By Peter Mabior Riiny,
April 28, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — You may have heard this misplaced statement from south Sudan’s government and its supporters arguing that sharing powers between SPLM in opposition and SPLM in government amounts to rewarding rebellion.
I personally find it weird andmindboggling. It seems the advocates of such argument have not thought through their assertion. Imagine if Khartoum’s government had put the same argument forward during negotiation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), where would we be? If rebellion must not be rewarded, then why are we on the negotiation table in the first place? The acceptance of dialogue meant that the Government has recognized the strength and physical presence of its opponent, and negotiations were aimed to stop the war. The opposition will not relent from waging war save when their demands were met.Rebellion does not appear from the blue, it has got its underlying causes and if you want to stop rebellion in south Sudan, one ought to stop triggers of it. You must nip it in the bud. Rebellion is a manifestation of dissatisfaction; therefore, rebellion itself is not the problem. It is a result of so many wrong things going on in the country.
The understanding of what causes rebellion is paramount importance if we want to arrest future rebellions. It is widely accepted that the cause of the current rebellion was the massacre of innocent civilians in Juba because they were hailing from the same tribe as Dr.RiekMachar and not the narrow narrative of “coup attempt” put forward by the government, the war then became all against all. While the war first took dimension of tribalism because of its initial misleading propaganda, it has currently brought in divest stakeholders and has graduated from being tribal to marginalized against colonizers.What are the general triggers of rebellion and the dissatisfaction with government of Salva Kiir Mayardit? There are thousands of reasons. I will only mention the glaring ones. One reason why people picked arms is the rampant corruption in the country, and the tendency of worshiping individuals which amounts to personality cult rather than resorting to rule of law.
This culture was developed and institutionalized during liberation days as a result of lack of political and social orientations as Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba would have put it. Such people thought they are invincible and above the law looting public resources at will. We have one of the most primitive corruptions in the world. In fact calling it corruption is lenient, we should name it daylight “robbery” or looting. For example, some people for the virtue of being related to the president siphoned off millions of dollars at the full watch of the government.
Monthly salary for the army, police, and civil servants would literally disappear without clear justifications, when indeed the budget has been passed paving way for payment of the wages. In 2014 for example, former state’s Director General of finance and his associates pocketed salaries meant for teachers in Northern Bar Elghazal State, the reason being that the teachers were perceived to be rebel sympathizers, no investigation was done, and the case was never mentioned again.
For God’s sake, where is the connection between eating someone salary and the support for the rebels? In some extreme cases, those who just took office within one year would buy or construct houses worth millions of dollars. If you reconcile the amount used in constructing those houses with the salary one gets, both cannot much even if such person works for 50 years.In addition the mistreatment of those perceived to be related to those in rebellion and those alleged to be sympathetic with rebels’ course, force others to quickly join rebellion. For example, one of our comrades was jailed for 5 months. The reason being that his brother is a rebel; he then joined rebellion in protest. In countries where rule of law prevails, there is no connection whatsoever between the accused and his relatives. One cannot be held liable for his relative misdeeds. South Sudan is operating with jungle laws with complete disregard to constitution’s provisions.It is my submission that the inability of the Government to deliver much needed services to the people coupled with individual’s overnight landing to riches is a recipe for rebellion. If it is true that the national income of south Sudan stood at staggering 5 billion dollars per annum before the war broke out on 15 December 2013, and given the low population in the country, then, why was it difficult to deliver social and economic infrastructures? If the above figure was anything to go by, each and every south Sudanese would bag a sizeable share of his/her money if it was to be distributed per head.
The gap between the rich and the poor isgapping wide and it needs selfless nationalist to turn things around. Need we to tell the government that the citizens have lost confidence in it? Majority of south Sudanese are wallowing in poverty when minority privileged few are living large. The war raging in the country is a register of vote of no confidence in the President and his government and they must know that they have failed the entire country. The precious lives lost during struggle for independence are a waste and have been betrayed by their comrades.In a nutshell, the country will never be exorcised of rebellion if government does not right those grievances mentioned above and set the country on right gear of development. Development does not come on its own but as a result of hard work by the citizens ridding in free atmosphere devoid of economic, social and political suppression and adhering to other important universal inalienable rights such as respect for human lives and freedom of speech among others.
It is responsibility of the government to make sure such environment prevails. It is high time PresidentKiir and his men learn that country is bigger than individuals. Nowhere except in south Sudan where culture of corruption is rewarded with promotions. The most corrupt individuals are identified and promoted to continue looting; in effect it is actually a crime not to engage in corruption. If the Government continues rewarding corruption, embezzlement,fraudulence, thievery and money laundry, the arm rebellion will be the appropriate response. The two are inextricably intertwined. The only remedy is returning the country to rule of law.Peter Mabior Riiny is deputy chairman for SPLM youth League. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org