Women from more than 40 South Sudan organisations take part in an anti-war demo in capital Juba on December 9, 2017 PHOTO | AFP
Date: Feb 6th, 2018
Peace lovers and well-wishers, especially those who know what the United States has done to the people of South Sudan, during and after the war of liberation, must be wondering what is wrong with the J1 government in Juba. Have they gone crazy or what is making them to behave in the way they do.
South Sudanese woke up to be shocked in disgrace to learn that Gen Taban Deng Gai, the deputy of President Salva Kiir, the leader of the nascent Republic of South Sudan, had the audacity to declare on the 5nd Feb, 2018 that the United States of America has turned out to be ‘an enemy’ to the people of South Sudan. Gen Taban Deng Gai went further to declare that the “United States of America is not partner” and, that American has never been of any help to the people of South Sudan!
This condemnation by Gen Taban Gai came after the United States took a decision on 2nd Feb 2018, to impose unilateral arms embargo on the regime in South Sudan as a measure to stop the wanton killings and massacres that characterised the civil war in the country. The US had earlier levied selected sanctions on military generals and henchmen of President Salva Kiir who engaged in rampant public corruption.
The purpose of the sanctions was meant to send a clear message to J1 to STOP the carnage in the country. The arms embargo was intended to reduce the flow of arms that have been used to maimed, murder and torture innocent, unarmed civilians in the country; the people over whom Gen Salva Kiir claims sovereignty. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Gen Salva Kiir and his deputy Taban Deng Gai did not get it. Instead, they condemned the decision, declaring America as their enemy. How on earth can someone get angry for being restrained from wanting to kill his own people simply if for anything but political expedience?
President Kiir Mayardit and Taban Deng Gai have forgotten all that the people of USA and their government did to South Sudan. They forgot that it was the United State of America that stood with the people of South Sudan in their hour of need.
No, Mr Vice President, it is only you and your president Salva Kiir Mayardit and your government who have the luxury to throw away genuine friends in exchange for news one.
The people of South Sudan will not and must not forget the US emissaries and missionaries who refused to let go, the people of South Sudan. They travelled deeper into the jungles of South Sudan; often risking their lives from the constant aerial bombardment from the Sudanese Antinov air-force, and travelling into mosquitoes infested areas in order to help our people. Prominent individuals like the late Leaky Leyland who died in a plain crush in Pochala area in 1988, when on a mission to help South Sudanese, should not just be statistics in history.
How can we forget, Gen. Taban Gai, key American people like Senator Frank Wolf, Senator Paul Simon, Rev. Bill Graham, and many more, including Congressmen and Congresswomen, who stood shoulder to shoulder with our people articulating their cause in both houses of Congress and Senate in the US, only to deny their role for power.
Lest, we forget the contribution of those close American friends like Dr Gordon Wagner, Dr Roger Winter, Dr Brian de ’Silva, the former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Amb. Suzan Rice and Gen Collin Paul, who worked tirelessly to secure freedom for the people of South Sudan? And there are many more whose names we cannot mentioned here.
We, the people of South Sudan must not also forget to recognise that 25 years ago, America influenced the United Nations to launch Operation Lifeline Sudan that saved millions of lives of our people who were caught up in the middle of a brutal war that was waged by the National Islamic Front (NIF) government in Khartoum against South Sudan.
Then even today the United States is still the largest single contributor to the United Nations agencies including UNHCR that is looking after more than 4 million lives who are displaced by the current war being orchestrated by your government under President Salva Kiir, in his attempt to get rid of Dr. Riak Machar.
Attacking and condemning the US government and her people does not help anybody in South Sudan including you, Mr vice president, even if you do not care to appreciate their contributions. It must be stated that it is the same America that built the only tarmac road in South Sudan, linking Juba with Nimule at the border with Uganda. It is the only road that serves as life line for the government in Juba. The daily meal on your table, including what you have today was transported through this same road built by American Tax payer’s money, the same tax payers that you denigrate as ‘enemies’ of South Sudan.
Yours is a very strange behaviour Mr vice president, in the African cultural context. People do not eat and defecate on the very plate from which they had food, simply because there is a new plate for the next meal.
Yes, both China and Russia are ‘friends’, but that should not be a reason to condemn and throw away our historical friends. While we recognise the emergency of China as new friend on the world stage; that is often willing to involve in development projects in Africa goes without question. However, the human rights environment in which such development is planned to take place, as was the case that led to “scorched earth policy” in the Nuer land, in order to explore for oil in 1990s, is a fact that must also be recognised, especially when we are talking about thousands if not millions of our Nuer people who were not only displaced but also massacred with support from China as a consequence. For you to overlook these facts, Mr Vice president, would translate to either demonstration of ignorance on your part about what happened in Paloch, Bentiu and Panthow, or a manifestation of denial to the truth in exchange for your personal political gains.
The people of United States of America have a special place in our history. It is not long ago that USA under President George Bush pressured the government of Sudan under President Omar Bashir to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that led to independence of South Sudan. America used all methods including sanctions and indictment against Omar El-Bashir to the International Criminal Court for war crimes. This happened when Sudan under Omar El-Bashir had already built a cordial working relationship with the Chinese, and was making blood USD in billions from the sale of oil, extracted after massacring thousands of our people in the oil rich areas of Upper Nile. But as pressure mounted, the Chinese could only see, as South Sudan separated from the Sudan.
The people of South Sudan will always recognise the contributions of the American people in their undivided commitment to be there for them. Individuals like Professor Eric Reeves, who single handily worked tirelessly to enlighten the world through his articles, articulating the wickedness and manipulations of the governments in Khartoum, to an otherwise a world that was getting war-fatigue about the problems of the Sudan, would not just be brushed aside by people who do not have political moral values.
With all these contributions, the people of America therefore, deserve a very special demonstration of appreciation from the people of South Sudan, not condemnation; and such a gesture should have come from those of you on the helm, as you claim to represent the people of the Republic of South Sudan, in your capacity as the president and his vice president respectively.
This kind of behaviour, where old friends are berated and thrown out, because now you have new friends, defines the kind of a regime under Gen Salva Kiir and his vice president. In the end, they all remained isolated people as friends discover their true characters. However, the people of South Sudan will not be part of those confused individuals who seek nothing beyond their personal political interests. South Sudan will always remain committed to their valued relationship with the people and the government of United States of America. I therefore, wish to take this opportunity to thank the people and government of America for their historical commitment to stand with the people of South Sudan in both good and difficult times. We will always continue to cherish the good will of the American people as they remain our friends. We are not going to be weighed down and sink with Gen Salva Kiir and his vice president, Taban Deng Gai, but are determined to cut lose and let him sink in his solace.
Gen. Lemi Logwonga Lomuro PhD (Cand),
Centre for Citizen Interface (CISS).
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