Release the Political Detainees

By Gabrial Pager Ajang
TO: H .E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of the Republic of Sudan
Cc: Governors and citizens of South Sudan

January 15, 2014 (SSNA) — Dear H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, you have guided this country through numerous difficulties and complicated times. We, the South Sudanese know that war would have broken out early had you not issued presidential amnesty to rebels. You have secured our referendum and declared independence. In this country wrecked by warlords, you were able to integrate rebels into the SPLA, a policy that has secured peace and stability in South Sudan. It is important to point out that our military generals failed to transform these militias and SPLA into more of a professional and conventional army.

After you have guided this country for good 9 years, war broke December 15th, 2013. Unlike something we have seen before, in one month, over 200, 000 persons is internally displaced, 50, 000 people have seek refuge in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Over 10, 000 people have been killed and disproportionate magnitude of devastation of this war is unknown and its effect on the neighboring countries is yet to be known. We are at the peak of the worst humanitarian catastrophe ever. Mr. President where is your leadership brain? I condemned Dr. Riek Machar because he wants to kill his way into power! Do you want to kill more thousands to keep 11 people in jail? In the following paragraphs, I will narrate reasons why I want political detainees’ release.

The conflict has plundered the country into economic stagnations. We have lost billions of dollars since war started. We have sacrificed 2.5 million people during the liberation struggles for land natural resources. Yet, this very mineral that we have sacrificed our people is destroyed in Unity state by people who paid ultimate price through their loves ones. This war is simply devoid of conscience.

Mr. President the future of South Sudan lies at your hands. We have the richest country in the world with magnificent diverse natural resources. We have suffered for over 60 years, we cannot afford to suffer for another decades. Do everything you can in your power to secure peace and stability for the future of people of South Sudan.

The best and wise leaders get their best advice from their opponents.  Hence, I would suggest you listen to those who oppose you in order to mitigate political crisis and bring war to an end. Political disagreement requires a political settlement. I would suggest that you listen to leaders of countries that support us to secure our freedom and independence. Listen to the good Western countries, for instance, United States and its ally. The United States Senate of Foreign Relations has issued a mouthful statement that South Sudanese government must release the political detainees or face economic and political sanctions. The United States and its ally simply want an end to bloodbath and displacement of people of South Sudan.  Mr. President, if you released the political detainees: first, it will not clear them of their criminals’ charges, secondly, it brings United States and its ally on your political sides, and third, you can press charges on them after crises. United States and its ally can also help you to bring those who have committed atrocities and war crimes in Juba, Jongeli, Unity and Upper Nile States to justice. Mr. President, if you release political prisoners, you will be in the best political position in South Sudan and at the global stage.

And if you do not release the political detainees, the United States and its ally could institute travel bans and asset freezes on senior leadership on both sides including you, as well as be prepared to extend those sanctions multilaterally to a resolution in the U.N. Security Council. Political and economic sanctions will strangle country to death.  The UN peacekeeping forces could be withdrawn from Abyei and humanitarians’ assistance could be stopped. Border between the north and North may not be drawn. You can understand, what started as political disagreements in Juba cannot be allowed to end the dreams and inspirations of the South Sudanese people. This war can end our dreams and aspirations if it is mishandled.

I believed that you can work with good people of South Sudan and World leaders to remedy this conflict while securing and advancing political and economic interests of South Sudan at the Global level. I urge you to take look at the cost and benefit of releasing political detainees in the context of securing South Sudanese interests. Good leaders work to minimize policy that could harm his/her country or their society future. If you choose to keep political detainees in prison, and South Sudan could be sanctioned which could have long term economic and political impact on the next generation of South Sudan.

Besides, This ongoing war that has killed thousands and displaced over 200, 000 people, we have ACCUMULATED PROBLEMS of South Sudan. These accumulated problems warrant help from the United States and its ally. We need United States and its ally to bring war criminals to justice and cessation of hostilities. We need help in developing better institutions of government, writing new constitution, elections and development of institution that would work to minimize corruptions. We cannot afford to lose the Western countries. The last thing South Sudan want is isolation. Notes: the United State has helped bring criminals in Rwandan, Bosnia to Justice. Hence the United State will hold war criminals accountable in South Sudan. The United States has also expressed that they will continue to monitor situation in South Sudan, while engaging all the parties to start healing, peace, and reconciliations.

To conclude, I am writing to you because the people of South Sudan have entrusted their lives in you and it would be fundamentally essential to save them. Mr. President, you have power to change course and ease suffering. Avoid this distraction from resolving real issues and challenges facing the country. Release the political detainees to show the world that you are willing to forge new political settlement of the war. It will also show that you care for the suffering displaced persons. You can also layout conditions that will govern political prisoners outside prison. On the other hand, it is fundamentally important for citizens of South Sudan to understand that the international community will help in the process of bringing those who have committed war crimes in Juba, Jonglei Unity, and Upper Nile States and initiate peace building. They have pledged 368 million U. S. dollar to help. International Community will seek justice for all innocent civilians, and I think our government cannot afford to lose their supports in this area. The world calls for release of the political detainees only for cessation of hostilities and tomorrow, when the dust has settled down, the west can charge political detainees with war crimes if they are indeed guilty. Let us not make decision through emotions. We need to work to together for cessation of hostilities now and will seek for justices after war. And finally, we can initiate peace, healing, justice and reconciliations.

The author teaches political Science and History at Career College, former Nebraska legislative assistance and passionate advocates of responsive government that observes rules of laws, and guarantees citizens protection; as an important principle of democratic government. Besides, he is specialized in Public administrations and policy.He can be reached at [email protected]

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