A Transitional Government without Kiir can’t avail peace in South Sudan

By: Taban Abel Aguek, Member of Parliament, FEB/22/2018, SSN;

As talks on the Revitalization of the Peace Agreement continue in Addis Ababa (which has collapsed), many suggestions are being put forth on ways and means to remedy the situation in South Sudan. The search for peace in South Sudan is good but it seems strange that, as we look for solutions to the conflict in South Sudan, we create more mistakes that tend to prolong war than avail peace.

In real essence, the Addis Ababa peace agreements seem to plant more recipes for war than avail complete cure for our problems.

“A new Transitional Government without President Salva Kiir is a farce; a mere fallacy devoid of reason and one that delivers no concrete solution to South Sudan’s conflict.”

In the first agreement there was an issue of two armies which later resulted in the Juba fight on 8th July, 2016.

Another new recipe for war again today is if IGAD accepts the demand by the opposition groups and one civil society organization called Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) for President Salva Kiir Mayardit to be excluded in the new transitional government of South Sudan.

In the first place, I am one of the South Sudanese that did not support the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), I was rather supporting the National Dialogue. In my opinion, the National Dialogue should first have given been a chance. If it fails, then we would be obliged to try the Revitalization of the 2015 Peace Agreement.

So I am one of the South Sudanese people who opposed the HLRF because I believe that, both legally and principally, there is a legitimate Peace Agreement already on the table. The Government in Juba was formed through the provisions (and is operating) using the same guidelines of the agreement that was signed by all parties and witnessed by all stakeholders, Troika included.

Some people won’t tell us directly but they seem to insinuate that Dr. Riek Machar is either synonymous with the agreement or he is the agreement himself. When Riek is not in government these people say that the peace agreement has collapsed. Yet, the same people who claim that the agreement has collapsed, the SPLM Former Detainees for instance, do still have their ministers even today in the Transitional Government of National Unity in Juba. That is what we call hypocrisy.

The other cheeky thing is that the same people who gave us the agreement now turn around to shift blame to the government on their own flaws in the agreement. The flaws we pointed out in the 2015 peace agreement which were actually published across all South Sudanese media were ignored. One such flaw was the issue of two armies in one country. More mistakes should be avoided now.

The South Sudan Peace Agreementof August 2015, clause 6.4 says that, “And in the event that the post of the First Vice President falls vacant during the Transitional Period, for any reason, including mental infirmity or physical incapacity of the office holder, the replacement shall be nominated by the unified ruling party. Such a process of nomination shall not exceed forty-eight (48) hours. The successor as the First Vice President shall serve in office until the end of the Transitional Period.”

After the J1 fight, President Salva Kiir on record went live on media calling on both sides to stop fighting and he specifically called on Dr Riek Machar to come to office. Dr Riek Machar, instead of heeding to such call, kept on fighting for another seventy-two hours until he and his forces had to be finally pushed out of Juba.

If Dr Riek had accepted the plea of the President to cease fighting and come to office, he would have stayed as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan until today.

After long tireless efforts, there was nothing the Transitional Government could do otherr than ask the members of his party to sit and nominate another person in Riek’s place as provided for in the agreement. That is how Gen. Taban Deng Gai became the First Vice President of this country.

Again, records show that Gen. Taban has outwitted Dr Riek on many occasions. Each time Dr Riek stands up against Gen Taban, it is Taban that in the end laughs last and laughs best.

One recent example was when Dr Riek, as a sitting Vice President, supported his wife to be Governor of Unity State in 2010 against Gen Taban. Gen Taban did not only win against Dr Riek’s wife but in fact he wrestled control of Dr Riek’s home state. When some Riek –allied militias probed up against Taban in Bentiu, Taban ruthlessly squashed them into submission in a very short time.

By current standing, Gen. Taban Deng Gai has already taken with him more than half of the SPLM-IO rank and file members. Those who have remained in Dr. Riek’s war are a few students mainly in the diaspora and some remnants who have long become highway terrorists that deserve to be banned in the region and treated like Kony’s LRA.

The second reason why I don’t support the HLRF is that we need to discourage the politics of rebellion. South Sudanese want to use rebellions as means to get to political and military offices.

