Response to Mr Ateny Wek Ateny on Panthou War

By Elhag Paul

May 22, 2012 (SSNA) — Ateny Wek Ateny diatribe in response to my article ‘Panthou Fiasco: President Kiir needs to resign now’ published by South Sudan Nation on 2nd May 2012 shows a shocking level of assumptions, denials and abuse of words such as racist and genocide.  Anyway, this is to be expected.

Ateny’s lack of knowledge of the term dinkocracy obviously has contributed to his anger and the use of abusive language in his self expression.  I would like to say I bear no hard feelings at all.

I shall for the purpose of clarity strive to explain the meaning of the term dinkocracy in the hope that it will be better understood and used.  Thereafter, I shall address Ateny’s denial and use of abusive words such as racist and genocide.

Ateny in his assumptions believes the term dinkocracy to be an attack on the Dinka tribe.  No that is not the case, he got it completely wrong.  One would have expected the executive director of Policy Advocacy and Strategic Studies to be careful on committing to writing without understanding the subject matter of his critique.  Ateny’s failure to check things out has led him to write an unnecessary invective that exposes his own anxiety possibly created by the behaviour of his fellow tribes mate in government.

Dinkocracy is defined as, “a system of rule that can be found in South Sudan based on tribalism whereby parliament is either wholly or partially filled by appointment of corrupt members. Institutions and structures that are presently in place are just for face saving purpose. In this system consultation and citizen’s rights are not respected. The views and opinions of citizens also do not mean anything. Looting and corruption is accepted as a method of wealth gathering with the façade that the government is working to address it. The police force is predominantly illiterate and come from the ruling tribe. Their job is to administer brute injustice. Violence is routinely exercised freely by members of the ruling tribe (in the organised forces) with impunity. Government officials are guarded and protected by their kith and kin as opposed to agents of the state.”  This is what the term means and this definition can be found in under the title ‘Lies and Illusion of South Sudan’s president Kiir’ published on 26th September 2011.

So Dinkocracy is not as Ateny claims about “stereotype(ing) and polarizing the Dinka as tribe.”  It is a system of rule and as such it is ludicrous to equate a system to a tribe.  There is nothing that can link the two here.  Members of other tribes in South Sudan who subscribe to this system of rule are Dinkocrats.  For example, Pagan Amum, Wani Igga, Reik Machar and so on are by definition Dinkocrats.

Ateny argues that “government of RSS is not Dinkanized or Dinkocracy.”  I disagree and I believe that the government of South Sudan is both Dinkanzied and a dinkocracy.  It is Dinkanized because the government is 100 percent controlled by Dinka.  All the sovereign ministries and important institutions are in the hands of the Dinka.  Where a minister is not a Dinka the deputy and others are.  In such cases, the minister is just a figure head.  Where a Dinka commits a crime no action is taken and the victim gets no redress.  For example, the killing of Equatorian police officers in government offices in Yambio by Dinka soldiers, killing of Kakwa families in Yei by Dinka soldiers, killing of a doctor in Yei by Dinka soldiers, killing of 4 youth on Christmas eve in Juba by Dinka soldiers and many, many others all over South Sudan that have gone unaddressed.  In all these cases the killers have gotten away scot free simply because they are from the ruling tribe.

SPLM/A is surely a Dinka organisation.  Scholars and journalists have conclusively stated so.  Please see Louisa Lombard’s article in New York Times under the heading ‘A page from Khartoum’s playbook’ published on 20th February 2012.  Presently in South Sudan the country is run for the interest of Dinka in open violation of the CPA which the Oyee party pretends to be upholding.  For example, the CPA clearly stipulates that the territory of South Sudan and its borders are those of 01/01/1956.  Anything outside these borders is not part of South Sudan.  Thus for one to be a citizen of South Sudan, such a person must reside within the 1956 borders.  Now as everyone knows Abyei is not part of South Sudan as per border of 1956 because it falls under South Kordufan.  However, the CPA has a special provision for Abyei to decide whether to be part of South Sudan or the Sudan.  This provision has not yet been implemented fully and by default Abyeians are still legally Sudanese.  Nevertheless, president Kiir ignores the fact of this legality and goes ahead to appoint Abyei boys such as Ahmed Alor, Luka Biong and others prematurely into ministerial and ambassadorial positions knowing very well that they are not South Sudanese.  His justification is that they are Dinka and because of that they must be South Sudanese.  This is what I am talking about as prove that SPLM/A is Dinka and vice versa.  Legality of the international instruments are ignored for the interest of Dinka which means that Dinka interest comes first before the interest of the rest of South Sudan.

This is a dangerous precedent because it means that all the tribes of South Sudan divided by international borders such as the Nuers, Anyuak, Acholi, Kakwa, Lugbara, Madi, Mundu, Zande etc will in future bring their own tribes mate from across the borders to exercise power in South Sudan to the detriment of South Sudanese citizen.  Now Mr Ateny, as someone who has been to law school, I am sure you would know and agree with me that what president Kiir and the Oyee party are doing here with the Abyei boys is illegal and is only for the interest of the Dinka and no one else.  In light of this, can you honestly argue that observers like me are anti Dinka?  Also can you argue that SPLM/A is not a Dinka organisation?

Mr Ateny, why is it that no Dinka is willing to come forward and challenge this appointment of people who are technically not South Sudanese into ministerial and strategic positions?  Again why is that no Dinka is willing to come forward to challenge the numerous abuses of the other tribes and power by president Kiir and the Oyee party publicly so that they can be counted?  It is this lack of interest from the educated Dinka to honestly challenge the ills of the Oyee party that is exposing them to genuine criticism.  I must say here that the Dinka are their own worst enemy (their behaviour towards other tribes) and they need to be rescued from themselves.  And in doing this we will rescue South Sudan.  Otherwise in allowing the Dinka to run riots all of us will sink as evidenced by what is going on in the country now.  So I ask you to join efforts with me to rescue our country.

