By Stephen Par Kuol
The ongoing crisis in the Republic of South Sudan has been miss-portrayed in so many quarters as a power struggle among South Sudanese elites over the spoils of their state-sanctioned graft. That widely accepted fallacy has terribly smeared the merits of the principles and structural issues of the ongoing power-sharing debate from Addis-Ababa to Soba. The most asked but unanswered questions in this timely critical discourse are: why power and why it is so prudent to face it head on now? Another loud and lingering question is: power to do what? Well, let us face it. It is about power for a number of noble reasons: For one thing, the power being shared or distributed has been wielded by one man for over a decade and abused it resulting in the ongoing political violence. In the process, the rule of law has been replaced by the rule of man.
It also goes without informing the records that the same man has been entrusted with three transitions and has squandered them all. All we have come to know is that one-man power has turned our green cornfields into bloody killing fields and our hometowns into ashes and charcoals. It is a power that has been used to paralyse the institutional structures of the state through institutionalised nepotism. It is a power that has also been used to loot the public coffers and lynch political opponents, public intellectuals and civil society activists. It is the same power, which is still being used to build that oppressive ethnocentric state. Hence, it is a delicate power that must be shared equitably to create the democratic and ethnically inclusive state we all sacrificed for during the war of independence. That is why the power of numbers in the key institutions of the state, such as the Executive, Legislature, judiciary and the security sector is crucial in this power-sharing debate.
You don’t need to think in legal language to conceptualise the anticipated transitional period as a law-making era to create the Second Republic of South Sudan in our own true image. It is during that transitional period when the agreement we are negotiating would be implemented through legislation to legally establish some of the most vital transitional institutions such as the ones stipulated in the Transitional Justice Protocol, Transitional Security Arrangement and the Parameters for the Permanent Constitutional Making Process. Hence, the Mediation and the international community must be educated that the power we are fighting for is not the power for the sake of it. It is a power we could use to give the people of South Sudan an opportunity to write their own constitution, democratise the political process and democratically elect their own leaders at the end of the transitional period. Ultimately, it is a power that must be used to attain lasting peace through accountability, reconciliation and national healing for a stable and prosperous country as enshrined in our National Anthem and constitution. That is not asking too much to deliver peace to our downtrodden people in my humble opinion.
*Soba, is a Khartoum suburb where the peace talks for peace in South Sudan are taking place.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org