Will Khartoum peace agreement bring reform or maintain Kiir’s tyranny?

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, DEC/04/2018, SSN;

Known for operating with a vicious precision, his trademark is ruthlessness, and how he maneuvers his political rivals is irrefutably effective. Salva Kiir, the man in question, is a formidable tyrant with a bag full of cruel leadership practices.

The Khartoum’s peace agreement is one of those political blessings that a calculating dictator like Kiir could easily exploit to further his oppressive techniques.

This is an attempt to show that the Khartoum-brokered deal could end the civil war; however, there are plausible reasons to believe that the pact could merely end up preserving the current tyrannical system, empowering Kiir to further strengthen his grip on power.

It is worth acknowledging that the only best way for South Sudan to move forward would be for peace to return to the country. I assume nearly all South Sudanese are tired of war and ready for peace.

However, there are many contentious issues that, if not properly addressed, will turn the agreement into a pro-Kiir deal, rendering him the ability to continue ruling with impunity.

These issues include hybrid court, legislative, security arrangements, and constitutional amendment body.

All four of these issues are important, but the most important issues that require critical scrutiny are the constitutional amendments committee and future national legislative body.

So, let us dig deeper into the constitutional amendment committee, including the impending role of the proposed legislative assembly.

To refresh your memory, it is good to remember that real political reforms in any established society are done legislatively. This is what South Sudanese expect from the Khartoum’s peace agreement.

Regrettably, a careful analysis of the pact reveals that it would be nearly impossible for the armed opposition and other opposition parties to advance their democratic reforms through parliamentary processes because their anticipated Members of Parliament (MPs) will be outnumbered by MPs representing the incumbent government.

The reality is that opposition MPs will not pass any reform bill Kiir deems as a threat to his presidency. In a logical sense, the incumbent MPs will represent 60.4% while opposition MPs will have 39.6% in the proposed parliament.

Khartoum’s peace agreement stipulates that the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) will have 550 Members of Parliament (MPs).

The deal gives the incumbent TGoNU 332 MPs, whereas the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties will have 218 MPs.

This is not my opinion—it is a mathematical fact. Those who agree with this approach should consult with their consciences.

Precisely, the parliamentary maneuvering is all about the number — the majority to be precise, and back-door deal makings.

Given the nature of the legislative game, Kiir clearly would not allow some of his MPs to be bribed by the opposition leaders, let alone the fact that he will still indirectly be in control of the nation’s financial system.

There are some people within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and other opposition parties who care more about making any peace deal with Kiir’s regime so that they can be part of the proposed future Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

These people are desperate—shockingly desperate—and eager to exchange their supposedly reformed political doctrines with positions.

One thing is clear: their desperation is logically irrelevant, because they seem to be focusing more on what they want rather than what the people want.

What the people of South Sudan want is an utter political reform in the country. In the case of constitutional reform, Kiir is clearly not into it.

For instance, the Committee formed to amend the constitution should have been given mandates to amend the current anti-democratic constitution before the proposed TGoNU is formed.

Kiir cunningly frustrated the process in September by claiming in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, that the constitution would only be amended four months after the transitional government is formed.

One wonders where on the planet earth the leaders of the SPLM-IO and other parties would have been deceived by this self-serving strategy.

There is no guarantee Kiir will honor his promise. Remember, Kiir knows what he is doing: 16 weeks is enough time for him to fully implement or reject the agreement.

What is ironic about the constitutional amendment process is that Salva Kiir is sure about his true intention while opposition leaders seem to rely on Kiir’s four-month time frame.

In other words, the leaders of the SPLM-IO and other parties appear to have learned no lesson, let alone the July 2016 Juba one (J1) incident.

Given all these political missteps, one can easily conclude that all opposition parties have either given up their political doctrines in favor of reuniting all ranks of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party and then resume business-as-usual or are clueless about what they are dealing with.

This assertion seems absurd, but the way opposition leaders embraced Kiir’s notion of revising the constitution four months after the formation of the future government explains it otherwise.

Yes, peace is good, but emotion should not blindfold national leaders who, for five years, vowed to transform South Sudan’s political system.

Under the current constitution, Salva Kiir wields an absolute power. For instance, Kiir can dismiss any government official, including the elected ones.

Kiir’s power does not stop at the national level. The constitution simply made him an unchallenged leader. The man can even dissolve both the national and states parliaments as he wishes.

His powers do not end here. Kiir can also remove state governors and parliamentarians at any time of his choosing. He can do all these through a presidential decree because that is what is written in the current constitution.

Salva Kiir is addicted to these broad powers vested in him by the very constitution he orchestrated.

For the opposition leaders to assume that Kiir, for some mysterious reasons, will allow full amendment of the constitution is a mere joke.

Given all these facts, it’d be irrational for any reasonable person to think that Kiir will allow the constitutional amendment committee to remove the tyrannical powers he has been exercising for nearly eight years.

