ADDISAGREEMENT: CONSULTATION-CONFRONTATIONS NOW PAINTING JUBA’S ‘RED LINES’ ONTO ADDIS’S ‘WHITE LINES’
Every South Sudanese is calling for peace, but in their own ways. This political-cum-tribal war has partitioned our country not only on geographical and ethnic lines but also on opinion grounds. Almost all the citizens, including – surprisingly – the feuding politicians and commanding army generals, want their piece of peace! Unfortunately, this ‘peace’ is wanted in pieces and its entailing unity in units. This habitual legacy is hyper-critically hypocritical!
To demonstrate this, let me quote a few citizens on their outlooks on the Addis Ababa agreement, which I dubbed in my daily updates ‘Addisagreement’.
Sampled Reactions from ‘Riekophobes’ (Pro-Kiir Camp)
“Peace loving South Sudanese MUST stand up against such a deal recognizing a tribal militiamen as an army. Giving opposition group a chance to command spiritually guided army affiliated to a particular ethnic group undermines our solid foundation for a country that embraces unity in diversity. IGAD should simply create a government with a capacity of 1000 ministers to satisfy all these power hungry politicians. We the common South Sudanese need peace not positions. Shame on you! Mind you South Sudan doesn’t belong to Dinka or Nuer. We are 64 ethnic groups and our views must count. Take your tribal politics to your villages. Our martyrs never died to see us disintegrated instead they fought to achieve a country where each and every citizen is respected. I am disappointed! South Sudan I cry for you!” Garang John
“Two Armies, One Country? Our Government Is Letting Us Down. It May Be The Decision Of My Government But As A Supporter, Patriot, Voter, Soldier and Politician, I Categorically Object To This Idea.” Deng Bol Aruai.
“Taban Deng Gai SPLM-IO led-negotiator should understand that South Sudan does not belong to two regions or two tribes. Their neutrality will be tested in nomina…ting the Prime Minister, I personally do not think they will give it to Gen. Alfred Ladu Gore. Remember Equatorians know how to do their things Watch the space!!!. You can not be allocating for us positions like we do not have any say in this country, Ministers or whatsoever to hell with your offers.” Wani Michael.
“For the record, James Wani Igga is Vice President of South Sudan and rebels want him removed, but Kiir refused and I am with Kiir on this 100%%%%%%%. Riek was fired from his job and through coup and massive death/suffering he is coming back to govt as murders who blackmail a Country, as primer minister who should NOT be trusted or allow to see everything. Asking for abolition of vice president is “Red Line” from me in London, he is royal, hard working and an honest man who stand firms with RSS all his life just like Kiir. The foolish idea of two armies should not be encourage…………love and peace. SS Chick.” Daniella Valentino Wol.
WORD OF POLITICAL ‘WITCHDOM’ FROM DINKA ELDERS…
“We, Jieng (Dinka) Elders are extremely saddened by this impression and precedence. Firstly, the mediators are busy visiting the capitals of Addis Ababa, Kampala, Nairobi, Washington and Juba organizing reconciliatory meetings between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Nuer rebel leader Riek Machar Teny. Furthermore, the mediators are equating that rebel leader with the legitimate Government of South Sudan and the elected President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Secondly, we Jieng Elders across the country vehemently detest the machination of the politics of South Sudan by external Powers in their blatant taking of sides against Jieng (Dinka) community as if Jeing had imposed their son Salva Kiir Mayardit into power over the Republic of South Sudan. Such assertions and negative campaigns against Jieng are not true and misleading! What we want the mediators to know clearly is that attempting to impose on all the people of South Sudan a cosmetic political solution that rewards rebel leader Riek Machar Teny is utterly unacceptable. Yes, it is absolutely true that Riek Machar Teny and his tribes’ terrorist Nuer white army succeeded to massacre countless number of innocent Jieng people in 1991 and many more after December 15th 2013. However, make no mistake, the Jieng communities will neither accept nor recognize the anticipated Interim Government. It is a violation of the Constitutional privilege/right to elect our own leaders!”
Complete the whole ‘Open Letter of Jieng Elders’ from this link: http://paanluelwel.com/2014/11/07/position-of-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-the-republic-of-south-sudan-on-peace-negotiations-process-in-addis-ababa-ethiopia/
ORIGINS OF THE ‘RED LINES’… (President Salva Kiir Mayardit)
“The whole intention is to dismantle the SPLM, which they believe has become a very strong monster in South Sudan and it must be downsized to a level that gives room to be challenged and be defeated. They intend to constitute a transitional government without me as the elected president,” Gen. Kiir said in a speech to the National Assembly. “They want to bring somebody of their choice to be the president of that transitional government. That is a red line!”
