Making the Case for Sustainable Peace in South Sudan

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War is the wickedest enemy of any state. It destroys the livelihood of people and infrastructures. This ongoing conflict in South Sudan had no mercy; it has killed thousands of orphans of the previous wars. Thousands have been wounded, and millions of citizens lived in the dreadful situations in the displaced camps. These situations came as consequence of failing to resolve postwar issues and espousal democratic principles. The warring parties that brought such horrific situations are faced with two choices to choose from: the sustainable and temporary one. Hence, this paper will focus on the subject of reforms as a plausible agenda for the sustainable peace and stability for South Sudan. Sustainable peace can only materialize when parties agree to embrace democratic ideals. Framing constitution and election laws that would allow citizens rights to dream and run for presidency. However, at the current state of affairs, it is inconceivable for politicians to lecture citizens on when and how the election will be conducted when the election laws are not engrained in the constitution. The correlation between hypocrisy and practical policies rendered by both parties is intriguing.

The truth is South Sudanese have engaged in two wars for independence which had claimed the lives of over 5 million South Sudanese people. The fact that the election laws were not enshrined in the constitution is a denial of citizens’ political participations and right to vote. People who had died for this country were dying to secure the right of citizens not leaders. The fact that South Sudanese citizens do not elect their leaders e. g governor and mayor is an affront to all the dead.

This country belongs to all of us, thus all citizens should be granted equality and equal protection before the supreme law of the land. Hence, the war may end any time but it is fundamentally important for our nation to secure lasting peace. This can only come through meaningful political frameworks that seek tangible transformation of all institutions of government. The warring parties can agree on reform policies for purpose of making South Sudan a viable state and for the next generation. Kiir and Riek have served South Sudan as president and vice for last years, and the same rights should be granted to all citizens to run for presidency without coercive forces or threats.

The parties must agree on the principle of reforming South Sudan security apparatus so that the national security personnel can focus on intelligence collections, monitoring of domestic and foreign threats, protections and ensure safety of all citizens. It also must be enunciated in the constitution that any arbitrary beating of unarmed citizens, cases of disappearance and murder violated specific provisions of the constitution and could result to severe consequences. The warring parties must agree on principles that first and foremost protect national sovereignty and preserve interests of citizens not the ruling elites.

The warring parties must agree on the principles of finding last resolution to cumulative tribal vices, and the SPLM party internal political disagreements. Such reform must spell out terms and timelines of resolving tribal conflict…through sequential political settlements. This theme of REFORM is an inevitable agenda and it must be tackled first because this country is in the midst of considerable famine, immense humanitarian crises and suffering of unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics. The country is basically in the midst of ethnic resurgence or sectarian conflicts, and civilians are trapped in unending chaos. South Sudanese are unhappy with this pointless war that is killing youth that could protect this country from any external aggressions.

Certainly, there is no political system that could resist such widespread public disdain against the war. Many who love peace and stability have shared in response to current crisis. Therefore the real question is whether parties could agree on reform principles for the purpose of sustainable peace or choose temporary peace. The ongoing peace negotiation is a great opportunity to push for lasting peace.

Hence, I would stress that it be a graving mistake if the warring parties agree on the principle of power sharing without acknowledging detrimental faults they have done to this country. The current war has killed more civilians than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict have been sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred. With these facts, this country must now choose it destiny on the negotiating table:

  1. Temporary Peace: means that the warring parties could agree on power sharing. If this accord is implemented; it can engineer two separate standing armies. Chances are this agreement can reinforce existing sectarianism, and it can allow two warring armies plenty of times to prepare and push for final of annihilations of South Sudan.

  2. Sustainable Peace: means the accord must first preserve and protect the interest of all citizens. This peace can spell out areas of reforms i.e. reforms of institutions of government, and more honest and authentic gradual integration of rebel units into the SPLA forces, and transformations of the SPLA into more professional army and security apparatus.

I understand that the majority of people in the rebellion camps think that if the power is shared, if Riek becomes a prim-minister, or vice president, problems in South Sudan would certainly disappear. I personally disagreed. Indeed, if the power is shared between the government and rebels, it would neither reverse current appalling situations nor would it remedy the flaws of past. Sharing power could simply award or reward tragic rebellious behaviors or mentalities. This could make South Sudan a safe heaven for perpetual rebellions. Since 2005, there has been perpetual rebellion in the country. This has been exacerbated by the government appeasing rebels and award military good ranks and better positions to them at the expense of those who did not rebel. The current Pibor Administrator, David Yau Yau has helped killed 10, 000 people from 2006-2013 in the state of Jonglei according to the International Crisis Group (ICG). If David Yau Yau can be appointed as Pibor administrator by South Sudan government, what would prevent others from rebelling to get higher positions?

