By Deng Vanang
OPINION — The first ever most touted and hyped civic action ran aground from seeing the light on its scheduled date of Monday, August the 30th 2021.
The move is aimed at seeing the back of the regime publicly accused of redundancy in abundance and unprecedented corruption never known before in history and in the tradition of South Sudanese people through peaceful means.
Its champions – People Coalition for Civic Action’s leaders – glad in empty armour fidgetted in their imagination of the regime’s hawkish security arm, National Security Service-NSS and its equally ruthless affiliates.
And all succumbed into hiding in unreachable exile or in unsuspected toilets, leaving the flocks wandering in wilderness without the shepherds giving the necessary course of action.
It is what I call coward leadership in leading behind the front rather than at the front.
In other words, they failed to lead by example in expecting the hoypoloi to first test how shallow the troubled waters for them to wade across.
The mass action indeed melted into nothing by self-inflicted fear right before it started off. It is the best example of how bad it is to organize and hold mass demonstrations against a feared rogue regime.
No surprise. Most public intellectuals predicted the obvious stillbirth before the actual date of delivery.
The organizers are well fed fat cats by the regime they propagate to bite its feeding hands. Sadly, they are the type who get scared to the bare bones when hearing the word ‘’death’’.
They never experienced any model mass demonstration in the past, let alone organizing it, as most of them live their lives in the comfort zones of South Sudanese long and tedious armed struggle.
Some only heard scary stories of gun violence while shocked in spony sofa sets in a far away Khartoum and Western world.
Or in the most extreme case are clueless chaps to differentiate between loud human gassing and the sound of an AK-47.
But here they are cutting their milk teeth in unfamiliar territory administered by one of the world’s ruthless totalitarian regimes in history.
Seven reasons why civic mass action failed
First among them is that PCCA’s ring leaders are seen as part of the regime they want to topple, a repackaging process of sorts.
Second reason is members of the public doubt the sincerity of group’s leaders they suspect of luring them to regime’s deathtrap as shown by their bravado to take them onto streets while going into hiding themselves.
Thirdly, leaders leading the PCCA faced the shortfall of a wider international network in making the Western powers deeply and openly involved in the exercise to deny the regime’s heavy handedness.
The moral leaders in likes of Retired General Joseph Lagu, Retired Justice Abel Alier, Retired Archbishop Parade Taban, Cardinal Zubeir Wako, Professor Taban Liliyiong, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, singer Emmanuel Jal and Edmond Yakani who could hit the ground running with ordinary masses and civic leaders trudging along behind them.
Fourth reason is an abject absence of freedom of expression minus rooted advocacy journalism in South Sudan as previously displayed by late Alfred Taban Logune of the Juba Monitor newspaper and Nhial Bol Aken of Citizen newspaper who has now, like many of his fellows, taken up his opportunistic position in an oppressive regime he couldn’t beat.
The fifth one is lack of global media presence in Juba and its peripheries such as CNN, BBC and Aljazeera, having been chased out with operating licenses and accreditations withdrawn, to beam the protesting masses’ processions live as the world closely watches emboldened the regime to clamp down hard on unarmed protesters.
The sixth point is PCCA’s top cream shares ethnicity with President of the Republic, General Salva Kiir Mayardiy it dares replace, something not resonating well with more tribalized and polarized South Sudanese public.
And lastly, South Sudanese in their nature from cradle are not endowed with the stamina to meekly offer themselves as sacrificial lambs on the altar of honor and gallantry. They rather choose to face off violently with the tormentor using his lethal means.
Deng Vanang is the Author, rebel UDRM/A’s Deputy Chairman and SSOMA Leadership Council’s member. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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