By Pal Chol Nyan
South Sudan’s First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny [Photo via Getty Images]
JUBA – First and foremost, please, allow me, your Excellency, to convey my hearty greetings to you and your comrades.
The reason for writing to you this Open Letter is to thank and salute you once more for having signed the R-ARCISS but also to convey one’s worry that you and your partners are partially implementing it.
The citizens are aware that the Parties to the Agreement are interested in implementing the parts they consider good for their political and material survival but not in the interests of the common man.
It has been almost six months since you assumed your Office as the second powerful man in the country. That you came in before the security arrangements are completed is a positive move towards achieving peace.
President Kiir who is in-charge of your security, other army and political leaders of your Party is doing his best. Up to now, all is well. Guns have gone silent except for a few military hiccups blamed on the hold out groups who also might have their genuine reasons for refusing to ink the 2018 KPA .
The people of South Sudan, like in any other countries in the world, expected something from the agreement; peace dividends. However, they are disappointed. The economy is deteriorating further to the chagrin of those who misled themselves into thinking that peace in South Sudan means service delivery and such like.
If you look at the streets of Juba, they are filled with hungry children fighting over left-overs. The health services are minimal or absent. The hullabaloo being said in the media doesn’t hold water. Corona had its part of the blame but the suffering of the people did not start with the occurrence of the COVID-19. It started from the day you differed in the SPLM House since 2013 up to present.
Your Excellency, hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese are still internally displaced and live in Juba, Bor, Wau and Malakal. Those in the UN Camps say they are fearing for their lives from the government, there is some grain of truth in their assertion.
Most, if not all, are your supporters or sympathizers according to the opinion polls conducted by some quarters.These people thought that when you came with the peace agreement, they would be able to return to their homes; resettle and build their lives but the opposite is true. Their jubilation after your landing at the airport withered away. Their hopes are dashed; they didn’t see the fruits of what they have been waiting for.
Your Excellency, the FVP, I write as a citizen of this country who comes from a family also hurt in this SPLM war. We are interested in the Chapter dealing with justice and accountability. As a bereaved family, we would want to see that those who became the cause of our sadness are tried and justice served without fear or favour.
Along with President Kiir, I don’t think the people (your subjects) were mistaken to believe that your coming together would be the beginning of happiness, joy, improvement of our livelihoods and above all reconciliation among the tribes of South Sudan. Is that the case now? I leave it to the readers to answer.
Your Excellency the FVP, with this heavy rainfall, the conditions of the IDPs are appalling with increased mortality and morbidity rates. What are the plans put in place for them to come out? I couldn’t recall whether or not Your Excellency, had found any opportunity to pay them a visit to see first-hand the situation they are in.
In this war, South Sudanese are polarized and divided. The civilians are killing themselves in large numbers. You can see what is going on in Jonglei, Warrap and Lakes States to mention but a few. There is a breakdown of law and order. The government is doing little or nothing to ensure the safety of her citizens.
If we ask ourselves why we took up arms against the oppressive and successive Arab regimes in Khartoum? We will come to agree in answer that the same factors can be found here.
I address Your Excellency because I have the impression that you have followers as one of the most influential political leaders in this country. I believe that you would help in providing an end to this turmoil by doing the followings:
1- Accelerate the unification of the forces so that there will be a national army and other organized forces that all citizens can trust.
2- Evacuate civilian centres from military presence so that the displaced persons (internally and externally) can return to their homes
3- Double up on the implementation of the activities in the Implementation Matrix that have now been missed.
4- Begin the reconciliation process
among the people of South Sudan
5- Continue to engage the President so that the Governor of UNS is appointed immediately to cover the political vacuum in that volatile State
6- Evacuation of the homes occupied in Juba since 2013.
With these measures in place enough confidence will be created among the IDPs and refugees to leave where they are now and go home.