October 4, 2013 (SSNA) — Sometimes, it is difficult to understand how the human brain functions, especially when people who present as enlightened engage in hurting others deliberately because they believe that they are invincible. Such people defy received knowledge and wisdom accumulated over the centuries in human management from the time of philosophers like Aristotle.
Power, the focal element in human management since the appearance of humans on this planet has proved to be the most elusive thing to hold onto indefinitely. From the times of feudalism until the enlightenment period in 18th century, rulers ranging from monarchs to emperors deluded themselves that they could misuse power without accountability forever. When they are in the mode of invincibility they become abusive to the people until they get booted out of power violently by the aggrieved. The violence unleashed by French Revolution from 1789 to 1798 under the influential work of the great philosopher Jean Jacque Rousseau (1712 – 1778) eventually led the philosophers of the time to study politics in order to bring solutions to address the issue of violence.
The work of Rousseau that provided the foundational base to modern democracy in the theory of Social Contract basically tells us that nobody can be powerful forever. When someone is in their prime they can be powerful but as they get older they become frail and those abused could then take revenge at such a time. So instead of living in a situation where security can not be guaranteed indefinitely even when one is powerful the best thing to do is to pool our individual powers and will in a social contract forming a general will that serves all. The translation of Rousseau’s theory is what has given us the constitution in our modern states. Unless a constitution carries the general interest of everybody which must prevail on an individual interest then society truly can not be free. It is this point that naive leaders have failed to appreciate. It is the general will that must prevail and not the individual or tribal will. Short sighted leaders always prioritise the latter than the former to the detriment of the society and this is our biggest problem in South Sudan.
Oppressors like Jean Bedal Boukasa of Central African Republic, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now Congo), Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Idi Amin of Uganda, Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, Enver Hoxha of Albania, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Siad Barre of Somalia etc ignored the principles of social contract believing in their tribal will and continued to behave like little gods. The relatives/tribesmate of these rulers behaved as if they were invincible. They abused their citizens left and right but eventually they had to face the reality when the people stood up for their rights in violent revolutions. Where are they now? Exercise of power based on brute force does not work but rather it is the legitimate power obtained from ballots exercised in the general interest of all that safeguards everybody.
Our current rulers in RSS need to think very carefully because they are bound to meet the same fate as the abovementioned leaders now in the dustbin of history whether they like it or not. You may be asking yourself why am I writing this? Few days ago I visited the South Sudan Nation website as usual. I clicked on an article titled: ‘Response to the Crisis in Madiland: Central government is responsible.’ I was shocked when I went through the commentary to find a comment by someone called Lukudu Gathkouth Garang. Apart from the peculiarity of the name, the man clearly is intoxicated with power and he believes that they (the Jieng) have succeeded in subjugating the people of Equatoria region. He now thinks they have an unfettered right to grab land anywhere and also to dispossess the Equatorians without accountability. It is important that the people of Equatoria know this in order to protect themselves. Here is Garang’s deeply rooted view about Equatoria:
Dear Michael Okia Amuru:
I have thoroughly comprehended the message that you are attempting to convey to the people of South Sudan online. However I’m somehow lost between the idea of forming Nimule into the Town Council and keeping Magwi as an administrative headquarters for Acholi and madi. My question is, Will Acholi and Madi live happily and peacefully in Magwi County? If so, then give the Dinka IDPs the Equatorian Citizenship, resettle them in Nimule and let them form their Town Council in Nimule.
This may resolve the confusion between Acholi, Madi and Dinka IDPs in the Area.
The word Dinka IDPs should be replaced with Dinka settlers in Equatoria. Those Dinka IDPs have been living in Equatoria since 1980′s and I doubt they will leave Equatoria any time soon. They fought so furiously for the liberation of those areas from Jalaba and now they believe that they are part of that community or land.
Therefore, I personally advise you to find a way to accommodate them and live with them side by side in peace and harmony otherwise the hatred and rejection of those people will turn your area into a little Palestine in South Sudan. In addition, South Sudan has become a Country, thus each and every Citizen of this Country is entitled to live and work anywhere they choose in South Sudan. Therefore those Dinka settlers (IDP’s) should be welcomed and considered as Citizens of the Greater Equatoria.
In 2011, the same concern was raised by the Citizens of Western Equatoria State shortly after the Independence of South Sudan The local people summoned the Dinka settlers (IDPs) chiefs in order to tell them to go back home. However, unfortunately the Dinka IDP chiefs declined the request and boycotted the meeting. The local people became angry about the lack of response from the Dinka settlers (IDPs) in the area.
