Republic of South Sudan: A Rotten Society Mismanaging Itself into Self destruction?

By Elhag Paul

March 6, 2013 (SSNA) — It is now four months since the sad killing of Isaiah Abraham with a Wandit from the security service publishing president Kiir’s list of death in an email on 5th December 2012.  President Kiir’s list of death itself was not surprising to some of us at all.  The only surprise was the fact SPLM Oyee decided to continue with its criminality that it had developed during the bush years after taking the reigns of power of the sovereign state of South Sudan.

From 9th July 2011 we expected that president Kiir and his party would be guided by the constitution of RSS and in doing so it would live by its now empty monotonous songs of democracy that it ceaselessly sings.  Now, for those who always give this dysfunctional organisation the benefit of doubt, the ball is in their court to decide whether to support criminality or the rule of law.

Targeting citizens by lists is hardly the stuff of lawful governance.  This is the working of gangs operating outside the law in the underworld.  But we must not forget that SPLM Oyee since its birth in 1983 operated thuggishly in the bushes of South Sudan with impunity.  It awarded itself the powers of life and death and it exercised it largely without any due process and constraints. 

Thus in the process it lynched a large number of innocent people ranging from those who disagreed with their unionist ideology of New Sudan to eliminating members of other tribes perceived as a threat to Jieng hegemony.  For instance, the killings in late 1990s of the honourable chief of the Didinga people; the respectable Col. Martin Kejivura and SPLM/A Alternate Commander Khamis Deliga.  For over two decades the SPLM Oyee got used to terrorising the people of South Sudan into submission which allowed it to establish itself as the unrivalled power in South Sudan.

The previous leader of this obnoxious movement, the late Dr John Garang De Mabior was handed this murder machine called SPLM/A by Col. Mengistu of Ethiopia, to force the now obsolete ideology of New Sudan on the people of South Sudan and by default establishing the Jieng people as the ultimate ruling class in the Sudan with their nefarious belief of “born to rule”.  A self perpetuated belief (rather delusional) without any grounds given what is taking place in the country.  Thank God, the SPLM has now demonstrated beyond doubt not only to South Sudanese, but to the world at large that it has no skills of governance whatsoever.  Worse still SPLM seems not to have any skills of self assessment and self reflection which exacerbates the poverty in its dealings with other people. Even the horrible Boers of South Africa with their then National Party and Apartheid ideology were able to reflect and this was what saved South Africa from propelling itself into the abyss.  The “born to rule”, unlike the Boers who were able to value their future only excel in promoting lawlessness, corruption, crime and intolerance.  So in short one could say that they are born to destroy, to plunder, to misrule etc.

Dr Garang’s beliefs and writing about democracy presently with hindsight is giving us an insight into his mind since the product of his mind in the form of SPLM Oyee management is not any different from the management of the then Sudan by the Sudanese ruling class that he vehemently criticised.  Everything that Dr Garang criticised about the ruling class in Khartoum as documented in his books edited by Mansur Khalid ironically was practised by him in the bush and now by his organisation in power in RSS.  This shows conclusively that Dr Garang and the SPLM Oyee was and is after power and domination only and not about liberation and empowerment of the people.

The current president Salva Kiir was the man who for over two decades headed the dreadful intelligence service of SPLM Oyee and was responsible for the disappearance of many innocent people.  In effect, he was the Rottweiler of Dr Garang.  Now if Salva Kiir was comfortable leading an organisation responsible for the disappearance of innocent people with impunity, what would make any person think he will not continue with it as the president of RSS?  What Kiir does not contemplate is that in the bush years he and his former boss late Dr Garang were unaccountable because they operated under their self made rules.  Now that South Sudan is independent the rules of the game have changed.  He can not continue with his sordid business with impunity.  He will have to account one way or another whether he likes it or not because South Sudan has a constitution, be it an undesirable one.  Moreover, RSS is obliged to observe international laws related to Human Rights. 

