By Eng. Chuar Juet Jock
You can’t be against democratic and peaceful dialogue as a way to sort out our political differences and opinions and expect people to just surrender to your prescribed rule and opinions or not to resort to different means of resistance such as armed resistance because that would be the peak of contradiction and Juba can’t have it both ways. While they have suspended the right of free speech, civil liberties, and freedoms and denied all the democratic means and processes to many forces of the oppositions, civil society organizations, press, and others, Juba is insisting at the same time that these opposition forces should also abstain from choosing other means to express their political opinions and exercise their political activities, they want them to surrenders and submit to what is being prescribed by the ruling establishment even though it is not in the best interests of the nation and the country.
Democracy is a beautiful thing but in my simple opinion it is not for everybody to accept or function within, I think it is for those who have reached a higher level of political maturity and wisdom, those who have the confidence in themselves, their abilities, political opinions and programs, those who don’t fear competing on equal footing with other and seek to win through their characters’ qualities, performance and ideas, convincing their audience through sound programs and logical persuasion and finally leaving the judgment to their audience or potential voters to choose who they think would lead or perform better and without coercion or intimidation. More to that, in the democratic competition and process, rivals must be willing to accept and respect different views and opinions as well as their own defeat and the victory of their rivals, I have seen this in many democracies of the world but I doubt that it will happen in South Sudan anytime soon given the current volatile public opinion.
Even back in the days in South Sudan and before the arrival of the new liberators turned oppressors, we used to have real democracy even in our tribal settings where we hardly arrive at a decision but after democratic discussion and debate and where the worthy and logical opinions take center stage and win with consensus. You could take a right opinion of an enemy rather than a wrong one of a brother besides that the spirit of competing on fairness was not only on the political platforms but in most competition platforms such as schools competition, cultural events, and sports championships. Even when competing to win a heart of lady, we never tend to use illegal techniques that would regard us as not real men and you ask Deng A. Freeman how the competition used to take place, well, eventually our ladies won’t fall for cheap men who can’t compete openly and win with honor even if they got 100 cows. Trust me, we are a peaceful nation but since we got our independence and now there are dollars and power struggle involved, then without a good government and leadership, we are losing it big time, and the more we degrade down the ladder, the more complex and ugly it becomes and to an extent that we may arrive at a point of no return, hopefully not.
My argument is that, if president Kiir and his supporters have a keen desire to see a peaceful and prosperous nation and country, they must be the first people to denounce violence since they are the government and are the ones who are in control of the state’s capabilities. If they are confident enough that they represent the political or be it ethnic majority and that they got the right political vision for this country and nation then they are at ease and have nothing to fear, they should confidently initiate a democratic environment, secured by law and trained professional law enforcement whom their loyalty is for the higher interests of the country and nation and not their tribes and clans, religion or gender. I don’t see them losing any democratic election if what is being acclaimed by force now is what could yield the same results in democratic elections otherwise this rule at gunpoint and unknown gunmen have its justifications. Well, if we are ever going to be civilized, now or in 100 years after we have learned the hard way, the unchanged fact through time is that there is a serious need of putting the guns down and denounce the culture of violence. Subsequently, the minds’ works will take over, we can do it.
South Sudan slips down to violent state and militant mentality has something to do with our beliefs and collective mindset, two that I believe strongly that they can be re-shaped, re-directed, and re-positioned to better beliefs and collective mindsets, to a nation, peaceful, success-oriented beliefs, and collective mindset. I wrote about this several times that it is the responsibility of the leadership to position the nation to what is in its best interests, beliefs, and mindset that can keep it united, peaceful, prosperous, and thriving socially, economically, culturally, and politically. I strongly believe it is the responsibility of the leadership and the government to shape the way ahead to our nation and country and where civil and not-for-profit organizations such as churches, schools, media …etc will have a supportive role. Alas, the leadership seems to be looking to somewhere else, somebody else that should undertake that responsibility, and the peak of the irony is that the leadership itself is the problem, the one causing the divisions in the national body in order to stay in power.
Eng. Chuar Juet Jock
Written on November 7th, 2016