President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar Must Be Given a Chance so Peace May Reign

Posted: April 20, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Apioth Mayom, Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan

By Apioth Mayom Apioth, Washington State, USA

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April 20, 2018 (SSB) — It has become commonplace knowledge that both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are political liabilities and unfit to steer South Sudan toward a new dawn of bountiful fortune. Salva Kiir’s promiscuous personality would never allow him to stick to any consistent strategic policy formulation. After the breakout of the war in December 2013, he allowed himself to be controlled by two hardcore ethnic chauvinists in the name of Paul Malong Awan and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), and to a certain extent by a group consisting mostly of former Khartoum politicians, whose political allegiance is questionable at best.

Paul Malong Awan’s infamous greed for everything is well known. He wants to have more wives than everyone else. He wants to be the wealthiest person in history that ever lived at the expense of the taxpayers’. He is rumored to have two mansions in Uganda and Kenya: one in Kampala and another in Nairobi as we speak. On his last SBS Radio’s interview dated April 10th, Ateny Wek Ateny stated that” during his time in office as army Chief of General Staff, banks were opened at night for General Malong to take the money and he squandered a lot of money that time.”

During the first attempt at peace which ended in Riek escaping from Juba in July 2016, Malong was heard to have said that he would only allow Riek to come to Juba over his dead body. Now after stirring up trouble with Kiir, he now sees himself as a harbinger of peace. Paul Malong Awan should never be near at any position of power in South Sudan because he only cares about getting something out of people and leave them in tatters.  Salva Kiir is naturally an introvert, meaning he is an inward seeking individual as opposed to extroverts who seek outside challenges for pleasure.

That is why he can’t handle criticism very well. The widespread security challenges run counter to his natural strengths. Even if Salva Kiir stays on in the August House for twenty to thirty years, he would never have the urge to resolve the security challenges afflicting our nation. Riek Machar is only interested in the highest position in the land, and nothing else in the universe will compensate for his thirst to occupy the highest seat of South Sudan. Time again and again, his military’s past grievances tell the whole story.

During the 1990s or the current conflict, whether he was fleeing from a victorious militia group or South Sudan government soldiers, he was always seen fleeing single-handedly, leaving his bodyguards and his people in total danger, just to save his dear life. A leader’s first priority must be to see it that the security of his/her respective constituents is well taken of before embarking on a newer project. This is also the man who opined that Donald Trump had a chance to win the US general presidential elections after he was interviewed by the Foreign Policy magazine sometime in 2016 after the peace deal came into effect.

How in the name of our Lord, can a South Sudanese presidential aspirant liken a dirty racist White supremacist to occupy the highest seat in the US? Donald Trump envisions a world where black Africans are wayward, mere inferior savages and susceptible to be used by white people as their toy-things.  Riek Machar may have one of the most infectious widest smiles ever, but he has a hidden corrupt part of himself that has eluded us for quite a long time.

In sub-Saharan Africa, politics is seen as the most legitimate means to propel oneself to a higher-celebrity like figure since there are few other economic prospects to become someone like Oprah Winfrey, Lebron James, Bill Gates and so on and so forth. Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic prospects are still poor in that respect. It is the president of the nation that gets to welcome someone like Rihana when she visits for a charity cause or any significant cultural phenomenon. And also because, institutions of democracy that protect the common person from corruption are still in their infancy, all sorts of what have individuals flock to the leadership mantle to preach to us about how they will better our prospects from dire poverty.

Some of these individuals are sheer wretched of the earth and pitiful looters like Paul Malong Awan and others are like Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon who are what I call the political moths, who just like moths can’t subdue the temptation to jump at the beauty of the light(leadership in this case). Salva Kiir and Riek Machar were subdued by the sheer novelty and power of the leadership when in reality they have nothing to offer us.

Like it or not, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have an enormous wealth of power and following in the nation. Riek Machar has become almost like a cult-figure simply in that he has been at the forefront of South Sudanese politics for over thirty years. Even now in his confinement in South Africa, he is still seen as a peerless leader of the opposition. During the short-lived and failed attempt at peace by which he was installed as the Vice President in 2016, things were beginning to look rather peaceful. Salva Kiir still occupies the most coveted seat that every South Sudanese aspires to.

And he has the means to occupy it for twenty or thirty years more to come, even if we may still languish in unspeakable poverty in the diaspora for that long. Both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have an insatiable thirst for power and they will always try one thing or another to come back again and again unless we give them a chance to serve their heart-content for this time around, and that is the only way they may leave us alone for good. Kiir says he would only leave the presidency after they snatched the last breath out of his flesh and bones. Riek Machar believes his dream will only be fulfilled after having served as the commander in chief.

