Quote: “The rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak arid desert,” says Khalil Gibran.
By: Simon Yel Yel, Juba, APR/04/2015, SSN;
Rebellions, by groups outside the military establishment of a country and which aim to overthrow a government, are the most common hitherto types of political conflicts in most African countries.
These rebellions are generally initiated by urban elites who are in state of sulky dissatisfaction with the way the government had treated them and their region or ethnic group. They mobilise a section of their regional or ethnic supporters, acquire arms clandestinely and often supported by a neighbouring country and sometimes by an outside power as well.
Initial grievances of the leadership of such a rebel group would vary from being blocked from achieving political power, under representation of their region/ethnic group in the government and administration of their regions, deliberate neglect of access to development funds, blockage of their ethnic group from the private sector and allocation of their land to other ethnic groups (of the ruling ethnic group), etc.
These grievances may be shared by other ethnic groups, in which the rebel group forms alliances with others and the rebellion becomes more widespread. T
he sustenance of such rebel movements is only possible if it is supported by a neighbouring countries from where it has bases and arms supplies. Their case can make sense because they are not after the interest of megalomaniac like white army but the interest of all people.
Hence, the youth become an important and accessible pool for recruitment at a very low cost to rebel movements. The most accessible youth to the power hungry rebel leaders are rural youth, they know less about the importance of life and therefore, one twisted word of politician can make them believe in him and follow him blindly.
More importantly, the easy availability of small arms has enabled such rebel movements to turn into powerful and destructive forces capable of causing serious harm and destruction in rural areas.
Since small arms do not need much training while their possession gives considerable power to those who posses them, rebel movements thus become very attractive to the youth, including those in their early teen years.
Conflicts between states and rebellions trying to overthrow them vary in intensity, scale, and duration depending on many factors.
These factors also vary depending on the depth of the grievances, the political indoctrination of the supporters, the quality of the leadership, the strength and weakness of the state, the seriousness of support from neighbouring states and the outside powers.
In Angola, the control of the diamond mines is very important for the sustenance of UNITA and support from other African countries to break the arms embargo has been and is also crucial, as revealed recently by a UN Report.
While the rebellions which want to overthrow the government are driven by the possibility of gaining political power and the prospect of economic gains. They can’t compromise anything rather then overthrowing the government by all means.
Sometimes helped by the Western powers to sanction the government, impose no fly zone and and even bombarding if the possibility of overthrowing the government is low.
The cooked rebellion in Libya ended in brutal killing of late Gadaffi because the rebels and Western powers were not looking for nothing else then power.
The same thing is now happening in south Sudan where the UNSC adopted the sanction regime and threatening the government of more sanctions should it fails to meet the rebels’ demands.
The rebellions seeking secession are often driven by their perceived political, economic and cultural oppression. Like SPLM was fighting for the secession of south Sudan due to political and economic oppression by Khartoum regime.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the vicious competition between the super- powers in Africa was an important factor, if not in starting conflicts, certainly in sustaining them. The Americans and the Russians in particular, and less so openly the British and the French, competed for (a) “the hearts and minds” of the African elites and their followers; (b) political and diplomatic allies; (c) strategic allies; and (d) mineral resources.
The rivalry and competition took various forms: supporting governments, overthrowing governments, supporting/opposing political parties, covert activities in support of or in opposition to governments, and supporting, if not initiating rebel movements.
What needs to be emphasized here is that, at the time, the support or opposition of one super-power or another was and still a very powerful force in the political survival or demise of an African government.
These cold war interventions that they set in motion socio- political forces in some of the strategic countries, processes that led to serious internal conflicts which have outlasted the Cold War itself and continued until today.
In Congo, the Americans intervened 1964 to remove Lumumba and install Mobutu, an intervention which has set in motion serious and unforeseen consequences which are still unfolding to this day where coup come after coup.
In Somalia, it led to the collapse of the state and production of Alshabaab which is now becoming threat to the whole region now.
In Angola, it has led to the long and tragic civil war. Similarly in Mozambique (through the proxy of apartheid South Africa), it has led to another vicious civil war which has fortunately been temporarily resolved.
In Libya, it has led to formation of more then one governments, Tripoli become headquarters of GNC running their own government, Tobruk becomes the headquarters of the so-called recognized government by Western powers where Benghazi becomes is headquarters of the Shura Counci of Benghazi Revolutionaries, meanwhile Derna has declared itself an Islamic Caliphate and becomes no-go zone to any government official.That is the imported Western democracy in action.
Internal divisions, external interference, colonial legacy, history of cultural oppression, intense rivalry and competition for political power, etc., a combination of these factors constitute the root cause of these major conflicts.
The forces which fought in the civil war can easily be mobilized to “go back to the bush” and the good examples are, Congo, south Sudan and Libya . How long the peace lasts will depend on: (i) how militarily strong the new ruling group/s are and how weak the opposition groups are, (ii) how acceptable the post-conflict arrangements are to the groups which have accepted to give up fighting and join the “power-sharing” arrangements.
Since 2005, the government of Southern Sudan by then embarked on absorbing all the militia groups and political oppositions in search of national unity of purpose among Southern Sudanese. Till 2011, when we obtained our independent the leadership established an open government system whereby all unreasonable discontented elements were accommodated.
Some took this style of leadership for granted and used their positions to betray the whole country to the world accusing the government and labelling South Sudan as a failed country. Many were either caught red handed in corruption or accused and yet believe themselves to be innocent of public looting.
False illusions and illiterate prophecy believed by the intellectuals to imposed themselves in a leading position are well realized by conflict perpetrators and built on, hence pushing our country into merciless loggerhead.
In the recent failed coup attempt, many foreign hands are either directly or indirectly involved in fuelling the situation to its current level.
The UN statements within the country and indecorous suggestions of Ambassador Cohen and AU leaked report of Obasanjo to place our country under UN trusteeship plus sanction drafted by US and adopted by UNSC are clear evidences of ill intentions within the international community.
Giving the above factors causing coups in Africa, Riek Machar and his loyalists failed to come out with a clear socio-political agenda to enable them negotiate the government with facts and build a political stance.
Their (rebels) negotiation begins with stepping down of the president Salva Kiir and ends with making Riek Machar either a ceromonial prime minster or first vice president with his own independent army loyal to him a part from the national army(SPLA). Something that common sense can’t buy at all.
Moreover, the tribal militarization from the rebel side and recruitment of underage boys to engage in power struggle against the legitimate government proved beyond doubt that the rebel groups lost the political direction to convince south Sudanese and world at large but continue to engage in whatever it takes to get power with support from the biased International community (Trioka).
To conclude, conflict resilience and nationalism (replaced by tribalism) which are almost gnawed in the current conflict remain the main pillars in restoring hope and confidence among the citizen of South Sudan and to easily defeat the SELF DRIVEN REBELLION in our country.
Oh God bless south Sudan.
Writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0955246235.