“I am very clear on this. The members of this august house were elected by their constituencies to represent them in accordance to the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, and nobody on this earth will be allowed to dishonor their legitimacy. As the President of the Republic of South Sudan, I will never allow this thing to happen. That too, is a red line.” he said.
Watch part of this ‘Red Line’ speech on this Youtube link from June 19, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67qpwxB3hwg&feature=youtu.be&a
Sample Reactions from ‘Kiiritics’ (Riek’s Camp)
However, red lines are everywhere. As always anticipated by analysts that not all the forces in the fields are under direct command of Dr. Riek Machar, there are dissenting voices from Greater Upper Nile that echo the same Juba red lines. As sources say the Nuer elders are skeptical of this peace deal, there are direct calls by some youth that match the voices of the Juba-based youth above, mostly from social media, the leading free speech portals for today’s modern societies.
“Juba massacre survivers strongly refute any agreement that retains kiir as president of South Sudan , no need to reward the killer, who had senselessly murdered our fathers , mothers , brothers , sisters , sons n daughters. We better remains rebels for life rather then being under tyranny regime.” Tahrir Lieth Goak.
“I told my people frm Jikany Nuer last time, riek is nt fighting for any thing else apart frm his position, u can’t believe riek accepted the position of prime minister 4just one year left to general election! what was the reason nw 4 losting such life of our people?” Lam Ruach Naath
“Let us be sincere here: The president may delegate the prime minister to chair the ministers council’s meeting. Now, because my people perish for the lack of understanding of things as prophet Joel said centuries ago. the entire agreement will lead into bloody war in the Republic of South Sudan that will never be forgotten. The entire deal is furthering blood shed in the country. so this people who cry, “it is peace – it is peace”, should think clearly this time. Assuming 100,000 ‘White Army’ marching to Juba to keep the security… What do you think is gonna happen?
OK IN ANOTHER TURN, the force is substantially divided 50/50 percent, what is going to happen to the national equity we are fighting for? As if that is not the case, let Kiir be the president and Riek as the premier, who will be accountable for the massacres of more than 30,000 innocent Nuer civilians? This is why we advocate for the removal of Salva Kiir out of power, whether by force or he just step down so that the victims’ families feel that justice has been done. Otherwise, Kiir as the president and Riek as the premier doesn’t change anything. Just like when he was a vice president and Kiir as the president. Lets be logical here.
(But) Don’t be taken by the storms. I am not part of any agreement that maintain Kiir as the President. There is nothing can comfort the spirit of my 21 relatives who were massacred in Juba along side thousands of thousands of innocents Nuer children.” Elbow Chuol
ORIGINS OF CALLS FOR KIIR’S STEPPING DOWN…(Dr. Riek Machar Teny).
“The mediators when they contacted me, I have sent a delegation to Addis so that this issue can be discussed. We hope the dialogue will bring about a solution,” Machar told VOA News in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location. on January 1, 2014. “I don’t think Salva Kiir can unite the people any more.” But Machar insisted that Kiir has to step down for peace to be restored in South Sudan, where the United Nations has said it has “mounting evidence” that serious human rights abuses, including targeted ethnic killings, massive displacements and arbitrary detentions have been committed since unrest broke out on Dec.15.
“We want peace, but peace cannot be achieved under Salva Kiir Mayardit,” said Machar.
Complete from this VOA’s newslink from Dr. Riek Machar’s interview on two weeks after he fled Juba: http://www.voanews.com/content/south-sudan-unrest-talks/1821597.html
Sampled Reactions from the Moderates
“Separate armies during the transitional period……? Then it is not a transitional gov’t, it is just an interim cessation of hostilities agreement for the next two and a half years…..and then fighting resume. The question is: will Kiir/Riek keep their respective “conquered” territories for the transitional cessation of hostilities agreement of 21/2 years?” PaanLuel Wël
“To SPLM/A in Opposition (Riek Machar) and the supporters
What will the second army protect or is presence of two armies a reform too? Is the same problem being repeated again when presidential guard was a composition of the two tribes only? Under whose responsibility will the other unit of the army fall? Is there another referendum that will be held before the army is integrated again into a national army or what is the purpose?” Ajakguong Deng (Ajak Deng Chienkou).
