December 15, 2012 (SSNA) — The Twi Society in Canada (TSC) joins the rest of the peace-loving South Sudanese communities all over the world in strongly and categorically condemning the senseless, grotesque and cowardly assassination of our dear brother and patriotic son of South Sudan, Isaiah Abraham Diing Chan Awuol. Isaiah hailed from Kongor clan of Twi Dinka in Jonglei State; a community, like others, that gave so much in terms of lives sacrificed, among them Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Arok Thon Arok and Akuot Atem de Mayen, to the liberation struggle and freedom of South Sudan.
Our community regards the late Isaiah for the great work he did championing freedom of speech and democratic principles for which so much blood was shed, and continue to be shed. Isaiah died doing what he loves and what he believes in: development of a free, democratic South Sudan in which the sanctity of life and the dignity of decent living are paramount. He also died fighting to give every voiceless citizen a chance to enjoy a conducive social, political and economic atmosphere. Twi Community believes in the same ideals Isaiah so gallantly fought for to the bitter end. It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “If you have got nothing worth dying for, then you have got nothing worth living for.” Like a true son of his father, Isaiah lived a life of unrivalled and unquestionable public integrity; and when it came time to lay his life on the line so as to proclaim the truth, Isaiah gladly accepted the call. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
As a peace-loving community, which still believes in the mandate vested in the current leadership of South Sudan, we are calling upon the government of South Sudan to thoroughly investigate the assassination of late Isaiah. Bringing to book all the perpetrators would not only bring closure to the family of late Isaiah and Twi Community world-wide, it would also strengthen South Sudanese faith in their government.
We also appreciate the fact that Dr. Marial Benjamin, the minister of information and the government spokesperson, has termed Isaiah’s death what it truly is; an assassination. We now expect the government to treat it as such, a politically motivated assassination. However, it is important to note that Isaiah was a political commentator who pointed out government’s failures and misdoings without fear or favour. There is no doubt some of writings must have rubbed some people in the echelon of power the wrong way. We are, therefore, very concerned about the impartiality of the investigations underway; and if, at any given time, the government finds itself in a conflict of interest, it would be advisable to procure a service of an impartial third party co-investigator.
Twi Society of Canada also takes this moment to register its displeasure with the general treatment of South Sudanese citizens by security forces. It appears our security forces have forgotten that their principal mandate is to protect our nation, not to terrorize it. Wiyual Manytap (Who’s still missing), Jok Madut Jok, Dengdit Ayok, James Okuk, Deng Athuai, Emmanuel Jal, Cde Mabior Garang and many others look up to you for protection, but often time, they have found themselves at the short end of the security agents’ brutality. Enough is enough! This is not what Kerubino Kwanyin Bol died for! This is not what William Nyuon Bany died for! This is not what John Garang died for! This is not what Arok Thon Arok died for! This is not what all the martyrs died for! And we certainly hope this is not the legacy you want to bequeath to the next generation of South Sudanese.
TSC is calling upon SPLM, the Government of South Sudan and all political forces to come together and reignite the flame that sustained us through the tough times of liberation struggle and ultimately bringing about independence. The SPLM-led government needs to remind itself of the principles it took up arms for. As a community, we still continue to hope for the best; that is, for a prosperous, democratic South Sudan, and we therefore call upon all the government departments concerned, with great urgency, to:
- Thoroughly investigate the assassination and make sure no stones are left unturned
- Train law enforcement and security officers on democratic principles and rule of law
- Train government officials, MPs and ministers on proper ways to deal with public criticisms
- Organize workshops on governance and the value of diverse opinions and political criticisms
- Realize that criticism helps shape the public policy direction of any democratic society
- Realize that critics and political analysts are the mirror through which politicians can evaluate their performances
- Respect the work of responsible journalists
Finally, we would like to reiterate, one last time, the importance of constitutionalism, the rule of law and the respect for civil rights and civil liberties in building and sustaining a coercive nation. Continued subversion of those important tenets of democracy would have consequences, which include and not limited to, deep-rooted dissatisfaction and disillusionment with the government. We pray it never comes to that.