Guya Scopas Bethuel, Syracuse NY – The past few days, congratulations preceded celebrations across South Sudan. For those who are quick, perhaps the cake has been cut, eaten, even no longer in the stomach. Only the leftover glucose may be stored in the liver and muscles after throwing away the dancing shoes.
While social media platforms, mobile phone numbers, and newspapers are awash with congratulatory messages, an equal number are disappointed in the leadership of the country, that they see no one worthy of congratulations.
Regardless, South Sudanese have suffered enough since 1956 immediately after the independence of Sudan from the British or Anglo-Egyptian rule. The struggle for social, political, and cultural rights started.
Resistance against the Islamisation of the majority Christian South started following independence. The resistance against marginalisation started. These resistances turned armed in nature. Every one of them gave birth to the following until the 1983 Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army led by the late Dr. John Garang De’Mabior.
Garang’s war of liberation took 2 decades. A negotiated Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Naivasha, Nairobi brought an end to the war. Subsequently, South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for independence, and there it was. In 2011, independence was declared. However, it was short-lived. SPLM leadership decided to plunge the country back into war in 2013 due to internal power wrangle.
Whether or not armed revolutionaries make good politicians is a debate for you who is reading to ponder. The fact is that these leaders turned exactly like the leaders in Sudan whom they fought against for 2 decades.
Since the war in 2013, the chase for a share of the national cake started. First, a peace agreement was negotiated, the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) in 2015. Its implementation failed when a war broke out at the capital between the two principles in 2016.
In 2018, the agreement was revitalised. It was baptised the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS). It is a five-chapter peace agreement.
However, its implementation has been slow. So many key provisions not implemented according to the timeline including the security arrangement which has not been implemented at all.
There are reports of the joint army deserting training grounds due to lack of food. Not forgetting other components of the security arrangement.
Therefore, some sort of stability is welcomed. The formation of the national and state governments is expected to provide that stability.
Many young men and women got appointed into majority state governments. It is a demonstration of goodwill to open political participation to young people. But little should be expected from these young people.
There’s no doubt they are more educated and expose to the world than the old men and women who liberated us. But our society hardly empowers young people. It’s going to be gradual.
Secondly, some of these young men and women were tasted in their student’s leadership in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Khartoum and Egypt and they were awful. Corruption, tribalism and lack of ideas were widespread in their leaderships across these neigh-boring countries.
Ultimately, these are good steps toward a more democratic country where elections become the means to assuming power rather than guns, where the rule of law exists.
With the national and state governments formed, let the people get to work even with the minimal resources available. The National Transitional Legislative Assembly has got to be formed including at the states.
Preparations for elections due 2023 have got to start. This means key legislations such as the Political Parties Act, National Elections Act among others need to be done.
No matter the situation, a return to war shouldn’t really be the option. The principles leaders must do anything within their means to steer this peace agreement to the end. We are tired. We can’t continue to live like in the 50s while the rest of the world is living in 2021.