BY: CHROMOKE JAS, CANADA, JAN/12/2014, SSN;
Dear Dr Riek Machar,
Greetings to you, wherever you may be! Today I saw your picture in the press and I couldn’t suppress a felling that you’re now a “rebel” leader. Circumstances can change so fast!
It’s now over three weeks since you’re unfairly accused of attempting to overthrow the Kiir government. Thanks God, truth is beginning to come out to vindicate your innocence. Outside here, some of us have been trying to garner support to your and our cause. I must tell you that, there is a great potential for your support, provided you play your card well.
Since your hand was forced into creating the present military solution, it might be difficult for you to have a complete control over the dynamic of its trajectory: will it be ended soon or will it be a protracted struggle? From your previous utterances, you hope that this struggle should end soon so that your objective of standing for presidency in the 2015 is not jeopardized.
If the dismissive US view on the alleged coup attempt is representative of the world opinion, then the pendulum of the international pressure is firmly swinging against Kiir. This in itself might not bring you benefits unless you try to leverage on it.
Based on this assessment, we have some suggestions to make:
1) Moderate your demand on the release of the seized comrades who are now prisoners in Kiir’s custody. Why do we say this? It is because of two main reasons:
a) their attitude towards their own release is not supportive of your stance. It is known that you and them are not natural allies and if it suits them they can cut a local deal with Kiir to have themselves released; and,
b) Philosophically and ideologically (if they have any) the prisoners have very little to share with the vast majority of South Sudanese, whom you should now consider your natural allies. Some of the prisoners are known to be the very same people who have colluded with Kiir to impoverish South Sudanese.
Because of their past misdeeds, most citizens also believe that they will not make effective delegates in negotiating an overhaul of governance to eliminate dysfunctional government institutions which they helped to create;
2) Widen you appeal and objectives beyond the SPLM affairs to encompass broad political issues, including provision of new constitution, strengthening institutions, elimination of corruption and certain ills, and instilling probity in husbanding the public finances, to mention a few.
This of necessity will require that you look again at the composition and competence of your present delegation. Frankly, you will need people with certain skills to tackle the difficult and complex agenda as suggested by the headings given above;
3) Show some enthusiasm in recruiting supporters from the wider population of South Sudan. This is particularly relevant in Equatoria region. In Equatoria, your enemy is succeeding in spreading fear that your Nuer people are coming to subjugate them if given opportunity to overrun Juba.
Equatorians taking a neutral position in this conflict is not to your advantage. You should go out of your way to get them on your side. Already, your enemy is enticing them with the provision of small arms as a means of defense against the invading Nuer.
(Of course, Kiir cannot countenance Equatorians having access to more effective heavy weaponry because arming Equatorians is a double-edge sword for a Dinka Chief).
Nationally, this is an irresponsible behavior on the side of Kiir as more guns will now find their way into the hands of civilians just as many are calling for comprehensive disarmament in our country; and
4) Finally, if the pressure is too much, and people want to do a Raila-Kibaki on you, that is power-sharing, accept it only on one condition: it should be a means to achieving fundamental changes as outlined earlier.
In conclusion, all this will depend on whether Kiir will accept to tango. If he refuses to play ball, and if you do not want to be a leader of another 20-year rebellion (which time you do not have), storm the citadel and chase away the dictator. Thereafter a forced peace might result which will still achieve the same ends.
I wish you well. Take care and good luck.