By Elhag Paul
October 13, 2012 (SSNA) — The violence unleashed on Emmanuel Jal on Saturday 8th September 2012 in Juba is not any surprise at all. Nobody in Juba is exempt from the barbarism of SPLM security people be they VIPs, diplomats, scholars etc. We have had diplomats from very important countries in Africa slapped left and right in Juba by illiterate traffic police who have no idea of their own trade. Since the signing of the CPA in 2005 and the coming of SPLM/A to power in South Sudan, the country was swiftly taken back to the age of barbarism.
SPLM, an uncouth organisation right from its inception in 1983 while singing about liberation, it has always behaved contrary to the principles of liberation itself. It abused the very people it was supposed to protect and liberate. Having gained power, the SPLM/A just transferred their bush management style into the towns of South Sudan turning the lives of the average South Sudanese into a nightmare.
Stories of violence meted out on citizens has since then been a daily occurrence. Since GoSS is run by SPLM and it has no clear ideology or humane values, it has no clue of how to reign in on its militarised police forces. The failure to address this serious lapse in law and order unbelievably is lamented by the head of the state and his minister for Home Affairs.
Recently the president himself admitted that members of the police and security forces are responsible for most of the crimes committed in towns in South Sudan. Surprisingly he did not explain how his government was going to deal with the problem. In a sense, he was openly admitting failure and demonstrating incompetence but refusing to take responsibility. If south Sudan was the democracy the president always claims it is, he would have been asked to quit there and then. It is only fair to say that if the president and his government do not know their duties to the state and its people then they should just get out of those offices and let competent people take over.
But being a totalitarian leader of a tribally constructed organisation, the president continues to mismanage the country shamelessly knowing very well that the party militia will ensure he remains in power. Now we have Emmanuel Jal who has for no reason been attacked on the street, robbed and abused by the very people (police and security agents) who were supposed to protect him. If the security agents themselves are the criminals, who then is going to maintain law and order in the country? Is there any wonder why the Republic of South Sudan is a failed state? There is talk of investigation to apprehend the culprits who abused Emmanuel Jal. So far it is almost one month since the incident happened and there is no indication of any success. I hope that this investigation yields fruits. If the history of such abuses is anything to go by, we might as well forget any justice for Emmanuel Jal.
Do you remember the cases of professor Taban Lo Lyiong, Professor Jok Madut Jok, Mr Daniel Wani and honourable Arop Madut? These four cases are not the only ones but their importance relate to the fact that these gentlemen are of high standing in the community. Taban Lo Lyion is a professor and renowned international writer with books like ‘Another Nigger Dead’ to his name. Professor Jok Madut Jok is an educationalist and the undersecretary in the ministry of culture. Daniel Wani is an engineer and the former undersecretary in the ministries of roads and wildlife. Arop Madut is a journalist, author and an appointed MP in the parliament. What is remarkable is that most if not all are staunch members of the SPLM party.
SPLM party membership consists of some of the most highly educated people in the country, but the sophistication of this section of the party unfortunately is neither portrayed in the party policies nor governance of the country. One wonders why such highly educated people continue to be part of a dysfunctional organisation where their views do not count. What makes them be part of this organisation? I am baffled and my poor brain can not work out the reason. Even when they are brutally abused as in some of the cases mentioned in this article, they just carry on singing Oyee, Oyee, Oyee without putting a robust protest in defence of their dignity and humanity. Are they really that impotent in that organisation?
The circumstances in which these respectable citizens experienced the brutality of their own SPLM police and army proves beyond doubt that South Sudan is not only a failed state, but as described by Gerrard Prunier a country run by “idiots …,rotten to the core”. It is unthinkable that people of such calibre in any other country would have been exposed or subjected to such violence.
Violence continues in South Sudan because there is no will to address it due to the nature of the gang system in the ruling party. Each gang protects its members and each gang is careful not to step on the others toes. So if one gang commits crime the others look the other way. This is what allows people like Jok Madut Jok to be humiliated by drank soldiers in view of their superiors. It is the same thing that allows the thieving lot to fleece the coffers of the government without fear of accountability. It is this very system that has turned the president into a spectator of violence and by implication an accomplice to it. This should not be taken as an excuse for the president’s inaction. He has duties to protect the citizens of South Sudan. If he can not do it he should do the honourable thing – resign. There is no need for him to be warming the presidential chair while lawlessness is raging on all over the country.