“I don’t think we are one. We are an extremely divided society no matter what the romanticized version says. Its clear from the way the conflict started and how it has been conducted that tribalism influence and penetrates all levels of governance and “people”. This is not to dismiss the good and rare stories of kindness that have emerged. But generally, they appear to be the exception rather than the rule. People think if we say we are “one” it make us look good and maybe eve…n feel good – that all good, but is it true? I think accepting that we are a deeply divided state can assist in defining the problem more accurately – and as such, help in addressing the issues and the possible solutions. It may also ensure that the leaders have a greater appreciation of the fragility of the state and act with the necessary care and effort to avoid further dividing the state or entrenching the fault lines. It is pointless to engage in a series of empty optimism and fanciful proclaiments; if things were not that bad, that horrible,we would not be talking about reconciliation. Of course many of us still have friends from the other tribes, but we are not the issues, how do you reconcile 27,000 people who lived in UN compound for nearly a years with the group they perceive to be the source of their fear? How do you reconciled those in Bor whose home were burned down and saw despicable violence with their neighbours who have been waging a war? The solutions is not an empty plate of “oh we are one”. I am afraid such empty slogans of oness merely masks the problem and pretends a solution, in fact, such slogans does an effective job, that it appears we should be doing nothing at all because we are already one and united and the divisions are mere speculations or western journalist getting it wrong. This could not be further from the evidence, the 1991 split and other SPLA/M divisions suggest that the problem have deeper roots. I must emphasise that the lack of ‘oness’ does not preclude attaining it, but to get there, to make it a project of collective efforts, we must admit that it is lacking, or is at a stage where it cannot sustain national growth or foster a national identity.” Nyanyuon Bany (Nyadol William Nyuon, Australia).
Observations (from this Blogger):
Brothers and siters: Garang John, Nyadol Nyuon, Ajakguong Deng, Deng Bol, Daniella Awut, Elbow Chuol, Wani Michael, etc. You are key informers of our intellectual public according to your professions and status in South Sudan. Please, at this critical time where we are between War and Peace, let us not catch and tie down war by its tail. Let it go at whatever the cost you think it will take. It is not our moral duty or nation’s call to delay the advent of peace by highlight individuals’ concerns or management worries of the implementation matrix. I do not mean we should not pre-empt pitfalls enthusiastically, but The Holy warns us Ecclesiastically, “Avoid both extremes”.
NB: FYI, as somebody privy to where this negotiation goes on, I feel very uneasy to see our citizens misinterpreting the documents out there. What you see circulating on social media (originating Nyamilepedia and Sudan Tribune), is the version proposed by SPLM-IO, which is yet to be confirmed by that of the Government. Both documents will be married, hoping so, into a ‘Marriage of Convenience, aka, Peace. And, as seen from of your tilted outcries, it’s like that Opposition’s two-page document has been passed and shared as the Bible of Peace in Addis Ababa. Not yet until the final signatures after this 14-day lull; call it ‘consultation period’. Therefore, let us not confront but consult. In other words, both leaders pulled out to have you first consulted, not to have them first insulted.
Finally, ABOUT THE TWO ARMIES, we need to understand the concept of bringing together warring armies at a peace table. There is what we call the pre-interim and then transitional period. This is meant to amalgamate the forces from both divides, and is given some times as it is a process. This is during which the in-Opposition negotiators want Riek to remain in control of. As you put it, the local militias need a lot of work and time to be sorted out. This cannot be done by a stranger other than the one to whom they subscribe their allegiance, both politically and ethnically. In short there is no way Gen. Salva Kiir (despite the powers of the C-in-C) as in the IO’s document or both, can stand up in Juba and order the ‘White Army’ to report themselves to Mapel or immediately disperse back to their villages. Dr. Riek can neither do the same to ‘Mathiang Anyior’, ‘Gelweng’, ‘Ber-mor-ben!’, or any other local recruits mobilized by either side into their main armies for the purpose of fighting this war after December 15.
If we could only be national, rational and kind of neutral and natural in our approach to the peace proposals, and in our reproach to the peace proposers, then our country will be back in full. With that mentality of this tribe or this non-national something, we may move nowhere. or mayn’t we?