By Job Kiir Garang
July 28, 2014 (SSNA) -- Dear readers, I must say that the political situation in South Sudan has, over the past seven months or so, been very toxic. In fact, I have almost come to a conclusion that for most of us who participate in various social media, we are not helping at all in trying to solve our problems as South Sudanese. We are immersed in senseless and ultimately endless tribal dog-fight. No tribes bring that fight to the forefront than the two biggest tribes in the country i.e. the Dinka and the Nuer. I happen to be a Dinka myself and I am sure there are many from my side of the great tribal divide who might be shocked by my apparent full support for Dr. Riek as the only man who can pull us out of the abyss of dark ages into a more prosperous and brighter future for our beloved country.
My heading does not need an explanation as to what my stands are. Being a veteran myself, I must admit that the country we so heartily fought for against a faith-driven regime is ever falling behind. The hopes and aspirations we had are ebbing out. The future looks bleak and there seems to be nothing but absolute hopelessness at the end of the tunnel. Reason? A bunch of thugs and political hustlers have decided to run the country as a personal property and the sad part, and probably the reason behind the sudden eruption by our nation into civil conflict, is the fact that a small faction of the country (infact a sub-tribe of Gokrial) is running the show in every department within the government. Anyway, let me not get ahead of myself. Having stated where I stand politically, I have the burden to try and explain why I think Dr. Riek is the only hope we have right now and not the cowboy.
First and foremost, I will start with Salva Kiir Mayardit. They always say, give credit where it is due. Having fought in the SPLA liberation war alongside the like of them, I must say that he was one of the best in the business. No one would come second to Dr. John Garang if they were a bunch of numb nuts. He was, during the struggle, our proverbial Moses of the Bible. He was supposed to take us all the way to the promise land and he sure did try. Sadly for most of us, he never learned from the master. Instead of following the scripts left behind, he chose to do it his own way: the failed ways as we have come to know them. Firstly, he has no vision for the country. He is non-ideologue. The worse of them all is the fear mongering tactics that his government has employed during his office tenure. Instead of acknowledging the fact that a healthy government can only grow out of nuances or differences debated with civility, he shamelessly fires and dissolved his cabinet.His constant belief that the problems in South Sudan are mainly being propagated from outside (UNMISS to be exact) is utter ignorance. Clean your own mess Mr. before you start pointing fingers. I am sure the many South Sudanese who lost their jobs, and notably, those in the government never got fired by an external body. It was all up to the president himself.
And when war broke out, he did very little to help bring the fighting to a sudden halt. If anything, members of his inner circles masterminded some of the worse killings in the capital, Juba where many Nuer civilians as well as soldiers got murdered in cold blood. Some innocent brothers of Dinka origin who happened to have the same facial marks as Nuer were also brutally killed. Many of the South Sudanese, with sound ideas to help move the country in a better direction are always suppressed and in worse case scenario, intimidated and offered death threats. A persistence of any kind would cost someone a job and even worse, their lives. Autocracy is a crazy form of government in my opinion or even the opinion of any sensible human beings. Salva Kiir has exercised it to the fullest and the results are out there for everyone to see. The country is a failed state even at its apparent infancy: the proverbial flower nipped in the bud. The civil society has been unjustly destroyed and denied every bit necessary for survival. Kiir’s brothers and sisters have become the vultures of the wild that feed off the land and the people for their selfish gains. The Dinka tribe has become a bad taste in the mouth these days. A mentioning of the word itself seems to make smaller tribes cringe detestation. Every Dinka is guilty by association.
Some States within the country have been fighting grounds for many years during the struggle and even today. Kiir has done very little to try and clean up those states in order to bring about peace. Jonglei and Upper Nile States are being systematically destroyed by turning the Nuer against their Dinka counterpart and other tribes in their surroundings and the government has always turned a non-sympathetic eye. It has often thrown the tribal crisis into the woodwork. The innocent majority continue to be voiceless. Sadly for them, there seems to be very little hope insight. The younger generation has no hope. The old guards are holding on to power that they cannot even handle with any sensible approach.No provision of public services to the people that need them the most, neither international intelligence, or domestic intelligence and most journalists are hiding in fear that they might be convicts of the regime if they express their ideas i.e. no freedom of the press. Kids of the less fortunate are becoming the mattresses upon which the powerful and the self-made greedy millionaires sleep on. They are the used and reusable tools by the wealth-thirsty few in association with the president. Comes the hour, comes the man, this greed to remain in power will surely be tested.
