Equatorians Should Join Forces with Dr. Riek Machar
Written by mach-kuol
The Big Bang of South Sudan is on since Sunday, 15th December 2013. It started as an internal political conflict on power monopoly within the SPLM party. It developed into military violence involvement from the Presidential Guards and the rest of sectors of SPLA within the context of Dinka-Nuer tribal mistrust. Call it coup d’état, mutiny or shoot-out but the fact is that lives and livelihoods have been lost senselessly.
The use of violence spread to civilians lynching of Nuer tribe within Juba and Dinka lynching in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States. Prominent SPLM party leaders who opposed Salva Kiir got arrested on coup charges. No one got killed.
The situation forced the Nuer tribe in Juba and Dinka tribe in Bentieu and other troubled parts of South Sudan to run for their dear lives and seek refuge in the premises of UNMISS. It led to reactionary more rebellion of some armed groups within the SPLA against the government of South Sudan.
This has become more complicated with possible development of more unforeseen complications. That is, a possible shift from South Sudanese Dinka-Nuer tribalism to South Sudan Equatoria regionalism – neo-kokora-ism.
Equatorians have been silent but it could be sensed this would get broken soon, especially when the Mundari, Toposa and other violence-loving Equatorians have been called in to get heavy arms. Do you think the Equatorians will use these arms to defend Dinka Government of Salva Kiir by fighting the Nuer rebels of Dr. Riek Machar?
Since civilized politics is no longer working in South Sudan now, the Equatoria mounting militarism is going to be an inevitable game-changer. Once they have armed themselves to teeth for harm, the Equatorians as a strong bloc would have gained the necessary power to give Mr. Salva Kiir two tough choices:
1) To resign and hand power to a neutral Equatorian (but not Mr. Wani Igga) so that the Dinka-Nuer mess could be cleared and stability restored in the country.
2) If he refuses to resign willingly, Mr. Salva Kiir should leave Juba and go and rule his government in Greater Bahr el Ghazal in the same way Dr. Riek left to rule his rebel forces in Greater Upper Nile. Regionalism is back, tribalism is neutralized!
However, it is not known whether this impasse is going to end in determinism or it will continue to be a chaotic chance whose fate becomes more worrying as each day passes.
The Foreign Ministers and Heads of State of IGAD member countries got in to find an exit but to no avail up to now. Though some of them offered military assistance to Government of Salva Kiir, the bad news seems unending.
The US, UN, UK, EU, China and others have released statements for calm and restoration of peace but nothing got through.
The IGAD mediators invited the warring parties to Addis Ababa for peace talks but more days are passing with no better good news coming out any sooner. The loosed Pandora Box couldn’t get locked. More complications are getting in day by day.
Cessation of hostilities and ceasefire is not coming through despite the 72 hours ultimatum from China. The Government of Salva Kiir is refusing to release the political detainees unconditionally. The rebels of Dr. Riek Machar are rejecting ceasefire without release of the political detainees who they call as their allies.
But even if cessation of hostilities and ceasefire has to be signed and declared, still the question of who is going to control the oil money would remain toughest to answer. Dr. Riek has already proposed that the money be deposited in an account of an international neutral body. Mr. Salva Kiir has rejected the proposal and is insisting that the oil money should continue to be under control of his government.
If both of them fail to agree on whose account the oil money is going to be deposited, the oil production is going to stop. Even if Uganda Museveni and Sudan al-Bashir send troops (both on land and in air) to bail out the government of Salva Kiir, oil production is not going to continue in peace and without killings around the facilities. Technocrats and engineers hate to die by bullets. Hence, they shall not risk working in oil fields.
Security by arms and armaments rather than by the indigenous people will not help in creating peace around the oil fields. With arms in oil fields the government of South Sudan is going to get more troubles.
What is the solution then?
The exit from the current South Sudan impasse is going to come from an internal non-tribalized force backed-up by external pressure. This force is going to be found no-where else but in Greater Equatoria. It has to come in form of regionalism, which is a step forward in the right direction of federal system of government based on the three historic provinces of South Sudan rather than the ten states left behind by the NCP Islamic Sudan.
Retrospectively and introspectively, Greater Upper Nile has never been a cohesive bloc because it usually falls back to tribal traps in time of conflicts or power dividends. Also Greater Bahr el Ghazal has never thought of itself as encompassing Non-Dinka or Non-Dinkanized elements. The Dinka is not one ethnic group though they pretend to be so.
It is only in Greater Equatoria that the different tribes have been holding together as one cohesive bloc, though sometimes without an outstanding courageous charismatic leader.
The Equatorians need to come out from the historical weaknesses they have been having. They should stop of thinking to run to East Africa every time South Sudan is faced with acute internal problems and conflicts. They need to learn that South Sudan is their place and they should always sacrifice inside it to lead a solution.
The Equatorians should also avoid overreacting in response to problems created by the two major troublesome tribes of Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Upper Nile, the Dinka and Nuer. They should start to know it with confidence that as a cohesive bloc, the people of Greater Equatoria are the top majority in South Sudan in terms of numbers. The hegemonic Dinka and Nuer should not scare them. After all, the bravest and fiercest warriors of South Sudan are found in Equatoria region.
Therefore, it is high time for Equatorians to demand from Mr. Salva Kiir to give in and hand over Presidential power to a neutral Equatorian known for characteristics of a statesman’s caliber. If this demand is resisted, then the Equatorians should not hesitate to expel by force Mr. Salva Kiir from the land of Equatoria. The Nuer and those who want Salva Kiir to go home or to the grave will agree with these Equatorians’ conditions.
Let every region go back to its base so that a genuine federal unification of South Sudan nation could be discussed later after the so-called biggest tribes of South Sudan from Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile comes to their senses of respecting Equatorians.
The problem came from the attempts by Mr. Salva Kiir and his SPLM to create a country of tribes. The solution will come from the intervention by Equatorians to enforce a state of federative regions of South Sudan. Thus, the Equatorians governors and other leaders should not continue to be dull or coward and acting as lesser-class citizens.
The struggle for liberation for South Sudan was launched in Equatoria in 1955. I have no doubt that it is in Equatoria that the genuine start for federal nation-building is going to be launched in 2014. The time is now and it is Equatoria turn to save South Sudan!