Why are the people not reacting against the misrule and the abuse? To put it simply, violence and human rights abuse of all nature in South Sudan have been normalised by their daily occurrence. Since 1983 the people of South Sudan have been subjected to unbelievable abuse. The three decades of SPLM grip on power in South Sudan has caused immense damage to the country producing a traumatised society that has lost all semblance of normality and sanity. The SPLM leadership itself confused without any governance skills and clue to how to address this sad state of affairs made the situation worse by indulging in orgies of looting and allowing lawlessness to spread like wild fire. South Sudan now is a failed state and worse still the people are de-sensitized to abuse.
The people having learnt that they can not get redress from the system have accepted violence as normal. They have internalised the rot because being weak in environment of violence calls for complete obedience in order to survive. Thus the helplessness of the people in turn make the abusers feel great. SPLM is dehumanising South Sudanese by the second and minute. It is killing the people’s sense and moral fabric. This is dangerous because as we lose our humanity we all lose our cultural ability to preserve life itself and by so doing we self destruct. When we watch abuse without concern and action we too become dehumanised. In the end we will become abusers ourselves and this will be an indictment on our humanity itself.
Let me expand on this point as it is very important. The anger building up slowly among the people of South Sudan about the current situation in the country is surely brutalising the public. It is dehumanising the public. When this anger explodes, the people will resort to replacing the current system by using violence as it happened in Libya. It is here that people will then begin to realise how they have been brutalised and dehumanised. Watching clips of the Libyan revolution is a chilling experience and should be a reminder to the SPLM regime and its supporters. They are not exempt from this process. People fighting for their freedom and political rights usually copy the same behaviour of their oppressors in the struggle to rid themselves of abuse. In Libya the masses discovering their power behaved towards Gadaffi’s regime supporters exactly in the same manner Gadaffi’s security men behaved towards them in their hay days. That is the once peaceful citizen turned abuser by the system ending up abusing their abusers. So, all are losers including the country. The new system coming into force will not be any better than the old one. Do we all want to be losers? Ponder on the Libyan experience and the now ongoing situation in Syria. We still can save our country from unnecessary destruction.
South Sudanese should not accept this dehumanisation. SPLM is what it is because the people have become helpless spectators rather than actors who have rights. If most of the people vote by withdrawing their support from this organisation, they will be surprised to see fruiting change emerge from the ashes of South Sudan failed state. We the people have the power and we should use it responsibly by delinking from the SPLM to end the abuse and save our country. If we do not want to see violence like the one in Libya, or orgiastic corruption, or theft, or misrule, etc then let us just walk away from this monstrous organisation. If we do this we would have done the most honourable thing in our lives by: 1) clearing our conscience by removing ourselves from being accomplice to crimes. 2) Freeing and saving South Sudan from the claws of vultures and vampires. 3) Participating in bringing about a historic peaceful change in our lives.
Liberating South Sudan from the vultures and vampires peacefully will offer a chance for South Sudanese to tell the world that we are humans and the government of SPLM does not represent us. It will restore the hard fight the South Sudanese put to gain sympathy of the world during the struggle.
The assault on Emmanuel Jal is an affront to the people of South Sudan. Emmanuel on his own contributed massively to the liberation of South Sudan. First as a child solder. When he picked up the gun the overwhelming majority of his age mates were either attending school or being cared for by their parents. He risked his life and was exposed to traumatising experiences while as a soldier. His life story which has been aired in TV programmes around the world speaks for itself. Tough as he was, he removed himself from this trauma and sought self healing through music of liberation which he performed well and in the process he became an ambassador of South Sudan. With this kind of achievements and contribution towards liberation of South Sudan, did Emmanuel Jal deserve to be treated like that?
There is no reason at all for the police and security people to abuse South Sudanese. Whether the security forces were traumatised by the war of liberation or not, that can not be an excuse. These people are not above the law. Like the rest of us, they are subject to the law of the land. The failure of the system to hold security people to account is due to the fact that both the ministries of justice and interior like the others are fully packed with party functionaries hailing from specific tribes whose job is to ignore crimes committed by its members. This is not acceptable. Something has to be done and that something is to quit this monstrous organisation called the SPLM Oyee. You can quietly without announcing it delink from it and when the elections come just vote it out of power.
All in all, the beating of Emmanuel Jal symbolises brand SPLM whose attributes consist of brute force, theft, lies and absence of duty of care. The longer it is allowed to govern in South Sudan, the more dehumanised we become and the nearer we inch to self destruction.[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The Author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected]