By Gabriel Pager Ajang
President Washington knew it better than many of his predecessors, peace and stability are more important than presidency. James Madison, vice president and Thomas Jefferson, his secretary of state disagreed while serving in Washington administration. They disagreed over policies and directions the United States could take at that time.
Nevertheless, Washington did not like political parties. He did not like the fact that Jefferson and Madison had formed their own parties. And he articulated his points at his Farewell Address Speech to the nation. He declared that he would not seek second time for presidency because that would not serve national interest—it can only played into simmering divisions and conflicts. He alluded in his speech that he never wanted to be part of political parties. He suggested that he was better off to remain above national politics and a true nationalist. He thought that his accomplishments were enough to solidify his legacy, at least in his opinions: he led the revolutionary war, won and gained independent. Washington allowed Jefferson and Madison to engage citizens in political discourse that would be vital to America political history for centuries to come.
Washington knew very well that United States constitution provides political parties a forum for debate, liberty and election. Hence he delineates his opinions from constitution. Those very decisions Washington made were fundamental to peace and stability at the inception of United States. Citizens were given voices and rights to political participation from the onset.
This is vital to emphasize because once you eliminate voices of people from national discourse you risk conflict and war. So as long as leaders of South Sudan focus what game can be employed and who can be employed to get which constituencies as means of clinging to power– war and instability would continue to define South Sudan future. Only honest political discourse among leaders and citizens can bring peace and stability to South Sudan not allocation of positions among elites.
Therefore appointing Riek as vice president, deployment of security forces to Juba and silence voices of citizens in pivotal political discourse would never bring peace and stability.
Peace and stability would come to South Sudan—when leaders stop backroom deals, bargain games and be honest to nation. Peace and stability would return to South Sudan —when people are given forum to voice their opinion and their rights.
There is no normal citizen that would support a government that does not a salt to you or your family. Country is not something that people wear on their sleeves…it is a tool that provides families with health care, security, education, roads, housing and many more but if the government does not provide basic need, citizens to have options to find other leaders. Apparently, South Sudan had accomplished the following since time of Dinosaur:
- To his credits, Kiiir had achieved destruction of Riek Machar career and his dreams of presidency. And I may add, Riek career was destroyed at expense of all citizens’ lives and national resources. Why would you sacrifice so many lives for a person you can beat in an election. My own dad would beat Riek in an election let alone Kiir mayardit.
- United States government had built tarmac road between juba and Nimule.
South Sudan government hasn’t implemented any her ambitious program since 2005 and it simply has not because it lacks capacity building and institution to deliberate on real issues. Insane citizens can wear their sovereignty on their sleeves but the current sovereignty does not exist if the country does not offer basic security.
The government had a responsibility to protect all her citizens and if the government does not protect its citizens, it loses her sovereignty. This is reminiscent of miscarriage, once you lost your wife lost her first unborn child; you are not called a father of child. It a political suicide to en gage in a political discourse that yields no results at all. Not a single statements from Juba pertaining South Sudan’s aspirations had been proved to be true….and that alone is concerning. It concerns me for senior government officials to be saying. A lie travels faster than truth and history proves that truth win at the end. Only truth will bring peace and stability to South Sudan.
It is self-deprivation to think that the country belongs to you and you have all rights to silence particular groups of communities who have equally sacrificed like you in the liberation struggles. It is self-defeating and destruction to think that if I constantly lie to the world and citizens, they would believe me. It is self-defamation to continue to say that these groups are the most corrupt in South Sudan, for instance G-10, when you–yourself is corrupt to the core.
I would certainly agree that challenges and issues facing South Sudan are becoming problematic and complex each day. It is now very clear that South Sudanese people have legitimatized and affirmed division as a powerful tool of governing a state. Tribalism is used to inject fear into citizens. The fear of unknown has clouded South Sudan since 2005. Citizens of South Sudan are brained washed to solely secure the principal leaders.
Dinka and Nuer are lionized to finish each other while leaders watch it like movie on a television. Folks killed themselves and their killing is affirmed and legitimatized by Juba and Fagak Leaders and their surrogates advanced hatreds to maintain powers. Juba surrogates argued that Riek is a terrorist and monster. The man had killed people in 1991. This argument was not engineered by Bor intellectuals. It was started in early 2013 by people like Gordon Buay and his cohorts in Nuer community, folks who saw it best for them to push Riek off the rail of leadership to get employments. They didn’t know that this saga would cost lives. This idea that Riek would stage a coup d’état to secure state arsenals was sold to Juba surrogates. It was never within to stage a coup when majority long for free and fair election.
The fear of unknown that engulfed Kiir‘s Kitchen cabinet was escalated by Awuwau (preemptive fear). Kiir’s administration continues to be restless. Juba restless forced them to accuse Mach Pual, Dr. Majak D’Agoot, and Oyai Deng Ajak of coup. It gradually became clearer that these Lieutenant Generals had never organized even unit of 50 men and women to secure presidency. Evident of their false accusation became apparent after their court in case of South Sudan vs. the detainees. So these Lt. Generals were declared not guilty. In the light of South Sudan dissension to tribalism and abyss, president Kiir groomed Dr. Riek Machar and deceptively gave him gesture of even succeeding him. In normal democracy, presidents are mostly succeeded by their vice presidents through contested elections.
Nevertheless, Kiir appointed Riek as a vice president in 2005. He entrusted him with South Sudan affairs while serving as vice president of Sudan. 1991 SPLM/A split that resulted Bor massacre, a case that was not contextualized in vetting for vice president. Hence, Kiir appointed Riek as vice president in 2005. But 1991 should have been used as litmus test for his appointment but it was disregarded. Good leaders get thing right from onset because walking backward work to derail the nation and it is an illustration of incompetent in leadership and decision-making. Subsequent to 2005, the fear of unknown kicked in because the SPLA was flooded by the Rebels of Peter General, Gatdet Yak, L.t, general, Paulino Matip Nhial, L.t, General Monytuil, Gabriel Tanginya, Olony and many others.
