By Makwei Achol Thiong, China
December 23, 2016 (SSB) — Imagine that all countries in the world were peaceful; would there be need for UNSC, NATO, huge state armies? Would there be need for manufacturing Nuclear weapons? Would resources be enough and equally distributed? Who would be the most unemployed? Who would benefit the most? What would happen to the already manufactured stocks of weapons and huge investment on international peace keeping missions?
With all those questions and many more, there are no answers. Your consolation would be that the world is setting itself for the unknown for the fear of unknown! All the efforts of the world leaders seem to tilt very much on achieving global peace and tranquility! But if you are fair to yourself and others, you would say, international peace and tranquility is just a good dream – a tool for measuring international politics (failures or successes) – but it is the least likely success to emerge!
All the international setups have ascended into prominence and they will continue to exist for the sake of protocol as deliberate refusal to accept failures would not bring significant reforms to them. The UN peace keeping missions have degenerated into inconsistent political tools for instability than stability. From their role in Rwanda genocide and Cholera in Haiti to continued instabilities in Darfur (Sudan), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, etc.
So how is over reliance on international community most likely to quest for long lasting peace and tranquility in South Sudan? The current Syria’s conflict is just a presage of the future that awaits the young Nation. It shows how, sometime, reliance on international community can’t bring the intended goal. The US supported Free Syrian Army (the Rebels) versus the Russian supported Government of President Bashar al-Assad was the sand-model of the Syria’s conflict. The consequences of the war are only on the Syrians. The lives lost, the displaced population, properties lost and infrastructure damaged, environment completely poisoned from the tests of some of the deadly weapons, all these are on Syrians.
It is important to acknowledge the good spirit in which regional and international bodies are formed, their successful projects including their role in our Independence, the need for economic integration, among other things. In fact, you can’t avoid international community. But it is equally important to spot where some of the policies are failing other member states. The world is more aggressive and focused now on newly independence countries than it was in the 1950s or 1960s.
Virgin in local, regional or international politics, these countries have a lot of suitors (including conmen) interested many things. These suitors would make it difficult for you to focus and they can’t accept the outcome of your choice. So if you want to break clear from their bondages on your own, you would face stiff resistance, much more than full strength of your ability. This means for a nation to break clear, it must do it in “one voice, one team spirit.” But how do you reclaim this “one voice, one team spirit” among different individuals/groups with different ambitions, supported by different powers (with their own strings) for one position?
What make nations great are the citizens. How many countries have acquired the statuses of “Great Nations” through the stewardship of international community? None! To make a nation great requires smart citizens. Statesmen. Statesmen are people who make concessions for the greater being of all the citizens. In this context, I have some calls for different groups in their respective levels:
To the Transitional Government of National Unity:
- The recent calls for National Dialogue is a key step in restoring hopes as quest for sustainable peace and stability in the country continues. There is more attention to this new approach as its timing is perfect. The process, however, need to be accelerated.
- A hungry man is an angry man. With hunger threatening the common man, the government should consider food security as an urgent agenda, much more than even the National dialogue because you need to pass peace messages to food-secured minds and stomachs. The national government, through its National Ministry of Agriculture, should cultivate (starting now) its own plantations. This, if supplemented by state government initiatives on agriculture, would combat hunger by the fall of 2017, reduce dependence on UN to feed civilians and would set precedence for the future ahead. Both the National dialogue and farming can go concurrently.
- Fix the economy, encourage voluntary disarmament just like what is currently happening in Gogrial state, end the reign of the unknown gunmen in the cities and highways, secure cantonment areas and re/integrate all other forces.
To all the Active Political Leaders Overseas!
- You represent important agenda for South Sudanese people, that is, united people and prosperous nation. However, your incarcerated fear of Juba in preference of enjoying the luxury of foreign cities and wild dreams of a better South Sudan in those cities is unfortunate.
- For the fear of your lives from unknown gunmen, these elements did not spring up after December 2013. They have been living with you during those years prior to your exile. You are spending money that should have gone to improving our local economy; you have continued to engage international community on aspirations that have continued the war in the country. I beg, come home in PEACE!
- Some of you have been to South Sudan after the crisis, they lived and left peacefully. If there was anything against your lives, you would have not made it out of the country alive.
To IO-IOs (opponents of Gen. Taban Deng) and Other Armed Dissidents in South Sudan
- The English word “Warlord” either means “terrorist” or its “sister”. If you preach war, you are in the same bracket as LRA’s Konyi. Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol and the likes should denounce war and accept reconciliation.
