BY: Andrew K. Michael, South Sudanese, AUG/30/2015, SSN;
At 16:54 hours on 26 August 2015, H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan inked an accord signed earlier by Dr. Riek Machar of the SPLM-IO and a former detainees’ representative, Pagan Amum. The signing, which was witnessed by heads of states predominately from East African countries and Sudan, has ushered a new dawn for the people of South Sudan who have borne the brunt of war for the last 20 months.
With this peace agreement, people hiding for their lives in the swampy areas will think of returning to their homes in spite of having been reduced to ashes. With this peace agreement, the people of South Sudan will have a second chance to bring about reforms in their country.
With this peace agreement, the people of South Sudan can reconcile and reunite in diversity rather than divided by diversity!
For the first time in 20 months, the national television, SSTV, showed and hosted South Sudanese artists from all corners of the country, depicting diversity of the great nation ruined by war.
It was amazing to see those youngsters play because they know peace would once again bring happiness to the people whose livelihoods had been robbed.
Having signed the peace deal, how will the government ensure service delivery to the people?
How will it reconcile the people whose thinking, as they were made to believe so during the war, is ashamedly based on ethnicity and regionalization?
What frameworks will the government put in place to attain permanent peace?
Upon resigning and while moving out of the White House in his chopper, the 37th President of the United States (1969-1974), Richard Nixon, said these words: ‘’I will forget my past and look to the future’’.
He said these because he did not want the mistakes of his past to haunt him. He said this because when he capitalized on thinking about it, he would presumably not work for his future.
He would probably think of what to do to undo what had transpired in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
This wise decision is worth taking by the people of South Sudan. We, the people, need to acknowledge what had happened to us during the war, but do not need to capitalize on it.
We need to work toward building a peaceful country. This is only attainable by all, not only the president and government.
Needless to say, the government and opposition leaders must now stop finger-pointing and name-calling. This can only exacerbate the already fragile relationship.
It is time to work together as a people destined to achieve common objectives. We cannot afford to inflict more suffering in the people of this country.
We have come from far and now we have a chance to show to the world that we can only live in harmony. My fellow country men and women, let’s do that!
Let’s make this country a place we can call home! It does not help to say my brother X made a visit. It does help though, to work to correct all that was not done rightly.
Let’s do just that and we will become once again a great nation. All those countries we see today as if God had returned to install all the good roads, establish functioning institutions, also faced difficulties, including waging wars which claimed millions of lives.
Nevertheless, the people of those countries sat down and said NO to war! They said YES to democracy and accountability! We also can do that and do it NOW!
Mr. President, you are a symbol of national unity. If you did not know, you are like the flag and South Sudanese currency. Your decisions affect every citizen of this country in one or another. They can do so negatively or positively.
We, the people of South Sudan, have a lot to thank you for. Your handling of the fragile 2005-2011 interim period is one of them. The people of Southern Sudan were nervous at the time.
They thought things would fall apart between the then government of national unity and that of Southern Sudan. It ended so well, with us securing what we wanted: Sovereign state.
Whatever happened on the night of 15 December 2013 had happened and we need to move ahead.
The lessons learned during the last 20 months are numerous and it is time you demonstrate to your employer, the people of South Sudan, that you are an employee who delivers results!
The employer will keep observing your performance and based on this, your next signing of a job contract is at the discretion of the employer! We are watching!
They say ‘’one can create problem to bring change’’! Watch out, Mr. President. Beware of people who advise you.
It’s time you screen pieces of advice advanced to you by who you may think are your right hand men and women. A number of them might be eyeing your seat and in the process can instigate your failure by way of advice!
What do you think if someone asks you to refuse peace because of power? Why would someone choose war just to continue killing innocent people?
It’s time to say enough to embracing immunity. It’s time to act transparently. It’s time to task technical experts in key institutions to deliver services to the people.
It’s time to hold people accountable for their deeds! Proceeds from national resources should not NOW be pocketed by few in Juba!
We can no longer afford to embrace corruption in this country, for this is one of the ingredients of war and conflict of any sort. Get rid of it completely and NOW not TOMORROW!
Dr. Riek, we the people need your inputs in developing the country. Work with the President as friends, not as foes as people will keep preaching.
Remember you two are South Sudanese, not Nuers and Dinkas as our people like ethnic division that has reduced our country to nothingness!
We must put South Sudan lens, not ethnic ones! We must not use innocent boys as our shield during fighting. They deserve to be in schools. They need to work for their families, but not to be killed in frontline for what they do not know!
While delivering his victory speech in Chicago, the incumbent US President, H.E. Barack Obama, said: ‘’to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may have not earned your votes tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too’’.
Now, to those of you South Sudanese leaders, be it in the military and national assembly, we understand your point, but we now need to work together.
South Sudan is happy when peace prevails!
You are never famous because you fight wars. Instead, you are when you embrace peace. Stop inciting people, war mongers. I think it is high time the people rise up against those who want to continue fighting and condemn them strongly…
Young men and women, if there were anyone to leverage our leaders and our people to ensure prevalence of peace in this country, we are the ones!
Stop taking sides based on ethnicity and regionalization. Let’s preach peace in any forum we converge in. We are brothers and sisters.
Even during the then 21 years of war, we did not encounter a situation where we could not stay in certain parts of the country because of our identity. Never. This did not happen.
At the moment, a South Sudan youth needs to think twice before moving to some parts of his/her own country lest s/he will be killed! This should CEASE as we enter the post war era. Remember the word of Richard Nixon quoted earlier.
We must join in unison and sing a song of peace. From now henceforth, let’s unite in diversity! Let’s see ourselves as brothers and sisters from South Sudan, not through ethnic lens!
Thank you those countries who tirelessly worked towards the signing of this agreement. You encountered resistance from the war parties, but I assure you the people to whom this peace belongs are short of words to thank you.
We request that you continue working with the parties to ensure implementation of the accord during the 30 month period.
May God almighty help us to strongly grip this peace? Amen.
Andrew K Michael is South Sudanese citizen and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org