By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan
April 27, 2017 (SSB) — Honestly, there is always a solution for any problem if given a holistic approach.
- President Salva Kiir. As the head of state, the President has every power to stop the war and restore our dignity in the world as people. First of all, he must be honest to himself and admit that fighting the numerous armed groups is a war that can’t be won. The SPLM/A did not capture Wau, Juba or Malakal during the 21 years of war but that did not end the war until Khartoum listened. The fact that rebels don’t control any major town is not a reason sufficient to underrate their strength. They are capable of blocking highways and disrupt movements of people and goods from one part of the country and another. Second, the President should allow communities to be ruled by leaders of their choice, not people loyal to the President but without a constituency. South Sudan is so diverse and complex to govern through one man’s preference. Third, the President should engage his SPLM faction and enter a leadership discussion. The SPLM has never been an institutionalized party for the last 34 years…in fact, it has never been a political party prepared to govern through institutions but through instructions and orders. The “all units messages” issued by Dr. John Garang had morphed into “Decrees” during President Salva Kiir’s reign. A diverse country like South Sudan needs a different approach; a compromising, tolerant and inclusive management is required. If the President break with the current styles of his leadership, he will definitely add more medals to his list for transitioning Southern Sudan from 2005 to 2011 and overseeing our independence. That is one way to end the war.
- Elections: Elections will remove the burden of appointing governors, MPs, and other leaders from the President’s desk and give back power to the people. Of course the conditions are not favourable for elections right now, but a plan must be hatched to prepare the country for an election. There is no doubt that an honest election will challenge the various visionless opposition groups. In fact, some armed and nonviolent opposition groups have no idea how govern this country. So I’m sure that they will not win a majority vote. And even if they win, they are South Sudan and are legally entitled to lead.
- Write a permanent constitution. Lack of permanent constitution is partly responsible for political violence in our country. Our legislators failed to write permanent constitution between 2011 and 2013. That contributed to political violence in December 2013. The ruling SPLM party, as alluded above, failed many times to institutionalise and that affected the parliament in some ways. But the current Transitional Legislative Assembly should not repeat this mistake. There has to a break with the past. Write the constitution to give timeline for elections, form of governance, presidential term limits (if we prefer Presidential system.) In this way, aspiring politicians will use the times between the presidential terms to solicit voters rather than engaging in violence.
- South Sudanese: We, the South Sudanese, have the capacity to end the war. Instead of relying on the ruling elites, allowing them to drive us as they wish, being blind by tribal divisions, we must work underground as professional teachers, traders, lawyers, activists to form a powerful union that accommodates diverse political views through nonviolent ways like the African National Congress (ANC) started in South Africa in early 1900s. The violent and nonviolent opposition parties that are currently challenging the Government in Juba are in fact the same system that brought the country to this stage. The fact that they choose to count on foreigners to effect a change of leadership truly explains their lack of faith in South Sudanese ability.
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