By Deng Bol Aruai Bol
OPINION – Egypt lost miserably to stopping Ethiopia from filling their dam because Ethiopia has two critical strengths, a vibrant military, and a vast population. To compensate for the volume of water lost from the Blue Nile to the Dam, Egypt fell back on its only vulnerable prey, South Sudan, and is willing to spend billions of dollars on government and individuals to achieve its interests through proxies and bloodshed.
Egypt is confused after finding out that almost all the South Sudanese people rejected their attempt to take over South Sudan. Judging from how they planned it, they had underestimated the intelligence and patriotism of the citizens, thinking that they would take anything thrown at them, just like their leaders had been doing.
As a result of this paradox, the following scenarios are most likely to take place in the future:
The scientific community and the majority of the South Sudanese people have to a more significant extent, voiced that dredging of rivers and digging of the Jonglei Canal won’t solve the problem of flooding; the only sticking South Sudanese interest. Instead, it will cause more disasters. As a result, the report, if not interfered with politically, will conclude that there will be no dredging and digging of the Jonglei Canal. Egypt will not be pleased with this decision.
It will devise ways to remove President Salva Kiir Mayardit and cause severe political and armed conflicts by exploiting the already fragile unity of the people. Egypt is capable of arming anti-government militias in Equatoria Region to disturb the government while creating and empowering warlords in Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal Regions. Through these warlords, Egypt could safely dredge the northern rivers and dig Jonglei Canal under community-based militias’ protection. At the same time, the government will struggle to hold on to Juba or with the high possibility of losing it.
Anyone who understands politics will agree that President Salva Kiir Mayardit is in a fix, sharing the government with rivals, non-cooperative peace partners, and many angry and hungry citizens threatening riots. R-ARCISS is not near completion for the elections, which is another worry for the President because if elections are not held in 2023, questions of legitimacy will come into play because the South Sudanese people will not allow another agreement extending the life of the Unity Government as ruling by agreements is not a popular option. I am unsure if an extension will be hot for a unity government that didn’t deliver much in six years of the ARCISS and R-ARCISS.
Being politically cornered will force any politician to make deals with the devil. To capture and maintain power, you need any available resources, and Egypt has presented itself as a very desirable ally – politically, diplomatically, economically, and militarily for the government. For any government or leader and as a matter of survival, choosing to give away water to Egypt in exchange for protection can’t be entirely ruled out.
For a country struggling to feed and protect its population, pay its army and civil servants, pay debts or build its infrastructure, and faced with numerous rebellions, I find it difficult to believe that President Salva Kiir Mayardit won’t politically alter the findings of the Public Consultations in favor of Egypt.
In the event President Salva Kiir Mayardit does not stand up to Egypt out of fear of the sabotage Egypt can cause him or losing Egypt’s vast resources being thrown at him, the citizens of South Sudan, including his loyalists and those already in opposition, are most likely to be united to save the virgin nation from being raped by Egypt. Suppose the fury of citizens shown in the last few weeks is something to go by, you can easily conclude that the South Sudanese people will not wave any white flag at the Government or Egypt if it’s indeed the Government that decided to sign off their natural resources to Egypt despite scientific warnings and objections.
It’s not difficult to imagine that civil society will solidify its “Kiir Must Go” slogan. If this feeds into the frustration of the struggling army, this could quickly spark an unstoppable uprising. Whether this uprising can succeed is not essential, but it can be costly in terms of human suffering. Should the uprisings succeed in capturing power, another unpredictable thing is that, if no unifying leaders emerge, regions will loosely break away, not necessarily working together, but organized and led by tribal or interest groups, perhaps driven by resources in certain areas.
The author is the chairman of Red Army Foundation, South Sudan.
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