By Margaret Akulia, Canada
May 15, 2014 (SSNA) -- Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, espouse Nuer egalitarianism as your official manifesto for the new South Sudan and watch your popularity skyrocket locally and globally! Continue to be a champion for actual Democracy and you will automatically become the People’s hero. That means allying with the people of South Sudan who must largely comprise of political parties, civil society and faith-based leaders in “the negotiation of a transitional government of national unity, in order to ensure broad ownership of the agreed outcomes” and gaining their consensus on the way forward for South Sudan in relation to “the permanent constitution, and any other items that concern the political future of the country and reconciliation of South Sudanese communities”, as outlined in the agreement you signed in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014.
Your appeal for calm after Salvatore Kiir Mayardit dishonoured your 2010 “gentlemen agreement” and your refusal to dignify his self-aggrandizing, reckless and uncalled for cock-a-doodle-doo “I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country” with a response during the somber occasion of signing the agreement to halt the carnage in South Sudan in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014 distinguished you as the superior statesman!
Even though you would have offered a lucid response to Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s attempt to “ruffle your feathers” in spite of the fact that you have effectively “clipped his wings” by forcing him as an incumbent president to negotiate with you, your self-discipline to stay silent speaks volumes about your ability to resist the temptation to be jerked into a foolish power struggle at the expense of the people of South Sudan! You did extremely well by refusing to dignify Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s deflated and sacrilegious “cock crowing” about being the president of the country he has desecrated with a response because as a higher-class statesman, you understood and discerned that it was a glum occasion resulting from death and destruction. Consequently, the haughtiness Salvatore Kiir Mayardit exhibited would be out of place. That was why you earned a warm welcome in Ethiopia instead.
You remain tight-lipped about what transpired in Ethiopia behind “closed doors” in relation to allegedly being “blackmailed” byEthiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn into signing the agreement to halt the bloodbath in South Sudan as a wise statesman ought to because you understood that any “persuasion” by the Prime Minister was intended for the good of the people of South Sudan. However, Salvatore Kiir Mayardit flippantly “broadcast” it on “hilltops” and continued to lay bare the lack of discipline that caused South Sudan to plummet into a lawless country in the first place! You did well not to “blubber” and allege duress as Salvatore Kiir Mayardit has done because Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s “persuasion” was not duress but a duty to ensure that the suffering masses of South Sudan can stop being executed in cold blood!
The Proverb “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall(Proverbs 16:18)” is playing itself out right before the eyes of the world and Salvatore Kiir Mayardit only has himself to blame for the looming humiliating tumble that will result from his ill advised “cock crowing” in Ethiopia and “loose talk” before an entire world that is watching the two of you very closely. Take your caliber to an unparalleled level by trumpeting an interim government of the people, by the people, for the people which bears close resemblance to your Nuer egalitarianism after all and your popularity will skyrocket locally and globally!
Salvatore Kiir Mayardit started off the agreement to halt the massacre in South Sudan in bad faith but you don’t have to follow in his footsteps. His are the murmurings of an undiscerning wannabe “king” who wants to impose a warped “kingdom” called South Sudan onto “subjects” who actually despise him now because of the way he morphed into a tyrant instead of remaining a “freedom fighter”! It is obvious that Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his cronies are completely ignorant about the fact that his so-called “democratic election” was actually a plebiscite and not a Presidential Election! A simple explanation by an incorruptible and intelligent lawyer with the aptitude to understand that the people of South Sudan can actually “dethrone” Salvatore Kiir Mayardit from his self-styled “kingship” legally would have wiped off the smirk preceding the cock-a-doodle-doo “I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country” from his face!
However, why bother continuing to sound like a “broken record” to try and explain this high-level legal detail to “deaf” ears anyway when the People now have an immediate opportunity to turn a new leaf and forge forward with an actual Democracy? Why bother prolonging the suffering of South Sudanese by “dragging” Salvatore Kiir Mayardit through the dysfunctional judiciary and “kangaroo courts” he has instituted in South Sudan to try to “unseat him” legally when the people can now move forward without the brutality he and his cronies have meted on them for almost a decade?
Suffice it to say that despite assuming power without the correct process and mandate from the people of South Sudan, Salvatore Kiir Mayardit has grossly let down the People and abrogated his implicit duty to foster the country and prevent every South Sudanese from being harmed. Consequently he and his supporters need to stop the absurdity of enunciating that he should serve his full presidential term because there was no such term!
The people of South Sudan have had enough mortification to last a life time. It is time for them to heal from their unfathomable wounds and recover from being a laughing-stock after enduring the humiliating high jinks of a so-called President who is clueless about the importance and workings of the United Nations system.
The only reason Salvatore Kiir Mayardit continued as President of South Sudan is the tyranny that has precipitated the mass murder of South Sudanese from your Nuer tribe and his Dinka tribe but there is now an opportunity for new beginnings which you as a superior statesman should safeguard by allying with the political parties, civil society and faith-based leaders and obtaining their consensus about what the transitional government of national unity ought to be. Salvatore Kiir Mayardit has proved that he is incapable of redeeming himself, which puts the onus on you,Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon as a more sophisticated statesman in the harmful game of “Russian Roulette” that has severely injured the people of South Sudan and ravaged the country beyond recognition to work with the people of South Sudan in championing their aspirations for an interim government. Such a government needs to be sanctioned by the People without intimidation.
The interim government is temporary, interventional and preparatory in nature but critical for the survival of the South Sudan you yourself risked your life for. It will be a critical bridge between the bloodbath in which you and your cronies participated and a Democratic South Sudan that is the envy of all African countries. It will usher in much needed healing and pave the way for resolving the six key challenges that you highlighted during the meeting you had with members of the South Sudan politburo on March 5, 2013, which included but were not limited to the rampant corruption, tribalism, economic problems, insecurity, poor international relations and the loss of vision and direction by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement that led to Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s decision to eject you from the vice presidency of South Sudan after you attempted to offer him “constructive criticism”.
The bloodletting that has brought South Sudan to this point of utter despair has devastated individuals, communities and the country at large but the extreme injury cannot be reversed. However, the people can try to heal only if peace is reinstated. You can bring about that peace by continuing your call to action and the “fundamental change” that is also supported by your brother from Equatoria, Lieutenant General Ladu Gore while supporting the People’s aspirations to constitute an interim government.
Make your fight for Democracy about restitution for the devastated people of South Sudan, not you or Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and watch how high the global community exalts you. You have already ushered in South Sudan’s much needed “truth and reconciliation” by taking full responsibility for your role in the Bor massacre of 1991 and I am confident that you will make another unprecedented “U Turn” by taking full responsibility for your role in the current bloodbath while morphing into the People’s fervent protector and defender! Find a way to reach out to members of the White Army and the other Nuer people who are still out to avenge the senseless murder of Nuer people. Impress upon them that two wrongs don’t make a right and revenge will never bring back their loved ones but the restitution the interim government could also be tasked with might aid in the healing.
Ally with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Protect the people of South Sudan from Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his cronies because unlike Salvatore Kiir Mayardit, you are capable of being remorseful for your actions and making a total “U Turn”. Above all, listen to the wise counsel of the people of South Sudan in their aspirations for an interim government. Be open to instruction, “constructive criticism” and correction starting with the instruction and appeal by your sisters at the South Sudan Women Cry for Peace.
Margaret Akulia is co-author of the sequel Idi Amin: Hero or Villain? His son Jaffar Amin and other people speak. She brings to the South Sudan dialogue a multidisciplinary professional background including but not limited to “grassroots activism”. Additional information at https://travellinglearningcircles.com/Save_South_Sudan.html