By Deng Atak Ken, Curtin University, AustraliaMy beloved South Sudanese people around the world I think the time has come for our president Mr. Kiir Mayardit to step aside and give a chance to someone else to lead the nation into the different path because the country is no longer moving forward instead it is killing its vulnerable peoples every day. A nation needs a new leader with fresh blood, deferent attitude, different approaches and different thinking and knows precisely what it takes to reunite the land and built a healthy economy.
President Kiir has done a lot, and he should be proud of what he did since he joined the movement up to the independence of the country. President Kiir ladies and gentlemen for those who don’t know him he is a man of peace and principle. He fought harder at the struggle time, and he never rebelled against the movement.
Tomorrow if South Sudan’s history will acknowledge Dr. John Garang, as a founder of the SPLM/SPLA, a champion of CPA and father of the nation than Kiir will be acknowledged as a diligent leader who guided his people successful in difficult circumstance toward the independent and sovereign state. These are significant achievements, therefore, the history won’t abandon them, but the real question is did president Kiir lead South Sudanese people into developing, a prosperous, peaceful, democratic and stable country in this competitive twenty-first century?
Why Mr Kiir failed to be a good president at the promise land
My fellow South Sudanese people, Since we had our beautiful and magnificent nation in 2011, president Kiir started to be inconsistent in whatever, he said and what he does leave a lot of South Sudanese without a choice but to lost faith and moral in his new government from its early days. Mr President demonstrated clearly to so many South Sudanese people, and myself included that apart from speeches and assumed that he been liked by so many South Sudanese people he has nothing to offer to the citizens. That’s absolutely disgraceful! Speeches have to be followed by action, respecting the nation’s constitution and good work. Mr Peter Drucker once said, “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”
However, for those who think that president failed to be a good leader in 2013. They’re entirely wrong, and they should check their records because his failure started since 2011 after he appointed his first ministerial government and promised the entire nation that his ministers will deliver services to the people. And also shall work hard to ensure that reflections are seen regarding improvement in service delivery to the citizens of the new country. And that should take place according to him within 100 days.
So regarding education, He promised that within 100 days his new government will build 30 new primary schools and four new secondary schools will be under construction for South Sudan as a new country. Within 100 days of the new government he made it clear that he will make sure that 600,000 children are vaccinated against deadly diseases, including measles, particularly in the four states of Unity, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Warrap and Upper Nile, plus construct 100 small healthcare centers within the first year of his first Government.
Within 100 days of the new government also he promised that two roads and two airstrips will be opened in Unity and Warrap state. The repairs of Juba Bridge and the construction of a new bridge on the Nile donated by the Government of Japan will get underway. The rehabilitation of our roads will be in process, three in Eastern Equatoria State, Warrap and the Pagak-Mathiang road in Upper Nile.
The president went further and proved to many people, how good he is in term of promising and unfortunate at the time of delivery? When he promised that his government will establish 50 new police stations located throughout the country, will be opened and he knew deep down there that nor he or his ministers will deliver these to the people. He also added that two prisons will also be completed, within the first 100 days of his new government. To me, these were incredible promises and plan, which provided so many hopes and optimism to a lot of South Sudanese who are so desperate to see those services reached them within one hundred days as the president put it. But the question is what happened next after the enormous promises?
From that time until now we didn’t just pass one hundred days, but we moved six years and with zero achievements! To make the matter worst, there is no proper explanation from his Excellency on why he couldn’t deliver what he said? He supposes to inform the public about all obstacles that prevent his administration to provide services to the people and if some of his ministers were found guilty or involved in any kind of corruption activities. Then they were supposed to be fire immediately after one hundred days not after two years because it won’t be relevant at all.
I am saying this because our president is slow to act and if he committed he does it to favor his own interest, not the nation. In another word, if the particular official government is corrupt and incapable of forming his/her duties but he/she shows his loyalty and allegiance to him to the extent that he/she is not interested in challenging him (Kiir) for the presidency. Than president Kiir won’t remove him even, he found out that people are asking for the removal of that corrupt official.
However, if he/she started to display any kind of personal dispute with the president then, he (Kiir) will fire him and tell the public that he did that because he/she is corrupt and a lot of people don’t like him. And he knew very well that people are scared of him and they won’t asked him, why he fired corrupt person right now even though he was corrupt long time ago?
