INDEPENDENCE TO UNCERTAINTY
BY: DENG BIOR DENG,
For those who have seen the free world of democracy, freedom and justice for all; it bothers, worries, and pains one’s soul to feel that your ancestral land and truly your home, South Sudan, is in a state of unpredictable future . But I have never as I will never give up the struggle for truth. That is why I participated in the foundation of the great party known as the SPLM-DC in South Sudan. A lot of lies against this great party are being heard here and there; hence prompting me to pick my pen and clear the doubts as I would always like to do. This article is intended for the reading of South Sudanese citizens who are living in Diaspora and might not have experienced the true picture of the situation of South Sudan as it is on the ground after independence,
As a prelude to this article which is about the current situation of our Country, I feel it worthwhile to take you first to the background information about the SPLM-DC. This is important because our party believes in democracy and freedom of association; and therefore with proper understanding of what we stand for, we hope that we shall amaze your support.
Political parties in a National democratic setting are not enemies; but they are guided by the principles and objectives that they believe will take their country to a positive direction. Such is the basis on which the SPLM-DC was founded. This great political party in our country was founded and launched on the 6th of June 2009 by the members of the incumbent ruling SPLM who saw that the SPLM does and did not articulate politics and managed the country to the expectations of our people who have suffered for centuries. The SPLM-DC therefore looks at SPLM as a twin sibling (brother and/or sister) whose members shall understand and join in this peaceful democratic struggle; hence we need to understand and help ourselves in formulating ideas that may push us to the positive direction for the betterment of the conditions of our great brave people of South Sudan; yet the SPLM elites are taking us for their enemies.
WHAT IS IT THAT THE SPLM DID AND DOES NOT DO:
1-SPLM PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NCP
The SPLM hostility against the NCP was/is not in the spirit of good partnership to the CPA nor was/is it to the interest of the people of South Sudan whose self determination for independence was hard won. For example:
In 2008, the SPLM withdrew from the Government of National unity in a disagreement with the NCP on whether the population census was to be held before the border demarcation or not. It was necessary to have been noted that the holding of population census was a pre-requisite to the holding of national elections for a government that would conduct the referendum for the self determination of both South Sudan and Abiey. Therefore rejecting the census meant rejecting the elections which was a pre-condition for holding the two referendums as provided in the CPA.
But the delay in border demarcation, which should have been done before the census, was because the SPLM did not nominate its members to the border demarcation commission on time. The time line for the border demarcation was bypassed. According to NCP, the census could not be foregone for the border demarcation. At this juncture, many South Sudanese including some people of Abiey were seeing that this dispute should have been a peaceful dialogue between the two ruling parties without the SPLM having to take the hard line of resigning from the Government which was a product of the CPA. In fact the SPLM resignation was being seen by the NCP as a unilateral declaration of South Sudan independence that was a clear violation of the CPA protocol. This would have resulted to resumption of war had the international community not intervened; we would not have the referendum WHICH HAS NOW secured South Sudan independence. I give President Beshir credit in this
Again in 2009, the SPLM supported and continues to support the indictment of President Beshir by the ICC. We did not support such a stand, not only because President Beshir was a prime signatory to the CPA, but because it was apolitical to be a partner to the same Government and collaborate with the international body to incriminate your President. This by itself was a treason that could have derailed the CPA. We therefore, in association with South Sudan political parties appealed to the international community against the ICC decision reiterating that it was a betrayal to the interest of South Sudan which was enshrined in the CPA. With this appeal, we sent another appeal to the 1st Vice President and President of South Sudan advising him against his position in this ICC case. This was an honest appeal, but yet we were accused of collaboration with NCP. Well such accusation was/is used to the ears and does not any longer appeal. But the SPLM
needed to have been advised that it was/is politically naïve and vague to always use such flimsy claim to justify their political position in power.
The SPLM having been ,on behalf of South Sudan, a partner in the then Government of national unity and holding the position of 1st Vice President, did not have to claim playing a mediation rather than a negotiation role between the Darfur rebels and the Sudan Government. This was another recipe to the violation of CPA that amounted to betrayal of the South Sudan interest in the CPA itself. In fact this position had even led down the Darfur case because the 1st Vice president was in a strong position to negotiate and initiate a strong arrangement for Darfur.
