Open letter to President Salva Kiir on his call for opposition leaders to return to Juba
April 21st 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A South Sudanese lecturer has wrote to President Salva Kiir Mayardiit over his call for opposition leaders to return to the capital Juba and prepare for the formation of the unity government provided for in the revitalized peace agreement signed in September 2018.
An Open Letter to the President of South Sudan
H. E. Salva Kiir Mayardit
State House (J1)
Juba, South Sudan.
Date: 20 April, 2019.
Ref: The formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity is incautious
Dear Mr President,
Your invitation to the opposition political parties to congregate in Juba in order to form the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) on 12 May 2019, in accordance with the Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA), is palpably untimely and devoid of perceptiveness. It is my considered view that the establishment of the TGNU primarily precedes the implementation of the security arrangements, as set out in the agreement document, and not vice versa. It thus seems increasingly unlikely that the realization of the peace would ever be accomplished in view of the fact that your government evidently lacks both the resolve and wherewithal to usher in the entreated peace in the country. This prudent and measured observation is a deliberate attempt to discourage a repeat of the recent episode of extreme violence that occurred in Juba in July 2016.
Candidly speaking, no one in South Sudan would be keen to endure another experience of agony. The people of this young nation have manifestly withstood excruciating pain for the last six years of the country’s civil war. Emphatically, this is a fateful scenario, attributable to your government’s absolute shortage of foresight for the country.
Undeniably, your government is more often than not held hostage by your Jieng tribal advisors, because of your penchant and relish for tribal politics. In this regard, it seems that the realization of peace in South Sudan is far-fetched, as your government does not possess what it takes to end the protracted violence in the country. Similarly, you have consistently stated in public that the IGAD members imposed on you, the peace that you did not intend to sign. How would you and your government then claim that you are interested in the current peace accord?
Regrettably, at the moment, your government is training tribal militia force of 10,000 in Bahr El-Ghazal state. This information has been verified by a former army officer who fears for his life, is now hiding at a United Nations protection site in Wau. The question to you as the President of the country who seeks to form a Transitional Government of National Unity is: How could this exploit tally with the scheme of things? This action categorically contradicts the spirit of the peace arrangement in the country. You can’t proclaim peace and create an Interim Government of National Unity while concomitantly, preparing for ethnic war via the training of a large militia force from your ethnic group.
The strong and close alliance between your government and the tribally self-constituted body, known as the “Jieng Council of Elders” (JCE), represents a worrying development. This body had earlier created the controversial 28 states back in 2015, and the primary objective among others, was to institute and execute a land grab policy sanctioned by your government. Indeed by a Presidential decree, number 36/2015, you proclaimed the 28 states without any Parliamentary procedures adopted. The members of the JCE have technically but informally become the de facto Parliament of South.
It is essentially important at this juncture to state that there exists neither peace in the offing nor flicker of hope and light at the end of the tunnel regarding the realization of peace in the country, largely because you and the JCE are not interested to have one in place.
My candid appeal to all is that, no any single opposition group should be cajoled and lured to Juba this time by the scheming JCE regime that you lead, and only to confront a well-rehearsed subterranean conspiracy designed for cold blood assassinations and mass murders of opposition members, as it did happen before. Similarly, I must forebodingly state that a return to the 2016 epoch of political imbroglio and carnage would unquestionably usher in a panorama of anguish and a consequent disintegration of South Sudan from its current status as a unified entity.
To establish a contextual wherewithal for my assertions, I would similarly like to remind all South Sudanese opposition groups about the ill-fated events of July 2016. This would enable all of us to understand what is in store for the opposition groups if they move to Juba with an erroneous belief of setting up the TGNU.
In July 2016, your JCE-influenced, applying a combination of subornation and puffery, was successful in convincing the IGAD countries and other parties in the international community, including the TROIKA, to exert pressure on the leader of the SPLM-IO, Dr Riek Machar to relocate to Juba in an attempt to form the so-called Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU). Today every stakeholder is quite aware of what transpired in that ill-omened year. You alongside your aides-de-camp, did mount an abortive assassination bid on the life of Riek Machar in Juba in July 2016, and the sole objective was to eliminate the former First Vice President, once and for all, in order to pave the way for the imposition of the controversial 28 states, destined for land grab and subjugation of non-Jieng ethnic groups in greater Upper Nile and Bahr El-Ghazal regions.
You are aware that you and the JCE lost no time in denouncing Riek Machar and falsely accusing him of attempting to mount yet another coup against your government. Juxtaposing the military strengths of your government vis-a-vis that of the SPLM-IO at the time, there existed immense disparity. While Riek Machar, the leader of the SPLM-IO was accompanied to Juba by approximately 1,300 soldiers only, who were armed with light weapons as his body guards, you swanked several divisions of the South Sudan military and armed with a vast array of qualitative combat paraphernalia, including battle tanks and a couple of helicopter gunships.
Besides, your government had secured a backing of heavily armed troops from Uganda that have since then been conducting joint military operations alongside your troops against the defensive armed opposition forces of the National Salvation Front in Central Equatoria state today. It utterly defeats logic for your government to ardently argue that the SPLM-IO had carried out an abortive coup in Juba in 2016 with only 1,300 lightly armed body guards. The story has become less vendible to date as it has dawned to the international community that there was actually no coup that occurred in Juba in 2016, but simply a calculated attempt by your government to expunge and silence opposition voices.
Now, a repeat of history is seemingly imminent, unless something is done by all the opposition parties arrayed against your government to prevent it from occurring, and that entails an authentic approach to achieve peace, beginning with putting in place the entire package of the security arrangements, as stipulated in the peace accord.