Refusing neither to accept nor to reject the Abyei’s referendum was a massive mistake.
My beloved south Sudanese people, one of the things that confirmed that president Kiir failed to be a wise and bright leader, is when he refused to accept the 2013 Abyei’s referendum outcomes after people of Abyei voted overwhelmingly by 99.9 % to join South Sudan. That was unfortunate because people of Abyei was expecting the president to welcome their decision but regrettably president Kiir and his entire administration they refused even to say a single word regarding that referendum, and in my own opinion it was a political miscalculation by Mr Kiir Government because people of Abei they deserve better than that. He supposed to declare his acceptance to the outcomes of the results and let Khartoum government choose what it wants.
At least would be better if we entered into the war with the Republic of Sudan because of Abyei rather than the meaningless and senseless fighting we are doing right now. We will be able to confront the entire international community because of Abyei and the sanctions that are given right now to our officials by the USA because of our own unnecessary war it will be much better if that because of Abyei’s conflict. At least we will be proud of them and appreciate their effort and it would worth it according to me.
Now four years have passed, and they haven’t educated the public on how they are going to deal with this issue because SPLM as the party in charge of the country is too busy with their own meaningless war which they created just because of their own interests. My question is how long the Abyei referendum results will remain unsettled? People of Abyei they deserve an answer from Kiir’s government, and that shouldn’t take long.
President Kiir Inconsistent decision
According to my best knowledge, somebody in charge in high office like presidency shouldn’t make a decision without proper studies including consulting his advisers so that he makes sure he won’t change his mind tomorrow in whatever decision he made. Everyone knows that when the president speaks citizens are paying much attention and they take whatever, he says seriously. With that being said, I could tell that when the disputes started between our gallant forces and Sudan’s armies in the Heglig area.
President Kiir was under pressure from the international community to withdraw the South Sudanese army (SPLA) from that area after they defeated the Sudanese Army from Heglig. And in reacting to that president, Kiir told the entire world that he won’t withdraw his forces no matter what. That time all South Sudanese people were delighted with that brave decision because Heglig is in our territory and Sudanese claiming that area as belonging to them is baseless.
A few days later president Kiir changed his mind, and he indeed became under Ki-moon UN sectary general command after he gave in to pressure and ordered the withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops in Heglig. Due to that decision president, Omar al-Bashir later said his forces had retaken Heglig town and disregard the fact that soldiers were withdrawn by Kiir, leaving the entire public confused not knowing exactly what took place!.
Secondly, South Sudanese armies lost a lot of soldiers while they are withdrawing with their heavy weapons and Sudanese forces used that as a weakness point to launched attack against them while they were going back. That moment South Sudanese people lost enthusiasm and moral and started to question why all these dramas from us if we knew, will draw in the end? Some asked who is advising the president correctly to put the enter nation in this embarrassing situation?
In 2013 when disputes arose within his party president Kiir was confused, and he doesn’t know what to do. He was worried about his presidency more than anything else; therefore, letting the SPLM national convention took place smoothly as scheduled and elects their new leader than he will lose. Form that time He started to do things out of South Sudan constitution and SPLM party constitution, and he was struggling to differentiate between his role as a party leader and his role as a president of the country.
He also started to say something today and changed it tomorrow if he found that won’t help him to reclaim the SPLM leadership. For example, he told the public that SPLM as a party is closed and every member has to go back to his him town to be reelected. When he found too much criticism from majority of the SPLM members, he changed his mind silently.
Again when internal conflict turns violent in the same year, present Kiir arrested eleven ex-officials accusing them of plotting a coup against his government and he made a commitment not to release them under any circumstances. He even went further and said; ‘if I release them today who will be responsible for the people who lost their lives in this conflict? He asked. In some months later he released them and which was entirely in contrast to what he said! And I don’t know whether he found the person who will be asked about the lives lost?
In August 2015 he refused to sign a peace deal between him and Mr Raik Machar. And he mobilised people to support his decision. And because of that, we saw so many demonstrations in all South Sudan states defending his decision. In less than two weeks since he said he won’t sign the agreement, he shocks everyone including his government officials by changing his mind and signing the peace deal without informing the public why all these contradictions if he knew he will sign in the end?.
Regarding the arrival of the of UN strong protection forces, the scenario was the same he said no in the beginning and ‘big’ yes in the end. Moreover, in this year while addressing the members of the steering committee of the national dialogue, he said all South Sudanese oppositions are welcome to participate in this dialogue except DR Raick Machar. A few weeks later he sent the steering committee to South Africa to meet Dr Raik Machar who refused to meet the committee. What a mess!!!
The way Forward
My compatriots South Sudanese people we have to work hard to bring peace, stability, prosperity and devolvement to our own country. And forget about what so-called IGAD is doing at the moment because I have high, confident these countries they” will ever never” bring peace and stability to our country because they are not an independent insinuation. Therefore, we should know that those countries they don’t act on their own will but they wait for instructions somewhere else. It is disgusting because they expect until they were told to do this and that then they can start to move to avoid being put in the spotlight and be next victims.
They relied on someone who is greedy and doesn’t care about how desperate and horrible the situation of our country is. In another word, we will not have genuine peace in our country unless those who orchestrated the 2013 conflict got what they want. Than only than they will instruct IGAD to start talks about meaningful and productive peace in the country other than that forget about it.
With that being said I proposed that his Excellency the president of the republic to think twice about the people and the nation before himself and makes changes before he goes as the best way forward. So, President Kiir should prepare away for someone to take over. Because staying in power won’t help this horrific situation. In fact, it will serve the interest of those who are so desperate to put their hands on our natural resources if there are any.
Before he exists he has to make sure that there’s no party called “SPLM” in the country because this name is irrelevant at the moment with the new challenges the country are facing. Therefore, it should be put in the party’s museum if they have one. The SPLM has failed to liberate the whole Sudan as the reason and the primary objective, but it gave us our nation. Therefore, the SPLM should be changed after the independent straight away.
It has to be changed because is not giving any meaning at all because we don’t want to liberate Sudan anymore. I’m confident that people within SPLM party room are brilliant. Therefore, I don’t think it will be hard for them to come up with another name.
They should understand that despite that SPLM brought the independent into the people of South Sudan but it cannot devolve the country because it becomes a divided house and full of revenge between those used to be closed to late Dr Garden and those who stood with president Kiir the time he had a dispute with Garang.
The issue of unforgivable of 1991 and now we can add 2013 won’t stop and will keep rise again and again, and whenever it arises, it killed fragile people who have no clue about these issues. Our politicians they should come to their sense and realise that it is disgraceful and madness to see all party in the country started with the name SPLM before they added something else in the end!
The SPLM will find it hard to deliver services to the people because is overcrowded and full of hatred, division and revenge. For example, those who suffered and felt oppressed right now won’t let go if they become leaders of SPLM tomorrow. They will destroy those who are supporting Kiir right now in the end it is the weak citizens who will suffer and pay the hefty price of the process. God have Mercy on Us!
Lastly, my message to those who supported President Kiir and pretend to be considered as real nationalists they should know that we all like president Kiir but enough is enough the man has done a lot and I think the time has come for him to take some rest. The president has reached the level that he cannot deliver even what he said. And he keeps making inconsistence decisions that make everyone sick every time he steps up. The supporters should know that the more we keep president Kiir, the more we worried about the future of the country.
We could not afford the president who can inform the public if he appointed committees to investigate any dispute within the country but cannot give feedback to the people whatever, the results of that committee reached. For example, when there were disputes in my own state he formed a committee and sent it to Aweil, but we didn’t hear the outcomes from the committee until now. He did the same in Wau situation, Jonglei state and etc.
We cannot afford the president who is silent with security brutality in the country, instead of telling the so called national security to stop this inhumanity against their own people. Again we cannot afford a president who can breach the nation’s constitution just to serve and accommodate his personal interest and implement part of the law which can oppress his opponents.
For example, he fired governors in 2013 which he felt they weren’t loyal to him and put whoever, he thought will serve his interest. According to our constitution, he is not entitled to fire any governor unless there is a security concern, with the election follow after 60 days for the people of that state to elect their own governor, not the president but regrettably his not supporting that.
And that made me wondered if the president is not respecting the constitution how on earth he expects the opposition to respect it? We cannot afford the president who fired the entire government in 2013 when he found that they were no longer loyal to him. And he told the people in his public address that he fired them all because they were corrupted. Which makes me question if they were corrupted than what about you sir?