Hon. Nyandeng and Hon. Angelina: The Madams are Back in Juba, South Sudan!

Posted: December 28, 2018 by aljokd in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, HLRF, Junub Sudan, Malith Alier, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Malith Alier, Perth, Australia

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Friday, 28 December, 2018 (PW) — Not very many days of 2018 are left to write or at least say something economic, religious, or somehow political to the people of South Sudan, Africa or the wider world at large.

These are indeed turbulent times. Omar El Bashir is struggling with the bread and butter price rises all over his country that has been in the grip of NCP since 1989. Yoweri Museveni is fighting young people who are tired of his long rule since 1986. The new generation he often referred to as “bazukulu” or grandchildren have had a voice through Bobi Wine, the musician turned politician who combines music and politics to combat dictatorship in Uganda.

Better things are right now happening in Ethiopia, a country that had peacefully witnessed transfer of power to young people in the person of Abiy Ahmed. Ahmed has made it a priority to make peace within and without specifically Eritrea. Political prisoners are freed, political parties are allowed to join the legitimate political activities at the same level as the ruling party and above all women groups have began to have their fair share and presidents of the country and high court appointed. These measures maybe are what a country like Ethiopia needed to have total peace.

South Sudan picture paints a different scenario. The country which attained independence only in 2011 barely commenced another war within three years of independence. A brief peace agreement signed in 2015 failed to settled matters and war continues until this year. Perhaps things are going to be different this time round if hope is something to go by.

Political exiles are flocking back in to the country in drops to celebrate Christmas in Juba. The third week of December have seen the coming back of well known Madams, Rebecca de Mabior and Angelina Teny, the two women in the centre of the internecine conflict. Unlike 1991 attempted overthrow of the John Garang, the then rebel leader by Riek, the 2013 outbreak of conflict found the two ladies usually known as madams on the same camp. Riek Machar, Deng Alor, Pagan Amuom, and Rebecca had already formed an alliance against Kiir et al.

The notorious December 6, 2013 unmistakably portrayed this. The group warned Kiir and allies that the country was going to fall in to chaos if he failed to heed their demands and indeed that was exactly what happened. The leaders of the alliance against Kiir were already members of the SPLM Political Bureau. Therefore, their words shouldn’t have been taken for granted.

Immediately, and after the atrocities broke out on 14. 12.13 and Riek and Angelina had slipped out of Juba, Madam Rebecca who remained behind declared to the BBC that all Nuers in Juba were killed by Kiir forces to the dismay of so many Dinkas at least. She later chose to go to exile in Nairobi, Kenya. Since then, Rebecca became ambiguous in her political dealings.

She was deemed to be dangling between SPLM-IO and Former Political Detainees (FDs) who would also prefer to be called SPLM Leaders. Of course she was not a political detainee at any stage of the conflict. In one of the scenes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she was seen uncontrollably wailing when Kiir waved to signed the peace agreement 17.8.2015. Kiir signed in Juba later after just over a week.

As the madams return, the country is already carved out for the various political forces aimed at achieving peace. Four vice presidents, over forty ministries and many administrative units are a result of the new peace agreement known as R-ARCSS which is a version of the 2015 violated agreement. The features of this agreement included an eight month pre-transitional period and thirty months of implementation after which general elections must be organised.

The premise of the war was lack of reforms in the political and economic spheres of the nascent state according to the opponents of the Kiir regime. They could be guilty of the same because while they were part and parcel of the same system they failed to agitate for necessary reforms since 2005. In the eye of ordinary South Sudanese the SPLM party failed as an entity. This is what the SPLM leaders collectively overlooked. Therefore, efforts aimed at reunifying the SPLM will yield the same results.

The core membership of the SPLM is still at loggerheads despite signing agreements to reunite the part. Beginning with Arusha declaration down to Cairo agreement nothing seems to work for the historical party to reunite. Pagan Amuom, the former Secretary Generation was even sworn in around 2015 but decided to turn his back on the party for good. He is believed to be against the current agreement unlike his FD colleagues. He decided to remain in exile despite peace optimism.

What is not in doubt is that the SPLM is internationally isolated, targeted sanctions are imposed on military and political operators and the party is teetering on the brink. Nevertheless, the madams are back! The war that has killed close to four hundred thousand people, displaced over two million inside and outside, may be coming to an end. Whether it will be business as usual or a modicum makeover shall occur …….. the chase is on!

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 paanluel2011@gmail.com. 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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