By Sarah Thomas
I would like to begin by thanking all of you; members of my government, youth, women, business community, religious leaders, chiefs, civil society organizations, artists, trade unions and the entire population of Juba for turning up in large numbers in support of, and solidarity with my government and I, which I deeply appreciate. My fellow South Sudanese On 9th July 2011, we celebrated the birth of the Republic of South Sudan and closed the chapter in our history where we struggled and lost over two million lives. Our liberation demanded a lot from all of us; from those who left to fight and never returned; to those who were injured in the battle front, orphaned or widowed and those who supported the struggle with whatever resources they had. Today we remember all of them in a spirit of gratitude. Let us stand up and pay tribute to all of them.
In the above statement, the speaker show the world that he still has a support where indeed, majority among his audience are defectors. He seems to acknowledge the suffering South Sudanese had endured throughout the struggle period. Salva sound like he is indeed caring for the plight of South Sudanese. If he does, why has it been so difficult to care for orphanages, widows, widowers and most importantly our wounded heroes and heroines who lost limbs during the struggle. Majority of these brave men and women fell they have been ignored by Salva administration during interim period and after independence. Do Salva really care for the plight of south Sudanese? Not real! He care in words and not in action. In Anyanya one era, armumations were lacking. Many people were carrying only sticks to the war field. The ring leaders at the time were struggling to find military equipment which could help them operate or fight the war effectively. Nothing comes easy for them. Philosophically, the movement’s leaders had planned the creation of a tactical way of luring young people in villages. They encouraged young people to join the movement and bring their guns with them if they own any. This encouragement was based on the idea that individuals, who have done this, will be remembered in an awaited independent south Sudan and in the future, they shall be compensated once freedom has been attained. Did Salva administration track down these very people in his tenures in the office as the head of the State? The answer is no! Salva does nothing, this made his above assertion lack factual. They are only being remembered in spirit without meaningful practical work that is being done on their behave, which mean, the family of those who paid ultimate price and limb miser heroes are struggling to meet their day today living with insufficient necessities.
It is the memory of the losses endured by our nation and every South Sudanese family during the struggle that has strengthened my resolve to defend and protect the gains of our liberation struggle. For the same reason, I accepted to negotiate peace with those who took arms against the state, under the auspices of IGAD and the INTRAPARTY dialogue, facilitated by Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. Negotiations under the auspices of IGAD have been going on for over a year. I can understand why our people were very disappointed when the deadline of 5th March 2015 set by IGAD to sign the peace agreement was not met. This unfortunately means that we are still in a state of war; our people continue to suffer and die – something Riek and I could have ended on March 5th if it were not for his intransigence. At the same time, and as a result of not reaching a peace deal by 5th March 2015, the international community is threatening to impose sanctions on us. As your President, I feel that you the people of South Sudan deserve to hear from me about: my efforts to bring peace, why a peace agreement between the government and the rebels was not signed by 5th March, 2015, the impact of the proposed sanctions; and more importantly where do we go from here?
To be honest, Salva does not remember the fade of the suffering South Sudanese has gone through, he had definitely increased their suffering. What is Salva actually defending when he is in fact the warmonger who plunge the country into this horrible crisis by running tribal structured government, where people who are benefiting are only his tribesmen and those sycophants who do not care of anything else other than whatever gain they may grasp?
In regard of acceptance of peace, Salva was not willing, but he was persuaded to agree with the dialogue. On Thursday December 26, 2013, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn: flew to Juba to visit 11 former officials who have been detained out of alleged coup plot; and also wanted to consult with Salva Kiir as the region was making itself ready to find ways to mediate peace among the divided SPLM party. In the previous week after Sunday December 15 when the war broke out, envoys from Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda converged in Juba trying to find ways to help tackled the new nation crisis. Which indicate that, Uhuru and Hailemariam visit the week after, was to add more weight to the already mediation efforts their respective foreign ministers together with regional delegations that went to Juba had started. After the end of their visit to detainees and consultation with Kiir, Kiir assured them that, he is willing to negotiate with former vice president Dr. Riek Machar, however, it has to be an unconditional negotiation. Salva had no choice during that particular period, given that the whole world demanded an immediate peace talks, the same goes to Riek. Hence, accepting a peace negotiation is not something he should brag about.
