Wednesday, May 4, 2022

*Is President Kiir a teetotaler or a complete...?

"Should Biar develop some tact and finesse in his activism?  Yes! Finesse and nuanced articulations are public relations necessities Biar must learn because focusing on Kiir’s personal failings creates distractions that move us away from important issues Biar discusses internationally and regionally."

Yes, I know, some of the things
Dr. Biar Ajak said during his appearance on Nairobi-based KTN News are not part of the activism many of us would recommend. Discussing President Kiir's public inebriation sounded like a conversation between two friends on the weekend over nyama choma and some beers at the comfort of their home.

 The Kenyan journalist sounded like a gossip not a journalist (Well, I don't know what being a "journalist" means these days! But that's beside the point!).

 Biar may have let the excitement of the moment carry him away. We must note, however, that Biar is always on point when it comes to the failures of the government in Juba even if we may not agree with how he articulates his positions.

 He is an activist not an opposition politician so his occasional overzealousness should be excused. We may perhaps suggest using filters when it comes to media appearances because "journalists" these days prioritize a good narrative over facts.

 It is difficult to know these days what is an opinion and what is a journalistic “this is what happened!” Even Journalists in world-class television programs and newspapers editorialize what should be a mere description of the old time, “what happened!”

 But there is a bright side to Biar's schadenfreude.

 This may sound silly, but this is a wake-up call for those around the president. Why does a man who is not even seventy walk like a hundred-year-old? Why does the president occasionally appear inebriated without his aides or advisors realizing that such unsavory appearances do not do justice to president's moral and political standing in South Sudan and in the region?

 I'm looking at the bright side of what Biar said for its practical importance. If you don't want Biar to say what he said then don't make the president appear the way he appeared in public.

 Are there people around the president who enjoy seeing the president inebriated and sickly? If the answer is "no" then why does this happened time and again?

 Those who care about Kiir Mayardit should now, I suggest, ensure that the president is protected from unsavory public displays.

 I've always said that President Kiir is being let down by those around him. The president is allowed to step out while looking either sickly or inebriated.

Biar and the KTN journalist may have been somewhat informal and tactless, but they discussed a FACT we can no longer ignore. Let's ensure that the president does not appear drunk in public instead of berating those pointing out that apparent fact. Biar wasn’t telling us what is merely inside Biar’s mind; it’s something we can all see.

If the president's advisors cannot protect him, then I think it's time for Kiir's children to protect their FATHER. Kiir's advisors make him sound and look like a fool. How is that support? How is that care? How is that respect? How is that patriotism?

In South[ern] Sudan first government website, President Kiir was described in his profile as a teetotaler. I thought it was strange that they needed to mention that on a government website. That they thought it was necessary to mention that on the government website raised a red flag for me because most of us know that President Kiir is not a teetotaller.

While I, like many of you, don't agree with Biar's schadenfreude at the expense of President Kiir, I think we need to redirect our attention and anger at Kiir's advisors because Biar is only an observer who is stating a fact with which we are all familiar.

Should Biar develop some tact and finesse in his activism?  Yes! Finesse and nuanced articulations are public relations necessities Biar must learn because focusing on Kiir’s personal failings creates distractions that move us away from important issues Biar discusses internationally and regionally.

 We must talk about possible solutions for inter-ethnic killings, deadly floods, hunger, economic stagnation, political incompetence, corruption, political intimidation, gender-based violence, child-marriage, bad schools, bad roads, bad hospitals, bad leadership…You get the point.

 As South Sudanese, we need to prioritize solutions rather than dwelling on problems with which most of us are familiar. Dwelling on problems without solutions is the reason why SPLM leaders failed South Sudanese.


* Kuir ë Garang is the editor of The Philosophical Refugee.

Monday, April 11, 2022

R-ARCISS is an obstacle to peace and stability not a solution


"R-ARCISS has become a problem that needs a solution. South Sudanese have wasted a lot of time finding solutions to solutions instead of finding solutions to national problems."

Since South Sudanese warring parties signed the agreement for the resolution of conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) in the August of 2015 and then “revitalized” it in 2018 (R-ARCISS), nothing has worked in the way agreements are supposed to work. Instead of acting as the blueprint for peace and stability in the country, the agreement has turned out to be the problem itself.

How can a problem be a solution to another problem?