South Sudan may be one of the newest nations on planet earth, but her people have been on the block just like everyone else in sub-Saharan Africa. South Sudanese were dwelling in East Africa and all over Africa even when the Europeans were still ruling Africa. It is out of place for our innocent citizens to expect any politician to be free from deep-pocketing his/her personal suitcases with public money because they have learned every possible trick of corruption from their East African brethren.

Earlier this year, an honest and one of the few politicians we all thought to be free from all the ills of corruption and mismanagement of leadership was caught red-handed to have stolen $1.2 million and bought a mansion in Australia. James Hoth Mai, our former general Chief of Staff was the leader who did all that behind our backs.

We may rush to the sides of our current crop of leaders in celebratory mood, and may even compose songs to highlight their accomplishments, and say that he/she is our son/daughter and our tribesmen, but at the end of the day, he/she may hire a few people, five or ten people to be precise out of tens of thousands. His/her first priority and perhaps the only reason why she became a politician in the first place was to loot as much as wealth that he/she can gather during her time in office.

We tend to be going through the same roller-coaster ride over and over again crying crocodile’s tears for something that we as individual beings in our localities can prevent from ever taking shape in the first place. Unknown gunmen are rampant; here you are putting an end to a life of an innocent person and you will cry foul later saying it was caused by a failed leadership of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. Kiir may have failed as a leader, but he wasn’t responsible for ending the life of that sweet citizen of ours.

In a lawless society like ours, the same incident could be taken up by another heartless individual and that is exactly what happened. Our young people are still lured into believing that we can only bring down the leadership of Salva Kiir through the barrel of a gun; one problem with that ideology perhaps lies in our shared brotherhood and sisterhood and attachment to our common motherland called South Sudan; in essence we are the same people, even if we may go by different tribal names.

It is out of the question and totally unthinkable to fight your brother/sister over a grievance that you can settle through dialogue. Another problem is our big grandfather staying next door in the Pearl of Africa who goes by the name of Yoweri Museveni. When Riek tried to take the war to Juba, he was stopped in his tracks by some bloody manna of death that was falling from the sky.

Our politicians are only in politics to make a living for themselves. In sub-Saharan Africa, politics attracts unspeakable and downtrodden pitiful wretched of the earth individuals who only see the wealth flowing from the Ministry of Finance as if they have seen the fabled biblical heaven itself. “The highest result of education is tolerance,” says Helen Keller. South Sudanese have been through three different separate wars: the first Sudanese civil war from 1955 to 1972; the second Sudanese civil war from 1983 – 2005; and the current South Sudanese malaise which started in 2013.

In totality, we have suffered for a total of 42 years and counting. Every time a war breaks out, South Sudanese flee to different lands and we all witnessed first-hand the sad living conditions in those countries. There is always a shortage of food to nurture one’s needs, and education, if the United Nations have spare resources has always been a secondary duty to look into with a serious thought since you will always be busy gathering as much as you can  to make sure you have the next meal ready to sustain your livelihood.

So while the rest of the world ushered itself into the new millennium and 21st century with a bang, South Sudanese remained mired in the thinking of the 20th century and the last millennium partly due to our poverty of having no freedom to go to school with bountiful resources that may usher us into this new era of the 3D printing, Social Media, Hollywood, and CRISPR. When an Azande youth says he wishes Awado was one of their own. He meant it would have been great if Awado, who is a Bari by affiliation, was an Azande.

Our young people still do not know how to tolerate the people different from their own ethnic group. They may be in their twenties, but they still possess the thinking of those of our grandparents. That is why illiteracy rate still stands at 73%. While the war was fought on land in South Sudan, it was also transferred to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. No matter how great the social media may be in connecting people from distant lands at the same time, it is one crazy battlefield that possesses the worst arena to opine one’s views especially when no institution of higher authority could filter its content.

Everyone has a social media account these days, and so the information gets to reach an unfathomable number of people in a few seconds. As one people who have been through many trials and tribulations of life, we should never allow ourselves to be swayed by the greed of our politicians whose utter interests do not align with the interests of our own: which is to live in one peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.

The reason why 70% of South Sudan population is comprised of youth is that the older generation paid dearly with their blood so we may be a free nation and live in total peace and enjoy all the civil liberties that the freedom can afford us. They also took up arms so that the successive generations coming after them would never do the same again; so the current unnecessary war is out of place and out of question for any of our youth to even have a second thought about it.

After everything else in the world has failed us and we have run out of places to turn to; the only place we can turn to is home and the only home we have always known is South Sudan. And South Sudan is comprised of 64 tribes. We have to stop turning to violence every time our politicians lose their positions because we also have livelihoods to sustain. Some 2.5 million South Sudanese perished in the second Sudanese civil war, so perhaps we should take a second look at ourselves this time around and think again whether we deserve this utter and out of this world suffering.

The author, Apioth Mayom Apioth, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA USA. He is an Admission Counselor from the University of North Dakota. He can be reached at: agutkeu@gmail.com

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

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