By Dak Buoth Riek Gaag,
3rd September, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Allow me to reiterate a quote that I shared in the last article dated 1st August 2014, titled Honor our Martyrs with Peace and Justice Salutations, ‘‘Self-criticism, criticism of one‘s leader, one‘s political party, one ‘s faith and one‘s government is the only genuine expression of loyalty and the utmost display of patriotism, In the same way however, all expressions of public criticism must be delivered in a tone or with an intention which does not destroy the character of those criticized but rather to enliven and encourage them to mend their ways into exemplary service; for all positive criticisms are usually accompanied with suggestions for alternatives action;
Last Friday 29th, I got the first text from a comrade that Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the chief peace Negotiator for the south Sudanese Armed opposition will brief the populace on Saturday at Methodist Guest House starting 10:00am. That Same night before I retired for bed, several other colleagues also relayed the same message carrying similar information. I equally forwarded the text to not less than seven people some of whom attended the conference.
My prior speculations of the event
As somebody who yearns for rapid restoration of peace and reconciliation in south Sudan, I went home that day and slept very early as part of my preparation bearing in mind that the event will require attentive focus as well as constructive participation.
I was speculating three things from the conference, first to meet face to face with my former state Governor Gen. Taban. The last time I met him was on 8th April 2013 at Serena Hotel Nairobi when he came to Kenya accompanying his erstwhile President Gen. Mayardit to attend President Uhuru Kenyatta Inauguration before the latter axed him from his gubernatorial post. Secondly, i went enthusiastically to hear how committed they are to restoring meaningful peace in south Sudan. Third was to tell them where they dismally performed and perhaps offers suggestions where deem fit.
Things they ought to improve on
The following day at about 7:30am after warming up my belly, I boarded the bus and arrived in the meeting hall at exactly 11:00am. The man I found at the door directed me to a seat at the second from row. Before I could get settle and exhale my last breath to finally join the sea of men and women who had arrived early that morning. I first made four turns; I look right, left, backward and sideways and got a one general look at those who had seated before me.
Thereafter, I combatively stared at the men chairing the meeting and found Gen. Taban Deng who was reported to do the briefing missing. I again speedily made a glimpse at the back side and found the room is tiny room without proper ventilation. Disadvantageously, I felt disgusted when I failed to find nearby a comrade who could whisper me what transpired prior to my arrival to keep me on track.
Truly, those who came after me stood outside in the rain for lack of space double twice the number of those who had seated inside the hall. I wondered whether it’s the inadequacy of funds that barred them from hiring a spacious hall or it’s just that they doubt whether good number of people will turn up or not?
Meetings of such nature in cities like Nairobi required certified arrangement and held at spacious place with visible podium where speakers can do their presentation while upright with audible microphones even if there is no water for everybody in the hall. When I inquired after the meeting, why Gen. Taban didn’t show up? Some weirdly lied that he was in another meeting with some Kenya government officials within the city. Others said perhaps the organizers are just using his name to attract large crowd which to me hold the truth. Then I asked myself, if they are looking for huge crowd, why can’t they hire a spacious hall to accommodate the crowd they wanted?
Regrettably, it’s the second time a scenario of the sort happened. Early in may this year, similar information was conveyed that Gen. Alfred Lado Gore was going to addressed south Sudanese youth along gong road Nairobi. Up to the last minutes of that event Gen. Alfred Gore never appeared at the said function. Correctly, as continue moving along this course, it is pertinent for a movement that calls itself revolutionary and purport to represents pragmatic reforms to refrain from such rhetoric in any approach. They ought to reflect authentic face of honesty, openness and clarity of thoughts in all manner of engagements with south Sudanese generality.
Federalism incomplete and cannot……
Irrespective of aforementioned hurdles, they deserved applause for routinely keeping south Sudanese in the Diaspora intact with the peace process brokered in Addis Ababa unlike the Juba Guys who have chosen not to talk to anybody other than themselves; we should appreciate them openly without any reservation.
A notable achievement was the federalism agenda which the IGAD have now opted to adopt in its protocol to be use in restructuring the state, though I still hold the view that federalism agenda is still incomplete and incomplete agenda cannot be implemented, until Unity State is divided into two or more states, it will further wait little longer pending the same. We want Liech state within unity state comprising of greater Nyoung, Mayandit, Leer and Koch with its capital in leer or anywhere considered strategic and accessible by the residents.
There are three counties in unity state that ought to be divided to really reflect federalism and to make it absolute and viable for implementation. Panyijiar county ought to be fractured into East and south, also Mayom county should undergo the same surgery and by extension Parieng county. I know retrogressive and political blindfolded readers will accused me saying hoo! Hoo! This is a divisive views, it is not that, it got to do with devolving resources by reducing economic inequalities, and transferring centered powers to the grassroots populace.
Rescission to sign recent protocol justifiable
In that Briefing, I got impressed with how meticulous and articulate they spelled the peace process including what made their leader rescinded from signing peace accord on 28th last month. Procedurally, it is not normal for one to append a signature to a document before getting himself acquainted with its content.
I have seen the same document signed by IGAD head of states including the envoys that brokered the peace deal. It is shallow document whose aim is to temporarily cease the current hostility rather than deeply unraveling the roots causes of the conflict and to bring permanent and lasting solution.
