By Kuir ë Garang
October 24, 2013 (SSNA) — This article is highly polemical so be ready for what it’ll drop your way. It is the first in a series of articles critical of all parties involved in Jonglei’s security fiasco.
So, we supposedly have a comfortingly functional government in Juba because we have semblance of governance: structural allocation of ministries and presence of presidency. However, the government is so simple that understanding it becomes complex. It’s so functionally simplistic that one needs to sit back to study its complexity. I’m sorry if you didn’t get that!
In unnerving instances, Ministers and Members of Parliament are answerable to the president and the president is answerable to NO ONE. The constituents or electoral blocs are nobodies. Well, perhaps the president is answerable to European’s supernatural being called god, his stolen, rude son, Jesus Christ, and the timid lady who broke the basic rules of biology, the Virgin Mary.
Basically, in a word, this government is advisedly a no go place if one wants to help the average South Sudanese. With no doubt, anyone who believes this government is going to build schools, better equipped clinics, better roads and improve security… is insane. Clearly insane!
What government in the world would allow civilians to be butchered for hours without sending in security forces? What president in the world would treat the massacre of 79 (using his figures in the press release) innocent civilians in their villages with demonic indifference?
In a world of sane personalities, the least a conscientious president would do is to stop all the functions and visit the wounded and the victims; to comfort them and to show them that their president is actually the president of ALL peoples not some people. I’d assume South Sudan is not too young for this, or is it?
Just tell me, how can the presidency, the government, and the national assembly go on with business as usual as if nothing has happened? Beshir inconveniences South Sudan everywhere he goes. He comes to Juba and people’s lives come to a standstill. He goes back to Khartoum and he sends bombers to bomb innocent civilians. Yet our president showers him with shameless praises like a fat kid praising a mother with a cookie in hand. Yeah, the pot-bellied ministers will take this on face value and say: “This is how politics and diplomacy works.” Shame! Great shame!
However, I shouldn’t blame the problems in Bor, Twï and Duk counties exclusively on Juba. If the leaders in these counties know the above state of affairs to be valid—the ineffectiveness of Juba government—then how the hell do the leaders in the above four communities expect service provision from such a dysfunctional government run by self-absorbed oligarchs? If Twï leaders and politicians don’t take their people’s lives seriously then why would others be serious about civilian lives in those areas?
These three counties have ample numbers of educated citizens and can strategize on a multi-layered approach to security in their counties. Why aren’t they doing this? As a matter of fact, the citizens of these counties have resources both at home and abroad but I fail to understand why we don’t we have any single leader; who can conscientiously mobilize these resources to build infrastructure that can enable development and improve security in these counties.
You shamelessly crowd in Juba hotels while your people die in record numbers. It’s even painful to know that none of you voiced any strong condemnation of the atrocities, the indifference and inaction of the government. Why exactly are you alive? Why such cowardice? Instead of you convening a nationally televised polemical meeting to lash at the government, you are nursing your bitterness in your rooms because you are afraid of the president. You let your people down because of your cowardice, lack of organization and leadership.
It should be clear by now that the leadership in Juba is ready to let your people die. In fact, you’re helping the government kill your own people through negligence. Shame on you! To give you just a sample of the gross neglect and indifference: Wernyol (August 2009, over 47 dead; Jalle (December 2011, 45 dead); Duk (January 2012, 86 dead; December 2012, 7 dead); Maar (August 2013, 7 dead; October 2013, 78 dead). And this is just a sample of the attacks and deaths in these three counties of Bor, Duk and Twï.
If you don’t know how to strategize then ask for help! If your education is only on paper then ask for help! If you are afraid of the president then drop dead! I’m not mincing words here because I’m sick of you and your forced indifference, your cowardly existence and useless education and leadership.
Whoever thinks these attackers are Murle tribesmen needs to go back to class and learn. The attackers are armed, lawless militants with a cleansing agenda. The classical Murle interest is the cattle not people’s lives. Typical Murle tribesmen only kill those people who go after the cattle. When young children are being killed with their families in their villages, then you gotta wonder what has removed human emotions from our leaders locally and nationally.
My suggestions are these:
- Stop this nonsensical formation called ‘Greater Bor Community’ because it’s meaningless and anachronistic. It also frustrates any developmental initiatives as this artificial, nominal community doesn’t have headquarters and we don’t know where its development initiatives would be based. We should form or strengthen powerful, knowledgeable and effective leaders and independent leaderships in the three counties. Twï County, Duk County and Bor County leaderships should then cooperate on issues of mutual interest and to exchange valuable resources and skills as far as security and development are concerned. The above three communities have developed a bond that will always be there…and should be celebrated into posterity. A common name is counterproductive, unnecessary and frustrates development initiatives.
- Each county should coordinate pooling of resources both abroad and at home because we have resources. We just don’t have effective leadership that can efficaciously help in administering these resources to maximize their benefits.
- Start lobbying for decentralization of security services and other government services. States should be allowed to train its police force and the headquarters centered in places that have increased insecurity. Each county should therefore lobby for the presence of police force in vulnerable areas.
- Start living among your own people in order to feel what they experience. Living in Juba makes you divorced from the realities your people experience. It can also force you to improve security because your lives would be at stake. You fought during the war, why are you now afraid to die with your people?
- Stop being afraid of president Kiir. He’s your president, not some killer demon or a deranged old fellow. He knows the truth. Speak up on behalf of your people. Get fired in the name of standing up for your community and you’ll be honorable; get hated because you want your people to live in peace. You have an influential voting bloc that you can use against the president. You can influence other communities to abandon such a president if he doesn’t take care of South Sudan citizens equally.
- Learn how to be strategists if you aren’t one now. No one is going to solve these issues for us. The problem in Jonglei State can’t be solved using a single approach. We need a multi-layered approach which involves improving infrastructure in the area. We need good roads and means to contain the flood. The area between Ajah-ageer and Akobo needs to be turned into commercial farms or habitable area. If the government doesn’t have money than it should be contracted it out to developed countries that are willing and can do that and use it for 10 to 20 years before handing it to us. Re-establish and strengthen tribal chain of accountability (see my book, South Sudan ideologically, for a comprehensive look at Tribal Accountability Model (TAM) and other models of accountability.
In the end, it’s about being organized, being courageous, being critical thinkers (outside the box) and being people who care about their own people regardless of the consequences. Put your people first and your sorry bulging stomachs second. You have brought great shame to your communities and it’s high time you help. Kiir’s sycophants like our dear uncles, Makuei Lueth and Kuol Manyang, should be left alone for they don’t care about their own Bor County people, leave alone South Sudanese or Jonglei state citizens. They can however be welcome by Bor County citizens if they are ready to contribute to the development and peace in the county.
To Twï, Bor and Duk counties leaders and elders, the government has abandoned your people and it’s up to you to help the government continue to kill them through your cowardice or go home and strategize on ways to help the young ones smile again. If you have any humanity or dignity left in you, then do something that would endure! I know your kids are safe, but your people back home are in abject destitution.
Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author, poet and publisher living Canada. He’s the author of the newly published book, South Sudan Ideologically. For contact visit www.kuirthiy.info or www.thenilepress.com