By Juma Mabor Marial
September 15, 2014 (SSNA) -- As peace talks in Addis Ababa resumes today Monday, September 15, 2013, the attention will be drawn to transitional arrangement with formation of the transitional government of national unity topping the agenda and as already is the case, the IGAD intention is to form an all-inclusive and a broad based government that would include the two warring parties, other political parties, other stakeholders and of course, the SPLM Leaders Former Political Detainees (LFPD), the intention here is to ensure that inclusivity means collective involvement and responsibility by all the south Sudanese stakeholders to implement the reform agenda that would be framed in order to circumvent future crisis.
This proposal is too noble to be censured and this is why so far, the peace talks in Addis Ababa have been carried out through a multi-stakeholder style so that those who would later participate in the transitional government are furnished with necessary understanding and talents over the issues that need to be addressed during the transitional period which is in all its design and spirit the best way of doing things. Now here comes the question of eligibility of who and who is not suitable to participate in the transitional government of national unity? The answers can emanate from any of us based on the perspectives and rationale as to why one thinks this or that other group has the right to participate in the TGONU but having the benefit and privilege to share these ideas with my readers, I would lead in giving my would not be so friendly answers and see how each of the citizen that comes across these views buy the idea.
For me, the intention of IGAD to include all the stakeholders in the transitional government arrangement is a brilliant and comfortable idea because, national affairs have to be collectively addressed with stewardship of all members of the society and it is because of this reason that I am buying the idea of all, except SPLM Leaders former political detainees and members of the Civil Society participating in the transitional government of national unity (TGONU). I have therefore in my opinion, accepted that, both the warring parties i.e. the government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and SPLM/A in the opposition must participate in the government of national unity on equal percentage no matter how small, the political parties must also participate in the TGONU, the youth, disables and women must be represented in the TGONU, But, the SPLM leaders former political detainees and the members of the civil society should not participate in the transitional government of national unity, why? Here comes the reason, one, I object to the participation of the SPLM former detainees in the TGONU because of the personal analysis of the status of these so-called former political detainees and my case against these guys are comprehensive in a way that if I were to give lengthy details about the short comings of each one of them, some of them would take it personal and I wouldn’t want national issues to take that trend as my intention has always been to contribute to the welfare of this country without any baggage of personal grudge. That said, the reason why I wouldn’t want the former political detainees to participate in the forthcoming government are simple.
First, these people are of course veteran soldiers turned politicians and their contribution have made great positive impacts in this country including the achievement of independence, they are as well the contemporary politicians that this country has and their participation in the country’s affairs cannot be easily downgraded, it is by virtue of their contribution to the freedom struggle that successively enabled them to form part of the government both in the government of national unity in Khartoum and government of southern Sudan since the inception of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005, but it is also because of their consistent salvage in the government that has enabled them showed their true colours to the people of south Sudan by looting the meager resources from the people of south Sudan and establish their empires here and abroad, the former detainees if I am not wrong and with the exception of the one former governor that is with them were among the 75 government officials that were alleged to have squandered 400 million dollars from the citizens of south Sudan, other corruption scandals like the most recent Fire Safe Scandal were perpetuated by and had benefited some with them now, the cases of corruption are just a tip of an iceberg. The other case I have against these former political detainees is their role in the on-going crisis, when they were arrested here in Juba and some of them charged with treason, the sentiments in the streets of Juba as to their fate varied from one group of citizens to another, some said they were guilty as charged, others said they were innocent, others said they should be killed while others felt they should be castrated for having looted the country and lit the fire to kill the innocent civilians while they had hide their families far away in foreign countries. some of us who went to schools and learnt the rules of analysis said everything should be left to law to take it own course and we also added personal views that these are our brothers who had sacrificed their lives to bring this country to where it is today and therefore castrating, killing or even convicting them should be replaced with their release and forgiveness, our voices, although at the minority ultimately took precedent over all other wild voices and the guys were four after seven, released but little did we knew that their number would turned into a political party ( G11) or famously known now (SPLM leaders former political detainees).
The now SPLM/A in the opposition plus the members of international community where these guys had connections also gave the government sleepless nights by pressurizing it to release the detainees. Unlike south Sudanese (some of us) who had wanted these guys released because of their past good deeds, members of the international community who wanted the guys released thought that the arrest was not because of the alleged attempted coup but was entirely an attempt by the government to slab democracy and therefore, their detention was a straight forward case of war against democracy in Africa, the SPLM/A in opposition on the other hand were of the view that their comrades were put behind bars by a dictatorial government and considering them heavyweights in their opinion, the detained leaders have to be released as a precondition to start peace talks since their present on their side would add both national and international backing to their claim.
Although with lesser hope of being good old friends again, the government had also thought that by releasing these guys, it would groove two or even three important points, one, it would bargain the international community to it side that, yes, I can listen and therefore, I have to be applaud for being a good listener, two, I can morsel and therefore, anybody who thinks they can do anything and abscond will not do it unless I have consented, this was particularly to the detainees and thirdly, the government had hoped that, these guys would be more appreciative and ask the government to allow them back to its side after they have been missed by a whisker. All these hopes and desires whether from the citizens like us who had thought after their release, the guys would be remorseful to the people of south Sudan and ask for forgiveness and be good boys, the international community which had thought after their release, the boys would be the champions of democracy in the country, the SPLM/A in opposition which had thought the guys would join them and make them strong through their Political constituencies in the country and international connections or even the government which had thought, the guys would come back and say thank you for forgiving us after the sins we committed against you were all wrong, instead, the guys went out and attempt to outsmart the citizen, the international community, the SPLM/A in opposition and the government by declaring themselves a neutral group. The international community and IGAD bought into their idea because they thought this intention has been made in good faith, but the three groups, us the citizens, the SPLM/A in opposition and the government felt that, this was a first signature in the divorce papers between all of us and the so-called SPLM/A leaders former political detainees.
The reason the three groups accepted to sign these divorce papers is because, the political detainees thought they are the only gifted people in this country by first looting the country, agreeing with some in the SPLM/A in opposition to overthrow the government, remain behind after the coup failed and when arrested and released, betrayed their brothers in the opposition, failed to appreciate the government that released them and failed to show-case to the international community that advocated for their release that they are now part of the solution. They instead put themselves as the “clean people in all the crisis that have engulfed the country”. The intention here as is now realized by all the groups is that, this people that have hurt everyone thinks the leader of the transitional government of national unity should come out of their group. This is not my own assumption, you would all recall and agree with me that soon after their arrival in Addis Ababa for peace talks, the group convened a press conference and declared their position as being neutral and wanted to be considered as a third block in the talks, this pronouncement derailed talks for sometimes until their case was resolved and they were accepted as third party to the peace talks, it is because of their insistent that open flood gates for multi-stakeholders style of the talks as IGAD wanted to provide a win-win situation for all south Sudanese stakeholders. Secondly, Pagan Amum out of his own desire and volatility came out with a paper that was also published in the public media outlining how he would resolve the crisis between the warring parties, his intention was quickly interpreted by some of the citizens that responded to his paper as being intended to putting himself as the interim president if and when the transitional government of national unity (TGONU) is formed.
