May 8, 2014 (SSNA) — South Sudan has ever since December 15th internecine violence been the focus of an international diplomacy, not least in the African continent. The question on how to end the violence is the crux behind the agenda of the globe-trotting diplomats who immediately initiated the on-going IGAD peace process in an Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The proponents of an IGAD process may by now be scratching their heads in disbelief as they contemplate eminent failure of their brainchild just like America that has helped create the present day killing field called Republic of South Sudan. Both the proponents of an IGAD peace process and American state lobby that lobbied for the independence of South Sudan are the undisputed architects of their own grand failures. For no arbiter can succeed to arbitrate without predicating his strategy of reconciling the parties to the conflict on honesty and justice. Before hankering down to deal with South Sudanese crisis at hand, the so called arbiters must divulge into background checks of history as to why there arises after every eight years conflict between the Nuer and Dinka on the one hand and on the other between Equatorians and Dinka ever since 1952. Equipped with this crucial historical nitty-gritty, then they can be able to get around these recurrent violent conflicts once and for all.
The Americans in particular can’t be faulted for lacking the knowledge of history about South Sudan since they are closer cousins to the British who ruled South Sudan for more than a century as well as being the arbiters of the recently concluded civil war in the former Sudan. Their problem is prejudice towards South Sudanese in favor of one ethnic group far from ignorance. But the question is, will this prejudice solve the intermittent problem of hate for other tribes or will it simply postpone and prolong it? I believe the whole world except America whose political and economic interests to remain the only global leader supersede justice is tied of genocidal wars popping up and subsiding everywhere. The coming of American secretary of State, John Kerry to Ethiopia and then South Sudan a week ago has rather fueled and strengthened ethnic sentiments than cooled them. His statement that Kiir is an elected head of state Dr. Riek Machar is trying to topple left a sour taste in the mouth. Simply because I couldn’t reach Kerry, I got a golden opportunity to confront VOA Bureau Chief, an American by the name Andrew Green with a string of questions meant for his fellow country man, Kerry.
I asked him whether it is the way Americans and their government deal with issues back home in focusing on effects to solve the problems other than the causes. Again, I enquired whether it is possible Barrack Obama can remain legitimate President if by mistake he goes on in the spree of killing a section of American society. Which is which reigns supreme in American justice system? Is it the election to be respected or the general rule of law in which election is the tiny component? His answers to all those questions are that justice system in America holds in high regards root causes of the conflict as well as respect for general rule of law without fear or favor and should Obama do the same as Kiir did if it is true, no way he can remain decked on the corridors of the white house. Then, why is the double standard in South Sudan I asked to which Mr. Green replied with deafening silence. But my conclusion from Mr. Green’s telling silence confirmed the disparaging world view towards the overall American foreign policy that is purely framed in and guided by self-interest rather the quest to make the world safest for all its inhabitants.
Again, I came face to face with AU five – member Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan Conflict that came and went in the past couple of weeks before Mr. Kerry. It was led by former Nigerian President, H.E Olusigun Obasanjo deputized by Ugandan born Professor Mahmood Mamdani. In their enquiry, they wanted to know from their assembled Nuer audience what exactly went wrong on 15th December and its bloody aftermath and how it could be solved. As one of speakers and South Sudanese citizen I summed up my viewpoints and suggestion to them on how to end the violence.
What Kiir referred to as an attempted coup was fabricated as the means to eliminate one ethnic group, the Nuer so that he would ensure no any other South Sudanese lead and cement born to rule ideology as propagated by one MP by the name Dr. Justin Yac Arap, a Dinka in regional Assembly in 1978 when Abel Alier’s government was being deposed democratically by Joseph Lagu Yanga with the backing of majority of Southerners, I opined. Kiir and Dinka ethnic chauvinists believe Nuers are their obstacle to always lead South Sudan and if eliminated or cowed, there would be no anybody else to stand up for the highly contested South Sudan presidency. That is why when Kiir faced a steep challenge within the SPLM from Dr. Machar over the party leadership he had to device such unfounded coup attempt that is rendered null and void both locally and abroad due to the below illustrated outstanding reasons among others, my views continued to suggest.
Firstly, treason charges worldwide don’t have bailout for the accused as was granted to seven politicians when they were temporarily released into the hands of Kenyan President, Uhuru Mugai Kenyatta. Secondly, Kiir’s pre-mature dangling of an amnesty carrot for the four accused suspects a day before the supreme court could hand down sentences is meant to pre-empt an impending no guilty verdict that could no doubt drive the nail on the coffin of the attempted coup theory in his own court. Therefore, based on such known fabrication that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced more than a million others in order to safeguard a narrower interest of maintaining power, Kiir as a democratically elected Head of State has got no legitimacy to continue ruling the country anymore and should call it quits for possible persecution by the AU Court if any exists or International Criminal Court, ICC. Since he has violated constitution that made him President to safeguard and protect lives of all South Sudanese irrespective of tribe, religion or creed as well as International Human Rights Laws that govern the world under jurisdiction of the United Nations of which South Sudan is state party member. With that I ended my presentation to a round of applause from both the Commissioners and the audience.
