Quote: “A house divided against itself cannot stand – I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free”. (Abraham Lincoln, 1809 – 1865 US president)
By Deng Riek Khoryoam, South Sudan
April 30, 2011 (SSNA) — We are getting conflicting reports from the media that Maj. General Gabriel Tanginye and his two deputies, namely Thomas Mabor Dhoal and Gatwech Joak have been arrested upon arrival in Juba by the SPLA following their surrender on Sunday last week after the bloody clashes on Saturday 23rd, 2011 at Kaldak. Media sources, most notably, Miraya FM as well as the print media (newspapers) confirmed this as being true even from the SPLA spokesperson and the presidential advisor for military affairs. Others dismiss these reports as merely media propaganda, describing these people as trying to “provoke” the situation. Many argue (author included) that it might be true since it’s the SPLA spokesperson and a senior advisor on military affairs that talked about or confirmed it; it couldn’t have come out of a blue. Well, whatever the case, nothing could be further from the truth!
One cannot dismiss it outright as being a lie or mere media propaganda whose only motive or aim is to try to provoke the situation. In any case, why would someone in his rightful mind try to provoke the unpredictable and volatile situation? Those who dismiss these reports as media ‘propaganda’ also hold that the two bigwigs’ mouthpiece just wanted to get public reaction on this. I may partially agree with them a bit – but I am smelling something fishy in this report; that’s why I cannot dismiss it as being media propagandas. I hope I will be proved wrong when the former’s assertion is proved right, when the time is ripe!!
A couple of reasons explain my pessimistic view: firstly, it became abundantly clear that the amnesty or executive pardon issued last year by the President is not an honest one as it was meant to hoodwink or deceive the rebels/dissent generals to come so that they can be caught the chicken’s way in a dark corner. What makes me think like this? Pretty much simple! The amnesty was not as good as one would have thought – that is if it was for the sake of peace, because it demanded that the rebels lay down their arms in order for this to be effective. Where on earth can a soldier be told or expected to lay down his/her gun without provisos that would grantee the safety and convince such a soldier that nothing will harm him/her should he put or lay down the gun. All isn’t clear right now on the fate of Gabriel Tanginye and his two deputies and comrades in struggle, but one thing is clear though: that they could do it because Dinka want to eliminate them on the basis of their tribe; but not on the crimes they are being accused to have allegedly committed.
Secondly, and in line with the above, the integration process that was happening at Kaldak area before being interrupted was not a genuine integration process. The whole thing was but a plot to catch Tanginye and his loyalists like a fish out of water. In nutshell, it’s a tribal conspiracy whose only aim is to square-up unsettled scores of Anyanya two. This is an act of revenge for those people from Bhar el ghazal who were alleged to have been killed in Fangak by William Chuol Deng after Samuel Gai Tut was killed by the SPLA. That is why the division three composed of only soldiers from Bhar el ghazal committed (and continue to) heinous atrocities against the civil population in Fangak up to now on the pretext of fighting Tanginye. They raped women and killed young men—–and continue to do all those horrible things – all in the name of fighting Tanginye but it’s obviously an indirect revenge, if not a direct one!
The Dinka-led government is using a policy of Jallaba which says “kill a dog with another dog” and this is what had happened and continue happening now in South Sudan. SPLA Brigd. General Gatwech Gai, a son of Fangak, just like Tanginye, is said to have been paid or hired to do the job, whose terms of reference (TOR) included apprehending the fugitive and the often elusive notorious criminal either dead or alive (preferably alive) and he did accordingly. Thanks God he didn’t capture him (Tanginye), as previously thought and rumoured. Tang surrendered himself voluntarily and on his own free will to the Southern Army on Sunday after efforts made by the GOSS vice president Riek Machar, who persuaded him to come to juba. He thought the clash was not something planned by the SPLA/government as he put his trust in the government thinking that the government would honour its words and respect the amnesty offered to all the rebels; and Tang was the first to accept and announced his coming to the South. Little did he know that the SPLA laid a trap and that he was soon falling into it! ‘Kill Nuer with another Nuer’ was the simplest and best thing to stay off the heat – let them crash themselves. In the end, its Nuer killing another Nuer, therefore no one will dare complaint or give them avoidable troubles. The mastermind of this plot was the known diabolical Dinka pretending to be a Nuer by name only, the general chief of all the devils.
The poor Gatwech was acting at the behest of the general chief of all the devils as it was said that he (Gatwech) was given 300,000 SDG, promised a promotion to higher rank and further training in South Africa, if he executed the plan and succeeded. Well, he partially succeeded. This is because he managed to disorganise the integration process that was going on smoothly at the assembly point. Tanginye surrendered after he was ensnared and made to believe that it was an internal issue which should be settled through the highest authority in Juba. Thanks God he (Gatwech) survived with scratches as he was given a missed call by the same AK47 he personally shot as an order for the fighting to start. The innocent Tanginye, Geany and the rest didn’t know what was going to happen as the SPLA besieged them and was prepared for the unwarranted fight. What happened after this was tremendous loss of innocent lives, especially on civilian side as they didn’t know what happening too, hence were caught up in crossfire and random or intentional shootings by the SPLA.
The SPLA wanted the general public to believe that Gabriel Tanginye was captured as was announced by the shameless and useless bigot, head of disinformation desk at Bilpam in the ilk of Malaak Ayuen. It remains to be seen how Tanginye could have been captured in the midst of his 5,000 strong men and women in uniforms easily and cheaply like that. If the SPLA could not capture him in two incidences of Malakal, when he had only a few of his soldiers, then common sense has it that he could not have been captured in the midst of his strong forces comprised of good fighters. It could not have happened unless those brave boys around him were finished and eventually kill him and then capture his dead body.
This was a risky venture and equally costly in terms of human life. This is what Salva Mathok; the presidential advisor for military affairs had to say on Thursday 28th when they announced that Tanginye and his deputies were now under arrest “this is a lesson to traitors who are at large and running and thinking about rebellions against the system. Tanginye and his group should immediately face the military court martial under the SPLA act” he hailed the SPLA forces for the job well done in defeating the traitors of the new nation by capturing Gen. Gabriel Tanginye and his group, he continued. He concluded by saying that “for militias fighting us, no more integrating them; enough is enough”. It’s as obvious as that – it does not need a rocket scientist to know that it was not a genuine integration process as I mentioned above. It’s just a showcase for strength and exposure of mere stupidity to the wider world!!! He also said he could “frame the charges if requested” well, it’s very easy to frame the charges because of the known fact but he needs to think of the implications involved. It will not be without a shrug of shoulder!
Now the kind of justice that Salva Mathok and Philip Aguer talked about is not the kind of justice we all know and in its true sense but a tribal justice system camouflaged as ‘justice’. If it’s true that he has been arrested, then I am tempted to say his arrest is tribally motivated and justice will not prevail over tribalism. Only tribalism will prevail over justice. First of all, no senior military person has ever been taken to the so called court martial to answer charges related to justice. If Nuer will allow Tanginye to be killed cheaply and humiliatingly like this then, many others will follow suit. There are some Nuer, and in particular, some envious people from Fangak who are very happy about Tang’s arrest. They are now dancing and rejoicing saying ‘let him carry his own cross’, not knowing that what affects him (Tang) directly now may also affect them indirectly or directly in some way and in some days to come.
The point I am making here is this: if Tang is to face a credible and impartial court martial free from tribal influence and prejudice, let there be thorough investigation first into the recent clashes at Kaldak to ascertain facts on who the cause was or who started it but not holding him solely responsible for what happened. He did not start the fighting but the SPLA did. This is what Philip had to say “he will account for the death of 165 soldiers from both sides and a further 30 civilians, and many others who have been injured during the clashes”. Surely is there any fairness or justice here? How can this figure be attributed to only one side of the war or conflict? Is this not like charging Joseph Konyi for crimes against humanity and war crimes without charging some officials from the Ugandan government side, who also committed the same crimes Konyi allegedly committed and calling this a justice system? This is a flawed system of justice – a tribal justice system, for that matter. If there is justice in Southern Sudan, why don’t the government hunt for George Athor and bring him to book for massacring more than 200 innocent civilians without any reason? But instead, George has been appreciated for having massacred the people of Fangak by the lame-duck government.
I pen off herein but I urge those who want to provoke the situation to handle it with care and think of the consequences of this. I am afraid it might produce opposite effects and it will be counter-productive. Justice cannot work half way; there are some people who are immune from prosecution while some are not, and are thus prosecuted when they did not even commit the alleged crimes. South Sudan cannot endure permanently half slave and half free – this government will not survive, as Abraham Lincoln put it. You need to start liberating yourself now before it’s too late. They are now trying to eliminate the strong ones so that you are left powerless and helpless, and so that by the time you say it’s enough you will not have anyone to lean on for support or help. Take it from me. This is how we will all be eliminated!
The author lives in South Sudan and could be reached for comments/reactions at [email protected]