The attempted South Sudan coup a blunder
Publish Date: Jan 27, 2014
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By George Ntambaazi

THE idea of ousting President Salvar Kiir, a democratically elected leader in a coup was an ill-conceived adventure that undermined the unity and solidarity of the people of South Sudan.

In fact the coup resulting from the failure to resolve internal contradictions marked a complete departure from the process of conscientisation of the people for nation building and reconciliation.

It is true the leadership of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Party led by President Salvar Kiir were beset by serious internal problems.

There was probably bad governance, corruption and mistrust as some personalities or tribes had been alienated in sharing of the national cake. Salvar Kiir is surely liable for not having addressed them amicably instead of carrying out a cabinet reshuffle in July 2013.

However, much of these were grave political excesses and omissions that needed to be politically addressed, but to address them did not warrant staging a military coup whose outcome has destroyed the entire country.

The coup taken to oust Salvar Kiir, ostensibly to rectify the situation has become nothing but a bigger disaster, albeit a big setback for the people of South Sudan and the region.

As a consequence of this uncalculated and egoistic plan, Dr. Riek Machar, the former vice-president, instead of being perceived as a genuine national leader who is leading a credible liberation movement, has rather degenerated into a tribalistic and treacherous man, an agent of plunder, pillage and destructive conquest.

I am told by those who have closely known him for years that the man has a hot temperament as well as a moral dilemma. He does not envisage himself being less than a President!

Now, his foiled military coup on December 15, 2013 executed outside the context of political purpose has sent South Sudan 30 years back in development terms.

It has turned the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in 2005, that was meant to bring to an end Africa’s longest civil war and the Referendum of 2011 meaningless. His action has subsequently resulted into regional and international condemnation.

In essence, his crude and selfish actions as a military and political leader do not match his revolutionary broad-based and democratic rhetoric. He has decided to pursue not the cause of South Sudan nation building for which many would have supported him, but it is very opposite.

The 21st Century Africa does not need coups and chaos anymore. It needs democratic and peaceful change of governments. More than 500,000 people have been forced out of their homes. Strategic towns such as Bor, Malakai and Juba have been destroyed.

Although I was initially against having our forces in South Sudan, I think there is a real need to restore harmony, peace and security of the people. More importantly, the people of South Sudan deserve better treatment than being held at ransom for some leaders to acquire leadership positions.

It is commendable that IGAD has approved a 55,000 strong military force to back up Uganda and South Sudan forces in ending weeks of bitter fighting that have devastated the young nation.

The request was made at the behest of South Sudan and Uganda with a mandate to coordinate the final attack on rebel forces. My assumption is that the core of the IGAD resolution recognises the responsibility of all the peoples of the Great Lakes Region to achieve the desirable peace and political stability in the region.

Hopefully, that is the reason why the Government and rebels signed a ceasefire yesterday.

The writer is a regional political analyst

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