What can South Sudanese leaders learn from the failures of Napoleon of France?

Posted: April 29, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Bul Deng Yol, Mount Kenya University, Kenya

founders of the splm

Commemorating the 33rd Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Revolutionary Movement—the SPLM/SPLA

April 29, 2017 (SSB) — In law of torts, foreseeability is a leading concept use to determine whether the person causing the injury should have foreseen the consequences that his conduct would resulted into. This concept enables human beings to carefully tread in their doings. Well, that aside since much of it will come out as I trickle down. Have you ever asked yourself when and how the current war in South Sudan will end? If yes, then allow me to educate you on a living testimony of a war piece. ‘The French invasion of Russia, also known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812’. Famously staged by none other than Napoleon, the Great, to stamp his feet at the helm of affairs politically, socially and economically in Western Europe.

In those days, Napoleon had imposed himself on Polish, Prussians and Austrians as their emperor and wanted to silence Alexander I of Russia from making claims on his loyalist (Polish). He plans to go to war with Russia and later use his victory to prevail in the negotiation over Poland. He promises to crush his enemy within a period of one month with his large number of troops (685,000). Little did he knows that nature can dictate the tide.

Entering into Russia, he managed to inflict loses on Russian troops and this was the point upon which the opponent troops started to tactically retreat as a strategy. As they were folding back, they had employed SCOTCH EARTH POLICY as a tool to fight back French troops. Food stores and crop fields were set ablaze whenever deserting town or village. Considering the number of troops involved, the little food that the French troops had carried ran out and hunger set in. Troops and horses die as a result of the dwindling food. That strategy weakens French and scattered them as some would split and wandered to the villages looking for food. Some would fall into the hands of the enemy troops and killed. Instructions and chain of command were no more as troops become disgruntle.

Waterborne diseases also play a part in reducing French troops in numbers. Majority of troops die of dysentery, typhoid and malnutrition due to lack of food and clean water. Aside from such diseases, the extreme cold weather of Russia made it hard for troops to survive as they were not use to such extreme condition. Russians troops would withdraw leaving no structure standing for the enemy, making Life unbearable for the French troops and many perish as a result of cold related illnesses too.

After a number of months in Russia as oppose to one month, Napoleon’s troops had suffered uncountable loses, making him withdraw from the war. By the time he reaches his headquarters, he was left with less than one hundred thousand troops out of over six hundred thousand he went with. An immense defeat he has never experienced. His shameful defeat factored into his reputation coming down tumbling, his once loyal troops he had imposed himself on bolted out and rebellion from within cropped up, leading to war between him and Polish. His mission of taming Alexander I was futile and all he had in plan goes the opposite.

Comparatively, South Sudanese (master minders) are no different from Napoleon. From bush days down to CPA, one would bet his life on how popularly the current crops of leaders were revered and the imagination of betrayal in their hands was unthinkable. Just like Napoleon, they were known to be great warriors and no enemy can defeat them. Little did we know that running the country would be a hell on earth. The bolts are loosening and the house that they once engineered is falling back on them. Below is a glimpse of how South Sudanese top elites fall short.

First, military brasses amass tribal troops in numbers just like Napoleon. Then later try a gutter game of “who is who” in politic or army. After irreconcilable attempts to settle things diplomatically, the big fishes opted for muscle flexing, knowing that the Smack down would be backed by the ill equipped army. Tribal militias took the leading role in executing the remaining portion, bringing South Sudan this far deep.

They ransacked all food stores by scotching the crop fields in the country as they run after one another’s neck: the greatest man-made catastrophe that clearly has set South Sudan on the trajectory of starvation. As if that is not enough, brooms were weaved to clean the supplementary food store (national bank reserves) to buy lethal weapons instead of grains for the needy. All these happened Just because a brother needs an upper hand in negotiating table over the other. Worse enough, civilians brunt the greatest suffering of all.

Now that the weather is extremely getting colder more than the Russian’s temperatures, what is there to count on today? Only corruption in its all forms; tribalism, extra judicial killing, tribal cleansing, cattle wrestling, raping, power greediness, press muting, disappearance, torturing and much more. Surprisingly, in the hands of the architectures of independent. Imagine that rate of flexibility, rotating at 360 degrees from good to bad within a short spell.

Stepping back to foreseeability, Napoleon and South Sudanese leaders would have for once put aside their egos and let foresight guide them. All would have been avoided if objectivity was something of value. But their wisdom or lack of the same has propelled them further deep. Though their logic had been watered down by ego, I believe there is no science behind asking oneself these simple questions before a fight; whom am I entering into war with?

Why am I fighting him? Who will brunt the war I am about to start? What is the best option favoring us all apart from war and who will suffer as a result? Such precursors would have salvaged them out of the tumultuous debacles, but leaders intentionally or out of neglect dodged the bullet of reasoning and here we are as common citizens paying for it.

However, that does not mean South Sudanese leaders are unable to wade out of these murky waters. Here are some offers for redemption. .

National dialogue is an option favorable to us. Let sit, disagree to agree and come out with the best model of governance suiting us all.  It is high time we realize that we are fighting as brothers and a feud between siblings requires a high level of honesty for it to be distilled. The president should rethink his position of excluding other members of opposition from the dialogue and invite them on equal note. Further, set a neutral ground where all should express their grievances without the fear of reprisal. Otherwise, a well-placed move for dialogue by president would be seen as double standard and lack substance. Come out clean as an elder Mr. President!

Another chance of bringing back harmony is for the president to call to sense his army and stop unwarranted killing of civilians around the country and decree them back to the barrack instead of wandering around villages doing unimaginable things. That move alone will go a long way in installing stability and civilians will come out of their hiding to cultivate once again. He would at that point killed two birds with one stone. Stability and food security!

Economy has been flattened by misplaced priorities backed by corruption. The government should exert her political will and energy into rolling back this monster that has rooted deep in the society. All needed are tough measures that won’t compromise defaulters. It has happened in china and the same laws can be embraced. Moreover, Economist need to bring their expertise together and reason out the best ways that will set the economy on the path of recovery. Again, a house set on falsehood is destined for failure.

Reform in the army is a priority. All indications pointed to the suspicion of proxy war being staged around the country. The president has to seal the leakage of gun supply to the locals by the top military officials and make radical dissection of defense ministry to root out the vicious cycle infightings.

Moreover, if all options seem impossible, voluntary resignation of the president is a good dice that can go a long way in saving his image and the suffering citizenry. This may be preceded by the institution of a team of technocrats that will facilitate the smooth transition to the election and next government as well as setting up of much needed institutions of governance.

Failure of South Sudan is cumulative and not until we view ourselves as equal parties to the running of this great nation, we are destined for uncalculated hitches. Democracy is an expensive adventure if not well handled; the opposite is likely to be achieved. So let up the game and give democracy a chance to rare its head. Authorities should cultivate an atmosphere favorable to the populace without favor or whatsoever. With that in place, citizens will be free to critique their government and expect positive responses instead of arrest or assassination as is the case now. At least, let the real authors of the constitution enjoy the benefit of their making.

Finally, the writings are crystal clear and eligibly written on the wall by citizens for the government to read. Any attempt that may not auger well with the general views of the public may face dire consequences and trouncing of the government may be the next most likely card that the poor may use to end the suffering.

It is a “DO or MUST GO” case.

You can reach the author via his email: Bul Dit <buldit75@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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