- The suffering of the people of South Sudan is enough and must end.
To Facebook Free Army!
- By reading online the incidences of blacks being targeted in America, you would think that, as a black, America isn’t your best choice for this summer’s holiday but everything is in control. If you read online that the population of China is over 1.3 billion people, you would think that there are no forests but its forests is one of the biggest in the world. If you read online about Nuclear Arsenals, you would think that World War is at the gate, (no proper verdict on this though) but it seems under control. Similarly, if you hear about some incidences of inter-communal skirmishes or highway raids in South Sudan, you would think that the country has collapsed but there is a functional system acceptable by majority. In all these cases and many more that I haven’t mentioned, each situation is magnified or neglected depending on interest and its consumption level needed. Media serves two purposes; news outlet and propaganda tool and you can’t easily distinguish between the two and this is why Americans are dissatisfied with Trump’s victory after hyping Hillary.
- You guys (our language there) are already warned to refrain from hate speeches and negative propaganda by the recent UNSC resolution extending UNMISS mandate for another year. Our roles on those sites have been very negative towards achieving and consolidating peace in the country. Your small jokes, propaganda, are the ones used by the researchers to tarnish the image of our country.
- You are always too quick and proud to dismiss anything that comes from South Sudan and when the same side is pointed towards you by a foreigner, you boil-up with the slightest provocation. Let’s refrain from that. Accept Unity and promise South Sudan something better from you, not negative propaganda!
To IGAD, UNSC, International Community!
- IGAD: The current effort of the IGAD member countries in cracking down on those blocking the implementation of the peace agreement is a very cogent stance. You have understood the problem of South Sudan. JMEC, as it has welcomed government’s initiated dialogue, should help in achieving this important agenda because it is also an important provision of the agreement. A peaceful South Sudan is a peaceful region!
- UNSC and the International Community: I read an Article entitled “Wau displaced tell of death and horrifying escapes” published by Aljazeera justifying genocide notions on date 21/12/2016 and the report by the adviser of the UN SG on the Prevention of Genocide. These two articles are some basis for pushing Sanctions and more tough measures on South Sudan by the UNSC. Of course, some of you badly need some evidences to push their own agendas on South Sudan. The Wau testimonies where collected in June, six months ago. In that report, most of the incidences cited were related to those caught in cross-fire in the town where rebel activities were frequent. There are no citations of civilians targeted after taking refuge in schools or churches that always have no security of their own. All the incidences cited happened either when civilians were fleeing to those public places or when caught in cross fire in their houses. Nothing like what happened in Bor, Bentiu, Akobo, Malakal or other places when civilians were attacked in churches, hospitals, schools and other places by the rebels was noted. No single use of machetes and pangas on the victims was cited though the article alleges that the attackers were armed with those weapons. Anyone in SPLA Uniform can be a rebel, a government soldier or loyalist of any other militia leader because it is the same army that split into these factions in 2013. So it isn’t satisfying in saying that those who did all these killings were belonging to Dinka ethnic group or government. As for the situation in Yei and other places in the Equatoria, when civilians were been targeted on highways, the concerns were that the government is out of control and South Sudan is failing. When the government tries to clear all the highways and crackdown on the criminals, then you say no it is genocide. What is this game? In fact some of the statements, even by the UN SG, are undermining current efforts by the government to bring peace and can be benchmark for provoking the situation in order to prove the SG right. As for now, many things have changed since June. There is relative calm and stability there. Similarly, in Yei and Equatoria at large, there is more stability than about a month or two ago. It is long time since you have been singing genocide, it could have happened since if anything like that existed. UNSC will not be relevant to South Sudan if it isn’t a member state. The position of the Transitional Government of National Unity is important in passing resolutions that are intended to saving lives and consolidating peace. Thanks to those countries that have understood what South Sudan need the most. If a resolution is passed against the will of the member state, how would implementation be accomplished? If it is imposed, then couldn’t it infringe on the sovereignty of that state?
- All that South Sudan need now is South Sudanese approach. Support the Agreement (ARCISS) in order to prepare for general elections in 2018. A good understanding of your mandate is the success of your mission in the country. Until now, backed up by the recent research Small Arms implicating UNMISS in the conflict by supplying rebels with weapons in Bentiu, your role isn’t very clear. They see some scandals in your approaches through the UN and unless that mindset is changed again, the same lenses will be used for seeing your approaches!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you All!!!
The author is a South Sudanese Citizen. You can reach him at email@example.com
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