If the government of South Sudan awards Dr. Riek Machar with Prim-ministerial position or vice presidency, what would prevent Malong, Kuol, Wani, Mamur, and me from rebelling? We all aspire for higher positions. The issue is do we need to be catapulted to these positions to through military revolutions or democratic ideals? South Sudan as state must choose now! Let all admit that if we reward rebellious behaviors, this country could be like Somalia in one month. Therefore, any power sharing without election could compromise rights of citizens to elect their leader. This country must choose between condoning violence revolution and embracing democratic principles.

As a citizen who loves this country called South Sudan, I would suggest to honorable Minster for Defense, Kuol Manyang Juuk and General Chief of staff, Pual Malong Awan Anei to immediately and drastically reduced ranks of any rebel general by two stars. This could probably curve rebellion among the SPLA generals. However, if this country wants to maintain its sovereignty over its citizens, she must annex swiping reform in area of domestic policy specifically military institution.We must be mindful that any alien agreement could prove temporary; therefore South Sudanese leaders must reform initiatives.

However, time is ripe for South Sudan government to transform its current institutions into fiscal institutions that could engage in a long-overdue fiscal decision making, to consolidate certain related government functions within bureaucratic structures and undo earlier consolidations that have failed South Sudan government. It is time to adopt measures aimed at depolarizing public opinions. This is doable if government introduces reform in areas of judiciary, legislative and executive to at least perform their functions without being infringing upon. This could hypothetically reduce widespread corruption

Concurrently, corruption has become South Sudan Pandemic and something must be done to tackle this issue and that why it should be essential component of reform. This year, corruption has been deliberately plan and exported by the office of foreign affairs and the presidency. These two offices sent thousands of dollars to United States for preparation and organization of the United Nation conference that was held in New York City, and the Africa Leadership Summit that was held inWashington DC. Funds were received by individuals that I will leave unnamed. These funds were sent to United States to purposely reserve hotels and tickets of South Sudanese people living in the United States to attend both conferences. I do not know why our government does this. However, this scandal has added a third complicated dimension among diaspora and people who received them. Chucks of funds were pocketed by those who received money. It is damaging and creating more divisions in already divided country. This has created uproars and heated debate among people living in diaspora.This scandal attempts to affirm allege massive flow of money in foreign countries while government leaves its citizens starving, let alone building a clinics, roads or school. Another classical example is 3 million dollars wasted on foreign hotels in Juba. These examples suggest that the current system is corrosive and it demonstrates government incapacity to account for all her funds.

If the warring parties failed to agree on reform principles, more innocent people could die, public discontent could grow stronger, and chances are IGAD and UNSC especially the United States could impose Arms Embargo on both government and rebels. I would hope warring parties’ compromise and develop practical solutions to South Sudanese problems. The United State hints Protectorate or UN trusteeship because parties have failed to develop and implement practical solutions to South Sudanese’ issues. The idea of placing South Sudan under the UN trusteeship is now being debated and suggested in shadows because of the United States government frustrations over Juba’s refusal to annex democratic ideals and implement desperately needed reforms.

While the Government of South Sudan is Negotiating with the SPLM in Opposition, What can Government do Alone?

The government alone can implement the follow principle of reforms:

  1. Creating policies that would diversify economy among citizens, and diverting it from current beneficiaries of (Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and other foreign entities to allocate more resources to benefit citizens,

  2. Accounts for all money in the ledger books by introducing fiscally responsibility, which could work to curve wasteful spending, corruption, and introducing efficacies and effectiveness in term of rendering services to citizens and escalate rate of prosecuting culprits,

  3. Consulted South Sudanese scholars, i.e. Dr. Francis Mading Deng to spearhead institutional reforms,

  4. Restructuring ministry of defense and security apparatus and this begins with penalizing generals who have rebelled by reducing their ranks with two stars. Introducing professionalism in the security sector to ensure humane treatment of all citizens.

  5. Establishes Military and Security Institute, where military and security personnel could be trained to maintain order and law to ensure safety and security of citizens and protect the sovereignty of South Sudan,

  6. Reform could start with creation of election laws and their enunciations in the constitution. This could allow people of south Sudan to elect their Mayor, Governor, MPs, and president.

