By Mabior Garang de Mabior
May 12, 2020 (Thessherald)–those questioning the status of the allocation of States should understand that the entire Agreement is in question, not just the issue of the States. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) – wittingly or unwittingly – went to Juba to implement the Agreement before the critical tasks related to the pre-transitional period had been implemented, namely Security Arrangements.
It is worthy to note; however, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) went to Juba under immense international diplomatic pressure. Instead of fast tracking the peace process, this opened a “Pandora’s Box” – as it were.
If our partners in peace – the SPLM/SPLA (IG) – had made peace a non-zero-sum game, it might have been progressive. The tragic reality is the power elite have made peace a zero-sum game and to them it means maintaining the barbaric status quo in our country, which has prevailed since the days of colonialism and the slave trade.
The implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit would dismantle this state of affairs, which is the industry of the traditional elites.
The latest violation of the Agreement is the unilateral allocation of States by the so-called Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU). Our civil population must understand that the establishment of the R-TGONU does not mean formation of government.
This has not yet been completed. The current regime in Juba has in reality weaponized the R-TGONU and is using it as a tool to dismantle the very Agreement we claim to be implementing.
Instead of expediting the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement – the only way to ensure radical reforms to the brutal system – the R-TGONU has become a mechanism for dismantling the Agreement by voting. It is an open secret that the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and the Former Detainees (FDs) have been divided by the regime, with a component voting in line with the interests of the regime.
In any vote – the Executive and the Legislative – the revolutionary forces in our country are outnumbered by the traditional elite who want to maintain the barbaric status quo.
This will be the Modus Operandi of the so-called R-TGONU. All decisions will be put to a vote at the level of the Presidency. This will ensure the smooth and timely dismantling of the Agreement in the name of democracy. It is the use of democracy to kill democracy, it would be brilliant were it not so tragic. With four VPs voting with President Salva Kiir and the enemy within being empowered by the regime through the trappings of power, we have our work cut out. In any case, the implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit remains the only way for our civil population to enjoy their embezzled peace dividends.
As we face the threat of the current global pandemic, we should take this time of social distancing and isolation to educate ourselves about the provisions of the Agreement. The greatest weapon of the traditional elite is our ignorance of thesd provisions, while the reforms are the most sophisticated weapons of the revolutionary forces.
The formation of the R-TGONU is not peace in and of itself, but a tool which can be used to bring radical reforms – which will then bring peace. The International community and the region in particular, have done all they can within the constraints of their national interests and international diplomacy. All that is left for them to do is “condemn in the strongest terms”, which will not solve our problems. We must understand that nobody is coming to save us, we must either save ourselves or perish.
The Transitional period and the work of the R-TGONU must be understood as the transformation of the struggle to a non-violent form. As our late Chairman – Dr. John Garang – used to teach, we must transform military power into political power. We must transform our consciousness from that of armed struggle, to implementation of the negotiated settlement brought about by the armed struggle. If there is really peace in our country, we should test it. We should be able to assemble freely and excercise our civil rights and liberties in public spaces without let or hindrance.
Peace can neither mean repression nor the culture of silence through violence or the threat of it. The interim period – like the pre-interim period before it – is being used by the traditional power elite to continue their struggle to dismantle the reform agenda and maintain the untenable status quo. This should not come as a surprise.
We should instead organise ourselves and counter the mischief of the regime by organizing a robust political organization in Juba and throughout the ten States, which can engage in national mobilization for civic education ahead of the elections in three years.
Fellow South Sudanese,
The formation of the R-TGONU is not a magic potion which will suddenly end chauvinistic and tribalistic tendencies, as evidenced by the continuation of intercommunal conflicts in all the regions of our country. We must do the hard work of peace and this in itself is another struggle.
The traditional elite in our country will not end the brutal status quo – which is their livelihood – voluntarily. In order for the revolutionary forces to bring about fundamental change, it will take a struggle and the current Agreement is the best tool at our disposal as revolutionaries on all sides of the political divide to wage this struggle as a non-violent movement.
The formation of R-TGONU alone is not victory for our civil population – it does not mean “peace”. For the revolutionary forces in our country to be victorious, it would require winning the elections at the end of the three year interim period. If we make compromises as revolutionaries, we must make them in exchange for assured victory in the elections at the end of the interim period.
This is the only way we can successfully and peacefully dismantle the barbaric status quo and deliver the promise of the liberation struggle – the welfare and prosperity of our civil population. Anything short of this is surrender in disguise and outright betrayal of the aspirations of our peoples and an outright betrayal of the aspirations of our peoples.
A luta Continua!
The writer is South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Interior and the SPLM-IOChairperson of National Committee for Information and Public Relations.
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