Now in South Sudan, if you have five loyal soldiers, you can kill five people on a highway, go to Addis Ababa peace talks after five days and all of a sudden you either an SPLA general or minister just in five days. That is why most rebel movements in our country are briefcase organizations.

Their stories are big, their atrocities are downplayed and the stakeholders continue to give them ground. That is why many South Sudanese accepted the Addis Ababa II, or call it the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF).

If South Sudan government had rejected the Revitalization Forum of the peace agreement, it would have been easy to take it as being responsible for the continuity of war and suffering of the South Sudanese people. So, it went to such talks in good faith.

All in all, what we need in South Sudan is peace and stability. Period! Whichever way total peace can be achieved in this country, if it is through HLRF, so much the best.

But the problem now is that the highly proclaimed and the High Level Revitalization Forum is again trying to condone very useless demands, in fact untruthful demands, that may keep peace at bay for long time.

One of such demands by the opposition groups is that President Salva Kiir Mayradit be excluded from leading the proposed new Transitional Government. Another Human Rights Body, the Centre for Peace and Justice, had earlier suggested that both Kiir and Riek Machar be exempted from the transitional government.

According Radio Tamazuj, the opposition demand that Kiir be excluded from leading the transitional national government is that they accuse him of violating the 2015 peace accord. CPJ on the the other hand in a statement published by Sudan Tribune argues that “Experience shows that Kiir and Riek cannot work together,” asserting further that President Kiir attempted to kill Dr Riek twice.

Both arguments are not only incorrect but they are not practical in pursuing peace in the country. Regardless of all notoriety, propaganda and the games, the bottom line is: peace cannot be achieved at this time in this country without President Salva Kiir.

I still maintain that the 2015 peace agreement did not collapse. It is being revitalized at the request of rebels and pressure from Troika. The 2015 peace agreement faced major hiccups when Dr Riek’s soldiers in Juba were misled into thinking that they could overrun Juba.

But still there is no enough and convincing reason that President Kiir be excluded from leading the government. That could amount to nothing less but an organized coup, which is not acceptable in all terms.

Well, CPJ might be correct that it is difficult for President Kiir and Dr Riek to work together. But again it is not necessary that they work together. The rhetoric by Mr Tito Anthony published on Sudan Tribune that, Kiir tried to “assassinate Riek twice” is not only false but a scam designed to get his argument through.

President Kiir has had every chance, if he wanted, to kill Riek but he never wanted to kill Riek. The last fight in J1 sparked off by Riek’s soldiers can be the right example to use. After very intensive fight, Dr Rieks soldiers waned in the end but President Salva Kiir ordered his bodyguards not harm Dr Riek let alone kill him.

Dr Riek was escorted by Kiir’s bodyguards up to his residence in Jebel from which, without reciprocating the good deed, launched another brutal fight. The SPLA had no option left but to defend themselves, the country and the President.

If Dr Riek forces had captured J1, would one imagine Kiir being alive today? But there was Riek there without guards and Kiir protected him from his own angry bodyguards whose colleagues were killed.

Such a suggestion or call it a demand that a legitimately elected President be removed from power unconstitutionally is anti-peace. If such sentiments don’t stop then it’s our feeling that we as people of South Sudan to ask our delegates not to set foot in Addis Abba again.

Such suggestions once given room by IGAD may backfire in the very near future. IGAD leaders ought to be really careful. South African countries have developed a culture of overthrowing their leaders through army and/or party parliamentary caucuses. Our countries here in East Africa are trying to forge a way through which they can overthrow their elected leaders. We must try to avoid such ugly means of transfer of power.

President kiir is a validly elected President. One of the guys gunning for his seat today through the back door, Dr Lam Akol, only managed to garner less than 7% against Kiir in the 2010 general elections that were witnessed by UN and so many other global institutions.

Moreover, Kiir commands a large support in the ruling party, SPLM and across the country. Any attempt to remove President Kiir unconstitutionally shall straight away plunge the country into a complete chaotic mess.