Not only these, recently, and this is what has provoked me to share this opinion with the citizens, the SPLM leaders former political detainees published a forty three (43) page position paper, a paper that I named ‘SPLM Leaders Former Political Detainees Manifesto’ outlining or rather copy pasting the transitional constitution and other laws of south Sudan to tell people that whatever they had written is what should be done when and if the transitional government of national unity is formed. The language used there is a straight forward indicator of the fact that SPLM leaders former political detainees want to head the transitional government of national unity. Something they seem to express better in forty three (43) pages position paper than at the round table at the peace talks in Addis Ababa. The reason why some of us are convinced they want to lead the transitional government of national unity is that, throughout their statements in their forty three (43) page position paper, they have this common phrase of ‘WE’ will do this and that, when you put this paper together with that of Pagan Amum and shuttle diplomacy that they are undertaking, then you would immediately know that they are the one who want to be given the TGONU. then, the question that quickly comes to mind is, where were they for the last 10 years, of course some of them were governors, others prime ministers (cabinet affairs minister), all of them ministers, why didn’t they do all these things they think they can do now, what will be the magic to bring ‘We will do’, or was their first phase for corruption and establishing dynasties and now if given a second phase, they will do this and that for the people of south Sudan. I still haven’t gotten better answers for their “We will do” slogan and I need some help in that.
Again, recently when President Kiir and other IGAD head of states signed the protocol on transitional arrangement and Dr. Riek refused to sign the agreement, the group of eleven condemned in the strongest terms possible the unfairness of the protocol and made their grievances similar to those of the SPM/A in opposition which again, take us back to the drawing board of asking ourselves, if they (SPLM leaders former political detainees) have one reasoning or position with the SPLM/A in opposition, then why are they not joining hands and work together, the only impression one expected they should have made was to suggest solution on how the stalemate on the protocol would be resolved instead of repeating the same argument as put forward by the SPLM/A in opposition. Let’s finalize our argument about these guys later on in the conclusion.
Now why should the civil society not be part of the transitional government of national unity, simple again, although I know, most of the people see civil society as a gateway to politic, we have to be mindful of the future of this country, it is not strange that some few self-centered characters started as civil society activists but as soon as they are appointed to political posts, they immediately toss out the advocacy clothes and swear never to represent the voiceless, a boarder must be drawn here and now, the members of the civil society that are participating in the peace talks in Addis Ababa and those here in the country should not participate in the TGONU and this is because, the TGONU is not going to be business as usual, the politicians will head and manage it yes, but it also need a strong, independent and viable civil society to act as watchdog in the implementation of the reform agenda that shall be given to TGONU.as a blueprint. The civil society should be there to correct and supervise those who thinks looting the resources is what only replace violence, they civil society should be there to ensure that the TGONU delivers the basic services that the people of south Sudan have been denied for quite too long, the civil society should be there to ensure that all south Sudanese have the right to live and enjoy the fruits of independence of this country.
In conclusion, the SPLM leaders Former Political detainees have not captivated anybody with their tricks to come to power through the backdoor. Yes, their contribution to the freedom of this country is acknowledged, their reigns and political strength are known, their intellectuality and generational ability is also known but it is also fresh in everyone mind that, they have been in the government of this country since its inception, they have also looted enough from the citizens at the expenses of development and service delivery, they have mismanaged the affairs of this country through omission and/or commission, they have not repented and say sorry to the citizens that dies because of their political ambitions in this country, they have failed to meet the expectations of the SPLM/A in opposition, they have disappointed the international community and they have declare useless the government that released them from prison and here they are, thinking that they know everything out of all these groups yet They have betrayed everybody that has done everything to ensure their release.
Yes, they are south Sudanese, they are still prominent politicians and they are still connected but no, they cannot be part of the transitional government of national unity because I am afraid, should they be return to the government, it will be business as usual, they will go back to their old quarters and do what they are known of doing best. These people should be left like any other ordinary citizen and let them go back to their people and ask for a fresh mandate and comes elections, they shall have the right to contest and if they wins, then, they can come back to politic. SPLM Leaders Former political detainees were supposed to bring solution to these crises but did they do that, no, they are busy scheming on how the mediators and international community should get rid of everybody and make them the caretakers of the transitional government of national unity. This is why I think, their conspiracy has now become crystal clear and therefore, they should not be allow to be part of the transitional government of national unity which is now the only hope for south Sudanese to bring long awaited and lasting reforms.
Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate in Juba & reachable at: