And here are the best demonstration for this Khartoum Peace Armistice amnesties: free Peter Biar Ajak, James Gatdet Dak, Dong Samuel Luak, Aggrey Idri, and the like, including that innocent young woman who has spent two weeks in the National Security cell just because her exiled husband has criticized the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on his Facebook post. As if that is not enough, people’s amnesty to their leaders (read: ‘killers’ by the folks of PoCs, IDP, refugee camps) can be granted when their NSS goons cannot arrest, harass or embarrass the citizens anyhow anymore.
By Jon Pen de Ngong
I watched the SSBC evening news with lots of headache and heartache in the way our people are being fooled. For instance, methinks, the Amnesty Decree read there the other day is just but a political gimmick. It is a sort of an attention-seeking show to balance the handshake-dodging blunder in Khartoum and bring President Kiir back to the ‘Peace Champion’ slogan that is in public posters in Juba.
In entertainment news, it is called ‘stealing the show’, that is, when one member appears to own the lion’s share of the joint event. We all know, just as the president knows, that what he brought to Juba is not peace but an agreement in a Sudan emblem-sealed booklet. Peace be not an agreement, both are different. To me, genuine peace is that psychological soft copy (safety feelings) among the people, not the wordy wordings and signatures on hard copies, of the agreement.
I just pity the way our very hungrily angry people have been dragged to the dusty or muddy streets of the states’ capitals to celebrate what the governors blur out from public address systems as “His Excellency has brought us Final Peace From Khartoum!” Oh, really? How about that the negotiations are still ongoing and the final peace will be signed or not signed (God forbid the latter) in Addis Ababa around the same time Kiir signed ARCISS with 17 reservations in 2015? Why this concocted euphoria this time which was not the case with the ARCISS (Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan)? A gimmick indeed!
So what is not wrong with this presidential pardon orders? “Republican order number 14 for the year 2018 for the grant of general amnesty to the leader of SPLM-IO Dr. Riek Machar Teny and other estranged groups who waged war against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan from 2013 to date,” reads Kiir’s order.
Not that such a decree had not worked before, but you cannot order or decree forgiveness, you demonstrate with a handshake, speech and other actions as seen from their contradictory body languages and behaviour during or after the signing ritual in Khartoum and on Kiir’s arrival at Juba Airport.
In short, my problem with this detraction from pertinent issues is that the real ‘amnesty order’ is called ‘Cessation of Hostilities Agreement’ (CoHA), which all the parties, including Kiir himself, signed in Khartoum, just as in Addis Ababa in December 2017 and January 2014. Therefore, I see no value in Kiir, Riek, Pagan or Changson writing and declaring their mini-CoHAs up on one another. For real, they have signed one comprehensive order for non-aggression behaviour. Any extra posting in the name of amnesty is itself an aggression to the rest of the signatories.
So, for President Kiir, this is another violation of the Cessation of Hostilities, say, himself appearing to be the supreme guarantor of the agreement other than his neighbouring counterparts, their previous belligerent duo that lined up behind them (Museveni and Bashir), that I hereby refer to as ‘The K2 Guarantors’ (Khartoum and Kampala). This anomaly of one person appearing more important over others in a negotiated solution to the conflict is uncalled for. It reveals and creates a bad taste on the Agreement in question; that if one person can appear to be a Mr. Fixer, the same can appear to be the ultimate determiner at will.
I mean this time round, the ultimate guarantor of this peace agreement must be the people of South Sudan, not the bloodstained leaders. And if there is need to give amnesties, then the very victims of the war should be the guarantors of the amnesty, which act should be reserved till we prove that they, the would-be-forgiven, have demonstrated good faith in the implementation of the Agreement. This habit of SPLM-IO and SPLM-IG concluding their public statements with “…while reserving the right to self defence…” cannot win our trust in them, more particularly in their foxy dealings in the name of peace.
And here is the best demonstration for this Khartoum Peace Agreement amnesty: free Peter Biar Ajak, James Gatdet Dak, Dong Samuel Luak, Aggrey Idri, and the like, including that innocent young woman who has spent two weeks in the National Security cell just because her exiled husband has criticized the IGP (Inspector General of Police) on his Facebook post. As if that is not enough, people’s amnesty to their leaders (read: ‘killers’ by the folks of PoCs, IDP, refugee camps) can be granted when their NSS goons cannot arrest, harass or embarrass the citizens anyhow anymore.
Yes, real amnesty can be seen to have been granted if and when this Jon Pen’s blog post can be published by a Juba Monitor without that paper being shut down and its editor locked up at the Blue House cells. This is amnesty in its truest sense of the word, otherwise, the rest like the SSBC forgiveness on orders after the Khartoum armistice are nothing but ‘harmnesties’!