By Elhag Paul
October 11, 2014 (SSNA) — It is over 9 months since President Salva Kiir unleashed his dogs of war the ‘Dootku Beny’ on the Nuer and the people of South Sudan killing tens of thousands and destabilising the country. President Kiir, Michael Makuie, General Wani Igga, Dr Martin Elia, Ateny Wek Ateny and their blind supporters are still in place engaged in violence and disinformation blitz to entrench Dinkocracy.
Defensively and in a persistent manner they bark loudly hoping to dupe the international community. “This government was democratically elected by the people of this country and the time for elections has not yet come”, “Any moves to replace an elected government by force was unconstitutional and unacceptable.” http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52545
Obviously, these Dinkocrates have conveniently forgotten that they usurped power on the eve of independence on 9th July 2011. The democratic mandate they received in April 2010 expired with the break up of the then Sudan into two countries. As everyone knows, elections have not been held in the new state of South Sudan. So what are they talking about?
Listening to and observing these Dinkocrates misbehave conjures up images of people who are out of touch with the reality. They speak with confidence while blocking their ears tothe truth being told to them. To the world they are deaf and yet they want the world to listen and believe their side of the story which is completely false. These Dinkocrates seem to believe in what they say to be the ultimate truth, even when the average person in the streets of South Sudan does not perceive it so. They have irreasonably convinced themselves that they are democratically elected and they must not be asked to cede power.
Whether it is President Kiir or his deputy General Wani Igga or Majok on the street, the vigour, fervour and the conviction with which they spread their lies is just the same. As social theory postulates – when something or a lie is repeatedly said, it gradually becomes a reality to the preacher with the bombarded listener turning into a believer. In the process the preacher and those being preached to lose touch with reality. In a sense they become mentally corrupted. Could this be the thing that is affecting the Dinkocrates? Could it be the same thing that sunk IGAD? Or was it IGAD’s partiality? Or is it a combination of both?
Whichever, IGAD is doomed to failure mostly due to its partiality. The songs of “democratically elected” only became sweeteners to solidify their biasness. IGAD does not offer any hope. It prescribes more of the same (SPLM misrule). This is not peacemaking but rather the construction of future chaos and instability. Where then is the peaceful future that IGAD’s mediation promised? Who in South Sudan wants more of the same? Who wants the continuation of the current tribalism, thuggery, and the Jieng engineered ethnic cleansings? In a nutshell IGAD’s mediation represents doom and gloom for South Sudan.
IGAD is not working for peace. It is working first for the interest of its heads of states and secondly for an entrenched instability in South Sudan. So, in order to address the problem of South Sudan it requires focusing on the real root causes of the current problem namely: SPLM’s resistance to democratisation and diversification of power; the creation of private tribal armies like Dootku Beny; vicious Jieng tribalism; lawlessness and the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer.
These are the critical issues that must be addressed by all South Sudanese stakeholders if a lasting peace is to be achieved in South Sudan. What does IGAD then do? It embarks on one plan to patch the SPLM as a solution without plan “B”: http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html In the last 9 months it has done everything to realise this objective knowing very well that SPLM is the real problem. It is the cancer destroying South Sudan. SPLM in reality is a Jieng machine through which Jieng tribalism is detrimentally implemented in the country. Disappointingly and unethically, IGAD has consistently worked with President Kiir frustrating the participation of the stakeholders to the extent that now the only parties left in Addis Ababa are the SPLM factions responsible for the chaos.
Interestingly, IGAD now shouts that peace is within reach. Do you see the hypocrisy of this club of dictators? What hope is there for South Sudan under the mediation of this hypocritical body? Sweeping the real issues that plunged the country into chaos under the carpet and rewarding the very party responsible for it is not going to help in the healing process and the stabilisation of the country. These issues will not go away, they will not disappear but they will fester and grow until they explode with devastating consequences. What IGAD is doing now in Addis Ababa is the deliberate construction of a future conflict.
