WHY SOUTH SUDANESE LEADERS SHOULD TURN THEIR VATICAN VACATION INTO A CRISIS MEETING NOW
By Jon Pen deNgong
With President Omar al Bashir now down and the world awaiting ‘White Smoke’ from Khartoum, South Sudanese ‘holy picnicians’ on the Vatican Spiritual Retreat should not pretend that all is well back home. The ongoing events of the Sudanese popular uprising that is now gaining success have a great bearing on our current peace process (RARCSS) with Bashir as the chief guarantor.
Therefore, urgently, President Salva Kiir and the holy holiday takers in Rome, and The Vatican City to be specific, must rush back home instantly for these and other reasons:
In the first place, Bashir and his fleeing cabinet members may take off with the vital keys of our oil industry and signatures on our peace agreement, not to mention other unfinished businesses like borders and Abyei! Need I explain this to my fellow South Sudanese further?
Secondly, the commotion in Khartoum has led to the shutting down of many public installations, especially Khartoum International Airport. Imagine Dr. Riek Machar flying out of Rome towards Khartoum earliest tonight or latest tomorrow morning, where will he touch down? Even President Kiir and his retinue may faces re-entry bottlenecks if the airspace embark holds because we South Sudanese by air! Khartoum still controls our airspace. As a major peace partner, the crisis meeting that I am suggesting here will address this dilemma.
Of course, the dilemma of Dr. Machar’s next destination out of IGAD’s hypocritcal detention can only not worry us, peace enthusiasts of South Sudan, if the Holy See’s penance (repentance) is spiritually influential enough to lift our stone-hearted leaders into the ‘holy sea of peace’. So, will it?
If I were Kiir, I would not wait for the ‘Last Supper’ tonight; I said the ‘last supper’…! Why? There is likelihood that Juba may catch the politically dust-induced flu from Khartoum streets. Yes, the two sister nations may experience the domino effect of thethe peopl fight back, especially the masses that equally feel the pinch on the same source of the pain, that is, the stomach. Remember it is called ‘Bread Revolution’. Maybe I should not hammer harder on this point for it’s sensitivity.
But before I leave that somewhat seditious point here, since I, myself, am a staunch believer in The Holy Bible, and that I am spiritually sharing in the ‘sacred picnic’ with the South Sudanese Christians as well as ‘Kiiristians and Riektionaries’ now at the Vatican, I have this Biblical verse for Kiir, in case he has been relying or still relies on his allies in Khartoum and Cairo.
“Those who trusted in Cush (Sudan) and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame.” Isaiah 20:5 (NIV).
Therefore, for a genuine peace to come to our independent country, South Sudan, let us repent and implement all the chapters of the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS) without relying on others.
Another pertinent reason why Kiir should waste more time enjoying the last supper with the Holy Father tonight but come back very quickly is that the situation is very liquid back home; especially in Khartoum, and then Juba by extension. Those who are in command now in both cities are vulnerable. Any seriously opportunistic force can hijack the situation.
To elaborate that point further, Juba’s relationship with Bashir’s regime has put the SPLM Government at odds with the Sudanese opposition groups, especially SPLM-North. Now that the Sudanese opposition groups are united by Bashir’s fall, Kiir has to run helter skelter for a shelter for our peace agreement among the new faces in power in Khartoum.
Of the concerned parties of interests for General Kiir in particular and the SPLM in general are the ‘Bashir’s Orphans’ in Juba. Most of my readers know them by names. I call them the ‘NCPLM Party’, a hybrid of Bashir’s National Congress Party and Kiir’s SPLM, hence, the ‘National Congress People’s Liberation Movement’ (NCPLM).
The group, that even has some cornerstone membership in the JCE (Jieng Council of Elders) is wielding some sort of political weed over President Kiir. They have helped him to fight the war and are now managing (if not messing) our peace process.
Unfortunately, to the utter frustrations of our ‘now liberated’ masses who are watching the life-changing events like the Sudanese ”Bread Revolution’ from their villages, IDP camps and refugee settlements both inside and outside of their newly independent country, the NCPLMers in Juba are highly allergic to the SPLM’s Old Guard, particularly the so-called ‘Awlad Garang’ (Garang’s Boys), part of whom are now the SPLM-North. That is why you should not have been apparently surprised on seeing Garang’s apparition (portrait) and South Sudan’s flag being used by the protesters to scare away Bashir and his NCP goons in the streets of Khartoum.
Seriously, I have even read some funny comments on Social Media that part of Bashir’s asylum seekers may take off for Juba tonight, since they have their ‘sons’, friends and former colleagues there.
Having warned President Kiir and his entire entourage now camping for our peace at the Holy See’s holy city, let me conclude by emphasizing why it is no longer necessary to roam around in Rome tonight and beyond.
Recently, when I went out for a friend’s birthday picnic, there was a distress call from my house that a dormitory had caught fire on the campus of a school that shares a wall with my house. I had to retreat from the birthday treat and rush back to watch the flames in company of my wife and children in Kampala.
In the same vein, Trump’s Secretary for Homeland Security (Minister for Interior here) had to abruptly cut her NATO nations meeting and sped back to Washington upon hearing of the intruder caravan surge on the other side of their border wall.
Similarly, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel (congratulations for winning the 5th term just now) was forced to abort his election strategy tour at the Trump’s White House. He skidded back home when the Hamas gunmen threw four missiles into his country. Though he has an ‘Iron Dome’ roofing his cities and villages (a missile defence system), still the most militarily powerful prime minister in the world demonstrated leadership above his personally national interests.
Even if President Kiir with company had any iron dome, apart from the spiritual insurance he might have gone for the second round to collect from the Pontiff at the St. Peter’s Square, I would still ask them to come back home right away.
Yes, with a citizens’ coup now rolling on in Khartoum, somebody must not be just afraid, but be very, very afraid, zatu!
Footnote: This blog article marks the 30th of my series of serious predictions that I have been recording in and on Khartoum from my peace talks trips there since June 2018. Under the title of “MY CAR-TOMB DIE-HURRY: A Diary on Too Many Disagreements Honoured”, I am publishing them in both paperback and e-book formats in a week’s time.
Jon Pen de Ngong is a South Sudanese activist, journalist, poet and blogger living in the immediate exile since before the war.
This and his other critical analyses on peace and at large can be found on: http://www.weakleak.wordpress.com and http://www.aftaboss.wordpress.com