BY: Joana Adams, RSS, DEC/24/2013, SSN;
Former US envoy to the Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, has taken off his diplomatic hat and squarely blamed South Sudan president Salva Kiir, for the current violence engulfing the country in a BBC interview, says Sudan Tribune (23/12/13). Mr. Lyman has just publicly pronounced what many world leaders have privately admitted.
The people of South Sudan and the world at large have been watching in horror the potentially deadly event unfolding in the new republic since March 2013 when the X-VP turned rebel leader Riek Machar and other leading figures in the SPLM Politburo expressed their desires to unseat him from the chairmanship of the SPLM party in preparation for the upcoming presidential/general elections in 2015.
Since South Sudan is a democratic republic and not a hereditary monarchy, it is the constitutional right of every citizen to contest for the highest office in the land.
It is absolutely shocking that the president who was himself elected by the people would become so enraged about being challenged politically.
Since then the President went on the rampage by:
1. Unconstitutionally relieving the VP along with the entire cabinet in August 2013.
2. Unconstitutionally suspending the Secretary General of the SPLM Pagan Amum
3. Blocked every avenue for dialogue within the SPLM by refusing to convene the SPLM Political Buro meeting to internally discuss SPLM and to set agenda for the Liberation Council meeting.
4. Issued an order to dissolve SPLM structures namely the Politburo and the National Liberation Council forcing the press conference on the 6th Dec by those opposed to him and also affected by this monumental dissolution.
5. And finally convening a surprise meeting of the NLC to divert attention from and obstruct a public rally to be staged by the opposition forces within his party. Riek and company suspended the public rally in response to calls from religious leaders, attempted to attend the NLC meeting but were further humiliated by an ignorant and arrogant president Kiir which resulted in their walk-out.
6. A day later it now transpired that Kiir ordered for the presidential guards to be disarmed and then only the Dinka presidential guards to be rearmed which directly led to the military confrontation between Nuer and the Dinka members of the presidential guards.
7. He further gave a criminal instruction to his militia to indiscriminately attack and kill Nuer soldiers, civil servants or citizens in Juba.
With this brief narrative, it is very clear that President Kiir is to blame for the violence that has engulfed the country.
Specifically, President Kiir must be investigated on the charges of inciting and authorising ethnic cleansing in a desperate attempt to silence Riek’s opposition to this dictatorship.
Even before these latest developments which have unfortunately led to loss of innocent South Sudanese lives, President Kiir has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he is unfit to be a leader of all South Sudanese.
By his own statement he confirmed that he is a president for his Dinka Warrap clan when he told them in an exclusive gathering which he addressed in Dinka, rephrased here, that, “this power I have belongs to you…..you fought and died for it and now some people want to take it away from you,… will you accept it?”
How on earth can any sane president who was voted into power by all the nearly 70 southern tribesmen and women, make such a shocking statement?
To me, by this statement alone Kiir has shown as we have always suspected that he is nothing but a tribal chief.
Our young country needs a president who will have the heart to accommodate all the southern peoples and treat them equally.
During the eve of independence in July 2011, President Kiir demolished the Interim Constitution and created a Transitional Constitution which has given him all the state powers.
In effect, President Kiir is the president of the republic, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the assembly, the commander in chief and the chief of staff of the SPLA, the governor of the bank of south Sudan and the minister in charge of the national security.
He is also the standing governor of all the 10 states of South Sudan!
Even the Transitional Constitution 2011 does acknowledge that South Sudan is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. The CPA and the Interim Constitution 2005, gave South Sudan a framework upon which a just and fair society could have been founded through equitable sharing of power and wealth whether by ethnicity or by states.
President Kiir and his advisor, fake lawyer Telar Ring, have totally disregarded the interests and political needs of other communities and have wrongly sought to promote a sectional hegemony which is totally unseen in the short history of South Sudan.
This being the case, the people of South Sudan with exception of those who have directly benefited under the patronage of Kiir, have totally lost trust in the ability of Kiir to continue to be the president of the republic.
I personally support the call of the opposition urging him to step down to allow resolution of the crises created by him.
Kiir is the principle suspect in this turmoil and hence cannot be a part of the solution.
Yes, ultimately the crises can only be solved through political dialogue but such dialogue should be properly planned and not rushed into.
Rushing into any negotiations will be tantamount to squandering the only opportunity that now prevails to once and for all correct the political situation in the country.
Since this is a national issue and all of us have stakes in it, my suggestions to the opposition are as follows:
1. Do not focus on short term personal or group interests but national long-term interests of South Sudanese.
2. As far as it is politically expedient, an interim national government must be formed to prepare the country for elections 2015. Under no circumstance should the elections be postponed.
3. An Interim Constitution should be put in place to restrict the powers of the president especially the powers to remove elected governors.
4. The presidency should be restructured to accommodate our ethnic/regional diversities.
I’m of the opinion that the current president be moved to the position of head of state with ceremonial powers and executive powers be invested in a prime minister to be deputised by two deputy prime ministers, all the 3 must come from different former regions of south Sudan to give semblance of political power sharing between the regions.
5. Powers of the states must be restored as was under the Interim Constitution 2005.
6. Powers of the legislature should be restored.
7. The national government must be a lean government; and revenue must be diverted to the states for real infrastructure development and provision of services. The scenario of the national government spending 90% of the national budget should never be repeated.
8. The second chamber of the assembly the Council of States should be disbanded.
The leader of the opposition rebel group, Dr. Riek should be mindful of those who recently joined his fold for personal gains.
Some of these formers ministers have participated in looting our national resources and some are arch-tribalists who are there to seek personal protection from foes from Salva’s camp and may stand against any genuine political transformation in our fledging nation.
It will be a gross mistake to negotiate just for ministerial positions to accommodate them.
What the country wants is real democracy, freedom of speech, personal security, provision of basic services and equal opportunities in resources allocations as well as allocations in national and state political and executive structures.
Controlling the powers of these political comrades may earn you some internal opposition but in the long run it may earn you trust of the country.
After all you have already raised the people’s expectation by enumerating your 6 points against the current regime of Salva Kiir.
The long suffering people of south Sudan will want to know that unlike Salva Kiir, you will not let them down but will deliver on your promises.