War broke out in 2013 in presidential guards—it started because of fear of unknown. Guards of Riek, Matip and Kiir fought for almost a week in the capitol-Juba. Riek called for national army to overthrow the national government. Immediately, three states of Upper Nile were embroiled in vicious conflict. Three capitols of these states were completely annihilated in periods of two months. Fagak propagandists and surrogates succeeded to convince white army to ransack Bor Town, and other youth were told to attack Malakal and Bentiu. Riek lured white army to attack Juba. Joint operations of Juba and Kampala unleashed deadliest on attack untrained youth. These children of South Sudan were badly defeated by joint fighting.
The international and regional states leaders call for moratorium on conflict and cessation of hostilities. Juba and Fagak lend no hear. The rival leaders and surrogates found their voices in deceptions and slowly became lucrative. Juba created among South Sudanese people and wielded her messages and policies on the premise that Rebels leader, Riek is being supported by the WEST. Little did they know that the West lost interest South Sudan let alone supporting a leader that had blood on his hands. Fagak surrogates found their voices on NGUNDENG, a prophet that had prophesied that Riek Machar would be president of South Sudan. Little did they know that—even in fair and free election, Riek would have a hard time to win let alone fighting wars—he had never won single battle? In 1991 and 2013, Riek won few battles but never maintained those cities for a year. Riek and Kiir entered into peace negotiation to end the bloodiest civil war in South Sudan. The two principals signed agreement to form a transitional government, with Kiir president and Riek vice president.
Dr. Riek sent his messiah, Taban Deng Gai to Juba to prepare his way. While in Juba, Taban cozy up with Kiir and Nhial Deng to build mutual and exclusive relationships, while Riek enjoyed his security in Fagak with dried old men and unenlightened youths killed themselves. Kiir, Taban, Nhial and IGAD leaders persuaded Riek to come to Juba—to possibly implement the signed provisions. Riek came to Juba in 2016, —- President Kiir reappointed as a vice president as stipulated in the accord. The two leaders had one month in Juba and not scheduling one physical meeting. The Kiir and Riek were told and pressed by IGAD and friends of South Sudan to meet because of developing unhealthy and dangerous brewing environments. They agreed and met at the presidential palace.
Because of fear of UNKNOWN, miscommunication, and coup allegations led to another war. Kiir was advised to protect Riek because killing him would ignite international outcries or his advice come as a result of fear of UNKNOWN. Hence, Riek was protected in Juba but as soon as he went to bush, he became Bin Laden. Apparently, they did not know that Bin Laden is Bin Laden whether in Juba or Jungle. We need each other. Calling some a rebel and pushing him away by making bizarre statements does not solve our problems. In fact it escalates hatred and divisions.
Sequences of 2016 Conflict Claims
First claim: It was believed that the low level SPLA/M/O generals/guards set a false alarm and circulated a message in the SPLA/M/O headquarter that Riek Machar was arrested. They alleged that the meeting between Riek and Kiir was not actually a meeting; it was orchestrated platform to arrest Riek.
Second Claim: Fighting erupted at the presidential palace in Juba. Kiir and Riek made a joint statement, asserting that both of them were not aware of what caused conflict. They went on a state national television and called for national calm, the Two warring parties restrained from fighting and they finally vowed to implement peace agreement.
Third claim: Kiir provided Riek with bulletproof vehicle, guards to protect him and was transported to his house.
Fourth claim: Juba Coup narratives, Riek Machar came to the meeting with pistol. He ordered his guards to kill president Kiir. Machar’s headquarter was attacked and his base was captured.
Fifth claim: Riek was given 48 hours to come and assume his roles as a vice president. After no show, SPLM/O politburos and NLC convened and replaced chairman of SPLA/M/O, Riek Machar with Lt.general Taban Deng Gai. Taban was sworn in as vice president of Sudan.
Sixth claim: Machar became a private citizen and government cannot pursue a private citizen, said Ateny Wek.
Essentially, Kiir is not just Salva Kiir Mayardit from Awan. He is state man, the symbol of our nation and president of South Sudan. Hence, protecting him is paramount. Kiir Mayar and all the presidents around this world would agree with me that if Machar had indeed staged a coup, all the appropriate military and security operation would have been applied in such situation. The coup orchestra-tor could have been arrested or killed…it is bizarre to protect a coup plotter. So why president kiir did provides guards to protect Machar if he indeed staged a coup? It is puzzling to me and many leaders around the world.
We, citizens need to start building rust among tribes has been erased among leaders and tribes. In Juba, leaders working for the same government fear, they fear of themselves, citizens and competence well informed citizens. How can we bridge tribal gap, engineer trust to stabilize South Sudan and bring lasting peace? How can we overcome tribal hatreds? This is not easy to do folks. Our country is fundamentally more important than current leaders that would leave leadership anytime. It is about time to speak in unison to end war and call for peace because any minor war makes our country weak and make president Kiir even weaker. This extremism that being shown in in the country and in peace process and it is not part of peace and caring, it will place the country on the wrong hands. Political elites focus on positions metric and division of positions and do not look onto their suffering citizens. This idea of awarding themselves with positions first before peace isn’t reflective of stewardship and faith people entrust in them. Peace among citizens is ultimately and principally important than peace among leaders. Killing Riek or replacing can never bring peace and stability to South Sudan.
Gabrial Pager Ajang, Political Science and History Instructor
He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org