There is no doubt the five-year civil war has caused so much suffering. The recent estimate released in September 2018 by the United Kingdom-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of at least 382,000 dead shows that the conflict has killed a lot of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the political madness that began in early 2013.

This is the reality any sensible person would not deny. The number speaks for itself. Most of the 382,000 people who lost their lives died because of a political insanity perpetuated by Kiir in December 2013.

History and publicly available data show that most dictators tend to have hard times transitioning into a democratic process.

It is true that some tyrants change, but it would not be a surprise if Salva Kiir happened to be in the category of autocrats who changed their leadership mindsets after their people demanded democratic reforms.

Beware though that it is nearly impossible for a documented dictator who ruled for many years to abandon his or her dictatorial mentality.

It is to be recalled that Kiir was loved by most South Sudanese when he took over the helm of the SPLM soon after the accidental death of late Dr. John Garang in July 2005. This does not mean he is a better leader.

The logic behind this rather reprehensible assumption was that he was the first deputy to Dr. Garang. At that time some people thought Kiir’s personality fit within the meaning of leadership quality.

What many people did not know at the time he was elected as the leader of the SPLM is that Kiir already had a fearsome persona.

It is to be recalled that Kiir captivated this merciless character when he was the head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) military intelligence.

Consequently, Salva Kiir’s destructive leadership has its roots from the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s.

The current constitution is indisputably dictatorial. The best way to transform South Sudan’s political system from dictatorship to a democratic process is by completely amending the existing constitution and replacing all autocratic constitutional provisions with democratic ones.

This is the right time to do it, especially when a national constitutional amendment committee was established in the pact.

Kiir’s constitution deserves to be thrown into the Red Sea—in fact, it deserves to be given to the master of hell, if any.

The SPLM-IO and other political groups must seize this opportunity to scrap all the statutory provisions that made Kiir a legal tyrant.

The people of South Sudan did not fight against Khartoum’s regime only to face the same despotic leadership practices that were once imposed on them.

If Kiir is serious about peace, then he must allow the constitution to be completely altered.

The only reasonable way to reform South Sudan’s political environment is by changing the current constitution. The people of South Sudan do not deserve to be ruled through decrees.

The current political leaders must differentiate their selfish goals from what the South Sudanese want.

Stopping the war is a good thing, but ending it should not be viewed as a reform demanded by the people of South Sudan.

The tyranny is alive and well and there is no South Sudanese who is still interested in preserving the current ruthless political system.

The constitution is the host of Kiir’s tyrannical tendency — this host must be thrown into the Nile River if the people of South Sudan want their nation to flourish.

The constitutional amendment committee must be allowed unconditional powers to bury this Uganda-borrowed constitution into Kampala’s tomb.

Enough of Salva Kiir’s one-man constitution!

The author is the editor-in-chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

11 Comments

  1. info@southsudannation says:

    Mr. D. Chak Wuol,
    Your brilliant analysis is commendable and also worrisome, but what comes first to any South Sudanese mind is the question of why did Dr. Riak Machar accept and concede to this agreement in the first place.
    With the preponderance of evidence, facts and reality, one wonders why the opposition and others surrender to this conspiracy, which will surely end in another fight when all these political protagonists assemble in Juba.
    As many experts predicted, Dr. Riak Machar will the first sacrificial lamb of the jieng tyranny and Kiir has vowed never to let Machar slip away from his fingers this time.
    On several occasions Kiir and the jieng have rubbed their noses on the fate on Machar.
    Further, with the Equatorians belatedly joining the fight against Kiir’s jieng tyranny, one wonders why Machar should maliciously capitulate to the jieng. It seems Machar, who’s always a genetic traitor, doesn’t like Equatorian Cirillo’s intrusion in the armed struggle, which otherwise was a blessing in the solidification of the opposition’s resistance to get rid the jieng Kiir’s tyranny.
    For sure, let Machar be well advised to bring with him a supersonic helicopter for his imminent next flight from Juba in once piece. He is dead meat, in the jieng’s view.
    Editor

    • Taban Alimasi says:

      Editor,
      We sometime wondered why the war in South Sudan has become tribal and not aware that we are our own enemy. Mr Duop Chak Wuol’s article is a well written analysis of Khartoum agreement and how that could prolong the government of Kirr. He never had mentioned any tribe but clearly articulate his message and possibilities.
      Editor, what do you mean by (Kiir’s jieng tyranny), please don’t victimize the whole Jieng community as Tyranny because of Kirr’s leadership neither consider Equatoria as a tribe, it’s a region. Thomas is from Bari tribe, if you are really a tribal and then you should attach him to Bari, not Equatorian, because Equatoria has more than one tribes. If we really want peace, we should start judging people by their character not by their tribe, religion gender or race, otherwise we would be victimizing innocent people and forcing them to take side thought they don’t agreed with the policy.

