By Kuach Tutkuay,
August 31, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — In the wake of the IGAD’s precarious peace talks in Addis Ababa, all the interest groups are very keen on any loophole they could utilize for their selfish interest. After the failure of IGAD to persuade the parties to the conflict to buy in their transition arrangement proposal, the political detainees thought they had spotted a loophole to present their “smart” proposal. In their rather egotistic approach, political detainees proposed that they be given 25% seats of the transitional government.
This percentage is more than the number of the detainees which is only ten (10). Considering the ministerial, gubernatorial, ambassadorial and independent commission posts in the government, the ten-man group will end up having four or five positions on one person if at all their proposal is accepted.
These men were in the prison being accused of a coup attempt alongside Dr. Machar, but as soon as their release was secured by the rebels and the pressure groups, they decided to sit on the fence as the bloody fire was eerily consuming South Sudan. Instead, they claimed to be pursuing a “peaceful mean” to end the conflict. What sounds Greek to me was whether they pursue peaceful mean against the government or the rebel, whether it is a peaceful mean to end the current rebels-government conflict or peaceful mean for political transformation, or to negotiate for their positions?
When I saw the proposal of this group, I was, in the best, taken aback yet at the worst, alarmed; the document reminded me of one thing. It reminded me of a familiar sentence I used to hear from the liberators—the detainees included—that “we rewards our suffering during the struggle”. That is to say “if you fought for it, enjoy it—alone!” The political detainees suffered in the prison for four months and to compensate this suffering , they have to ask for a share in the to-be government of national unity. Whether the demand is reasonable or not, their eyes were blinded by the sight of positions to be allocated.
When one is making a demand, it is wiser that one ask himself “what have I done to have deserve this?” otherwise, it would be reasonable for one man to demand the whole world. The very political detainees, who today seeks a share, have contributed much more to the failure of South Sudan and much little to its success. It is a good idea to be neutral when one can make a positive impact to the peace process but when greediness dragged one into making demands and claiming neutrality at the same time, one is actually confusing the process under study. Most crack-pots keeps silent waiting for the jack-pot to make things move, but this strategy has backfire. Pagan Amum said “killing of South Sudan citizens should not be the reason to take arms” well, then, why did he took arms against Khartoum in 1980s? What have they done to him? Was it not the very same thing Kiir is doing today?
A leader must be proactive enough to choose the right path and reasonable enough to convince the citizens to buy the idea. These political detainees are victims of the South Sudan crisis, and they are as good as any other victim in UNMISS camp so long as they chose to keep low profile in the conflict. The rebels fought for their rights all the way from prison misery in Juba to the hotel luxury in Nairobi. Now that their chain broke loose, instead of working together with their colleagues in the rebellion to free the other citizens under chains in Kiir’s regime, they want to build their own staircase. If they are entitled to a share in the government so should the IDPs in UNMISS be, because they are not any difference. The only difference is that the detainees were confined in the prison whereas the IDPs confined in the UNMISS. The scramble for positions and resources has always been the culture of South Sudanese. This was the very same reason Majok Deng, the grandfather of Deng Alor who is one of the political detainees, sold the whole land of Abyei for his own selfish interest. It is high time we stop craving for resources and position and face realities affecting our society.
Had it not been the greediness of these political detainees, the issue of positions should not be the first things in the recipe of the peace talks to be discussed. There are the root cause of the crisis—to which the political detainees had no idea about, or they might have deliberately undermine them—which need to be address first. I really pity the detainees that they can only see positions and not the suffering of the civilians in this crisis. This is the same attitude of South Sudanese leaders that had destroyed the country.
The political detainees are not representing any particular group of citizens, it would have been wiser if they talk on behalf of all the prisoners—those still behind bars and those recently freed. To speak the truth, these political detainees are real rebels who were denied access to the bush by the prison walls. By the time they were release, they thought it was too late for them to get top positions in the rank and file of the rebellion. Having misunderstood egoism for ambition, Pagan Amum thought that he is the only “good guy” to lead, assuming president Kiir and Machar would be forced to step aside.
I called it egoism because the same group who claims to be great leaders could not come up with clear-cut to the policy of governance they would want to achieve, instead, they plagiarized the rebels ideas of federalism, creation of more states, dissolution of powers to the lowest level of governance and so forth. This is a political bankruptcy. If the detainees were the very people who organized the press conference together in December 2013, and the rebels demanded their release, and they could buy in the rebels’ ideas on governance, then, what is the difference? There is no difference, it is only hungry for power and resources. I wish them all the best in their craving for power, but I am sure the proposal will not pass muster.