Fight the elephant and not the shadow

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

August 26, 2013 (SSNA) — It is true that the recent appointment of Lt. General James Wani Igga to the position of Vice President of the republic of South Sudan has drawn different reactions from South Sudanese all across the ethno-political divide.  However at the end of the day, the decision of who serves in a cabinet lies squarely with the ruling party, its leadership and its political structures.

Lt. Gen. James Wani Igga or “Lokonyeke” as he was popularly known to us in Rumbek and in Cairo (Shubra) is undoubtedly a hard working person. He is friendly too and an individual of great experience in life and politics since the days of the Sudanese Socialist Union (SSU) in Rumbek secondary school [1973-1975]. His years with the SPLA/M did the rest to elevate him to where he is now.

Without any wavering in my political opposition to the SPLM party’s visionless and directionless leadership which I consider as a national duty, I would like to register one thing and make it absolutely clear that I hold no personal grudges against any one individual.

After reading the many criticisms for and against Lt. Wani Igga’s ascension to the second powerful office in the country, and without any prejudices, I believe that many of the issues raised cannot even convince a sworn in opposition like me.

For the sake of a better South Sudan, I would want the SPLM party out of power today, and not tomorrow. However I found no rationale in all those criticisms being thrown at Lt. Gen. Wani Igga for not turning down the nomination for vice president when he has no reason to do that.

Those in the SPLM, who wanted the position of Vice President and lost it, will have to swallow the bitter pill that we always swallow when we miss to get something we seriously wanted. Or maybe join ranks in our humble but honorable opposition camp.

And remember, Wani Igga is not Telar Riing. He is a senior SPLM/A member and a Lt. General for that matter, unambitious to become a president and a peaceful man. How often do people get such loyal deputies? This time I bet the President got his choice well. He doesn’t want a hard-timer, and he just got for himself one.

President Kiir will now rule or misrule without any worries of someone stabbing him from behind. How do you like that?

Of course there are all these rhetoric about Lt. Gen. Wani Igga being a coward and a non-serious person. Does anyone buy into that? Do coward people go on to become army generals? Someone please tell me. And even if he were, how comes that president Kiir is not aware to the point that he can only be told by outsiders?

Our people it is really very unfortunate that the way we do certain things reflects how crude we are. Because if any of these talks against Lt. Gen. Igga were to be true, then it would be true of the same SPLM/A that gave him the very high military rank and political positions of Deputy Chairman and Speaker of the Assembly.

Were those positions by any means meant for cowards or non-serious individuals? Or is the SPLM/A, an institution of cowards and non-serious individuals to have at its helm people who others refer to as cowards and non-serious?

Fellow compatriots, I understand that sometimes people tend to go off their minds when describing political rivals. However take some time out to rethink what you say.

There is no way anyone can describe president Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Lt. Gen. James Wani Igga, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Justice Peter Sulle, Rev. David Yau Yau or any of those who are now in the centre of South Sudanese politics as cowards and non-serious individuals. 

What these people have undertaken and are undertaking at the present moment in time is not a job for cowards and non-serious individuals.

We are all entitled to have our differences with anyone of them for real or perceived reasons. In politics many lines are drawn on the sand and can be redrawn in a different way any time when prevailing circumstances change. It’s not like getting wed in a catholic church.

What I expected to hear was something in the line of illegal amassments of wealth, properties or incidences of nepotism, favourtism or frank tribalism if any. But it seems that none amongst the aspirants to the post were free of all that I have just mentioned here. No wonder it was avoided all through by the various critics!

Don’t get me wrong, and I would have liked to believe you only that you are not being truthful. Of course a weak president and a weak vice president at the same time would have sent all the opposition celebrating if you were right. But is this the case in any way? Tell me, am I missing a celebration that I don’t know of?

The true problems of South Sudan now lies squarely in the South Sudan Transitional Constitution 2011 (SSTC2011) popularly known as “John Luk’s Constitution”.

Until we are done with that constitution, and replace it with a sound alternative, all our judgments and criticisms of president Kiir’s decisions will remain things only voiced without causing a real change on the ground.

Ever since this author have been drawing the public’s attention to the “Blackmail Politics” currently in use by president Salva Kiir  Mayardit, to get what he wants.

The president is always quick to threaten those who want to see that the right procedures are followed, by reminding them that he can easily fire them – or send them to roam the streets as was the case just a few days ago with the SPLM MPs Caucus group.

Let’s not waste our time and efforts in fruitless attempts. Throwing our spears at the shadow of the elephant, hoping it might cause some damages, is just a wishful thinking at its best. Thus unless we are being superstitious, even a hundred holes in that shadow will never bring the beast down.

Dr.  Justin Ambago Ramba can be reached at [email protected]

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