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Opinion: So much to do, so little time

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Mabior Garang de’Mabior – As we continue to face man-made and natural disasters in our land, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the power elite in our country do not care about the welfare and prosperity of our civil population. The great hope our people had in the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) has been dashed by the continuation of business as usual – an unbearable status quo. The people of South Sudan, the region and beyond anticipated that the hasty formation of the R-TGONU may expedite the implementation of the Agreement. This was a noble intention.

It is unfortunate that approximately six months have gone by and we have regressed instead of making progress. Instead of prioritizing the implementation of the critical tasks the National Pre-transitional Committee (NPTC) failed to implement, the security situation has worsened. The reckless and unlawful disarmament exercise being conducted in Tonj has led to clashes between the army and civil defence forces in the area. This has caused senseless loss of innocent lives on both sides.

This should serve as a warning to the NPTC regime in Juba. If the so-called R-TGONU sanctions any more unlawful disarmament of civilians, the results will be the same. There is a clear mechanism for the disarmament of civilians in Chapter II of the Agreement – Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements. It is only after the founding of a truly national army – provided for in this Chapter – that civilians can be persuaded to give up their weapons. It is only after the radical reform of the security sector and the establishment of the rule of law, that civilians may trust the government enough to surrender their guns. In the absence of those, our people have no incentive to cooperate with the authorities.

It is paramount to our survival for our civil population to understand the importance of the negotiated settlement as a tool of struggle. The recent violence in Tonj, the insecurity in Upper Nile and Jong’lei States, the suffering in Greater Pibor Administrative Area, are interrelated. The Agreement is the least costly solution to the plethora of problems we face as peoples, not least of these is the security situation in the country. It is only through implementation of the Agreement that we may be able to institute a government of the people which can respond to natural disasters instead of leaving it to the communities to handle on their own.

Compatriots!

With a year to the end of the interim period which is supposed to culminate in elections, nothing much has been achieved. There is no Agreement being implemented. It is only Chapter I. The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, which has been partially implemented. The NPTC regime in Juba should understand that the same law which made them Vice Presidents, Ministers and Governors, is the same law which must be followed in the disarmament process. Though our civil population has the natural right of self-defense, I call on our civil population to unite behind the Agreement and arm themselves with knowledge of it. The traditional elite are using our ignorance of the provisions of the Agreement to dismantle it. In the end, the Agreement will expire with not much achieved and countless more generations will be condemned to wars of attrition. The full implementation of the negotiated settlement, in letter and spirit, remains the only way forward to end the suffering of the first Republic and birth a second Republic of South Sudan, for the welfare and prosperity of our people.

A luta continua!

The author is the SPLM-IO chairperson of National Committee for Information and Public Relations. He is also a former deputy minister of interior.

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