So whatever deal they sign now will only afford South Sudanese a temporary respite. More over this deal would only be between Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile only. President Kiir and the SPLM-IG represent the former and Dr Machar and SPLM-IO represent the latter. Equatoria which would have been represented by the other political parties has been frozen out. So Equatoria is already marginalised and its horrific experiences under the SPLM murder machine have been dismissed. Howcan the exclusion of Equatoria which comprise a third of the country lead to a lasting peace? I leave that to you to think about it.
Could IGAD’s behaviour not be seen as sending messages to Equatorians to follow in the footsteps of those who have plunged the country into chaos should they want to be counted, listened to and taken seriously? How responsible is IGAD when it becomes part of the problem by marginalising a third of the country?
IGAD is messing South Sudan and creating for itself two serious problems that will come to bite its members. First, the manner in which IGAD has failed to fairly mediate the South Sudan conflict has displayed to the world its weakness. In addition to losing credibility in the world, new non state actors emerging in the region in future will not take it seriously and it may not be accepted to play any role.
Secondly, the South Sudan conflict has shown that IGAD has no fangs. It is all talk and threats without any power to enforce it. Take for example, it declares targets with datelines and nothing happens when these datelines are breached. Its target of 60 days issued in June 2014 to achieve peace agreement in South Sudan expired in August 2014 without any outcome. Again in August 2014 it issued another target of 45 days for same purpose and it is about to expire within this week without any ray of hope in sight. These targets have been blatantly breached without any consequences. The question is: why does IGAD bother to set these deadlines if they are unable to see them through?
South Sudan will continue to remain in problems not because South Sudanese are trouble makers, but because IGAD makes choices that prolong instability as if it has rights in doing so.
It is the South Sudanese people’s failure to make use of their sovereignty that has led IGAD to assume the right of a decision making in the country’s affairs in support of a criminal party (SPLM). The responsibility of this failure falls squarely on the SPLM. To break it down, it is President Kiir’s idiotic government; Dr Riek Machar’s inability to have a foresight and vision and the well proven incompetence of the SPLM G-10. Who is IGAD to dictate terms and decide for a sovereign people? If this situation was reversed to the IGAD member states, would they accept it?
IGAD is only a mediator. Its role is to assist in bringing peace between the warring parties. It is not an arbiter or a judge to dictate or bully left and right. It does not have that mandate to impose decisions on South Sudanese people. South Sudanese must realise that without a genuine lasting peace there will not be any security in the country. Thus leaving the country in the hands of a hopeless organisation (SPLM) and incompetent “leaders” who do not know the rights of a sovereign state invites abusive treatment of South Sudan as is played out in Addis Ababa by IGAD.
The state of South Sudan did not come to life without huge sacrifices. Millions have paid for it with their blood and the people endured decades of painful oppression. For SPLM to allow the state of South Sudan to be played with by IGAD is tantamount to gross negligence. The IGAD process glaringly reveals the ignorance of the SPLM and all the supposed leaders of the various SPLM factions as people who have no idea about what a sovereign state is.
Inward looking, corrupt to the bone, and short sighted they connive with IGAD to make all the wrong decisions about fate of millions of South Sudanese people. Remember, the Troika correctly named the problem in South Sudan as “man made”. Who are the men who made this catastrophe? Is it not President Kiir and the entire SPLM machine? Think about this. This catastrophe is made out of a mixture of personal ambitions, tribal interest and abuse of state machinery. Was it really necessary to go to war just to settle a disagreement within the SPLM party? As it may well be obvious to everybody at this point it is clear that this war is a result of power struggle within the SPLM and the irresponsible short sightedness of the supposed Jieng elites. If they only listened to the American friends of South Sudan in early July 2013 this tragedy would have been averted. Please access this link to see it: http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/news/press-releases/friends-of-south-sudan-warned-of-serious-consequences
SPLM is making all the wrong decisions for South Sudan and this is why the country is collapsing. South Sudan can only pull itself out of this mess if it is represented by caring, responsible, and knowledgeable people who make right decisions about its well being and welfare. Daran Acemoglu and Jones Robinson in their book ‘Why Nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity and poverty’ convincingly point out that, “poor countries are poor because those who have power make choices that create poverty.” This finding is highly pertinent in the case of South Sudan and it actually illuminates the bleak situation facing the country.
