Opinion Peace Process

The Deployment Of The SPLA-IO To Juba: A Vital Nail For Roofing Down The Peace

By Gatgong Koang Thany,

150 SPLA-IO forces, who just returned to the capital, board a convoy to their barack in the capital(Photo: file/Nyamilepedia)
150 SPLA-IO forces, who just returned to the capital, board a convoy to their barack in the capital(Photo: file/Nyamilepedia)

April 02, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- On the 21st of December 2015, at around 7:30PM, a jet carrying the armed opposition (SPLM/A-IO) advance team touched down at Juba’s international airport, the advance team of the SPLM-IO was under the able leadership of Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the lead Negotiator of Opposition Movement. The visit symbolized the first practical step toward implementation of the August accord, but like the first rain of the season, farmers kept their seeds well hidden in the depth of their granaries, it was never the planting rain rather a sign that indeed the rain was coming,

So despites the arrival of the SPLM-IO’s highly-powered delegates, the advance team which included decorated and respected Military Generals and the opposition’s top-brass-politicians, heavy clouds of reasonable doubts were still hovering over the hearts and minds of most South Sudanese whom, until that time couldn’t find strings strong enough to form their faith toward the Addis Ababa Agreement. Indeed there were a lot of substances to neccisate hesitations, South Sudanese had learned the hard way the relevance of the English Proverb “once bitten, twice shy” the parties to the Addis accord, especially the SPLMs factions had signed, committed and recommitted themselves to various agreements only to rescind on their promises before the inks could even dry on the signed papers, as result, this bloody war dragged and flared on for so long with catastrophic outcomes.

For instant, on the very day the President was appending his signature on the ARCISS document, government forces were on rampage in Western Equotoria and Bahr El Ghazal respectively attacking the armed opposition forces alongside the villagers in those areas leading to countless civilian casualties and tens of thousands being displaced, multiple cease fire violations cropped up day after another at time the tone on both sides shifted from peace to nearly declaration of resumption of the war, which by the way had never stopped, so as the wait continues, hopes dissipate, optimisms turn to frustration and anxiety gives way to fear and despair.

However, on 28th March 2016th, to the glaring of hundreds of both local and international cameras, microphones and all kinds of media wares, the first flight, a United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISSS) plane carrying the first barge of the SPLA-IO’s troops landed in Juba international airport to an ecstatic and heroic welcome, on hand for their reception were none other than Michael Makuei Lueth, the outspoken and even some times irritating Government spokesperson who also double-up as the Minister for Information and broadcasting alongside Gen.Taban Deng Gai, the SPLM/A-IO’s chief negotiator, Mr. Francois Luonceny Fal, Deputy Chair of JMEC, among other local and international dignitaries and diplomats,

In their own words, the parties to the conflict and peace partners confirm that the hurdle that had for months impeded the return of the SPLM-IO soldiers is finally overcome. in a press statement released thereafter, JMEC also confirmed the good news. Meanwhile at the airport, the brave young officers and neatly uniformed cadres of the South Sudan armed opposition soldierly expressed their delight by singing their military songs upon alighting from the plane. Cladded in green, new and smart khakis, their coming may well mark the end of death and destruction of South Sudan by both sides to the conflict and it may also aid the galvanization efforts toward regional stability. They have all the right to be happy, so are the entire people of South Sudan to whom the peace belongs, so viva freedom fighters, viva South Sudan and viva peace indeed!

Now with security arrangement implementation partially on its way as signalized by the deployment of SPLM-IO’s return to town, I would, with some measurable degree of confident and optimism, like to concur with the majority of the South Sudanese people that indeed peace is back home. We are informed that the First Vice President H: E Dr. Gatmachar Teny Dhurgon may soon return to the nation’s capital to take up his role that would mean the full formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and that will mean the return of economic, social and political stability at least to some measurable degree of normalcy notwithstanding the many challenges lying ahead.

It vividly recallable how long tough and rough this road to peace had been, in most times we were tempted to believe that it was going to fail, collapse and crumble but fortunately the way things stand now peace could indeed be possible. But as peace kicks off, the war-tortured population of South Sudan bears a lot of expectations: first being peace itself, then justice and accountability so that reconciliation and reunification takes its course, which in turn requires a nationwide, all levels, and sectors-system overhaul. Given that the entire systems in South Sudan is sick beyond recovery, it may take more than just an ordinary surgery to resuscitate the current institutions which are believed to be deformed beyond any possible reform.

Once TGoNU is formed, I hope its first task is to establish institutions that would ensure that the victims of this cruel conflict are sufficiently compensated and quickly repatriated; a system that would grantee respect for freedom, human rights and expedite the implementation of transitional justice mechanism. There will be a collaboration of international community toward swift setting up of the proposed hybrid court to try those most responsible for the heinous and outrageous crimes committed against our innocent people.

In short, as we wind up celebrating and embracing the return of peace to our country after this long and torturous period, we also need to recognize the impending dangers lurking, stalking and hovering around with devilish intentions to either delay or derail it at all cost. Chief among these impediments are, but not limited to, anti-peace crusaders like warmongering militias whose credit may wear off once war is over, the twenty eight (28) unconstitutional Governors and their imaginary Governments that are threatening peace, the criminals occupants of displaced people’s homes who are murderers of the victims of 13th December who took over their homes either after killing their owners in cool blood or after displacing them. These cold blood killers, who confiscate houses of their victims, should all be charged for murder and robbery with violent, not to mention the dehumanizing and degrading economic hardship currently experience around the nation,

It’s worth noting also that the so called Mathiang Anyor, DutKu Beny and other illicit militia groups acting as the national army of South Sudan should be disbanded because they were squarely responsible for Juba massacre. If their chief architects in Juba city are not disarmed, then Juba as state capital is demilitarized. The Dinka tribal outfit in the name of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), whose its sole purpose is to spread hate agenda against the Nuer and Shilluk, must be dissolved. Peace will not be enjoyed as long as Justice Chan Reech Madut remains and makes big decisions behind the curtain on anything relating to our laws of the land. Even though the peace will be on bumpy road, I still conclude that peace remain the way. VIVA PEACE!!

 The author can be reached through g.gongk15@gmail.com

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