Contributor's Dak Buoth Opinion

Riek Machar and Salva Kiir: Who Starts the War Again?

By Dak Buoth,


Former First Vice President of South Sudan and rebel leader Riek Machar (L) shakes hands with South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C), flanked by Second Vice President of South Sudan James Wani Igga (R), after the formation of the new cabinet of the Transitional Government at the Cabinet Affairs Ministry in Juba on April 29, 2016. (Photo Credit: ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former First Vice President of South Sudan and rebel leader Riek Machar (L) shakes hands with South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C), flanked by Second Vice President of South Sudan James Wani Igga (R), after the formation of the new cabinet of the Transitional Government at the Cabinet Affairs Ministry in Juba on April 29, 2016. (Photo Credit: ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

27th, September, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — On 12th September, 2018, the whole world rejoices when the two main warring parties in South Sudan signed the IGAD brokered peace accord dubbed ‘Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS) in the Sudanese Capital, Khartoum.

Of course, there are many groups fighting for change in South Sudan. There is only one group fighting for the status quo that is the SPLM-IG led by President Salva Kiir. With the look of things, i think the war will persist until the status quo advocates and agitators give good reason why South Sudan should remain the way it is now. I believe there will never be good reason why we should remain the same.

Since the war erupted on 15th December 2013, many other people had thronged the bushes fighting on their own right to change the Juba based regime without necessarily being affiliated to the SPLM/A-IO led by the former vice President Dr. Riek Machar.

For instance we have the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) whose interim chairperson is Gabriel Changson. This coalition is an umbrella of several armed groups such as the South Sudan United movement (SSUM/A) led by Genenal Peter Gatdet Yaka.

A few days after the signing of peace agreement in Khartoum, fierce fighting started again between the armed forces loyal to President Salva and Dr. Riek Machar in Unity State and in most parts of Equatoria region.

At the moment, the fighting is still going on in the aforementioned areas and in other regions in South Sudan. Each time the fighting resumes, no group has ever accepted to have started the fighting, but none deny playing part in the fighting. Usually, they claim to have been attacked and that are fighting in self-defense. I can tell you for fact, denying responsibility is the characteristic of SPLM members.

The SPLM leaders including the late founding Chairman Dr. John Garang have not learnt to admit mistakes and move on. Since its inception in 1983, SPLM leaders have been fighting to deny taking tangible facts and responsibility for anything good or bad. In other words, anybody who often denies mistakes is simply saying he is not doing anything, because only an idle man can’t do mistake. And that is the reason why South Sudan is lagging behind in terms of development.

The sentiment you hear SPLM members saying every now and them is that: we are the liberators, we’re the ones who liberated South Sudan; we are the ones who fought for independence. Now the question every sound minded individual can ask is:  what have they liberated South Sudanese from when in fact the country is synonymous with disease, poverty and illiteracy.

I think these English words ‘liberation and liberators’ have been misinterpreted and abused in weird manner that can make English men become sick and vomit badly. Hence, I suggest the African Union and United Nations should donate enough dictionaries to anyone who purport to be member of SPLM. Independence is not just mere hoisting of flag, it is tangible achievement that changes and improves the plight of its citizenry.

As we converse, South Sudanese have become hungrier and poorer than ever before. Thus, our people had been reduced to beggars with little or no hope for the future. A majority of the South Sudanese populace has been left to fight and find food and jobs from humanitarian agencies operating in and outside the country. In other words, the country has become a refugee state when it was supposed to be a Human Rights state where civil liberties are not just granted but also protected by the state and the constitution.

Globally, South Sudan is known for war and abused of human rights. Nonetheless, the peace for South Sudan cannot be brought and achieved unless it is mediated by mediators who believe in peace and harmony.

The South Sudan peace was brokered by IGAD, which is a club of warriors and dictators. Can someone tell us which dictator has ever been a peace mediator from the likes of Adolf Hitler, Gaddafi, Yaya Jameh, Hosni Mubrak et cetera.

It is common knowledge that President Museveni and President Bashir are not known for peace but oppression and suppression of dissenting voices in their respective countries.

The former refuses to make peace with LRA leader Joseph Kony, and the latter does not want to make peace with SPLM North and the Darfur Rebel, Justice and Equality movement. And those of us who stay around know that President Uhuru Kenyatta IGAD Rapportuer on Peace in South Sudan is not a good peace maker in Kenya. Couple of months ago, Right Honorable Raila Odinga had to plead and persuade him to accept handshake after he contested alone in the last election.

Furthermore, President Paul Kagame is the worse of all; he is best known for arresting opposition leader and so on and so forth. The only peace maker we know is none other than Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiya Mohamed. He is one of the persons we can trust because he talks and walks by peace day and night. He has demonstrated his love for peace and unity by what they did recently when he reconciled with Eritrea Leader Isaias Afrewerki.

In a nutshell, the answer to the question why and who started the war between Riek Machar and Salva Kiir is this: At the moment, the opposition armed forces led by Riek Machar does not have enough weapon and ammunitions, and by virtue of that they cannot start the war again.

They only have a few weapons which they can use to defend themselves from the government forces.  On the other hand, Salva Kiir has enough weaponry to launch the war both on ground and air.

President Kiir’s side has money to purchase weapon, and on top of that, he is being assisted by Uganda Peoples defense forces since December 15th 2013.

In the recent past, many reports had been released indicating that the 2016 war was started by forces of Salva Kiir. Riek Machar at the time went to Juba with few thousand Forces with light weapons and little logistics.

You will certainly agree that in 2016, Salva Kiir forces started fighting because he was afraid that the peace implementation would result to justice and accountability owing to the atrocities his forces have committed in broad day light. An old adage says ‘‘guilty are always afraid’’.

On 15th December 2015, he started the war as a way to block democratic election that was due in 2015. He now purports to be the president of South Sudan by force of armed, and he is ruling South Sudanese by duress.

The obvious reason why he could start war again is the same fear that he hold in his mind. Perhaps he believes that this peace is a trap to his arrest for war crimes that he financed and abetted. Believe it or not, President Salva Kiir is the only person in South Sudan who has a reason to fight and start war.

The Writer is the Chairman of Unity State community in Kenya. The views expressed here are his own; he can be reached for comment via eligodakb@yahoo.com      

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