Our then President of the Government of South Sudan and 1ST Vice President of Sudan did not exploit his position in the Government of National unity to address himself to the needs of South Sudan; instead he blamed President Omer Beshir for not exercising his role as 1st Vice President. Did Beshir have to teach him what to do?
· The SPLM alliance with the North Sudan traditional parties is suggestive of a dubious agenda which seem to be an extension of the SPLM’S known old position of a united socialist new Sudan which all the South Sudanese do not share. Paradoxically, the SPLM relations with the communist party and the communist world of China and Cuba while in political association with the conservative North Sudan political parties is another ridiculous political stance that explains the dilemma of a confused political party. Anyway, people of South Sudan with their cultural heritage as a natural politically liberal and democratic society, will not ascribe to communist dictatorship. This does not mean dislike for Chinese or Cuban people, but a political direction for our nation.
2- THE SPLM SOUTH SUDAN POLITICS.
· Democracy within the SPLM Party was and continues to be demanding. For example, the SPLM being a party controlled by politically inexperienced clique, any honest opinions by politically experienced and highly educated leading members of the party was and continues to be seen as collaboration with the enemy. The problem is that the definition of enemy is not even clear to them and that is why the NCP to which they are in political partnership by their CPA arrangement is an enemy in their opinion.
Corruption within the Government of South Sudan was and continues to be in practice by the SPLM clique who forms the Government.
The SPLM misuse and abuse of South Sudan armed forces (SPLA) may have led to the formation of armed groups leading to insecurity in the country. A political party, even if it is the Governing party, does not own national armed forces. But the SPLA officers and men are being domestic service men in the houses of SPLM elites; hence turning the army into a party militia than a national army. This is an abuse to our national integrity to which our gallant SPLA forces are the custodians. The SPLM-DC was formed to stop this practice.
· Reign of terror throughout our country had led to civil unrest so much so that our civil population had returned to refugee camps in East Africa.
· SPLM Government orchestrated tribalism by not earlier addressing itself to the issues of disputes between tribes over lands and cattle rustling.
· Poverty in our country is caused by corruption in the SPLM Government.
· The influx of foreign nationals being given visas by these SPLM elite to come and run their businesses is a threat to our national integrity.
· The SPLM elite are inclined to lease South Sudan agricultural land to foreign companies with which they shall form partnership in a share holding deal. This is a sale out.
· QUOTE: “This Government is not a pond near a cattle camp where anyone can eat anything inside the camp and then comes and washes his hands in it. We gave nine ministerial positions to other people, but we shouldn’t have given a single one to anyone else. President Kiir tries to open the door for everyone to enter the Government, but we always close it. IF MR X is not happy with the way we are doing things, then, it is up to him”; END QUOTE. This was a statement delivered in a funeral speech by one member of this SPLM elite group who is a member of South Sudan parliament on 15th march 2009. This quote is to prove to the readers that the SPLM Government is not a peoples’ but a clique Government.
All above are some of the reasons that led to the formation of SPLMDC. We have a hope that South Sudan political parties and grass roots shall join us in support of this noble struggle for justice to our people based on democratic principles as the best way to bring about change.
THE CURRENT SITUATION IN OUR COUNTRY- SOUTH SUDAN.
The current situation in our country is dominated by uncertainties. But we must not lose hope that, with our country being independent, some change can happen in the near future if we continue to struggle for change in the way of governance. However, in a nutshell, the current situation is mainly described as that of poverty, hunger, decease and insecurity. But the factors that led us to this situation and how to resolve them is the theme of this article. Led me enumerate them in two categories:
1-LOCAL AND EXTERNAL WARS.
2- THE CPA OUTSTANDING PROTOCALS.
1-The local wars I am referring to here are the land disputes, cattle rustling and internal rebellions. In both of these cases, the SPLM Government did not and does not address itself to the problems as they arise; instead the elites will always point figure somewhere to excuse themselves than to find reasons and solve the problems. It is the reasons that cause problems which should be resolved; but excuses are not a justification for Government failure to find solutions to problems.