The reform proposals could lay out broad policies but well-defined principles that ministries are expected to follow. This could be followed by the subsequent Independence Administrative Agencies that could audit ministries to account for all funds allocated to each ministry, identify strengths and weaknesses in each ministry, and punishing mismanagements by imposing fines individuals implicated in wrongdoings. The Department of Justice could prosecute corrupt leaders who flagrantly violate principles or who are negligent in ensuring compliance. I understand that the government failed to prosecute culprits in the past but I think this time, the government needs to implement stricter policy measures. The principle here is that any government institution that had budget has a responsibility to behave prudently and reported back how funded were spent annually.

This principle of reform simultaneously applies to foreign and domestic businesses operating in South Sudan. As with any regulatory approach, principles-based regulation must be well executed in order to work. Key elements of reform should have clear meaning. They cannot be vague, as in the current black market of Juba. To me, there are no laws of supply and demand that governs this market. They are just glittering laws in the book that offer no concrete guidance to black market and overall economy.

Principles based regulation is not to cure all problems. There are many regulatory problems that could be better addressed if experts are consulted. However, bear in mind that any regulatory system will have gaps and flaws. But in an increasingly complex and fast pace black market of Juba, there are likely to be many regulatory issues where principles based regulation could prove to be more robust. The present era is unlikely to be an exception; even denying this reality of a desperate needed REFORM is alone a threat to viability of this country. The current South Sudan government could still address the nation’s most important questions and that is restoring public trust in their government. This can be done when leaders solve citizens’ problems (pressing problems).

On this part, I would like citizens of this country to understand South Sudan in the context of the international and regional political economic and beneficiaries of this War in South Sudan. The regional leaders and international actors have huge interest in South Sudan’s resources, and here are some points that they should think about:

  1. As this war continues, the Ugandan government has found South Sudan to be its sources of revenues. As long as this war goes on, they have no problems because their funds are flowing each month to their bank. The evident is the Ugandan government continues to meet with both government and rebel leaders to ensure perpetual continuation of this war.

  2. IGAD leaders, on the other hand, do not want this war to end, because oil in South Sudan is their sole source of their salaries, and Addis Ababa city is venue for luxurious vocations to eat good foods and drink wines.

  3. United States has been projected to have the largest Oil reserves in the World (professors, and students of higher education would agree with me on this, because the data has been out there for a while). However, United States interests in South Sudan must be understood in its context. The United States will continue to flex its muscles in South Sudan, because of its claims to have broken peace between the North, and South Sudan. The United States has helped this country to gain independence, and United States government assumes more responsibilities of managing South Sudan than China. U.S wants to spread democracy, and supports nation building, development of institutions of government. The United States government claims to have created South Sudan.

  4. Besides, China had a huge interest in South Sudan because of oil resource. Conflict can continue in South Sudan, and to China, it does not matter how many people are killed, Chinese government will always care less about people of South Sudan, they only care about oil.

  5. The saddest part that our leaders must be conscious about is the fact that the world superpowers could collide in South Sudan and that may turn our country into Congo. Congo is a war ravage country today because World superpowers interests clashed in Congo and that derailed legitimate of their government, and it uprooted lively-hood of all the common citizens.

  6. President Kiir, and Dr. Riek Machar must understand that the more this war drags on, the hard it becomes to have peace in South Sudan. I would hope our leaders would understand that the world leaders’ egos compete for resources regardless of how many people die. The Chines government wants to secure vital resources while the United States is securing its interests in Eastern Africa.

In conclusion: I concur and acknowledge that our country was not prepared when it gained her independence that why it is significant for leaders and citizens to continue to strive for reform and justice. We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. I understand that war is destroying lives and infrastructures that why I strive for peace. The supreme principle of morality commences human dignity. This means leaders of themselves are not free till they choose peace, freedom for their own goods. The capacity to live in peace and freedom is what gives people dignity. That why it is wrong to use people as vehicle of ascending to leadership. While it is imperative that warring parties must sign peace, it is also important for international actors to push for sustainable peace and nation building. This begins with how best the government of South Sudan can render services to citizens, constitution and election laws. Any peace that rewards injustice is criminals and must be rejected. The majority supporters of government and rebels, neutral South Sudanese along with international and regional actors long for reforms over sharing power between government and rebels. The government could act on its own accords to commence dignity of its own citizens. This could be done to alleviate poverty, health and starvations as part of peace. There is a fear among those who love this country that any peace premised on sharing power with rebels’ leaders could compromise the PRINCIPLE OF REFORMS.

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Gabrial Pager Ajang is a Political Science and History Instructor at Wright Career College and former Legislative Assistance in the State of Nebraska. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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