Published on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 19:16
Written by David Mabior Atem, The New Sudan Vision (NSV), www.newsudanvision.com
An Open Letter To: H.E. First Lt. General and President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit
Ref: Expedite National Dialogue to Prevent Full Scale Civil War:
“Your Excellency, accepting and expediting a national dialogue is not a political defeat and not containing the ongoing crisis, that has forced innocent civilians hiding in the bushes for fear of their lives, will defeat the purpose of our hard won independence”.
It is with grief I am writing this open letter to you Mr. President. The growing rebellion, frustrations and deaths in some parts of South Sudan portrays and betrays South Sudanese’s hard-won independent nation as publicized in different media outlets. This is not a right time for me to point-fingers or pose closed ended question, which will not help our situation with ripple effects upon our nation. The necessary question in this particular moment is what can we do to save the lives of our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, children and our comrades in uniform? For my own conviction, I would rather not use some of the terminologies such as foiled, alleged and attempted coup as reported by the different media to try and described the prevailing situation. Rather I see it as lack of common national cohesion and identity, where one’s identity is not based on ethnicity. We must instill in our people a culture of seeing ourselves as South Sudanese instead of viewing ourselves as Dinka, Nuer and Acholi and so on.
Our beloved nation is overwhelmed with loss of lives and property damages in some areas of South Sudan. In your media briefings on December 19, 2013 that “your vow to stop conflict escalating into civil war as well as accept dialogue with Dr. Riek Machar’s group” was indeed a welcoming news to prevent our nation from unwarranted civil war. Mr. President, be an exemplary of peace and reconciliation initiative that you suspended and reinstated with the formation of the religious committee to oversee national peace and reconciliation. Being a leader comes with a lot of compromise. In an entrusted leadership as of your case, being an authority mean you are in very challenging position where citizens of your nation can read you from the gestures. Therefore, choice of words is very important. Use of soft and diplomatic language will send a signal of trust and drive people toward national dialogue to bring peace and eliminate widespread of rumors that one group is being targeted. That way; you prevent an escalation of ongoing situation and protect and promote peace and reconciliation among your people of hard-won independence, where our soil was flooded with bloods of our martyrs, your colleagues and comrades in the SPLA/M.
As one of the founding member of the SPLA/M you are responsibility for the history of our struggle and nation. If South Sudan disintegrates at your watch you would be blamed by the dead and alive, especially your colleagues and our comrades in the SPLA/M. Please kindly take a moment by yourself without any interference from other people around you and then, meditate and reflect, in order to recall or remember how many challenges we encountered in the movement and what we did to overcome them? Mr. President, when it comes to the course of our struggle I trust you. Your experience and sole judgment would do a better service to our nation than welcoming and accommodating destructive ideas. Therefore, listen to yourself and follow what your heart tells you to do for our nation to move forward. Being a president automatically puts you in-charge of our national history and anything you do will be recorded against your name but not others. As president of the Republic of South Sudan and Chairman of the SPLM, the ruling party, it would be much appreciated if you could re-evaluate and revisit the course of South Sudanese’s struggle!
The following are my suggestions and recommendations to prevent and reverse our nation from current trends:
- Televised messages from the said community’s elders are not helping or clarifying the widespread rumors that one group is being targeted. Three messages at ago: calling for calm, attacking individual’s personalities and trading accusations or pointing fingers at current situation without planned of actions are not helpful at all given the nature of our societies. A tone of peace is different from the tone of war. I am writing this letter full with emotional feeling but I try to control myself in order to fine-tune my language for a purpose of communicating my idea(s);
- Mr. President, swallow your pride and bitterness, and speed up national dialogue process as well as be consistent with your offer for said dialogue with Machar’s group. It will save lives of the citizens that you devoted your life time for their course;
- Evaluate advises from others, even however, close someone may be to you, including your allies. Any mistake from others will be recorded against your name not their names. History of struggle and South Sudan future will judge you (president) but not your surroundings. You were left behind by God for a reason and that reason is what I am conveying to you (Mr. president);
- Mr. President, while you should not distance yourself from any citizen, but I would suggest that you assess the closeness and advice from some of those you pardoned with your presidential degrees. Some might use an ongoing situation within the SPLM party or South Sudan to further their personal interests; including hatred toward individuals of your camp during our “dark days”. Furthermore, organizational differences should not be used as an opportunity for pursuing personal interests;
- Re-evaluate and revisit the state of those recently arrested for the future of South Sudan. Structural issues within the party should not override the long recorded national archive of our collective struggle to liberate South Sudan. The more you (president) let these issues drag on the more destructive it is to our party and nation at large. An English proverb says that the devil you know is better than an angel you don’t know. Mr. President listens to yourself and follows your heart!
- Dispatch peace and reconciliation committee members to various areas with help of UNMISS that will substitute televised messages. The said community elders can join peace committee to deliver a message of calm face-to-face. Also, constituency members of most affected areas should join peace committee, if the environment promise;
- We still have other pending external issues so resolving our internal matters in a timely manner will allow us to regroup ourselves and then keep building on our current momentum. This current crisis may justify others’ prediction that South Sudanese people cannot rule themselves.
In conclusion, expediting your offer for national dialogue will save lives. When a real course of dialogue is in progress then the message of calm and peace will be disseminated and articulated than what appeared in the news. Mr. President let’s do it differently to avoid this notion of killing each other first and then peace at the end; as has been the practice of many failed states. Mr. President, energize yourself and speed up the process of dialogue for the sake of our martyrs, widows, and orphans, children and South Sudan as a nation.
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