The painful killing of Isaiah Abraham, a staunch SPLM officer which might have been intended to jackboot journalists and opinion writers into silence paradoxically has awaken the world to abuses of power in RSS.  This adds to the accumulating troubles of SPLM Oyee machine.  A report by Reporters Without Borders released on Wednesday 30th January 2013 indicates that the international community has taken note of the human rights abuses in the country.  The downgrading of South Sudan status in the annual press index without doubt proves that its image has been tarnished in the world.  This report and others by the US and UN on human rights are probably the beginning of the concretisation of the failures of governance in RSS under SPLM Oyee.  In a sense it is a blessing to South Sudanese democrats so they can at last intensify the case for peaceful regime change in Juba. 

The sad killing of Isaiah Abraham is an act of uncalled for terror and every peace loving citizen of South Sudan needs to condemn it and think seriously about its consequence to our country.  If this painful unacceptable act of barbarity of SPLM Oyee is allowed to fizzle out, then the future of our country is indeed bleak.  For in returning to life as normal, the SPLM Oyee will have succeeded in normalising killing of those it does not like and believe you me it is not only the targeted ones in the known or unknown lists.  You may find yourself on such a list in future if you are still alive.  As this organisation gets more and more irrational the list will grow longer and longer swallowing in anybody within its reach with a slight variance in opinion.  This is the nature of totalitarian regimes.  Just look at similar movements like the Baath of Iraq, the Green Movement of Gaddafi and so on.  Therefore, it is imperative that SPLM Oyee is made to account.  To make SPLM Oyee to account you must be an agent of change for the common good and a future prosperous country.

The killing of Isaiah Abraham, terrible as it is, has already raised the consciousness of the people of Bor to a certain level.  The people of Bor as the fervent supporters of this ugly machine and the beneficiaries of its fruits for years have doggedly defended its crimes shamelessly.  Now it seems that they are realising that they have built a monster that they themselves can not tame.  When late Dr Garang was the leader, they were safe and secure and they ignored the plight of the victims of their beloved organisation.  Now that the leadership has gone to Warrap, Bor seems to be at the receiving end like the others and they do not like it.  They are right not to like it, because democrats and free thinkers too do not like it from experience either.  To understand the painful feelings of Bor which many South Sudanese have lived with for years, just read ‘Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: Verbatim from the memorial service of Isaiah Abraham’ published by South Sudan Nation on 19th December 2012. 

The obvious notable thing any reader browsing through this article comes across is the number of VIPs from the government of South Sudan who comprised the bulk of the speakers.  This people, arguably form the nucleus of SPLM Oyee and by extension the government of South Sudan itself.  From their words the waves of raw pain comes forth from inside them sweeping us along, prodding our conscious and reminding us of our own horrendous experiences under the SPLM Oyee. 

Speaker after speaker expressed the pain in their own words capturing the lived experience of South Sudanese under their very rule of terror.  They unreservedly condemned the government as if they were not the architects of this barbaric organisation.  An outsider could easily be misled to think these people have nothing to do with SPLM Oyee.  But peer deeper and the true picture falls into place.  These are the essential cogs of this machine.  Their condemnation of the government although welcome, it is what psychologists call denial.  The refusal to accept the reality that one facet of your personality is hideous.  It is difficult to think of yourself as part of a criminal and horrible organisation.  Worse still is to think of yourself as being a possible accomplice in the killing of Isaiah Abraham.  Self preservation demands that such feelings are banished through selfish denial lest it stirs mental health issues.  This kind of denial mingles with another denial generated by the bereavement itself. 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1926 – 2004), the renowned theorist of bereavement posits that humans in the initial stages of bereavement automatically react with denial followed by anger.  Now it seems that the SPLM bosses’ denial of the nature of their own organisation, and the denial resulting from the bereavement had fused into one potent ball of boiling emotions.  Hence, the venom spewed (on president Kiir and paradoxically on themselves, essentially an act of self deprecation) at the memorial service symbolise a combination of both denial and anger.  Kubler-Ross further argues that after these two crucial stages in bereavement comes acceptance.  After sometime when reality sinks in the bereaved accept the demise and then recovery begins with normality taking over.  If these powerful VIPs return to business as normal with Isaiah Abraham fading into the distant memory to become history as eventually he will, then their whole reaction in the memorial service must be understood in the context of bereavement process only.  Therefore, what they said is nothing, absolutely nothing, but the words of a weasel’s emotional reaction from denial and anger.

Surprisingly, it appears that these VIPs were not aware that they were/are part and parcel of this Oyee machine that has at last brought destruction home.  It appears they were/are oblivious to the fact that they are complicit in the acts of their party and government and by implication Isaiah Abraham’s death is a result of their own construction.  It is possible such feeling of complicity bordering on guilt is the one eating them from inside.  We have time and again tirelessly emphasised that SPLM Oyee brutality will eventually destroy all of us, but they have refused to listen.  Most unfortunately, Isaiah Abraham’s killing is an explicit example illuminating our rotten society mismanaging itself into self destruction. We ignore SPLM brutality at our peril.

Now if these VIPs condemned the government without reservation, the questions are: why are they still part of it?  What have they learnt and done to improve the situation since the sad killing of Isaiah Abraham?  Why is the killing of citizens continuing in Juba and many parts of the country? Or, have we now forgotten about our brother Isaiah Abraham and it is business as usual?  Or, are we now discriminating the dead?  High profile ones can be fussed over and counted (though technically a meaningless loss) while low profile ones are invisibalised making the daily statistics of the country without any concerns.  So are we now in the world of those who matter and those who do not matter?  What a terrible indictment on our humanity

So, Bor or not, SPLM Oyee will not exempt you of its brutalities and its lawlessness.  You are subject to its oppression like the others.  Warrap people also need to think carefully because when the leadership of SPLM Oyee slips from their hand, this very organisation that protects them now will be the very one that will turn on them mercilessly.  Its sons and daughters will be in SPLM Oyee future ‘Death list’ too. 

Therefore, all of us have an interest in stopping this horrendous organisation from destroying us and our country.  Just remember, organisations are living entities with their own rules and principles thus giving it a mind of its own only manipulatible by the leadership of the day.  So any people (with a collective pathological psyche as now) that gains control of this murderous machine will use it to inflict pain on the rest.  Bor has now found out the hard way.  Let South Sudanese hug them (Borians) to assuage the pain and make use of their experience to build a truly peaceful country at ease with itself where all of us live freely and happily in the company of each other. 

A Pathological organisation like SPLM Oyee breeds chaos. Unhealthy tribal affiliation breeds tribalism and ultimately leads to unhealthy interactions and co-existence.  At the core of SPLM, we can see that it is gripped with intense fear and intolerance.

Principally SPLM Oyee’s behaviour is a result of its policy of intolerance.  This emanates from its insecure nature.  The fear that grips it has cultivated a belief in its followers that they can only be safe if SPLM/A does away with anybody that holds contrary beliefs and ideas.  Given this absurd mentality any leader who takes over may find himself/herself doing the same things as the previous and current leaders.  So although these things are happening under president Kiir today, tomorrow they will recur under a different SPLM person if this pathological organisation is not disbanded.

Crucially, remember that SPLM Oyee’s power comes from you the members and if you do not do something it will continue to perpetuate its atrocities on us, simply because it is a paranoid organisation gripped with fear of intellectuals, journalists and opinion writers.  The ‘Death list(s)’ Wandit thrust into the public domain will continue to be prepared in the offices of the so called security organs with new innocent people added on as criticism of SPLM failures inevitably grow.  Albert Einstein reminds us that the world is a dangerous place to live in; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it to correct things.

So let us regardless of our tribe join hands to build a democratic, peaceful and fair country through a government of national unity in which every citizen is protected by law and order and not cling to some monstrous organisation or tribal affiliations as a way of ensuring our safety.   In doing this the truth must be spelt out clearly for us to reflect on it, work on it in order to ensure that such ills are not repeated in future

[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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