Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 2 March 2018

Why President Kiir has forgiven Riek Machar twice


By Deng Kur Deng Pennsylvania

When a South Sudanese reflects on the intensity of unrest in the country before and during the civil war that gave birth to the country’s independence, we see that many of our leaders took a path that inflicted a heavy hand on their own people with disastrous results.

Among our liberators, were those who took leadership as a contrivance to carry out unimaginable crimes on their own people.

Even so, what keeps us united as South Sudanese are those who see our unity as a way of defeating our collective enemy—the Sudanese government in the North Sudan. As a member of the SPLM/A, our hope was complex, but we were very determined about what we were dreaming of. However, what has always distorted the collective determination of the South Sudanese was a known few whose selfish agendas contradicted our just cause.

Complicit in this distortion of our struggle and achievements is Dr. Riek Machar and his dependence men, whose level of thinking have not granted us unity, security, rights, and equal values of citizenship. Many of the like-minded have benefited greatly from secession from Sudan; yet, the people on whom they inflicted unbearable wounds did not benefit from an autonomous South Sudan. Isn’t this unfair?

Consequently, the people have no choice but to stand with those who value our suffering and willingness to stick to our cause—fighting for equal citizenship. Among the principal leaders who have set examples, in terms of forgiveness, are Dr. John Garang de Mabior and Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, as well as citizens who have family members whose lives were cut short by greed and self-interest. Our struggle was brought to a stand-still, and nearly dismantled, by these very unfair minded leaders.

Gen. Salva Kiir has always been restrained and has given Riek, Taban, Lam Makol, and many others forgiveness and a chance to help our people to benefit, unite, and confront our enemy. Unity of our people is crucial and President Salva has seen it. This very initiative continues to bring the South Sudanese people together, irrespective of where they are located. This is imperative to us all.

This is an ingenious technique by our leaders to maintain what brings us together over what divides us. As you and I very well know, Riek and numerous dependent individuals have done many wrong things, including causing numerous deaths, which have shredded families.

This happened not just once, but twice under the leadership of Riek Machar. However, for our people to reclaim what brings us under one goal—a united people of South Sudan—our leaders, particularly President Salva Kiir, have seen the significant and more noteworthy for the betterment of our people—forgiveness at it best.

Sadly . . . think about this for a minute . . . the decision taken under the leadership of the President, and those around him, appeared to sway from the facts, when we know that the people deserve to be treated equally. Look at the case of Agou John Wuoi—a young man and one of many young leaders anticipated and willing to do his share to achieve the goals for this country we love so dearly. Looking at the future of Agou, I am very confident in saying this young man has a future and I am proud to say so because of his willingness to do well.

Agou is well-educated and well prepared to tackle head-on many life challenges. Unfortunately, the President has not utilized his readiness to reflect and to make a generous decision to give this young man a second chance—like what His Excellency has already declared for those who have wronged us for the longest time.

Agou has not killed a single South Sudanese, but Riek Machar and his dependence have claimed numerous lives our people. That is a big difference, and he might be coming back soon for another position—leading these very people.

The President has invested in those who have already inflicted enough damage on the people, unlike Agou who clearly made a mistake. What he did is something that is not fully confirmed to be a crime because all the facts are not in place. Also, the way the facts were displayed I feel has contradicted the justice system at large.

It is unlawful to keep a young man jailed when real criminals are roaming the streets and holding dignified offices of the very people they have hurt time and time again. Those who are meant to be demonized further are given more leverage to carry out their usual tactics—to harm our people more and drastically. This, in and of itself, is unacceptable. Our President is aware of this existent fact.

It is potentially relevant to recognize mistakes and the continued inhumanity inflicted on our people and compares it to those who are not known for creating chaos, which many South Sudanese have always known to be associated with Riek. It would be more meaningful for the president to understand and rework his decisions about those who are hurting us and those who are not.

Agou John Wuoi is outside this perimeter of anything involving killing, nor is there anything associating him with such a mindset.

If Kiir forgave Machar, with all he committed with the help of those who are like-minded, there should at least be full appreciation and forgiveness for those to whom the President fought. They should be given a chance; through the same level of forgiveness we have seen when a politician or general takes up arms against their own people. This culture of subjecting good citizens and leaving the bad guys in place should be what we must collectively reject as people.

With these reasons in mind, the president should at least know Agou John is not a threat to anyone. Therefore, we look forward to his pending forgiveness by the president, the way he forgave Machar.

The author can be reached at: pananyangajak@gmail.com

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