By Santino Ayual Bol.
July 3rd 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – The four page peace document that President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr.Riek Machar inked on the 27th June 2018 in Khartoum dubbed by the Khartoum mediators as “Khartoum Declaration of Agreement Between Parties of the Conflict of South Sudan” lifts the collective spirit, morale, and hopes of the war affected South Sudanese citizens and people of good will inside the country and across the globe as an indication of a better peaceful future in the offing in the country.
The hullabaloos and “ Ana Sudani “ carefully selected Arab music which some South Sudanese Arab-English speakers in the hall sang comically and with hilarious giggles because it literally means “ I’m a Sudanese, I’m tall, I’m beautiful, I’m handsome, I’m hardworking, etc I’m a Sudanese” because we are not Sudanese anymore or we are becoming ones again!. All these funny over joys in Khartoum notwithstanding, South Sudanese citizens in refugee camps in neighboring countries, POCs (Protection of Civilians camps), villages, and towns inside South Sudan tepidly welcomed the signature of that peace document with a soothing sigh of relief.
Any positive step forward in search of a true peace taken with good intention is always good and welcome. It once again shows to the whole world that after all we South Sudanese are a rational people and can come out better and strong of any difficult situation and survive again like it as has been the case in the history of mankind East, West, North, South and Centre of the human inhabited hemisphere. USA survived the “ Great Civil War from (1861-1864), Europe survived and came out reformed and moralized after a series of devastating wars ( Napoleonic wars of conquests 1800 – 1815 , World War One 1914-1918, and World War Two 1939- 1945).
There were wars and there are wars in the Middle East and human beings there have not lost hope in their dignity and their prosperous peaceful futures. The rest of free and independent Africa of 53 states seemed to have survived the roaring sixties, seventies, and part of eighties which were heavily fraught with wars of independence, military coups d’etats and economic maladministration with trial and error steps. Africa’s No 54 young state will be no exception. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah one time prophetically foretold during the independence Celebration of Ghana formerly known as The Gold Coast that “For better or worse Africa is free forever”. South Sudan is free forever.
It is un-African to immediately start to talk about the physical beauty of a new born child the same day of its delivery in an African village because what one immediately observes and rush to comment can definitely belie what may transpire during adolescent and flowering stage of youth-hood of that particular child. It may be difficult to predict now whether the first step of peace which has been inked on the 27th June 2018 in Khartoum, the capital of the Arab-Islamic Republic of the Sudan, is either good or bad. In fact it can only be said that it is a sign of a positive move in the right direction.
South Sudan Alliance of armed Opposition parties (SSOA) saw logic in peaceful settlement of the conflict and appended their signature to it in a “better late than never” fashion. Perhaps tears and silent prayers of children and widows in South Sudan for genuine peace are working. The self-exiled mother of the black nation Mama Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior praised the positive atmosphere in the peace venue in Khartoum and hoped for the best to come. The humble South Sudanese people too across the country hope for the best gift of peace from their leaders.
“Peace will once more bless our land with the enchanting ululations of women and happy giggling of children who are excited in one way or another” by Dr.John Garang during the signature of the CPA( Comprehensive Peace Agreement). Sure if our leaders bring true peace nothing will prevent our land and innocent people from being happy again perhaps even more than ever before. It only requires best intentioned patriotic leaders to take their countries to certain heights. History is awash with such leaders all over the world including Africa.
The pitfalls that need serious consideration and that should be avoided to make this peace around the corner to succeed and be different from its formerly tried and failed predecessors are as follows:
- South Sudanese political leaders in the peace negotiation process should be allowed substantial time and honor to intensively and extensively negotiate their issues and usher a peace that will last forever. This should be the war to end all wars. The last war. Our children should not witness the ordeals of self-inflicted war again after this mindless one.
- Foreigners should be better advised not to stealthily sneak in their selfish interests into the South Sudanese peace agreement as was the case with 2015 Agreement to resolve Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) by mediators and representatives of international organizations like UN, AU, IGAD, and ambassadors of neighboring countries. South Sudanese are by nature intelligent people and can decipher who has best intention for peace in South Sudan and who are the hyenas lurking around the peace negotiation wanting to hoodwink them through it. There are many disgusting articles and paragraphs inserted in 2015 ARCISS with foreign undertones. One can read 2015 ARCISS to prove this assertion.
- The articles that talked about inviting Sudan troops to protect the oil fields in Khartoum Peace Declaration on the 27th June 2018 should be immediately scrapped and thrown into the rubbish dustbin quickly. Peace is being negotiated and if it will be signed between the government and the rebels in South Sudan, where does the threat to oil operation come from again such that it should warrant Sudan bringing its troops into our land again? No. There should be no such a talk during the negotiation of peace in Khartoum. In fact threat to oil comes directly and squarely from Sudan itself not from our Southern or eastern neighbors. History of South Sudan is full of incidents where Sudan has been trying openly and secretly to control the oil fields in South Sudan and make them its own territories. The present Abiei stalemate, Ufur Nias, Kafia Kingi, Mile 14/Kiir Adem, Panthou/Heglig clashes of 2012, redrawing of border line from Rebek to beyond Jebeleen to now Joda/Wunthou in Northern Upper Nile State are but few live examples listed here.
- There should be short interim periods this time round during the Khartoum Peace Negotiation. South Sudanese are tired of pre-transition periods, transition periods, interim periods, time and again. The current political elite wants to steal time and resources from us the citizens the custodians of power and owners of the resources they are misappropriating in the country. Ninety day pre-transition period and eighteen month transition period are acceptable so that the people reclaim their legitimate universal adult right to vote and choose their leaders through regular periodical democratic elections. The current crop of leaders in the country from all the political spectrums are illegitimate. The agreement being discussed should guarantee the freedom of political party formation and operation.
- The issue of the three capital cities Juba, Malakal, and Wau is a non-starter. It has never been an issue and South Sudanese did not ask for it. It is a foreign strategy to sow the seed of disintegration of South Sudan as a country.
- Last but not least the agreement should not recklessly invite foreign forces into the country without proper timeline of when they should come and when they should leave, what their mandate/functions should be vis-a- vis our national armed forces. The country is already suffocating with foreign troops from all over the world from mixed origins such as UNMISS troops, RPF( Regional Protection Force created by 2015 ARCISS), IGAD, and now SAF( Sudan Armed Forces by Khartoum Peace Declaration) warming up to unilaterally invite itself into South Sudan to protect the oil fields from itself. Ah! Funny indeed! We need our uncle Hon.Molana Michael Makuei to tell us his side of the story. What are Arab troops coming to do in our motherland again when peace is being negotiated and is sure to come home soon?
In a nutshell, South Sudanese people are now hopeful again of better days of jubilation and love ahead as a result of yesterday’ events in Khartoum. Our leaders should maintain the momentum, courage and statesmanship they have once again rekindled for the Republic of South Sudan and its people. If we look back with the sincerest of hearts and minds on the current war and ask ourselves who really benefited from this evil war which mysteriously erupted on the eve of the 15th December 2013? The answer is big” NONE”. We all lost immensely and badly and this cannot continue ad infinito.
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