Open Letter To the President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President, Chairman of SPLM and the Commander in Chief of the SPLA
State House J1 Juba, South Sudan.
First, let me register that some of us who have never met you before and perhaps, will never meet you until you leave the presidency and we badly need to meet you in order to tell you what we think are wrong in and with the government so that you are able to change the method of governance for the better and to serve citizens of South Sudan better.
I need not to remind you by telling you that it is now going to four years while the war is still on. The last three years have never been easier for us citizens and I do not know whether you know that we are suffering.
It was good when the war started but as we progress from one year to the other in the war, things are becoming tougher and tougher day and night as US dollars have staged a second front against the country and citizens.
In actual sense, things are tough, which deeply worries us and further puts the country’s future in bleak.
Moreover, the population is in danger of being wiped out as it is trapped by your forces, the forces of the SPLM/A-IO, the forces of the National Salvation Front and criminals who are benefiting out of chaos or crises.
One thing you should be worried is about the scarcity of dollars, which has put prices beyond the reach of the ordinary citizens. Because of that there is extreme shortage of food and other necessity for life for all citizens.
Hence, citizens are dying of hunger everyday in Juba leave alone other parts of the country. Imagine, if citizens die of hunger within Juba, what about those who are far from capital city who are trapped in conflict!
In addition, Mr. President, hospitals are not in good conditions but you never know this for two reasons: first, those around you tell you that things are good when in actual sense it is the opposite and second to it you and other ministers, Members of Parliament and other civil servants have special arrangements which enable them to travel to other East African Countries, Egypt, India, Jordan, the UK, Australia, the USA, Italy and Germany for treatment.
This special arrangement has denied citizens, an opportunity for reform in the health sector as government officials including you do not need such improvement since there is no need for it. Hence, citizens are there to die of curable diseases every hour.
Mr. President, one thing that has even complicating the matter is the fact that some people who are around you and those working in your office have formed a group that prevents people from reaching you to explain to you their grievances.
They have done this in order to continue practice corruption in your office without your knowledge. Sadly enough, if some people write about their corruption, they threaten that person with arrest and even death.
For instance, there was a time I wrote an article concerning the dirty politics in your office and I was almost burned alive by those in your office. They demanded that I must apologize not because I have made false allegations against them but for having told the truth.
However Mr. President, I stood my ground and completely refused to apologize because I believe in truth and the fact that South Sudan needs the truth to prevail.
The personal experiences as explained above show that it is dangerous in South Sudan to tell the truth. In other words, the truth is a criminalized offence or considered treasonable in South Sudan and this is why those who tell the truth are viewed as rebels.
For that reason, all citizens are cowed into silence as they are being ruled by fear of being branded as members of the IO or rebels which can put them into the hands of manipulated security apparatus where they will suffer from arbitrary detention and arrest without any remedy.
Because of being considered members of the rebels for telling the truth, Mr. President, there are now two types of population in South Sudan: the truth tellers who are majority but are branded as rebel members and those sycophants and miscreants who lie to you or to the government officials in order to get earn a living.
Mr. President, as I have already pointed out above, for one to survive in South Sudan from the hands of politicians, National security, State governors and other organized forces, he or she has to learn to be a liar or to join in multi-practice to corrupt the country and its system.
Nonetheless, I should not be quoted as if I am making accusations against all organized forces of South Sudan, what I am saying is that the government officials have penetrated the SPLM/A, National Security and all organized forces, which they pay to harass or even detain incommunicado their political opponents or private citizens who are critical with them in regard to the way they are running the offices.
Your government officials are deadly corrupt but they don’t want anybody to question their corrupt practices and if one at his or her will chooses to question them then he or she is threatened.
Mr. President, may I ask you this obvious question: what did Late Dr. Garang mean when he says that “take town to people,”? You try to implement this statement by creating and taking thirty two (2) states to people and I wonder whether you properly explained this meaning of this statement to your officials.
It is sad that instead of bringing services to people through creating more states, which Garang meant when he made such statement, it is the corruption and oppression of the youth which has been brought to the people.
As you struggle to ensure that those towns or states taken to people are given money to increase services to the people, Governors and their close associates are the ones building their own houses in Juba besides harshly taxing people while leaving states and the people there in more crises than before.
