South Sudanese can sometimes be excused in many things because the country is new and its institutional strength is weak. However, it’s good to note that human beings are rational entities and being credibly logical is expected of everyone. Being rational doesn’t require a country to have been independent, or to have been a democracy, for centuries.
It has become apparent that neither the government of South Sudan nor the rebels under Riek Machar can be trusted. They all lie with a flamboyant blitz!
While the voices and faces that’re made to convey the messages in both camps are, to a given extent, mere vessels of the forces behind them, it’s good to note that spokespersons are not mere automatons. They are humans. They have to know that they are the conveyers and custodians of the horrors Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir have brought to this young nation.
Philip Aguer Panyaang, the SPLA spokesperson and Lul Ruai Koang, the rebels’ spokesperson, act as protectors of President Kiir’s desire to remain in power as long as he wants and of Riek’s desire to ascend to power by ‘all means necessary!’
Colonel Philip Aguer Panyaang lies for the government in a very illogical and consistent manner. Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang has a very imaginative lies processing capacity. All just for Riek Machar to get what he wants.
And to top it up with their don’t-care attitude, President Kiir and Dr. Machar don’t give a rat’s foot about the civilians. They can only sign the peace agreement if only they get what they WANT: POWER!
After getting what he wanted in the would-be peace agreement in Addis Ababa, President Kiir signed both the Cease Fire Agreement implementation matrix and the Agreement leading to formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). However, Riek refused to sign the agreement papers because the agreement put him on the receiving end. Machar only opted to sign the Cease Fire agreement implementation matrix.
President Kiir loses nothing in this agreement. His door is open to take part in the next general elections; he keeps puppet, Wani Igga as his Vice President and also has an authority as to who is selected as the Prime Minister by SPLM-in-Opposition.
Riek Machar on the other hand has a difficult choice. If he chooses to be the Prime Minister then he’s illegible to contest the next general elections after the Transitional Period. If he chooses someone else to be the Prime Minister and Kiir still remaining the president, then his chances of winning the next election are close to impossible. Kiir would use his resources to make sure that he prepares the way for his re-election.
Riek is therefore in a tough spot and refusing to sign the agreement will reflect him as the one prolonging the war and this could open the way for sanctions against his group. Tough luck, doc!
To make the matters worse for Riek Machar, his commanders on the ground, the likes of Peter Gatdet, are not making things any easier for him.
Peter Gatdet, against all available human logic, warned UNMISS that he’d shoot any plane that passes through his territory. Now a UN chopper ‘crashes’ in the same area Gatdet controls. It would be logical to assume that Gatdet just fulfilled his promised. Even if the investigation is to still to be done for the cause of the crash to be determined, one can’t blame much the people accusing the rebels.
Would you blame the government for exploiting Gatdet’s mischievous warnings? Logically No! Factually? Maybe yes!
The rebels need to control both what their commanders say and do. The rebels are shooting themselves in the foot.
This, of course, doesn’t mean the government couldn’t have done it. While it would be a wild imagination to say that the government forces shot it down knowing that Gatdet had said he’d shoot down UN plane, to set up rebels, it’s good to remember that the government forces control Bentiu and they are in the area and they’ve been recently involved in clashes with the rebels.
So why would it be the rebels that shot down the chopper (if it was indeed shot down) and not the government forces?
What the SPLA spokesperson, Colonel Philip Aguer said is what we always expect him to say: “They did it!” The same thing applies to the rebels. Rebels’ spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Rual Koang, denied the accusation like he’s always done: “We didn’t do it!”
With such attitude of these two camps, how can one really expect South Sudan to be peaceful? It’s lies after lies and greed for power. Can one blame the two spokesperson? Maybe note! However, they have to think about their role in the current tragedy even if the lies they tell and the greed for power comes from above them.
Is anyone surprised that Kiir signed both documents but Riek didn’t? You’d be sleeping if you are surprised!