Contributor's South Sudan

When Killing Becomes More Affordable Than Celebrating Independence!

By Justin Ambago Ramba,

SPLA-Kiir soldiers shooting at the internally displaced persons in Juba on July 10, 2016(Photo: file)

July 11, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– Even by South Sudan’s own standards, the people remain baffled by their President’s weird decision to choose a return to war as a celebratory gift for his people in this month of July 2016 which marks the country’s fifth Independence Anniversary.

Unfortunately that isn’t quite the end of the story. The truth is that, the five years of independence has been marked by corruption, incompetence and lawlessness. The leaders even find no shame in openly declaring their lack of readiness to celebrate   the country’s fifth independence anniversary because all the money has been spent on war gadgets, lethal weapons, and helicopter gunships.

When fighting broke out in Juba on Friday 8 July just hours ahead of the fifth Independence Day commemorations, there were many people who were not surprised that the fragile peace deal had broken down. It provided even more evidence for those wanting to believe that there will never be peace in South Sudan and crushed the hopes of those believing that peace could one day come.

Characteristic of a failing centre of power, it came as a little surprise even after finding itself in this embarrassing situation – completely unable to pay salaries of workers and professionals for months and months   and unable to spend on independence anniversary celebrations, President Kiir and his loyal ministers undeniably became mentally crippled.

No wonder they all failed to react quickly enough to prevent the country from sliding back to civil war following the half-heartedly formed transitional government of national unity. All the writings are on the wall for them to read, yet they chose not to.

Now based on the realities on the ground in Juba, South Sudan’s capital city and the seat of its transitional government of national unity, it hardly needs to be a political scientist to concluded that like peace and democracy, the future of the August 2015 Agreement for Resolution of the Conflicts in South Sudan is hang by a thread in this troubled country.

As of now the republic of South Sudan is at the verge of collapse unless of course there is some divine intervention. The renewed fighting in the country probably marks the end of the last chapter in the implementation of the peace agreement signed in August 2015.

As of now, and all rhetoric aside, the country has no responsible government in place. The fighting between the two factions who essentially formed the military component of the country’s divided transitional government of national unity  institutions,  have for all practical purposes long been rendered non-operational  as of Saturday 9th July 2016.

In short anarchy and absence of the rule of Law are now the orders of the day in the country. This may likely continue to be the case until further notice –  or sometime to come when Almighty God, the Saviour Lord, chooses to re-bless the people of South Sudan again.

The reasons why the country is on its way back to an all-out far , the nationwide is because President Salva Kiir is not in position to implement the August 2015 Peace Agreement.

If every peace loving South Sudanese believes that the August 2015 Peace Agreement indeed offers the country with a second chance to come out of its conflicts, then they better reconsider President Salva Kiir’s position on the  agreement. Maybe it’s important to recall that President Kiir was very clear when he signed the August 2015 peace agreement and said that it could not be implemented.

In his own words, President Salva Kiir told the IGAD heads of state at the signing ceremony that the agreement was not made to be implemented. For those who have ears knew from day one that president Kiir wasn’t going to implement the very agreement that he was ‘ forced’ to sign  when he detailed design flaws with the arrangement, saying that the structure of the transitional government of national unity “could be inevitably confrontational”.

He concluded by saying that “(T)he eminent result of trying to implement this agreement would be the total disintegration of the country.”

Of course President Kiir wanted to eat his cake and still have it, and that’s where he went wrong. Looking back from today, one can say that Kiir was   aware of the risk he faced in trying to keep the hardliners in his camp on side, while he compromises to implement the agreement.

It is now easy to conclude that all the foot dragging by Kiir in the implementation of the August 2015 and the subsequent return of the country to an all-out war at the back drop of the ongoing violence has not only proven that the peace deal has collapsed but it has also proven another important fact that Kiir has no control over his camp – both politicians and army generals. This is probably the central reason why President Kiir can never implement this peace deal.

So when the  suffering masses in South Sudan, especially those who have been displaced  once or twice or several time , or those who have lost one or several of their loved ones or those who have lost their wealth of entire livelihoods hear  the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) issuing routine statements like:

“We have urged South Sudan’s leaders to operationalize the security arrangements in the agreement, particularly by establishing Joint Integrated Police units to patrol Juba, empowering the Joint Operations Centre to ensure communication and coordination between forces in Juba, and directing the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission to operate continuously”.

Or the African Union Chairperson saying:

“The peace partners should start working with the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), chaired by H.E. Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana, to ensure scrupulous adherence to the transitional security arrangements”.

The people of South Sudan are left to think that these organisations are not serious given the fact that they have said the same things over and over again to no effect.

They are also likely to conclude that the thugs now turned rulers in South Sudan are indeed invincible creatures since neither the IGAD and the African Union (AU) on one side nor or the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the other end are capable of holding them accountable for the destructions they continue to inflict on these poor and helpless souls.

This time around the statements coming from both the United Nations Security Council and the African Union must be decisive and better still be followed by immediate actions. What the South Sudanese masses need at this crucial moment is action to set the country right.

Unfortunately all that we hear now is rhetoric which only emboldens the dictator and his cronies to continue with impunity and impede any attempts for the peaceful settlement to the country’s multi-faceted conflicts  while unremorsefully   destroying  innocent lives.

Under the very watchful eyes of the international community President Salva Kiir and his chief of staff were still able to unleash their ethnically skewed SPLA soldiers to spread terror and havoc over the city of Wau in the Western Bahr Ghazal.

A house to house ethnic cleansing of the Fertit ethnic minorities was carried out by the president’s loyalist militiamen and SPLA troops, very identical to the Juba massacre of December 2013 in its execution, cover up and preparation.

With these entire tract records one can rightly say that the international community for reasons only known it, has chosen to entrust the implementation of the so- called peace agreement to a president who isn’t even in peace with himself to begin with!

The realities in South Sudan are exceptionally bitter. Everything is in a state of a free fall – from the national currency to the societal values, the human dignity and the virtues. It is true that under a deranged leadership, a country with a collapsing economy can find it more affordable to kill its own citizens than provide them with the simplest form of independence anniversary celebrations for a hard won independence. This is now a lived reality in South Sudan!

Author: Dr Justin Ambago Ramba. Reachable at: Justin_ramba@aol.co.uk

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