Was the reason of missing the dateline for Riek intransigence, or Salva included? The two sides were at odd over a number of issues ranging from security arrangement, wealth sharing, national dept., governance and power sharing in a future transitional government. Salva was rigid on all these issues and couldn’t compromise, how could you termed it as a one side when as well are not willing?
My government has done everything possible to protect the gains of our liberation struggle and end the war. We have remained engaged with IGAD, AU, UN and members of the international community since January 2014, when I gave directives to my negotiating team to go to Addis Ababa to negotiate peace with the rebels; in good faith and without preconditions. I am also sure that heads of other political parties can remember the number of times I have invited them to J1 and the Freedom Hall for consultations on the positions of the government on national issues prior to the return of the negotiating team to Addis Ababa. Furthermore, I have allowed for the participation of a wide range of stakeholders in the IGAD peace talks; faith-based groups, civil society organizations, youth, women and political parties to ensure inclusiveness and ownership of the peace process. I am glad that some of you who participated in the negotiations under IGAD are in the audience and can bear testimony to that.
Sincerely, Salva agreeing to peace talks as mentioned above was not seriously about resulting the conflict, he was buying time and blindfolding IGAD, AU, UN and the international community at large that he is for peace while he is not. If he directed his negotiating team to negotiate in good faith as he try to claim here, they won’t refuse Ugandan army withdrawal and the release of the former detainees during the startup of the peace last year in January. He is deceiving everybody trying to outsmart them when of course Kiir suffer the low-IQ on earth which is the reason why he only completed 4th grade education. In regard of other political party’s issue, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that Salva made consultation to other political parties, but he has done so to show the world that he is working with other political parties, when he is indeed working with parties that could not correct his wrong doers. Wasn’t it possible that Salva blocked individuals who have a brain to flight to Addis out of the fear that these individuals may agree totally with opposition group demand of federalism which he refuse. Dr. Lam Akol is a victim of that madness from brainless elites.
Dear compatriots I would like to thank the IGAD and AU heads of state, particularly my brothers President Yoweri Museveni, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame, Jacob Zuma, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and other leaders in the region, for keeping peace in South Sudan at the top of their priorities. My fellow country men and women I have lost count of the number of times our delegation has been to Addis Ababa since January 2014.And as your President I have not missed any meeting scheduled by the IGAD mediators or IGAD heads of state concerning peace in South Sudan. During the first round of talks, the rebels demanded a transitional government, public sector reforms, Constitutional Review, federal system of government and security arrangements. Our delegation agreed to these broad areas as a basis for negotiating peace. However, in the course of the negotiations, the rebels kept changing positions on issues even after they have been agreed to and signed by Riek and myself. My government made significant compromises on its original positions in order to reach a settlement with the rebels. A good example of my flexibility was accepting the portfolio of prime minister to be included in negotiations, a position that does not even exist in the South Sudan Transitional Constitution of 2011.
Look at him, he put CRIMINAL Museveni’s name first inline to illustrate that he trust him more than others and Museveni is the one who spoil the mind of other IGAD members to consider retaining Kiir. Salva has indicated that he had lost count to how many times him and his delegations been to Addis Addis Ababa, this is what happen when you are uneducated, and you don’t keep records properly. Base on the rebel demands last year in June during the first direct talks, it is true rebel had tabled issues of public sectors reforms, federal system of governance and security arrangement, constitutional review as well as transitional government. Salva and his group said some of those issues will be agreed upon by the citizen, they cannot be tabled by the rebel leadership. It is understandable Salva does not agree with any change, he only believe on the so-called presidential decrees that caused this mess.
I also initiated the intra-party dialogue for all the (SPLM groups (SPLM –IO and SPLM Leaders FD to be facilitated jointly by the CCM of Tanzania and the ANC of South Africa, which was aimed at narrowing the gap between SPLM leaders, providing an opportunity for working together to end the war and agreeing on how to take the country forward. The efforts of these sisterly political parties in the region made it possible for the SPLM reunification agreement to be signed on 21st January 2015 by all three SPLM groups. On my part, and in the spirit of the Arusha agreement, I directed the implementation of the SPLM reunification agreement, and gave a general amnesty for all those waging war against the state. I want to take this opportunity to welcome back the former spokesperson for the rebels, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang, the group led by Joseph Gwado Ador and the widow of our late hero Ngachigak Ngachiluk, Cde Bangout Amum, who responded to the general amnesty and returned to Juba.
The intra-party dialogue was not initiated by Salva Kiir, the rebels did. At first, he was hesitance to join in until when he was persuaded by Yoweri Museveni to get involve, he could not had involved. This is not an issue you would claim credit for. In regard of those who return to rotten regime in Juba, their departure will not affect anything in our organization. Salva believe in his narrow minded thoughts the so-called amnesty which will not be responded by sound minded people but those who just want to swallow the price, will attract people to return.
Obstacles to peace
Dr Riek’s ever shifting positions have been a real challenge to attaining peace, as this made it extremely difficult to reach consensus on contentious national issues.When Riek refused to acknowledge the SPLM reunification agreement, which actually provided answers to political, leadership and organizational issues and proposed reforms in security, economic social and public sectors, it became clear that Riek and his group were only interested in negotiating themselves back to power and cared less about reforms. In the last round of talks, the rebels demanded two armies during the 30-month interim period followed by amalgamation rather than integration of forces as should be the case. They also demanded in power-sharing the position of 1st Vice President and 50/50 share in government. In addition they demanded Federalism to be implemented at the start of the 30-month interim period. In regard to the political system South Sudan will adopt, we believe this should be dealt with in the permanent constitution following broader consultations with the people. Riek also introduced a new formula for wealth sharing and demanded that South Sudan pay the debts the rebels incurred during the war. My question to you South Sudanese is: How would you feel if I had signed an agreement for two armies in the country? Would you be happy?
When the peace talks were reconvened on November 6-7 last year, IGAD was the one that came up with the idea of creating Prime Minister Positon and gave it to warring parties for discussions, that was the reason why the parties were told to conduct consultation conferences. In that IGAD proposal, the idea of having separate army and sharing wealth and power was availed for further discussion in conferences, Kiir convened his conference on the 24 of November where he reject every proposed ideas by IGAD and said, No two army, prime minister must take third position and the wealth cannot be share with one tribe. Is Salva not the one who delay the peace in the above painted picture? On the side of opposition, only the idea of retaining Salva as the president with executive powers was rejected, other IGAD proposals were agreed upon. In the above paragraph, Salva blame everything on Riek while ignoring his rigid stance.in some comments, he had indicated that he is not willing to compromise. The question he asked tell it all. How would he feel, had the Sudanese government refused to allow existing of two army, would the CPA be signed? That could not happen right! On November summit last year in Addis, when the issue of having two army is agreed upon by mediators, Salva and his stooge elites argued that only one army under one command and those who defected will be the only one to be integrated, the rest who later join will not be allowed; something that could not be stipulated by a person thinking on his/her right mind. What would happen if the Sudanese government during the CPA negotiation demand only army who were defected in 1983, be reintegrated, would they allow it? I bet they would not. And if that is so, why are they want to integrate Riek army, isn’t that the plan to killed him freely as they had about to do in Juba in 2013? It will not happen that a peace will be signed without making sure that SPLA-IO army are staying separate.
The way forward
Dear compatriots, in my way forward I would like to emphasize that when we set out to liberate this country, we were fighting for a better South Sudan and I believe this is still our ultimate goal. And liberation as we know it is not a single event nor does it stop at independence. Each milestone we reach allows us to do more to confront other challenges, overcome them and take us closer to our goals. I therefore would like you to see the challenges this country has been going through since December 15th2013, as challenges of transition that together we will overcome. I am therefore calling upon all of you; political parties, faith-based organizations, civil society, organizations, artists, the business community farmers, youth, women and chiefs not to despair but to join me and my government in the efforts to unify the internal front through national dialogue forgiveness, reconciliation and building consensus on a development path that will lead to harmony, political stability and an economy that allows all of us to prosper. I call upon the SPLM General Secretariat to support the SPLM leadership to lead this process. As for community dialogue, reconciliation and harmony among our people, the faith-based organizations have always taken the lead. My special message to you religious leaders is that, our people need to embrace a culture of tolerance peaceful co-existence and hard work, so that they can be at peace with themselves.
