Cry the Beloved South Sudan in its Second Independence Anniversary

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, SOUTH SUDAN, JUL/14/2013, SSN;

‘Only when this country is liberated from the “liberators” will we celebrate our true independence.’ This time last year I refused to celebrate the first independence anniversary of South Sudan and I remain adamant not to celebrate the second anniversary either. You see, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the selected dyadic parties to the conflict, the ruling Sudan National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in January 2005, there was profound disappointment among those who were excluded from the round table, including our brothers in Darfur and other key stakeholders in both the North and the South. But there was also joyful ululation and elation amongst most South Sudanese both at home and away.

Many South Sudanese commons, including myself came to be optimistic that the much sought after peace in a country that for decades has been riddled by devastating protracted civil wars in its South and elsewhere, is finally here.

The political, economic, and geographic power-sharing protocol of the CPA raised people’s expectations about the beginning of a new era, where at long last a genuine political representation in the country’s governance and political decision-making, has dawned.

There was soaring optimism in finally enjoying the fruits of peace through the recognition and appreciation of Sudanese multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity, provision of equitable access to social and economic services, and protection of freedom of movement, including safe passage to cattle grazing areas and water points across different regional boundaries within the country.

It was thought that our chronic subjugation, domination and marginalization by the Jallaba northerners was finally over, and Sudan will no longer be the same. In universal terms, many believed security was here, and basic civil and political rights, and social and economic rights, are sure to be guaranteed in this new era of peace.

After all the essence of all the liberation struggles in the Sudan throughout its history, has always been for the political establishment at the center to meet the legitimate aspirations and protect the universal rights of its people on the peripheries. And with the signing of the CPA the moment seemed ripe for these grievances to finally be addressed.

The central provision on Southern self-determination plebiscite exercise, including the Abyei protocol was the cherry on the cake of the CPA. Self-determination in the South was welcomed with a sigh of relief as “our Kairos moment,” as the Church declared. It was an opportune moment because should Khartoum fail to make unity attractive by meeting the popular demands of South Sudanese, South Sudan was on course to secession.

For most South Sudanese, however, and particularly the youth, life with Khartoum was not feasible, regardless of whether unity was to be made attractive or not. “We, the southern Sudanese have already decided to vote for an independent Southern Sudan where we will live as first class citizens,” stated the Southern Sudanese Youth Forum in the build-up to the referendum exercise, and so it proved to be the case with the resulting landslide vote for South Sudan’s secession in the referendum.

However, little did we know there were hidden agendas of restituting in Juba the very unjust power structures that we sought to overcome in Khartoum. How could we have known that there will be another northern South Sudanese subjugation, domination, and marginalization deep inside Juba when we are a sovereign and independent country?

Common sense had its say, but what is common sense in the face of greed and power hunger? Reason has been defied, and the big question is: how did this happen?

As we all know too well, the precarious nature of the negative peace that prevailed after the signing of the CPA in 2005 left many Sudanese stakeholders unprepared for peace, and the ruling clique in Juba put this to “good” effect.

It was thought given Khartoum’s abysmal track record of dishonouring agreements that the peace will not last the whole six interim period years leading to the Southern self-determination referenda.

This being the case, most of the actors involved in Sudanese conflict resolution, management and mitigation, but not necessarily conflict prevention and transformation were preoccupied with precisely that, namely channelling their efforts to keep the peace.

Thus the rudimentary local civil society actors spearheaded by the church in partnership with people of good will across the world embark on robust policy advocacy with powerful world leaders to ensure all the provisions of the CPA, and particularly the key provisions of the self-determination referenda in the South, were implemented by Khartoum in a timely, transparent, and credible manner.

However, while all focus and international pressure was on Khartoum to implement the agreement, Juba was busy consolidating power across ethnic lines under the guise of maintaining the command structure of the rebel movement in readiness for any unexpected relapse to war.

Our international interlocutors were misled to believe that this was just a mandatory precautionary measure, considering the history of bad faith within the rebel movement, and so tribal domination of the government by one or two tribes came to pass.

Locally, South Sudanese who questioned the logic behind such excesses of concentration of power in the hands of individuals and domination of the political space in the country by few ethnic groups were dismissed as cowards and traitors, and some are even still unjustly languishing in arbitrary detention without due process.

