March 25, 2014 (SSNA) — The South Sudan government has always referred to itself as a two years old child with no much understanding the political intrigues needed to smoothly run its affairs. It too uses its own hand made image of being a minor to demand that no criticisms should be directed at her for the same afore mentioned reason (a young crawling baby …etc …etc.).
Today we stand in front of the international community that not only midwifed this country, but has all through parented it. The decisions of letting the existing leadership both in government and rebellion relinquish their political ambitions to allow for an interim period under a neutral president and cabinet members to be drawn from the sea of seasoned technocrats is the way forward.
Again the international community having learnt its lesson from the congenital anomalies that came with the CPA (2005) when talks were confined only to the two factions (NCP and SPLA/M), is on the right tract to insist that all stakeholders – government – rebels – SPLM-7, SPLA-4 detainees – all political parties and all civil societies take part in the talks in Addis Ababa.
There will never be any sensible talks in Juba. That was tried and unfortunately it ended in the president supervised and sponsored ethnic targeting and lynching of citizens from the Nuer ethnic groups by the president’s private and tribal Dinka army. Under this murderous government no talks of any kind between the various stakeholders and the government can ever take place in Juba.
The notion of talking about sovereignty while one refuses to behave responsibly is becoming too much for anyone to bear. If our government so rightly believes that it is still a two year old baby, then it must listen to those who midwifed it and are currently offering it the necessary parental services as well.
There won’t be peace in the country as long as the current leadership remains in power in Juba. The war can only get worse if all south Sudanese stakeholders do not participate in the Addis Ababa talks. These talks are no longer limited to stopping the current war.
It is indeed intended to go beyond that and among other things even address the root causes of the problems that are crippling this young and rich country from realising its full potential.
Things that are not finalised at the negotiating table can hardly be addressed latter on in Juba. A good example is the CPA protocol on the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile regions of the Sudan.
Because their status were vaguely discussed in the CPA talks and were left wrapped in some ill-defined statements of some " Popular Consultations" to be handled at an vague time scale, it didn’t happen. Of course once the international community released its pressure on Khartoum everything became a "Paste Tense"! To borrow the famous words of Gen Idi Amin Dada’s.
Any agreement not properly negotiated should never be handed over to our people again. We can’t afford to go back to war every couple of years simply because we are always in hurry. And because we are in hurry we have always ended up covering the fire with a few grass here and a few grass there, and think that it is done.
Thus the all-inclusive political dialogue must in fact be now and in Addis Ababa. When we are coming from there, we are coming to operate under a different government i.e. the interim government. This is what the bulk majority of South Sudanese would want to see happen.
It is for this reason that international community has put both its financial support and political will behind the realisation of this popular and well supported proposal. It is also ready to do everything in its capability to bring both the government and the rebels to not only rally behind it, but in fact to embrace it willingly or not.
The people of South Sudan well across the different socio-political divide have not only supported the proposal to have a neutral interim government, but they have indeed overwhelmingly approved of it.
However the government in Juba and the rebels may both need a bit of physical advice on the benefits of having a neutral interim administration in this war ravaged country. And if the international community must borrow a leaf from the books used to discipline both Saddam Hussein and Mo’aamar al Gadhafi, in order to achieve this, then let it please do so!
Dr Justin Ramba is a concerned South Sudanese and a voice for the voiceless. He can be reached at [email protected].