What 10,000 Demonstrating Heads In Washington Means To South Sudan And Africa!
Analysis, updated at 11:00pm, August 4, 2014(PST).
August 4, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Speculated in the mainstream media, up to ten thousands of South Sudanese-Americans, friends, well-wishers and sympathizers will be protesting at Freedom Plaza, White House, Washington DC, on the 6th of August, 2014. The protest, according to organizers, will start as early as 10Am and lasts until 3:30pm. This will be the first and the biggest demonstrations any South Sudanese communities have ever held at home and in Diaspora.
The awaited South Sudanese event is one of the fundamental rights, permitted and protected by the American’s First Amendment. The American constitution covers all forms of communication and protects actions that symbolically expresses a viewpoint.
Often, a permit is not required to protest in the ‘Land of The Free and The Home Of the Brave’, the United States of America, however, an event like the upcoming South Sudanese demonstration requires an advance permit because the demonstration will involve a match that is not confined to the sidewalk, block traffic, close streets, may require use of sound amplifying devices, and rallied at plazas, adjacent to the white house.
The permit was obtained in time, as expected, however, the First Amendment prohibits the use of “advance notice requirement” and strict regulations as a stumbling block to peaceful demonstration. This is very unluckily in other parts of the world like South Sudan, where peaceful demonstrators are fence off with rocket grenades, if not AKs47, unless organized by the ruling regime against the West, United Nations and other foreign bodies or policies that are perceived as threats by the government.
In 2012, nearly a dozen peaceful protestors were killed on spot in Wau by the army at the watch of human rights advocates, international community and the South Sudanese government. No one has been held accountable so far. The unarmed civilians protested the state government plans to reallocate the state capital from Wau town. Contrarily, the government is currently reconsidering reallocating the national capital from Juba to Wau, a town that was almost deserted against the wills of the residing population.
These reasons, among others, motivate thousands of South Sudanese to rather give up 2 to 4 days pays or risk losing their jobs from as far as Canada and neighboring states while matching to Washington. Many South Sudanese are determined to own this rare opportunity to voice their frustration against their president, Salva Kiir. Local populations have protested on the same ground, in Washington on 8th July, last months, however, the upcoming demonstration does not only target Salva Kiir but over 45 African leaders, who sit on the fence as the vulnerable South Sudanese population starved to death or butchered by the men they elected to power less than five years ago.
Why Demonstrating in Thousands:
South Sudan ran into a deadly civil war, pioneered by the president, after two years of its independent. Within one year, 2013, the celebrated war hero, Salva Kiir Mayardit, removed 171 army and police generals, dissolved the national cabinet, fired his powerful vice president, Dr. Riek Machar, dissolved the ruling party, fired and ordered investigation on the party’s secretary general, Pagan Amum, accused 75 law makers of stealing $ 4 billions US dollar, accused the army of corruption and dishonesty, trained a tribal militia, attracted the former rebels with favorable terms, cabinet positions and promotions, signed closed doors deal with Ugandan army, among other illicit plans.
On 15th December, amid a chaotic SPLM’s National Liberation Council conference, that was protested by Dr. Riek Machar and other members of the SPLM’s highest organ, Politburo, the presidential guards, commanded by Salva Kiir, fought among themselves. According to reliable sources within the government, the commander of the presidential guards, Gen. Marial Chanuong, ordered by Salva Kiir at 3pm, attempted to disarmed Dr. Machar’s tribemen, the Nuer’s presidential guards unit for unspecified reason. As a consequence, the brave Nuer unit dislodged their Dinka counterparts, capturing the Tiger Battalion and inflicting heavy casualties on president Kiir’s tribemen, the Dinka units
As planed or in retaliation, the presidential guards, dominated by Salva Kiir’s tribal militia went rampage, executing Nuer populations without sparing a Nuer government’s supporter, a child or a woman. Among the deads are members of National Legislative Assembly, religious leaders, and relatives of the Nuer commanders, contrarily, who defended the government from the mutineers. The brother of James Hoth Mai, the Chief of staff, a Nuer by ethnicity, was among the victims that were executed in their hotels rooms. Hoth was later removed and replaced with Governor Paul Malong Awan, a loyal Salva Kiir’s tribe mate from Northern Bahr el Ghazal. This sparked harsh retaliations in many parts of the country.
Despite the defection of over 70% of the army, the government has sustained power with foreign mercenaries from Ugandan, Sudan and other parts of the region. The government spends billions of dollars on Chinese guns and paying the foreign fighters in expense of the defecting national army and suffering populations, which is fed on foreign aids or died of starvation and curable diseases. Fighting has continued in many parts of the country, up to today in Mabaan and other parts of Greater Upper Nile.
Infinitely, it is for these reasons that many South Sudanese, from many parts of the world, would congest the streets of Washington for inviting an inadvertent president, oblivious and negligent of his people but cares much for powers and wealth. Salva Kiir government candidly funds the war, forthrightly, yet the Obama’s administration would distinguish Salva Kiir from his counterpart, Dictator Omar Al Bashir, to be welcomed to the Land of Freedom where lives are pricelessly valued and protected by the governments.
Despite the death of tens or hundred of thousands, the African leaders, who are too sensitive about International Criminal Court, have done very little to prevent reckless killings and suffering other than forming a commission of inquiry and standing by East African regional bloc, IGAD. Salva Kiir has continued to double deal the African and the world leaders, telling them what he never implement and implements what he always denies. This was witnessed during the Rwandan Genocide commemoration, African Union summits and now in Washington.
Why Kiir Should Meet Obama — Obama-Care!
Despite that the incumbent president lied to president Obama and later apologized in 2012, Obama still cares for the people of South Sudan and has responsibilities to protect the Americans’ interest at home and overseas.
As witnessed in his translated speeches, president Obama has called for peace, more than the South Sudan leader, in the last two years. Obama recurrently called for peace during the senseless Heglig war in 2012 and also in 2013-14 civil war.
Nevertheless, the Americans tax payers have contributed over $ 456 millions US dollars in humanitarian assistance, fund IGAD mediation, sent the Secretary of State to Juba and continue to engage the international community. These have been the toughest challenges for Salva Kiir, a president who has failed to visit the minority groups in UN camps at his backyard, in spite of being less than a mile away from his palace, in Juba city. Salva Kiir and Yoweri Museveni are adamant to establish a military rule in the country, unless defeated. Therefore, a meeting with president Obama would help America to refocus their efforts.
Given that Kiir’s leadership is desperate to rebuild trust and relations with the world’s supper powers, a meeting would present the regime with a second chance to swallow the bitter pills and embrace the popular demands in the country. Kiir and his cabinets have despairingly decried losing America, Europe and many African countries after synthesizing a a fabricated coup but fail to either defend it or restore calm. Thus, it would be stupefied and regrettable if coming to America won’t add an inch to the current road maps to restore peace in the country.
It would, nevertheless, be a wishful thinking to hope to subdue over 200,000 armed anti-government forces in the current rebellion when the former government with unified ranks and abundant oil revenues failed to quash less than 5 thousands men under David Yau Yau, Johnson Olony, Gai Yoai, Puljang and other rebels groups that still exist in the country. Machar and his leadership, on the hand, have infinitesimal chance to overthrow Salva Kiir in the present of Ugandans, Sudan rebels and the International community. Thus patching up a solution to explore new alternatives is better than pursuing the current status quo.
Thus, a meeting between Obama and Salva Kiir, may neutralize the current loggerheads and draws new dawns for the nation. A man does not live on bread alone, perhaps, it is our negligent to reason through barrels of guns that prolongs the conflicts and strips the nation of its pride. South Sudan needs a new beginning, however, according to Albert Einstein, we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
The author of this opinion piece, Deng Elijah, is the executive moderator of Nyamilepedia. He can be reached at dengsimon2000 at yahoo dot com or through Nyamilepedia for further comments.