Before the ICC could step in, President Kiir should stand down as a precondition for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
By Timothy Tot Chol,
July 28, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Several months before President Kiir own coup could hatch, I wrote an article which was published in Citizen Newspaper. The titled of this article was “The need to reform the SPlM”. I wrote that article because I knew that all the problems of death, robberies and harassment that characterized life in South Sudan were orchestrated by the SPLM and other organized forces.
Things became worse with more deaths and robberies when President Kiir decided unconstitutionally to recruit, train and arm his tribal militia –” Dodbany” or “Gelbany”. While we are looking to resolve the current conflict with the help of IGAD, the status of the current tribally and ethnically based security forces should be determined. I strongly tend to support the suggestion given by the three states of Equatoria for a Quota system for recruitment.
We are all aware that the SPLA and other security forces were not prepared to work in a peaceful political environment after independence. It is open secrete that the SPLA and other security organs were authoritarian, incompetent and corrupt. Due to Dr. Garang fear of competition during the liberation era, he weeded out educated persons from these forces before the CPA was signed leaving the command of the SPLA and other security forces under semi-illiterate “yes men” who had no clue of what was the role of army in a nation.
Most of these unfortunate fellows in the army think their duty is to maintain the incumbent leaders of the SPLM in power no matter how incompetent, corrupt and tribally oriented they were. The duty of the national army among other things includes the defense of the national territory against foreign aggression and internally to uphold the constitution and rule of law against usurpation by dictators like president Kiir.
During the incident of 15th December, 2013 the SPLA should have taken over power to avoid the senseless killing of innocent citizens that ensued, but the SPLA command failed due to take action to protect their selfish interests. Although Dr. Garang was authoritarian and did lynch some prominent members of the SPLM/A using his henchman Kiir, he could not have turn on his own innocent people on the 15th December.
Dr. Garang was a charismatic leader and statesman. He had a vision and wanted to free his people. His sudden death was not only loss to the people of South Sudan but Africa and the World at large. Apart from murdering them, Kiir is also impoverishing them. The people of South Sudan can not imagine their leader and cohorts stealing their money amounting to $4 billion [USD] meant for the reconstruction of their lives.
It is nearly seven months now and the world has known the truth – that the alleged coup by Dr. Riek was false after all. There are living proofs of the falsity of President Kiir’s claim. First, the SPLM National Liberation Movement Convention was to commence on 12/13 and was expected to end on 15/16 December, 2013. The convention was extremely important as it was to discus and approves the manner in which senior members of the SPLM were to be elected or nominated and what would be the voting system within the party.
President Kiir’s supporters supported the appointment of the senior SPLM officials by the Chairman of the party- who was Kiir. They also supported that the voting system within the party be by show of hands. As there were no compromising positions between President Kiir and Dr. Riek supporters, the convention was abruptly closed in the evening of the 14th December, 2013.
Second, it became clear to many observers in Juba that President Kiir was after something as far back as 10th December his tribal militias were trained armed with brand new rifles that the SPLA had not procured and a battalion was deployed inside and outside JI, the official resident of President Kiir.
Third, at the same, a mechanized battalion from the UPDF (Uganda Army) was transported to Juba and deployed at Juba airport, JI and President Kiir resort residence at Luri near Juba.
With the above evidences and proofs the claim by Kiir that Dr. Riek had attempted to make a coup is surprising. In conclusion, the incident of December 15th and onwards in which thousands of people lost lives is a living proof that President Kiir has lost his legitimacy. If we are in a democracy we should accept our failures. I do not think the president of the United States or the British Prime Minister will spend a minute in office if the American Marines or the Royal Constabulary mow down hundreds and not 10 thousand as was the case in Juba.
As a face saving measure before the ICC could step in, President Kiir should stand down as a precondition for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. I know many people including Kiir and his cohorts will not be prepared to swallow this bitter pill because all the illegal wealth they have collected were done through this confused system of governance called “decentralization”. Essentially the decentralization we practice in Juba is meant to centralize, corrupt and marginalize other ethnic groups.
Similarly, our current system of governance is disguisedly centralized and puts all powers in the hands of the President. President Kiir has used these extraordinary powers to entrench himself political, enrich himself and his relatives economically and used the young nation’s resources to develop his states to the disadvantage of other states.
The SPLM/A –In -Opposition have already suggested federalism as the appropriate system of governance that will minimize authoritarianism, corruption, tribalism and marginalization of other ethnic groups. With federalism, minority interests will be protected at both state and federal levels.
By Timothy Tot Chol
Former Acting Chairperson, Defense & Security Committee, NLA