Take it here: it is better when these so many splinter groups fight Kiir. Without Kiir, who is now the common enemy, there will be no one left to fight. It is better to have these people engaged in fighting Kiir. You wait when there is no Kiir there is nobody that cannot be President in South Sudan.

Generally, and for records, its good to state that talks in Addis Ababa may possibly produce an agreement that at best is modus vivendi. A change of governance presents not the lasting solution to the conflict.

What the Addis Ababa talks should majorly address is how the various armed groups be united and integrated into one command and then silence the guns. The talks must seek ways to bring the IDPs and refugees out of camps to their homes.

The other vital issue that needs joint efforts is how the revitalization and the restoration the South Sudan economy. If we stop war through honest and rightful means, then it is possible to achieve meaningful peace in our country.

The best and the only prudent way to settle the leadership wrangles in the country is through the democratic elections. If President Kiir loses elections, no one of his supporters will fire a bullet. But if forced out by a few delegates in Addis Ababa then there shall surely be more chaos than peace in this country for another very long time.

Taban Abel Aguek is a member of State Legislative Assembly in Eastern Lakes State, Yirol. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com.

9 Comments

  1. Dear: The Author Taban Abel Aguek

    The country is under CHOAS! What do you want again please??? I read your article.You would like President Salva Kirr to remain on power! Again,you said if he is out,the South,will be in choas! The common enemies will come!!! Nonsense! The WAR IS OVER once and for all against Sectarian Plutocratic Regime Clique in the Sudan Central government in north based in Khartoum! Trust me! We need do development in the South Sudan! Kirr has to go rest at home well! He is been sitting so long in the office!!!! We need a change! A new face! Enough is enough! Stop worrying on common enemies! The Late Dr.John Garang De Mabiour,got them at last in long struggled in the South Sudan! Thank you!

    Sincerely, Saving lives!

    Abiko!

    KC,MO.USA

  2. Deng Hanbol says:

    Abel Aquek,
    Just for a reminder, by the end of this year, the tribal regime in Juba will have been forced to capitulate.

  3. Defender says:

    Taban Abel, You are at it again with your usual selective reasoning. Last time we checked, Kiir is not South Sudan and South Sudan is not Kiir. This is important to note when discussing the issues of people/country/leadership. If SPLM wants Kiir to represent them forever, that is fine with the SPLM. South Sudan on the other hand, is a state and has people and constituency with varying interest and rights. They agree through a process, be it constitutional or negotiated settlement for certain political power to exit and new class of leader enter the political stage to address the gaps created by those in power without mandate or negotiated mandate as the one currently Kiir and his government enjoy. A good example for you to contemplate on is Apartheid South Africa. When F. W. De Klerk gave up power to majority black South Africans, he did not give it in a contested election, it was a negotiated transition for a better South Africa and its people, including whites.

    Thus, the current negotiations on Revitalization of ARCISS is not meant to keep certain people untouched while others are thought of outsiders to the political process, holding the majority of people in the country hostage to failures of leadership, governance, kleptocracy and the likes. Asking Kiir to resign or be excluding from the government is not a unique phenomenon to South Sudan. There are many examples, including the rare leadership exhibited by the former prime minister of Ethiopia, Desalegn. He will be remembered as a rare breed in Africa and the world over, providing moral leadership on what it takes to lead. For leading is not about staying in power by all means, it is by recognizing that when you failed that others can succeed you and build or rebuild what you failed to achieve.

    For most leaders are not respected when they are in power, it is what they do when they leave power–the moral authority that they possess henceforth. Mandela, the global standard bearer of moral leadership, could have stayed in power much longer than one term in office because he fought the white racist regime in South Africa whole his life, and so deservedly, entitled to rule for ever, by your standard, but chose to relinquish power, because power did not make him great, it was his moral leadership that gave him that depth of greatness.

    So, fighting to stay in power does not and will not make any person, great or not, be a leader. There are other names of such people. DR Congo (Zaire) of Mabutu compared to Patrice Lomumba is a contrast that you will need to look at as another example. People do remember Patrice Lomumba much more favorably than the tyrant who ruled Zaire for decades. Was that because of power or moral upright leadership? You be the judge!

