By Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham
Dear fellow South Sudanese;
Oct 10, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– The international Community has been telling us repeatedly that the best solution to the current South Sudan’s problems is in our hands as South Sudanese. Yet many bad things are now happening in our country and most of us are keeping silent. As you are all aware; Economy of South Sudan has collapsed, Humanitarian situation has worsened in whole of South Sudan, The Country has become more ungovernable as the level of insecurity has increased. People are being arrested, tortured and killed on daily basis, Civil servants are no longer being paid regularly and their salaries no longer match up with the cost of living due to high inflation rate, SPLM/SPLA (IO) has regrouped and become more stronger than before and cut off Juba, the capital City, from Uganda as both Nimule and Yei roads are no longer safe.
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Even the road going to Western Equatoria remains unsafe, Many people in Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria have been displaced in the bushes of South Sudan or to the neighboring countries, with no or limited food to eat, Many schools have been closed and a big number of school aged children are now staying without education, which is a violation of human rights, No Press freedom in South Sudan as journalists are either being threatened, arrested, tortured or killed at will, Corruption is at the highest level, Health services have become too poor and resulted to high death rate, particularly among children, women and elderly persons mostly in the rural areas of South Sudan, Raping of children, women and men by SPLA- IG Army is now at the increase in South Sudan, Looting of food and properties of civilians by the government army in cities, towns and rural areas has increased and those responsible have not been arrested, sent to court for trial or imprisoned.
People in government controlled areas are suffering as they are currently living in fear of their lives, unable to speak the truth of what is happening and not having enough food to eat, Jobs in government controlled areas are being tribalized and mostly limited to the tribe in power.
In rebel controlled areas, the humanitarian situation is getting worse every day as government does not allow timely delivery of humanitarian services to SPLA/SPLM (IO) controlled areas. NGOs do not have easy access to rebel controlled areas as the government do not allow them or give them permits to operate freely in these areas.
Though the rights steps to be taken to restore law and order and bring peace to the suffering people of South Sudan are known to everybody, nobody is willing or able to let the government to do what is right at the moment. All these serious human rights violations are happening to us as South Sudanese, yet most of us are keeping silent and the few brave South Sudanese who are talking and exposing these gross human rights violations are either being killed, tortured, arrested, intimidated or forced to leave the country. How long are we going to keep silent and continue to suffer? Let us all rise up, stand up for our rights and use a nonviolence approach to free ourselves from these untold, unbearable and unacceptable sufferings we are going through today.
We must preach the following messages to the government everyday as a way forward to solve our problem as South Sudanese as follows:-
- Request for Urgent deployment of the Regional Protection Force to Juba and all other major contested towns and cities to restore law and order together with UNMISS.
- Ask the government to declare genuine nationwide permanent ceasefire and respect it
- Demand immediate dismissal of Taban Deng Gai as the First Vice President and Re-instatement of Dr. Riek Machar Teny as the First Vice President
- Demand that the government and international community Organizes a quick return of Dr. Riek Machar back to Juba to continue with the implementation of signed peace agreement.
- Establishment of cantonment sites for all forces and armed groups in all parts of South Sudan.
- Suspension of the operationalization of the 28 States and establishment of a committee to look into this matter in consultation with the people.
- Reconstitution of the national and State parliaments with active participation of SPLM/SPLA (IO) under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar (not Taban Deng as he does not control SPLM/SPLA IO Forces and has no influence over them), Former Detainees, other political parties and Civil Society organizations who are signatories to the signed peace agreement.
- Quick deployment of Joint Integrated police to Juba, other major towns and cities which are being contested.
- Reform of all institutions of governance as stipulated in the signed peace agreement
- Reconstitution of all institutions of governance as stipulated in the Agreement
- Review of South Sudan constitution as stipulated in the signed peace agreement
- Subjecting the Country to free, fair and democratic elections within a specified timeframe without any manipulation and intimidation by the government
- Provision of all needed logistics to all Forces while at the cantonment sites
- Opening of all roads, removal of all road blocks and check points, so as to allow free moment of people, goods and timely delivery of humanitarian services to all South Sudanese, regardless of who controls the areas in which the people are.
Once again, I would like to encourage all citizens of South Sudan to stand up for their rights, through nonviolence processes and demanding for the above mentioned outlined steps to be taken by the government, so that our country will return back to peace. Remember, the solution to end the current sufferings of our people in South Sudan is in our collective efforts and hands.
The author, Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham, is a Concerned South Sudanese elder and Former UN Diplomat. He currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya.