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South Sudan Reality: Painful independence, failed leadership!By James Okuk

By   /  July 17, 2016  /  Comments Off on South Sudan Reality: Painful independence, failed leadership!By James Okuk

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Thank God that some of us are still alive and are able to communicate from Juba today after being confined in a prison-like and imposed hunger situation since Friday 8th July 2016, the very day six years ago when I wrote the article “South Sudan Paradox: Joyful Independence, Sorry Leadership”. As we reflect back down the memory lane the proven reality these days could be summed up as “South Sudan: Painful Independence, Failed Leadership”. This is what is being said in the the internal and also the external arena.

Even the Korean UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who sang jubilantly on 9th July 2011 with the fashionable “SPLM Oyee” which was considered synonymous to “South Sudan Oyee” by then is now totally frustrated by the senseless recurrent of the man-made bad news of massive killings and displacements in the Republic of South Sudan.

May I pay my sincerest condolences to each and everyone of us (nationals or foreigners) who has lost their dear ones and valuable properties in these extraordinary terrible days in Juba. Also I wish a quick recovery to those who became sick and were unable to receive medical attention in time due to severity of the situation and safety isolation.

Internally, the military calm is back to Juba this morning after our ears have heard the shots and sounds and our eyes have seen fire smokes and night colours of every type of weapon (heavy and lite) available in the country and put on disproportional deadly use.

However, the political heat is still high and the official media outlet (SSBC/SSTV) together with some sectors of private social media are unrelenting in promoting this uncalled for heat. The Radio stations (especially the credible Eye Radio) are back live on air and able to balance the information and sift the propaganda by bringing in as well the direct voice of the First Vice President and Chairman of SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, and others for the better judgement from objectivity. Ceasefire has been announced by both leaders of the warring parties and civilians are told to resume their normal life.

Despite, the civilians are still terrified and disgusted by the irresponsible behaviour of their top opposing SPLM/A leaders who could’t honour their pledges to work together for restoring peace in all corners of the country. Most people (including the church leaders like Msgn. Rev. Roco Taban) have totally lost trust in such kind of leaders who are not true to their words and who can’t build trust in the needed collective responsibility.

More dire humanitarian situation has been created to add to the already-difficult economic situation in the country. The Churches, some Embassies (e.g. of DRC in 107) and UNMISSS camps have been filled up again by the innocent civilian. Some vulnerable civilians (women, children, adult and elderly) found themselves nowhere but fearfully hiding in the bushes with wild animals whose risks were seen less deadly than the armed human beings of South Sudan.

The tolls of the casualties from the man-made four-days war of SPLA factions (IG and IO) inside the civilian residences have been very high. Many of the dead have remain unburied for hours and rotten with no dignity of the final rite. The spree of looting has been terrible in many shops and homes. A very painful internal despairing scenery, indeed!

Externally, the IGAD’s Council of Ministers has decided in its extraordinary meeting of 11th June 2016 in Nairobi to put Juba International Airport under UN Trusteeship. The frontline states of the IGAD-member countries have also decided to send to South Sudan a well-armed regional intervention forces with attack helicopters and gunships to boost the UNMISS peace-keeping capacity, protect the civilians, and scare the bloody and insensitive violent military and political leaders from massive displacement of civilians from the dignity of their serene livelihood.

If the worst of the continuous war is not averted soonest, Kenya and Ethiopia may be ready to avail a quick response as from now to next week. Uganda has already deployed its troop heavily at the borders with South Sudan, waiting to enter again for any eventuality. Khartoum has also offered to contribute a quick emergency soldiers to the regional forces, probably alongside the Ethiopian segment of intervention forces.

The UN Secretary-General has described President Kiir and First Vice President Riek as “failed leaders” and called upon the the UN, the region and the entire international community not only to invoke “the Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) but also “the Responsibility to Act” (R2A) in order to rescue the civil population. He recommended for Armed Embargo and more sanctions blacklisting to be enforced on South Sudan as soon as possible. Since the time he took up the duties of the UN General Secretariat, Mr. Ki-moon has not been seen talking in a very tough and warning language on peace and security issues the way he has done it recently on the worrying situation South Sudan is undergoing. He is now a very angry man because all his diplomatic efforts and shuttles on resolving the conflict in South Sudan seem to be going at waste at the time he is about to end his UN office tenure.

It is already serious and South Sudan might become a regional and international war theatre in addition to the internal war situation we are in. All these external interventions are happening due to intransigence of our top SPLM/A leaders who are commanding deadly independent armed forces respectively. They have refused to listen to good advice for peace. Now they are in big trouble (e.g., for war crimes and other crimes prosecutable under international law). The external intervention has become real and taking toll on our sovereignty.

Both internal and external fronts are almost erasing the credibility and trustworthiness of the SPLM/A-IG and SPLM/A-IO from their good records. I don’t know what face has remained from the messing factionalized SPLM/A top leadership to be kept for a dignified future. Only the days, weeks and months ahead will tell. Shame on our unwise and uncaring leaders!

Nevertheless let’s wipe our tears of sorrow and keep high the hope for a rising nation as the paradox is being resolved, be it through internal pressure or external intervention.

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  • Published: 5 months ago on July 17, 2016
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  • Last Modified: July 17, 2016 @ 1:01 pm
  • Filed Under: English, Insight

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