By Capt. Mabior Garang
In regards to the Khartoum Face-to-Face meeting between Dr. Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir and the indignation of the “Traditional Junubeen Elites”, I don’t believe all the “analysts” are looking at the conflict in South Sudan in the same context. There is a lot of mixing of issues, some out of genuine confusion and some intended to cause confusion.
The conflict in South Sudan was not started by our “civil populations”, it was started by the regime and the Ugandan Involvement was a reality we had to deal with as a Movement. The war didn’t start because Junubeen (South Sudanese) felt the Ugandan involvement was a violation of our “sovereignty”, nor did any of those complaining now, complain then. And I don’t believe “Junubeen Traditional Elites” are really upset because they believe our “sovereignty” is under threat in Khartoum. I believe there is another underlying reason.
Truth be told, some of these complaining “Junubeen Traditional Elites” are part of the reason for the catastrophic state failure we are experiencing as an emerging natiion. The country is not a failed state because there is war, there is war because the country is a failed state. The SPLM/SPLA failed to deliver to our people, the promises of the liberation struggle and instead started killing them.
I ask, what sovereignty are we talking about is being “sold” in Khartoum?
When the oil was guarded by sons and daughters of South Sudan, what did our civil population gain from the revenues? If the oil is guarded by Khartoum or any other sovereign state (which is not the case as that was rejected by all stakeholders) and there is a semblance of accountability and our civil population can start seeing the dividends of their hard won freedom, then I must grudgingly accept that, this is better than the status quo we have created as leaders. Furthermore, these complaints are based on leaked drafts and broad framework documents, which may take many months to negotiate the details and so they are not based on concrete analysis, they are a “knee jerk reaction”.
It is quite interesting that it is mostly people who have been the beneficiaries of the failure of state, of the lack of accountability in the oil sector and who benefit from South Sudan having no economy, who are the most indignant. The same people who shut down the oil without a backup plan, took us into an unplanned war in Heglig, only to turn around and give us the Cooperation Agreement, which ended up making us service debt instead of being paid (against Khartoum’s advice), are the very same one’s who are suddenly the most aggrieved. The economy has not recovered since the oil shutdown and I didn’t hear many people complain, instead they went to the airport to receive President Kiir and Pagan Amum, hailing them as heroes.
It is the same people who pretend there was a TGoNU in Juba after the peace failed in such a catastrophe manner, that I need not recount it here. They never complained and allowed the state of affairs we are dealing with now to become entrenched. These people said nothing about “sovereignty” when the First vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-dhuorangun, was being pursued by mercenaries hired by the state and instead endorsed the illegal appointment of Taban, which was a coup on the ARCISS. They then turned around to support Gen. Malong Awan, one of the architects of the whole conflict when he rebelled. I wonder why people who refuse to work with Dr. Riek, are more than willing to work with “King Paul”? I will let the reader make up their own minds.
There is something fishy going on in Khartoum yes and that is politics, diplomacy is a game and we are playing it in a “sea of contradictions”, as our late Chairman would say. The Khartoum Face-to-Face is part of the IGAD peace process, it was not started by the SPLM/SPLA (IO), we have been surviving treachery and political isolation for two years, there is a whole context that we must look at if we are being genuine. I am personally not panicking, I have confidence in “the people’s struggle”. It is the struggle our people wagged and was betrayed by the “Junubeen Traditional Elites”, which gave us our “first liberation” and it was not out of the kindness of the NCP/NIF. I am confident that no one can snatch away from us our hard won freedom and that the current struggle being waged by our people, will culminate in a “second liberation”.
Those who are panicking know why they are panicking…