      • info@southsudannation says:

        Taban Alimasi,
        Although the point you’re trying to make is sensible, however, it’s very palpable and material beyond any dispute or contention that the Kiir government is a tribal government. This universal categorization normally arises when the leaders of such governments are leaning basically on tribal support to perpetuate a tyranny or mis-governance at the expense of the majority population.
        As an example, the dictatorial regime of Uganda’s former president Idi Amin became a ‘tribal tyrannical regime,’ same to Mobutu, Kenyatta…etc.
        Clearly, it’s well known that this hopeless illiterate Kiir is being supported, advised and MIS-GUIDED by the nefarious so-called ‘jieng Council of Elders.’ Tell me, are there any Murle or Madi in the ‘ruling’ jieng council of elders that’s abetting the tribal tyranny in Juba?
        Editor.

      • False Millionnaire says:

        You got an excellent point but see how it’s getting twisted and yet still daydreaming of any hope!!!

  2. Dear: The Author Duop Chak Wuol

    For your topic question that says Will Khartoum peace agreement bring reform or maintain Kiir’s tyranny? Well,to me alone, I say NO! Khartoum peace agreemenr will never and ever bring a reform or maintaining Kirr Tyrant! The peace talk agreement that has been signed in Khartoum between SPLM-IO and South Sudan Opposition Alliance known as (SSOA),it has got a good fruits at all!

    According to what the rebels and government,has negotiated on the peace talk agreement,in Khartoum,they were just talking on THE GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES! But,they have failed to negotiating on REFORM POLITICAL! Back to you! Happy Holiday Seasons! Let us be patient If the peace of Khartoum,will bring everlasting peace and stable in the country of South Sudan Republic!

    Sincere Is Keeping Peace & Stable in among people!

    Abiko!

    Missouri,USA

  3. Duop Chak says:

    I appreciate the message. I think the only thing we can do now is to expose facts that Machar and some opposition figures don’t want to talk about. It is sad to see these self-proclaimed democratic leaders walking away from their original political doctrine. I and other South Sudanese Analysts will never stop writing against their seemingly selfish political adventures.

    • Eastern says:

      Dear Duop Chak,

      Your opinion pieces don’t disappoint, if anything, they are a source of inspiration!

      Now for instance, the SSOA group led by, have stooped low further by sqaubbling over who chairs that group struggling hard to append itself to the Kiir-Machar game being keenly overseen by Museveni and Al Bashir….

      Keep those opinion pieces coming

  4. Bala says:

    Dak Chak Wuol

    Keep backing in the USA. Salva Kiir was democratically elected. He couldn’t be changed through a coup d’etat. People back him up, because his being elected was a matter of following principles and so shall they fight off any rebel dictatorship that breached the same. Ain’t no Riek Machar allowed to overthrow the legit government against democratic rules and run my town. Hell f**King NO.

  5. Bala says:

    Duop Chak Wuol

    You should have criticized KPA 1997. It was negotiated by one man on behalf of other masses in Southern Sudan. That man was Riek Machar. His actions were those of a tyranny or dictatorship. That KPA crumbled on its own without any criticism from those of Kiir’s camp and other people who were left out. At least this KPA encompasses all South Sudanese. It has to be given a chance.

  6. Lokosang says:

    Comrade Duop I commend your critical analysis of the Khartoum positions and wealth distribution agreement.
    As to your question, facts and common sense can tell the agreement is 100% to keep Kiir tyranny rather than real peace to the suffering people of South Sudan

  7. Okuc says:

    Duop and the rest of readers

    Despite your well presented analysis about khartoum peace agreement ( KPC) signed on 12th August between the regime’s of Salva Kirr and SPLM-IO and Alliance of Sudan Sudan Opposition ( ASSO), you failed to mention how that agreement came about and why the mediation of president of Omar Albashir and Museveni succeeded in their meditation. These two leaders succeeded over kirr and Riak because they have leverage and therefore they were able to use carrot and stick to coerced Salva and Riak in signing agreement in Khartoum in 12th August 2018.
    For those who argued the Alliance of South Sudan Opposition shouldn’t sign the agreement and although not them signed that agreement because those of Thomas Cirillo opted out, it remain to be seen how will they continue in campaigning for war in spite of hostility from IGAD countries most whom are supporters of Salva kirr who sold the resources of South Sudan to these countries for him to continue in power for unforeseeable period.
    In nutshell, the Khartoum peace agreement is an imposed on the people of South Sudan because of many factors and one of which is the weakness of main the armed opposition led by Dr. Riak which SPLM- IO which have failed dramatically in leading well disciplined and organised movement over 5 years since the Juba massacre in 2013. The second, is the lack of confidence of non- Nuer elements among SPLM- IO, in their abilities and capacities of establishing of their own movement to counteract the main stream arm movements which are SPLM- G and IO whose compositions are from the dominant tribes Jieng and Nuer. Once, Kirr and Riak succumbed to Albashir and Museveni in Entabi- Uganda prior to Khartoum agreement in 12th August 2018, the rest of Alliance of South Sudan Opposition have left with no option except to sign that agreement despite their reservation.
    The question is can the agreement hold? we have wait and despite the loud voices from the signatories that they are committed to implement the agreement.

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