By: Justin Ambago Ramba
January 8, 2012 (SSNA) — This 2011/2012 is going to go down in books as the worst Christmas & New Year ever to be celebrated in the history of South Sudanese as an independent people since it was marred by the inter-tribal massacre in Lokwangole and the Pibor counties of Jonglei State.
For all practical purposes whether we are Christians or believers of indigenous African religions, as a people of one country we are expected to denounce violence , theft and above all the wide-spread killings of women, children, the disabled and the elderly as it repeatedly keeps happening in our beautiful state of Jonglei.
It is true that most of the communities in South Sudan have stocked up too much hatred for one another over the years as successive governments fail in their duties to establish the rule of law, justice and providence of services [employment opportunities, hospital, schools, clean drinking water, veterinary clinics, management of the limited pastures, roads…..etc]. And where illiteracy, poverty and ignorance are prevalent, vices like discrimination, hatred, greed, jealousy, envy are equally prevalent.
Eventually it is no surprise to see worst vices as theft, rape, adultery, fornication, murder, deceit, dishonesty, become the order of the day in the community. Thus it never came as a surprise when the UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his address to the government of South Sudan (GoSS), he stressed that the GoSS should engage itself in addressing the root causes to the perpetual violence, killings and retaliatory killings that has engulfed many parts of the country, but mostly in Warrap, Unity, Upper Nile and the Jonglei states, and I couldn’t agree more with him.
The so-called White Army formed predominantly by Youth from the Lou-Nuer ethnic group, but of course subsidised in the recent attacks by the Youth from the Twic section of Bor Dinka, the Jikang Nuer and the Gawaar Nuer [paanluelwel2011.wordpress.com/tag/white-army/ ]and their counter parts from the Murle tribe who attacked Uror in mid 2011 are both forces to be reckoned with, as they represent the Youth of these communities and thus ultimately their future leaders.
They have proved that they are indeed a killing machine depending whose behalf they operate, however they should better revise their positions when they put their very lives and those of their loves ones on the line in what is likely to continue on for yet another century to come in the absence of any re-consideration.
Since ignorance and illiteracy are both central to the long standing inter-tribal violence in Jonglei state and elsewhere in South Sudan, it is only logical to consider all involved as victims of the system including the perpetrators, as too often they themselves might have been on the receiving end or will soon be. Only if these grossly disadvantaged youth who aimless roam the vast land of South Sudan understand that they have the right to a good central and state governments which in turn is supposed to address the root causes of their problems, then they are more than capable of bringing about the much needed change in the status quo, instead of killing one another when everyone of them is in reality a victim in their own rights.
Our youth cannot miss to see that the more they raid one another to kill loot and rape the more they destroy the relationships between communities. By engaging in raiding you obviously lose people and you want to replace them by abducting women, girls and children to make up for the loss, while stealing cattle as well. Since this seems to work for you, it can also work against you when your rivals adopt the same behaviours. Then when will you be all settled my dear people?
It is sad to hear that you call one another names e.g. thieves and trade all kinds of accusations amongst yourselves, and you think that there is enough reason to go out there and kill some people for having stolen your cattle or children. But haven’t you heard about the ‘Big Thieves’, in Juba or those close to you in the state capital of Bor? To remind you my fellow countrymen, it has already been established beyond any reasonable doubt that only ‘Thirteen Big Thieves’ have pocketed most of the money that would have otherwise paid for the schools, the hospitals, the water, the vet services, the roads, the police forces and logistics that are needed to rid your state of the current cycle of inter-community killings.
The true thieves are in Juba and Bor. Going to Uror, Fanjak, Duk, Pibor, Lokwangole , Akobo, or P’ochalla is in fact one victim victimising the other. Learn to embrace democratic values and through civic and political organisations can you direct your angers towards the real exploiters and in only so doing can you can then see the changes that you as a disadvantaged group collectively yearn for so badly, with services delivered by none but yourselves.
Dear compatriots in Jonglei and the whole of South Sudan, you don’t really need to suffer nor are you supposed to be killing one another over vital resources like water, pasture, or service delivery……. for God who created us as South Sudanese have taken care of all these needs by generously providing us with an abundant fertile land for agriculture, the water of the Nile, fish, but above all He gave us abundant reserves of crude Oil. Our oil industry has generated much money in billions and billions of dollars over the last seven years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA] on the 9th of January 2005, more than enough to address the root causes of unrest the countrywide. But what has gone wrong is already everyone’s common knowledge.
The first anniversary of the CPA in the post independence South Sudan has unfortunately found our country far from being a peaceful place.
That is a shame. However the chances are still there for us and especially our youth – to get the balance right. You cannot build a modern state by endlessly engaging in tribal wars, nor are our many warlords anymore relevant to this stage of our common history and destiny. What you need is a reorganisation across tribal lines in order to bring a change in government well armed with a grass roots program to realise a South Sudan for all.
On the other hand whether you are a Murle, a Dinka or much more, a Nuer or any other community in South Sudan, you need to understand that the rate of killing women and children whenever an inter-tribal fight breaks out, has become exceptional very high signifying that they in fact represent the most targeted group in what is a purely ‘Men’ perpetuated violence, which on the other hand suggests that the communities don’t question the gross insensitivity as demonstrated by those psychopaths who continue to pose as youth leaders a.k.a warlords. Remember that it is only ‘sick and wicked’ men who rejoice at the massacre of innocent women and helpless children. It is true that all have been let down by all levels of our government, but then how much more are we doing by taking the law in our own hands?
The UN Mission in South Sudan [UNIMISS], the GoSS and the country’s national army the Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] all categorically are guilty conscious of the fact that the joint Luo-Jikang – Gawaar Nuer & the Twic Dinka ‘White Army’ actually succeeded in intimidating them by its sheer number of more than 6,000 strong men. And they only did the about turn when they realised that the Murle Youth were nowhere to confront as the latter since long have all tactically fled their territories into refuge in the neighbouring Ethiopia. Whatever is now being trumpeted by the GoSS or the UNIMISS is more to do with keeping up appearances. Those who think that they can challenge this statement will only find it unchallengeable when it comes to the disarmament of the Jonglei communities especially so those under the ‘White Army’.
In a nutshell, South Sudan can easily become ungovernable should the Jonglei experience go unchecked and unchallenged for too long by GoSS,
thus allowing it to be reproduced in the other nine states where tribal groups form their Red, Green, Blue, Black, Yellow Armies or that of any other colours as allowed for by the country’s national flag with the sole goal of winning back to the tribe what it sees as justice denied by the state or the national government.
The author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.