Will the SPLM NLC Meeting delivers peace and reconciliation in South Sudan?

Posted: May 5, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda

Saturday, May 5, 2018 (PW) — It is now going to five years since the conflict started in South Sudan. The effects of war cannot be overstated. The war has caused great sufferings to citizens beyond description.

As the Amnesty International recently reported, since the start of the conflict four years ago, thousands of civilian men, women and children have been subjected to brutal forms of sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation and torture and sexual humiliation.

The Amnesty International further observes that from the first days and months of the conflict, government and opposition forces committed grave acts of sexual violence, targeting victims on the basis of their gender, ethnic and perceived political identities.

In Unity for instance, which has experienced some of the most intensive violence during the conflict, government troops committed gruesome acts of gang rape, abducting women and keeping them as sex slaves.In many instances, both government and opposition forces have been accused of imposing restrictions on civilians’ access to food. The pattern of systematic and deliberate restrictions on access to food has contributed to severe food insecurity, which has become a regular feature of South Sudan.

Though the threat of hunger appears to have been averted, it is clear to note that locally, South Sudanese civilians are facing severe food insecurity, starvation and famine while majority of them are rotting away in the camps.

In fact, there are many human rights violations in South Sudan that cannot just be brushed aside with political understanding of peace. The true peace must be achieved which needs compromise and sacrifice.

In order to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan, there must be clear accountability from those who preside over the war and killings of innocent citizens. This must begin from the president to the officers in the lower ranks. In the same way, the opposition must account if lasting peace can be achieved in the country.

Short of that, the peace will never be achieved in South Sudan as justice is not done in respond to serious injustices committed during the war and before.  Justice is the most fundamental aspect of any society and the society that ignores justice in its strict sense provides a fertile ground for conflict.

Frederick Douglass on point of justice observes that “where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” This is the fact since all wars in history have been caused by injustices and oppression as noted in the Preamble of the UN Charter of 1945.

In most cases, human rights is protected through implementing justice as the society where the concept of justice is minimal, the human violations are high.

In reference to South Sudan, there are many underlying injustices as the country history is built on injustices since injustices committed during the war of 1983-2005 were not addressed. These injustices provide for fertile ground of 2013 conflict to date.

However, what is sad about our politics or history of South Sudan which is represented by the SPLM party is the fact it is dominated by those who believe in getting power first in order to get a solution.

The concept of problem-power thinking of our politicians has made them think of conflict as caused by the need for power. They do not have in their minds the fact that the problems of South Sudan are deep-rooted in the difference of way life, believes and low level of education which was exploited by Khartoum to keep South Sudanese disunited as an attempt to hold them back from demanding for independence. These differences have been further cemented by the SPLM party’s mismanagements of the people and resources.

The mismanagements of South Sudan from 2005 to 2011 to date resulted from combination of many factors. One of the leading factors is the lack of understanding of what is the country. If the SPLM party would have defined the meaning of the country, it would have averted the war of 2013 to date.

Nonetheless, the need for power not enshrined in the country led to the outbreak of the war in South Sudan in 2013. China, for example, escaped wars because it has enshrined its power in the country. When we talk of the country, citizens are one of the elements referred in its definition.

The four basic elements of a country are the land, the people who inhabit the land, the law of the land, and the government of the land. Each element is essential and dependent upon each other.

It goes to say that in order for any country to be strong; the leadership must be enshrined in the citizens. The citizens of the country have the duty to protect the country but this is conditional on how citizens are satisfied with their country leaders.

Otherwise, where leadership is anti people, the citizens will even join enemies by leaking the secrets of the nation. This is based on a simple logic that a country that does not protect interests of its citizens is an enemy to its citizens.

As the SPLM Party is holding its convention at this crucial time, it is hoped that the party will think much about how to end the war in the country and to bring lasting peace. This means that there is a need for change in the leadership in the SPLM party from the current old guards to the new young leaders who must be ready to reform the system and the citizens.

The problems of SPLM party which explains its failure to adapt to the changing situation is that it has adopted Communism in form without communism in practice. What has helped China to endure is the fact that China keeps on changing its leadership within its party structure. This is important because the new leaders are able to manage the changes and adjust to the new system without changing the form.

The way SPLM party is today, internally, shows that it is more of a problem than a solution because the party is dictatorial in setting without mission and vision. This makes it dangerous to all the citizens as citizens must be submissive to it or be done away with in order to preserve the form not the substance which is the mission and vision of the SPLM.

In summary, though the SPLM Party is holding the convention in Juba at present, there is no hope for change or peace as the same leaders who are the problems of the country are going to be endorsed since they have power and resources. What they will do or have already done is to use coercion and power to maneuver their way through the power corridors with ease.

In addition, there are many core SPLM leaders that are absent from the convention, which makes it less likely for the convention to achieve peace in the country. Some people may disagree with me on this point but in long run they will discover that they were wrong.

This is because the new faces who are infatuated with power but with less concerns for the welfare of the citizens are going to take the leadership of the party and they will try to use power as a solution to the conflict rather than the real solution.

The Author is South Sudanese Lawyer and can be reached through: juoldaniel2003@gmail.com

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