March 28, 2014- (JUBA) – South Sudanese citizens from the different ethnic groups may regard dialogue as a solution to the country’s conflict, but the proposed establishment of an interim administration has drawn mixed reactions.
- South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir speaks after meeting with Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir, in the capital Juba, South Sudan, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 (AP/ Ali Ngethi)
Sudan Tribune on Friday carried out sample interviews among citizens and government officials to get their view on how they felt these conflict could be amicably resolved.
Oyet Patrick, a member of the country’s ruling party (SPLM) from Eastern Equatoria state exclusively told Sudan Tribune on Friday that he does not envision a military victory on either side of the conflict, regardless of whatever capabilities existed.
“As member of the SPLM, war has never been a choice to advance democratic ideals. The SPLM as a historical party, fought against all forms and attitudes which undermines democracy and good governance. It would therefore be unwise for us in the SPLM to go against the very fundamental rights and the ideals which constituted the basis of our struggle”, said Oyet.
He wondered what structural reforms the opposition needed when they opted to take up arms against the very government, which had initiated reforms in accordance with public demands.
“I hear from our team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where talks have resumed that the rebels have started talking about reforms. What reforms are they talking about? I thought some of those talking about reforms took up arms against the government, particularly the leadership of comrade president Salva Kiir when introduced changes as part of the reform to response to the local and the international outcry about corruption and mismanagement”, Oyet observed.
He said meaningful reforms would only be achieve through dialogue, not gun barrels.
Patrick Adel Majut, a native from South Sudan’s Warrap state said proper reforms should relate to the executive powers and the independence of other institutions, minus any interference.
“I challenge people with ideas, especially those talking about reforms to come out clearly and say what they mean by the reforms and why it is necessary to form [an] interim government without President Salva. I need to be educated so that I understand. Maybe there is something I have not understood. The reforms being talked about could mean something different”, he said.
“There have been a lot of concerns not only about presidential powers but also presidential term limit. The Interim constitution of Southern Sudan which was ratified into the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan limits the presidential terms to only two terms but this was not clarified in the transitional constitution. The executive powers of the president are some of the concerns today”, added Majut.
South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, he further said, gives the country’s president powers to remove governors and dissolve state assemblies.
“This provision is being interpreted differently and it is the one causing all this confusion and conflict. Something must be done and I think this could be one of the areas where reforms are needed”, Majut told a youth gathering in the capital, Juba on Friday.
He however supported the country’s interim arrangement proposal, but said it should be established in accordance with laid down procedures that will usher in peace and stability.
Charles Shadrack Manyang, who hails from Lakes state, said an interim arrangement meant removing President Kiir from power and subsequently installing his ex-deputy, Riek Machar.
“From own analysis, I find that the interim arrangements we are discussing now simply mean installment of Riek Machar into the presidency by the western powers. Otherwise there is nothing else. The so-called reforms are basically reflective of the so-called six points of Riek Machar”, argued Manyang.
“Just do the assessment and see whether you will find issues which were raised by Riek Machar, like foreign policy, the economy and security reforms as well as structuring public services. There is nothing new”, he further stressed.
Sebit Abui, a youth leader from Lainya county in Central Equatoria state, interpreted the reform to mean all sort of structural reforms needed to improve the lives of South Sudanese, but stressed that its implementation required “visionary” leaders to avoid further unrest.
“The idea is not bad. It is good only that I see challenges in the implementation. The sort of structural reforms that the economy of this country needs are those likely to cause another social unrest if there is no visionary leadership to educate the public of the importance before being executed”, Abui told Sudan Tribune.
Meanwhile, Joseph Samuel, a native of Western Equatoria said radical reforms were urgently needed in the security sector and institutions, which deal with public resource management.
“It’s essential for economic reform to take place, but it depends whether the aim of the next government is political stability or economic reform. There is indeed a need for a visionary leader who would come and figure out how to reign in an ascendant security apparatus, and an isolated and often politically embarrassing judiciary”, Samuel said.
“The current army is not independent from politics. It is just like a coalition of tribal groups maintaining loyalty to their tribesmen. The event of the 15 December is a clear testimony of what kind of army we have”, he added.