Ending Protracted Transition Key to Ending South Sudan Crisis

Posted: July 2, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Mading Gum, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Mading Gum, Nairobi, Kenya

Personalities with Positive Indelible Finger Prints in the History of South Sudan

Personalities with Positive Indelible Finger Prints in the History of South Sudan

July 2, 2017 (SSB) — At the height of her sixth birthday, half of her age shall have been wasted in brutal internal armed conflict. Close to half of the civil population has sought refuge in neighbouring countries or internally displaced. Food shortages and increasing hunger are responsible for the surge in criminal activities. And a protracted transition sustained by adversarial political behaviour of her political leaders overshadows the hopes for a better future. That is briefly South Sudan.

It is primarily a case of political leaders unwilling to lead.  Of leaders who delight in inflicting the most brutal form of suffering on their own people for raw power. Against this backdrop, a political process granting them another power-sharing marriage is unjustifiable. Even if this could be justified on other political grounds, their very unwillingness to lead, reconcile and leave power favours the people’s sovereign right to retire them by the end of 2015 power sharing arrangement expiration. Another mediated political process involving Kiir and Machar does not agree with the spirit of the nation for three main reasons.

First, the two political leaders are irreconcilable. “…the mere sight of each other is sufficient to provoke war/conflict” lamented the Chairman of JMEC, Festus Mogae in 2016. This raises three key issues. First, another political process is unworkable because they cannot cooperate. Cooperation in good faith is necessary for any team to deliver. Two, underlying non-cooperation are contradictory and irreconcilable interests.

One wants the highest office in the land at any cost while the other would let the country burn to keep it. This does not only undermine the interest of the country but also their working relationship. Third and lastly, any political arrangement involving them cannot succeed. Success of any power sharing government depends largely on cooperation and putting the country’s interests above individuals. There is none in Kiir and Machar.

Second, Kiir and Machar are capable of dividing the nation than unifying it. In fact, they symbolise disunity in the country. Kuir E Garang fittingly captured this aspect in a few words “Riek, like his brother, Kiir Mayardit makes one disastrous mistake after another”. Riek assumes Kiir is corrupt and dictatorial and by virtue of that alone he is an alternative to him.

Further, his methods to wrest control from Salva Kiir are not only diabolical but also accelerate the disintegration of the country. One aspect they are adept at is the commodization of ethnicity as a political currency. The manipulation of ethnicity for political and economic gains strikes the social fabric of the people in a negative way. Thus, another political settlement involving them would only build on the already created ethnic hatred in the country.

Third, a new political process which would culminate in another power-sharing arrangement will condemn the people of South Sudan to torturous and perpetual misery. South Sudan experience with power-sharing indicates conflicts and instability. Agreements are not merely dishonoured, to paraphrase Abel Alier, but deliberately undermined by adversarial elite behaviour.

It is a model that rewards the guys with the guns, the murderers who are unaccountable to the communities they claim to represent. There must be a break from this model of violent distributive politics. This break does not favour another political marriage between President Kiir and Machar

Essentially, the premise of the clamour for another mediated peace process is to end war in the country. In support of this position, the claim considers National Dialogue (ND) as inadequate mechanism in the search for sustainable peace. Inadequate as ND appears, the call for a new mediated peace process misreads South Sudanese expectations and frustrations.

Another mediated peace process will immunize the current crop of leaders who have been tested and discredited. It has little to recommend it. If accepted, it will dramatically extend transitional period beyond 2018 and eliminate the possibility of retiring mis-leaders. By extension, it will threaten not just the current arrangement but would plunge the country into a more complex and disastrous conflict.

Thus, another mediated political process will not end war. At best it will be a scheme to try to resist and subvert change. And at worst, condemn the people of South Sudan to perpetual misery in the land they sacrificed their all to be independent.

Kiir and Machar have no moral, intellectual or political standing to relentlessly create a new societal order the nation expects and deserves. End the protracted transition and you end South Sudan crisis. “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born…” Antonio Gramsci

You can reach the author via his email: madinggum@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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