By Wani Tombe Lako
July 7, 2013 (SSNA) — Many concern, honest, sincere and peaceful South Sudanese pray day and night, to God Almighty, so that, we South Sudanese are endowed with cultures of love, peace and forgiveness. I am not sure whether this means anything at all, to SPLM leaders, operatives and members. During the era of internal self-determination (2005-2011), President Salva Kiir Mayardit said, “…peace dividend is being frustrated by a number of factors. For those peace breaches which were locally-bred, our infant security institutions promptly and adequately were able to resolve them…”
The President was talking in 2007. What did he mean by peace dividend then? However, in another linguistic parlance, a dividend is a part of a company’s profit that is paid to the members (the shareholders), who own shares in it. If the President meant that, the said peace dividends were and are, the profits of peace, that ought to have accrued to the peoples (stakeholders) of South Sudan from 2005-2007, then, it did not happen then, and it is not happening now.
The peoples of South Sudan did not see any respite during (2005-2011); and they are not seeing such respite now, from concentrated insecurities in South Sudan, since the SPLM/A came to town from 2005 to date. In fact, if anything, the situation has gotten worse in all towns and villages of South Sudan. The President was, and still is very silent, about those factors that frustrated the dividends of peace in South Sudan. Nevertheless, most obvious and dangerous factors of frustrations, as regards the said dividends of peace, are positively correlated with the various acts and omissions of the SPLM/A, as absolute rulers of South Sudan, from 2005 to date.
These frustrating acts and omissions of the SPLM/A can be interrogated within the realms of structural and institutional paradigms in South Sudan, from 2005 to date. Comprehensive politics, polities and policies, designed and implemented by the SPLM/A, from 2005 to date, in South Sudan, were, and are, negatively saturated in negative factors of discords and anarchies. These negative factors are apportioned as between the SPLM and the SPLA as the two twin dynamos of negative governance in South Sudan from 2005 to date.
The Presidential quote above reeks of fiduciary dishonesty, conveyed through underdeveloped intellectuality. It was intended for captive, as well as gullible and emotional audiences and followers. That is, human persons who were, and are, too frightened to question the political misfeasance and misdemeanours of the SPLM/A from 2005 to date. From 2005 to date, the majorities of South Sudanese, did not feel and enjoy; and are not feeling and enjoying, the said dividends of peace. These majorities of South Sudanese, are inherently marginalised and incapacitated, by comprehensive acts and omissions of the SPLM/A from 2005 to date.
During the internal self-determination era (2005-2011); the GoSS did not set its priorities right. Now, in this era of external self-determination, the sovereign and independent RoSS is not setting its priorities right. The combination of these failures to act scrupulously, have led to massive and dangerous consequences. These include the misuse, abuse and squandering of scarce resources; meant for the benefit of the peoples of South Sudan. Therefore, the GoSS and the RoSS, under the absolute control of the SPLM/A are the twin authors of our extant inefficiency and political as well as administrative clumsiness.
The peoples of South Sudan voted for their sovereign State; and in good faith, they handed it to the SPLM/A. However, the politically and administratively incompetent SPLM/A, do not know what to do with the sovereign and independent South Sudan beneficially! There is acute deficit of beneficent political will, as well as dangerous shortages of knowledgeable, skilled and experienced manpower in the SPLM/A.
The purported SPLM/A national leaders, through the then GoSS, and now the RoSS; are running around, in aimless political fashions. These meaningless SPLM/A commutations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa, make them look like headless political chickens. With these kinds of leaders in place, how do you just expect the peoples of South Sudan to benefit from the dividends of peace in their own country?
For example, it so happened that, in the not distant past, in 2006, the then Minister for Regional Co-operation in the then GoSS, and the current Foreign Minister, Mr. Nhial Deng, resigned his ministerial position. It was alleged that, Mr. Deng resigned his ministerial position due to political disenchantment with the level of corruption and the total lack of vision within the framework of the then GoSS.
It was also rumoured that, Mr. Deng was not happy with the fashion in which the then GoSS failed to provide tangible goods and services to South Sudanese since its taking power from the NCP in South Sudan. This was straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Therefore, if that was the case in 2006; how could have the peoples of South Sudan, enjoyed the dividends of peace in that atmosphere of hopelessness?
Your Excellency Mr. Foreign Minister, I am afraid that, the situating has gotten worse than it was in 2006. The RoSS is now a rudderless sovereign ship, and it is tilting dangerously with all onboard. The Americans, RoSS’s best friends, are already worried that, the RoSS is a failed ship. It is in place, if you tendered your resignation now. Otherwise, how shall you explain the failed nature of your ship, to the international community? Do not take comfort from what your colleague, the Government Spokesman says.
