BY: Odongi B’Kintu, WAU, WBG State, DEC/21/2012, SSN;
The president of the Republic of South Sudan is better known for being patient and a professional commander who exercises a high level of restrain on many occasions. This character is good for fair leadership. It can mentor and nourish democracy but on some occasions it misleads the sub-ordinates who will take those leadership characters for granted.
On the 10th Dec 2012, in Western Bahr el Ghazal State, the South Sudan security forces opened fire on civilian protesters leaving 9 dead and several injuried. The reasons for the protest remain genuine since the citizens of Wau County were not convinced of the transfer of their administrative headquarters to Bagari. The killing of the protesters attracted national and international human rights interest groups.
Despite all the evidence that people died in the incidence, the governor denied it openly in a meeting with 9 State Ministers and the UN Representatives. This alone justifies president Salva Kiir to set a noble precedent by firing the State Governor, Rizik Zachariah Hassan, so that any of his other governors will cease discrediting, defaming and making the government to be seen as a habitual criminal in the world.
The interim constitution empowers the President of the Republic to act unquestionably with heavy hands under this and similar circumstances.
Well, as the investigation of the above incidence is about to set in, on 19th December, 2012, the Dinka community group (predominantly of Warrap State’s origin) residing in Eastern bank of Jur river and joined by others residing in Wau Town, viciously attacked non-Dinka in Hai Falatta, Nazareth, Hai Krishba and Hai Kosti. These residential areas are mostly inhabited by the Belanda (Boro and Bagari) and also by other tribes from Darfur and Nuba.
The Dinka youth went about killing 6 people, injuring over 50 people, looting shops, burning down 200 houses and displacing over 5,000 children and women to the UNMISS premises.
The above unlawful incident of killings alone proves that the Governor is not willing or not in a proper position to protect civilians. Accordingly, when the Dinka youth armed with sticks tried to cross Jur River Bridge to Wau town, police forces deployed at the bridge to prevent the youths from entering the town did the opposite and the Governor didn’t do what he did to the currently suspended police commissioner (Mr. Sebit Mikelele).
Instead the large police forces and SPLA soldiers were seen protecting the Dinka predominantly residential areas.
The President shouldn’t let this Country go an anarchic State where “it is he who has the big gun who determines what is good and wrong for others.”
To pump some sense of fairness before the courts of law, somebody must be brought to books very fast so that the citizens of Western Bahr el Ghazal State and South Sudan gain and retain some confidence in the government.
As the instituted Investigative Committee carries on its task of investigating the first incidence, it is worth including in it terms of reference, like the need to probe the Divisional Commander of the SPLA in Wau and the acting State Police Commissioner for abetting and supporting the only side.
Naturally, this is because it hurts to humiliate another community through the state security apparatus like using the South Sudan Armed Forces and South Sudan National Police Service against a community.
If no action is taken on this fratricidal calamity in Wau and on other sentimental events manifesting themselves all around the Country, the likelihood of genocidal attacks will not be averted because every tribe will see genocide can be carried out on them by those in power.
And being the youngest nation, the world is waiting to confirm what some political commentators put forward prophetically that “South Sudan is at cross-roads. It might continue to exist as either a proper federal system of government or a loose confederation of states. In a worst case scenario, some state(s) might declare political independence from the rest of South Sudan. Because the future of South Sudan depends on who wins the argument within the ruling dictatorship of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.”
It is therefore an urgent responsibility and duty for the President and the ruling party to fire governor Rizik and see that the Government has to secure and protect all the citizens so as to reassure people of the strength of its institutions.
Odongi B’Kintu is a South Sudanese and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org