It was during this period that rampant looting spree of the public purse was ushered in as billions of dollars began to magically disappear into private bank accounts, and endemic corruption and systemic nepotism began to dominate the country to the detriment of social and economic service provision.

Then came the formation of what from the outside seemed like a representative government in the South after the independence. But in effect it was a government of renowned scavengers and political opportunists from Khartoum days, mostly elections drop-outs and rejects in their own bases.

Again, when questions were asked about the logic, the answer quickly came that the government was formed in a “spirit of reconciliation” with our brothers who were serving Khartoum during the war years. In simple terms, we were all taken for a ride.

But while “you can fool some people sometime, you can’t fool all the people all the time.” Thus what has increasingly become evident in South Sudan since the signing of the CPA is that South Sudanese have been betrayed and exploited by our “liberators.” Numerous studies support this view.

The former world banker and the renowned Africa economist, Paul Collier, for example has compellingly argued in his writings that although they may present popular grievance as the underlying cause for picking up arms, it is greed rather than grievance that drives rebel groups in the African continent.

In his “Doing Well Out of War: An Economic Perspective,” Collier writes: “Economic agendas appear to be central to understanding why civil war starts. Conflicts are far more likely to be caused by economic opportunities than by grievance.”

But organized and successful rebel groups like the SPLA tend to be clever at concealing the greed factor, and instead ride on the back of popular grievance to generate sympathy and establish good external relations with the international community, which the SPLM satisfactorily did.

As Collier rightly observed, “even where the rationale at the top of the organization is essentially greed, the actual discourse may be entirely dominated by grievance.”

Our ruling SPLM brothers seem to have perfected this trade. If this is the case then those of us who choose to cry the beloved South Sudan in its second independence anniversary, must be excused.

Only when this country is liberated from the “liberators” will we celebrate our true independence.

tloloyuong@gmail.com

10 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    ” Only when this country is liberated from the “liberators” will we celebrate our true independence.”
    I hope that you are only referring to SPLM as a party here and not everyone that has contributed in anyway to the liberation of this country. There are a lot of families in this country that have sacrificed everything during the war and as a result they naturally identify themselves with the liberation.
    For you to liberate yourself from this big number of South Sudanese, you will have to secure some sort of weapons of mass destruction somewhere.

  2. juma says:

    why do most people waste their precious time writing when 2015 is near, wait and do what suits your interest.

  3. AW Joseph says:

    Three years ago The Australian Labour Party removed Kevin Rudd as its Prime Minister and replaced him by his Deputy Julia Gillard, claiming that the Government under him was chaotic, disfunctional and has lost direction. Julia Gillard contested the 2010 election and ended up with a hang Parliament. She was able to form Government with the support of a Smaller party and Independent members of Parliament. The next election was due in September 2013. However, poll after opinion poll were indicating that the opposition Liberal Party was going to win with a land slide victory. The Australian Labour Party responded by removing Prime Minister Julia Gillard and restored Kevin Rudd again as the Prime Minister because the Australian people do not want her as their Prime Minister.

    So South Sudanese, tell me, what is so surprising about this story? Have we not been told by the SPLA/SPLM from 1983-2005 that the Arabs (Jallaba) are responsible for the poor development, for the marginalisation, Poverty, Poor education, Health Care, Corruption, tribalism ……. Name it, the list does not end……..
    People always say and I hate to repeat that, “better the devil you know than the angel you are looking for.” In this sense I can say better the devil Arab (Jallaba) than the Angel SPLM OYEE we have been looking for.

    WHY ??? The evidence are there for the naked eye to see.

    Look at the falling education standards, poor medical care, Imbalance in the labour force, High crime rate, etc……….
    SPLM/A government is full of indiscipline, arrogance, selfishness, greed, corruption or theft…name it. That is why you hear of Eritreans, Ethiopians, Kenyans, Ugandans, People from countries that we do not share borders with are working illegally in Juba and all over South Sudan. Foreign Criminals are holding South Sudan documents including Diplomatic passports. Government officials are involved in theft of public property & money and instead of prosecution, they are promoted or transferred else where.

    I am happy that The South Sudanese people are suffering and living in object poverty. After all it was the South Sudanese people who gave SPLM OYEE the 98% of the vote that these crooks claim to have derived their power from for dividing Our mighty Country. SPLA soldiers are not being spared too. Their Salaries are being cut in the name of austerity and often go for months without being paid making them unable to help their families. Starve your Soldiers more Kiir so that the SPLA can feel what other South Sudanese People experience with corruption. Better The SPLA because they have the guns and can do something about it.

