Opinion: Greed will defeat the purposes of Peace in South Sudan

By Dak Buoth Riek-Gaak,

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny(Photo: file)

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny(Photo: file)

12th May, 2020(Nyamilepedia)I join the progressive and patriotic South Sudanese individuals, political and non-political organizations, vehemently denouncing the unreasonable delay and blatant violation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS). This agreement is now facing threats from the rogue stakeholders for no unjustified reasons. This Peace deal is a project meant to be implemented within a short period of time. If we don’t roll up our socks to accomplish it within the stipulated time frame, then we are aiming at defeating its defined objectives.

It is unfortunate that there is no iota of patriotism shown in its implementation process. At times leaders of the warring factions are less concerned about the sorry state of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) in Bentiu, Bor, Malakal and Juba towns. Each time they gather to do something on this peace accord, their parties’ interest comes first, that is why you see or hear about these delays.

What is going on now is that well-known greedy SPLM-IG party leaders are dragging their feet, and they want to take the country back to war like they did on 8th July, 2016. They look like they are not satisfied with what was given to them under this IGAD brokered peace accord. What they did on Thursday last week is an open manifestation of greed on their part. And we must rise up and take a stand against this trait.

Greed is defined as ‘’a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed.’’ The greed and culture of violating set rules are the cause of this unnecessary delay on state governors’ allocation.

Greed is a great factor of war that is why there are rampant corruption cases in the county every now and then. Some leaders want to own more than what the country gets.

It is due to greediness that made some of our leaders appoint their relatives to senior positions in government. We must now acknowledge that greed is a national problem that we need to grapple with relentlessly.

The political offence known as nepotism was fathered by greed, and greed is often breeds by lack of vision that is people centered. The greed and nepotism had led to the demise of several political parties. Regrettably, the main opposition party, SPLM-IO had embarked on the journey to ruination because its leaders have shown a greedy like tendencies. 

Senior Presbyterian clergy Rev. James Makuei Chuol at a speech he delivered in Nairobi on 10th May 2019, said the civil war was launched in 2013, because some people in power at the time believed if they pushed away some people then the resources of the country would be enough for them. He added that, to his surprise, those people still have their clans’ men and women begging along the streets of juba up to now.

Alternatively, he then calls on South Sudanese to be generous and share whatever little they have at their disposal. In light of this, these leaders need to be informed that human Wants are unsatisfied. 

This agreement demands us to share power and resources of the country that is why it is called a compromise agreement.

Greediness is a recipe for disaster in South Sudan. We cannot continue to have the resources of the country in the hands of few families with power. We must share our resources and use them for development projects, so that we can all benefit from our national cake.

This agreement is crystal clear on the division of roles and responsibilities given to each party. It gives President Kiir and company two main mandates; one is to enforce this agreement strictly, and to take what was allocated to his party, SPLM-IG. 

Sadly, he is not enforcing the agreement effectively, and in addition he now wants to grab what was allocated to Opposition Political Parties, thinking that the OPP are underdogs. Even if they consider the latter as underdogs they deserve what was allocated to them by the agreement.

VIOLATIONS

Last week on Thursday, the 7th May, 2020, the presidency via the office of the President authored a 3-page document, which allocates six state governors to the SPLM-IG. These states include Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Lakes State, Warrap State, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State and Unity State.

PROTEST

In the protest letter to then Acting R-JMEC chairman, Lieutenant General, Augustino Njoroge by the National Democratic Alliance leader, Dr. Lam Akol, he reminded them of the formula for dividing the state governors as 5:3:1:1. This 5:3:1:1 formula simply means the SPLM-IG was allocated 5 states followed by SPLM-IO with 3 states and both SSOA, and OPP was allocated 1 state each. This is simple arithmetic that even a class three child can comprehend and solve.

I can say the act of taking the State which doesn’t belong to them amounts to theft, because they did it without owners’ consent. 

On the one hand, their rejection to give this state out to its owners is the manifestation of ignorance, which can take the country back to square one. President Kiir and his surrogates are mistaken to think they can violate this agreement and nothing will happen to them. On this, President Kiir and his party should blame themselves for being bankrupt. If they had better ideas they could have convinced the peace mediators or guarantors, to allocate them six states before peace was signed on 12th September, 2018. 

They cannot come around and grab what was meant for other partners by force. By virtue of him being the head of state and government, President Kiir is considered a symbol of national unity. Hence, he should not act in a manner that derails the process aimed at reuniting this country for good. This national peace accord was crafted to restore the lost hopes for prosperity to the impoverished South Sudanese, particularly those in the Internally Displaced Camps who have suffered in silence for so long. 

This peace aimed at bringing back peace, democracy and the rule of law in South Sudan. Thus, if we cannot protect it from these violators, what else can we protect? We are all conversant with how it was negotiated and developed. It was signed by all representatives in our society. It came out of the concerted efforts by people from all walks-of life. Thus, its implementation and realization rest on our shoulders. It is therefore our moral and legal obligation to defend the gains we have made from these retrogressive lots who have perfected the arts of violating any peace agreement in South Sudan. 

Their agenda is to maintain the status quo, and their attempt to delay and violate this agreement is aimed at preventing the reform agenda that is much needed in the country. We shall safeguard this peace deal because it is what the South Sudanese had been fighting for over the years.

Soon after the inauguration of the Presidency, and the subsequent formation of the cabinet ministers in Juba, I have been celebrating these political achievements, while I call on these parties, to expedite the nomination of the ten state governors, and their deputies as soon as possible. The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity commonly known as TGoNU is incomplete without the ten state governors, national and state legislative assemblies.

As we know time is fading very fast, and I wondered why Parties are failing in fulfilling their mandate to constitute these bodies. It is these legislative bodies and the governors that can propagate these reform agenda we are longing for. This peace is one of the priorities and justices required by the displaced people without delay. These delays will defeat the purpose of the peace agreement if parties don’t do something to end it soon.

COVID-19 DISEASE

We, through the government, are now fighting the deadly coronavirus pandemic left, right and centre. As of today, the covid-19 cases shoot up to 165. And without the state governors and law makers at the front, the government cannot defeat this common enemy, for it is like a boxer fighting with one hand tied behind him or her in the ring. We really need to fight this coronavirus pandemic from all fronts. It needs collective efforts from the three arms of government. In modern days, a government is worth its name if it has all its arms such as executive, legislature and judiciary functioning. If there is no legislative arm of government, where will the government get a mandate to send the army to war? Although we are not using armed soldiers in this combat against covid-19, we need the entire system in place to decide what to do and where to act first so as to avoid blames for any eventuality. President Kiir must reign on his party to shun greed and give back that one state to opposition political parties (OPP). The SPLM-IG has no powers under the agreement to take what does not belong to them. Their mandates are well defined, and they should not cross the line.

The Writer is the Chairman of Lieh Community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own, and he can be reached for comments via eligodakb@yahoo.com


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