An Open Letter to President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar

"One of the best gifts you can offer yourself, your country and your people is to assure them that you will NOT contest in 2018 Presidential Election"


Posted: January 14, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël 

An Open Letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Republic of South Sudan. January 13, 2016

H. E. James Wani Igga, Vice President, Republic of South Sudan 
SPLA, Gen Paul Malong Awan, General Chief of Staff

By Martino Kunjok Atem

Born-to-Rule Mentality: President Kiir and his former Vice President, Riek Machar, in their reigning days

Your Excellencies,

January 14, 2016 (SSB) — Criticizing either President Kiir or Dr. Riek without support from either leaves one vulnerable before their diehard supporters. However, I have freely, consciously, and with no regrets chosen this lonely and dangerous route. Since November 8th 2014, when I began to oppose President Kiir on the issue of two separate tribal armies and my subsequent public disparagement of some policies of his government, I have been labeled as a rebel.

Your Excellency, Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan,

Most South Sudanese, including people who oppose some of your policies, agree that you are a good person. It is right time to consider the children and widows of those who died shielding you and your government in the brutal and ruthless civil war of South Sudan, 2013-2015. You and Dr. Riek Machar are the only people who can prevent other massacres like the one that just ended. Your apology of 7 January 2016 is in place because you are the president of the country, but your call on your supporters to vote for you in 2018 is declaration of destructions of lives and country again.

No doubt you want to be remembered for the years you spent fighting for your people in both civil wars of 1955-1972 and 1983- 2005. You want to be remembered as the first President of Republic of South Sudan, the leader who navigated a thick and dangerous path during implementation of The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to deliver a country to the people of South Sudan, which you did July 9th 2011. The nation will always be grateful for your patient style of leadership, which was tested many times by the National Congress Party (NCP), especially during the invasions of Abeyi in 2008 and 2011.

One of the best gifts you can offer yourself, your country and your people is to assure them that you will NOT contest in 2018 Presidential Election. During this period of Transitional Government of National Unity, I humbly beseech you to focus on creating an atmosphere for forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and unity of your people, all 64 tribes. Our country is economically and politically on life support, but you and Dr. Riek Machar have power to perform the miracle that could rescue the Republic of South Sudan and make it a united, strong, and vibrant country.

Leaders who choose to relinquish power when their terms end, or for the interests of their country are globally revered and respected. For example, Nelson Mandela is admired globally as world icon not only because he spent 27 years in hard labor but also he relinquished power after serving only one term in the office as president. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, helped SPLM and NCP during the implementation of the CPA, and now, Botswana’s former president, Festus Mogae, is ruling our nation indirectly during IGDA Plus Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Jimmy Carter served one term as president of America and has since done more humanitarian work worldwide than most of American presidents. I am sure you will make the right decision not because someone of no importance like me said it, but in the interests of your people and country. I hope the statement posted by Sudantribune.comabout your intention to run in 2018 is not true. Please, think about all those people who offered their ultimate sacrifices in order to keep you in power in December 2013 for about 22 months.

Please, do not accept the advice of those who want to loot the nation through your presidency.

Your Excellency, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny,

You want to be remembered as a person who, after completing a PhD, abandoned the luxuries that accompany such higher academic achievements and chose to fight for and help his people. You want to be remembered as the South Sudan Vice President who raised the nation’s flag in New York at the United Nations in 2011. You and President Kiir can save South Sudan, or destroy it again, if either of you choose to, but there is no doubt in my mind that you will declare that you are NOT running for the 2018 Presidential Elections in order to honor those who sacrificed their lives in order to make you the first vice president. In December 2013, you left Juba with no power but people (one may call them Nuer) sacrificed their lives and that is why you are more powerful than when you were vice president 2010-2013. This will be the best gift, not only to the widows and orphans of your supporters, but also to the entire South Sudan. Dr. Riek declaring that he will not run for presidency 2018! What a memorable legacy, Dr. Riek!

Oct. 5th 2015, in your address to South Sudanese in Kansas City, USA, my presence was acknowledged as a South Sudanese political activist, thanks to whoever gave my name to the master of ceremony, but I consider myself as an ordinary concerned South Sudanese Citizen. On May 20, 2015 and November 22, 2015 I declined two proposed positions in your movement because my criticisms of President Kiir’s administration did not mean automatic support for you, nor was it about getting a position. It was all about having a country to call home.

For the sake of all those who sacrificed their lives, for their loved ones left behind, as well as for those who would die if another civil war erupted because you want to be president of South Sudan, I am sure you will make right decision by not running for presidency in 2018 elections. It is the right time for both of you, yourself and President Kiir, to step aside in order to help your people forgive each other, and yourselves, to assist them in building an environment for peaceful co-existence in a prosperous, united Republic of South Sudan, in which South Sudanese trust each other.

Your Excellencies, please allow me to address my fellow South Sudanese,

Fellow South Sudanese, the only way to avert other massacres is through forgiveness and reconciliation. As we all know, the callous and merciless civil war of 2013- 2015 was mainly about the power struggle between President Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar. One group wanted to keep President Salva Kiir in power at all costs, while another group wanted to bring Dr. Riek Machar to power by force, in the process innocent Dinka and Nuer people died in larger number than any tribe in the country. I implore all South Sudanese to stop using tribes or regions for personal interests. Let’s embrace the notion of “South Sudanism” where we all feel equal regardless of the number of one’s tribe.

The truth of the matter is that there are more Dinka who have access to Dr. Riek Machar than majority of Nuer. There are many Nuer who have more access to President Kiir than majority of Dinka, so let be clear, last civil war was not between Dinka and Nuer people, but between President Kiir and Riek and unfortunately innocent Dinka and Nuer were murdered in cold blood for about two years.

Revenge and counter revenge will destroy lives and the country, as we have already witnessed. Both our leaders will make the right decision to not run in 2018 elections. Please, let’s put our efforts together and collectively support them to prepare the nation for free and fair general elections in 2018 without two of them.

In our different capacities, let’s rally support from International Community to assist our leaders so that they are able to build strong institutions for real democracy.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and first Vice president Dr. Riek Machar, I humbly remind both of you that neither of you will ever again unite our people as president after that atrocious civil war.

Thank you, Excellencies, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar Teny

Your humble South Sudan citizen,
Martino Kunjok Atem


RSS comment feed
15/01/2016, 7:56 AM
 - Posted by Jacob Akol
As I have argued often enough on other forums, I am in full agreement with this opinion. An early public declaration by both men not to seek candidacy for presidency in the 2018 elections can help them focus, as leaders of TGoNU, on the implementation of the IGAD + peace accord, which they have signed. Already a campaign for the 2018 elections is underway, following the recent pronouncements by the president himself.It is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to concentrate on implementing the agreement. If the agreement fails, what next?
15/01/2016, 9:14 PM
 - Posted by Anonymous User
16/01/2016, 1:41 AM
 - Posted by Anonymous User
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