This RoSS Information Minister can say anything, reminiscent of that Information Minister of the late Saddam Hussein. It so happened that, during the invasion of Iraq, the Americans were already in the centre of Baghdad, and he was chanting rubbish about teaching the Americans a lesson, should they dare enter Baghdad. While still under the stupor of rubbish regurgitation, the Americans where already cruising around inside Baghdad. That was when he realised that, it was the Americans were already in Baghdad; to teach him a lesson or two. Therefore, these Third World Information Ministers appear to be automatons. Once programmed, they just go on ranting until they are switched off and such like.
In fact, during those times, when the then GoSS started to develop the symptoms of a Failed State, I relentlessly, demanded that, the GoSS put its house in order before things got worse. However, it appeared then that, the GoSS wanted things to get worse for the peoples of South Sudan. I then, wondered, and I am still wondering now, as to whether, the then GoSS had, and now the RoSS has; the interests of the peoples of South Sudan in their political considerations? An objective political bystander in South Sudan could have argued that, and can still argue now that, there was no, and still there is no, semblance of any attention, paid to the peoples of South Sudan by the then GoSS, and the current RoSS.
The then GoSS pursued hurtful and harmful agendas, and the extant RoSS, appears to be pursuing some contrary agendas, completely parallel to the aspirations of the downtrodden peoples of South Sudan. The GoSS then seemed to have rummaged, and the RoSS now, seem to be rummaging in political darkness, for the missing link in terms of their political connections, with the entire peoples of South Sudan; in terms of their tangible want for goods and services plus security.
The then GoSS relied on, and the current RoSS, seems to relay on their general unfounded arguments that, they started, and are starting, nascent governments, manned by people who have just come out from fighting a civil war, and therefore, they ought to be allowed to find their political feet. This was, and still is, a redundant political argument. The peoples of South Sudan have run out of political patience. When shall we see these peace dividends cascading down on us, in current chronically peace less South Sudan; after tortuous eight (8) years, of continuous harmful and hurtful rule, by the SPLM/A?
Sometimes back in Juba, while I was attending an International Donor Conference, some well placed South Sudanese lady told me that, for the common woman and man, in the streets of Juba town, the vestiges of the then GoSS; were the suits and ties, the ministers of the then GoSS wore. Plus the fancy four-wheeled vehicles they drove, day-and-night, in Juba town. Other than those paraphernalia of wealth and power, there was no sign of government in Juba in particular, and South Sudan at large. I am afraid, that image has not changed in South Sudan today, in 2013.
This was our political shame in the era of internal self-determination, and still is our political shame in this era of external self-determination, in sovereign South Sudan. I sincerely pity the innocent and trusting peoples of South Sudan. Surely, the peoples of South Sudan shall have a say in the coming general democratic elections in 2015, if they are held at all. South Sudanese are confused as to whether they are independent at all. Take the town of Juba for example; it is flooded with food items coming from East Africa, even the good old brooms now come from East Africa!
What does this mean for sovereign South Sudan? What does it mean for the spirit and letter of self-determination in South Sudan? This can only mean one thing. That is, the peoples of sovereign South Sudan are being turned into chronic dependents on others for their survival. How can these agricultural people of South Sudan feel that there is peace if they cannot even use their fields for producing their food?
At any rate, how can these people use their fields; if top SPLM/A leadership and commanders allow their armed to the teeth cattle herders, to roam the country side, ready to shoot to kill, anybody, attempting to keep away the cattle, from their prime agricultural lands, and even from their crops? How can you even dream of peace dividends in these kinds of circumstances in South Sudan? How can the peoples of South Sudan dream of peace dividends if their teenage daughters, their sisters, wives and general female relatives; are considered readily available for sex, by others within the SPLM/A institutions?
How can the peoples of South Sudan, feel that there is peace, when some others, within the SPLM/A, think and believe that, particular South Sudanese, ought to be disgraced and humiliated, through their women folks by all means? The phenomenon of single mothers, in some parts of South Sudan, who became mothers through rape, as a weapon of hate and revenge, by others in the SPLM/A, was, and still is, not the best fashion of making the women of these parts of South Sudan, feel the dividends of peace.
These are traumatised, humiliated, defiled, crippled, forlorn, destitute, hopeless, forgotten and silent suffers of South Sudan. For these women, the war has never ended whatsoever. For these women, internal and external self-determinations meant and means nothing. For these women, their emancipation from their own rulers is yet to come. These are the mothers and propagators of South Sudanese society who are being dehumanised and diminished. How can you brag to them about the dividends of peace in South Sudan?
The most dangerous and cancerous factor that is frustrating the enjoyment of the peace dividends in South Sudan is the attitude of the SPLM/A leadership and their operatives. The majorities of South Sudanese are being made to feel like foreigners in their own villages, towns and country. The SPLM/A leadership and operatives have adopted the opinion that, other South Sudanese, who do not agree with them politically, must leave South Sudan. Where are these sons and daughters of South Sudan supposed to go? Just tell us; where should our people go?
Is this attitude adopted by the SPLM/A because of what the late Dr Garang said in the Rumbek meeting when he said, “…all SPLM/A members will be protected;… no one will be left out, …we should accept all southerners new or old because there are more southerners than the members of SPLM/A who must be accommodated; but that no newcomer will displace anyone who has been with us for years…” (See page 6, Para 2, of the confidential report of Rumbek meeting of 29th November to 1st December 2004).
My dear citizens of South Sudan, in thinking of themselves as some special South Sudanese, the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, are actually frustrating the enjoyment of peace dividends by the majorities of South Sudanese, who in fact, and at law, outnumber all SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members in South Sudan. Therefore, how can a minority of South Sudanese, decide to sit on top of the majorities of South Sudanese; and these majorities of South Sudanese, are expected to be happy?
The majorities of South Sudanese are not convinced that, the locally-bred breaches of peace in South Sudan were adequately resolved during (2005-2011), nor are they being adequately resolved now, as from 20011; by various security institutions, under the SPLM/A. I am sure that, these majorities of South Sudanese; as well as the regional and international communities, want to know as to whether, the curse of inter and intra tribal fights in South Sudan have been resolved by the SPLM/A?
How could the SPLM/A security institutions resolve such locally bred breaches of the peace; if they themselves, are the generators of such breaches of the peace, through their various acts and omissions in South Sudan? The SPLM/A operatives have been involved in many tribal warfare to the extent that, the talk about these institutions being in charge of the peace in South Sudan is a security mockery. For example, the beatings of ministers, judges and such like during (2005-2011), are scandalous acts and heinous breaches of peace in South Sudan.
On the other hand, the setting up of unnecessary roadblocks since 2005 to date, to harass civilians including ministers and senior government officials; not in the good books of the SPLM/A are instances of gross breaches of the peace in sovereign South Sudan. It is gross violations of all known norms of human rights law. The entrenched security chaos in Juba, Yei and many other towns in South Sudan; are not semblances of peace dividends in South Sudan, under the rule of the SPLM/A from 2005 to date.
All these heinous cruelties are perpetrated against the peoples of South Sudan under the jurisdiction of the SPLM/A from 2005 to date. Is this constitutionally legal? These are some of those acts and omissions by the SPLM/A that make the entire world to ridicule us South Sudanese; with our crude understanding of issues of governance and the meaning of external self-determination. These are serious breaches of the peace in South Sudan. What have the SPLM/A got to say about this?
The quality of SPLA soldiers has a lot to be desired, in terms of their suitability to become the custodians of civilian peace in South Sudan. The intensity and extent of cruelties and brutalities practiced upon the peoples of South Sudan by them is unacceptable. There are acres of evidences which indicate that, during the civil war period, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and even genocides, have been committed by some SPLM/A commanders, soldiers and such like, in South Sudan. Not only that, during the so-called peace time, from 2005 to date, some SPLA soldiers, including some of their former commanders, who are now ministers and governors in the RoSS have committed crimes of murders, robberies of properties and lands, rapes and the lot, in South Sudan.
The majorities of South Sudanese are now wondering about the mess we have put ourselves into, we are indeed wondering as to whether, issues of civilian security are safe in the hands of these SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, in their current state of minds and psychology. Just look at the political and security mayhem in the Lakes under this Tarzan of a governor. Just look at the mess in Jonglei, which leadership vacillates between tribalism, incompetence and outright jungle laws. The authorities there are in records that, if you are not from Jonglei, forget about having property there! Alas, look at the mayhem created by them in Greater Equatoria?
Anyway, in fact, many South Sudanese were internally displaced in South Sudan, during the civil strife, paradoxically, due to plundering, pillaging, raping and general animalism of some of SPLA soldiers and as well as some of their bloodthirsty commanders. Ask South Sudanese in Eastern Equatoria and elsewhere in South Sudan for details. These things must be said if the SPLM/A want peace and security in South Sudan.
The SPLM/A must not be looking around the political landscape of South Sudan, for escape goats, to blame for the internal insecurity in South Sudan. There appear to be others within the SPLM/A hierarchy, who thrive and flourish in security and military chaos. The leadership of the SPLM/A ought to make an honest stocktaking of its security paradigms. See you in (part 9).
The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He be reached at email@example.com