It further aimed at ferrying back the opposition leaders to the government; which indeed epitomizes their ignorance that this conflict occurred because the armed opposition leaders were sacked from the government midst last year; and to them, they believed if they can find them places in government perhaps this problem would be over. This demonstrated incompetence on the side of IGAD and it clearly bring out African unpreparedness to solve African problems.
Splm-in-O wants to reap what it did not sow using IGAD as scapegoat
However, they (SPLM-IO) ought to roll up their socks if at all they going to ascertain any advantageous or favorable share against the Juba regime in the forthcoming peace talk. When I was listening to Prof. Nathaniel Oyet, the chairperson of Political mobilization and former juba university don, Changson Liew Chang and Idris Agrrey, they were full of enormous knowledge in so as far south Sudan problems are concern. They were full of intellect, passion and undoubted readiness to propel the country and subsequently reverse the system its current spilling political anarchy.
They must further realize that nothing come in silver plate particularly when dealing with an agenda to do with social-political change in the country. Am certain the reasons that led them took up arms is something they are well conversant with. They are dealing with stooge regime similar to a regime Monseir Meyer referred to in the French National assembly century and half ago, he said French colony in Algeria have declared insensible to ethic, a group which represent not only the absence of values, but negation of values and admits that they are enemies to human values destroying all that comes near them. They are anti-reform elements disfiguring all that come with reform. They are depositories of maleficent powers, the unconscious and irretrievable instrument of blind forces.
Surprisingly, throughout the conference, their arguments revolve around IGAD being biased arbiter. That it had favored their opponents against them.
Yes, it is indeed true that their opponents are favored against them, this come because the SPLM-in-O had no military strength due to the fact that their military in the ground had no control over strategic territory inside south Sudan. Therefore they cannot expect IGAD to allow them reap what they did sowed or used it as scapegoat for their failure.
That said they rejected IGAD’s proposed unity government arrangement that maintains the president as head of state and commander in chief of the army force with his deputy; that they further disagreed with the proposed position of the prime minister with two deputies with impertinent role of being head of government. That; they anticipated to see a unity government with president without a vice and prime minister without two deputies and to be head of government. I see it will be better for the latter to accept overthrow than to accept that arrangement that was what they meant by red line.
Usually, in honest peace process, parties to disputes do make compromises because it’s impractical for either party to have all their interests adhere to. They only toil to ensure a middle ground is created for the sake of cohesive reunion and harmonies workable operation. But for a fact, the share given to any party to conflict always depends on the weight it held. If the mediators see that one party to conflict appeared underdog, it will definitely get what match its weight. As such, the SPLM-in-O only needs to work out its strategies well for it to get a favorable share in any proposed unity government. They have to be mindful that what will please them is something they themselves created and not in the IGAD table. They can even learn from their opponents who are very much investing in weaponry and war tactics rather than in political struggling.
I wondered what they are doing in those hiding places like Ethiopia, Kenya and in Khartoum while the revolution is being fought in south Sudan. Their continued stay in those hiding places cast doubt whether they know how far this revolution has come, what the people have endured over the last eight months, and how far it still has to go to overcome the challenges that lie ahead of them. They should redo in-depth and further formulate structured planning method that will evaluate their strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
With their current complacency, I doubt whether they understand or realized the movement‘s strength or characteristics that give its an advantage over their opponents? Do they look or examine weakness or the movement’s disadvantage relative to their opponents? Do they look or feel the available abundant opportunities that they could exploit to its advantages? Do they considered dangers, challenges their supporters had already experienced and likely to continue to face? Are they aware of the mistakes and blunders the movement‘s leadership had deliberately done so far in their approaches and engagements including appointments of chairpersons whom they have selected to serve in the movement in various capacities both regionally, home and abroad. I don’t know their position are in term of building human capacity particularly in the aspect of military training and by extension political training for in revolution it is not a question of pulling a trigger but rather to create fair and just society using all mean possible.
Opinions I uttered in that conference
Irrefutably, like I said in that conference, throughout the world, peace and development have remained the dominant theme of our times and south Sudan is not an exception. Citizenry from all corners of our republic have been raising their voices in favor of peace and development and against war and poverty.
Thus, whatever we do in our quest to end this anarchy must not contravene aforesaid living aspirations. Peace in south Sudan will not be achieve by change of guards, it got to do with accountability, Equality in the way national cake is distributed, justice and restructuring of state governance sectors and further formulate a constitution that shall be centered in the people.
Currently, there are three existing political authorities that our political crisis may likely fall under. First is the Gambian precedent where the post colonial Gambian president Sir Dawda Jawara who Rule for three decades was ousted by the incumbent President Lt. Gen. Yahya Jameh who was then the young General in the military. They testified recently that Gambian stood up that year not to revenge but to correct the rotten system and reconciliation took center stage thereafter. But to do as Gambian did, it require the efforts of every south Sudanese citizen and not section of the society as already witnessed looking at other foreign interests that have so far taken roots.
The second precedent will be the Kenyan way where unity government was established through the help of Africa Union chaired by former United Nation secretary General Kopi Anan. The third will be the Madagascar precedent where the two protagonists Ardry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomana were ordered by southern African body SADC to step aside to pave way for smooth transition after long political instability in Madagascar.
The writer is a student; he can be reach via firstname.lastname@example.org