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By Kuir ë Garang
December 25, 2013 (SSNA) — It’s an undeniable fact that South Sudanese former Vice President, Riek Machar, and South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, have done something most of us will not find easy to forgive. They’ve reminded us of the past nightmares and caused unspeakable bloodshed! Intentionally or unintentionally, they caused Jieng and Nuer to turn against one another with vengeance …and they’ve now turned young people against one another on social media.
The conscientious and strong-minded youths have resisted mental tribalization; however, many youths have been divided along tribal and clannish lines. They are calling themselves names and writing statements they’ll regret tomorrow when sanity returns.
I blame the leaders for starting the mess and I also blame the young for being overly gullible and markedly credulous!
As most of you know, I’ve always criticized President Kiir’s leadership; however, I’d accepted the fact that he’s a humble person being misled by power-seeking people around him; and that he’d soon see the truth and change the country for better. I was being too optimistic!
And I’ve always believed that Dr. Riek Machar has seen a lot of needless bloodshed when SPLA/SPLM split in 1991…and that he would never, ever support armed rebellion in South Sudan again. I was wrong! Riek’s support of the rebellion is unforgivable. I am a living witness of 1991 atrocities as I lived through it to the end!
Besides, violent removal of the president should have no place in South Sudan no matter what!
We all know that President Kiir had turned autocratic and a little lax when it came to meaningful transformation of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) into a well-functioning political party. In addition, we all know that you and your colleagues had given President Kiir enough chances to do the right thing. There’s no doubt VP James Wani Igga and President Kiir have made fun of you in their public addresses instead of showing true leadership. Arguably, the events leading to the mutiny and the mutiny itself can’t be blamed on you and your colleagues per se!
However, you’ve lost sight of the truth you wanted to establish. It’s one thing to ‘democratize’ SPLM and South Sudan, and it’s another thing to support a rebellion. Supporting another rebellion is a mistake you’ll never recover from whether a peaceful settlement to his crisis is arrived at or not.
Jieng and Nuer tribes suffered immensely as a result of your rebellion, with Dr. Lam Akol in 1991, and these two communities are suffering as a result of a rebellion you now support. A lot of blood is in your hands: 8 years after 1983 and 8 years after 2005!
Your only redemption is to bring this conflict to a speedy end without any political benefit going to you personally.
You failed to have civilians protected in areas controlled by SPLA commanders who’ve pledged allegiance to you. Civilians were slaughtered in the towns of Akobo, Bentiu, Bor and violent deaths in other places like Pariang and Abiemnom. Why didn’t you unequivocally instruct your commanders to protect civilians? Why didn’t you even send a message of condolences to families who’ve lost loved one…be they Jieng or Nuer?
The deaths of innocent civilians remove any nationalist and moral conscience in you! You reflected yourself as a power-hungry and callous man who’d do anything to get to power! Redeem yourself in unequivocal terms!
I know it’s painful and even wrong for senior members of your own party to criticize you in public. There’s no country in the world where people from the same political party criticize themselves viciously and irresponsibly in the media. I agree with you that Riek Machar was wrong in publicly criticizing you. Riek, first as South Sudan VP, and as the chairman of SPLM, could have used internal avenues to solve internal party problems. I believe these are some of the ways you’ve been wrong.
However, Mr. President, you are the president of South Sudan and exemplary leadership should come from you. You’ve failed miserably in this regard. Remember, you are a president of international caliber and what you say is heard all over the world. It’s therefore imperative that you do some research before any public addresses. Saying things you can’t prove only makes fun of your personality and the presidency of South Sudan. Kawajat need proofs for one to maintain credibility!
If people around you can’t research the facts you say in your speeches then FIRE them.
Admittedly, the members of SPLM Political Bureau, who disagreed with you gave you enough chances and time to do the right thing. Instead of you showing leadership, you resorted to abuse and foul language not fit for the presidency. When the dissident group came out on December 6, 2013, your VP, James Wani Igga, instead of acting like a leader, resorted to abusive, childish language against the SPLM members…calling them ‘disgruntled.’
To give you benefit of the doubt, these members postponed the rally to give reconciliation a chance but all you did in the National Liberation Council meeting was to act irresponsibly by using divisive language causing some of the said SPLM members to walk out of the meeting in protest.
To add pepper to a bad wound, on December 15, 2013, after the mutiny, you came out, not as president of South Sudan, but as a military General ready for war. That was irresponsible! Whoever told you that should be FIRED!
The saddest part of it all was that you came out and called the mutiny a ‘coup’ without providing verifiable proofs that what happened on December 15, 2013 was actually a ‘coup.’
Don’t say anything you can’t prove! Never believe anything you’re told without any proof. This is a world of proofs! Factual evidence should be your strength; assumption will bury your leadership and give grounds for your prosecution.
The world hasn’t condemned what you called ‘attempted coup’ because you’ve not provided them with any PROOF and what you continue to say is plain nonsense. Not condemning the ‘coup’ is a big embarrassment to you and South Sudan.
Without doubt, you mishandled the affairs of SPLM and you mishandled the events after the mutiny and now a lot of blood is in your hands. Unless you bring the perpetrators of Juba atrocities to book immediately!
The sooner you end this crisis the better life would be for you or else, ICC would come snooping for evidence to put you away with your naïve rival, Riek Machar.
Never, ever, ever say something you can’t prove. How could your body guards allow someone to shoot outside NLC venue and get away? Why didn’t your body guards either pursue that lone soldier or shoot him!
If someone actually shot in the air outside NLC meeting and your body guards let him run away, then you have to investigate your body guards and someone got to pay. Otherwise the world would just assume you made it up!
You haven’t actually told the world what exactly happened at the army headquarters. Why did the Tiger battalion, a unit of the presidential guards, shoot themselves leading to the mutiny and then armed rebellion?
Your intelligence officers need to give South Sudanese and the world proofs of where the coup was plotted, who was present, what was said etc. South Sudan’s intelligence leaders should present documents, audios, secret video recordings of the coup plot. Without these proofs, Mr. President, you are setting yourself up for ICC investigation.
If all the things you say come from your advisors then FIRE them because they are setting you up for failure and public ridicule.
Kuir ë Garang is an author of seven books including “South Sudan Ideologically” and “Is ‘Black’ Really Beautiful?” For contacts see Twitter: @kuirthiy or his blog, www.kuirthiy.info