Opinion: Who to blame over deadlock on the outstanding issues

By Nhial Gatkuoth Chung

Kiir, Machar after meeting in J1 (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

January 29th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan conflict that flared in December 2013 as a result of political tension within the SPLM party had shown us the real attitudes of our leaders, the current mess would have been avoided if our leaders paused and collectively redefined the objectives that South Sudanese massively fought for during the liberation struggle. The objectives were to have a total freedom, justice, equality and prosperity but the opposite is true today, the freedom has been taken away, the justice has been thwarted and the prosperity turns to forceful movements of the people to the camps both inside and outside the country. Who takes the blame on this? SPLM

Political and socioeconomic marginalization that the South Sudanese had gone through during those dark days in the hands of Arabs served as a uniting factor for many of us then, South Sudanese saw themselves as brothers and sisters regardless of their tribal background, but the current regime has done more harm than good to our social fabrics, our communities are sharply divided than before, hate, killing and looting of other people belongings are sown in our midst as a result of poor leadership, tribal politics dominated national issues. Patronage networks coupled with rule of guns has brought our country to its knee. Our innocent people are made to believe that tribes are far better than having one nation in our diversity just to secure support from a tribe. Who takes the blame on this? SPLM

2013 crisis ruined the unity that was built over the years by South Sudanese when we were fighting Arabs for our independence, our enemy was one, we shared the same destiny, we had the prospects for better South Sudan for all where everyone will be treated equally but all those prospects were intentionally shattered by the same leaders plunging the country to abyss in which many innocent South Sudanese were killed, displaced and their properties destroyed, who takes the blame on this? Of course SPLM

The ongoing discussions over the outstanding issues of the revitalized peace agreement is another setback that will test the attitudes and political maturity of our leaders. The formation of the revitalized government of national unity was extended twice because some of the chapters in the Pre-transitional were not fully implemented. Training of unified force in the security arrangement is very crucial and determination of number states boundaries but some quarters within the circle are making it hard to achieve that, they are working days and nights to fail the process and the SPLM takes the blame on that

Retrospectively, the opposition under the leadership of Riek Machar purposed 21 federal states based on post-colonial administrative districts, during negotiations, the proposal was outlined and brought up for discussion in the peace talks, the government defiantly refused the proposal to be embodied in agenda but moved on to support the popular ten states, the opposition withdrew the proposal and signed the agreement with the government based on ten states, a couples of months later, president kiir gerrymandered the existing ten states to mini tribal enclaves from ten states to 28 states and added four more states thereafter to make a total of 32 states in the breach of the agreement(ARCSS) they signed. He operationalized the 32 states by appointing the governors. The move was seen as dishonesty from the government and it has continued to maintain the 32 states. All under the SPLM,

It’s an open secret that Kiir will never drop his controversial 32 states come rain or shine as stated by his close associates. The true color of the regime was clearly exhibited and brought to light by the president’s press secretary Ateny Wek, when he said, “ no amount of pressure under the sun will make president Kiir to pick up a pen and writes on a paper revoking the 32 states, Micheal Makuei, the government official spokesman reiterated the same position, and he once said, “ president Kiir is not ready in any way to work with Dr. Riek Machar again in the upcoming government , all those rhetoric are clear examples of the real attitudes of our leaders towards peace.

When president kiir issued in 2015 an executive order No 36 establishing new states, South Sudanese were not consulted on the number of states they want, the same way he created the states should be the same path he should revoke them. The notion that it’s a popular demand is only sung by those who that are/were mobilized to do so. The number of states and the system of governance should be collectively determined and decided by the South Sudanese themselves without any political party taking upper hand in decision making. In response to the ongoing discussions on number of states boundaries between the two principals, government mobilized and ordered the governors of 32 states including innocent children and disabled people who are not benefiting or even don’t have any idea about the states to come out in protest to support the unpopular 32 states, this in itself shows that the government doesn’t care and not ready to restore tranquility in the country.

The ball is now in the court of the oppositions that signed the agreement either to succumb to what Kiir wants or boycott the formation of the R-TOGNU come February 2020 until final agreement on the outstanding issues is amicably reached.

The deputy president of South Africa who is in charge of states issue is just adding more salt to injury. His main role is broadly defined by the regime to underpin the tune that government plays. His proposal of referring the matter to the arbitration is automatically extending RTOGUN formation period beyond February dateline, factually, his effort will not yield any tangible fruits as long as Kiir and South Africa interest is concerned. We have a long way to go as long as SPLM is in charge of our affairs.

The author is a concerned citizen and can be reached via: nhialnyarok@gmail.com

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