decades of long and devastating war with the Sudanese governments in Khartoum, South Sudanese were supposed to be vigilant about things that undermine effective governing and destruction of nation’s economy.
Twice in the history of South Sudan, the IGAD nations stood by our side: negotiated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA-2005), and again negotiated what is now termed as the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement, and which ends the senseless war in the Republic of South Sudan.
It is time for South Sudanese to recognize the importance of living harmoniously in a multi-ethnic State, get to learn to live as nationalists, divorce tribal mindset in its entirety and keep up with their neighbors.
How long are South Sudanese going to be refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere?
Good life is not measured by paying too much attention to one’s own tribe and blindly supporting failed leaders just because they hail from one’s own tribe.
Of course, your eyes turned dark-brownish & skin turned purple-bluish for all the reasons known to you. The fact remains that most people representing South Sudan in foreign nations do not see international standards as models that they should be adopt, and the youth who have been politically marginalized are now left with bad experiences, memories that would be known as part of the bitter past come 2025.
Just three days ago, Mark Zuckerberg of the Facebook disclosed to the gathering of world’s leaders that his Company will partner with other wireless carriers, and make sure that people around the world have access to free, basic mobile phones in 5-year time.
But without real peace in the Republic of South Sudan, those kids who are now five years old would not be able to learn in an environment where connectivity is no longer a problem.
And for that matter, South Sudanese around the world must do something about the rebellious politics in the country, and where dissatisfied politicians join hands with armed gangs to make a forced change.
Mind you that when the wicked take over the country, sectarian violence becomes the new norm (C.A.R, DRC and Somalia are prime examples of fragile nations in Africa).
The current state of affairs in South Sudan is unpromising, the dissenting voices & the diluted voices have destroyed the country, and not much that people should be hopeful for, and under the combined leadership of the duo (KiiRiek) who would be the principals in the Transitional Government of National Unity(TGNU).
In the hearts and minds of desperate South Sudanese is a stable South Sudan where citizens would resume their farming and rearing of cattle. But, do we really have a leader to restore the lost hopes?
Prior to South Sudan being set ablaze, majority of South Sudanese were in need of real institutional reforms, but presidential contenders and those who had much to lose mishandled the SHOW, and the whole thing went out of hand.
The war of words was supposed to be over misappropriation of nation’s developmental funds to support for armed tribal militias who have been operating in remotest South Sudan’s areas for almost a decade.
While many South Sudanese in both camps (Government and Rebels) are worrying about jobs in the upcoming TGNU, what worries this author and few others is a kind of nation’s unity that eliminates INTELLECTUALS.
In the watch of Dr. Riek Machar, young learned South Sudanese were murdered by security agents (notably John Akuach and Isaiah Abraham).
In the same catch all chase, countless have been humiliated, intimidated to stop advocating for equality before the law & others instructed to quit reporting on government’s activities and institutionalized corruption.
How can we possibly have a functioning democracy if the educated are subjected to all sorts of humiliations?
Politicians, Dr. Riek Machar included, keep telling the world about their love of democracy, but they are short of practicing the very principles that promote and protect real democracy.
With its many forms, DEMOCRACY has one objective: rule by the people and respect for democratic processes.
Given the way leaders have kept the war alive for a very long time without a political solution, the return of peace to the Republic of South Sudan ought to be considered as a golden chance to prepare the nation for a new bright future.
It is fair to say unequivocally that the designated First Vice President of South Sudan is a huge liability on the people of South Sudan, a curse on those who keep supporting him to wage fruitless wars against his own people.
Up until the time President Salva Kiir reacted to his unseating by his deputy (Riek Machar), the two leaders were more like pepper and salt.
When Insiders pressured the President to let go his longest serving vice president, the political landscape tilted and tribal sentiments begun to take their unconventional course.
The national convention meeting (2013) as many recall, was the beginning of the real political transformation in the country.
Unfortunately, the unwillingness of the ruling elites to allow for institutional-structural change led to what the world terms as senseless war, and which has consumed many innocent lives in a very short period of time.
In any political wrangling, tones shift and citizens are rewired, and they see politics as a game of raw numbers.
With world’s pressures having dismantled desires to win the war militarily, the factions resorted to character assassination.
A civil war in a country where 98% of the economy is dependent on Oil, 21-months of arms race is a major disaster.
A number of rebels who ran out of money switched sides, and shamelessly appeased the President and repented their ill-acts in front of the only State-owned Television (SSTV).
You know what? All peace-loving South Sudanese who care-less about nepotism in government will have a chance to return to South Sudan, chill with their country-chicks and contribute to nation’s economy by putting their hard-earned education to work in private sector.
Too bad that that those who make living by collecting intelligence in Bars and Nightclubs will lose their Hotels fees.
How about earning a living by means of innovative activities, creative thinking and entrepreneurship?
From the rocky areas of the Sub-Sahara Africa to the cold deserts of the Northern Hemisphere, South Sudanese are waiting anxiously, and to have a unified national government again.
We grieve, bleed in hearts, shed tears, but at the end, finding a politically mature leader would be the only way for South Sudanese to restore the lost hopes, and for them to resolve South Sudan’s national political discourses once and for all.
In concluding this heartsick ramble-lock, South Sudan is seriously hurt and majority of South Sudanese are tribally polarized to see the real cure.
When darkness takes over the only source of light, visibility become a major problem.
To the dismay of those who know where the battery can be recharged but don’t have the permission to restore the power, they become the losers of tomorrow’s madness.
The world as a whole has witnessed the awful atrocities committed by warring factions in South Sudan. In the words of renowned Journalist, Nhial Bol Aken, “when they (SPLM’s leaders) unite, they loot the nation’s resources, when they disagree, they kill people.”
Junubiin, what are we hopeful for? We know for sure that Dr. Riek Machar is not a returning Messiah and President Salva Kiir is neither a good Shepherd nor a visionary Leader.
There is one thing to bear in mind: the first 18 months of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) would be a hell of a wait. Thy shall not trust self-confessed repeat offenders.
The author is Mayak Deng Aruei, a concerned South Sudanese currently in the USA. He is a Doctoral Student in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development. He is also the author of the ‘Struggle Between Despair and Life: From Sudan’s Marshland’s Village, Child Soldiering, Refugee Camp and America.’ He can be reached at Kongor.firstname.lastname@example.org