By Santino Ayual Bol
IGAD which has been facilitating and mediating the slow-heel Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan shortly abbreviated as ARCISS has unilaterally cogitated and scheduled a face to face meeting between the President of the Republic of South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and rebel chief Dr.Riek Machar on Wednesday, the 20th June 2018 in Addis Ababa. The ARCISS due to difficulties being encountered in the process seems now to be metamorphosing into slightly something else both in name, contents, and approaches which will be elucidated a little bit more the next paragraphs. However, in this first opening paragraph, it is imperative upon the writer to category state the position of the war affected -downtrodden common citizens of the Republic of South Sudan as follows:
We the common citizens of the Republic of South Sudan welcome anybody and any chance that will bring meaningful, total, and lasting peace tranquillity, and normalcy in the Republic of South Sudan forever. The current political quagmires in the country caught all South Sudanese people of good will by surprise. Nobody in his or her right mind who participated in the agitation for fundamental changes in the then one Sudan whether through nonviolent political resistance in government-controlled towns, or the clandestine support with logistics, intelligence, foodstuffs to the movement, or the diplomatic campaigns waged bravely and intellectually by our compatriots of the diaspora, or the direct active participation and self-sacrifice in the armed liberation struggle in the fields of combats or frontlines had foreseen the current debacles. All of us were fighting in one way or another for true comprehensive freedom, total peace of mind and body from Arab-Islamic daily menace, belittling, arbitrary arrest and killings, enslavement, exploitation, discrimination, the list is long, against African people of South Sudan. In short, we were aspiring for a happy, free, corruption free, nontribal, progressive, and democratic country of our own under the sun. A country where our leaders would treat us the common citizens as the custodians Number One of power and not pawns and gunpowder. No one ever dreamed the current state of affairs was what was awaiting the current long-suffering folks of South Sudan. Make no mistake about it, I’m not regretting our legitimate and correct decision taken during the referendum in 2011 to be free and manage our own affairs in our own homeland called the Republic of South Sudan. No, I’m not regretting. What I absolutely abhor and this is what underlies the above statement is the mindless spilling of blood and taking away of lives of innocent fellow countrymen and women whether in government-controlled areas or rebel territories and mindless vandalism of scanty properties of fellow folks in the cities and countryside. “I hate to hate a man” as correctly remarked by one of our freedom fighters during the SPLA/SPLM 21 year liberation struggle period. To hate a man is bad and above all worst still if he/she is a fellow countryman/woman.
This wanton killing and war madness that has perverted the country must stop. Our leaders from all the political divides (government, rebels, and non-violent opposition parties) should take it upon themselves as a matter of urgency and top priority and bring total long lasting peace in the country. Let the suffering of innocent little kids, orphans, women, widows, disabled and elderly stop through the good intention and decisions that our leaders should take soon while negotiating peace in Addis Ababa. Our esteemed people have become the laughing stocks for humanitarians and foreigners in POCs across the country and refugee camps in neighbouring. This fact alone if our leaders listen and care about the people and the country called South Sudan in the core of their hearts should voluntarily convince them to bring sincere lasting peace and not foreign coercion and threat of sanctions. We desire to celebrate the forthcoming Christmas in total peace and love for one another from Renk to Nimule, Kapoeta to Raja, Aweil to Yambio, Wau to Malakal, Akobo to Rumbek, Abiei to Bor, Ruweng to Torit, Fashoda to Juba, Nasir to Warap, Pibor to Yirol, etc. We want sincere patriotic love to replace tribal hatred and diabolic negative labelling of ourselves.
I would like to conclude this piece of opinion that the longer the war and anarchy last in South Sudan the deeper the suffering entrenches itself in the midst of our people. The longer the war lasts, the more likely that many generations of innocent children will be lost to illiteracy, malnutrition, six killer diseases, poverty, and other preventable maladies. The longer the current war lasts, the more likelihood of South Sudan’s backward lagging in development gap widens and exacerbates itself. Nowadays the suffering of South Sudanese people has become the carcass of humanitarian vultures who have swarmed the country and the region from far and wide. UNMISS seems to be another emerging form of MONUC (La Mission des Nations Unis Au Congo) which arrived in DR Congo in the 1960s and has since then not left the same country and UNMISS like MONUC may not leave under the pretext that there is constant war and anarchy in the country with flimsy no cogent argument that the government is failing to protect its citizens as well as not being able to deliver basic services as is required of any government.
Foreign bullying of South Sudan by some neighbouring countries through encroachment into our borders and support of armed elements as well as arms and economic embargoes and sanctions by some bullying superpowers will continue to be invoked under the pretexts of the civil war in the country.
Hence, it is incumbent upon our leaders who will converge in Addis Ababa for the next few days to make needed compromises and bring peace on their own without being coerced to do so for the patriotic sake of saving the country and its people from the war itself and from unnecessary foreign interference, insults, and bullying.
The same patriotic spirit and zeal that drove during Anyanya One and for 21 years during the SPLA/SPLM struggle both President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr.Riek and their comrades to bravely fight for the liberation of South Sudan from Khartoum belittling and insults and which again guarded them wisely during the interim period from 2005 – 2011 and referendum campaign should make them come to their true senses again to save the country from the current unfathomable abyss it has descended into. It is not too late to help the country out of this shame. No South Sudanese in his/her right mind is at the present moment happy about what is happening in the country whether in government-controlled towns, in rebels territories in the countryside, in neighbouring countries, or overseas. Let this mindless war stop through the compromises we faithfully urge our national figures to undertake in the course of this coming week in Addis Ababa.