James Wani Igga’s speech is an empty political rhetoric to salvage the image of his rotten government

By David Tang

Igga’s Speech to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of African Union (AU) is an Empty Political Rhetoric to Salvage the Image of his rotten Government: A Critique by concerned South Sudanese

February 8, 2014 (SSNA) — The critic of this speech is trying to bring to the attention of the readers on the speech delivered by the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan on the Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of African Union (AU) held from 30-31st of January 2014. That the speech made by James Wani Igga, the Vice President of the Republic of South   Sudan, was indeed a sugar-coated polity

First of all with all due respect, I would like to acknowledge that the Vice President James Wani Igga is one of the revered politicians and academics in South Sudan.  However, I was taken aback when I read the speech he delivered during that important summit .That speech  not  only reduced him to a cheap and short sighted politician,  but badly downsizes him to a mere political opportunist who  is there in the  political arena to just meet his egocentric ends.   

In the first paragraph of his speech, the Vice President reminded his audience (AU’s Heads of State and Government, and the  international community representatives) that what has happened on December 15th, 2013 in Juba , and which led to the current conflict in South Sudan was indeed – a “coup attempt” against the legitimate and democratically elected government, as he called it. To me personally, that is very cheap argument from one of the senior politicians in the land. In the first place, what has happened was not internationally recognized, including IGAD’s member states, as a “coup attempt”. Secondly, I wonder why the Vice President was not able to read and analyze the knowledge of his audience about what has taken place in South Sudan on that day of what they called “coup attempt”. Does he think that South Sudan is an island out of this global village? His  speech  , I believe,   had fallen into the deaf ears of his audience , except for their  saviour, the  dictator,  President Yori  Mosuveni of Uganda who invaded South Sudan and rescued their genocidal government from the hands of pro-democratic fighters of SPLM/A  in Opposition. 

In actual senses of a common man, there was no coup attempt in South Sudan. President Kiir and Vice President Igga are witnesses of this fact.  What happened to put it in a precise way, was a calculated move by the doctorial regime to eliminate its critics who want democratic reforms continue within the SPLM as a ruling party. That view was also echoed by the African Governments and international community as well. In the same paragraph [paragraph one], the Vice President has equated what happened last year on December 15th 2013, to 1991 Nasir’s Declaration during the war of liberation struggle.  In relation to 1991 Nasir Declaration, Vice President claimed that Dr.Riek Machar made a coup against the late Dr. Garang de’ Mabior, the founder of the SPLM/A. He went on to forward, yet another shallow argument that Dr. Riek has also mutinied against President Omar Hassan Al Bashir of the Sudan when Khartoum government and South Independence Movement (SSIM) signed Khartoum Peace Accord.

What happened in 1991 [Nasir Declaration] was what led Mr. Igga today to be called His Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan today. Dr. Riek Machar during the liberation struggle was amongst the few SPLM/A politico-military high command members who argued rationally that we [SPLM/A] missed the objective of our liberation struggle. He then went to press for the reform within the movement’s objective; which was the liberation of the whole Sudan. That view of Dr.Riek was later accepted and advocated by the late leader Dr.John Garang de Mabior. Dr. Machar was indeed convinced that the objective of liberation struggle should be to liberate South Sudan. In the context of liberation of South Sudan rather than the whole Sudan, he insisted that the people of South Sudan should be given options through an internationally supervised referendum to choose between whether to remain within the united Sudan or secede. The argument of Dr. Riek that the choice should be given to the people of South Sudan, is what we have today as South Sudan; had it not been that noble idea he had , Salva Kiir could not have been the President of South Sudan , let alone James Wani who does not deserve to be  Vice President of the country.  A leader who denies fact about history is a traitor and does not fit to lead.  

