Archive for June 1, 2014

My Take on Hilde Johnson’s Departure

Posted: June 1, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary

By Dhor Aher,

Hilde Johnson deserves a hero farewell from the South Sudan. I’m not saying that during the course of executing her duties, she didn’t make some mistakes, but as a country, we shouldn’t be shortsighted to acknowledge her enormous service to our country.

Hilde Johnson came from a country with genuine commitments to the South Sudanese’s cause of liberation. Norway stood with the people of the South Sudan during dark days when the entire world including United States didn’t come for our help, and China in the business of “blood oil” with the Sudan’s government depopulating the oil producing areas, and obtained weapons to crush our darling movement the SPLM/A.

What is so surprising is the fact that she is leaving at a time when the United Nations Mission in the South Sudan was “degraded” from a “Nation building” vision to a humiliating status of “protecting the civilians”. The recent Security Council resolution shifting the focus to “protecting civilians” didn’t even received a little remorse both from the warring parties, despite the fact it is a great setback from the vision we want for our country after years of sufferings. The questions is, protecting the civilians from who, ironically from their own government and rebels forces, if that is not a dark chapter in our country, then the future of our country is in great jeopardy.

I have never joined the cheering crowds rallied by the government to vilify Hilde Johnson, because doing so was insulting to us as people of the South Sudan. It shows we are ungrateful people to our genuine friends who are coming to help us in the daunting task of the “nation building”. Folks, when Hilde Johnson accepted the position as head of the United Nations Mission in the South Sudan, she had a vision of a “Nation Building” after years of subjugation, destruction of every single little infrastructure we had in the country.

The mission’ objectives among others was too provide a sort of “safety net” to our citizens excited to return home from years of internal displacement in the North, and refugees in the neighboring countries to help them resettled into the society. It was to partner with various relief organizations to help in provisions of the basic services like health, schools, small business micro-enterprise, small farming, etc.

It was to partner with the government of the South Sudan to train local police forces, and bolsters their capacity to maintain law and orders. Also, advises the government institutions on developmental goals, policies, and mitigates the challenges of postwar reconstructions. Finally, it was to assist the civil society in the country to be able to stand up to the government when they feel the rights of the citizens are being violated.

It never occurred to her that we will abandon the noble cause of giving hope to our people after many years of brutal civil war with the North Sudan to killing our own citizens. She didn’t have that playbook of being caught in the midst of the civil war instigated by the leaders who have no regards for the innocent lives of their citizens. Unfortunately, despite working under difficult circumstances, we didn’t support her, but demonizing her as an overnight enemy against South Sudan.

Hilde Johnson chose to resign her position because the task wasn’t “nation building” at more, but a tragedy of militarizing the country in the name of the civilian protections. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe without the United Nations Mission shelters in the country, it would have been more sufferings than what we have already witnessed. What I find completely unacceptable is our own complacency in the suffering of our own people.

I don’t blame the United Nations Mission’s adding more troops to the country, but as a South Sudanese, it is humiliating that we entrusted the well-being of our citizens at the mercy of the United Nations, if that is not a symptom of a ”failed state” situation, then only God will know.

She is leaving the country at a time when the mandate is designated to “protecting the civilians”, literally using all available forces to anybody, both the government, and rebel forces deem to pose threats to the civilian populations. So for those cheering her departure, “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”.

Lastly I salute Honorable Hilde Johnson for her enormous sacrifices to serve the people of the South Sudan. She is courageous, and a solid leader anybody would want emulate in confronting leadership challenges. There is no doubt you will write a book about your experiences in the South Sudan, given this sad ending, it will be very unfavorable to our country, but just like the Americans always say, “If the kid is ugly, you the daddy”. We own this ugly kid, our country South Sudan.

‪#‎Dhor‬’s Political Antidote.