James Gatdet Dak who is Dr. Riek Machar’s spokesman is by now in custody for five good days and nights since last Thursday. He was extradited to Juba due to South Sudan and Kenyan governments’ fishy deal.
All that nasty thing happened against him despite being citizen of United States as well as having UNHCR asylum status in Kenya. Having membership with rebel movement doesn’t qualify him at all for an extradition to an enemy government according to the international law governing the sovereign nations as members of the United Nations.
He is not an exception. Anybody with the expressed status like his is also immune to what he is currently going through in Juba.
This is without forgetting following his arrest and subsequent extradition, seen as unlawful and archaic, there has been a flurry of commendable reactions and efforts from high placed diplomatic sources towards his release. Which include the SPLM/A-IO, UN and uncountable number of people of good will.
Especially the SPLM/A-IO and its leadership should be highly commended for their well-balanced diplomatic decorum and etiquette by not reacting harshly against Kenyans working in areas under their control.
But the same good diplomatic gesture still shouldn’t compromise the veracity and urgency of the case which has an element of terrorism going by present humanitarian laws governing the civilized world that supposes to include Kenya and South Sudan.
SPLM/A-IO acting in the way it does shouldn’t as well be taken as a sign of its weakness whether diplomatically or politically. Because in this dire situation, the movement like any others has its own channels of diplomacy and bargaining chips. Not only to maneuver Dak’s case successfully out of this terrorist act, but also to positively change the currently emerging hostile attitude of the region as the whole towards it.
For in the first place government of South Sudan has introduced into South Sudanese culture and politics act of terrorism for a second time ever since that of General George Athor Deng back in 2011 to settle political scores and which if SPLM/A-IO retaliates in kind cannot augur well for all South Sudanese people now and in future.
As for the regional governments and beyond which government of South Sudan is trying to adversely involve in the conflict with potential future implications of regionalizing it to push its case as the strategy to win the war outside good practices of diplomatic engagement must as well have something to worry about.
SPLM/A-IO has more destabilizing power for the region more than South Sudan government wields. Since more than 75% of South Sudanese people are either supporters or sympathizers of the rebel movement and its cause.
Moreover, it holds comparatively wealthier and strategically important territories and trade routes in the country where the region and international community have mutual vested interests. Particularly in mineral riches that feed Juba government, trans-regional trade and employment.
To push its diplomatic agenda and achieve it, SPLM/A-IO can just deprive Juba of its last source of revenue by taking over Paloch oil fields for the latter to collapse within weeks and subsequently making it too unviable partner for the region to deal with.
Safely detains all Kenyan workers under its control. A move that can take families of these detained workers and opposition CORD onto streets and pressure Kenyan government to either release Dak immediately or it falls under unbearable weight of mass protests before the luxury of going through 2017 elections.
SPLM/A-IO can equally bare thousands of Kenyans from working in its territories. These workers make a lot of money for their families’ welfare and respective Kenyan government through taxes.
It is therefore, incumbent up on South Sudanese and Kenyan governments to watch out and re-think their hostile strategy against the followings:
Entrenching a few power angry individuals in Juba on the one hand and on the other, making a tiny cartel of greedy-criminals rich in Nairobi at grim expense of multitude via monkey business of kidnappings, hostage takings and illegal extraditions.
NOTE: The Opinions expressed herein are entirely for the author of the article. The Upper Nile Times has no authority on the contents published here.
The Upper Nile Times
Deng Vanang is a political Scientist, Journalist and Author. Reachable at:firstname.lastname@example.org