Despite the huge support from the international community, the Government had not been able to resettle the internally displaced people and refugees returning from neighboring countries. This is where the problems of land dispute arise when those returning to their original lands from other countries find their lands occupied by the IDPS.
The cattle’s rustling which used to be limited to some tribes has now escalated to other tribes, even to some sections and clans of the same tribes. This is exacerbated by the poor reorganization of the armed forces (SPLA) after the war. Many SPLA men remained in the bush not organized and employed. They are therefore still living on the poor population by hooks or crooks and cattle’s raiding is one means of their livelihood. It is tribalised because each SPLA group will go and steal cattle from another tribe which is not of their tribe. The unequal treatment of veterans has contributed to this complicated situation.
The other local war is the internal rebellion. This is a political matter that needs a political solution. But the SPLM Government continues to accuse other political parties of orchestrating rebellion in collaboration with the Sudan Government; this is a plan to incite our national security and public opinion against members of those parties. The SPLM clique says they must rule because they are the liberators; this is what seems to have caused this rebellion because, if you liberated the people in order to rule them, they may liberate themselves so that they can rule themselves with or without you, no matter what means they use as long as it justifies the end. This nasty situation is what is not needed; that is why a democratic change is needed.
The external wars are the wars being fought by various rebel groups against the Sudan Government. These wars include the war for Darfur, the war for Southern Kordofan, Southern Blue Nile, and the war for Abiey, by the Sudan rebels who belong to these regions in Sudan. The SPLM and its Government in Juba has to come to understanding with the NCP Government in Khartoum because they still own their partnership to the CPA. This is the right time, than before, that the two parties and Governments have the leverage to mediate a political settlement with all their rebels.
2- THE CPA OUTSTANDING ISSUES.
It is the sour relations between the SPLM and NCP that obstruct the solution to these issues; otherwise solutions had been provided by the CPA arrangements. But if the two parties fail to reach an understanding on the border issue, the international peace facilitators may have to opt for international arbitration. The oil dispute should be part of the border issue. As for the oil money which the South claims from the Sudan, this can be carried forward to the issue of the assets between the South and the Sudan if the South can prove its claim; it cannot be a cause for escalation of war between the two countries.
The case of Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile is already complicated by the rebellion. But without rebellion, the CPA protocol in these regards had not been clear as to the mandate of whose and how these protocols would be safely implemented. Not only could that, but the protocol itself does not clearly define what popular consultation would be all about. The protocol did not also broadly treat the issue of security arrangement for these areas after the South secede; and that is the dilemma about the status of SPLA rebels who are now fighting against the Sudan Government. I think the international peace facilitators may have to readdress these issues.
The war for Abiey should not be regarded as a war between South Sudan and Sudan; it is the people of Abiey who are fighting for their right of self determination. As history can tell, Abiey had remained under the Sudan administration after the South Sudan independence. It would not sound prudent at this juncture and this time for the South Sudan to claim fighting for Abiey. But what complicates things between the two countries is that the people of Abiey have spread all over the two countries where they claim both to belong. I think the voluntary implementation of Abiey protocol will be a relief to both countries; and their co-operation in this regard may be to both advantage. Should the two countries fail, then it would be fair to both countries to avoid war and put Abiey under international mandate until the referendum is held.
It is with my pleasure to make the following remarks in conclusion:
A- The opposition against the incumbent SPLM Government is not about power struggle; it is the worsening situation in our country that we appeal to you to join us in this noble struggle
B- We are in support of our Armed forces (SPLA) and we are hopeful that their leverage in their historical struggle shall make our message appeal to them.
C- It is my personal opinion that the hostility by SPLM Government against the NCP Government is not to the interest of the South because the two Governments and parties are still partners to the CPA.
D- The opposition does not support rebellion as a means of solving problems. Let us appeal together to let the SPLM Government go into serious negotiations with the rebel groups; and also the opposition need to help the Government on request; provide that the SPLM shall not use any would be agreement as a tactics for elimination or buy time to dishonor such agreements.
DENG BIOR DENG-email (dengbior69@gmail, com)
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