They sent a letter to president Kiir Mayardit, asking him to tell his Dinka people that the peace has come to South Sudan and that they should go back to their villages. I laughed very uncontrollably when I heard the news and told myself that this people are kidding themselves. In fact, President Kiir himself is one of the Dinka settlers (IDPs) in Equatoria. He was the first Dinka to settle with his family in Yei shortly after the fall of Yei in 1990′s. Yei has become a second home to president Kiir in South Sudan. In the real sense, Who is he to tell the Dinka settlers (IDPs) to go back home since he is one of the settlers himself?
Dear Equatorian Brothers/sisters, please forget about getting the Dinka out of Equatoria and find means or ways on how to coexist with the Dinkas in Equatoria. Those people have dug in and are ready to fight if they are forced out of Equatoria. If you guys don’t have sufficient land to accommodate you with the Dinka settlers (IDPs), then you have a choice to either move to Uganda or go and live in the Dinka villages/Towns or Cities where those Dinka used to live.
Moving the Dinka out of Equatoria would be as difficult and perilous as moving out the Israelis from the Palestine land. Why kicking the Dinkas out from Equatoria now and not when they were fighting with Jalaba during the liberation war? The Dinka IDPs (settlers) who are currently living in Equatoria are SPLA former soldiers with their families or relatives and they came from Upper Nile and Bhar El Ghazal regions. Now they are known as Equatorian Dinkas in Upper Nile and Bhar El Ghazal.
Please accommodate your Dinka Compatriots in the Greater Equatoria or give them the land, move back Uganda, Kenya or Congo. The Dinka settlers will never leave Equatoria whether by Arrows, Bullets or peace. Please get used to them as they become part of your community in Equatoria.
“The truth must be told even if it hurts”
Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang!
It is difficult not to remember Ian Smith of Rhodesia now Zimbabwe and the apartheid leaders of South Africa like Jan Smuts and Ian Botha when mulling on the issue of violent White settlement in those countries. The statements uttered by these persons in their hay days of White rule are similar to Garang’s comment. Not a surprise at all, as oppressors come in all guises and colours. Imagine, the Jieng in Abyei are crying about Arab oppression and dispossession when in 2013 we in South Sudan have a Garang crowing from the roof tops in promotion of this settlement ideology for the benefit of the Jieng. The irony is that all of us including the Jieng were 3 years ago prior to independence of South Sudan were shouting loudly against Arab oppression only for the Jieng today to identify himself with the Arabs and the racists whites of Southern Africa in behaviour. This leads to the logical conclusion that the Jieng too must be resisted and dis-empowered for peace to exist in Republic of South Sudan.
Garang like Ateny Wek Ateny and others have repeatedly aired these unfortunate views openly in contempt of the Equatorians. The tribal chief, turned president Salva Kiir himself is on record airing derogatory words about Equatorians. In light of this, it is clear that the Jieng are determined to displace the Equatorians using state power.
Similar behaviour is also foisted on the Chollo, Murle and the Fertit people in Western Bahr El Ghazal. It is very clear from this that the Jieng have a policy of dominating South Sudan violently. Anybody doubting should revisit the contents of the minutes of Ark Hotel meeting of the Jieng cabal in Kampala Uganda in 2009 where this awful ideas were hatched and adopted. The killing of chiefs in Equatoria is not isolated from the land issue. In late 1990s the chief of Didinga was killed by the Jieng when they were renaming places over there with imported names like New Cush and New Site. Nimule was then renamed New Bor and some community leaders from Acholi and Madi were killed by the Jieng.
The present killing of the Madi paramount chief has all the hall marks of the so called settlers. Like the other killings, there will be no proper investigation. The issue will just deliberately be left to get lost as all the other crimes. Equatorians and the other equally oppressed South Sudanese will continue to get victimised and killed until they organise themselves and defend themselves.
In 1857, Frederick Douglas, the African American political activist highlighted this important point in one of his speeches in Canandaigua in New York. Here is what he emphasised in relation to oppressors: “This struggle (for freedom and dignity) maybe a moral or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
The Equatorians in 1955 followed this pass for our freedom which now we have attained and this can not be “conceded” to the lying Jieng. Without the Equatorians, in 1992 SPLM/A was already defeated by Riek and Bashir. It was only, and this must be emphasised, the work of Eliaba James Surur and other Equatorian leaders who rescued this ugly organisation by mobilising the Equatorian boys who rolled back the gains of the Arabs which lead to South Sudan independence. It is insulting and deeply hurting to read LGG’s comment which no doubt is the position of the Jieng. Their predatory behaviour must be ended if South Sudan is to survive.
Although the suffering of the people is a Jieng plan, the others must be mindful that the force behind it is the Jieng political class who designed it for the entire group arguably without consultation or consent of the majority Jieng. It must be noted that the bulk of the Jieng in their villages may be wholly innocent. They may not be benefiting anything from this demonic plan crafted in their name by the Jieng cabal. Nevertheless, it is their educated class who take advantage of their people to abuse the entire South Sudanese using state power.
Decent Jieng who truly love peace and South Sudan like Ayeng Jacqueline Ajak, Rebecca Wek, Ayeun Panchol have raised their concerns by writing in condemnation of this Jieng expansionist plans and policies, but they appear to be in the minority and thus a forlorn voice. They and the innocent section of the Jieng are drowned out by the vocal and forceful few tribalists holding the levers of state power. Like in all societies, there are good and bad people, thus it is imperative that care is exercised in dealing with this issue.
The Republic of South Sudan is turning into a toy of the Jieng to advance their crude interest. It is interesting that Mabior Garang is aware of this phenomenon and its consequences, yet he is not publicly condemning his tribesmates. On the issue of Jieng expansionism he is just talk and a hypocrite. If he is serious he should be telling his people to abandon their foolery. The problem in South Sudan according to him “is simple, the imposition of one culture (Jieng culture) to define the new state. The resulting marginalisation is what fuels rebellions of those that feel disenfranchised.” (Pan African Vision 22/08/2013) Having said this to the world, why is he not ordering his kith and kin out of Nimule and other places? The Jieng destabilising Nimule mostly come from Bor, his home town.
As part of Jieng psychological war to demoralise the Equatorians and others, LGG proudly draws on a wild analogy to demonstrate that the Jieng are strong beyond imagination. He compares Jieng power to Israeli power. LGG asserts, “Moving the Dinka out of Equatoria would be as difficult and perilous as moving out the Israelis from the Palestine land.” This is utter lunacy from desperate thieving adventurers.
This analogy with Israel is childish and unhelpful. The case of Israel is complex and the context is totally different. The Israeli and Palestine case has a reference history going back over 2000 years. First, the Israelis unfortunately were subject of racism which led to the holocaust where millions of innocent human beings were heinously exterminated by heartless oppressors. Like the Israelis to a lesser extent, the Equatorians and others in the Republic of South Sudan are now subject of Jieng tribal barbarism causing painful suffering marred by rampant killing of leaders and ordinary people as a result of this delusive plan of ethnic displacement.
The Israelis have an undisputed right to parts of that land in the Middle East since Jesus’ time. The Equatorians and the others equally have totally undisputed rights to their lands since time immemorial. The Jieng have their own land but they just want to displace the others simply because they control power. This by all definition amounts to aggression.
Unlike the Israelis who arguably can be considered as living under existential threat, the Jieng are not under any siege or threat from any group in South Sudan. Their survival has never been threatened whether internally or externally. The Israelis like the Equatorians and the others may share the experience of existential threat and have emotional attachment to their land unlike the Jieng who are nomadic. So how can LGG refer to Israel as a way to justify their oppressive behaviour?
LGG may be right to compare relative military strength but this even is not realistic. The Israelis are highly advanced technologically. They produce most of their own weapons and their military force is among the world’s 15 top strongest forces in the world. When one looks at the Jieng, the reality hardly fits in. The Jieng do not even have the simple skills of making a bow and arrow. Although they control political power in the Republic of South Sudan, the army is dominated by the Nuer and should things come to head I wonder whether the Nuer will rescue the Jieng from their foolery given their millennium old hostility of each other.
So LGG and the Jieng cabal need to stop deluding themselves that they are powerful and they will implement their “cattle camp” imperialism. If South Sudanese peer deep into this issue of power, the Jieng will be found wanting in strength to support their mega project of violent expansion throughout the country to create a reality on the ground by violent means as they are doing now in Nimule and other parts of the country. Asserting presence throughout the country using usurped state power to displace others to neighbouring countries in the long term is not going to allow peace in the country and stability in the region. The neighbouring countries will eventually be drawn in because of their own interest to protect their lands. The Jieng need to contemplate the possibility that they can be displaced northwards to the Sudan should a fierce conflict erupt from their delusive plan.
Penning off, history has shown unequivocally that neither an individual, nor a tribe, nor a state, nor an empire can hold onto power indefinitely because of might. Wisdom dictates that peace and co-existence can only be attained when the common interest is respected and people are treated equally with respect by their government. After all, the South Sudanese fought for their freedom equally and have agreed through the struggle to pool their various norms and interests together forming the ‘general will’. This ‘will’ must be exercised for the interest of all.
Unfortunately, president Salva Kiir has chosen to advance his own tribal interest highlighted by Lukudu Gatkouth Garang’s comment at the expense of the common good for all, allowing his tribesmates to destabilise the various communities throughout the country. Clearly there is no peace and there will be no peace with president Kiir and his likes leading the country. Hence, the people have the right to resist this Jieng tyranny in their own way to defend themselves.[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The Author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected]