BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, JAN/19/2014, SSN;
It was on Saturday 18 January 2014, when South Sudan quickly took to the platform to announce to the whole world that it has regained the key town of Bor from the opposition fighters.
However there seems to be a big rivalry over the whole development as Uganda was also equally quick to claim the credit for the same military takeover of Bor town which it referred to as a UPDF’s victory over rebels in South Sudan.
“It’s UPDF that captured Bor,” Ugandan army spokesman Paddy Ankunda told Reuters after first announcing the UPDF’s role on Twitter. “There was a lot of resistance but our force was overwhelming.”
On the same note, as if suddenly aware of the fact that they are being rapidly eclipsed by the Ugandans in what should have been rightly a sovereign duty of SPLM/A.
The announcement by forces loyal to Salva Kiir on the recapture of Bor town comes only when the Ugandan defense minister had twitted the whole world with the news that until today is being officially claimed as a UPDF victory in South Sudan.
Who can blame the Ugandans for a victory probably they are right to claim when the SPLM/A forces loyal to Salva Kiir are now a mere shadow of what the true SPLA used to be before the split.
And since the second fall of Bor town in the hands of the Opposition fighters, the pathetic pro-Juba SPLM forces have since been relegated to positions behind the more superior UPDF lines.
This being the case, where Salva Kiir’s loyalists were actually kept trailing behind the UPDF and thus had no any leading roles in this particular foreign (Ugandan) invasion of Bor, one cannot see why Paddy Ankunda was the first to tweet claims on the victory on Bor and not Kiir’s troops.
Isn’t it funny though for Philip Aguer, the spokesman for the government SPLA forces, to tell reporters that his forces who were walking behind the UPDF lines, have somehow miraculously defeated more than 15,000 forces of Riek Machar, while he (Aguer) continues to speak from the comforts of his office in Juba, the capital?
Philip Aguer, a pathological liar per profession, is setting claims over what is clearly a UPDF foreign invasion of a sovereign.
So what do you think of such a person who goes repeating statements like:
“The SPLA has frustrated Riek Machar’s plan to advance and attack Juba, and install himself as the ruler of South Sudan.”
I know that this so-called SPLM/A spokesperson [……….. the army being still active in politics] has to say all the staff he is saying in order to make a living, but then when did UPDF became synonymous with SPLA?
Anyway there is also the other aspect to this crisis represented by the ongoing negotiations talks in Addis Ababa, where the two warring sides maybe inching closer to ink the drafted ceasefire agreement.
When that happens, we will all thereafter be expected to live with the realities on the ground.
A very important point here is that we should avoid confusing between Bor Town exchanging hands, which is one thing and who actually now controls and will remain to control the rural areas of the Greater Bor, and subsequently the rest of the Jonglei State that lies outside this tiny.
What Philip Aguer and his cousin Paddy Ankunda are celebrating today, they need to be reminded to better understand that the limited victory, to which they both claim credit, is in fact no more than their forces physically being present now inside the embattled ghost town of Bor.
Nothing more, nothing less! After all this is a town that has changed hands four times so far in the four weeks since the fighting spread to Jonglei State!
On the other hand, it is no more a secret that the Uganda parliament is seeking answers from Ankunda and his boss Museveni on how they intend to sponsor this new UPDF military adventure deep into the swamps of South Sudan, and for how long is it planned to last.
Anyway that is for the Ugandans and their generals to iron out between themselves!
Unlike what the Ugandan president and his minister of defense have plunged their country into, the south Sudan’s opposition fighters in Jonglei and many other parts of country are indeed local boys and men who view this war as a war imposed on them and in return they must fight to protect their dignity, freedom and indeed their very survival!
In spite of its brutality, the imposed war offers for many concerned citizens a final and important opportunity to not only say no to Salva Kiir’s dreams of crowning himself as “President For Life” but also to abort the conspiracy of any possibility to establish yet another tribal dynasty of rulers in this nascent country.
It is important that the world knows this, for in spite of the early resort by Salva Kiir to internationalize the current crises by involving the Uganda military invasion on his side, the gallant fighters in the ranks and files of the opposition forces continue to fight for national reforms in the country in the complete absence of any foreign support.
They should indeed be commended for rightly having treated the situation as purely a south–south political crisis and even more so within what is in fact the ruling SPLM/A.
How often do we come across such patriotic fighters that are bent to win big battles while they have only themselves as their sole capital in all the fights with their enemy?
Unsurprisingly, it is this kind of selflessness that the wider section of the downtrodden masses look forward to in these men in order to clinch the anticipated victory.
To them (fighters for reform) this is a fight to humble the arrogance of those who continue to boast of being ‘born to rule and not to be ruled!’
Humbling the arrogant by whatever means is a pre-requisite to the attainment of the much talked about national healing and reconciliation processes in South Sudan, be it sooner in the year or later after years or decades.
At the end of the day, a UPDF occupation of Bor or any other towns in south Sudan will never stop the peoples’ fight for genuine reforms in the country!
Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. A south Sudanese citizen and a voice for the voiceless!