Let me tell you, Mr. President, the enthusiasm that we had when you created more states has been killed by your governors who are not only corrupt but they are also oppressing youth and all citizens leave alone services.
No services to people and I would advise you that if it is appropriate, why not reconsidering your position either to appoint good governors or take your town away from the people so that people remain in their peace because those towns have brought more problems to people than good.
Those governors and their associates are absolutely corrupt and moreover, their corruption is unchecked. Besides, the commissioners they appoint are like them. They are corrupting system while using organized forces to arbitrary arrest and detain people without trial for indefinite period.
One of the clear examples in this category is the detention of a director of education, Mr. Mathen Thook, in a county called Joth Mayar in Gok State who has been under detention in military barracks for over thirty days without charge.
Mr. President, another thing I wanted to tell you concerning what makes a strong nation and if South Sudan is to be strong you have to observe them. A strong nation must have two things: a strong army and strong rule of law.
Niccolo Machiavelli in his Book, the Prince, knows this fact when he says that “the main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow”.
Our problems in South Sudan are caused by lack of strong army as the army which is there is now is full of militias, mercenaries and auxiliaries.
Machiavelli in the same Book cited above makes the following bad observations about mercenaries and auxiliaries that:— “They are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy.
The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were.”
As you can understand from the above quotation, South Sudan army is not a true army in the true sense but full of militias. Such an army is not good for you and for South Sudan.
As things stand today, there are separate armies for each tribe, for each general and for each militia group, which is not good for a nation like South Sudan. You need to reform the current army of South Sudan into the national army.
In order to reform the army in South Sudan effectively, you need to carry out survey in the army to get the total number of the army and where they are trained from. Then, after that call all the true SPLM/A forces of 1983-2005 so that they are deployed throughout South Sudan while all militias who are just incorporated in the army without military training background are all sent to military training camps where they are going to be subjected to serious training for the next three years. The same thing should be done in respect to the police and other organized forces.
At the same time, the recruitments of new groups whether in the army, police or other forces should stop for the next three years in order to organize the present police, army and other organized forces into strong organized forces. This will make it possible for you and other officials to know the size of the army which we do not know currently.
Mr. President, the final thing I wanted to tell you is something to do with some of your advisors. There are some advisors within those special advisors to you who are clearly working for your downfall and the downfall of South Sudan.
Their motive is to ensure that South Sudan must fail as they still hope that if it fails then it will be liquidated and added to Khartoum, a dream that will die with them without being realized.
To tell you the truth, one of the advisors I feel pain whenever I see him with you is that person related to you who personally ordered the execution of the SPLA officers during the liberation struggle.
Why I feel pain is the fact that he has become a king to those he personally executed which is unjust because this is not the state of Jesus Christ where the executor becomes the preacher.
If there is no accountability, at least, he should not be seen to be on the top of the government he persecuted in the first place. What will he offer to the government? This particular person though related to you is not suited to be an advisor to the governor.
Another person you appointed to be your special advisor on security issues who was an advisor to the President of Sudan during the war is not working for the interest of the SPLM as a party. But his interest is to see that South Sudan is divided forever so that it fails. He is not interested for the stability of South Sudan since such stability brings in more of his tribe-mates which is a threat to his political interests.
In addition, there are two people who are not within ten advisors. One is outside South Sudan while the other is a cabinet minister. These two people are not there for the interest of South Sudan this is why they keep on creating division within the SPLM so that original founders of the SPLM are chased away.
I am not saying that they should not be in South Sudan because they are South Sudanese rather what I am saying is that they do not know the vision of the SPLM and their goal is to destroy the SPLM. Therefore, do not bring them to the heart of the government.
As I pointed out last time in my article which caused commotion in that office, I would like to repeat in this letter that you need to appoint some people in your office who can serve the interest of South Sudanese and South Sudan in general not those who turn the office turn profit making venture.
Mr. President, I need to conclude this letter by advising you that if you are appointing advisors, you need to appoint those who are at least able to disagree with you on some matters not those who always ready to agree with you on all the matters for the fear of being removed. Advisors must be specialists in their areas of expertise and are also objective. This is why we talk of advisors as advisors are not those who protect their personal interest.
Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Lawyer, Kampala Uganda