My Questions to Riek Machar
By Dak Buoth,
28th March, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– ‘‘To announce the truths is the infallible receipt for being persecuted’’ South Sudanese drawn from various informal settlements thronged the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi on Saturday to attend what they call a ‘peace rally’ presided and addressed by South Sudan first vice president designate Dr. Riek Machar and his cohorts who are involved in the ongoing war in one way or the other.
Several compatriots who are longing for peace with bated breath began trekking very early to the venue to hear, discuss and determined what kind of life we aspire to have in our nascent country. I must say the meeting hall was filled to the brims, the pictures I saw shows that the event was graced by sea of humanity; the faces of those whose photos I saw on social media after meeting indicate they have something to smile about.
One of my informants told me the discussion was largely about whether or not we can maintain the status quo, I mean whether we can keep the current lifestyle of war, revenge, violent conflict, underdevelopment and lawlessness or we can graduate to a new lifestyle of peace, non-violent, development, opportunities and the rule of law. And from the attendance and the look of thing, one would attest that majority prefers the latter.
I had wished to avail myself though I received the info late. Unfortunately or fortunately, certain unavoidable circumstances that barred me to reach KICC emerged. If i was present, I would learn from the speakers’ facial expression and try to figure out whether there was disconnect between what they say and feel because our politicians of the day are ever onion-skinned; and only a few with eagle’s eye can notice their rhetoric . Moreover, there were two questions I would like to put to the fore, and as Voltaire used to says, judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.
However, before I cite the said questions, let me first acknowledge and commend the meeting organizers. Meetings and quorums are key components and prerequisites for ascertaining real democracy and harmony in our society. Whenever people gather, dialogue and brainstorm on critical issues pertaining how their society is govern; chances are high for solution to be reached. Regular Meetings among people breeds democracy because people will get to know and interact with one another on the bases of ideals and not merely on the bases of ethnic or regional extractions.
When we decide to talk to another, we shall be in a position to make informed choices that aren’t based on myths. Since the advent of civic based politic, real politicians aim at persuading masses rather than dissuading or coercing them, and in simple term. Spending time and talking to people is one style of persuading and move them toward achieving a set goal unlike when one keep a distance from them, by so doing, one simply want to encourage them to turn away, for it mean the leader have become ideas bankrupt which he doesn’t want people to know.
Once the leader is detached from the masses he claims to represent, there will be a sense of suspicion and fear. The left hand will not know what the right hand is doing which eventually lead to friction and that is the recipe for violent conflict. In this regard Colin Powel, America Army General says ‘‘the day people stop bringing you their problems, know that it’s the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence and decide you can’t help anymore or conclude you don’t care. Either case is a failure of leadership’’.
Over times, i have always said there should be no political pundit who can decide societal issues alone without being check; as such there should be no monopoly of ideas. People must talk and agree so as to build a cohesive society. Everyone has duty toward himself and the society at large, and we must all enjoy the right to be heard. It is believed that if we always do what we want to do, we are likely to conflict with others a great deal of time. On the one hand, if we always do what others demands of us, we will not grow very much as individual.
These warring SPLM factions, the SPLM-IO, SPLM-IG, and the SPLM FD are now applying all kinds of balms to heal its soul. Already there clams and counterclaims as to which faction is responsible for the ruination and shame that has brought our country into disrepute. In search for answers, these ‘twin SPLM’ must first come to realization of how far it has departed from the core philosophy that informed its founding. In my view, before this war erupted they spend much time joyriding and chest thumping frightening citizenry that they are the heroes and liberators, I normally wondered which war they won yet we got the independent through our ballots in 2011. SPLM authored its failure and death right from the time they abandoned its democratic principle of taking town to people, speaking to them regularly, and facing hard questions about the governance.
As I mentioned above, the questions i would want to put to the fore are two only. One; can Dr. Riek Machar assure the progressive forces like me that he will support the cause of justice in South Sudan? Many would agree that there is much need for real justice and accountability for this peace to hold and not to reoccur. Failure to strive and achieve that goal, we shall be burying our heads in the sand. And for justice to prevail we need political support and goodwill for the Abassanjo criminal report to bear fruits.
What they got is political justice. He has now been accorded the position as first vice president and other henchmen are likely to be awarded with parliamentary and ministerial seats et cetera. The rest of South Sudanese downtrodden whose relatives were deliberately maimed and killed wanted justice done by having the perpetrators named in the report subjected to the full wrath of law. They also need reparation, distributive and redistribution justice, and redistributive justice is where there is the equalization of property and wealth ownership by direct political fiat. It is kind of transition from aristocracy to more broadly based government.
We are aware, the millions displaced persons have had their houses occupied by government cronies in Juba. In my view, before anything else is executed, there is need to adopt a formal stand on how the owners reoccupy their houses so as to avoid more havoc later.
I doubt whether Dr. Riek Machar is passionate and committed to play significant role in pursuit for justice and reform. You would recall last year on 17th June, 2015, he appeared on South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in Pretoria defending South Africa government against the criticism that they should have arrested Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir in South Africa.
I’m sure he is verily aware of the atrocities committed by Khartuom both in Darfur, Nuba Mountain as well as in South Sudan, and that president Al Bashir is fugitive wanted by the international criminal court at the Hague, If he was afraid of any reprisal from Khartuom, he would kept mum but the best position he could take however was to support his arrest as ruled by the high court. He should remember that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. The injustices committed against the people of Darfur and Nuba Mountain pain the all world let alone their brothers and sister in south Sudan.
This case is akin to that of Chief Justice Chan Reec who initially uttered that he supported the creation of 28 states by Salva Kiir as Chairman of his dinka clan. Later when he was asked not to sit or preside over the case in Supreme Court during the trail by opposition parties who filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of those states, he replied arguing that he can deliver fair justice. The people refused because they doubt his impartiality for he already took side. Today no opposition leader of democratic country in Africa can support President Al Bashir and expect to win a democratic contest.
Finally, the question many participants want Dr. Riek to answer during the meeting was when will he travel to Juba? In short they want him to set a dateline. However his answer was that he will go only if his troops are transported to Juba first. This led me to ask again, can we wait for UN or troika to ferry the 1,300 plus soldiers to Juba? They have said numerous times that SPLM-IO has barracks or cantonments full of troops all over Equatoria and some parts of Barelgazel region. All we need now is to select the soldiers they needed and order them to trek by foot for they are guerilla fighters who can walk long distance or drive to Juba via vehicles at their disposal.
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