The cantonment of forces must primarily be achieved and the rival armies are then drilled together as a single entity to form the nucleus of the unified and non-tribal professional army of South Sudan, and this indispensable task must be accomplished prior to the formation of the TGNU. The assertion that the TGNU should be formed on the 12 May 2019 and then be followed by the implementation of the security arrangements, is plainly fanciful, deceptive and an infinitesimal observation. Equally is the suggestion emanating from Juba that 700 soldiers would be trained and split up in pari-passu of which 350 would guard the President and 350, his Vice. This avowal definitely sounds downright a rib-tickling circus, because in realistic terms, you own the entire South Sudan army, and hence, do not need bodyguards of 350 soldiers.
Regrettably, your government is not for genuine peace as demonstrated on numerous occasions. It absolutely lacks the resolve and practicality to realize and accommodate peace in South Sudan, except via the terms of what I would call “the parochial JCE approach”, where they take over the country as Jieng tribal group and subject any non-Jieng to oppressive rule.
Your argument that there is no funds for executing the peace accord, especially the Security arrangements, and that the international community should fund it, makes less sense. This assertion is far divorced from reality. Your government has increased the oil production levels lately and thus generates millions of dollars that could be deployed to fund the peace agreement, but the verity remains that you are not willing to sacrifice the JCE’s fascistic agenda of absolute subjugation of South Sudan on the altar of peace.
Today South Sudanese are being treated to an identical fictional narrative by the government in Juba, similar to what had surfaced in 2016. Before the relocation of the SPLM-IO chairman to Juba, your government had flimsily contended that the Bari community leaders around Juba had declined to allocate lands to the government for the purpose of relocating the army to the periphery of Juba city, up to a distance of 25 kilometers radius. This would in effect have complied with the terms of the security arrangement. Likewise, the regime further claimed that it had no funds to implement the agreement and that it was necessary to form the government prior to the demilitarization arrangement at the time.
We all know today that those claims never stood the test of candor, since the government was not interested to have peace in the country for fear of devaluing and compromising the tribal agenda of the JCE, calculated for the country’s comprehensive tribal domination.
In view of the flagrant breach of trust exhibited by you and your JCE henchmen in 2016, it would not make sense for the South Sudanese opposition groups to entrust their collective physical security and political destiny in the hands of your JCE’s controlled regime which is braced to asphyxiate and extinguish all oppositions in the country?
The presence of the foreign army and mercenaries now involved in skirmishes in Central Equatoria Yei Sector portends a bleak future and questions the claim by your government that it is willing to create a peaceful atmosphere for the resolution of the conflict in the country as specified in the Revitalized Peace a Agreements. One would be tempted to interrogation the sincerity of your government about peace in South Sudan, when paradoxically; you are forcefully drafting and training ten thousand (10,000) tribal army from your region of Bahr El Ghazal.
What would be the role of such cliquish tribal army in a peaceful South Sudan? The recent massacre of civilians in Wau does not indicate a healthy path toward peace, yet you do not want accountability for the thousands of innocent civilians decimated by the regime. Today, hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians remain in refugee camps in virtually all neighbouring countries and similarly in UN compounds throughout South Sudan, barely for their physical safety, while you persistently make deafening clarion calls for peace and formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity. How could you reconcile these irreconcilable contradictions?
South Sudanese should understand that the IGAD, TROIKA, UN and the AU would not magically emit peace in the country. These bodies are opportunistically predisposed, and would always pursue their interests while masquerading as genuine peace-making stakeholders. Unless South Sudanese come up to fully acknowledge their shortcomings with complete earnestness, and renounce their self-centered characters embedded in ethnic affiliations, the country would unfalteringly be locked up in perpetual bloody conflicts which could perhaps end up in disintegration. God forbids!!
I am thus inclined to offer my humble counsel to all as follows:
1 – Disband and disown the JCE tribal cluster in order to remove the principal hurdle that impinges on the entire peace agreement. Equally, the demarcation of the boundaries as it stood on 1 January 1956 should be effected, albeit the JCE possesses its own parallel agenda of doom;
2 – For genuine and truthful peace to prevail in South Sudan, you should keep at bay the adverse policies of the opportunistic foreign leaders, they are primed to keep the country aflame in a bid to accomplish their interests;
3 – You should refrain from applying divisive political utterance in public as normally done;
4 – You should minimize your penchant for tribal politics and condoning venality (Corruption);
5 – You should refrain from sanctioning clandestine murderous as seen in the case of the unidenfied gunmen, for settling political vendetta;
6 –You must halt the on-going training of the 10,000 tribal militia forces in Bahr El-Ghazal State. This exploit categorically negates the spirit of the peace arrangement in the country.
7 – The figure below depicts the skeletal structure of South Sudan’s Political Control as advised in item number 2 above. your government should restructure it to reflect the authentic definition of South Sudan as a sovereign geopolitical entity;
Thank You Mr President.
Dr. Peter Lokarlo Ngrimwa (PhD)
Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL),
The Emily MacPherson Building
13, 379-405 Russell Street,
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
1 – Ambassador Ismail Wais, Head Special Envoy to South Sudan
2 – H.E. Dr Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairman of the IGAD, Addis Ababa
3 – H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, State House, Entebbe
4 – H. E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, State House, Nairobi
5 – Dr Riek Machar Teny, Chairman and Commander in Chief of SPLM/A in opposition;
6 – General Thomas Cirilo Swaka, Commander in Chief and Chairman of the National Salvation Front;
7- All other unarmed opposition Political Parties