    When sane people ask for Kiir to resign, they are not attacking his person and record as a liberator (something that he has smeared beyond repair) but his leadership style and his uninformed and towering ability in deforming the social fabric of our society, either through willful ignorance or co-opted advice that sawed seeds of discord in everything South Sudanese. These are facts people rely on when making these requests.

    I hope you will be able to realize these facts, re-orient your thinking and understand the need to transition from current crisis through leadership exit, not just of Kiir and his henchmen, but others on the other side, who through the same process of clear conscience, build the needed foresight, allow South Sudanese find a better solution to their problems.

    • Eastern says:

      Dear Defender,

      Yours is an excellent and measured response. I wonder if Ezikiel Lol, Taban Deng, et al would comprehend.

      I leave Taban Aguek, the “MP” alone. His crop of “leaders” is the main reason South Sudan is in for a long haul.

  4. mading says:

    Deng Hanbol. You are one of the people keeping Kiir in power, he would been gone long time a go through election, but your thinking that Nuer white army will put Kiir out of power is a daylight dreaming. It is not happening, Nuer white army has finish, those who are still out there are just robbers, not fighters.

    • Deng Hanbol says:

      Mading,
      I would like to ask you do you think Salva Kiir, the Dinka brutal dictator, who has created South Sudan one of the 20th century’s most vicious will never face charges? Mr. Manding, the whole world believes that Kiir and his tribal men are conducted a rule of terror which led to the deaths of nearly thirty thousands of Nuer’s civilians in less than 3 days. The Nuer civilians die through execution and torture just simply because they are members of Naath ethnic group…
      His bizarre face and quiet manner belied his brutality. He and his JCE have committed the crimes of the century. They (Kiir & JCE) tore apart South Sudan in an attempt to make it a”pure” Dinka country. As of now, Kiir and Dinka generals are busy of persecuting members of none Dinka ethnic group– The Ferits, Azande, Bari, Mandary, Acholi, Otuho, More,Chollo, Pajulu, Kuakua Madi, Dindinga, and others who have lived in harmony for generations in South Sudan. Salva has been killing them in an attempt to grab their ancestors lands so that to occupy by the members of Bor Dinka who run away from the Nuer white army in Jungle.
      Salva Kiir is responsible for an untold number of deaths. Therefore, the people of South Sudan reviled him for crimes against humanity and they want him to be captured alive and facing justice.

    • Eastern says:

      mading,

      It’s NOT CAST IN STONE that Kiir must not be changed as the president. Kiir was elected to lead Southern Sudan; his assent to the helm of South Sudan after independence is fraud with lots of manipulation of the Rubber Stamp House in Juba just to keep Kiir and them in the status quo. This is now untenable. The sooner you see the futility in calling for general elections in South Sudan, which African countries that existed for more than 5 decades, are unable to carry out in a free and transparent way, you are just asking for MORE INGREDIENTS OF FUTURE WARS AND INSTABILITY in the country.

      It’s time for Kiir and his hapless sycophants to pack their bags and leave! The sooner that’s done, the better for all!

  5. False Millionaire says:

    Eastern,
    I always find it so amazing of you.Is it the fat rock near Torit that symbolizes your internet fake name or is it another formidable sand dune fantome in the sky?I don’t intend any disrespect.But think it over again.
    Mading’s comments aren’t misplaced.You have so much in common with DH.
    As you are an MTN apologist,DH is from the camp of the naath nation driven by mistaken ngundeng’s prophesy of trampling jieng over first before marching to the helm of power and to stay there forever.Why do you want to be sarcastic about the honourable who is only placing the mirror infront of you so that you can see yourself in the mud of your making?
    The truth is mon cher ami,Garang was something but Kiir is nothing to jieng in sincere comparison to what Garang meant.But he is here and may run the risk to be here until the day the table turn over for RSS to be no more.So enjoy the stupidity of targeting ordinary jieng as a way of overthrowing Kiir and his regime.I am your target,Mading is your target,Nyandingdit is your target,the honourable is your target and even a jaang child who is just born without any knowledge of causes of your grievances is also your target.Don’t ignore the scenario of the targedy.We are at the edge of the knife.But it’s still good.The survivors will be good teachers of lessons of good and evil.

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