By Wani Tombe Lako
July 2, 2013 (SSNA) — Sometimes back in 2007, in Juba, President Lt. Gen. Mayardit, in direct reference to the CPA, which gave birth to the sovereign Republic of South Sudan (RoSS), he said, “…as leaders, the question would be, are we working towards making the unity of our country attractive or have we achieved any of those goals? The answer is regrettably no! Problems, serious problems still remain to be resolved. The first dividend of peace is security of persons and property…”
The President was referring to general situation, in the then united Sudan. Let us forget about united Sudan now, and let us focus on the RoSS. The above quote is a living quote in that, it is as valid now, as it was valid in 2007. We are still under the rule of the SPLM/A, and the same gentlemen is still our President. Therefore, the above quotation means a lot to all of us in South Sudan now.
On the quality of our leaders, President Lt. Gen. Mayardit wondered as to whether they worked towards the unity of the now divided Sudan. The pertinent question is, is the President and his cabinet and political party the SPLM, and the army the SPLA, currently, working towards the unity of South Sudan?
The President also wondered about the achievement of goals necessary to make the unity of now divided Sudan attractive. Is the President and his cabinet, the SPLM and the SPLA working to make the unity of South Sudan attractive at the moment? In another forum, in 2004, President Lt. Gen. Mayardit said, “…if we are national leaders, which I do not believe we are because we have no cohesion within our leadership structure, let us be sincere with ourselves…” (For the details of this quote, please refer to the confidential report of the famous SPLM/A Rumbek meeting of 29th November 2004, on page 2, para 6).
Now then, dear citizens of South Sudan, you have heard from the President himself. In the quotation from the Rumbek meeting, he officially confessed that, they were/are not national leaders within the framework of the SPLM/A. This was, and is now very disturbing. The President said that, they, within the SPLM/A, were not national leaders. Well then, if they were not national leaders, why are they imposing themselves on us as our national leaders now?
The President made that statement as they were coming to town as political and military controllers of South Sudan. These were the political facts which discerning South Sudanese like myself, had to deal with, with the contemplation of a sovereign South Sudan in the political horizons. We were obliged by the CPA, to accept others who do not have trust in themselves as our ultimate and absolute leaders. How are we supposed to transform human persons who do not have confidence in themselves, and thus zero political self-esteem, into confident leaders, and expect political success?
Suddenly, in Juba, in 2007, the same Lt. Gen. Mayardit referred to themselves as national leaders. What a magical transformation from non national leaders; to national leaders. It is now abundantly clear to the whole wide world that, the SPLM/A, actually, in fact, have not achieved the minimum standard of becoming national leaders. These are not national leaders who can be trusted with the responsibility of working towards the unity of South Sudan. They might have been good guerrilla leaders, but, sadly, they have failed the test of national leadership.
I was, and I am still sincerely disturbed by the self confession of President Lt. Gen. Mayardit that, the SPLM/A on 29th November 2004, was not cohesive in terms of leadership structure. That was during the life time of the late Dr. Garang. If that was the situation then, how chaotic is it now in 2013? Well, I am really asking an obvious question, am I not? Swift enthronement of Lt. Gen. Mayardit notwithstanding; after the sudden departure of the mentor of the SPLM/A; how efficacious are those in power now, within the SPLM/A leadership structure in terms of the cohesion of the leadership structure? This, again, is an obvious question.
Critical reading of the political writing, on the political walls of the SPLM/A indicates that, the SPLM/A are still suffering from that inherent lack of cohesion within their leadership structure. This being the case, one cannot expect a positive outcome from a political party that is inherently fractious. Therefore, it is now obvious to all of us in South Sudan, and to those others outside of South Sudan that, the anarchy within the SPLM/A leadership structures, is now infesting national leadership structures with catastrophic consequences.
Fractious as it is, the SPLM/A cannot logically work in unison for the positive unity of South Sudan. The SPLM/A must know that, the unity of South Sudan is a function of the unity of the various tribes that constitute it. Therefore, all of us South Sudanese are important. What have the SPLM/A put in place as a strategy for the unity of South Sudan, through the unity of its peoples; so that, we in unison, can proudly refer to them as our national leaders?
The answer is a big political nothingness. If anything, the SPLM/A through their actions and omissions in entire South Sudan, have dangerously made our unity in South Sudan questionable. There is this reckless, careless, and lazy thinking within the ambit of the SPLM/A, whereby, our unity in South Sudan is supposed to just jump out of nothingness into our fractious hands.
Therefore, our unity in South Sudan is a very seductive political idea. However, politically seductive as it is; the unity of the peoples of South Sudan is not a state of affair, hanging in some political vacuum. It is a political, social, economic, financial, security and psychological process that all of us must be involved in. The SPLM/A cannot make the unity of South Sudan attractive by threatening, bullying, harassing, excluding, marginalising, despising and diminishing other South Sudanese.
