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(Ocholamero Otir Bure Oroto) - "When you change the way, you look at things, the things you look at change." (Max Planck)
Dear South Sudanese,
It is vital to try seeing things from various angles! Peace lovers and concerned South Sudanese within and outside South Sudan, plus their friends, have been suggesting political dialogues as the surest means to resolves South Sudan’s issues long time ago; but, the call felled on deaf ears of those steering the country.
There are several reasons for concerned people to say no to war. How could people prefer war to peace when the atrocities are on our face! Let the leaders and the ordinary people see the consequences of supporting war in one way or another.
For examples: a place like Western Equatoria State that used to be one of the finest bread baskets is no longer producing due to war. It is rendered unproductive in terms of its known agricultural activities. A similar thing can be said of other states or regions in South Sudan. The result of the leadership-made war is now self-evident. Famine is now real. None of the leaders can rhetorically sweep this reality under the carpet anymore.
People are dying of hunger. The unfortunate innocents are dying on daily basis.
When you walk down the road in the capital city, Juba, you could see some women and their children either begging or dying of hunger. This is real!
Farmers have abandoned farming due to insecurity. Robbers are everywhere. Citizens go without protection. No one cares!
Armies are over worked without any incentives. Many prominent personalities passed away without proper conventional states burial ceremonies. The country’s dignity is lowered beyond zero.
Most inter-states roads, though not well constructed, are blocked by unknown gunmen. The traders fear travelling due to rampant insecurity.
Goods are very expensive. Widows cannot afford to buy basic goods like salt and soap, leave alone good food. Suffering continuous in the name of the revolutionaries.
The entire civil population is facing serious hunger – the worst in the history of the country. Some rebels could not spare lives of the innocent civilians. The same applies to some government armies. People have nowhere to turn but to escape to the neighboring countries.
How are people going to survive? Travel is restricted for quite a long time now. Available goods could not be transported due to bad roads and insecurity along the roads to various States. Juba used to be the center for trades where goods were brought from Uganda, Kenya and Sudan. Nowadays, it has become a small village where it’s very hard to see goods in town.
Main routes to South Sudan have obstacles of some kind. Foreign nationals and traders are fleeing the country. Many businesses were closed down and some are still closing down because of the scarcity of the dollars.
Think of how much a cup of tea in Juba used to cost prior to this leadership made war.
Getting houses for rent in Juba used to be a big problem but nowadays many houses are empty without people to rent them. This is a true result of war. It is time to see the reasons to call for peace through dialogue.
Many cars are parked because of lack of fuel and people have resorted to the traditional ways - walking to work or market.
How much did it used to cost to catch buses and taxis? How much wage increase did the public servants received as the inflation hit the country? The salary of civil servants remained the same without changes.
Some young girls have dropped out of schools and entered into prostitutions in order to earn a living. Sad! Young boys have entered into criminal activities to survive. They grab people’s bags and pick money from their pockets due to the current economic situation. This is unintentional and as a result of war created by the leaders on their own people. These are all easily controlled situations.
The rich traditional cultures of South Sudan showed in pre-independence are nowhere to be seen. Moral decay is real! Good cultural norms are no longer to be seen.
What is common is the news that so and so was killed, either by opposition armies or by government armies.
Then, there comes the denial. The rebels would deny any killing or attack. The government does the same. Oh! Sometime, the opposition armies might say they were attacked first by the government armies; so, they responded in self-defense. The government equally has valid reasons of protecting its subjects. However, in the end, for various reasons, innocent people have perished.
The country is losing people on a daily basis. No matter who is winning, people are dying in numbers and the society is losing without realizing it because the war warmongers from all factions are seeing the situations from one angle. The answer is to see the situations from various angles and accept seeking political answers for political issues.
It is real that people are starving from all the three regions of South Sudan. That is to say: people are suffering and some are dying in Bhar el Ghazel, Equatoria and Upper Nile. No place is spared. These famines are calculated to get worst so to speak.
Religious personalities had offered the situations to God out of powerlessness. The answer to the problems of South Sudan is simple, and that is leadership getting to the table with honesty.
The following questions should be the norms to ponder:
1. Why can’t South Sudanese warmongers stop the war and resort to peace as means of solving their own problems?
2. Why can’t South Sudanese learn from other countries in pursuing peace and development?
3. What is hard about appreciating diversity and taking time to learn ways to live peacefully?
4. South Sudanese and their leaders have travelled globally. Why can’t they imitate the good lifestyles and good governance and work to make South Sudan a better country?
Let the leaders work to make South Sudan a better and peaceful country so that South Sudanese can embark on development.
Let South Sudan become a peaceful and attractive nation to the foreign investors and tourist.
Let there comes a time when people would admire to live in South Sudan.
Many countries have tried war but they came to their senses quickly that political dialogues are the best approach to resolving political differences.
Among others, war has the following deadly outcomes:
Simply war is a destroyer, war separates families, friends and lovers.?
Wars have never been good and will never be good to any given society.?
War also creates enmities at various levels with a lot of indirect result.?
The solution is an honest “political dialogue” as a pre-requisite to an honest national peace? and reconciliation
Instead of misappropriating millions of dollars to import more guns and war instruments, let this money be used in developing this new poor country. The country needs to develop like other countries.
There is an urgent need to see good schools, hospitals and other vital societal institutions. Children are going without education; professional developments are on hold. When is South Sudan going to educate their future leaders?
South Sudanese from all corners within and around the world voted for referendum to get freedom and enjoy it. They did not vote for separation so they can turn guns against each other. Otherwise, considering what had happened and seeing and hearing what is taking place in South Sudan, many people think it would have been better to remain under the Arabs.
However bad it was, there was nothing like what is taking place now in South Sudan. The heroes and heroines who instigated this war have failed the people of South Sudan and have betrayed the trust of the people to a higher degree.
The neighboring countries like Uganda, Kenya and others are feeling the stress and strain caused by the refugee influx, regardless of their goodwill. It is time for South Sudanese leaders to realize that the neighboring countries might need space and time to develop without the constant and frequent influx of refugees from South Sudan. It is time to re-think positively toward bringing peace in South Sudan.
Wouldn’t it be better if South Sudanese and their honorable leaders come back to their senses and say no to war in the Republic of South Sudan? It will be better indeed to instill hope and embark on political dialogues that involves all the factions in the war to clear their differences on the table with trust.
Deceptions and lies have no place in good politics of a nation building. The answer to the problems of South Sudan is for ALL the leaders from all walks of live to embrace peace truthfully and for the ordinary people to support peaceful dealings.
No one will descend to resolves the situations in South Sudan. Let individuals be agents of change for better and the current leadership must rethink their position on this matter as a matter of urgency.
This piece is a collection of views from ordinary South Sudanese who are concerned and who would like to see peace reign in the country sooner than later.
May the good ancestral spirits of the fore liberators reign to reinstate the spirits of respect for diversity and the spirit of unity that existed before.
May the journey for nation building and peacebuilding be real.
There is a destination, there is an end to this misery and the people of South Sudan who love peace will live to see the destination.
Let us learn to see situations from various angles!