By Angelo Mayar Wol Akuith
OPINION – It is a matter of public knowledge that South Sudan Government has had so many dishonored peace agreements with its warring parties. One of the agreements which is yet to be dishonored was known as Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) which was signed on 12th Sept. 2018, the peace agreement that is yet to see its implementation to the fullest though the parties claimed by then that they will implement its provisions in letter and spirit during the time of its signing.
What is astonishing though is the neglect of both parties to the provisions of Peace Agreement and turned their minds and hearts into embezzlement of public funds that were meant for implementation and funding of the activities that were promised to the citizens of the land within the provisions of R-ARCSS.
Most and important provisions that benefit the citizens have been ignored and some provisions within the agreement that are beneficial to the parties have seen the light of the day. This I call a selective Implementation of the agreement.
To bring about lasting peace, the heart of the agreement which is security arrangement and integration of forces has been delayed by the incumbent President on behalf of the government of South Sudan which is led by Mighty SPLM Party and laid the burden of delay on to the shoulder of minor issues such as lack of logistical and procurement of arms, arm embargo sanctions of the United nations, Covid-19 pandemic and lack of funds.
On the other hand, Dr. Riek Machar with his IOs and other oppositions have too got a fair shot from the small window of the agreement to compensate their wasted unpaid years of Rebellion through which they haven’t got any access to salaries and other privileges that they desperately needed. This I call a time for self-rewarding.
In the light of such circumstances, the Government of National Unity has chosen an opposite direction in addressing the national problems that have culminated the peace agreement. A national unified army remains to be formed, and the legislative and constitutional framework that would be needed before prospective elections in 2023 has barely begun though it was reconstituted recently in the manner that favors the president. Never mind that in many parts of the country, violence has actually increased since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) – an acronym as unpronounceable as its clauses or provisions are unimplementable.
This violence took place in different forms that can either be of nonpartisan to the peace agreement belligerent of the like of Paul Malong or Thomas Chrillo in one hand and other communal conflicts in Tonjs of Warrap State, some parts of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Abyei Administrative Area and Twic on another hand.
Pibor Administrative Area and Lakes use to have their own conflicts which by now is about to be nursed towards healing simply because of good leadership of the governor Rin Tueny Mabior, the best governor of (R-ARCSS).
These are the challenges surrounding the agreement which should have drawn the attention of the RTGoNU for solutions and provision of durable peace, but the government has barely fallen of providing solutions to the problems prevailing under its jurisdiction. This is either because of incompetence leadership or the lack of willingness to address the national issues.
Instead of immediate intervention by RTGoNU, the burden of peace and tranquility has been shifted into the shoulders of the United Nations mission in South Sudan and other international organizations which over the years had availed the UNMISS with heavenly powers through UNSC to renew its own mandate without prior approval from the Government of South Sudan.
With communal conflicts and belligerents attacks, the peace agreement is no longer a roadmap towards lasting peace in the light of such irresolvable turmoils, but rather a mean through which the parties reward themselves and achieve a wealthier life than the life they had lived before the peace agreement had been signed. In so doing, the peace agreement has rather became a roadmap towards lasting wealth, but a roadmap towards achieving a luxuriously awaited and fought for life. To the citizens, the peace agreement has become a roadmap towards complete poverty, hopelessness, marginalization, corruption, nepotism and lack of delivery of services.
The partial implementation of the peace agreement has created a wealthy political and military leaders in Juba and ignored the Grassroots institutions as well as national interests which to my own interpretation meant an act of treason according to the law.
The recent deal on the waters of the Nile is inevitably inexcusable for which the blame is on entire institutions of national government with presidency included.
To borrow the words of my Learnt Counsel and my Lecturer, a finishing PhD: Mading Gum Mading who wrote and I quote, “Egypt delivers dredging machines to Unity State gov’t, the Minister of Presidential Affairs immediately invites Prof Jim W Hall to participate in discussions on Nile Waters, Ateny Wek declares the presidency is unaware of any dredging in the country, the National Ministry of Environment and Forestry, not to be left behind in the Afro-Cinema, declares the dredging “illegal”, and finally the Ministry of Water and Irrigation confirms and defends the dredging. Obviously, you have more reasons to be suspicious and distrust these officials. Our communities along Naam River should not fall headlong into a false flood-mitigating measure”
Surely as he said, it is the lack of confidence and coordination between the government institutions that had resulted into numerous position documents over a single matter with serious inconsistency hence making such dredging process to be a mired in the wed of nullity.
It is an act that convince any intellectual mind that the future of this country is being skinned alive; but for what reasons? They know the better answer.