The SPLM/A must adopt a positive political attitude towards the rest of South Sudanese. The SPLM/A ought to adopt a positive hands-on attitude to moulding the political atmosphere for making the unity of South Sudan viable and attractive to all South Sudanese. An objective South Sudanese, regardless of the geographical region from which she/he comes from in South Sudan, shall agree with me that, problems of disunity in South Sudan, exist not because we were united with the rest of the Sudan.
There are many political, economic, financial, technological, religious, moral, security, military, cultural and social problems and factors that cause the disunity of South Sudanese in extant sovereign South Sudan. These factors of disunity ought to be rectified within South Sudan. The whole world is working towards unity of purpose and goals for better positive living. We cannot be seen to be doing the opposite. With the same token, an objective South Sudanese would agree with me that, unless we reform our negative ways of doing things, we shall continue to be disunited in South Sudan, our sovereign status notwithstanding.
It is beginning to become clear to sincere and discerning South Sudanese that, some of the negative factors of our comprehensive socio-economic disunity had nothing to do with us being in hitherto united Sudan. There are multiple independent variables, which now stand outside the equation of unity with Sudan, within the framework of sovereign South Sudan. That is, there are many factors that we cannot blame on the Jallabas or the British colonisers. These factors are of our own making. These are homemade factors of disunity which we must solve in disunited South Sudan. Million years of American protection shall not clean us of these factors.
We ought to be seriously engaged in the identification of all those historical factors of disunity in South Sudan, instead of manufacturing new factors of disunity based on extant uncontrolled harmful conducts and intentions. In 2004, President Lt. Gen. Mayardit said, “…I assure you that the allegation that I am against peace is not true. I am really for peace so that the international community could rescue our suffering people. People of Bahr El-Ghazal have suffered too much from repeated famine and from the Arab militias…” (See page 2, para 5, of the confidential report referred to above).
There you go. In 2004 as is now in 2013, our President is very concerned about the people of Bahr el Ghazal in particular. That is beside the point. However, now that he is in charge of the whole sovereign South Sudan, the President must become concern about the lives of all the peoples of South Sudan. The President ought to care about all of us in South Sudan, to prove to us that he and his government are definitely working towards the building of united South Sudan.
Let the SPLM/A leaders and others, walk their distances towards the equilibrium point for a united South Sudan. Let the SPLM, objectively become a national political party, by taking effective interest in national politics. Tribal politics which now characterise the SPLM, do not lead to the emergence of a national consensus in South Sudan. Current political and other attitudes of the SPLM are breaking up the little unity that is there in South Sudan.
On the other hand, President Lt. Gen. Mayardit said that, the first dividend of peace is security of person and property. Alas, he hit the political nail on the head. Now then, what have the SPLM/A done in terms of security of person and property in South Sudan which has been under their absolute control since 2005 up to date? The SPLM/A ought to know that, human beings do not follow governments that purport to emancipate them from some universal oppressive regimes, only for these same liberated and emancipated peoples to be subjected to heinous human rights violations by the same governments that purport to be their emancipators.
It is even more politically offensive for human beings to follow those governments that claim to be champions of democratic principles only to discover that, these democratic principles have been replaced by tribocratic principles. Tribocracy is a process of human governance through tribalism; ethnicity; nepotism; corruption; and sectionism.
Therefore, tribocratic principles are principles of governance based on the ideology of tribocracy which has been the rule in South Sudan from 2005 to date. Tribocracy is a political ideology of governance founded upon racist principles and these principles violate all internationally recognised human rights norms and laws against racism and racial discrimination.
The years 2005 to date, have been terrible years for majorities of South Sudanese under the rule of the SPLM/A. It started with the government of South Sudan (GoSS) and its various institutions of governances such as the States’ governments. Right now, there are many South Sudanese who are languishing in illegal incarceration for reasons founded upon the principles of tribocracy masquerading as rules of law. What security of person was and is the President talking about?
Under the rule of the SPLM/A, there is enough evidence to validate that, South Sudan has been awash with illegal detention and incarceration centres, where human persons are kept incommunicado. This is in fact, reminiscence of the old horrible days of the SPLM/A, where political opponents were kept in underground detention and incarceration centres until they die or become physically; psychologically; morally; spiritually; mentally; and humanly useless and left in vegetative condition.
On the other hand, critical legal analyses of the human rights situation in South Sudan reveal that, those in charge of South Sudan have almost invariably allowed heinous violations of the fundamental human rights of the South Sudanese. These heinous violations are especially; grotesquely; and gruesomely manifested via the insatiable appetite of the SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS and their agents for everlasting habit of unlawful and illegal detention of South Sudanese, for reasons based on political; tribal; ethnic; and racial grounds.
