Opinion: How S. Sudan leaders denied their people their demands and confused them on the states impasse

By Moses R. Lat

President Yoweri Museveni, Prime Minister Abdalftah Alburhan of Sudan, President Salva Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and, His Excellency Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya's Special Envoy on South Sudan posting for a picture after the Summit in Entebbe(Photo credit: State House/Uganda)
President Yoweri Museveni, Prime Minister Abdalftah Alburhan of Sudan, President Salva Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and, His Excellency Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya’s Special Envoy on South Sudan posting for a picture after the Summit in Entebbe(Photo credit: State House/Uganda)

February 11th 2020 (Nyamilepedia)It’s almost seven years of civil war since the crises happened in 2013, only two years after the independent of July 9th 2011, where by the people of South Sudan were happy and celebrates hoping, only to get what they didn’t expect from their leaders who supposed to safely take them to the promise land. Many South Sudanese citizen thought life would changes and shall be totally free from oppression if they would separate from Muslim majority in the North against marginalized mostly Christian believers in the South.

On July 2011, all South Sudanese across the country and everywhere they are in the world went to the polls and casted their votes which grants them a status that changed their life and nationality forever. The 99% votes for secession were just celebrating what has become the anguish and sorrow, in which I believe most of 99% who voted for separation on that very big day are now regretted and wish if given another chance to ask whether they would remain in South Sudan or go back to Sudan, you wouldn’t surprise if majority of those who voted for secession are again could votes against secession, because their demands and expectations are denied and nulled by their leaders.

Three day ago the Eritrea President Mr Essayas Afewerki, on live interviews conducted on Eritrean national Television, and I “quote” it was a great mistake for South Sudan to secede from Sudan. I believed his regrets wasn’t far from what the citizen of South Sudan are thinking at the moment after seeing their leaders are only playing a game of states numbering, and what each party could get from power sharing in the coming of unity government.

This is completely not the interest of their people of South Sudan, instead the people need their leaders to talks about boundaries demarcation of 1-1-156 first, before rushing to create a numbers of states and to agree on the figures of the population that would determine the state include geographical locations, not to confuse the public by playing games of numbers and disturbs what supposed to be the final chance for peaceful resolution to the conflict of South Sudan.

People are strongly want their leaders to define and demarcates the borders that would reduce the tension which already happened as the result of land disputes between the peaceful neighbors.

The people of South Sudan suffered lot and tired of long conflicts and many other challenges facing them during the 21 years of struggled and the current conflicts which many people called it a senseless war, while others called it tribal war. The people of South Sudan need only peace and solution to ongoing civil war instead of leaders to fights over the numbers of states.

Currently South Sudan become a fights club where by all of sixty-four (64) tribes are turning against each other, killing themselves in every corner across the country, in which the villagers are not save because of cattle raiders and revenge killing, while the unknown guns men are busy eliminating people in the capital city of Juba.

There is a confusion among South Sudanese and the question of who their real hunters or enemies are? Before then, during the liberation struggled, South Sudanese have a common enemy which they all identified and fought with, till they liberated themselves through the guns and ballots.

But very unfortunate the current enemy isn’t yet known to the citizen of South Sudan, until they will know that their main enemies are their own leaders, this is where another freedom and the real independent be achieved by the people of South Sudanese. If youth and ordinary citizen say no to war that imposed to them by politicians and denied to be used by their tribal leaders for personal gain, then the country will have peace, love and unity include patriotisms will definitely dwell among the South Sudanese people.

Because, the killing and hatred among South Sudanese tribes has been engineered by politicians, especially the former Arabs collaborators and former SPLA rebel commanders who turned to be politicians immediately after the independent of the country, some of these politicians are only assuming the responsibility, they either have little knowledge or didn’t go to the formal schools.

This has created a wider gap and lacking of expertise to carry on the development agenda in the country because they are either outdated or semi-literates. In this situation, there is no doubt that most of the current politicians are not informs or no knowledge at all, how to develop the country, that was the reason they – the politicians created the current mess to survive in, instead of utilizing the resources the country have.

They are sadly sat over the resource and wait only the ripped banana and called their tribal youth to fight over and then the poor youth died blindly, despite the fact that the resource we have in our country can feed the whole region if utilized by knowledgeable people, not only South Sudan which is less than 13 million.

Such politicians resorted to maintain their status quo, through ethnic grouping and inciting violence among youth to keep them in power. It’s very true that most of South Sudanese are suffered in the hands of their leaders, the hope to free themselves from oppression and benefits from their resources are denied only the politicians and cattle wrestlers who are the most beneficiaries in the current mess.

Their hope and expectations was to have a federalism and their government to implement the ideas of the late Dr John Garang, of taking town to people, this was completely hijacked by the leaders and trade their interest by creating numbers of states with pretext of people’s demands.

The IO came up with the proposal of 21 states which I don’t think, was the best idea to meet the need of people of South Sudan, because some of other bigger states which needs to be divided to two or more, like Unity State was left to be 1 and created other new States claiming to be colonial districts. Again the government came up with creation of 28 and later 32 with degree which added again the salts to the wounds instead of learning from reaction of land owners.

Such creation of States has become the main problem, but this should be the concern of the citizen whose their land are annexed to other communities. if the leaders wanted to solve the problem of land, they would have demarcate the boundaries of 10 states and create more later, and this could help South Sudanese people to freely decide what be the best for them instead of leaders to plays with figures to prolong war that has claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 and displaced 4.2 million, according to Unite Nation and still there are chances for warring parties to go back to war because the peace negotiators are yet to agree on numbers of many issues in the peace revitalize agreement.

What the people of South Sudan don’t know was that Addis Abba and other countries their leaders are visiting are just for tours, the peace they were looking is not from those countries, peace is with in their hearts, until the people of South Sudan say no to tribal war imposed to them by these politicians and cease blindly supporting to their tribal leaders.

The handshake of President Salva kiir and his former Vice President Dr Riek Machar,and the kissing of pope, was completely different with the handshakes of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga of Kenya, these two leaders brought hope and peaceful settlements to their people and healed the wounds inflicted to them by post-election violent of 2017. The two leaders surprised the world by coming publicly and call a normal greeting a handshake, which wasn’t mediated by anybody, just simply to save the life of their people they love. I also like their motto that they both Kenyatta and Odinga used to say that Kenya in greater then he leaders.

But it took years for President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Dr Riek Machar to shake hands after the conflict of 2013, this alone indicate that there is a phobia between the two leaders, and this suspicion was the main problem which let many agreement failed including intervention of Pope who struggled to bow down and kissed their feet and wept before them.

You can’t understand really why these the two leaders are not compromising for the sake of their people and response the suffering of every child and the woman of South Sudan? Both have children and wives they love, I wander why it’s hard for them to forgive themselves and respect God who created South Sudan and her people like their families too.

The people of South Sudan are completely confused of what their leaders wants, both are claiming to response the demands of the people of South Sudan, instead to demarcate the boundary of 1956 according to the colonial boundaries and then implement the federal system as the real demands for the citizen of South Sudan, in which if you ask 5 or group of 10 people, at least you might get 60% to 70 % would tell you that they are in the idea of federalism.

I have an opinions that if President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the former vice President Dr Riek Machar have really seen the suffering of their people, let them discuss only two things instead to confuse the public.

First, to demarcate the boundaries of South Sudan according to colonial boundaries of 1-1 1956, so that the people of South Sudan knows their borders and who their neighbors are.

Secondly, to implement the demands of the people of South Sudan, and introduce the federal which can have a complete independent institutions that shall distribute the resource equitably, not the centralization system of our current government which centralize the resources and retain powers in the Centre.

Whether most of readers will agree or disagree with me, these two issues are the main concern which our leaders ignored and I believes these are the problems longing the current conflict our country.

The writer, is a former SPLA fighter and journalist, he can be reached via: ruailatmose@yahoo.com

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