By Dr. Aldo Ajou Deng-Akuey
Let’s hope for the best, while we thank God for giving us the R-ARCSS, signed on 12 September 2018, by the then warring parties (the -SPLM, SPLM IO and SSOA).
As the public of South Sudan is affected and devastated by traumatic insecurity, lack of food, death and poverty, our expectations are always put on government leaders to bail us out of the sufferings on which hopeful wishes hang on smooth implementation of the peace deal “in letter and spirit” and in good faith.
Our expectations need inclusive and concerted efforts for the R-ARCSS to succeed. But, without Join commitment, honesty, trust and confidence among the leaders and the affected citizens of South Sudan, the “expectations for peaceful stable country shall never be achieved.” There is a believe, right now, that the political parties: the SPLM, SPLM IO and SSOA in the Presidency and R-TGoNU, are not collectively united in a sole agenda of “peace and security” per se, but differ on their agendas. The SPLM honestly leads the agenda of “peace and security.” But, the former adversaries of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who should be seen to firmly commit to peace and security agenda, are half-heartedly uncommitted. To be exact in my reading, SPLM IO and SSOA are gambling on which is which agenda?: Peace and security or the “regime change.” They have already succeeded by dissolving the 32 states and sanctioning official supporters of President Salva Kiir through the Sentry “Enough project.” These parties are not in peace with the SPLM, but they have a devised strategic change of approach towards the “Kiir must go!”
Yes, the evidence shows that some criticisms are constructive in terms of power sharing, but, seriously, domestic and international critics pose a targeting and destructive campaign against our country and its founding leadership. For example, “Kiir and Riek should be excluded from unity Government!” That means the R-ARCSS could collapse. We are very much aware that South Sudan is a fragile, weak socially, politically and economically, thus facing compounded problems of livelihood in all fields.
In my assessment, the only option available to South Sudanese, in order to save the unity of the country and humanity is the R-ARCSS if the national security institutions are reorganised, united and integrated. These challenges are so huge and so much that the main political parties’ leaders, can not solve them alone without public commitment and necessary support.
To be exact and honest, the problems facing the Presidency and R-TGoNU, are getting worse under the pandemic COVID-19 regime. First, the pandemic has done away with the only National source of revenues: (a) oil markets prices internationally are down, (b) no exports or imports duties, (c) food production failed last year, thus causing severe hunger, (d) repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement of 6 million returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), (e) rendering the country to an acute poverty. In a nutshell, our country is financially handicapped to fund the implementation of R-ARCSS, let alone the humanitarian disaster, in terms of hunger, internal homelessness and coming back of refugees from the neighbouring countries. But, the good thing is that, the politicians are not going back to war. But the violence ranges among the communities (call them tribes if you like).
But, Nevertheless, new violence has moved out of Juba to states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, unity versus Warrap, Lakes and Central Equatoria. The fighting in Jonglei is a politico-community war. It involves Morlei, Nuer Low and Dinka. The war expected to erupt in Upper Nile, would be among the Nuer, Dinka and shilluk. The war going on in central Equatoria is said to be a liberation war, against who? It is not yet clear, but gossips figure point against politicians and warlords. These fightings are not small, they can seriously divide the communities, states and regions or could derail the ongoing Revitalised national peace.
Let’s accept the fact that our country is at the climax of national paralysis and dispersal in all fields of livelihoods. All of us must unite, avoid social and political anarchy for national dialogue, reconciliation and forgiveness.
In my opinion, the problems facing the country now are comprehensively identified by many South Sudanese intellectuals’ forums, such as the National Dialogue forum, Ebony centre-Think Tank, Sudd Research institution, professionals of schools of know how, universities and other centres in Africa and elsewhere in the world. Available are South Sudanese writers like Francis Mading Deng, Jacob Jiel Akol, Bona Malual, Dr. Lual A Deng, so many more-and check on historical records for political philosopher, Dr. John Garang’s on unity of Sudanese Africans, Arabs, Muslims and Christians. History of decolonized and post independence developments infrastructures are available.
These groups and individuals are not being consulted on related issues to their professionalisms and expierences to success or failure and why? There is no country anywhere in the world, that does not consult or refer it problems for experts opinion or advice, specially when the country is under establishment and eventual nation building.
The politicians need to involve South Sudanese civil society, women, youth, intellectuals and the church, in order to succeed in their endeavor to implement the R.ARCSS successfully. Otherwise implementation process shall fail. Aldo Ajou