In Presidential Palace, Salva Kiir is leading a clique not a nation.
South Sudan is a great nation founded by great people, under shared principles. Diverse ethnically and linguistically, South Sudan is made up of more than (60) sixty tribes living side-by-side in harmony for centuries. Together, they collectively endorsed the independence of South Sudan in 2011 through an internationally monitored referendum.
It was this endorsement that legitimized the new nation’s constitution, the National Legislative Assembly, the Judiciary and the Executive branch. Together as tribes, they capitulated their traditional legal system and customary laws and fully subscribed to the country’s constitution as the only law of the land.
To everyone’s dismay, the President of the Republic of South Sudan and his cronies have hijacked the shared principles, broke the constitution of the land, and seriously dismantled the great unity of the people of South Sudan. This act of conspiracy by the President and his close associates brought this promising nation to its knees and the prospect of seeing Juba being one of the fastest growing city disappeared.
To keep things straight, it is important to know that the mid December incident last year was never a coup. It was a President’s premeditated plan to silence or kill his critics. However, the plan went terribly wrong. Months before the carnage, the President and his inner circle went to Bhar el Ghazel region and formed private militia without the knowledge of Minister of Defense, and the SPLA’s Chief of General Staffs.
These private militias were responsible for the massacre of more than 7,000 Nuer between 16, and 21 December 2013 in Juba. As these supporting facts profoundly disturbed not only the country but also the world, it also linked the President directly to the massacre. It is safe to conclude that Salva Kiir Mayardiit by instigating this complete mayhem in South Sudan, make him a criminal who should be punished under the rule of law.
The US and the world must not fail to demand immediate measures that would reverse the looming catastrophes in South Sudan. Over hundred thousands displaced. The damages the President has done in the country are beyond repair. It’s imperative to know that, the crisis in South Sudan did not begin with the eruption of the war in military barracks in December of last year. This crisis had been simmering for a very long time. In fact, some of the red flags the world should have noticed were when the President changed the policy of building the new nation to the policy of silencing his critics. More than a year ago, the security organs killed one of the prominent South Sudanese political commentators called Isaiah in Juba. No perpetuators have ever been brought to justice. Many other people disappeared without a trace in Juba the same manner. The President has sidelined the ruling party leaders, created a small group of friends, relatives, and tribesmen from outside the ruling party. The President and this clique decide the nation’s most important issues without involving the SPLM leaders of the higher organ (political bureau) of the party.
His decision to form his own private army from his home region was an alarming catastrophic move for an elected leader. In July 2013, he fired the SPLM-led cabinet on the pretext of forming a leaner government. That never was the case in the end. Just before the crisis, he brought in foreign forces without the knowledge of the nation’s Parliament. All the above facts were the known red flags that United States and the world should have taken seriously.
This time, the world must not turn a blind eye on this criminal who has been misleading the country and the world for two years. His actions are the cause of all of the chaos in the country. If he failed to lead the country before the crisis, how can we expect him to lead differently when the country is at war within? Never before, has a President of a nation massacred one ethnic group and turned around claiming to be the President of the whole nation including the survivors of that massacre. It just does not work that way. Sadly, the government is blaming his critics for the suffering of these people who are taking refuge at UNMISS compounds. The government is using the nation’s Television as a propaganda tool to assassinate people’s characters and tarnish his critics’ reputations.
Recently, the administration launched a campaign to lure out survivors who sought refuge at the two UNMISS compounds in Juba. Yet, the perpetuators of December’s massacre walk in the open; none of them have been brought to justice. The survivors fear these private killing machines that should not be allowed in the country in the first place. They were the army ordered to lynch survivors’ family members and relatives. The government is calling out these same survivors from the UNMISS compound, but because of December’s massacre, the survivors no longer trust him.
Evidently, few family members did listen to these empty promises by government agents. However, when they came out, some met their fate at the hands of these serial killers. He must resign and leave the people of South Sudan alone.
In addition to December massacre, his current damaging policies employed in his administration are doing the greatest harm. These policies cause unnecessary divisions within the intellectual community, military, and other organized forces. His poor decisions and inconsistencies further segregate the general population along regional and tribal lines. For example, his incompetence in reacting to national issues by allowing his security agent to kill people from one tribe should make us see him as a criminal and not a President.
The massacre of more than 7,000 ethnic Nuer in Juba should have prompted an apology from a pragmatic leader who has a desire to save a fractured nation from disintegrating. But Kiir insisted on imposing his self-interests and thinking he is the President while the country is actually bleeding to death.
Recently, the President has admitted to forming his private militias who have traumatized people of South Sudan from all walks of life. The December massacre was targeting only one ethnic group, but the whole crisis has a profound impact on everyone in the country. Because of the December massacre, now the army is fighting itself.
Yet, the President is praising those who initiated the formation of private militia. His tribal security organs mainly from Bhar el Ghazel region often carry out extrajudicial killing of innocents’ people in daylight.
In deed, the security organ intimidates everyone including none Dinka leaders who back the President. These leaders who pay their allegiance to the fail President have never condemned these carnages? In order for the President to know these leaders support him, they must ignore the massacre and are forced to blame the former Vice President as and the cause of the crisis for attempting a coup. Their loyalty to the President his clique is measured by how often they are seen to damage the image of their own communities. The sycophant leaders who have lost credibility in their own communities are loyal to the President and not to the country. They are forced to turn against their own communities in order to keep their loyalty to the President alive.
More over, the recent crisis erupted in Giada on Wednesday proves this crisis is much deeper. The President does not trust is own generals in the Army simply because the army is a total composition of all tribes in South Sudan. In addition, the commander in Chief of the Arm Forces must not use the nation army as mediocre and turning his full attention to foreign military and think he is defending the country. The presence of Uganda’s forces in Juba agitates every patriotic South Sudanese citizen including the foot soldiers and army Generals irrespective of their tribes.
We therefore must know that the genesis of the current crisis lies within the Presidency. It is not Nuer against Dinka. It’s not Dr. Riek Machar staging coup. It’s not entirely the SPLM that has failed the nation. It is the President of the country that has failed to lead the nation. The state is a fail state because the President alienated the rest of the populations and focus on holding on to power by creating a clique. This has caused tremendous frustration in the army. Scrimmages like what happened on Wednesday, 5 March 2014 at the military barrack is just the tip of the iceberg.
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong in the country. But there are many things wrong with the President ruling the nation. The looming crisis will not be avoided if the President of the country remains the same. Realistically, change must take place and it should urgently take it course. The President has failed. He must relinquish power and give way to democracy.
Miyong G. kuon
Former Assistance Director of Communication and Press
Office of the former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurghon
Former Host of Political talks show with SSTV
Meet The Press-Juba