President Kiir should learn from the ANC, ZANU-PF and EPRDF to relinquish power

Posted: May 22, 2018 by Emmanuel Ariech Deng in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Ustaz Anei Madut.Kuendit, Juba, South Sudan

HLRF Hall of Deliberation

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 (PW) — The year 2018 must be marked as a great year for our continent, Mama Africa. Although South Sudan is unprecedentedly burning from mismanagement, from civil war and from grinding economic crisis all from lack of leadership, a good part of our African population received the cool breeze of the New Year 2018. In the early months of the year, a wave of soft current gently touched some of our continent’s people.

This may hopefully reach her interior as the cool wave of change may extend to South Sudan, especially if the international community in the form of Troika, IGAD and South Sudanese sitting at the Revitalization High Level Forum Talks were to stand with the people of South Sudan instead of standing with the leader who failed his country. The cool wave slowly swept from the Southern frontiers, moving from Zimbabwe to South Africa and eastwards to Ethiopia in the horn of Africa. The wave is described to be soft because it didn’t carry with it the blood-letting ideology of the Arab spring that hit the northern frontiers. That bloody ideology came through popular uprisings against North African despotic rulers of the modern era.

The Zimbabwe Military, siding with the nation’s public, cautiously forced down from the throne, one of the continent’s dictators of the century. President Robert Gabriel Mugabe was forced to abdicate power by a combination of a well-planned Military move and political acumen backed by the highly cautious and patriotic ZANU-PF ruling Party elites, unlike our SPLM ruling elites who don’t care about the value and importance of their citizens and country.

The world was mesmerized in praise for that nationalistic action and Zimbabwe stood blessedly awashed with congratulatory messages from across the globe as the event marked the first peaceful and non-violent transfer of power in that part of the continent. It was indeed the first of its kind since the independence of the Republic of Zimbabwe, former Rhodesia and the land where leaders are called upon to be exemplary as it is engrained in their national anthem.

The South African ruling ANC nationalistically followed suit. The ruling ANC Party was able to rid itself of the one man corruption scandal done by the country’s President Jacob Zuma who sought to spoil the image of the historic Nelson Mandela’s Party. Jacob Zuma corruption scandal sought to undermine the fundamental principle upon which ANC was established. In South Sudan, ruled by President Kiir and his SPLM, corruption is not a scandal! But the case of South African ANC is typical and historic in that the Party took first and foremost the national interest. The ruling ANC agreed to respond to the opposition case of corruption against the President in the nation. Although it was a bitter pill to swallow, they openly and strongly asked the President to resign and he did. Looking at our own situation in South Sudan, it becomes difficult to describe the levels and degree of corruption in an article like this, unless one is describing it in a complete book. Some glaring examples worth citing are the Dura Saga @SSP 8 Billion, 4 Billion USD squandered by senior government officials.

That peaceful change and transfer of power in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia explains that democracy is still alive in those nations where public interest ranks first, Party interest second and personal interest third. In our today’s South Sudan, it is personal interest first and Party interest second. National interest is not in South Sudan of our SPLM time!

In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a ruling Political Coalition, requested the nation’s Prime Minister to resign. Haile Mariam Desalegn graciously accepted to step down in the interest of his nation and people. Ethiopia is not SPLM’s South Sudan where facts are not wanted and where weaknesses from leaders cannot be talked about.

But when nations slip into crisis from system and leadership failure, the only way, the world over, has always been to resign to give way for the country to renew itself back to life. To allow the country to get an internal solution is always preferable than going around the region and the world to lobby leaders and their governments in the hope to provide solutions that are usually expensive and time consuming. Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa did not have to go outside their countries to look for solutions to their internal problems. Again, when a nation comes to a situation of rebellion after rebellion, causing anarchy and economic crisis of the kind we are now experiencing, causing the kind of destruction, displacement and untold death rate, true leaders with their people at heart don’t need to think they are any longer leading and managing a nation.

Instead, such leaders are cursed for causing undue suffering and destruction as they continue on in the middle of blood, in the middle of death and suffering of their people! In fact, it is better one does not have to wait for a public Tsunami which swept Bin Ali, the Tunisian President in 2011,Tsunami which swept  President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and all those leaders who were washed  away  by the deadly  Arab Spring.

In South Sudan, the existence of the indicators of failure had been known right after the liberation. This is what has been making the military and political elites to always rebel, factors such as political tribalism, outright inclination to nepotism, unpatriotic tribal boasting about “We liberated this country and so we must eat it”, mediocre management, regional or “Kokora” spirit which kept coming up in Equatoria, lack of accepted national leadership, the absence of strict application of the rule of law and order, corruption, lack of supervision, transparency and accountability.

South Sudan is controlled from top down by very destructive corruption, useless political tribalism which is unfortunately spearheaded by the highly educated political and military elites of the country, a situation which went down to stir tribal animosities from below! The leadership of the country immensely contributed to the misery of this nation.

Indeed, we might better describe or call these Five Years’ Situation in which we are put in by the country’s leaders as ‘The Years of the Death of South Sudanese nationalism’. We can also call it ‘The Years of Political Chaos and Leadership Anarchy in South Sudan’. Almost every politician from the SPLM Upper Strata wants to be President at once and at the same time, hence political anarchy!

To continue presiding over such a disintegrating and badly infiltrated ruling SPLM Party, to lead such a nation with vast majority of its citizens taking you and your ruling Party to be the cause of their nation’s failure, the cause of their nation’s disaster, presiding over such a nation is incomprehensible to many of us! South Sudan is the only country where leaders conduct nation-wide repentance prayers that become a farce as soon as it is done! It is the only country where almost every leader is a Church-going faithful believer. Yet, we continue to die and suffer from the hands of the same Church-goers!

To lead a country in shambles, a nation where death by hundreds and sometimes by thousands is a daily occurrence, a country with no Law and Order, where 80% of its citizens do not know where or how to get daily meal, such a country gives no meaning for someone to continue presiding over it as far as nationalism and national leadership is concerned.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, in his recent resignation speech, told South Africans that ‘I don’t want anybody killed in my name! … I don’t want ANC divided in my name!’ end of quote. Oh God! The two words appear to have said everything for someone who cares for the lives of his people. The Statement underscores the importance of people and Party to real leaders with humanity. If this situation in South Sudan was to occur to the like of us, one wouldn’t have to wait to be forcefully deposed the Mugabe, Jacob Zuma or the Mubarak way!

Thank you President Jacob Zuma for those kind words. But you were a friend to a country’s President in whose name hundreds of thousand citizens got killed, in whose name several million citizens fled to neighboring countries to live squalid life of refugees, a friend from whose fault hundreds of thousand citizens are internally displaced, some under trees now, others in the UMISS Displaced camps, a friend from whose failure more than 2 million urban inhabitants are subjected to unbearable hunger hardship and extreme poverty from economic failure brought about by wrong economic policies, corruption spree and by war that resulted from leadership and management failure.

President Zuma, you were a friend to a Party Chairman who is long accused by his Party colleagues to have mismanaged the ruling Liberation Party to the point the Party broke into fighting factions. You were a friend to a colleague who plunged his nation into total chaos and yet you were advising him to hold on to power. You didn’t advise him to resign in the interest of his nation, his party and the people.

That good statement to South Africans could have carried continental weight if you were to have told your friend not to allow one citizen to be killed in his name, not to have allowed his ruling Party to break up into pieces because of him. Because corruption was not a crime to you while in office as President, you did not advise your friend to fight corruption which he allowed to reach those monumental heights. Remember Pontius Pilate said he washed his hands from the crucifixion penalty on Jesus. Yet, he was the Presiding Judge who Pronounced death penalty for Jesus Christ.

And although there is in South Sudan the assurance of a rubber stamp Parliament and what have now appeared to be increasingly a Party Army, still one should have rested assured that there could certainly come a time and a day when history will accept to record the usual inevitable outcome of a country abjectly mismanaged and deliberately allowed to slip into a colossal disaster we are now in!

One should have given himself an allowance to think that time will still come some day when the guns, the artilleries and the military tanks could kill or defend no more – such a time when the spirits of the dead would look for those who made them to be killed! Those moments will still come when the spirits of the dead would call for those forward-looking nationalists and thinkers, people with vision, and direction, agendas and programs for their country.

Yes, there will certainly come a time when the nation will, by providential working, afford to re-gather its little energy left and steps out of its current complacency attitude into which it is forced to for the last four years. The nation will still come unto itself and begin to reverse the gear to peace, stability, progress and belief in the concept of truth and reasoning. That time when the nationalists will have a chance to direct national resources to service delivery, to economic development programs, to national investment in education and to the establishment of an enlightened system of governance with a National Parliament of the People, not Parliament of the individual or one Party.

The SPLM and its government strategy of always engineering and encouraging the war to continue  and always negotiating away the prospects of permanent peace in the country so as to ward elections away, is characteristic to a leader whose dictatorial tendencies made him to lose public support. All these intransigencies and rhetorical maneuvers always shown in the peace talks, is only to perpetuate war and insecurity as a means to ensure continuity in power since there is certainty not to win elections whatever intimidations and use of money.  South Sudan is fed-up of the brutalities and corruption tolerated during the liberation days and badly carried into formal governance system for a sovereign South Sudan!

While the military and its various sectors may be talking of their Constitutional obligation to defend the established system and the state, it is equally true that there is need for the military establishment to protect the nation from total collapse. We all need to scrutinize our support to the current system and choose between patriotic nationalism and the President that is daily pushing the youths to the war fronts, a President who is the obstacle to peace.

Those in-charge of the youths, the SPLM youths in particular, should know that the Person they are supporting is pushing the nation to disintegration! We call on all the youths groups, on all the civil societies, Political Parties and all the armed opposition groups to work together in order to save the nation from drifting towards Somalia situation or outright Balkanization.

 Remember that with Freedom and Independence achieved on July 2011 and with the SPLM split into pieces, the liberation or revolutionary legitimacy of the SPLM came to an end at the close of the Interim period. The President’s election mandate acquired through public vote in 2010 also ended in 2015; and when the official legitimacy of 30 months awarded to him in 2015s by the National Parliament and later affirmed by the Compromise Peace Agreement crafted by the IGAD also come to an end, coming August 2018, where will the incumbent President and this 8 years Parliament get its legitimacy again!? Is the IGAD, Troika and our politicians in Addis going to extend him again!?

No, there will be neither revolutionary, public or Constitutional mandate .If the IGAD repeat to give him another term, a fourth term for the same President, he will have gone into what we call ‘Constitutional Monotony ‘, a very dangerous term which can lead to ‘Constitutional Anarchy’ which could even give rise to a situation of two or more Presidents that recently occurred in the nearby Kenya. The South Sudanese century-old Unity will become hopeless.

Should the President choose not to save the nation but to hold on to power by his own accord or through ‘Military Dictatorship’, then, there we are! The nation will have finally disintegrated. Under such a situation, each Political Warlord can do the Ojuku Biafra Independence Declaration for Eastern Nigeria in the 1960s!

The only viable course of action to take to avoid further bloodshed is not to arrest or kill those who talk the bitter truth; it is not to move the hungry citizens to the streets of Juba in order to throw insults to the Americans for wanting to impede the import of arms to South Sudan for more and more death! It is not to continue to fence oneself with huge military and security machinery! Threatened or manipulated peace negotiations conducted in foreign lands will not solve our wish to cling onto power at the expense of the nation.

The only feasible course to take is to peacefully give power to the people. Give it over for the nation to form an 18 months Provisional Government of National Unity. Sitting in Addis Ababa and again agree to extend the life of this dangerous government for another 3 years and more will tantamount to not being concerned about the suffering of the people of South Sudan. It will indicate that those who went for Revitalization of the August 2015 Peace Agreement were only after positions and not for the life of the nation.

Although I have been calling for peaceful democratic change through elections, I now found, it is impossible for elections to be contemplated under current President Salva Kiir who must step aside to allow for a gov’t to be led by a neutral national figure with technocrats forming the government up to the states.  All armed groups be part of this government not led by Kiir Mayardit.

God of Africa, deliver South Sudan the way you did it in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ethiopia. Allow reasoning to reign. 

The author, Lewis Anei Madut kuendit is the former secretary of the Jieng Council of Elders, former ministerial advisor in Juba and current member of the Paul Malong’s group’s South Sudan United Front/Army (SS-UF/A).

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 Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website 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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