South Sudan Red Card Movement

RCM aka red card movement burst into the political scene of South Sudan with such vigour raising high hopes of toppling President Salva Kiir. The political sensation it unleashed has confused the people of South Sudan. Its slogans in the social media like “64 Tribes Together with one voice. 16 May with a red circle containing the photograph of Kiir must go! With Kiir crossed in red followed by Enough is Enough! Yes for change @DOU wrapped up in a curved South Sudan flag” is egging the youth to go out and sacrifice.

Although I agree with this, hold on one moment. What is RCM and who are the real leaders of this forceful group? What is it that they know that the South Sudanese people don’t know about the Juba regime? At this point in the existence of South Sudan as a state and given its short brutish political culture deeply engrained with vicious tribalism, transparency and accountability is of utmost importance. This demands the leaders of this enigmatic group to come out clean and announce themselves to the people of South Sudan.

It is not good enough to make noise that Kiir must go without saying what they intend to do with the Jieng Council of Elders and their repugnant structures and system in place. What is RCM’s view about the JCE’s tribal structural system suffocating the country? These are some of the crucial matters that the people need to know before unnecessary sacrifices are made in the streets of Juba. Even without answering the questions herein the idea of toppling Kiir in itself is good. However, the way the RCM has come can only help the JCE system to rejuvenate and recreate itself after getting rid of Kiir. Is this what the youth want? Or do they need a real change of the system that will make a difference? Be careful of what you wish for. President Kiir is just a face of the JCE system, removing Kiir the person will not change anything.

Since the emergence of RCM which coincided with the UN report on the disappearance of Samuel Dong and Aggrey Idri, interesting developments of divisions in the so called ruling group has also surfaced. Few people unfortunately have lost their lives such as Mr Mathiang who Mirayafm reported on 10th May 2019 in its facebook page as “Maverick who was killed on level 7 of the Equatoria Tower on Wednesday before being pushed off the balcony. Mr Mathiang was found lying in a pool of blood on Wednesday morning just after meeting some members of the national security services in the building” in Juba.

Following Michael Makuie Lueth’s anxious rants in the social media against the RCM’s expected demonstrations more people lost their lives. Lueth’s rants reveal a person gripped with fear and running scared to the extent of presenting as unsteady and unhinged. What does this development mean? Careful reading of the situation suggest that the political wrangling among the ruling Jieng group in the SPLM/A is finding its way into the RCM.

The Jieng technically are politically divided into three groups: the Bor-Abyei group, the Lakes group and the Gogrial group with the Padang of Upper Nile roaming in between them. What has been keeping them united since 2013 is the grave crimes of genocide they have committed and they are dead scared of the consequences either via accountability of the supposed Hybrid court in R-ARCSS or by sudden change as the one being flagged by RCM. The latter is something that the JCE detest because they do not want a non Jieng to assume leadership of the country.

So although two of the three groups – Bor-Abyei and Lakes are working hard to oust President Kiir, they do not wish to see the government slipping away from their hands. Here is where the RCM appears to have come in handy and no doubt it has been hijacked by the JCE as SPLM/A was in July 2011. RCM to the Jieng now is a vehicle of change to ensure that one Jieng group is replaced by another without any risk of power going to non Jieng and without any real political transformation taking place in the wider structural system. In short RCM is now a project of Jieng skin shading and rejuvenation and the confusion it is causing is to let them get away with murders they committed and are committing in the ongoing war.

The ruling group schism has reached a boiling point and it is a matter of time for it to implode. So, in order to avoid it, the Bor-Abyei group is emulating the tactics used by the opposition in the Sudan to enable them replace President Kiir with one of their own. To them President Kiir is long past his sell by date and he must be ditched as quick as possible with another Jieng President to continue with their project of ethnicisation of the country. Hence, the avid rejection of RCM to condemn the Jieng Council of Elders and the tribal structures in the country,

The evidence of RCM being captured by the ruling group can be deduced from the symbols and categories the group applies. These are: the designation of the date of demonstration. First, it is no secret that the SPLM/A was born on 16th May 1983. So the fact that RCM has chosen this date as the day for demonstration clearly re-affirms their total belief in SPLM/A. Secondly, the name Red Card Movement is synonymous with the Red Army and Lost Boys of the SPLM/A. Again the Jieng supporters of the RCM in the social media appear to be overwhelmingly members of the Red Army or the Lost Boys. The significant thing about this group is that they are totally committed to Jieng tribalism. They have never supported a non Jieng in any endeavour in the country. Tellingly they have never condemned the atrocities of the regime on the other people of South Sudan. Their leader Peter Biar Ajak who hails from Bor and is incarcerated by National Security Services exhibited similar views. Thirdly, the RCM is displaying astonishing confidence. The way RCM is pushing the agenda of demonstration in Juba despite the fact that the brutal security service in the entire country is tribal comprising of 90% Jieng says a lot.

With the above there should be no doubt that the JCE are trying to outwit the people of South Sudan yet again and also to destroy their sham R-ARCSS for them to continue with ethnicisation of the country. The divisions within the ruling group has been made worse by the extension of Pre Transitional period of R-ARCSS for further 6 months specifically to address the issue of security sector. This is the one thing that threatens Jieng’s grip on the machinery of the state. To create a national security sector representative of the people of South Sudan would at a stroke put the brakes on Jieng power and their ethnicisation project.

They had hoped that the kerfuffle and prevarications about lack of funding they erected following the signing of the R-ARCSS on 12th September 2018 would let them off the hook with formation of a sham transitional government of national unity on 12th May 2019. It did not work and so the pre transition has been extended sending jitters in the Jieng political community. It is this that they want to sacrifice President Kiir for.

Now President Kiir is unlikely to take the threat on his presidency kindly. He is likely to react violently towards the RCM and indeed he has already started it with the killing of Mathiang and others. But, the question that needs to be asked is: how does RCM hope to topple Kiir with demonstration? They have consistently referred to the changes in the Sudan in respect of President Omer Al Bashir. RCM obviously has not done its home work. No matter what, you can not copy an event from one country and apply it to another country expecting the same outcome. It does not work like that simply because each context is always unique with its own circumstances. What made the Sudan toppling of President Bashir possible though 100s of lives were sacrificed was only due to the professionalism of the commander of the army in Atbara where it all started. He stood firm to protect the civilians from the Sudanese Security Services. His colleagues in Khartoum copied and given the fact that the Sudanese army is not tribally based the people prevailed.

Unlike in South Sudan where the army is almost 100% tribal and politicised; popular uprising or planned demonstrations would be suicidal and this is why I am totally against the proclaimed aims of RCM which wants to use the victims of the regime to further sacrifice them as cannon fodder to rejuvenate and recreate itself to continue with abuse of the people of South Sudan.

Therefore, it is not right for the abused people of South Sudan to be fooled and used by the very abusers for their benefit. Those who want to go and sacrifice for their own beliefs, it is their decision and choice to do so on 16th May 2019, otherwise exercise your mind because with such a reckless regime as the one in Juba you would be a wasted sacrifice. There are many other safer ways of resisting while defending yourself.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

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@elhagpaul

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