What the Government of South Sudan Deserves

By Deng Vanang

"Be the change that you seek, quipped Mahatma Gandhi’’.

February 23, 2014 (SSNA) — In six years self – governing Southern Sudan failed to crawl out of her infancy and walk. In two years of independence later, a staggering country crippled and slumped into unprecedented anarchy. It is in fulfillment of genocidal war into which she plunged as rightly predicted some years ago by pundits President Kiir disparagingly calls prophets of doom. Nothing is new here if history is anything to remember. Genesis of all this chaos points to one and only thing: South Sudan’s hope has never been in presence but future that never comes to its fruition. The Anya-Nya one war heralded unjust peace with lest dividends returned people to war eleven years later. A part from securing a successful independence, Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement and Army that returned people to bush en mass with promise of a renewed hope did nothing short of what its Anya-Nya one predecessor offered in realizing internal socio-political and economic emancipation when peace came about.

For twenty one years fighting to win freedom for its people, the guerilla outfit became a huge disappointment in delivering expected services. Since it copied all the old and bad habits it accused the former colonial masters of perpetrating, failing to be the change for which its leaders tenaciously took up arms. Not because the people expectations are too many and ambitiously utopia in nature since the country is drenched immensely in untapped natural resources coupled with youthful educated manpower. The reasons are simply an inherent tribalism and run away corruption both of which have entangled the aspiring nation in a cycle of stone aged poverty and despair. This happened despite everyone in the new nation having an estimated income of about five thousands US Dollars per a year. Such per capita income, which is mere statistics in economics books, places the country comparatively and comfortably above all her East African neighbors.

SPLM internal bur knuckle fights

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese that swamped capital Juba in the past nine years to get crumbs falling from high table had their fate sealed last year by petro-dollar- loaded SPLM elite fighting over luxurious power symbols.  In factious maneuvering, 16 politicians opposed to Kiir and company were flushed into disarray immediately following the fateful day of 15th December.  Three in Dr. Machar, Taban Deng and South Sudan’s equivalent of American ‘’Algore’’ or Alfred Ladu Gore escaped unscathed into animals infested jungles where they found a protective shield in armed rebellion. Thirteen were haplessly cornered in their own city homes. Two of them, Madam Nyandeng De Mabior and Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba were later released to their freedom on compassionate grounds. Following pressure of IGAD and relentless rebels’ demand, the beleaguered government ate the ample pie and released seven piecemeal. Four others remain behind grill doors until now. The government considers them and three escapees as dangerous felons for fomenting a deadly military coup they allegedly staged due to bitterness at their removal in a watershed cabinet reshuffle last July. Behind bars and at large they await treason charges punishable with death.

In this stormy uncertainty one man’s terrorist being another’s hero dictum has indeed found credence in South Sudan of late. With Nyandeng and Adwok still swing on the pendulum before making the hard choice about which group to join, all the three groups such as four remanded prisoners, armed rebels and recently released seven political detainees have their hardened supporters in and outside the country hailing them as celebrated heroes fighting Kiir’s burgeoning totalitarian dictatorship. While the four still count their luck behind bars and virtually deprived of their voice and conscience, the two groups: rebels and group of seven presently gravitate further away from each other. The former lead what they call armed resistance while the latter cast themselves as independents in search for political solution to the mayhem. But in their own innuendos they faulted both Kiir governing and Machar armed resistance groups respectively with fomenting unnecessary violence. Secret strategy kept closer to their chests is one of them becoming a compromised leader to the much expected transitional authority should the conflict be politically conclusive.

Vicious cycle

All the two SPLM factions in opposition have some onerous task to tackle and prove to the masses they are and will be different from Kiir in leadership style. Masses already accused them of presiding either directly or indirectly over flagrant mismanagement that befell Kiir government flat on the ground since 2005. Nearly all of them are among 75 persons accused of indulging in multi-billion US Dollars grand corruption. The said amount is estimated to be an equivalent of two years country annual budget. As accomplices in economic crimes, their malicious commissions and omissions have condemned South Sudanese majority almost permanently below yawning poverty. The same renegade SPLM groups, critics said, have partly encouraged negative ethnicity hugely blamed for current spade of violence through patron -clientele relationship in public service employment. They are an identical twin of Kiir group as first component in a circus which has put South Sudan in her present miserable state.

Being first group in a row, they poised as chest thumbing liberators who feel they owe everything to and own the country. Under such illusion, they fraudulently rewarded themselves with everything money can buy at public expense. But to their credit they created an avenue for a pragmatic change in the country if their rebellion to Kiir is positively managed. Second group is some Diaspora, critics have accused of descending on South Sudan like hungry locusts when peace dawned after fleeing white man’s chains and chuckles heads over heels. Most of them returned home with none except sharp taste and attitude of getting rich quicker at all costs. Their aim is to rival ex-white masters they cleaned their laundry back in the west, cynics continue to wag. Third group is herders plucked from cow dung smoke filled cattle camps with no sense of what the government is all about except being placed with their costly ignorance in key policy-making positions by and at the service of the first group.

All of the above mentioned blood sucking parasites conspicuously shied away from going to rebel – held capital of Gadiang. Instead have headed for Addis where limited spoils of war accruing from IGAD – sponsored peace talks are distributed just to continue maintaining ever dwindling high financial and social status. The same groups are the bulk of people with whom Machar hopes to form the next government if he succeeds booting out Kiir from power to preserve much detested status quo under high placed pretence of ushering in a new dawn. Which is a far cry from ‘’Government South Sudan Deserves’’ that can only be cleverly and collectively crafted by all right thinking and committed South Sudanese people irrespective of varied shades of political opinions if the ever illusive future has to be seized and realized.

Deng Vanang is the Journalist and Executive member of South Sudan leading opposition party, the SPLM-DC and he can be reached at:[email protected]

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