By Gatluak Ter Thach
August 2, 2014 (Nyamilepedia) — More than 45 African heads of states are expected to go to Washington, DC from August 4-6 next week for U.S – African Leaders’ Submit. The Summit is one of the largest events any U.S. President has ever held with African leaders. It resonated from Obama’s trips to African countries in the summer of 2013.
The priorities will include the advancements of the U.S policies to focus on “trade and investment” in African countries. It will highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, democratic infrastructures, and human developments. Leaders will also share concepts and allow discussions of concrete ideas to excavate the partnerships since this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States of America and African continent.
South Sudan’s Salva Kiir is invited as a head of the state among the 45 African leaders.
I personally respect the decision from the Obama Administration to invite whoever the administration wants, however, I humbly disagree with the invitation of the Salva Kirr Mayardit to the United States of American.
It is true that the crises in South Sudan has been sidetracked in U.S media due to other significant events, but I would like to convey why many South Sudanese Americans called invitation of Salva Kiir to a free world an “insult” to their deceased relatives included American citizens.
The current South Sudanese Civil War, which began on the evening of December 15, 2013, in Juba South Sudan, is an act of an incompetent leader, Salva Kirr Mayardit.
Historically, Salva Kirr came to power after the death of South Sudanese leader, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, who miserably died on his way from meeting the Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni.
Kiir became responsible for everything in South Sudan, holding all powers tightly to his chest for anything and everything from the state level to local authorities at the grassroots. Since then Kiir has lost touch with reality and now the country has failed in his watch. Kiir has embarked on his tribe and misuse of resources to maintain powers. Moreover, corruption became and still is the new culture in South Sudan.
Insecurity and dictatorship are fruits of his leadership. He consolidates and centralizes powers in his own house. He hires and fires anyone anytime he wishes at any time he wants. If one questions his authority or writes about his misrules in the country, the result is cemetery or in a South Sudanese River! The political party, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), whose initial mission included development, democracy, human rights, fair government, service delivery, etc., became a property of Salva Kirr.
When political leaders inquired to discuss the realignment for the vision of the party or government to meet aspirations of the nation’s civilians, Salva Kirr did not accept that, and the result is the current Civil War in South Sudan. Kirr responded the requests by firing his entire cabinet included his long time vice president, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. Prior to the dissolution of the whole government, Salva Kirr Mayardit instructed Malong Awan, former government of the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, who is the current chief staffs of the national army, to recruit and train his 15,000 tribal militias (“Dodbany” or “Gelbany”) to be ready for a dirty game he was planning to implement.
On December 15, 2013, President Salva Kiir ordered the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)’s Major General Marial Ciennoung, commander of the Presidential Guard (The Tiger Battalion) to leave a meeting venue and return to the barracks to disarm his troops. After disarming all ethnicity within the guard, Marial Ciennoung ordered Dinka members (tribal armies of the Salva Kirr) to be re-armed, according to Dr. Peter Adwok, former minister of education for Government of South Sudan.
Kirr believed Nuer soldiers might support his former deputy, who happened to come from the Nuer ethnicity. The Nuer were not rearmed and they began to question this order. Nuer soldiers re-armed themselves by breaking into army store, and then the fighting erupted between two separated armies with in a presidential unit.
Salva Kiir has called this incidence a “coup attempt” and he announced it will be put down the next day. He also instructed door to door searches in Juba, which resulted to deaths of more than 20,000 innocent Nuer civilians. These door to door searches were carried by Salva kirr’s trusted militias (“Dodbany” or “Gelbany”) who only spoke their tribal dialects and if one did not response to them in their dialects, the result is death.
Women, children, disabled, elderly people and intellectuals included South Sudan American citizens who were Nuer were killed. In this case, Salva Kirr committed Crimes against humanity. Women and girls were raped. Parents were fed with their children remains that were burned alive. Underage boys were told to go to beds with their mothers in front of their fathers, just to mention few horrible crimes committed.
When people heard the news, no one believed Salva Kirr would instruct his loyal armies to execute South Sudanese people in their capital. However, the world was misled because Kirr and his militias covered their hidden crimes by fabricated a coup to institute a genocide mission on innocent Nuer people.
To make a matter worse, Salva Kirr invited Ugandan soldiers to fight alone side his militia armies. Kirr and Ugandan Armies used mass destruction banned weapons on civilian targets, the cluster bombs in several locations in Jonglei and Upper Nile States. Kirr intention was to kill his political opponents mainly Dr. Riek, Pagan, and Rebecca Nyadeng, wife of the South Sudan Former President, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.
But innocent civilians were killed by Kirr and Museveni which grounded the current Civil War in South Sudan. An established of more than 50,000 people died since fighting erupted on December 15, 2013. A total of 1.5 million South Sudanese have been displaced since the beginning of the crisis, according to International NGOs’ reports with 500,000 of these fleeing to neighboring Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. The war spread beyond the capital, Juba, to the region around Jonglei which is flat to ethnic conflict, and other part of South Sudan. Early estimates by Human Rights Watch stated 1,000 people were reported to have been killed in Juba two days after the war erupted.
Millions of people are still suffering from diseases and famine. More than 50,000 children are at risks of dying due to lack of food or medicines. The rest are internally displaced persons in the concentration camps – of whom more than half of them are children younger than 18 and are dying in alarming number every day, according UNHCR reports.
In addition, as many as 4.5 million people in South Sudan (nearly one third of the population) face food insecurity. A new report warned that as many as 7 million people are at risk if situations remained the same. Though hundreds of thousands have crossed borders to Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, these people are lacking enough aids. Their children are still dying of preventative diseases. While people are fading daily because of war and shortages of food, Kirr and his Museveni spend millions of South Sudanese oil money every month to buy sophisticated weapons from China to kill his remaining citizens.
Salva Kirr is a prime simple of the disaster in South Sudan. He has caused this disunity and the suffering of the people in South Sudan. The newly born South Sudan is now on the top of fragile state in Africa. While everyone wants war to end in South Sudan, Salva Kirr and his belligerents still wants the war to continue. The evidence is the purchased of weapons from China few weeks ago with more than 38 million US dollars. Should it not be a good idea for Salva Kirr to provide food to South Sudanese people who are dying of hungers instead of guns to kill them?
This is one of the reasons I personally cannot believe that America which champions human rights can invite Salva Kirr to USA soil to speak about US commitment to Africa’s security, democratic infrastructures, and human development while in fact Salva Kirr is doing the opposite.
The author lives and works in Nashville Tennessee and participated in several leadership organization boards, including serving as an Interim Executive Director of Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora, a humanitarian organization that advocates for peace and humanitarian assistance. And a doctoral candidate in Organizational Leadership with specialties in Strategic Planning and Leadership Development. He can be contact on email@example.com