Hopefully, I have a solemn belief that Advocate Elario Adam Cholong would win the case he brought against the Attorney General of the Republic of South Sudan because it is the case in which the future of our Nile waters is at the stake. The issuance of injunction order suspending such erroneous activities on the Nile waters has clearly shown that there is a significant progress in the suit, the law suit I’m so thankful to my learnt Counsel (Elario-dit) meaning Elario the Great.
While the International Community tends to imagine the R-ARCSS as a means to return to the situation prior to the outbreak of civil war in 2013, with a political system that includes elements of federalized government and empowered South Sudanese state administrations, the current revitalized peace agreement has instead created a behemoth: a centralized regime that appoints not only national Government and states governors, but even county commissioners, and Mayors of the cities according to a political calculus determined in Juba as reported in death by peace Article.
This calculus is seen in the arrangement of many of the parties to the R-ARCSS making the peace agreement merely a political vehicles for the advancement of the careers of briefcase rebels which in itself the beginning of the problem. Neither the OPP nor the SSOA have any real content – neither shared constituency nor ideology – except for a shared interest in power and money: the very interests that allowed both parties to be easily fractured by regime intercession through which many rebels are given unwavering offers of power and Money to weaken the camp of the oppositions especially IO.
Despite all the above abuses to the R-ARCSS and the rights of the citizens of South Sudan altogether, the government is incapable of paying the civil servant an arrears of seven to six months, the reason why the two leading universities in the country I.e. (University of Juba and Bhar El Ghazal) have made a joint statement simultaneously in the simplest yet strong terms, No Pay, No Work!
It is upon such practice that allowed me to revisit the prediction made by one writer who said that the only opposition the regime had remained with and which remains a threat to the regime is the people of South Sudan, I believe that this kind of civil disobedience action brought by the two universities is the beginning of emergence of enlightenment amongst the elite civil populace of the country.
Having that saying, a little Glimpse yet to be nurtured into reforms policy in order to bring about changes is the recent public awareness made by the Minister of Finance and Planning Hon. Agak Achuil Lual. This most liked Minister has begun to announce to the public that our oil has been sold in advance to 2027 which I believed to be true though he was thereafter intimidated and manipulated by the presidency to change his statement right after meeting the president when he was summoned last month.
I’m not surprised to hear again from the aforementioned minister that our gold has been stolen because it was within the business of this regime to loot, steal and sell even the country if they are capable of dredging the Naam River for the interest of Sudan and Egypt without reservations.
I regret and still regretting the silence of the Sleeping Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (RTNLA) over unconstitutional actions (Ultra Vires) of the executive branch of the government without the approval of the Parliament.
The dredging deal itself is illegal because it has not gone through the procedures prescribed by law for the deal has not been taken to the Council of Ministers for deliberations on its feasibility before being taken to National Parliament for adoption needlessly to say about the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) which is the heart of the engine of every project.
Now that it is clear that the government is not willing to make any changes and improve the lives of the citizens, I believe that Satyagraha (Nonviolent resistance) is the only option because it has worked it out for Indians under Mahatma Gandhi which I believe can too set up free the people of South Sudan from bandage of corrupt government.
What seems to be the threat to the future of democracy in South Sudan is the lack of willingness from the government. Now as we speak, elections are rumored to have been canceled before their due time and the five vice presidents are well with that so that they can extend their rule and keep on enriching themselves with abundance resources of this wonderful country.
No one wants elections to be held so as Dr. Riek Machar fails in the elections and loses his vice presidency and goes home having no one to blame for not having a job in the government.
No one wants elections so that Wani, Hussein, Nyandeng and Taban go home for there would be no opportunity after elections to accommodate five vice presidents because things might have gone back to the way they use to be…. One vice president only.
Kiirdit, whose head is thatched with Ajom Ayäär (Cowboy hat) is so lucky and comfortably OK with whatever comes his way because he is the government and he can win thousands elections whether fairly or otherwise.
The only enemy he can’t win against remains the people, but because of fear and instilled tribal ideologies the people had in mind, no brave mouse is ready to take the bell and tie it on the neck of the cat.
The first person who would take it to the street will be etched down as a hero and that act would save this country, but who cares!
Lastly, the hopeless people of South Sudan have a wise choice to make for their children’s future and that is through unity of all the people. Disunity has taught us over the past few years that we can’t make it, either as a people or as enemies.
If Wani hates me because I’m a Dinka or Nuer, this hatred doesn’t add anything to him neither to me, but gives another chance to the regime to exploit us and destroy our dreams and the future of our children. This must be stopped at once and for all.
The author is am advocate. He can be reached via: email@example.com.
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