It is inconceivable that Riek Machar can be sidelined and confined ‘to
political oblivion Posted: September 21, 2016 by *PaanLuel Wël* in
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*It is inconceivable that Riek Machar can be successfully sidelined and
then completely confined into political oblivion outside the country.*
*By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan*
*September 21, 2016 (SSB) —* Salva Kiir wants Riek Machar dead and gone,
but has no clue how to achieve that; Riek Machar wants Salva Kiir dead and
gone, but has no clue how to achieve that; the international community
wants both leaders gone but has no clue how to do exactly that without
turning South Sudan into Libya-II, Iraq-II, Afghanistan-II, Somalia-II etc.
We all want South Sudan to be peaceful, stable and prosperous, but we have
no clue how to do just that.
But first, is the SPLM-IO meeting in Khartoum over or still underway? Of
the big heavyweights that graced the leadership of the SPLM-IO in early
2013 up to mid-2014, how many attended? When the SPLM-Nasir was formed, the
internal contradictions and leadership wrangling of the mother SPLM
followed and killed it. Essentially, the same fate might befall the
SPLM-IO, for the very internal contradictions and leadership wrangling
within the ruling party in Juba has followed, cornered, and is now
strangling the SPLM-IO into premature, painful death.
As President Salva Kiir seems unable or unwilling to unite and move the
country forward into a relative political stability and economic
prosperity, Dr. Riek Machar has been unable and un-ready to keep his party,
a smaller house, intact.
While Salva Kiir has failed, Riek Machar can’t possible aspire to be the
replacement. Riek Machar can’t aspire to rule a nation when he can’t manage
a party (of which over 95% is his own community), even when fate has handed
him the opportunity twice–1991, 2013.
However, it is inconceivable that Riek Machar can be successfully sidelined
and then completely confined into political oblivion, possibly retiring
peacefully into one of the East or South African countries. That is a
mirage of hope, not a political and security reality.
Therefore, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar should join hands, divorce the
conflict from outsiders, get rid of the proposed hybrid court (justice and
peace don’t go together unless one party won squarely) and strike a
workable political compromise on their own terms and at their own pace and
That is how it was done in 2002. No outsider was involved; it was Garang,
Kiir, Riek, Wani etc. plus their comrades. Nor was it about Riek Machar
accounting for the crimes of the 1991 Bor Massacre; there was no winner to
punish the loser. And it was genuine, reigning long enough to usher in
referendum and independence.
“*We have suffered long enough, eleven years of suffering, of confusion and
of aimless infighting. So the situation as of now, as we said in the signed
reconciliation document, it is our survival that is at stake. Therefore,
survival itself, if nothing else, will force us to fully implement this
said Dr. John Garang in 2002, at the conclusion of the peace and
reconciliation process between the SPLM/A and Dr. Riek Machar in Nairobi,
What is most needed now is a political compromise to usher in a transition
from war to a mutually-benefiting political marriage. Salva Kiir and Riek
Machar can then conduct their procedural elections, with political seats
and positions predetermined in gentlemanly backdoor agreements.
Salva Kiir and Riek Machar need power in order to gain and maintain access
to national resources; the common folks need such raw political compromise
(realpolitik) in order to fend for themselves in peace, as they have always
done prior to December 2013.
This would be acceptable to the common Nuer and Dinka—the warring camps.
Certainly, it is better than death and suffering and could lay the
necessary political and security foundation for real peace and political
Surely, the South Sudanese can’t dream themselves into being a Switzerland
without paying the necessary cost, whatever the currency. Ask Americans
(civil war), English (beheading the king), Russians (revolution), Chinese
(civil war), French (revolution), or Rwandans (genocide).
Nation building has never been a walk in the park. It is long, messy and
unpredictable. It requires an evolution within the nature and mindset of
the society, not merely a change in leadership and personalities.
*PaanLuel Wël, the managing editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers
(SSB), graduated with a double major in Economics and Philosophy from The
George Washington University, Washington D.C, USA. He is the author of Who
Killed Dr. John Garang
the editor of the essential speeches and writings of the late SPLM/A
leader, Dr. John Garang, published as The Genius of Dr. John Garang, vol.
as well as a co-editor (with Simon Yel Yel) of President Salva Kiir’s
speeches before and after independence: Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of
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