The history itself and the current events act as evidence for what South Sudanese’s leaders were and what they are now. It is indisputable to say the war in South Sudan is a power struggle to control the resources and to use them for personal gain on expenses of the populace. The emerging of new rebel groups, whenever there is peace negotiation, is evidence showing personal interest over the interest of the country and people.
In 2015 peace accord, Riak Machar Teny, after signing the agreement, created more rebellions in Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal, bringing devastating wars to those areas that were relatively peaceful before the agreement. It was clear Riak was trying to expand his power by recruiting many youths to his IO forces to match Salva Kiir SPLA and ally militias. The consequences of that action were displacement, killing, raping, and destruction of properties.
Now at this time of High-level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), Salva Kiir and his allies are creating more rebels in Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria to disrupt the process of HLRF. These rebels are the one currently attacking travelers along the high ways, not IO forces. The aim is to drag IO to fighting such that HLRF is abandoned and they maintain the status quo.
What they were
During British colonial era and early independence Sudan, Southerners did not know what the education was. They refused to send their children to schools established in different villages. As the results, the government introduced the forceful recruitment of the children to schools through village chiefs. Since they did not know the importance of education, parents sent children they consider lazy, one that did not take care, of goats and young ones of a cow to schools and they left children they consider hard working and caring to do what they thought was good for the family and community. As described by their background, many of those children sent to school failed to complete basics education and end up joining southern rebels, the Anyanya I in the name of liberating Southern Sudan. Despite Anyanya I signed Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972, many refused to join the peace process and remained in bushes were they attacked villages and kill civilians, loot cattle, and goats, and destroy properties. Among the surviving members of such groups are Oyai Deng Ajak, Pagan Amum Okech, and Peter Gatdet Yak.
What they are
It is a great idea to change the current regime of Salva Kiir since it is junk of corrupt individuals who have no idea and the future of the country. They are there to use resources for their gain while instigating violence among the communities. However, those who claimed to be oppositions are criminals who failed to secure the share of corrupt regime be they IOs, FDs, or other armed and non-armed opposition groups. Many of them served in the same government before and after independence, and they have criminal records, for example, Riak Machar Teny with the help of the then minister of finance Arthur Akuein Chol embezzled millions of dollars in the name of buying vehicles for Government of Southern Sudan. The company, which supplied the cars, belonged to Riak Machar Teny. Both Akuein and Riak doubled the prices of each car, thereby illegally received 100% money on top of what they supposed to receive. This scandal leads to dismissal of Akuein from his position after a serious follow up by Michael Makuei Lueth, the then Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development from the office of President of Government of Southern Sudan. Deng Alor Kuol with the help of Kosti Manibe embezzled millions of dollars in the name of buying fire safety equipment for the government in 2013. Though there was no connection between the Cabinet Affairs Minister and purchase of fire safety equipment, Deng colluded with the Finance Minister (Kosti), and they stole millions of dollars through a criminal company called Daffy Invest Group of companies Ltd. Lam Akol Ajawin used his personal account for collecting money of SPLM DC party in 2010 resulting in many party members abandoning the party. Baggasi Bakasoro received millions of dollars from a businessperson in Yambio for the dealt of a sale of the teak tree that he later dishonored, refused to pay the money back, and threaten to kill the owner of the money. Fortunately, South Sudan High Court settled the case, and Bakasoro’s government was forced to pay back the money in 2014. Oyai Deng Ajak, the then SPLA Chief of Staff with 40% of the entire budget of the then Government of Southern Sudan failed to organized, professionalized, and equipped the SPLA before independence. Oyai took hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase attack helicopters, but end up buying ten small non-combat helicopters instead. Pagan Amum Okech, the then SPLM Secretary-General received USD 60m from Omar al- Bashir in 2005 to be used for reorganizing SPLM party, but distributed half of the money among Salva Kiir, Riak Machar, and James Wani and took the remaining half for himself which he later used to buy a home abroad.
For those who claimed to be government, this is what they are; Salva Kiir has turned his J1 to be Central Bank where the little money from the sale of crude oil and taxation is kept for himself and his closest associates. James Wani Igga embezzled millions of dollar mean for December 2013 crisis management, he took the money and bought for himself fleet of bulletproofed vehicles and later claimed in 2016 that he borrowed the money which he has never paid back. Martin Elia Lomoro took USD 400,000 from crisis management account and claimed that he used the money for his transport to Lainya, which is some kilometers away from Juba. Taban Deng Gai, the then governor of Unity State, enriched himself with 2% of oil revenue allocated to the state for development. He used that money for his businesses that were operating in South Sudan and the Dubai before the crisis of 2013. Akot Lual, the only Presidential Advisor who is always drunk 24/7 with the help of Akol Khor armed Murle militias who attacked villages in North Bor and Ethiopia in 2015 and 2016. Those attacks killed hundreds of civilians, abducted hundreds of children, and looted thousands of herds of cattle. Additionally, Akot and Akol incited Mundari youth to kill civilians traveling between Juba and Bor in Gameza in 2017. That attack killed 50 civilians mainly from Jonglei State. Akol Khor, the Director General of National Security Service, with his associates benefits from the sale of subsidized fuel in the black market. This fuel is supposed to benefits the vulnerable civilians, but it is the opposite of what it was meant for. He hoards the fuel through Nile Petroleum Cooperation and later sell it to Somali traders and Ethiopian hotels owners
Therefore, the idea of regime change is the best for South Sudan. However, regime change is aim to create new policies for the betterment of the country as a whole, but South Sudan situation seems to be different. Whenever, there is peace negotiation, negotiating parties waste time on power-sharing, how many generals to promote and integrate. How many ministers to come from party X and party Y, and who should hold which position in the government.
In the negotiating table, they do not ask one another, how are we going to unite the polarized communities? What are best governance policies we going to adapt? How are we going to improve the economy? How are we going to restore law and order in the country? What best policies are we going to adapt to curve corruption and fight tribalism? How will we end impunity?
From this perspective, both government and oppositions cannot solve the current problems facing South Sudan. The only way to rescue South Sudan is to push them out of power, execute them and forces them to refund the public money they have stolen because there is no better hyena than the other hyena.