By Mabior Garang De Mabior
(Thessherald)–I appreciate all the messages of congratulations which have been pouring in for the last few days. However, I doubt we will achieve anything. In fact I am being set up to fail.
I was going to turn down the portfolio but after many Comrades pleaded with me, I decided to take up the post. My position remains the same despite accepting to participate in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU);
We should congratulate ourselves when we free our citizens from the refugee camps and the Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDP) camps.
It is difficult to fathom how after eight (8) months of the pre-interim plus two (2) extensions we have not been able to implement Security Arrangements, we would suddenly find the will to implement them in the next thirty-six (36) months. There are even more critical tasks to be addressed during this Interim Period. We should have started our work in the Ministries after disarmament of civilians, demilitarization of Juba and other major towns and so on. If the C-in-C is against change, there is little we can do. Furthermore, the intransigence of our partners in peace is well documented.
It is also difficult to fathom how the R-TGONU will survive beyond six (6) months before it implodes under it’s own weight; five (5) VPs, thirty-five (35) Ministers, nine (9) D/Ministers, five hundred and fifty (550) MPs, thirteen (13) Governors with their Ministers, MPs, Commissioners. Then there is the Public Service and the Organized Forces. Where will we get money to sustain this huge machine?
The oil prices have dropped to a new low and the donors will not fund a government run by the same sanctioned financial criminals. It is the same on the IO side; with some of the people who have looted the National Pre-transition Committee (NPTC) money during the eight (8) months pre-interim – plus two extensions – are among the IO appointees. There is not a single provision of the Agreement which has been implemented.
It has instead continuously been dismantled from the day it was signed. If we are not using the Agreement as our road map for the peace process, how will we arrive at peace? The SPLM-IO has surrendered and all we have done is legitimize the status quo for another 3 years – within which the hardliners, most of whom have returned on the regime’s ticket – will precipitate another conflict. The seeds of intercommunal violence are all over and will not take much for it to be politicized into tribal war.
I am only going to Juba because of the popular demand for my return. I will help our people see the realities on the ground and continue to speak truth to power. With the political appointment, I will capture some attention and use it to capture the imagination of the public. I will not go to Juba with the delusion that I will be able to change things in any grand way. It is not a matter of plugging the right people into positions.
I will do what I can within the constraints of what we are calling a unity government and resign if we fail to implement the security arrangements in the next eight (8) months- something which should have been completed before we start our work.
I am certain that the regime will not implement the Agreement, or President Salva Kiir would have cut his losses and implemented Chapter II – Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements. It is not the Deputy Minister of Interior – as an individual – who will bring peace from his home. This idea is a continuation of the untenable status quo and countless Ministers have been set up to fail in this way.
It is mischief!
There is still an uphill struggle before us to implement the negotiated peace settlement. It is the only way we can bring about fundamental change in our country. We must all be part of the peace process and all Junubeen – South Sudanese in vernacular – must be part of this and are indeed stakeholders in this peace. The SPLM-IO cannot do it alone, the SPLM-IG cannot do it alone, SSOA cannot do it alone, FDs cannot do it alone; the Ministry of Interior alone will not bring peace, there is no single movement great enough to bring peace on its own. Nothing short of the full implementation of the Agreement in letter and in spirit will bring peace. The current peace Agreement we are struggling to implement is an opportunity for our civil population to rise up – in a non-violent way – to assert their hard won independence. An uprising out of abject poverty and the brutal status quo, a political uprising and not a violent revolution.
Mabior Garang de Mabior is a senior member of the SPLM IO and newly appointed Minister in the Transitional Government of National Unity.