South Sudan Leaders should compromise for the sake of peace
By Boutros Magaya Monani Magaya Gbangano
April 3rd 2018 (Nyamilepdia) – The news reports recently circulated on the media (Sudan Tribune) on 18 of March that the President of the Republic of South Sudan (RSS), H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayrdiit is going “For next Peace Talks with the spirit of brotherhood‟ and that he is very “optimistic that peace will come to the war-tone country soon” is highly welcomed.
The President has stated that “Peace MUST come – because we believe that by negotiating directly and seeking solutions based on the spirit of brotherhood, we would be able to achieve not only a more durable internal unity but also establish the Democratic Republic”.
This is the first time in a while the President hints clearly of his readiness for peace without any statement “of reservations” and notably he was asking all his fellow comrades in the opposition Group to join the next round in the “spirit of brotherhood”. It should also be recalled that, the Chairman and C In C of the SPLM/ IO, and the country’s Former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhorgon, stated in the final Paragraph of his statement ‘Summary of the Genesis of the Civil War, 14 August 2017’ that despite all the challenges cited in the document the SPLM IO remain resolved that sustainable peace, reforms and democratic transformation can only be achieved through a negotiated process and that the SPLM/A IO remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Moreover, during his Anniversary Speech (6 March 2018), the Chairman of National Salvation Front (NAS), Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka renewed his pledge for peaceful coexistent, love and unity among South Sudanese and that the National Salvation Front (NAS) wants to see a “just peace” in the world‟s youngest nation. He further emphasized that “We want to bring about peace that will bring justice. We want a peace agreement that will make us equal before the law. We want a peace deal that will deliver services to our people,” Cirilo said.
As was the case above, it is quite clear that in several statements, the Opposition Groups reiterated their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict through the High-Level Revitalization Forum of the ARCSS. Above all, they underscored that the people of South Sudan deserve PEACE, SECURITY and TRANQUILLITY.
These positive statement comes amid the recent postive event in Kenya when last week, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and his long-time rival “People President” Raila Odinga met and resolved to work together for the greater good of the people of Kenya.This comes almost two months after Mr Odinga, the leader of the National Super Alliance, took the oath in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi and declared himself as „the people‟s president‟. The two leaders last week promised Kenyans that they will begin a process of reconciliation following all their contentions. Raila and Uhuru, shake hands and said that “This country is greater than any one individual and for this country to come together, leaders must come together” so what the Leader of South Sudan waiting for?
It is worth noting that that the members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) on Feb 16 2018, welcomed the parties‟ constructive efforts toward compromise for the benefit of the people of South Sudan at the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in Addis Ababa. The Troika expressed its appreciation for and fully supports the continuing effort by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to restore peace through the HLRF, and commends the tireless efforts of the IGAD Special Envoy Ambassador Ismail Wais and the mediation team. Moreover, in a review of various statement by key stakeholders, the Southern Sudan Civil Societies Forum in their communiqué (Dec 2017) expressed concern over the continuing violence South Sudan which has gone from bad to worse. Six million people – half the population – are severely food insecure. Nearly four million people have been displaced from their homes, including 1.87 million internally displaced persons and 1.93 million refugees, of whom 86% are women and children. They encouraged all parties to the conflict and calls upon the leadership and other stakeholders in the country to demonstrate the required political commitment and will to participate in the High Level Revitalization Forum.
In the event, the recent IGAD council of ministers, communiqué of its 61st session on the situation in South Sudan, said it recognizes the significant progress made by the parties during the last sessions of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), particularly on governance and security issues and, endorses the reconvening of phase II to continue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 26-30 April 2018. The Regional Bloc IGAD has called for an end to the conflict in South Sudan and the release of opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar from house arrest as step towards achieving a lasting peace.
In light of the above, it is concluded that the time has come for the people of South Sudan and the leaders to re-examine our inner selves. At this moment the people of South Sudan surely do not want to see any more “peace dogging”, reservations, consultations, conditions, or back door buying time piece meal deals in lavish Addis Ababa hotels, etc. while the people continue to suffer. Isn‟t 5 years of suffering more than enough?
At the outset it is necessary to note that the War in 2013 started with fighting within the SPLM party. In fact last year, this matter was emphasised during the re-opening of the Transitional Nationally Legislative Assembly (TNLA) after near 2 months closure last year, the President, H.E President Kiir stated clearly that one of his 2 big problems is the SPLM Party. So the question is now we need to examine carefully who and how is the SPLM perofmance today, SG, staff, etc? This means for the SPLM to succeed in the next election and in uniting the people again, there is a need to examine the SPLM Party Structure and Secretariat. As would be apparent, there are leaders within the SPLM office today who are causing more damage to SPLM, and such are clearly a liability to SPLM. The SPLM should bring in the right carders to progress and change the Party to its original liberation era and pledges of “Taking the towns to the people” and not “Taking disunity to the people”. As would be apparent, there are leaders who are using the SPLM to keep the government under siege such as the case of closure of the parliament last year, the failure to address the economic crisis, and using the SPLM to wage proxy wars from within, blocking others and causing more division and hatred among SPLM members. This should not be entertained to continue. The common view is that the SPLM need to consider appointing unifying leaders to its Secretariat before it is too late.
Why do we need peace? It will have been observed that the President Salva Kiir himself courageously admitted that war has depleted the country‟s treasury and brought the economy to its knees and that nothing could be done to fix the economy unless war stops for peace and stability to return to the country in order for investors and other money-generating activities to resume (Sudantribune, March 14, 2018). From another angle, the people of South Sudan are currently overwhelmed in suffering, hunger, insecurity, inequality and there is certainly no economic “booming” but rather economic dooming, this one I can testify as representative of the people. Recently, I was greatly touched to read one statement by Fellow South Sudanese in social forum who said “Peace is what the people of South Sudan want now, let you politicians know that this country is for all of us and the extreme suffering we are facing today is not what we voted for during referendum”. Even daily life is becoming very difficult”….this statement summarized the feeling of South Sudanese at this moment and if peace does not come soon South Sudanese are going to regret voting for independence like the write above.
Therefore, the argument is already explicit. Why waste more time? there‟s is no better time than now to end the suffering of the people to ask our Leaders of South Sudan: H.E. President Salva Kiir, H.E Chairman of IO Dr, Riek Machar, the Chairman of NAS, Gen Thomas Ciriclo Swaka, the SPLM Former Detainees Leadership, Dr. Lam Akol and all opposition alliances to put the nation first in this coming round, reconcile the differences and return the nation on the path of peace. As it is said “The country is greater than any one individual and for this country to come together, leaders must come together”.
Before his passing away, my late father, Gen. Ambassador Alison Monani Magaya, first Minister of Interior (RSS) last wish which was read in a letter read on SSTV was for peace to return to South and for leaders of SS to work for Peace. So his spirit will never rest until peace return to our beloved country. May his Soul rest in eternal Peace!
In conclusion, it is recommended that the people of South Sudan seize of this opportunity today to urge all Leaders of South Sudan who will be discussing in the next “Revitalization Meeting” to put differences aside this time and find a “Compromised Solution” once and for all. It is now clear that “There is no other alternative to Peace” and that Peace cannot be dodged as some of us thought in the past 5 years. Everyone is now tired of war so let‟s give peace a chance. Therefore, we expect all parties to negotiate in good faith and in the spirit of brotherhood. The time for Peace is now! End#
Let us seize of this great opportunity to put for once, the Nation First!
God Bless the Republic of South Sudan!
The author is a senior member of the SPLM, a member of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), a former State Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utility in the defunct Western Equatoria State, Former USAID Sen. Engineer and managed major project such as the Juba-Nimule Road , Yei, Maridi, and Kapoeta Electricity. He is also the Acting President of the Monani Magaya Foundation. Visit his website http://boutrosmagaya.com/ he also hold Master in Engineering and Management from Heriot Watt University, Edinburg, UK.
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