By Tut Pal Ding
South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia had a euphoric political symposium with the maverick democratic governance advocate and the leader of Greater Equatria Council of Rights ((GRECOR) Dr Wani Tombe.
Melbourne, June 10, 2014 (SSNA) -- In a forum attended by over 600 South Sudanese community members and Australian friends of South Sudanese, Dr Tombe wowed the audience who were glued to their chairs for the whole two-hour duration of the forum by his frank articulation of the causes of the conflict. Those in attendance included some recognizable faces who are members of the main Australian political parties as well as representatives from law enforcement agencies. Dr Tombe gave a candid political oration on the current political, humanitarian military affairs in the country.
The meeting which took place on Sunday 1st June 2014 in Dandenong, South Eastern Melbourne’s suburbia known for it’s a large South Sudanese population was organized by the South Sudanese Crisis management and Advocacy Group (SSCM&AG) and the SPLM-In Opposition. SSCM&AG is a body that has been working with the community leaders and NGOs aiming to raise awareness about the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Sudan with international community to remedy the suffering of innocent civilians. SSCM&AG also work with political leaders in the area of dialogue to try to advocate for a peaceful resolution to the current conflict in South Sudan.
Dr Wani Tombe is touring South Sudanese communities in diaspora highlighting the root courses of the conflict as well as proposing mechanisms to end the war. Dr Tombe traced back the root causes of the conflict back to colonial era decisions where ethnic groups of the then Southern Sudan were lumped together without proper consideration about their ability to co-exist with one another.
Dr Tombe also squarely put the current crisis on leadership failures within the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which he described as political grouping where the rulers believe in “zero-sum political philosophy” in which for example, group A believe in the elimination of group B for group A to exist. Dr. Tombe liked this kind of leadership mentality to that of Adolf Hitler which led to the Second World War. This comment was understood to mean the thinking of many people around the president Salva Kiir whose intentions and behaviors have been labeled as tribally motivated. This group of advisors and occasionally including the president himself is viewed as protecting Dinka interests. Many critics ceased on comments which were made on records by the president during a tour of the Greater Bahr el Ghazel Region in which he asked the audience whether they will allow anyone to take the leadership from them, in which the crowd interposed “it will not happen”.
Dr Tombe and GRECOR have accused the government of committing massacres against Nuer tribe simply because his arch rival, the former vice-president Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the current armed rebellion in the country. Tombe told the audience that what happened to Nuer can happen to any ethnic group if the current leadership sees them as threat to their stay in power.
Tombe, who hails from the Greater Equatoria Region, moved on to address possible solutions to the war where he called for a legitimate uprising to overthrow the government.
Speaking directly to the people of Greater Equatoria, Dr Tombe called for all the sons and daughters of Greater Equatoria to abandon Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and not fight for a government with tribal motivations on how to run the country. Tombe clarified his remarks are not a call to violence but a call for citizens to exercise their rights to determine how and who they would like to govern them.
Gatluak Deng Gai, the Chairperson of the SSCM&AG advised the audience who, as it could be observed, represents all sides of the South Sudan politics, to act as citizens of one nation and be active stakeholders in running their country. Mr Gai told the audience to take and use whatever they can from the presentation and use it to make South Sudan a better place.