South Sudan: A Tumultuous Mixture of Raw Human Hatreds (part 9)

By Wani Tombe Lako

July 8, 2013 (SSNA) — The SPLM political goose has come home to roost. The history and culture of endemic and entrenched backstabbing and vengeful deadly plots is consuming and undermining the SPLM from within. The SPLM does not need anybody from outside its structures; to hurt it. May be, political outsiders shall only come for the humanitarian gesture of burying the SPLM; once it has committed suicide.

The official spokesman of the SPLM is already in record that, the SPLM is a failure, and the top leadership is a failure. Thank you Mr. Spokesman, you have vindicated people like me; and many others in South Sudan. The SPLM Secretary General is also in record, confirming the politicised suspension of Kosti Manibe. Fellow citizens of South Sudan, does the SPLM need anybody from outside to divide it, on the basis of individual and group vested interests?

The answer is no. The SPLM was moulded, and is operating, on the basis of tribal and ethnic divisions and mistrusts. What is happening right now is normal, within the SPLM. We must not give the SPLM another chance of misruling us, in South Sudan, come 2015. If they cancelled the elections in 2015, they must not be allowed to cling to power by all means. Enough is enough.

Paradoxically, in 2007, President Kiir was worried about the unity of the SPLM/A, and he said, “…we in the SPLM, the other signatory to the CPA, are one party united in vision and objectives…however, there are elements who wish to divide us into what they call Awalad Garang and Awalad who? I do not know… I call upon those who wish to see us divided to abandon their illusions and delusions…” 

The above statement is grossly misleading. The SPLM/A has never been united in visions and objectives, from the word go in 1983. The late Dr Garang has already written on this. The 1991 split speaks volumes about this. The schisms between the late Dr Garang and President Kiir during the bush days, until the late Dr Garang’s death, speak mountains of facts. The current cutthroat rivalry in the SPLM/A, is a clear operationalisation of what President Kiir called ‘Awalad Garang i.e. Garang’s Boys’ and ‘Awalad who?’ Well, the ‘who’ here, is, actually, ‘Awalad Salva, i.e. Salva’s Boys.

However, in 2004, during the famous Rumbek Meeting, (29/11/2004-1/12/2004); President Kiir said, “…we have no cohesion within our leadership structure, let us be sincere with ourselves. After meetings are concluded, we run to foreign countries. There is no code of conduct to guide the Movement’s structures. When the Chairman leaves for abroad, no directives are left. And no one is left to act on his behalf. I do not know with whom the Movement is left with; or does he carry it in his own brief case…” (See page 2, Para 6, of the confidential report of the Rumbek meeting).

The differences between the two quotations above are very stark. The quote from the Juba speech appears to differ a lot from the one from the Rumbek meeting because, the latter quote appears to be more authentic in that, it came from the inner most feelings of Lt. Gen. Mayardit; whereas, the quote from the Juba speech looks a straight forward work of political spin doctors at work.

These are the kind of spin doctors who do not care a dime in terms of putting dangerous words into the mouths of their political bosses. This is either because they do not know what they are doing, or, they know what they are doing, but they want to accelerate the political downfall of their boss, or both. However, it will do the readers a great favour and fairness to give them another quote from the speech of Lt. Gen. Mayardit, where it is very clear that, from the nature of the quote, the SPLM was not united by the end of 2004, and they cannot be possibly united now.

While attending the Rumbek meeting between the 29th of November to the 1st of December 2004, and commenting on matters of differences in the SPLM, Lt. Gen. Mayardit said, “…after I spoke with the Chairman, I also met Cdr. Pieng in Yei for the whole day and he was advising me to join the Chairman in Yirol, which I refused. After that, I met Cdr. Kuol Manyang and Cdr. Deng Alor. They came from Nairobi with information that I should go to Nairobi for reconciliation between the two of us. I considered the word ‘reconciliation’ as something very serious, and therefore decided to tell them I will not go to Nairobi. The HQs of the Chairman complained that they were calling me and that if I recognized their number, I would switch off the telephone. That is not; I never received any call from them and switched off my telephone…” (See page 2, Para 4, of the confidential report referred to above). 

Critical reading of the two quotes, that is, the immediately above quote and the main quote from the Juba speech in 2007; indicates that something is not straight. The quote from the Rumbek Meeting, at the end of 2004; is indicative of dangerous rifts between the late Dr Garang and President Kiir. It is also logical to conclude that, there was, and still there is, dangerous rifts between the followers of the late Dr Garang, and those of President Kiir.

The followers of the late Dr Garang are still there in force; and the followers of President Kiir are powerful now. What do you think my dear citizens of South Sudan? I personally think that, the two groups of followers are humans, and they definitely have grudges against one another albeit in very subtle fashion. However, I am not sure if such grudges can be subtle where wealth and power are at stake.

It is obvious that, various SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, do not need outsiders, to introduce loathing in their hateful and vengeful psychics. As mentioned above, these evil variables of schisms are inherently inbuilt indices within the SPLM/A. They were created by the SPLM/A, and nurtured by them. The SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, are now harvesting the fruits. They must not smear the rest of South Sudanese with this filth, which reeks of multiple creams against the peoples of South Sudan.

For example, President Kiir lamented that, “…those around the Chairman do not tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from finance officer, to one at the lowest level. Corruption as a result of the lack of structures has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate…” (See page 2. Para 7, of the confidential report referred to above).

My dear citizens of South Sudan, it is now very clear from the quote above that, the SPLM/A was already dangerously and fatally consumed by internal divisions by the end of 2004? Is it not also reasonable to argue that, by this time, there already exists a “we” and “they” culture, within the remit of the organisational structures of the SPLM/A? Therefore, am I not correct, to argue that, current erratic behaviour of the SPLM/A leadership, in the fashion the sovereign RoSS is managed, is a clear demonstration and affirmation of dangerous schisms within the SPLM/A?