The denial of reality in South Sudan by the Dinka is breathtaking.  A good example is Ateny’s assertion of Dinka majority.  He argues, “Ignorance breathes hatred.  Indeed the Dinka people originates from seven states in which they are majority – and in a decentralised system of government, more than ten ministries would still have to come from Dinka whether Kiir is the president or Elhag Paul.  During the war, the Dinka were not by standers and you know it very well.”  Just imagine this kind of arrogance born out of illusion. Who in South Sudan has not fought?  This is something that should not even be thought of, but because the Dinka want to dominate they promote all sorts of nonsense.

Although the Dinka are found in 7 states of the RSS, it is important to note that in those states there are other ethnicities with full citizenship rights to represent their states. It does not automatically mean that because Dinka are in those states, they must be the ones to represent those states as now done dinkocratically by appointments and nominations.  The Dinka people need to be sensitive and considerate of rights of the other tribes.  Even if the Dinka were to be the majority, how can they justify lording it over 63 tribes.  So the Dinka take 10 ministries and the rest of the 63 tribes share 20 or so ministries.  What a joke?   Why should the 63 tribes accept this Dinka nonsense in their own country?  If this be the case, the Bari speaking people comprise nearly 8 groupings or so, should they now ask for 8 ministries.  Is this logical? This situation is replicated with Nuer people, with people in East Equatoria, with people in Western Equatoria.  This Dinka argument now must be deconstructed and demolished.  It can not be allowed to stand.  Another is the fallacy that the Dinka comprise one third of the population in South Sudan.  This is not true at all.  It is propaganda to embellish statistics to again justify their supposed right to rule.  Dinka comprise 18 to 20 percent of the total population of South Sudan and no more. 

Ateny insinuates that the other tribes hate the Dinka.  The question is: have the Dinka asked themselves why people hate them?  If they have, what did they find out and what did they do to remedy it?  If they have not, is it not their responsibility to find out about their blind spots so as to adjust accordingly and live peacefully with others?  Do the Dinka know what it means when they assault the very core of others by saying, “We liberated you”; “We are born to rule” simply because the Dinka are ready to act violently?   Do the Dinka think that they will forever be well armed to continue to oppress others as now?  It is important to know that nobody has the monopoly of violence.  One can be mighty today but there is no guarantee that one will continue to be so forever.  Our own story with the Arabs stands as an example.  But let us take it a little bit deeper.  The very concept of state as a protector of all (strong and weak) in equal terms is to ensure safety of everyone thus eliminating tribal protection.  What this means is we need to invest in development of the state and discourage tribal protection.  In RSS it is the latter that is the norm as opposed to the former and this is the cause of the current situation in our country. 

Now the Dinka are the rulers of RSS, and the country is sinking slowly let them prove it to the world that their so much trumpeted genetic pre disposition to rule is genuine and useful.  On the one hand the Dinka want to be ‘natural’ rulers and when they flop as usual they do not want to take responsibility and they begin to rant and accuse people of tribalism, racism and so on to divert attention from their own tribalism and spectacular failures.  Come on, grow up.  The Dinka can not have it both ways.  Accept the realities. 

It is this very behaviour that Ateny projects on me.  He shamelessly labels me as racist with ‘genocidal motivated thoughts’.  First of all Ateny does not understand the meaning of the word racist.  Racism occurs between people of different races, for instance discrimination between white people and black people, or as in our case with the Arabs in the then Sudan.  As I am an African like Ateny, where does the racism come in here?  It would have been more credible if Ateny called me a tribalist, but then this will not hold because in the current circumstance of South Sudan, I do not have power to exercise tribalism.  It is the Dinka who are promoting tribalism.  The evidence is everywhere in RSS. 

As with regards to genocide, this is a red herring.  I do not know where Ateny pulled this from.  This could be his own psychological insecurities tormenting him resulting from imagined fear of reprisals due to the abuses the Dinka inflicted on others. 

I have no reason to encourage or promote genocide as claimed because in my opinion anybody that actively encourages genocide is mentally deranged.  I am so surprised to hear Ateny accusing me of that.  The reality is if we do not talk about Dinka abuses and expansionist policies, this is what will trigger hatred and possibly lead into some unhealthy thoughts.   Since 1983 with the birth of the Oyee party , Dinka expansion has been central to its operations.  For instance, the renaming of places as New Bor etc are elements of this colonialists ideology and tendencies.  What is wrong with the Dinka remaining in their ancestral land like the rest of the people of South Sudan?  Why do they want to colonise other people?  What is wrong with the original indigenous names of the lands they come to?  The manner in which the Dinka displaced the Bongo people of Tonj is something that the rest of the tribes in South Sudan need to watch carefully.  President Kiir is silently promoting this obnoxious practice in Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria. 

If the Dinka persist on this path they can be sure of one thing and that is the other tribes of South Sudan will resist as this is a matter central to human existence.   The prominent Dinka leaders need to address this issue for amicable co-existence with the other tribes of South Sudan, if they don’t, they are letting the Dinka people in particular down and South Sudan in general.   This is because ultimately there is little to gain by this kind of practice.

Lastly, this is not a statement of personal attack.  It is a clarification for the record.  It would be good and in the interest of RSS to see all the people of South Sudan concerned working together to promote respect and positive development of our state to ensure safety and human dignity for every citizen.  Dinkocracy is destructive and if allowed to continue it will sink our nascent state.

[The truth hurts but it is also liberating]

The Author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected]

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