You can’t straighten an object’s shadow without first straightening the object itself’

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, South Sudanese, FEB/28/2015, SSN;

Following the conspicuous absence of President Salva Kiir Mayardit from what is largely supposed to be final round of the IGAD mediated Peace Talks for South Sudan, many observers begun to doubt the sincerity of the Juba administration to realise an inclusive just peace in a country ravaged by a civil war of its own making.

Also of concern to all is the implication of what seems to be an ill-intentioned absenteeism given the fact that any backtracking from previous signed positions by any of the principals of the two warring factions will adversely destroy any chances of bringing peace back to this new African country.

However there is much that in president Salva Kiir‘s absence than that meets the eyes. In a personal interview President Kiir gave a statement to the Kenyan Daily Nation in its Thursday, February 26, 2015 edition under the heading: “Why Machar will not be my Number 2”.

You may forgive me for not being keen to go into the details of President Kiir’s interview with the Kenyan Daily Nation which can be accessed by following the link provided below :

However for the purpose of this article it suffices to know that contrary to previously signed agreements between himself and Dr Riek Machar, the president has abundantly made it clear that he is reneging on all those agreements and won’t be sharing any power with Dr Riek Machar Teny, a man who served as his deputy for nearly eight calendar years.

Yet it all seems to me that President Salva Kiir Mayardit was not only being blatantly obvious, but what he said should in fact have been the case from the very beginning given the great visionary disparity and apparent incomparability and incompatibility between the two men.

And to be very fair to all – it really takes a lot of sacrifice from any learned person to accept being second to an individual like Kiir who shouldn’t be presiding over a sovereign country to start with, although it was only those several unplanned events that brought him to the top office.

The African Union, the IGAD and the international community have all said that President Salva Kiir should have kept his word when he signed a deal to attend the final rounds of the Peace Talks that kicked off in Addis Ababa on 20/02/2015.

The United Nations Security Council and the US administration have both talked of possible sanctions plus or minus arms embargo on individuals or entities who directly or through their policies are seen to be blocking the progress of the peace talks.

Well to say the least, President Salva Kiir now squarely lies in that category of “spoiler” of peace and rightly deserves all sanctions from ban on global travel to freezing of assets, of course a heavy embargo on the flow of arms to his notorious army and allied militias.

It is equally important that the UNSC understand that the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) is part of the ongoing war in South Sudan and must also be included in the arms embargo and any other sanctions for that matter.

Any attempt to exclude President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda from facing similar sanctions as his partner in crime President Salvatore Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan will not bring about the anticipated outcome.

In fact the only way to have an effective and water-tight sanctions is by including the Ugandan military and political leadership into the lot as a share of their role in sustaining the crazy war and directly engaging in the battles.

Museveni and his UPDF must taste their share of the bitter medicine soon to be declared by the UNSC, be it in the form of sanctions or ban on foreign travels or freezing of all assets and a total arms embargo.

It will not be too much for international justice to demand that both Museveni and his friend Salva Kiir Mayardit enjoy equal level of punishment. Together the duo are partners in the crime of setting South Sudan ablaze. This should remain so until such a time that they are both prepared to negotiate peace in good faith. I rest my case.

As for my fellow compatriots in the reform camp, urgently reconsidering our priorities where we stand now could mean the difference between succeeding and failing.

To allow for a timely achievement of the tabled list of reforms, it is necessary to adequately reprioritise these programs, for otherwise there is a real risk of not being able to implement them any time soon.

Informed by the quickly changing dynamics of both the political and socio-economic parameters of our joint struggle for a peaceful coexistence and regardless of whether at this stage one believes in the IGAD mediated talks or not, certain things are much of foregone issues.

However there is one truth that all reformists in South Sudan need to know at this particular point in time and it is the one fact that Salva Kiir and reforms can never coexist in the same administration. In other words there is no daylight between the two. Each one will do everything to obstruct and eventually eliminate the other.

So if you are indeed a person or a group who is contemplating to see reforms dawn in South Sudan then you are practically only left with this one single priority and that is to partake in the removal and disposal of Kiir administration from power as a first step towards any anticipated national reforms.

Salva Kiir Mayardit and his administration are the very opposites of reform and they can never at any time become your partners in actualizing any dreams which are more likely than not to bring an end to their corruption riddled existence.

Everyone who believes in reforms for that matter should have long known that allowing Salva Kiir to continue running the country under any pretext is in itself a defeat to the very realisation of any reforms how big or small they be.

It doesn’t any more whether he extents his stay in power through a manipulated approval by his rubber stamped parliament or as a part of a hard won transitional government of national unity.

You are not expecting Salva Kiir to negotiate himself out of office and negotiate his bitter enemies (the reformists) into power, are you? I hope not, otherwise you are being naïve and rather simplistic.

For as top as Kiir is now on the list as the most powerful person in Juba (obviously not all over South Sudan any more), his removal from power should equally top the list of any constructive reform agenda aimed at salvaging whatever is left of our beautiful country.

It is only after getting the priorities right then and only then can reformists celebrate the start of a new dawn characterized by a good and focused campaign.

And regardless of how tough the implementation of each and every stage might seem, yet down inside we also know that every step the struggle takes is being informed by a total conviction not to compromise its very basics – the Peoples’ quest for Justice, Good Governance, Equality, Economic Prosperity, Accountability, Stability and Peaceful Coexistence which is now in full gear.

After all no one in their right state of mind will even for a second consider being second to Kiir as an end in itself.

In another turn of event I found it quite refreshing to read the article by Bol Mathieng A, titled: “Lack of Accountability and Causes of Current Political Instability: A Case of South Sudan,” which appeared in the, Feb/26/2015, and SSN;

Although it was ironically written entirely to project President Salva Kiir Mayardit as the only saint in the midst of SPLM political sinners, I still consider it another beautiful article in a long series of articles that not only condemn the rampant corruption that continues to engulf South Sudan, but also one that went on to suggest accountability as the way forward.

The article was absolutely on spot when it pointed out that the current sad state of affairs in the country could have been avoided if only we had a competent leadership and administration from the word go in 2005 to deter the widespread corruption and glaring impunity displayed by the incumbent Salva Kiir’s “rotten to core” administration.

However when we talk about the introduction of accountability as suggested by the author, Bol Mathieng A, as a one important aspect which has completely been absent since the beginning of the CPA era of the SPLM administration under Salva Kiir Mayardit, it will be an impartial demand to see to it that all are held responsible – from top to bottom or better still to put it in the authors’ own words,” regardless of the title of the culprit”.

Being in total agreement with Bol Mathiang in his suggestion for a national pursuit of an impunity free South Sudan as an entrance to a peaceful and stable South Sudan, although I wonder how much thought has he given to the fact that for such line of thought to succeed, it is paramount to hold each and every one who wronged the people of South Sudan accountable beginning with those who abused the public office the most!

In such a top down approach the weeding of corruption must start right at the top from the office of the president – then the naming and shaming can successful be allowed to proceed down that gradient.

The logic is that had the person at the top acted promptly on corruption from day one, given the fact that he wields more constitutional powers in the country than anyone else, then we would be today living in a corruption and impunity free South Sudan.

However no one should attempt to sell us the “too cheap” narrative that the president was indeed a saint in the middle of a cabinet of sinners who in fact were his own buddies.

Birds of the same feather flock together – and this explains why the president never took an action past his “in famous” letter writing, to either pin corruption right in the bud or to weed it afterwards.

For all practical purposes when cannot be so blinded to the obvious that the true salvation of South Sudan lies outside the incumbent administration, given the fact the administration all across its decade long history has repeatedly resorted to corrupt means of extracting loyalty from the few that it succeeded to blackmail using what literary amounts to an institutionalized trend of a nationwide corruption and impunity network.

You may agree with me that, ‘you can never straighten an object’s shadow without first straightening the object itself’.

Author: Dr Justin Ambago Ramba. The Voice for the voiceless all across South Sudan.


  1. False Millionaire says:

    Dr Ramba,
    “As for my fellow campatriots in the reform camp,urgently considering our priorities where we stand now could mean the difference between succeeding and failing”,this is a fantastic statement that’s well up to the height of your great intellectual,social n political capacity.that’s a most refreshing sentence that we need in our desperate desert crossing struggle.
    Even the title:”you can never straighten an object’s shadow without first straightening the obeject itself”,is a masterpiece.
    The two phrases define our objectives n the methods we must use to achieve them.I agree with you as I have always done.Kiir must go.But the greatest mistake to commit is choosing to fight him as a dinka.Our society being poor in education n political consciousness,it’s only behind tribal lines that the majority of us find ourselves belonging.This is where we have a tendency to commit mistakes in our struggle by not targeting Kiir as a failed politician that must be overthrown with his regime.That if we fight him as a dinka,we divide our man power becouse the dinka would view that as an attack against them.At this point,we would only give ourselves the heartfelt misfortune of sacrificing many lives without any possibility of success.We must find a way to preempt this danger.The best way to do it is to mobilize togather with the dinka citizens who have no appreciation to Kiir’s regime.Why not encourage them to take the lead any way?If you appreciate Mr Bol’s article,there are many dinka citizens who think like him.They are forces who can help bring changes in our country.

    I don’t know when was the last time you went to our country or how so much you are informed about the situation there.But I would like to tell you to never believe in the future of our country n society under Kiir,Riak Machar or any one from the G11.All of them are thieves,tribalists,non professional,incompetent n stupid.In brief:they are just too good to destroy.Thanks to Mr Bol for his article.But it’s too late to save Kiir.

    I was helped by best friends in Juba who detailed to me the depth of the irreversible illness that is bound to kill our country n the society.All the money from the state’s coffer has been stolen n the country is broke.The arms for the SPLA have been borrowed from China for the oil in return.Such projects as infra structure like juba new bridge,juba airport,the roads network linking the country at large,schools n health care facilities are put in a stand still.Only God knows if they will ever stand the chance of beginning them.The small money that comes back to the state in the form of the maigre oil revenues is divided up among the corrupt ruling elites.That’s why they are in power for :never for the well being of RSS n the society.They will stay there for ever if we refuse to put our tribal differences behind us n be able to face them as a united forces.The collapse of our country n the society are inevitable.It’s just a matter of time.It will be out of good luck if RSS lasts for another five years.Could that be a subject of interest to any one of us?certainly not me!!!

  2. Elhag Paul says:

    Good and timely. I liked the “After all no one in their right state of mind will even for a second consider being second to Kiir as an end in itself.” Unfortunately the Equatorian Dinkocrats do.

  3. augustine says:

    False Millionaire,

    You raised great point about the fight against the regime who let us and our country down. It is true that many Dinka suffered as many South Sudanese do. However, it is a great idea to mobilize all South Sudanese citizens to change the government, but where can we start when many people in South Sudan are oppressed to the point where people are very fearfully from their lives. When many South Sudanese children, women, and civilians have been murdered in Juba, Malakal, Bor and Bentiu, who stands up and change the government?

    When South Sudanese military army splited to fight against the government who killed their own brothers and sisters in Juba, who stands up in South Sudan to talk on behalf of innocent people who were murdered in Juba. When the children, women and civilians were murdered in Malakal, Bor, and Bentiu who stands up in Juba and fight for injustice. Any South Sudan who has been killed deserve justice. It does not matter where or he comes from in South Sudan. All South Sudanese are the children of God. Only God can call them home when their time has come. No man or woman takes away one lives for nothing. God bless South Sudan.

  4. augustine says:

    Fearfully–should reads fearful

  5. Dr Ramba ,

    This is another well written article …..keep more articles coming ….

  6. False Millionaire says:

    Brother Augustine,
    Your dispatch is excellent n it’s content is the backbone of the constructive quality of the debate any one of us dreams to obtain.I am convinced that before the unfortunate events of 15 December 2013,many of us might have been naive about the danger our country n the society could easily slide into.

    If I ever told you to be a dor,a nuer,a dinka or to be from any other tribe among our ethnic groups,the way I feel is just thesame.Extremely wounded.But what can one do when the evil has already been done?Nothing.We would only burry alive what we could salvage if we ever dare to stick to the attitude of seeking revenge.For me,those murdered in Juba by SPLM/A-juba malitia forces and the others murdered in bor,Akobo,Malakal,Bentiu n throughout the marshlands of upper nile by the nuer tribal forces,giving the context of understanding that the majority of us were’nt n are’nt part of the root cause of the violence,meaning the power struggle among the SPLM/A elites,we have a larger space of reasoning with final objective to seek reconciliation among our communities.The true culprits that must be brought to justice are the SPLM/A elites among whom are Kiir,Dr Riak Machar n Pagan Amoum with his comrades in the G11.I hope it’s very clear.We should pardon each other.Let’s unite to fight the SPLM/A elites.The future of our country n the society will rely on our victory.There is nothing apart from the slow death to our country n society that can be expected from the SPLM/A elites.

    But speaking of the SPLM/A elites:there are elites of good convictions among them.I know some of them.Among them are my own relatives.say orphans whose fathers paid ultimate prices in the fields of honor for our liberation.They come to tears when they talk about the disappointment n the most pesimistic situation our country n the society are in.They are cambat ready forces that will join our side from the first hour.But all this will be preconditioned by our ability to unite,to moblize n to fight togather for one common objective.That’s to unseat the SPLM/A elites inorde to bring changes for better to our country n society.

  7. False Millionaire says:

    To begin mobilization,begin developing a climate of brotherhood with your neighbours.Talk among you about the gravity of the situation in our country.Discuss about the rampant corruption,tribalism,nepotism,lawlessness,lack of development,education,health care n the general lack of prospects of better future for our country n society.Debate on believing in our unity,on the need to reconcile among us where we may unnecessarily differ n on developing a climate of consensus which is lacking today under the SPLM/A elites.If we do this,we develop our sense of political n social consciousness.This will allow us to manage 99 percent of the needed success.The rest of the 1 PERCENT will take care of itself as the SPLM/A regime will collapse say by ballot if not bullet.At such point,we will have spared the suffering n loss of lives as that’s what appears to be your concern.

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