    GOOD BYE THE BAD SUDAN……………. WELCOME GOOD SOUTH SUDAN……………..
    This is the SPLM OYEE MIGHTY KINGDOM for all to see. WE WILL liberate ourselves from the “liberators” FOR THE SAKE OF LASTING PEACE.

  4. Elhag Paul says:

    Dear Tongun
    Good point. By what is happening in our country, it looks that our emancipation will come incrementally. First is the independence from Arabs. This now has been attained. But this independence is just elimination of one problem. Secondly, the second phase of struggle needs to be fought to free ourselves from our oppressor brothers and sisters which is exactly what you correctly identified as liberating the country from the liberator. You are already doing a good job towards that end by your article in articulating the issue.
    As oppressed people, let us remember that we must not give up the fight but continue till a free South Sudan where the rule of law and order is the protector of all people regardless of tribe, gender, race, religion etc and also where every person in the country is entitled to universal social service such as health, housing, education etc.
    In short I give you thump up for coining the phrase “Liberation from the Liberators”. Take care and God bles

  5. Malou says:

    You people made very outstanding rhetoric; but little that you know that liberation doesn’t come cheap; it cost lives. The liberation of South Sudan claimed over 2 million lives; remember your own liberation against liberators is not going to come easily just like the stroke of the keyboards. The liberation is something that takes martyrs; the one thing that you don’t like to do or afford. It’s only here in your own fantasy world that you liberate the country with the stroke of the keyboard.

    • Elhag Paul says:

      Dear Malou
      If you are waiting for violence you are wasting your time. The struggle is already on and your Oyee machine is losing. Did you hear what your friends in America and Europe are saying? They are already abandoning you having discovered that Oyee is crude and not worthy of their support because it is barbaric. We will win this war using ink, pen and our mind. We live in 21st century and we shall use 21st century weapons – wining minds. Believe you me within a short time you will be our follower. Just watch this space! I am not joking.

  6. AW Joseph says:

    Dear Malou
    You and some of your tribes men always believe that you liberated South Sudan from the ARABS. The SPLA Soldiers did win some decisive battles against the Sudanese Army but has never scored a total military victory. That is why major Cities in South Sudan like Juba, Wau, Malakal and many other towns remained under the control of the Sudanese government until the signing of the CPA in 2005.

    South Sudan was liberated by the ballot of the box during the referendum in 2011 in which all South Sudanese participated.

    We chased you (DINKA) in 1983 because of your: Tribalism, violence, incompetence, indiscipline, arrogance, selfishness, greed, corruption and many other bad things without a single Gun being fired. Just wait and see time will tell. We will do it again. KOKORA IS OUR GUN, BE INFORMED.

    • Thonmajuk says:

      AW Joseph, are we in denial to ourselves and that what’s dragging us back into problems of who is what and whom etc. Lat’s accept that we have our country right now and then talk of ways to make it a better place not bringing back the past. We shouldn’t judge who liberated South sudan either by bullet or ballot but God will judge it.

    • Ater Jieng says:

      AW Joseph:

      Your Gun (Kokora) had worked successfully in the South during the Arab rule and support. However, I doubt it would work in your favour this time around as long as the SPLA/M is in charge of South Sudan, Let us wait and see.

  7. In the first place, let me thank the mover of this Debate, Prof Tongun Lo Loyuong. Second, the liberal parliamentarians of this forum with due respect for the Speaker, the Web editor, who does it 100% with no fear or favor.

    Brothers and Sisters, We voted 98% for SPLM Led government when they begged us in 2010 National Elections because of promises that they assured us;
    -Zero tolerance to Corruption.
    -Equality, freedom, Prosperity, Justice…
    But ladies and gentlemen, SPLM has not lived to their promises. Instead of zero tolerance to corruption they have made it 100% tolerance to corruption. This is seen by the fact 75 Resources Raiders are roaming freely on Juba Streets now.

    They went ahead and assassinated a very important member of this parliament (Isaiah Diing Chol Abraham) and exiled many others. They are arming one tribe against other, they have not provided security, Infrastructure, Health, from Nimule to Rank and from Akobo to Najero. Our Brothers the Murlei are ailing as they witness, Wau Massacree….
    So what do you think we must do?

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