This article is a comment lifted from Mr. Pag’an Amum, SPLM Former Dtainees leader, to his supporters on Whatsapp Group. AFTABOSS took it when it went viral on Social Media and the Main Media.
“……I hope you will do everything in your power to bring your message to the attention of President Kiir and FVP. Dr Reik Machar and other political leaders. War can only be stopped by those fighting it. Those of us like you and the FDs who have been against war, can only continue to campaign and bring pressures to bear on President Kiir and other warring parties to end this ugly war, stop the senseless killings and turn to free and open dialogue. Creating an environment where rule of law and respect for freedom of expression and truth telling to solve our problems is the only viable and best option.
Before the war started, we used to engage in dialogue and open discussion with the President. Sometimes we confronted each other in tough discussions. I criticized his wrong policies. When he started to perpare for war, I strongly advised him not to take the country to war and pointed out to him that while he was the C-in-C of SPLA, it was a grave mistake for him to recruit a tribal militia. He was so adamant to go full frontal telling me that he had decided to declared war on his enemies and that I was on top his list of enemies, that he would destroy this country, pulverize and rase it to the ground, and when done, he would throw it away like a bare bone and would further soil it in dirt and that no one would be able to pick it up after him!
I appealed to him and beg him to no avail, not to destroy this country our people fought and sacrificed too much for. I tried very hard to sway him to rather engage in dialogue and never to resort to fighting what so ever the disagreement. And advised him to think of his legacy, I told him that John Garang led us in the foundation of SPLM and during the liberation struggle, that Garang negotiated the CPA which led to independence, and that for him as the first president he must focus on building his positive legacy and that would be to lay a solid foundation for a strong servant state capable of building a prosperous nation. This discussion was on Friday June 28th 20013.
Kiir chose war and rejected dialogue then and am afraid that is his posture now, given his utterances and attitude after the signing. Kiir seems to be preparing for an all out war again. My experience in pursuing dialogue with Kiir resulted in him putting me under house arrest, preventing me from speaking to media and banning me from traveling. That violation of my basic rights was from July to December 2013 is simply unlawful.
The SPLM leaders’s press conference on the 6th of December,2013 in the SPLM House, was about calling for dialogue and warning against the danger of taking the country to war. We ended up in detention, falsely accused of nine counts of treason. The rest is history of shame, suffering and genocide.
Lastly, I would like to bring to your attention what happened to the FDs in July/ August 2015. The FDs decided to pursue dialogue and sent a delegation to Juba in July before the signing of the peace agreement to engage the SPLM IG particularly President Kiir. I met him four times, one to one and persuaded him to stop the war and sign the peace agreement. Yet, he chaired a meeting in which a group of the sPLM-IG was plotting to detain us again or assassinate us. It took direct confrontation with him to put aside such plans. And despite his agreement for us to go to Addis to engage the SPLM IO and other stakeholders for the war to stop, he changed his mind and declared his intention against peace. Again, the rest is history of tragic displacements, mass killings and exodus of millions to neighboring counties seeking refuge.
The FDs have been always for dialogue, a genuine dialogue in an environment of equality and freedom. A purposeful dialogue to correct mistakes and achieve accountability and reforms that will serve our people.
There are two kinds of politicians those who are driven by a set of principles and core values of integrity and sacrifice in public service and others who are driven by personal egoistic interests of power and wealth.
As for taking the Khartoum peace agreement as an opportunity to engage in dialogue, there is a possibility for peace but this will only depend on Kiir. This agreement is a victory that is consolidating his regime which is imposed by Khartoum and Kampala on South Sudan in pursuit of their interests and against the interests of our people. Kiir gave a lot of concessions to Khartoum and Kampala to guarantee his “chair” in J1. What is the cost? and what are the negative effects of these agreements on our people and country? These agreements between Sudan and Uganda on South Sudan and between the government of Sudan and the regime in Juba are the cause of our concern. These associated agreements have compromised our independence and sovereignty and threatened our territorial integrity. These are the problems with R-ARCSS. It will not address the root causes of the national crisis. It will not bring about justice and accountability (government’s recent statement on Hybrid Court), nor will it help us achieve national reconciliation and healing ( the division of the country into clans and tribal 32 states and tribal land grabbing).
*This Agreement is endorsed by the FDs in the recent meeting in Nairobi. As a matter of principle I am not endorsing it, and will not participate in its mechanisms. I will focus my energies together with those who are concerned on campaigning to protect our independence and territorial integrity, exposing Sudan, Uganda and the regime in Juba. We wish the FDs who have endorsed the agreement and other political parties who have signed and endorsed the agreement good luck as they put all their efforts to address the concerns and push for peace in our motherland.*
May God bless South Sudan.”