Rebuilding trust under Salva Kiir is impossible. Salva has betrayed south Sudanese people. After many painful decades of war of liberation against successive oppressive regimes in North Sudan, nobody would have thought of going back to war after South Sudanese people gained their hard won freedom on July 9, 2011. If Salva knows that we were fighting for a better South Sudan, which he cannot really say because he was fighting for better Sudan, he could not have driven the country to war. He could not have chosen to be a dictator following the fade of those he was fighting with in North Sudan. And how he also would call on political parties when he always worked against inclusiveness of all other political parties to work hand in hand whenever political demands are on the raise. Let take 2010 constitutional review, he refuse to allow the view of other parties that demanded more democratization within the transitional constitution. For him to call for reconciliation is the joke! Why did he stopped and ordered the suspension of proposed national reconciliation in April 2013 and formed his own committees who fail to do anything? Does he think our wild population would listen to those who are carrying bibles? Not at all, we only listen to encouragement of the authority that would backup its policies with the use of force had those who are being reconciled refuse to implement the content of the reconciliation document. Hence, the murderer president is day dreaming, he will try to send those pastors and yet, they will not convince anybody; let them try Lakes State for example, the reconciliation will stuck right there.
I also know that every citizen and particularly our private sector have been hit hard by the economic conditions caused by the ongoing conflict as well as global economic conditions. I want all of you to know that even if we were to sign peace today, the economic conditions in our country would not improve automatically, because it will take some years to reach the level of oil production before the war. The oil prices are likely to remain low for some years to come, as the supply of oil in the world is high and demand is low. This leaves us with few options for addressing this economic hardship. We need to look to what we can do by ourselves, I urge our people and private sector to double their efforts in tilling the land – starting from this agricultural season – and to earn our living from our land rather than depending on oil and importation of food from the neighboring countries. Our Ministry of Finance must also double its efforts in mobilizing non-oil revenues and use wisely such revenues for making our economy to function, particularly investment in agriculture and facilitating credit to our private sector firms interested in agriculture, as well as settling their debts. On my part, I promise to do everything possible to ease hardship on our people. But peace remains the only option for alleviating the suffering of our people. I am also aware about the demand of lecturers in our public universities. But I expect them to understand better than the rest of us, the conditions facing our country. This is the time our intellectuals and elites need to show us how we can address the challenges facing our country. I call upon our lecturers to call off their strike as this is hurting our country and affecting our students, who are the future of our nation. Let me assure the lecturers that their demands can only be fully addressed when our country has recovered from the impacts of war and global economic conditions.
Without any doubt, South Sudan economy is draining out, no matter what, it will keep falling as the violence conflict is continuing. The economy has suffered since the outbreak of the conflict due to the fact that oil production facilities have been damaged in the fighting and some have fallen under rebel control. Hence, the oil production has been cut by 60 percent. Already, the downturn forced the government to delay salaries of civil servants. People are working for free while Salva use the country money to pay Ugandan soldiers so that he must remain in power for life. It doesn’t matter what try to do, the downfall must keep hammering the economy and those who are crying such as lecturers, need more tear to drop otherwise they will be troubled with dry eyes problem. Salva give all money to Museveni that is why even his army are not paid.
I am asking the people in UN camps to return to their homes, where they will be assisted to resettle by relevant government institutions. At least, the situation outside the UN camps is more conducive for bringing up your children. The same appeal goes to refugees and IDPs. Come home, let us work together to make South Sudan a safer, better and more welcoming place for our children. On the other hand, I know some of you are bitter against the people who took up arms against the state, but we should be ready to accept ourselves and to make more sacrifices for the sake of peace. Let us be ready to forgive and work together, if we want to see peace in this country. I am therefore reiterating my call to all those who have taken up arms against the state to take advantage of the general amnesty I declared on 24thFeb 2015, which ends on 31st March 2015. I particularly call upon SPLA officers and NCOs who joined the opposition to take this golden opportunity of general amnesty to return back to their units with their previous SPLA ranks. I know you must be facing a lot of hardship in a war that does not have any meaning to you; and I know as well that your families and children must be suffering. I have ordered General Malong Awan, the SPLA Chief of General Staff, to send clear directives to all SPLA units to receive you back to your former units and provide you with the necessary assistance.
