What we can do for our country; Ms Suzanne Jambo: Thank you very much indeed for your advice to share ideas over our common values, if we can identify any, as South Sudanese. You think that it could be useful to continue the dialogue and honest discussions, hard or soft, in order to close unnecessary gaps in our search for peace and harmony. I agree we should now get engaged in order to identify the “unifying and inclusive issues,” versus “dividing and exclusive issues.” These random debates could induce a working relationship and friendly understanding. It could reduce the ongoing tensions and violence approach to contentious matters of national interest. The conventional principles of dialogue and peacemaking are available for the parties to accept the mediators-IGAD plus, and the application of the principles of mutual respect and “give and take.” The warring parties, at this last stage of national survival and revival, should strictly adopt these principles in order to inject a new life into the sick Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), signed by the warring parties on 17 August 2015.
The majority of South Sudanese, the Churches, friends and enemies worldwide, have contributed so much in supporting peace in South Sudan since the outbreak of war in 2013. These peace efforts enabled the country to forge the ongoing peace deal, the ARCSS. The ARCSS, sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with full backing by the United Nations (UN), the Troika (The USA, UK and Norway) and the rest of the world on the humanitarian basis, almost failed when its implementation was disrupted by renewed fighting between the two adversaries, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In Opposition (SPLM IO), on 8 July 2016. At the time, the peace-loving South Sudanese and the international wellwishers were astonished and disappointed.
But, nevertheless, the SPLM and SPLM IO, turned around and saved the ARCSS from collapsing and disappearing into limbo. From there on, the parties stepped up a limited implementation. They incorporated the ARCSS into the Republic of South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution 2011 (amended), and accordingly enabled the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in April 2016. But the implementation proceedings could not move as expected, due to the government and rebels resumption of hostilities and breakdown of the ceasefire. The resumption and continuation of hostilities made it impossible for TGoNU to proceed with implementation of ARCSS. This hinderance to the implementation of ARCSS, motivated the IGAD and the international community to reconsider either to call for new negotiations of the parties or activate the ARCSS. At the end IGAD decided, in spite of some opposition’s voices calling for new negotiations, to revive and revitalise the ARCSS. Let’s hope that the revitalization summit, now due to takeoff in Addis Ababa, will succeed.
The success to the revitalization of ARCSS shall open a new way to a successful implementation process, which may stop the war and install a permanent peace. It is only after this revitalization, that South Sudanese shall be able to get into serious and meaningful national dialogue and reconciliation and healing on, apparently, the following issues: (a) Unity of the country; (b) Share national values; (c) citizenship; (d) national identity; (e) cultural, social and economic diversities; (f) home/internal security; (g) liberalism, freedoms, democracy and the rule of law; (h) the system of governance; and (i) the enactment of the proposed (national) federal constitution.
Most of the issues named above have elements of contention as to exclusion or iinclusion. South Sudan can promolgate a standard and well-researched constitution in the world, if they borrow from the democratically based federal constitutions among the countries like the United States of America, Germany, India, Australia, Canada etc. Some socialist experts or political philosophers may cite the former Soviet Union or Russian federation, federations in Africa, South America, the Arab world or so. But these are tactifully disguesed machanisms meant to satisfy the principle of “divide and rule,” a system we inherited from Sudan/Kartoum from 1899 to 2011- 112 years running.
South Sudan could qualify for a strong federal constitution for the following historical reasons: (a) South Sudan, unrecorded or recorded history, was not single territory until 1898; (b) in November 1899, after the British/Egyptian reconquest of Sudan (Nubia as the Sudan/Khartoum was then known), set up a Condominium and annexed South Sudan to Khartoum for the first time (1899-1956); (c) in January 1956, the British and Egyptians colonialists, gave up the Sudan to Arabs immigrants along with South Sudan. From then on South Sudan remained under Khartoum as colonialised territory; (d) in July 2011, South Sudan reclaimed its historical independence from Sudan/Khartoum.
From 1899 to 2011, 112 years long, South Sudan had been governed by foreign powers. Both British and Sudanese had the same principled styreotype, “divide and rule.” The divide and rule customised and emerged in three national identities: Bahr Al Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria. To be honest, South Sudanese have the weakest cultural, social and economic links to build a viable one nation with a share confidence. It proved impossible after Addis Ababa Agreement 1972-1983 to run the government of Southern Sudan with confidence. Equatoria called for redivision for Dinka to leave Juba for their home (Bahr Al Ghazal and Upper Nile). Khartoum supported Equatoria, disolved the Government of Southern Sudan and its parliament and returned Southern Sudan under the “DIVIDE and RULE.” Now, the same South Sudanese are threatening either to role the country back to Khartoum or “redivide” it into three independent countries.
Now comes a critical decision to make through dialogue, not through assumptions, arrogance, ignorance or lying to avoid telling facts and eventual primitive violence and war. Let’s be frank to one another and go for a strong federal constitution and system of governance, democracy and rule of law. Unity is strength and redivision is weakness!