Turning my argument in support of the man: Dr. Riek Machar, I must say in advance that we are living in an age where the last thing we need is division. I have a deep conviction that if the Dinka and the Nuer could live in harmony without political fear mongering and distractions, South Sudan would be a peaceful country. Riek might have come from a tribe in South Sudan where members easily pick up arms whenever one of their guy (Riek in particular) has had difference in opinion with the Dinka leaders but am sure given the chance to lead, he might settle the dust that is ever blowing in the air of that beautiful country. Below are some of the reasons why I feel Riek can make a good if not better leader: Firstly, just have a quick glance at his opposition cabinet. Despite his movement being predominantly Nuer in manpower, it surely does look very inclusive. It is what few or indeed many would describe as the microcosm of South Sudanese future. His cabinet is representative of many if not everyone in South Sudan. You have the Equatorians, the Dinka, the Nuer, the Shilluk and many more are expected to be part and parcel of his vision for South Sudan and I am sure the youth will have a say in his government. That would be a country worth building and caring for.
Secondly, Riek has always fallen short of recognition on a number of occasions. He has been a victim of political rigidity by his Dinka counterparts either during the political struggle or in the aftermath. His desire to drive the country in a more unified direction has always been perceived by those above him as a secret agenda to overthrow them. He has always been portrayed as someone greedy for power. He is always victimized as a tribalist when in truth, we do have proven tribalists in the shape of Kiir and his cohorts. False claims of coup have been blamed against him while the truth remains the same old fear mongering tactics by the president who owns every single power in the country. When there was a dire need to sign the Addis Ababa cease fire, the president dragged his feet while those that he accused of having planned a coup against him (Riek included) were desperate to get it done and bring an end to the appalling bloodshed of the innocent civilians. The brief message to all South Sudanese is this; if you believe in democracy and peaceful co-existence, the wise thing to do right now is join forces in turning the pages of an old-fashioned, non-progressive, greed-driven, divisive politics and replace it with (although never tested) alternative form of the government that seems on paper the opposite of what we have been accustomed to over the last 9 years. I’m sure, given the opportunity, Riek and his political crew might be able to tackle some of the issues of our time for I do believe that with the help of nationalists like Hon. Pagan Amum, Dr. MajakD’Agoot, Cde MabiorGarang de Mabior and the rest of the regiments, he might be in the right position to help solve the main problems such as Education for all, poverty, political corruption, war, famine and so on.
As a message of intent for a better South Sudan, I call upon those that dare to dream and change our country for the best. This must start with a public outcry (not that we have not been doing so) but this time we have to be loud and clear. To all my brothers and sisters who feel left out, this is the time. We have to gather efforts and make our voices are heard. We have been silenced for long and I am sure everyone is beginning to feel the pinch. I know there are lots of people that feel the president still has some gas in his tank and would be disappointed by our message, but I can just urge you to look at this issue from a different angle: an angle that looks at ourselves as nothing but good neighbours with our counterparts on the other side and the only way forward is to try and prevent Political leaders setting us apart. If these six major States of Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, Central, Western and Eastern Equatoria do unite, I can assure you that there will be stability and an eventual birth of a long lasting peace. Fighting does not solve any problem. The president has supported Murle especially YauYau’s group. Most of the people in Jonglei state got disarmed except the Murle who carry out attack on civilians in Twic East, Duk, and Nuer. The government (under the leadership of Kiir) never intervened. He ignored the assault on the people aforementioned as though nothing happened. We are hereby throwing our full support for Riek Machar. He might not have totally clean hands but give him the office of the president and the rest will be judged afterwards. The events of December last year leading into 2014 have convinced many that Kiir is a failed leader and the last thing we need is to stick with him and hope that things will change in the future. No country should be governed within the confines of a bar (better known in Juba as Home and away).
I, or as better known as Kiir-Agou and a veteran of the struggle, live in a country where voices are heard regardless of your status. I would love to see a South Sudan that images or exhibits the same kind of life that I experience here. I am sure deep down every South Sudanese feel the same way. I was a loyal servant to that country for 14 years and it is sad to see it goes into the drains. I am not writing to please anyone but I have a group of people that have decided to petition my decision. They are about sixty right now to be exact and the main call is we have to all man up and take a stand to make our country a better one. RIEK Tosha!