JUBA — Fellow South Sudanese, as a continuation of our political education program on understanding the Kit-Gwang Declaration, we would like to explain to the public the reasons we are categorically opposed to the concept of regime change. The Kit-Gwang Declaration represents revolutionary corrections in our struggle for self-reliance, based on the principle of Self-Determination.
The SPLM/SPLA (IO) started as a negotiating committee for the IGAD-led peace process in Addis Ababa after the dispute within the SPLM leadership turned violent and plunged our nascent republic into civil war. Among the many reforms demanded, were security sector reforms. These were deemed necessary due to the proliferation of paramilitary forces loyal to individual politicians and other leaders. It is of paramount importance that all the forces that fought during the war of independence are unified into national organized forces – there is need for order. However, this honorable call was hijacked and turned into an agenda for regime change by unscrupulous politicians. When the Lou Nuer White army were marching on Juba – in response to the massacre of predominantly Nuer civilians – some politicians saw this as an opportunity to impose their agenda for regime change on our Movement for reforms, and a deadly power struggle ensued.
Admittedly, the call for regime change has retarded the development of our struggle, both in 2013 and in 2016. This must not be allowed to happen again. We must be honest in our quest for and implementation of the negotiated settlement as a way to achieve fundamental change in our society without bloodshed.
WHY WE ARE AGAINST REGIME CHANGE?
Compatriots, the Oxford Dictionary defines regime change as “the replacement of one administration or government by another, especially by means of military force.” After seven years of imposing the agenda of regime change and senseless violence on our civil population, those who hijacked our Movement and the peace process have failed to deliver peace. Therefore, regime change is no longer a viable option. It is too costly.
Instead, what we are seeking – which was also the vision of the New Sudan – is fundamental change in our society, after the negative experiences of slavery, colonization and the subsequent trauma of the wars of independence. The Kit-Gwang Declaration is an opportunity for the restoration of the dignity of our peoples after our hard earned freedom. This is not the time in our history for brothers and sisters to rise against one another. It is time to actualize our self-determination.
Therefore, it is our contention that the peoples of South Sudan are not yet at the level of political awareness needed to implement peaceful demonstrations or a successful regime-change agenda. This lack of political awareness includes the security forces, which would respond to such civil unrest.
Indeed, the least costly way to restore sanity to our politics is through the honest implementation of a negotiated settlement. We have this in the Revitalized Agreement and a recommitment to this through emphasis on Chapter II: Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, would enable us to achieve the necessary reforms in a peaceful manner. After signing the Agreement in 2018, we abandoned the agenda of regime change.
Compatriots, wars are fought to achieve political objectives. As the great military strategist Carl von Clausewitz put it, “War is politics by other means.” This essentially means people go to war when dialogue has failed. In the history of revolutions, rebels hardly win through a military victory. What they do is pressure the regime to a table and compromise through a negotiated settlement. There is an opportunity for dialogue through the IGAD-led peace process and we acknowledge the resolutions of the 73rd Extraordinary Meeting of the IGAD Council of Ministers.
We call on the peoples of South Sudan in all their social and political affiliations to subscribe to the Kit-Gwang Declaration. It is not a political party; the call of the Kit-Gwang Declaration is expressly for the implementation of security arrangements. We further call on all the military, paramilitary and civil defense forces to embrace the Principles in the Kit-Gwang Declaration. All these troops have a stake in our hard-won freedom as many fought side-by-side during the Independence war. We are not enemies, thus the Kit-Gwang Declaration should not be viewed with suspicion by any group. The implementation of security arrangements is in all our interests as the only way to ensure political stability and socio-economic development in our land.
You will hear from us!
The authors are members of the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction.
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