However, the main signatories to the agreement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Government (SPLM-IG) and the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), still believe the implementation of R-ARCISS is the magical solution to the South Sudanese political crisis. They know their attitude toward themselves and the political impasse they have experienced since the agreement was first signed in 2015. But they wish this attitude away.

Unfortunately, the parties still believe that this attitude will magically disappear, and the agreement will be implemented in “letter and spirit” as Dr. Riek Machar likes to say.

When Riek Machar decided to withdraw the participation of SPLM-IO from the security mechanisms meeting on March 24, 2022, President Kiir deployed security forces around Riek Machar’s place of residence. When Riek protested the deployment of the forces because he was not consulted about the supposed protection, President Kiir justified his action as his attempt to protect Riek Machar.

This begs the question: Protecting from whom? Are there rogue forces under President Kiir he cannot control? This dynamic raises more troubling questions than answers.

But this, undoubtedly, shows the extent to which President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar do not trust one another. Kiir expects Riek to flee Juba at the slightest provocation and Riek knows Kiir’s recalcitrance.

Obviously, President Kiir was conscious of what happened in December of 2013 when some senior SPLM members refused to attend the second day of the National Liberation Council on December 15, the night on which the crisis began. Riek fled Juba that night.

Riek also fled Juba in July of 2016 when the implementation of the August 2015 agreement reached a deadlock, eventually leading to a bloody armed confrontation.

What one may conclude from the nature of the relationship between Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir is their inability to find solution without external support.

It is now clear that R-ARCISS is no longer the path to peace and stability in South Sudan. It’s an obstacle.

Accordingly, Kiir and Riek need to think beyond R-ARCISS and find a home-grown solution to the problem.

The implementation of agreements is difficult, so I have no illusion for any simplistic solutions. Nonetheless, thinking in a formulaic way in a country with a complex history, politics and ethnic relations is a dangerous state of mind. But the complexity in implementing R-ARCISS is not an inherent complexity; it is its elite-centredness and the egoistic nature of agreement leaders that has created the costly impasse.

What South Sudan and South Sudanese need is a path to peace and stability. There is no divine pronouncement that the only path to peace and stability is R-ARCISS.

Being a leader requires being creative in the name of the country and her peoples. What is happening in South Sudan now between SPLM-IO and SPLM-IG is this obsession with the elite-centered R-ARCISS as the only way to peace and stability.

This vacuous idea that all clauses of the agreement must be implemented before peace partners embark on national development is the reason why South Sudanese will continue to suffer as R-ARCISS stands in the way of peace and stability.

It's scary that President Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar are not able to think beyond R-ARCISS. How long will regional leaders and international partners be consulted to help solve issues of leadership and governance in South Sudan?

It’s time for President Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar to realize that they can forget their egos in the interest of South Sudanese. As long as external mediators are needed to reconcile South Sudanese and move the agreement implementation forward, South Sudan will continue to remain unstable.

It's nearly seven years since the agreement was first signed. That’s three years short of a decade. Politically, that should tell South Sudanese everything they need to know about Kiir’s and Riek’s intention regarding civilians and the country. A formal agreement will never bring peace and stability to South Sudan.

It’s time to prioritize what civilians want. It’s time for Dr. Riek and President Kiir to realize that two decades have been wasted through a petty yet a costly rivalry.

There is hunger and flood everywhere in South Sudan. There are ethnic conflicts in Eastern Equatoria, in Western Equatoria, in Lakes State, in Warrap State, in Jonglei State, in Unity State….

It’s time to rethink South Sudanese political future and the path to peace and stability. South Sudanese civilian have been in a state of destitution for over fifty years and Kiir and Riek have added another fifty years of suffering and destitution.

It’s time to move past R-ARCISS and think as South Sudanese who must solve their internal problems as brothers and sisters. If Riek and Kiir cannot work together, or they are unable to find solutions beyond R-ARCISS, then it’s time for them to acknowledge that they are liberation and historical leaders, and that time is now ripe for development leaders.

R-ARCISS has become a problem that needs a solution. South Sudanese have wasted a lot of time finding solutions to solutions instead of finding solutions to national problems.

*Kuir ë Garang is the editor of The Philosophical Refugee.'

*Is President Kiir a teetotaler or a complete...?

"Should Biar develop some tact and finesse in his activism?    Yes! Finesse and nuanced articulations are public relations necessities ...