An open letter to H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic: For the success of the Proposed National Dialogue: First reconcile with true SPLM Rank and file and put aside SPLM late comers in your government Mr. President.
By Ustaz. Morris Mabior Awikjokdit, Juba, South Sudan
March 12, 2017 (SSB) — I am deliberately adopting an uncommon open letter approach to draw your attention to the ongoing carnage by International community and security organs, who are perpetrating what some are now calling genocide and crimes against humanity in South Sudan power struggle in the country for nearly four years since 2013 to date. A lot has been said about the Nuer/Dinka political conflict problem over political appointments and removal of constitutional political post holders, which you acknowledged in your traditional year-end address to the nation. But it appears you have a superficial understanding of the problem; in which case, I am compelled to school you on the problem, so you can end the nation’s drift and save South Sudan from the looming anarchy. Mr. President, we should stop chasing shadows. The power struggle problem is not about promoting individual political interests or multi-ethnic behavior.
I will spare you an academic definition, but for practical purposes, the power struggle problem is the systemic marginalization and institutionalized discrimination against particular ethnic communities and states for example, Apuk Juwiir community in Tonj state, which has been reduced to second-class citizens in a country they voted to join as equal partners. This community was the host of the SPLA Headquarters in Yinhkuel of present day newly created Thiet County has been marginalized for so long and had not been rewarded. It is the plunder and gross mismanagement of their resources, to finance Southern states, captured and held hostage by a vampire elite of tribal bigots and power hungry politicians; corrupt politicians and rent-seeking bureaucrats, operating a system of ethnic -inspired clientelism with mindless impunity.
The resulting frustration and anger have caused many people to lose faith in the Country important political affairs and now want a return to federalism or outright separation from ethnicity political organizations. The maximum lion share in the government has been given to the pro. NCP cadres forgetting your colleagues in the liberation struggle. Most of the SPLM/A cadres are in the political garage. This is the South Sudan problem, Mr. President, so let’s discuss it!
As the bread basket of the nation, producing over 60% of national GDP, South Sudanese politicians have every reason to be angry specifically the true SPLM/A cadres, especially when government deliberately and provocatively breaches the social contract with the people; while plundering their natural resources – oil, gold, timber, coffee, tea, rubber, palm oil – and flaunting it on their faces. It is unacceptable that 6 years of interim period of (CPA) 6 years after gaining our independence on 9th July 2011, went in total vain accommodating political thefts that have now turned against their loyal system that they have enjoying with golden plates, South Sudan still lack basic social amenities that ought to be taken for granted like constant power supply, potable water, tarred roads, well equipped schools, functional hospitals and health centers.
Mr. President, if all the resources government has been exploiting from oil revenue were in the South; your region of origin, Bahr el Ghazal will suffer like Northern Uganda where Iddi Amin hailed from. Do you now understand why South Sudanese are angry?
Mr. President, the obnoxious argument that we are all South Sudanese and this somehow gives government the right to exploit our resources on right allocations, while people are left wallowing in abject poverty is provocative, insensitive and self-serving. This daylight robbery of people service has had its day, and must now end in the interest of peace and stability as well as your honorable calls for national dialogue. South Sudanese people are not fools; we want to belong to be united, freely built on equality and fairness; where we are treated as be equals; a Junub where there are no masters and servants, and where merit prevails; not a nation built around ethnic and primordial identities.
Simply put, people want a federal system, where we can own affairs. And if Mr. President cannot guarantee such a Junub, then like the Biblical Egyptian King Pharaoh, you must let my people go. And go they will, peacefully if possible and violently if necessary.
For sure, politicians are saying what all Junubins already know: that the country is not working, can hardly work as structured and that it is in a stasis with a likelihood of implosion. You must heed these timely admonitions. people have suffered immeasurably from the scourge of predatory politics and want a national forum, whether sovereign or not, to review the structure of the state and the organization of the economic base in terms of ownership and control of resources as well as a new, fair and equitable distribution formula for the proceeds from exploitation of our natural resources.
Mr. President, now that you understand the people problem, it should be obvious to you and anyone not blinded by prejudice or self-interest that the bureaucratic contraption you created called National prayers/national dialogue to Promote Bilingualism and Multiculturalism cannot resolve the political problem. You must transcend the traction of hawks and hardliners in your “Situation Room” and do what is right for the country.
It certainly is an unimaginable feat of political miscalculation and error of judgment for Mr. President to think he can just decree a solution to the people problem without addressing the asymmetrical structural dynamics that engender and perpetrate the political engine problem. Most Nuer, Dinka and Equatorians are functionally tribalist and there have been many marriages between Nuer and Dinka tribes, so bilingualism and multiculturalism is not the problem. The country needs a new federal constitution, not a National prayers or national dialogue as proposed in your presidential decree.