IGAD like the Americans has failed to honestly mediate. Ugandan government is defending Kiir regime tooth and nail and cannot be part of its mediation efforts at the same time. Its order to Uganda government to withdraw its troops from South Sudan as rebels genuinely demanded has failed to materialize till now. It is the government that first violated cessation of hostilities agreement without IGAD acting against it. IGAD request for Kiir to release political prisoners in order to participate in the talks went unheeded. He released the seven politicians on bail as a sign of close friendship and good neighborliness between South Sudan and Kenya so as to be returned later. Kiir released the remaining four because of lack of evidence under the guise of an amnesty law.
UNMISS on the other hand is facing its own self-inflicting legitimacy crisis as known by all and sundry that rebels only act in revenge after the ethnic government starts the killing of the innocent Nuer. In Juba on December 17th and thereafter, government ethnic militia went around slaughtering every Nuer they could find in the house after Machar’s loyal troops retreated into the bushes. This was followed by successive reprisals in the town of Akobo in Jonglei and Tharjiath oil fields in Bentiu against the Dinka when Major generals Peter Gadet Yak and James Koang Chol rebelled respectively. The first recapture of Malakal from the rebels saw the killings of many Nuers by the government troops. When white army loyal to rebels’ cause recaptured the town they bent their anger on government supporters. While when the government was conquering unity state for two months and turning the whole region into a game hunting and killing field for the fleeing Nuer civilians in their villages UNMISS was dead silent. When it became the turn of the rebels to kill the defeated mercenaries brought from Sudan by Kiir UNMISS under its wings International Human Rights Groups operate was all up in arms voicing human rights abuses committed by the rebels. This was followed by scaling of UNMISS protection camp in Bor town by government elements who butchered over 270 people while UNMISS not only failed to protect but instead played down the figure to less than 50 as well as never brought anyone to account. About 150 unarmed Nuer soldiers with their children and women were rounded up recently and killed by their fellow Dinka colleagues in Mapel army barrack of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, still UMISS remains mum. And if Peter Gadet is sanctioned for Bentiu war crime on rebel side while Marial Chinuong is brought to book on government side for Juba massacres, then where are the mass murderers of innocent Bor IDPs and those of Mapel? Again, perpetrators of war crimes have three categories: the planners, agitators and executioners. International justice system doesn’t go for executioners in the likes of Marial Chinuong but planners and agitators in the person of Kiir, Tellar Ring Deng and Malong Awan. Marial is simply indicted to shield the three.
These surging Conflict ramifications and dynamics require both Kiir and Machar to step aside until the next elections for a neutral person from minority tribe to lead the IGAD purposed Interim Government. Failure to do so there is no end of conflict in sight in war – torn South Sudan. Especially rebels and the Nuer must feel having their rights and lives sacrificed on the Alter of American interests which moreover further the interest of one ethnic entity. They can’t be expected to feel safe and neither have a future in Kiir who continues killing them on false ground with the support of multi-national forces. Their option will be for Kiir and his allies to kill them on the battle field other than helplessly under his control where they will be disarmed. In choosing this option of last resort, rebels must go everywhere in search of Americans’ enemies, be they Sudan government, Russians or Iranians. Sudan government has already got a strategic interest in South Sudan as the legitimate reason to side with rebels for Kiir is already siding with its enemies. That is the Ugandan government and Coalition of its own rebels hiking along South – North borders of two Sudans. Russians have renewed the cold war feud with United States by re-annexing bit by bit back onto the fold its former republics for re-emergence of the old United Socialist Soviet Republic, USSR. Iranians see themselves as the only strong defenders of Shiite Islamic sect in particular and Islamic theocracies in general threatened by Americans in the Arabs world. Their involvement in strife – torn Syria has already pinned down the earlier military advances from the Western backed Syrian rebel transitional government hell-bent on removing Assad regime.
Ethiopia may not sit by idly and watch Egypt milk the Nile from behind the fence in South Sudan through the planned continuous digging of Jonglei canal as the reason for the Egyptian government involvement in the conflict based on the emerging agreement between Kiir and Egyptian ruling elite in Cairo. Ethiopia must know Egypt’s control of a country with which it has common borders is a clear strategy by the latter of getting closer to deliver fatal blows against it and thus cannot allow the existence of a hostile regime in neighboring South Sudan. The combined support of the above mentioned countries will give rebels two options. One, they will embark on bringing under their tight grips an oil hub, the Greater Upper Nile region that will provide them with sources of an income to reduce to ashes and desolation Kiir’s home region of Bahr el Ghazal so that he feels the pinch of the war while starving off his regime which will in the opposite face shortage of money to pay for arms, national troops and mercenaries. Two, what had happened in the former Indian sub-continent when it became dismembered will be the reality in South Sudan should Kiir withstand the first test. With India losing Pakistan in 1948, the latter gave birth to Bangladesh in early 1970s. The continuing foreign support, including that of Americans’ that has already made possible ‘’a failed state’’ in South Sudan, for Kiir shall in turn create secessionist aspirations not only in rebel – held enclave of Greater Upper Nile but shall also spread like a wild fire across South Sudan, especially in the Greater Equatoria region.
Deng Vanang is a freelance Journalist and can be reached at:[email protected]