What security of person was and is President Lt. Gen. Mayardit talking about when torture in all its shapes and forms have become an instrument of governance in South Sudan. There are many more South Sudanese who have suffered torture in one form or another, and many more continue to suffer torture by institutions and such like, under the direct jurisdiction of the SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS. It is now an open secret that, many South Sudanese are tortured while in illegal incarceration and detention, contrary to all national; regional; and international legal rules and norms.
The SPLM/A must know that, the violation of personal liberties of the South Sudanese must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, by all peace loving human persons. Why should some South Sudanese be made to live in a state of siege by the SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS, for political reasons, founded upon the ideology of tribocracy?
The culture of illegal imprisonment of other South Sudanese for tribal reasons is a dangerous method of conducting political business in South Sudan by the SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS. The SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS, may imprison the bodies of these unfortunate South Sudanese, but, they cannot imprison the general political conscience and feelings of South Sudanese.
For example, there are many highly placed SPLM/A politicians and officers who are scared to speak out in public against the current state of affairs in South Sudan, but, these same people are very outspoken in private as to the unsustainability and untenability of the political situation in South Sudan. The SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS, used and continue to use physical and psychological battery and assault on South Sudanese, and with permanent grievous bodily harm. If the sanctity of the human person is not in the political vocabulary of the SPLM/A through RoSS leadership, they ought to know now that, the world is watching.
President Lt. Gen. Mayardit also spoke about the security of property. Before I attempt some critical discussion of this important sentence, one would like to jolt the memory of President Lt. Gen. Mayardit about an important statement he made during the Rumbek meeting of 29th November 2004, in which he said, “…the Chairman is to be the 1st Vice President of the Sudan and the head of the government of southern Sudan, but he is not talking to southerners…”. (See page 3, para 7 of the confidential report referred to above).
Well, who in the entire leadership of the SPLM/A and through the GoSS and now the RoSS is talking to South Sudanese, in a positive fashion, in the manner that was expected of the late Dr Garang, by his then deputy? On the issue of property in South Sudan, does the SPLM/A care a dime about the feelings of the South Sudanese as regards their concern with their ancestral lands and personal property that have become the target of SPLM/A through GoSS and now the RoSS, as well as some of their associated agents, whose pockets are bugling with public monies used to purchase land and other properties from poor South Sudanese?
Does the SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS, think that, the long term strategy of the SPLM/A is not known to South Sudanese in terms of displacement from property (land) through unfair legal judgments and such like? Instances are abound when some individuals forcibly squat in other South Sudanese land, and when the legal possessors and owners of such property go to court, they are confronted with legal decisions that confirm the possession and ownership of the said property by the illegal squatters, whereby, the legal owners and possessors of the impugned property are coerced by the court, to accept meager sums of money to go away, and find themselves other property. Is this the security of property that President Lt. Gen. Mayardit was and is on about? This is called insecurity of property Your Excellency.
I would again remind President Lt. Gen. Mayardit about some more important statement he made during the Rumbek meeting in which he said, “…I would also like to say something about rampant corruption in the Movement. At the moment, some members of the Movement have formed companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of a system are we going to establish in south Sudan considering ourselves indulgence in this respect…”.
Well, Your Excellency, no one heeded your concerns, and the SPLM/A have established the most corrupt government in South Sudan ever known in African history. The SPLM/A and the GoSS and now the RoSS, are inherently and effectively composed of those who were in charge of the Movement referred to as being corrupt by President Lt. Gen. Mayardit.
In fact, on matters of corruption in the Movement, the late Dr Garang said, “…on the issue of corruption, this animal has grown bigger to the extent that we cannot catch it using nets…”. (See page 22, para 6, of the confidential report referred to above). Therefore, even a child knows that, if that is the case, then those guys simply transferred their corruption from the Movement to GoSS and then to the RoSS, and other institutions under the jurisdiction of the SPLM/A through the GoSS and now the RoSS. This being the case, is it still true that, “…in the south, there is smoke without fire…”? (Statement by the late Dr Garang, see page 21, para 6, of the confidential report referred to above).
Your Excellency Lt. Gen. Mayardit, the corruption you were worried about has now developed into a dangerous cancer that is destroying property rights of many South Sudanese. The people who formed companies; and with huge bank accounts, in foreign banks, have now turned their evil eyes on the land of the subsistence peoples of South Sudan.
They want to buyout all poor peasants in South Sudan. These people only see the land of South Sudan as exchange values with foreign currencies. They do not value the land as assets with use value. There is no security of property. If the SPLM/A does not solve the problem of forceful displacement of other South Sudanese by SPLM/A politicians, officers and agents, you can kiss the unity of South Sudan a goodbye. See you in (part 8).
The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He be reached at [email protected]