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The East African : July 7th 2014
The EastAfrican 26 SOUTH SUDAN@3 South Sudan: A young country at the crossroads OUTLOOK JULY 5-11,2014 South Sudanese during celebrations of their Independence Day. Picture: File Fighting that b≥oke out on Decembe≥ 15, 2013 has dest≥oyed p≥ope≥ties and ≥ende≥ed thousands of South Sudanese homeless By JOHN GACHIE Special Correspondent F or many South Sudanese, three dates will forever remain embedded in their collective memories and psyche — January 9, 2011, July 9, 2011 and December 15, 2013. The first two dates, which are six months apart, capture their collective imagination, desires and herald their national rebirth in the wake of a catastrophic journey that spanned close to 50 years. But the third date will for- ever live in Infamy — the December 15, 2013 — it was that day that the devil came calling as the first gunshots were fired outside the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba. On January 9, 2011 an overwhelming majority, universally adjudged to have been a genuine reflection of their wish. On this day close to 98 per cent of the people of the Southern Sudan voted to secede from Sudan in a referendum. On July 9, 2011 amid uni- versal acclaim and an overwhelming display of outmost joy and pride, perhaps unfathomed apprehensions and trepidations; the world’s newest nation was proclaimed. The people of South Sudan had joyously grasped their dignity, pride and destiny. They were on the cusps of a major transition — Independence and all that it entailed. In the preceding six years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in Nairobi after nearly five years of intense on and off negotiations between the chief protagonists, the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) of the late John Garang and the National Islamic Front government of the Republic of Sudan of President Omar Bashir many analysts and observers were jittery that the accord would unravel. That the Comprehensive Peace Agreement held despite the many threats and challenges was in no measure, attributed to the tenacity and single-minded, almost tunnel vision commitment of the Southern Sudanese leadership under the then 1st Vice-President of Sudan and President of Southern Suda, General Salva Kiir Mayardit. Perhaps and in retrospect that was to be a rare departure, for those heady days of enthusiasm, unbridled pride and accomplishment were in a strange twist of fate, the harbinger of the current doomsday scenarios engulfing the people of South Sudan — a putative Independent country that is on the verge of unravelling. The people and the gov- ernment of South Sudan are staring at death and destruction barely three years on. They are on the brink of a catastrophe at the blink of an eye. On December 15, 2013, the centre snapped and the longsimmering and vicious power struggle within the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army came to a head, and with it the burble bust with a vengeance. National catastrophe In the nearly seven months since the first gunshots were fired in anger in the capital Juba, the ethnic-driven and led evil genie is alive and a new national catastrophe lurks — thousands dead, perhaps tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands hurdled together in almost certain death camps; millions facing a humanitarian tragedy, hunger and displacement with the international community all but unable to act and the legitimate of South Sudan all but impotent, and the rebel faction in disarray — and the regional countries caught flat footed, it’s the devil’s stew. It was a cruel turn of events less than the glorious moments of three years ago — when it all began. When the first gunshots were fired outside the Convention Hall in Juba at the tail-end of an ostensibly longdelayed the ruling party’s National Governing Convention on December 15, 2013, South Sudan’s day of infamy was born. Only time and engagement including effective deterrence military measures, economic and political sanctions and action by the international community will arrest and hopefully, bottle the evil genie of ethnic political power competition in South Sudan will be destroyed. For the moment South Su- danese peoples’ existence hangs by a thread, a very thin one at that; and all but in a name is short, brutish and horrifying as the warring principles rally their deathware and dig in for an even bigger, bitter and widespread carnage. In a space of 36 months South Sudan’s dream has turned into a veritable nightmare, the deep joy pride and gang-hu attitude has turned full-cycle and turned into – deep shame, depression and desperation as the ever tall and proud deportment has turned into a down-cast stare, lethargy and humiliation. Peace agreement John Garang pushed for the independence of South Sudan The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is a collection of agreements agreed to December 31, 2004 and signed, in a formal ceremony, on January 9, 2005. Over 15 months, starting September 2003, Ali Osman and SPLM leader John Garang met in private in Naivasha. Their secret meetings and negotiations lasted up until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was initialled on New Year’s Eve 2004 The CPA appeared to embody the vision of the “New Sudan” that Garang wanted. Within the CPA, power was split between the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for six years, until 2010, with Garang as the first vice-president.
June 30th 2014
July 14th 2014