Dear citizens of South Sudan, this was the fractious nature of SPLM/A by the end of 2004. When concern South Sudanese, like myself, try to alert the public, to comprehensive dangers, inherent in the dangerous paths that the SPLM/A would like us to follow blindly, we are called tribalist and such like. How can concern South Sudanese become spoilers and bent on dividing SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members?

How valid is the allegation that, others in South Sudan and elsewhere, are trying to make the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members hate themselves? This is a very wild accusation. How can others from outside the SPLM/A; make and show, the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, who have been politically brought up; on enriched diet of malice, hate, conspiracies and backstabbing, to learn, how to hate? 

This internal malice, hate, conspiracies and backstabbing were clearly demonstrated by the late Dr Garang, when he said, “…the allegations that I was going to dismiss Cdr. Salva and arrest him was not only a lie, but it did not occur in my mind. I was preoccupied with the peace process and not trying to create a crisis…” (See page 5, Para 2, of the confidential report referred to above).

In fact, right now, as I write, the SPLM/A is still ridden with cultures of lies, arrests, detentions, dismissals and all paraphernalia of mistrust, jealousy, hate and revenge. All these are undermining the stability of the whole country. South Sudanese did not vote for an independent country to live in these types of hurts and agonies.

In another outburst of anger indicating the degree of disenchantment as well as divisions among the ranks and file of the SPLM?A, one Ambrose Riny said, “…I would like to point out that many members of the Movement have lost their ability to sit in an office. I want to point out an incident where a commander told me that what Dr John or Cdr. Kuol Manyang say up there does not work in the south. What kind of a system is this if it is not respected by its officers? There is no system respected in this Movement. I suggest that a committee be formed to organize the army and conference to inform the world and our supporters that there is no problem from within…” (See page 8, Para 5, of the confidential report referred to above).

It is therefore obvious that, this culture of contempt against order in the SPLM/A is historical. The inherent disunity in the SPLM/A undermined the system then; and it is doing the same now in sovereign South Sudan. As mentioned above, SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members did not have one vision then, and they do not have one vision now. Save for the few who died; the same people who met in Rumbek, are now running the RoSS.

For example, John Luk said, “…why is the leadership avoiding South-South dialogue? The Chairman refuses to accept dialogue, but claims it after others implement it. It was Cdr. Salva who supported the Wunlit Peace Conference-but the Chairman was against it. At the recent conference in Nairobi organised by the Kenyan Minister for Planning, the SPLM/A failed to attend because the Chairman had refused to let the SPLM attend. Cdr. James Wani is weak and the Chairman uses him to kill things related to South-South dialogue…” (See pages 13 and 14, Paras. 7 and 1 respectively, of the confidential report referred to above).

The above quote, indicates that, there were, and still there are, SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, who identified with the late Dr Garang. This being the case, are the outsiders, who refer to other SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, as Awalad Garang; not really stating the obvious? That is, the obvious, as already known by those within the structures of the SPLM/A?

Why do SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, always pretend and lie; as if they did not know then, and do not know now; that, from the living days of the late Dr Garang, there were others; among them; belonging to the inner circle of the late Dr Garang? Is this another trick to blame some of us, outside of the SPLM/A, for their own internal follies? The SPLM/A leadership ought to be brave enough to accept their own mistakes and shortcomings. These dangerous shortcomings ought to be put into serious consideration by the peoples of South Sudan; in any general elections, in the near future.

In another miserable, lowly and cowardly dissension during the Rumbek meeting, by the late Dr Justin Yac, in which he said, “…the Chairman is good for external contacts but within his own institutions he is not good. The Chairman is good in talking but poor in doing things. The Cdrs condemned him the day before and I quote Cdr. Salva who said that, ‘Dr John does not forget and does not forgive, and whoever quarreled him ended up dead’…I repeat what Cdr. Salva said that, Dr John does not forget and forgive. So I want to say that those without guns are vulnerable. The Cdrs are secure because they have guns to protect themselves from the Chairman, but I ask who is going to protect those of us without guns…” (See pages 14 and 15, Paras 5 and 1 respectively, of the confidential report referred to above).

The above quote shows a desperate human person, terrified to his bones for his dear life. This means that, the SPLM/A, during the living days of its Chairman was a very dangerous place, where freedom of expression was very costly, because, you could actually pay with your poor life. Can you consider an organisation where its members could be killed for disagreeing with the Chairman a reasonably cohesive organisation where people are united around the same vision and message?

Is this the kind of an organisation that waits for outsiders, to defile its good name in terms of disunity within its rank and file? I sincerely think that, the claims that other political parties, and individuals are trying to tarnish the image of the SPLM/A, as a fractious political party is farfetched. The SPLM has been fractious from the word go, and the SPLM leadership ought to spare us the public; the burden of being blamed for their natural fratricidal culture. You can see how a reasonable human person, like the late Dr Justin Yac; was scared out of his wits, of the late Chairman of the SPLM/A.

This being the case in the SPLM/A, in reality, how many of the SPLM/A leaders, operatives and members, truly missed the late Chairman of the SPLM/A? This is a perfectly valid question. The scenario painted by the late Dr Justin Yac above, was not a normal organisational environment, where human love and positive reciprocity can flourish easily among the human persons therein.

According to the various quotes above, the SPLM/A appears to be an organisation where people survive by making alliances with the most powerful and influential. Should this be the case, how can one then claim that, the SPLM/A is a united organisation? Such a claim of unity is vacuous and intellectually unsustainable and barmy. See you in (part 10).

The author is Professor of Social and Rural Development and Lecturer in Laws. He be reached at [email protected]

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