The Juba Republic: South Sudan Reduced to a CITY STATE
Humanitarian agencies now say that about 1.4 billion dollars is required to help South Sudanese civilians. Over 3 million people have been displaced and many more face starvation as relief workers cannot reach them because of impassable roads or insecurity. The UNICEF recently reported that over 70% of school-aged children aren’t in school. So, not only has South Sudan’s present being destroyed, her future is already under complete destruction.
Towns in South Sudan are disconnected by impassable roads, insecurity and targeted tribal killings. Still, despondent civilians brave death on these insecure roads as they flee fighting. David Shearer, the head of UN Mission in South Sudan, recently said “that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak. I’m gravely concerned by this ongoing situation.” This is sad because President Kiir, during his speech on the 6th anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, declared a ‘unilateral ceasefire’ and emphasised the need for the National Dialogue, which he created in December last year. As Juba talks peace and ND, it continues to pursue war, thereby prolonging the suffering of the people.
When South Sudanese officials say that ‘things are calm in the country,’ they mean that things are calm in Juba. As long as Juba is safe, then everything is presumably okay. Even when you get reports of 40 people dying of hunger in Amadi State, things are still considered okay and no condolence messages go to the affect families. These people died of hunger because they’d fled their homes due to insecurity in the area as a result of the fighting between government’s and rebel’s forces. And around the town of Torit in Imatong State, over 250 orphans were caught in the battle between the warring parties and the UN had to ask the warring parties to give UN officials some access to evacuate the orphans.
There is no longer a country called South Sudan because everything the leadership in Juba is doing is to safeguard the security of Juba not the security of South Sudan. The leadership in South Sudan is confined to the capital with the least interest in the welfare of civilians in other parts of the country.
Unless the African Union comes out strongly with sticks and carrot methodical action, South Sudan would soon be a collection of small tribal states that are belligerent to one another. It would indeed take time and money to make South Sudan a viable state again if nothing urgent is done. The AU, IGAD and the Troika countries [Norway, UK & USA] are watching the horrible happen and not doing much. The country has been reduced to a mere City State as civilians suffer or flee.
The City State is taking care of itself and its elitist rulers. But then there is no end in sight.
While some opposition forces are calling for the revitalization of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS), others are calling for a completely different political process to bring peace to the country as they consider ARCISS to have collapsed.
There is no leadership in Juba but madness. Recently the president sacked 12 judges because they were striking in favour of the judicial reforms, [two months'] pay and the living conditions. Speaking against the dismissed judges, Akol Paul Kordit, the deputy minister of information, sadly said that “These judges, who were supposed to deliver justice obstructed justice themselves. They denied [sic] our people justice for reasons that could be resolved through administrative channels.” Considering the fact that these judges have not been paid for 2 months, the minister's charges are ridiculous. This is the classic victimisation of the victim.
And regarding the July 9th declaration of the cease-fire by the president, the minister of information, Michael Makuei, argued that the ceasefire excludes the rebels under the former Vice President, Riek Machar. The minister knows very well that such actions lead to increased suffering of civilians.
People have nothing to eat; they cannot travel because of insecurity; the pay doesn’t come for months and when it comes, it cannot buy anything because of nearly 1000% inflation; people cannot speak up for fear of reprisal; there is no national cohesion; different tribes are killing one another daily; officials don’t visit the suffering civilians; and the president hardly leaves Juba unless he’s traveling abroad.
The situation is grim and we are watching it unfold. After Rwanda, the world said, ‘not again!’ But it’s happening again in South Sudan. The once promising state in the Nile Valley is not only now the abode of insecurity and suffering, it has been reduced to the area around the vicinity of its capital.
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