South Sudan needs another transition as the state is crumbling, with almost no state at hand. The people, who were out-rightly in power up to 2013, were the ones who wildered the guns. The problems in the country are both political and tribal in all aspects. The matter which no one seems to acknowledge is the fact that the country faces a high illiteracy level thus beyond the president and his perennial enemy (Machar), there’s almost no other famous leader to lead the nation.
Even agitating for democracy to be practiced in such a country is a challenge because, civic education and generally the whole population to grasp that, might take years to take root. The population of the educated class in the country might be like a 2 million people compared to the over 11.8 million citizens in the country. To plant seeds of democracy in such a country is bound to fall in the hands of the few corrupt elite groups not to the citizens.
South Sudan was also declared haphazardly as the process to the independence. The five year transitional period was cut shot and indeed bound to cause conflicts amongst the many subjects. President Salva Kiir was never elected as president of South Sudan but rather a vice president to Gen. El-Bashir. Salva Kiir since then has kept power and ruling such a divided and decaying nation.
The political elites in Juba just took everything from the leaving Sudan regime which had nearly weak institutions in the south of the country. These masquerading elites took the oppressors role in Juba over the masses and the poor continue to suffer. Corruption has been another vice, the many elites in South Sudan, take on as their best way of survival not exactly working to develop country. Many people continue to suffer in abject poverty and the looming famine since 2013. This in one way fuels the problem.
Dr. John Garang’s death is another factor which can as well put light to this country’s problems its facing today. He was the all-embracing leader as all believed in him as the father of the nation. Salva Kiir who succeeded him has direct issues to do with the other tribes, leaders and even in the army. He’s such divisive and not a cause for unity just like the late Garang? That’s an impossibility due to the fact that, the Dinka people don’t believe in Riek Machar because is Neur just as the vice versa for Salva Kiir to the Nuer.
The US, Britain and Norway under the auspices of the Troika is hence the other to blame as well. In the aftermath of the Troika deal, the deal wasn’t inclusive. Those who had guns were the ones considered. The Troika rushed the Sudanese government to head into organizing the cessations’ of South Sudan. The government of Sudan after looking at what happened to Afghanistan and Iraq on what the US aggression there; they acted in fear and accepted to a peace deal with the SPLA and later the referendum. The push for this country therefore wasn’t more engrained with all parties in the state even at that. The SPLA was considered but remember that Machar’s white army just joined later in the formulation of a country. The Troika therefore is another to blame even though the SPLA was fighting to form this country.
The UN since 9th July 2011 has had over 7,000 UN army there. In 2013, the UN increased her army to 12,500 soldiers after the ethnic fighting and ensued civil war in December 2013. The UN soldiers are supposed to keep peace in South Sudan but the worst is that, they have failed on their work. They intended to protect the masses or the civilians but as for now, this has failed drastically. The bigger question as well is why these soldiers are still in this country? The international communities in this case are the ones to blame as their so-called solutions are rather never solutions.
Away from the blame of Kiir and his friend Machar, the international community has kept shifting goal-posts over what would be the solutions to the bubbling problems in this young country. The dilemma is that much of the promises were not fulfilled. In an interview with Aljazeera, Kiir observed the fact that, they signed the agreement on condition that, the assistance was to be given to the transitional government of national unity; a deal they signed last year; they were told to cut down government expenditure on the army yet Machar, was coming in with another bigger army over which expenditure will or might double. He said and confirmed that, he’s being treated like a child being what to do or to say!
When the journalist continued to ask who’s ordering him to do this and that? Kiir answered with a question like; where are you coming from? You’re the same people telling me to do this and that! This has plunged the country into confusion and the international community jump up and blame him! I can therefore, say that he even signed to an agreement which he even never agreed upon, no change of anything, not a sentence or a comma of that agreement. That was saddening to a leader who is seeking to lead a country into economic development yet the expected moral and financial support is not given since last year. Away from that, the dwindling international petroleum prices with the fact that Sudan is taking 20 cents per a barrel because of her pipeline, that’s much annoying.
Solutions to the problem: Both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar need to step aside so as elections are organized and other leaders are elected in office. The dilemma with this is that, much as we look at it as a solution, the divisions are firm into the tribal sentiments therefore, that must be a point of concern too. Kiir’s government has been bed-fellows with corruption, poor institutional development, and bad governance. Kiir must accept the fact of organizing national elections. South Sudan since her five years of independence has never had an elections, therefore is another African emerging dictator. With Machar, he must accept the fact that, he’s part of the political problem. The moment he was sacked by Kiir in 2013 as they were planning elections by Kiir, he went ahead to lead a rebel group which left many dead in the country.
The lopsided support and agreements as proposed by the IGAD presidents should be averted and re-discussed to allow both of them (Machar and Kiir) understand and sign later. Machar seems to have understood the earlier signed agreement but Kiir is the opposite of that! The IGAD members also have an obligation of supporting both of them not Kiir alone if at all there is need to achieve peace, support and organization of national elections. If IGAD has to send an army, then let all of them be in agreement not one alone.
Sensitization of the South Sudanese people can be a great solution for the democratic process to take root in the near future. A new peace accord therefore is a major priority than, the one signed by both Kiir and his friend. Both men do not agree on understanding the August 2013 peace deal they both signed. Countries like Uganda, trying to support the current regime is digging another grave mistake. History tells us that, after war, democracy isn’t a solution to these troubled nations. Uganda is one country which can demonstrate this as in 1979-80 wars and again before and after 1986. A peace-building mechanism is needed to be in place before the wild dreams of democracy in South Sudan.