By Dengdit Ayok, South Sudan, MAY/11/2019, SSN;
If one may break the long silence on public issues of concern in our beloved country, one would honestly say that South Sudanese political arena is not healthy for the developments that we see unfolding day by day. The trend and the nature of these political developments is disappointing.
Here are some of the developments we currently see on the ground:
1. The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan – signed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit in Juba, and by the SPLM-IO Chairperson, Riek Machar and other opposition groups in Addis Ababa – and which collapsed in July 2016, was revitalized in Khartoum under the auspices of Sudan’s Omar el-Bashir. One had hoped that it wouldn’t be another political drama, but events are now taking another trend, as we see.
2. Following the revitalization process, the government and opposition leaders celebrated peace in Juba. El-Bashir who was accused of sponsoring the Juba political opponents was there as a peace sponsor and a patron. This had then left many questions in the minds of many South Sudanese unanswered till this moment.
3. Peace celebration was later followed by the arrivals of opposition delegations to Juba. President Salva Kiir received opposition delegations at J1 in December 2018. They all held meetings and reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Khartoum revitalized agreement to the spirit and letter. And as opposition figures were seen smiling with President Kiir for peace at J1, social media activists then hilariously described the event as “season of migration to Juba and to J1.”
4. Both government and opposition groups were heard calling on Gen. Thomas Cirilo to join the peace caravan sooner than later. And they now seem to be falling apart.
5. President Salva Kiir, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, Taban Deng Gai, Riek Machar, traveled to Rome for what was described as “Spiritual retreat” in the Vatican City for peace.
6. The entire world witnessed the 82-years old Catholic Pontiff bowing down to kiss the feet of the warring SPLM leaders, as a clear petition and appeal to them to put aside their political differences and be leaders of peace. Given his old age, the Pontiff apparently faced difficulty in going doing on his knees to kiss the feet of the leaders; but he decided to do it for peace. Soon after their shoes were kissed, the four leaders were left speechless, embarrassed and uncomfortable.
7. El-Bashir, the main beneficiary behind the war in South Sudan, the main accused by Juba to be behind the war, and the main guarantor of the revitalized peace agreement, was ousted through popular uprising backed by the military on April 11, 2019, and which is still ongoing in Khartoum.
8. The government in Juba made a statement during the Christian Easter about the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
9. However, in that same statement, President Salva Kiir called on the SPLM-IO Chairperson Riek Machar Teny to come to Juba for the formation of the government.
10. In turn, the SPLM-IO Chairperson said that security arrangements must be in place first, before he goes to Juba as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement.
11. President Salva Kiir Mayardit further went on to specify May 12, 2019 as a deadline for the formation of the government, saying that any delay to the formation of the government would crush the hopes of citizens of South Sudan for peace. War of words ensued on social media between government and opposition supporters over the formation of the government. Seemingly, peace is turned into another war on social media!
12. The SPLM-IO suggested the extension of the formation of the government for six months, till November 2019.
13. A UN report revealed that two outspoken critics and members of opposition (Dong Samuel Luak & Aggrey Ezboni Idri) were killed by the security apparatus in Juba, early in 2017.
14. The government in Juba denied the killing of the two dissidents and hinted that it does not even know their whereabouts. Accusations and counter-accusations were traded by the supporters of the two sides on social media.
15. Opposition groups called for mass protests across the country on May 16, 2019 against the government.
16. The government, through her spokesman and Minister of Information sent out a very deadly rhetoric to the youth behind the call for protests on May 16, 2019, saying that whoever is willing to go out on May 16, 2019, should go out at his/her own risk, and be ready to face the consequences!
17. A tribalized political discord ensues on social media between the divided youth of the country.
18. Speaking at the launching ceremony of the Civil Registry in Juba, President Salva Kiir accused his opponents of recruiting men for war, adding that if it is a matter of recruitment, he can also do the same.
Commenting on the call for protests on May 16, 2019 on social media against his government, the President said that he didn’t come to power by force of arms, explaining that he was elected by the people of South Sudan. He further explained that he is willing to hand over power peacefully to whoever may defeat him in elections.
19. And finally, the government in Juba has suggested the delay of the formation of the government for one year.
20. Mysterious killings are happening. No investigations, no suspects, and no perpetrators. The undesirable situation continues and remains undesirable and repugnant. People are tensed. I feel the sense of their anger.
21. The country is held hostage by the SPLM. No freedom of speech, no freedom of expression and there is no free political activism. Critics, commentators, political opponents are silent, and social media activists mysteriously disappears.
1. With all these heavy clouds on the political horizon, where is our country heading to?
2. Are the parties willing to honestly implement the revitalized peace agreement?
3. Will the revitalized agreement be really implemented?
4. If it is not implemented (as there is a clear dragging of feet on its implementation now), will the country go back to war again?
5. Who is ready to fight and go on dying and for what?
6. Who is the beneficiary of the war in South Sudan?
7. Why should a very beautiful country like our country be controlled by a few elites, subjected to war and have her chance for progress and prosperity denied?
8. For how long shall this situation continue?
The way forward
Honestly speaking, I am for peace. And while I seek peace, I seek it with aspiration for change, change for a better South Sudan for all of us and for the next generations.
Our fathers and mothers were born, live and grow up in war and they are now growing old in war. Some of them have already died in war. We too were born, live and grew up in war. Enough is enough. I don’t want to see my children living in war and running away from war like me; I want them to live in a peaceful, stable and prosperous country.
This is the voice of the silent majority of the people of South Sudan, so God help them and bail them out of this dark tunnel of the SPLM’s anarchy and its total political dormancy. Enough is enough. The SPLM regime with all its factions and names must go. It must go now, because it is a threat for peace and stability in the country. It is the source of war, warmongering, insecurity and instability in the country, and therefore it must go.
Disclaimer: All the views expressed in this article exclusively represent the thoughts and opinions of the writer. Mr. Ayok is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.