BY: Dhoal Tuolual Larjin, USA, FEB/21/2014, SSN;
Unknown to many people outside South Sudan the armed violence that broke out in Juba in December last year was more than just an intra-tribal conflict. It was an accumulation of past differences and wrong decisions from top leadership of the country.
From my personal experiences, foreign interests cannot be ruled out of the war. I had just graduated with Masters Degree from USA and was lecturing in social sciences at local Juba universities.
The war of South Sudan is originally said to be an intra-conflict war within the of SPLM political party. It sparked to armed violence when political differences within SPLM were not resolved as the party was preparing to organize it preliminary elections for 215.
Most members were in Juba where several meetings were in progress. Differences in opinions triggered intolerance between members and the government became unreasonable.
In the preparation for pre-election, Salva Kiir and Dr.
Riek Machar declared themselves as the next presidential candidates for 2015 election.
Dr. Machar is a Nuer from the second largest tribe while Salva Kiir is a Dinka from the largest tribe in South Sudan. Kiir is the sitting president while Machar is the former vice president.
In the party too, they followed the same order. Kiir the chairman and Riek the vice chairman. Kiir decided to sack Dr. Machar and all his cabinet ministers from the government before the incident happened in Juba.
On Saturday of December 14th, 2013, the president addressed the SPLM meeting attended by all members across the country. When he opened the meeting, he reminded members of the effects of 1991 war. This caused some members to walk out and they did not turn up the next day, Sunday 15th December 2013.
That Sunday, the president ordered the commander of the presidential guards to disarm all the Nuers serving as presidential guards. He then ordered the arrest of SPLM members who did not show up for Sunday meeting.
The commander of presidential guards Major General Marial Chinung executed the two orders with precision. It led to an all-out fight at the general headquarters.
The presidential guards were now divided on tribal lines, Nuer and Dinka. They fired guns against each other from 9 PM.The fighting went on until midday and resumed the following day at different parts of Juba.
Nuer civilians were killed on 15th December, 2013 in Juba escalating the war into ethnic lines across states. The two leaders were caught up in the war that divided the national army along two sides.
Dr. Machar was rescued and ran to bush by some forces loyal to him while his 11 SPLM top leaders were arrested and detained in military prisons in Juba.
He accused Kiir of violating the law by arresting his colleagues. He challenged the government of corruption and unconstitutional policies. He fled to Jonglie state and waged war against Kiir.
There are claims that Ugandan troops helped him to push Machar forces out. People in Sudan believed that Dr. Machar seemed to have much support from the national army than Kiir who depends on Ugandan troops.
I have observed that the war was originally an itra- conflict affair among the SPLM members. It led to ethnic polarization between the Nuer and the Dinka.
It was due to political differences between SPLM members plus resentment to illegal recruitment and disbarment of militarized men.
Foreign intervention on political decisions especially from Museveni was seen as the main cause of violence. There was high corruption at the top leadership and lack of qualified personnel in government institutions. Interested groups clinged to power for long time. They chose war than peace for the country.
The combat caused genocide for the civilians across the country many Nuers were killed in Juba and Dinka killed in Bentiu. The Ugandan warplanes killed thousands of civilians and severe damage on the properties.
Foreigners including Americans were killed in war, for instance, in Upper Nile Ugandan could not survive. Hatred was emerged among the tribes and the war cost government huge amount of money to hire foreign troops from Uganda.
The ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa is mediated by Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) but it is not yet effective because some of the mediators participated in the war fighting along side with government have made IGAD so weak to address the peace.
Kiir did not want to have peace because Museveni had already solved the problem of the SPLM using Ugandan troops. Dr. Machar is set to battle against Kiir and Museveni.
The SPLA in opposition has conditioned the South Sudan to withdraw Ugandan troops and release other detainees in order to have peace with the government. Kiir promised to release detainees but not to withdraw Ugandan troops. Seven detainees were released but four still in detention.
Both warring parties are still fighting on the ground contesting for oil strategic states of Bentiu and Malakal.
The IGAD proposed a temporary government which is an interim government without Dr. Riek and Salva Kiir but it was not accepted by both parties because it will not benefit any.
Kiir could not allow the interim government in place because he was constitutional elected president and his term not yet ended for 2015 next general election.
One would say argument is not valid because the president acted contrary to the constitution like the case of arresting politicians will ground his removal by the people.
The power sharing between the two sides is another means to settle the crisis for is feasible for the South Sudan situation.
UN- trusteeship government was proposed by international community but discarded by the two sides because it did not benefit any of the side.
The government of broad based national unity is an inclusive solution that would completely solve the differences but expensive and timely consumer. A war win loss solution is a military government after defeating a side in war that would be a great advantage for the winning side but very costly and uncertain solution.
For final conclusion, I have plead that the iron war of south Sudan was possible of prevention if leaders were being educated to predicate attitudes of the people.
Foreign influence has destroyed the young nation due to their national interests. I argue that power sharing is the best solution for the war in South Sudan because it is feasible, fair, and cheapest for all parties else the wins lose solution will be applicable to all sides.
The power sharing was used to settle similar crisis in Kenya and it did work out to stabilise the political issues of the country.
I urge the government and international agencies to use power sharing as the solution for peace. The government should limit restriction of members within SPLM to exercise their democratic rights of freedom of speech and gathering.
I think the national army could have been disciplined not on tribal.
Dhoal Tuolaul Larjin was an associate professor at local universities in Juba. He fled the country because of the ongoing war. email@example.com.
Dhoal Tuolual Larjin, BA/MA political science
Currently working on his PhD-USA