Opinion by Mabior Garang de Mabior
Itlooks like the regime is planning to return the country to the Thiry-two (32) States by way of Administrative areas. This is currently underway. In a classic “problem reaction solution”, the regime has created a crisis by arbitrarily granting Administrative areas to communities . This has exacerbated ethnic tensions within the Ten (10) States, so the demand for an Administrative area will now appear to come from the people.
In the end we shall return to Thirty-two (32) States as if by popular demand. It will instead be Thirty-two (33) Adminstrative areas.
There is no Agreement, it was dead on arrival. It was already in ICU in Addis Ababa as The High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and it finally died in Khartoum as the Khartoum Peace Ahreement (KPA). We are now burying its remains in Juba as the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU). It is now over 100 days since the so-called unity government was formed in contravention of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). There is nothing to show in terms of peace dividends for our vulnerable civil population, who continue to suffer in ‘dignified silence’, even after our hard won freedom.
The crisis in Jong’lei State between Jieng-Bor, Lou-Nuer and Murle made these divisive sentiments gain traction. Our peoples are starting to demand for their own Administrative areas. It is an open secret that the insecurity in Jong’lei has nothing to do with cattle rustling. It is about the natural resources. The oil in Jong’lei State threatens to further widen this cleavage. After the announcement of the Governors according to responsible power sharing in the Agreement, Jong’lei State still has no governor, neither does Upper Nile State.
This is mischief.
The situation in Upper Nile is similar to that of Jong’lei. The communities who have co-existed at the grassroots level for generations since pre-colonial times have now become mortal enemies. This hatred is against the values of these communities and is promoted by so-called ’eminent personalities’. These eminent persons don’t have the best interests of the communities at heart. They are just the middlemen for the cartels in Juba. They claim to speak for the people on the ground, but they really speak for J1 – the Presidential Palace.
The people of Padang, like the rest of the citizens in our country, have never gotten anything from the proceeds of oil. The so called leaders who purport to speak on behalf of our Padang peoples, have never addressed the catastrophic environmental problem in the area. The farming land has been destroyed, the water table is contaminated and children are being born with serious deformations. This is the real crisis our leaders should be concerned about, not the nomination of Gen. Johnson Olony. The rejection of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) nomination of Gen. Johnson Olony is not only mischief, it is bad politics and a pretext to precipitate another conflict.
The regime claims Gen. Olony has charges to answer and that he has allegedly killed South Sudanese. If we were to audit the regime of President Salva Kiir for killers of South Sudanese peoples, we may find only a handful have not been involved in the wholesale murder of our peoples. The regime has accepted Gen. TabanDeng Gai, Gen. David Yau Yau, Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, Gen. James Koang and many other Generals and even appointed them to constitutional positions in the name of peace. What is so different in the case of Gen. Olony, who has been appointed through an Agreement? Or is it because did not defect to the regime’s army like the other Generals?
The rejection of Gen. Olony is not really because the regime believes Gen. Olony will cause war, nor is it because the regime is enthused about citizens of Padang. Rather, it’s his insistence on implementation of the security arrangements. This is yet another stumbling block the regime has put in the way of the peace process. The traditional elite in our land are against the implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit. It ends their reign of impunity which has been their livelihood for generations. The plan of this power elite is to cause war amd confusion among our people by all means and rule through transitions while they plunder our national wealth.
The solution to the crisis in our nascent Republic remains the unadulterated implementation of the reform agenda of the Agreement, anything else is to return the country to war indirectly. The issue of representation and constitutional rights cannot be solved through this illegal formula of Administrative areas. The Agreement already provides a mechanism in Chapter VI – Parameters for Permanent Constitution. It is a chance for a second Republic of South Sudan.
This is where aggrieved communities can make their voice heard in a national platform. We celebrated the return to Ten (10) States and congratulated President Salva Kiir prematurely. The introduction of the three Administrative areas makes this return null and void and has set a dangerous precedent. The people of Padang are now allegedly, demanding for an Administrative area – this will become a domino effect. The introduction of Administrative areas was not out of concern for the welfare and prosperity of our people but a crafty way for the regime to create jobs they will use to bribe greedy so-called ’eminent personalities’ as they continue to undermine the peace process.