Coming to the claim that Dr. Riek has mutinied against President Al Bahsir of the Sudan, it was not a mutiny; rather it was when President Al Bashir violated and subsequently nullified their agreement – the Khartoum Peace Agreement of 1997. Because in that agreement, the right of self-determination for the people of South Sudan through internationally supervised referendum was one of the important articles. When it was violated, Dr.Machar had to leave for the bush again and fight against the government which dishonoured what has it agreed to.  So, it was the right of self- determination of people of South Sudan argued by Dr. Riek and put in the Khartoum Peace Agreement that served as roadmap to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and CPA later gave birth to an independent South Sudan of today.

In one of his incoherent paragraphs, Vice President Igga claimed that there are many more “patriotic” Nuer who are firmly standing with their government today even if their innocent relatives were killed by President Kiir’s tribal militiamen. The Vice President is exactly right when he said that there are many Nuer senior politicians  who are still serving in their Government. However, I completely disagree with his argument though. Those Nuer who remain in Kiir’s genocidal government are not in fact not patriotic . I personally believe that politics is about the principles and those principles are the ones that bind us to govern the country together as politicians with the same objective. If these principles are dishonoured by the one party in the agreement in a way that denies right of other party to existence, there is no need for someone to personally remain loyal to that system. Those fellows Nuer still serving in Kiir’s government are indeed political opportunists, who strive to satisfy their dirty political ends by appeasing the dictator Kiir and his Government. Those guys in the government can also be described as cowards, unpatriotic and traitors who betrayed the cause of their people because of a zero-sum game politics. Some of them have even lost very close relatives killed in cold blood, but yet they still serve in that government. I could not imagine a politician who can still work with the government which is killing his/ her constituency.

Another naïve argument put forward by the Vice President is when he claimed that there are democratic institutions in South Sudan. In fact there are names of institutions in South Sudan, but these institutions are not democratic. They are rather failed and collapsed institutions led by incompetent leader. Just to mention but a few reasons why they are no democratic intuitions in South Sudan, is recent and the ongoing massacre and targeting killings of innocent Nuer in Juba and elsewhere in the country in the areas under government control. If the institutions in South Sudan were democratic as Vice President poorly claimed in front of international community, why would Nuer still being killed and  stay in the UN’s concentration camps throughout the country until now?  Vice President Wani could not see a difference between what their government termed as “coup plotters” and the deliberate killing of innocent Nuer civilians by their Government .Therefore, Vice President’s argument that there are democratic institutions in South Sudan is a strait –jacket philosophy and fails to meet the minimum standard of a logical argument whatsoever.  What I know so far is that the public institutions in South Sudan are plagued with rent-seeking behaviour of the corrupt clique of political elites and their leader.

The final point Vice President spoke about in his address to AU’s Heads of State and Government, is when he said that their Government has established a committee to investigate all the alleged human right violations, and atrocities committed against innocent Nuer civilians and other South Sudanese by Kiir’s tribal militiamen. The question to be asked is, who have committed and are still committing those crimes against innocent people?  Who is their leader? This is a complete mockery!  How come a killer himself becomes a judge to arbitrate on whether the crimes have been committed or not?  It is like a thief who steals thing but at the same time becomes a police man to investigate whether or not that thing was stolen. In other words, it was a government which killed and still killing Nuer. For this reason, any commission of inquiry established by Kiir cannot be independent because Kiir himself is the killer and cannot be the judge at the same time. My appeal to international community is that they need to establish an independent commission of inquiry as soon as possible which is different from Kiir’s so called ‘committee of investigation’ as ugly said by his Vice President.

To conclude, the speech delivered by the Vice President at the AU’s Heads of State and Government Summit, did not meet a minimum standard of a senior politician and a professional like him. How come a leader who preaches peace can at the same time accuses other party of unfounded coup? The speech delivered by the Vice President therefore culminated in the betrayal of the cause of people of South Sudan in their quest for peace and tranquility in the country.

The lives in the Republic of South Sudan. The views expressed here in this critique are solely belong to the author and do not reflect any institutions.

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