IDPS in U.N Mission in South Sudan are there because Salva is hunting them. Why would you invite those who are fearing you to get out, don’t you think they could prepare dying away from you or live in danger elsewhere in order to avoid your aggressiveness? In several occasions, Salva call these refugee rebels, which was the reason why Makuei Lueth intruded in Bor IDPS’s camp last April that culminated into the massacre of unarmed civilians on April 17, 2014. One do not sure anyone including those soldiers he is trying to lure can understand him and Paul Malong who secretly train 15,000 militias out of Salva Kiir order.
To Riek Machar; I say, peace in this country lies in your and my hands and the men we command. In the spirit of the SPLM reunification agreement which we both signed, let us end the suffering of our people and reward them with peace. What good is power to you if what it does is to finish our people? To the Former Detainees; I say come home and let us implement the SPLM reunification agreement, which we signed on 21st January 2015 in Arusha Tanzania. To the international community; I want to confirm my government’s commitment to end the war in South Sudan. I look forward to your continued effort to bring peace to my country and I am ready to negotiate peace with Riek Machar anywhere and anytime appointed by IGAD or the AU. But while I very much appreciate the efforts of the international community to bring peace, I am disappointed in the mobilization by some members of the international community to impose sanctions, rather than encouraging peace building processes after failure to meet the deadline of March 5th 2015. My concern is that sanctions at this time will not only devastate the economy, but increase economic pressures on people who are already suffering and are desperate.
If Salva know peace lied in his hand, he cannot keep saying I refuse this and that repeatedly, that kind of language will not help him to bring peace. It only will perpetuate the war. Riek and former detainees could not accept such a naïve call, you totally failed and want to call people to the same fail system without reform, who grantee you will not arrest or kill people again? Salva has also spoke lengthily about how Equatorians would rebel if the position of first vice president is given to Riek. Does he think Riek demand the position of vice presidency? No, Riek demand Salva chair but for the sake of peace, that why he accepted the second seat. As of now, we don’t want you to be retain as the president again, we want the seat that you are abusing. Moreover, Salva spoke about sanction and how he could take care of it. In his own word, he said, "International community can sanction us but they cannot sanction the rain." In other words, South Sudan will exist so long as rain is there to provide for the food. Really? What Salva doesn’t know is that, there is an iodide chemical that can be spray on sky and prevent rain from raining in some part of the world. That sort of product can be used and Salva hope of resisting the sanction would be meaningless.
In summing, Salva Kiir in the above speech, has reveal his true color, he indicate that, he has planned this war for a very long time to revenge 1991 incident in Bor which was carried out by white army without Nasir faction leadership order. As the compensation for the people he has killed was demanded in Addis, Salva has also demand the compensation of Bor victims. If Salva does not keept bygones and bygones, he will also has to compensate Gaatjaak civilians who they have discriminately killed in the period of 1984-7. Thought-out that time, more than ten thousands were killed, many livestock were taken and women and girls were subjected to discriminate sex, either in Jekou, Mangok and Chatyier, Makuach, Bilpam, Pinymo, Maker, Itang or Gambella. This is a serious crime that cannot be bygone if the Salva dwell in the past. In addition, Salva in this speech approve to be a self-proclaimed leader. He claim credit on all paragraphs, it is widely believed that in every society there must be a leader who is mandated to take care of the community concerns. Salva Kiir being the representative of South Sudan, does not qualify to be a leader who is there to do the job, but in power for credit. He avoided responsibility for every action occurred in the country which is actually caused by him. A leader is a person who takes the leads in blame situation rather than credit and that leader is not Salva Kiir Mayardit
Sarah Thomas lives in Canada, she holds a bachelor degree in sociology, and she can be reach at [email protected].