South Sudan (SSB) – The world is waking up to the realities of South Sudan now that a multiplicity of voices are beginning to come out boldly to condemn the kleptocratic dictatorship in Juba.
The tormented people of South Sudan have been held hostage and have for so long been the victims of a vicious and lethal power struggle between the country’s tribal elite. Totally incapable of creating a common identity, ethnic politics not foreign to Africa, continues to plague the various groups in this young nation.
At the centre of it all is the fact that the genesis of many of the problems facing the nascent state of South Sudan have for a very long time remained poorly understood by the rest of the world and that is the case with the famine that is about to compromise the very existence of the infant country.
The Famine in South Sudan has been proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been devised and effected by the political military dictatorship which is the Government in Juba. It is a man-made catastrophe that can be undoubtedly attributed to three major causes:
The continuous free-grazing of cattle in peoples farms. Heavily armed Cattle keepers roam freely grazing their cattle on people’s farms thus discouraging production; Food-aid became a cheap substitute for local food production in many parts of the country. Thirdly, the government has not initiated any policy intervention to address the above or to encourage food production in South Sudan.
Undisputable evidence has emerged to prove that the despotic regime in Juba created what is now considered one of the worlds’ worst current humanitarian catastrophes. Much worrying is President Kiir’s premeditated willingness to exploit this grave situation to supplement and possibly sustain its war efforts against her own people.
The regime’s decision to turn the entire humanitarian effort headed by the international community to provide food assistance to the thousands south Sudanese already dying of hunger, into fund raising exercise to boost its staggering war economy by introducing the so-called revised work permit fee of $ 10,000 dollars per foreign aid worker is the most evil of policies any country has yet come up with while faced by such a cataclysmic man-made famine that is likely to render 5.3 million (half of the country’s population) food insecure.
In a situation where the government continuous to prioritize its war efforts above everything else, including the provision of food to its famine stricken population, the onus is on the international community to tread the delicate path of providing any food aid to the starving population while maintaining at the back of its mind that this effort is prone to abuse and can practically be abused by the type of government currently in Juba. In fact, while the international community continue to provide humanitarian aid to the needy, Kiir continues to purchase more weaponry to use against the people of South Sudan.
The other equally dangerous trap that the international community should pay attention to is the possibility that the despotic regime will try to frustrate the UN led humanitarian efforts to alleviate the negative impacts of this famine through the provision of food aid. No part of this food aid should be allowed by omission or commission to fall in the hands of the government’s military and security apparatus, which will then be used only to feed the government’s armies and allied tribal militias to carry on with the war of displacement, human rights abuses, pillage etc.
Reports coming from the north-eastern parts of the country suggest an ongoing demographic engineering in which the victims of the war are further being denied any humanitarian food aid.
In the county of Wau Shilluk in Northern Upper Nile, government soldiers carried out a scorched earth policy using MI-24 attack helicopter gunships fighters to displace the indigenous Chollo community. The government then moved in thousands of pro-government Dinka families into Wau Shilluk to pose as the true inhabitants of the county with the aim of receiving the Food Aid that’s being is being dropped into the area.
These are wicked acts by a regime much focused on using whatever it can perfect the premeditated plan of ethnically cleansing other communities that it perceives as enemies and thus not worth any chance to survive! Unfortunately, all these are taking place in the very eyes of the representatives of the International Community.
In the southern most parts of the country, the government and its tribal militias have burned down entire villages, displacing whole towns and yet the world seems paralyzed by its own narrative and lack of political will to act. The Equatoria region extending from Magwi in the east, across the Yei River region and the whole of the Greater Western Equatoria region has long been known as the bread basket of the country. How on earth are we to explain the irrational actions of a tribally oriented government that fails to acknowledge that it was by its very actions the one responsible for the famine within its borders.
Given the fact that this famine in manmade and precisely government made, it will never be a straight forward exercise while the same government sits put in Juba for the international community to come and rectify the situation even if they were to have all the needed funds just at the blink of an eye.
One would like to believe that the aim of the International Community’s attempts to ferry food into South Sudan is to prevent more people from dying of hunger. However, what should not missed is the very fact that even if just for argument’s sake that the international community finds all the necessary funds and was able to guarantee that food reaches each and every hungry South Sudanese, the chances are that those saved from sure death due to famine will still be killed by the marauding government soldiers and militias who until something drastically happens will never stop killing as a part of the already declared government policies of ethnic cleansing, slow scale genocide and of course the malicious population engineering.
The way forward is to see South Sudan flourishing under a new federal, secular and democratic system of governance that will responsibly administer the country and work hand in hand with all the 64 ethnic groups to quickly realize a peaceful, stable, and prosperous country.
The 2015 Agreement for Resolution of the Conflicts in South Sudan (ARCISS) is long dead but a great deal of lessons has been learned. The agreement contained very crucial articles that are still representative of issues to address if the country is ever to be salvaged from this quagmire.
One such important aspect of the ARCISS is the part that stresses the way to address impunity through hybrid courts. The others are the wider and detailed reforms. With all the wrong elements brought to the book, South Sudan could then find itself on a new path of stability, democracy, rule of law and prosperity.
The author is the National Salvation Front (NAS) Spokesman in the United Kingdom. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @NasSpokesman
This report prepared by Warille B. Warille for PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers