By Sabrino Majok Majok
February 16, 2014 - When Dr. Riek Machar staged a planned and coordinated coup on December 15, 2013, majority of South Sudanese were baffled and bewildered because the Republic of South Sudan was just two years’ old after attaining her independence. Understandably, the astonishment was a result of high hopes and expectations from citizenry who struggled and sacrificed dearly for decades to finally attain their freedom and liberty. The people of South Sudan were concerned that the failed coup would drag the country into unnecessary war and suffering. Rightly so, in the aftermath of failed coup, many towns and villages were erased to the ground, thousands of civilians were butchered in cold blood, and incalculable property looted or destroyed by rebels mostly in Greater Upper Nile State: a betrayal of worst kind in the history of South Sudan.
This is in addition to sharpened appetite to weaken the Republic of South Sudan by the so called supper powers and the off shoot, the UN, under the pretext of “maintaining,” peace to the country. To date, the international community is silence about carnage and destruction caused by rebels in Bentiu, Bor, Malakal, Bailiet, Akobo, Jalle, and Kolnyang, just to name but a few. This unusual indifference is shocking, to say the least, A question worth asking is, were those butchered in cold blood not fellow human-beings? Why is UN and International community maintaining silence over these unwarranted and disheartening atrocities?
It must be made absolutely clear here that South Sudanese blamed coup plotters and their foreign agents for attempting to shoot down the dream for peace and nation building and provision of economic and social services to the people.
Despite unfortunate crisis imposed on South Sudanese, hopes for peaceful and prosperous country must always be kept alive. Indeed, the government and people of the Republic of South Sudan should not allow the dear country to shatter before their own eyes but to urgently strategize ways and means of engendering strength and courage in order to harness confidence within the communities. And together, embark on peace and State building mechanisms without delay. To succeed, however, government and people of South Sudan must reject mounting rebels’ and interest group’s underhand pressures which are geared toward implementation of foreign agenda which is contrary to the interests for which two decades war was fought and won through CPA in 2005.
Safeguarding the Republic of South Sudan, therefore, calls for practical steps to ward off rebels and aliens’ conspiracies against the government and people of South Sudan:
First, government and people of South Sudan must ensure that Riek Machar and foreign agents’ manipulation and conspiracies to destroy the country are nipped in the bud so that people’s aspirations are realized sooner than later. To do this, government should institute coordinated and parallel strategies to address challenges caused by the rebels and their allies; namely, intensification of military offensive and formulation of a robust strategy on future negotiated political settlement. The former should be applied if the rebels continue to violate agreement on “Cessation of Hostilities,” signed on January 23rd, 2014 between the Government of South Sudan and rebels in Addis Ababa. The latter, however, should be a continuous process with support from South Sudanese true and creditable allies worldwide.
Second, the government should make it categorically clear to international community that the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign nation and should be treated as such. This means that all laws of the land must be respected. And that any attempt to side step these laws must not be tolerated whatsoever.
A recent concerted campaign by foreign agents on the release of seven former political detainees was a flagrant infringement into South Sudanese legal system. It has to be mentioned here that the former detainees’ released to the custody of Kenyan Government was achieved through undue pressure from supposedly allies of South Sudan, particularly the US, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Admittedly, pro detainees won the case over the government and people of South Sudan who argue to the contrary. Furthermore, Kenyan Government, together with its allies, has out rightly violated the terms on which the former detainees were released by allowing them to travel to Ethiopia. The said term stipulates that the detainees would only be in the custody of Kenyan Government inside Kenya without exception until they are fully cleared of all charges. Therefore, former detainees’ departure from Kenya to Ethiopia is another sad victory of suspected coup plotters and their allies. “The devil must be given its due!”
Third, the next looming conspiracy is aliens’ relentless effort to secure the release of the remaining principal four coup plotters; namely, Pagan Amum Ukiech, Oyai Deng Ajak, Majak D’Agoot and Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth. If South Sudanese’ false allies succeed to release them, God forbids, then it will be a third bitter victory against government and people of South Sudan. Should these four coup plotters win their release any time soon, Riek Machar will definitely capitalize on his theory that what happened on December 15, 2013, was not a coup but was “only a political crisis within SPLM Party.” And majority of uninformed South Sudanese will believe his story since no one has been held accountable of coup attempt.
Riek Machar and foreign agents’ misinterpretation of facts surrounding the failed coup on December 15, 2013 is worrisome if not taken seriously by Government and people of South Sudan. Otherwise, government and people of South will always fall victims in the hands of rebels and foreign allies, a move likely to threaten national security and sovereignty in mid- and long-term.
So, an immediate rejection of rebels’ and foreigners’ conspiracies against constitutionally and democratically elected government is a right thing to do now.
Sabrino Majok Majok is member of SPLM Party. He is available at email@example.com.