The Nuer/Dinka and every tribe’s problem are all Junubins problem and resolving it requires presidential leadership. Nuer and Equatorian are protesting because they want your position to lead a country too as they think Dinka misled the government for the last 12 years in leadership. The ongoing targeting killing is an invitation to build a patriotic partnership to save self political interests, because as the country stands today, no force on earth can eliminate corruption.
You cannot continue to calls for a national dialogue to reform the structure of the state and work out modalities of ensuring good governance; through a federal system of government that guarantees equal opportunity, and engenders a sense of belonging in all citizens. Sitting down with rebel leaders is a gallant surrender to pressure; rather, it will be an act of political sagacity and the first step towards rebuilding Junub Sudan and remolding its sovereignty from the eyes of the International community.
Mr. President, it is indeed perplexing that the government has answered the call for dialogue with threats, intimidation, coercion and crude force; adopting the failed crisis control mechanism of go-back-to-political stability or-be-sacked, to end the teachers suffering shame. Teachers in this country are poorly treated like unclassified staff or (supporting staff). Casual workers working with non-governmental organizations are far better than teachers in South Sudan.
Please, be reminded that education is a constitutional issue. The constitution, which you swore to uphold, bestows the right to education on every citizen. That children in South Sudan regions remain out of school despite your repeated intervention, is a shameful representation of leadership failure; a tell-tale sign of how the magisterial capacity of your office has been undermined and shows how far we have failed as a nation.
Certainly, Mr. President cannot pretend to be unaware that Southern states have been reduced to a killing field where soldiers and agents of death are on the rampage, unleashing mayhem on defenseless civilians. Peaceful protests have been met with horrendous brutality by security forces. Community opinion leaders including a Justice of the Supreme Court have been arrested without due process and detained on bogus charges.
University students have been left in a terrible living, brutalized, tortured in ideas, and killed simply for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. These egregious human rights violations fly in the face of our obligations under signed and ratified international treaties, and are telling signs of a weak governance culture. It is disheartening that the situation persists, even as I write.
Mr. President, many Nuer/Dinka of goodwill for whom the South Sudan future remains an unanswered question, have been willing to give peace a chance. But we are finding ourselves increasingly in the minority because it is useless and futile to continue talking peace and non-violence to a government whose reply is only violence on unarmed and defenseless people. South Sudan is a state; we are not a conquered people.
As the blood of the victims of government’s barbarism, still raw on the pavement of our hearts cry out ever more loudly for justice, sooner, rather than later, Nuer and Dinka will resort to violence in senseless self-defense as this seems to be the only language the government has shown by its own behavior that it understands. This is not a threat, Mr. President, it is a real possibility!
Your Excellency, I am not unaware that the office you occupy is a tough, thoughtful, burdensome and sacrificial position that demands self-discipline, gumption, prudence and political sagacity. Although misconstrued to be laden with unbelievable privileges, a president must feel the pangs of responsibility and use his elevated position for the good of the nation in a clear display of focused leadership because preserving peace and harmony is the highest objective of statecraft.
I am therefore alarmed that in this age and time, a supposedly democratic government will refuse dialogue and resort to brigandage in dealing with dissent by a group of its citizens. Mr. President, the criminalization of free speech and civil liberties including the communication blackout and initidimition to freedom of speech in the country is an unbelievable national shame that lowers our nation’s prestige in the comity of nations. This must stop.
On this basis, Mr. President, leadership is the issue. You should be concerned with the future that you bequeath this country, as well as your legacy. History is beckoning on you and giving you a chance at winning the battle for self-redemption and national rebirth. It is a lifetime opportunity to engrave your name in history. Should you fail to call a national conference to resolve the Nuer/Dinka problem, your name will still find its way into the book of infamy, historic still, in a way, as the man who was opportune to rewrite the history of South Sudan but failed needlessly. The choice is patently yours to make.
Mr. President, I hate to be the one to say this, but before I will be taken to hell, I must tell you that token measures of appeasement, like they will not succeed where violence and intimidation have failed in resolving the political problem. And even if rebels kill every Dinka in South Sudan, our ghosts shall rise from our graves to seek freedom and demand justice.
Thanks for reading, and accept, Mr. President, my most esteemed consideration for your good self and exalted office.
I remains your sincerely,
Ustaz. Morris Mabior Awikjokdit
Star-ford International University College, Juba
Pursuing Bachelor Degree in International Relations & Diplomacy
Tel: +211 (0) 954 243 501, +211 (0) 928 663 444
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