By Duop Chak Wuol
October 26, 2019 (SSNA) — It is documented that history and publicly available researched data show that dictators who continuously ruled oppressively are cowards. This cowardice act is usually fueled by intense paranoia, anti-social behavior, incoherent thinking, sadistic mentality, among others. This class of rulers is power-hungry and tends to wet their political pants when faced with popular uprisings and serious military threats. One of their favorite leadership techniques is the use of brutality against anyone who questions their leadership. This is the case in the Republic of South Sudan where President Salva Kiir runs a murderous regime with iron-fist. In this opinion piece, I will refute Salva Kiir’s argument that he is for peace by showing that his reasoning trades on deceit and that hearing a sound of a bomb blast over Juba One (J1) could force him to fully embrace peace, perhaps preaches it.
To clear the air before going deeper, any critic of Juba’s regime including myself would be happy to see J1 smashed to dust by a South Sudanese missile. I do not care who occupies J1 because I know it is full of tribalists, kleptocrats, belly-politicians, and sycophants. There is no real leader at J1. It is a disgrace to this young nation.
On October 19, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) Dr. Riek Machar landed at Juba International Airport and proceed to meet Salva Kiir. The meeting was brief. On the following day, the two leaders met again in the morning and were briefed by their peace implementation teams and it was clear the two camps were not on the same page. At the briefing room, the SPLM/A-IO team told Kiir and Machar that the implementation of peace, especially ‘security arrangements is not going well and that more time is probably needed to fully implement the deal. The teams also admitted that lack of funding is preventing them from carrying out their duties. However, the government team immediately refuted the armed opposition’s team position by telling the two leaders that everything is going properly and that there is no need for more time. The only thing the two teams agreed on was funding issues. At that time, it was obvious that the rival factions were contradicting themselves before the people of South Sudan. In other words, they knew they were not on the same political boat—a boat that seems to have no common denominator when it comes to the implementation of the deal. Nevertheless, two indisputable facts emerged at the meeting: The first fact was that the SPLM-IO was telling the truth. The second fact was that the government was lying big time. The meeting of the two longtime rivals abruptly ended after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delegation requested that they meet with Kiir, Machar, and other opposition leaders who are parties to the agreement. I am not sure why the government side was misleading itself when it is a known fact in South Sudan and around the world that Juba’s regime is intentionally refusing to finance the peace process, let alone collecting millions of dollars from foreign nations in the name of peace.
Machar made it clear to the visiting UNSC delegation at the meeting that his party does not want to be a part of another crisis.
“If the government will be there on the 12th, we the IO won’t be there because we don’t want to put the country into crisis. We would opt out and contain the troops,” Dr. Machar told the UN Security Council, adding, “We have a volatile situation that we want to control. We want this country to be peaceful.” “Suppose we form the government on 12 November, do you know what is going to happen?”, he asked.
The SPLM/A-IO leader was right. Some members of the UNSC were talking perversely, not considering that the pact was not signed to be abandoned. The deal was also certainly not inked to empower the very same tyrannical system the people of South Sudan have been fighting against for nearly six years.
There are a lot of things that can be done to force Kiir to fully execute the deal. Let me give you a logical explanation. In the text, the treaty calls for the formation of a hybrid court to prosecute those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, the amendment of the current constitution to reflect new reforms, Juba’s regime to fund the peace process and the SPLA-IO forces, the reduction of the number of states or take the nation back to the original ten states, the reunification of the government and SPLA-IO troops, and the demilitarization of major towns including Juba.
First, Kiir does not like the idea of forming a hybrid court because he knows he is the number one suspect who would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. He believes the best way for him to prevent this to happen is by opposing any suggestion that could lead to the establishment of the court. He wishes South Sudan’s opposition leaders and the international community to give him the power to create such a court—this is a mere fantasy because nobody in his or her right mind would give him the power to prosecute himself. Second, the current dictatorial constitution has already been amended. It is now sitting on the desk of the justice minister. It is worth noting that the agreement calls for the incorporation of the revitalized peace into the new constitution. Kiir is not buying this because he is not ready to relinquish some of his powers invested in him by the current repressive constitution. There are good reasons to believe that he is not for the revised version of the constitution. Third, the funding of the armed opposition forces was decided during the ratification of the deal. The agreement states that the government must fund the SPLA-IO troops. Now it is clear Kiir does not want to provide funding to the armed opposition soldiers. Fourth, on the issue of states, it was decided last year that the young nation must return to ten states. On June 20, 2018, the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) voted to return South Sudan to the original ten states. The vote was ten to four—a clear defeat to the existing tribal states. Even though Kiir knows he lost the legitimacy of his 32 states, he still refuses to abide by the verdict. But there is one obvious problem known to most South Sudanese. This hindrance is that the notorious tribal group, the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), is against any reduction of the states. In their rather twisted mindset, the group believes the current states’ allocation benefit Dinka. They even told Kiir last month that the states can only be reduced in a way that would still benefit Dinka. It is widely believed in South Sudan that at least half of the 32 states are controlled by Dinka. Kiir is also accused of grabbing lands of non-Dinka tribes and giving them to Dinka. Fifth, the reunification of the armies is clearly stated in the deal. The agreement stipulates that a unified army of at least 83,000 must be formed before a transitional government is formed. Salva Kiir seems to be against this provision. What he wants is clear. He wants all opposition forces to be handed over to him so that he can validate them himself. This clearly fits within the meaning of wishful thinking because I know for a fact that the SPLM/A-IO will never allow such a self-serving tactic. Sixth, the agreement calls for the demilitarization of Juba. Kiir is not even close to accepting this provision. In fact, he recently brought more soldiers in and around Juba. Now you know Kiir is an established deceiver who deserves a deceitful trophy.
There are those who claim that Dr. Machar made a big mistake by refusing to be a part of a transitional government supposed to be formed by the November 12 dateline. To refresh your mind, Machar told a gathering of South Sudanese political leaders in presence of the members of the United Nations Security Council that his party, the SPLM-IO, will not participate in a unity government if chapter two of the pact popularly known as ‘security arrangements’ are not implemented. Some of these people went further, accusing the SPLM-IO leader of holding the country hostage. Well, Machar is not the one who is holding the nation hostage unless if one wants to be deceitful. The 2018 agreement was not signed to be abandoned. It was inked to be fully executed. The idea that Dr. Machar is the one who is obstructing the peace is merely a disingenuous scheme designed to pain the armed opposition leader as someone who does not want lasting peace in the country. There was also another scenario that fueled the aspirations of the people who accused Machar. For instance, when some members of the UN Security Council delegation said they want a transitional government by the 12th of November, Juba’s regime and its seemingly clueless followers thought the UN was supporting them. They were wrong. For the record, only the United States and South Africa ambassadors were the ones who issued statements in support of the formation of an interim government but failed to explain why they believed the creation of a unity government would end the conflict while the main provisions of the deal are not executed. Again, those who believe the American and South African governments fully support the establishment of a transitional government by the dateline are either uninformed or do not understand how international norms works. The regime in Juba and its supporters should have known better. The UN is known for preaching peace even when it does not mean it. Please do not delude yourself, the United States is known for being the champion of democratic values worldwide. The U.S. will never support a killer like Salva Kiir who orchestrated a bogus coup in December 2013 simply because his deputy, Dr. Machar, was set to oust him from the chairmanship of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party as well as the presidency.
A sound of a bomb over J1 would unquestionably force Salva Kiir to become a peace-loving man. Kiir is widely known in South Sudan as someone who has a history of killing other military Generals during the liberation struggle against Khartoum’s regime. As the chief of the military intelligence, many military officers who disappeared between the late 1980s and the early 1990s were systematically murdered by Kiir himself. This is one of the main reasons why his mind has no room for political reforms or opposing views. His outdated mindset tells him that he cannot handle a strong adversarial voice, meaning his brain is programmed to only listen to those who admire and shower him with sycophantic praises. Kiir’s thinking does not stop here. He has suddenly transformed himself into a tribal chief who is remotely controlled by the hooligans of the JCE. He can only differentiate his egotistical interests from South Sudanese interests if he faces a formidable military threat from the SPLA-IO or other armed oppositions. The political missile I am referring to could be delivered in many ways, but military delivery seems to be the only effective language he would comprehend. Salva Kiir’s approach to peace lacks reality. For peace to return, his atrocious regime must be confronted from all sides using necessary bombs. Kiir deserves to be awarded a trophy of dishonesty before the people of South Sudan. Enough of his deceit.
Duop Chak Wuol is an analyst and editor-in-chief of the independent South Sudan News Agency (https://ssnanews.com/. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: The views expressed in this article are his and should not be attributed to the South Sudan News Agency.