In spite of all the resources South Sudan is endowed with, the people are likely to perpetually remain poor because of the obvious wrong decisions made by the SPLM leaders described by Gerard Prunier as “idiots……rotten to the core” in their various shapes and forms. The evidence is already clear. Since 2005 all the decisions made by the SPLM leaders stunted the country socially and economically. First they started by entrenching tribalism. Both President Kiir and Dr Machar ensured their tribes controlled the security sector. They then distributed over 80 percent of the government positions to their tribesmen without any merits. After this they encouraged an alliance of convenience between the Nuer White army and the Jieng of Bor against the Murle people at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. All these were done while they were busy raiding the coffers of the state mercilessly. As if this was not enough they triggered a war with the Sudan over Panthou (a legitimately South Sudanese area) which they negligently left to Sudan to occupy and claim ownership. So right from the start the catalogues of poor and wrong decisions have ceaselessly continued up till December 2013 when it took a deadly turn.
Due to his limited capacity and with the influence of the Jieng cartels President Kiir deliberately ignited the current crisis in the country and encouraged ethnic cleansing in the believe that this would make him and the Jieng powerful, feared and a superior tribe. This delusion of grandeur as a result has seen the country fall apart. The Jieng need to understand that they can not construct a tribal superiority by crude barbarism. They can not be what they dream on the back of other people blood. Conventional wisdom tells us that such delusions will be resisted and eventually crashed at a certain point and that point for South Sudan is fast approaching whether they like it or not. The jieng have the key to halt the gathering Tsunami of South Sudanese anger. The Jieng should not deceive themselves that the support the regime is receiving from IGAD will save the status quo.
The idea of a superior tribe milking everyone else as in Juba now frankly speaking is fatuous. It is unsustainable in this modern world. While the Jieng may control the army, security, police and the economy, that is not enough in itself to ensure their safety and eternal survival. Some tribes like the Gaddadfa of Libya and the Boers of South Africa tried it but it ended in tears.
South Sudan as a country is a socio-political system. All the component parts of the country work smoothly when the system is in equilibrium. What this means is that if all the people of South Sudan are happy the country becomes stable and development takes off. But if some people or tribe are unhappy the country loses stability.
Therefore, the currently destabilised socio-political system in South Sudan can not be repaired or cured by keeping it under the management of the very people and party (SPLM) responsible for its political malaise which is exactly what the IGAD mediation is doing. The system is broken because one of its components (Jieng tribe) has embarked on a puerile project of superiority. The Jieng have become infected with tribalism and grown too big in the social arrangement that kept the system in equilibrium pre 1983.
IGAD by destroying the initially agreed principle and arrangement of bringing all the people (stakeholders) together to deliberate on a way out has just done a huge damage to the stabilisation of South Sudan. The SPLM factions and IGAD can strike their own peace agreement without the stakeholders but they must know that their peace product is the seed for future conflict.
Therefore, the people of South Sudan need to fight back to stop this construction of future conflict by:
– Petitioning the UN and Troika about IGAD biasness and demand transfer of the talks to a neutral mediator.
– Highlight the fact that SPLM is the problem of South Sudan and it can not be handed power again after it has destroyed the country. The Interim Government should be lead by people with integrity.
– The SPLM should be held accountable for the destruction of the country and the killing of tens of thousands of innocent South Sudanese people. Principally president Kiir must account for the lawlessness and the ethnic cleansing in South Sudan.
– Highlighting the reasons for IGAD’s failure: a) its open biasness; b) narrowing and restricting the talks to SPLM factions only thus disenfranchising the people of South Sudan; c) rewarding failure and criminality in South Sudan; d) promoting interest of IGAD member states at the expense of the people of South Sudan; e) promoting instability in South Sudan and potentially in the region.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org