The War Between Logic And Emotion in South Sudan

By: Tut Daub Jiah

January 25, 2014 (SSNA) — Many political commentators and analysts, be they foreigners or nationals, have dwell very much on the background of what actually are the root cause (s) of the current fighting in South Sudan.   Not only that, they have been straining to dig deeper in quest of finding out of who would be blamed for it. This war, for many South Sudanese, if not all, does not come as a surprise. It has been a matter of when and how it was going to happen. Geopolitically, Southern Sudan had never been a unifying entity, capable of facing its challenges with lucidity, but emotionally charged approaches. A good number of South Sudanese Scholars and politicians have never satisfied with how things were being seen into since 1972 up to date. No matter how we collectively try to put our house in order, there will always be dissatisfaction at the end, so as long we don’t want to identify the real cause of our disunity.

Today if you ask a government of the day’s supporter of what happened in South Sudan, he/she will blindly tell you that Riek Machaar had tried to make a coup, simply because he/she heard the President saying it that way. However, if you try to make some follow up questions, instead of that individual to support his/her statement with some facts, they resort to confrontational arguments that lead to no conclusion. This has been the same way how our conventional differences have been handled whenever they happened. The cases in point were:

1. what started in Bor Military Garrison as an embezzlement or misappropriation of military Personnel salaries in 1983, by top military commanders, had been mishandled to the point of, prematurely, igniting an all-out military and political uprising, which became the premature birthdate of the SPLA/M, which turned into a retarded government, which does not have an ability to differentiate between normal and abnormal state of affairs in the State-Nation building.  This manifests itself well with the growth misconception by the current leadership that as long as everything looks typical for the liberators (aka main stream SPLM/A), all are acceptable for the whole nation.  

2. Formation of the SPLM/A in 1983 in Itang, Ethiopia, was one of the experiences that will not easily go away from the memories of an average person who happened to be around during and witnessed how naive Southern Sudanese were at the time. People who claimed to lead the movement, which should have liberated a nation, had failed to identify what was in the back of late Dr. John Garang’s mind so that they could handle it accordingly. Garang was forced by Uncle Abel Ablier to join the movement and recover the lost Dinka’s dominion, which was made to collapse by the united efforts of none-Dinka elites in Juba in 1982. Dinkas have been making advantage of the national political uprising to peruse their own tribal agenda underground. The war between logic and emotion, which had killed thousands of people unnecessarily between Anya Nya II and the SPLA would have been avoided like the current war had it not been because the national agenda had perceptively been diverted by Dr. John simply to revive and sustain the Dinka’s ascendancy. When the Anyanya II leadership, with an enormous engrossment of Nuer intellectuals and Military Officers within the SPLA, encouraged themselves to rather rejoin their brothers in the Bush and continue the war of liberation, it was misconstrued to mean “Capitulating” and not a jingoistic move in the side of the A-II elements. As such, the Anya Nya II components within the Rank and File of the Movement were not accorded the due respect they deserved by those who considered themselves as “Mainline SPLA/M”. This behavior could easily be noticed when a senior officer from A-II gives orders to a junior officer from the SPLA proper, the latter openly defies the former. Expressions of dissatisfactions with reunification between the two warring movements became a daily routine throughout the years leading to the split of the movement in 1991.

3. 1991 “theoretical coup” as   Dr. John Garang Put it, which supposed to be the political turning point within the movement, was turned into Nuer-Dinka thing, because the principal ringleaders of the Nasir Declaration were taken for a ride by, especially those from Greater Bhar Ghazal (Including the current President of South Sudan) and Greater Equatoria (James Wani Iga among others). The quest for logic behind deviation from the original idea of total liberation of Southern Sudan had been the main uniting factor for many intellectuals and senior military officers from 1983 up to the days leading to the split of the movement in 1991. As a result, the leaders of Nasir declaration were having an impression that once they declared the plan, all the frustrated comrades would impetuously joint them. The author of this piece would not dare to question the homework done by those leaders before the D day but, indeed; tribalism could have been put into consideration. One would say this because if this factor was given some thoughts correctly, Dr. Lam Akol would have been the right leader of the group for the move to be considered nationalistic, at least. As such, no matter how genuine the move was, it had been reduced into a smallest and cheapest undertaking one could possibly imagined, simply because the main key players were none Dinkas. Half of the population that died during the Sudan Civil war met their death during this period. majority of Dinka had emotionally sided with John Garang seriously because they considered the leadership was belonged to them and must not be given away to anybody, no matter how much it costs.

4. 2002 reunification of the SPLA/M: doubtlessly, one would be the judge in his/her own right, when it comes to how Dr. Riek’s returned to SPA/M had been interpreted by all members of the main stream SPLA/M. the same misconception that overwhelmed these elements in 1987 SPLA-Anya nya II unification repeated itself. Riek and his supporters, who might have seen a need for Southerners to unite once again, were seen as the desperate failures that were simply looking for accommodation for their physical survival. They were not taken very seriously by their former comrades, who remained with Garang. As such, they have been branded as Traitors who stabbed the movement in the back during the critical time, when the movement was very much in need of full solidarity of its members ever.

In the light of the above, on December 9, 2003, a political rally was launched in Yei Town by the top SPLM/A Politico-Military personalities, otherwise, leadership Council, excluding Dr. John Garang to update the populace on the prevailing political crescendos in the period leading to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In that rally, the current president of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kir Mayrdit had this to say to the Equatorians, “Now that Nuers are coming back to the movement, you Equatorians must defend your place (Vice presidency). For us (Dinkas), we don’t want these people anymore”. It was in the same gathering that Commander Daniel Awet Akot had read loud and clear to the audience the 39 Laws of Nuer isolation and marginalization in South Sudan in the future. (The minutes of the said rally was taken and circulated by one of the permanent members of SPLM, who was not in agreement with what had being said in the rally. May God bless him).

5. Dr. Riek’s appointment to vice presidency:

After General Salva Kir became the first Vice President of the Republic of Sudan, President of Government of Southern Sudan, Chairman of the SPLM, Commander In-Chief of the SPLA and Supreme Commander of the Organized Forces, the titles he inherited from his predecessor Dr. John Garang de Mabior, he sat down with his inner circle to form his new cabinet in Khartoum. According to late General Paulino Matip, Riek Machaar was left out in the first draft. Paulino himself had to intervene and asked General Salva to include Riek in his top government leadership. In the second draft Riek was nominated for two portfolios, one being the Foreign Affairs and other the United Nations. Again, that arrangement did not please Paulino. At that moment, Paulino began to suspect that Kir was not interested in Riek being his vice president, who will technically be responsible for state of affairs in the Southern Sudan. Paulino took a courageous stand and convinced Salva that Riek must be the vice president for the sake of unity of the people of Southern Sudan. Uninterestedly, Salva accepted Riek to be his vice president. That reluctant appointment of Dr. Riek has come to be seen by many observers as a way to deceive the Nuers that they were having a share in the National Cake, when in fact Riek was not even very effective throughout the CPA era up to his removal from the post in July 2013. Riek has been operating outside the inner circle’s parameter, pretending to be a part of the big picture. Even most of those whom he is currently advocating for their release from detention were and might still be his noxious antagonists.

6. The Nuer Isolation and Marginalization Project Implementation

“Never assume that the person you are dealing with is weaker or less important than you are. Some people are slow to take offense, which may make you misjudge the thickness of their skin, and fail to worry about insulting them. But should you offend their honor and their pride, they will overwhelm you with a violence that seems sudden and extreme given their slowness to anger. If you want to turn people down, it is best to do so politely and respectfully, even if you feel their request is impudent or their offer ridiculous.”  Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

The above mentioned project would have been implemented systematically had Dr. Riek Machaar not offended the honor and pride of General Kir Myardit publicly on December 6, 2013. Dr. Riek has been living with wrong assumption that he is better than Salva Kir forgetting that the man he had been dealing with could be more dangerous and catastrophic as it is happening now in our country. Dr. Riek was fully aware of the disparity in the armed forces and organized forces capacity building and assignments/deployment. He had done nothing to correct it. A wrong constitution, which supposed to be the guiding and supreme legal framework of the land, was drafted and adopted on his watch, but he kept himself aloof from the helpless majority who voiced their concerns over the document. National resources were misused or directed to suspicious destinations with or without his knowledge. As an active and an effective vice president, he should have known the national bookkeeping from A—Z. The appointments of Senior civil Servants in various public institutions including foreign missions had been taken away from him and given to Deng Alor, Pagan Amum, Cirino Iteng, Awut Deng Acuil, Tor Deng Maiwin Nhial Deng Nhial and Akol Koor Kuch. This supposed to be a part of the vice president’s duties, but it wasn’t the case. What did he do about it? All his supporting staff in his office were denied official appointment to earn the civil servant status, he never question the minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, despite numerous complaints from his office staff. Civilian population (aka Gell Weng) were armed to teeth in Warap, Lakes and Northern Bhar Ghazal states with heavy machine guns including R.P.G7, PKM and other automatic weapons, and not to mention AK47. All these armaments were supplied by Ministry of Interior.

Intelligent reports indicated with full evidences that Acuil Tito Madut was the one carried out the distribution of the weapons to civilians in those above mentioned stats; while other states were being violently disarmed (Jonglei being the first for obvious reason). Dr. Riek never seemed to have been bothered by that unequal treatment of people of South Sudan. Sectional Militias were recruited, trained and deployed without involvement of the National Defense Council, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Riek, as the second man in the country’s leadership and Member of Legislation Assembly should have raised and questioned the logic behind all those unconstitutional and suspicious schemes. Why should Riek wait to be president in order to put things right, when he has been having some authorities to do so?

7. An Emotionally Charged Dismissal of the entire Cabinet

“Be wary of friends—they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.” Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

Indeed, Mr. President might have come across this work by this famous Strategic leadership Scientist, Robert Greene, as quoted above. Having said that, no wonder what broke the news in our National Capital and around the globe cannot be viewed differently from what Robert Greene explicitly asserted. General Mayardit has been struggling to hire the former enemies since he took office from his predecessor, Dr. Garang, but that has been proven difficult a task. As a result, he had been making lots of consultations with regional as well as international potential friends to help him deal with an aforementioned equation. As there is no free lunch, the cost of help being offered by his current godfather, General Museveni of Uganda, has caused a substantial amount of everything including human lives. If somebody might have a chance of reading what Yoeri Museveni had said in the Great Lakes Regional Submit in Luanda, Angola, on January 14, 2014,, where Museveni conducted himself as the real president of the Republic of South Sudan, many would have agreed with this author that we have a long way to reach peace.  Current disaster is not very surprising, given the determination, persistency and consistency of our brothers in leadership to hold into this power till the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. They must do all they could to secure that ambition, but with?????????????.

8. Coup Attempt Against Salva Kir or Assassination Attempt Against Riek Machaar?

What had categorically happened on December 15, 2013 was not in any way a coup attempt against the president, but an assassination attempt directed against Riek Machaar. Being taken for the Nuer Chief, Riek has to be struck and the Nuer  will scatter. “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter” as the saying goes. Unfortunately, one thing Salva Kir and his aides had failed to realize was the time and place of where and when they implemented their well premeditated plan. In the era of information-superhighway, or “Dot Com” generation, no one would think he could possibly carryout a war of that magnitude without seeing his own ugly image on the Human Right Watch’s big screen. Mr. President has been misled to the point of no return. Allowing himself to be used by his half friend half enemy, Mr. Yoery Museveni of Uganda, as a tool to kill democracy in the region, will cost him not only his leadership, but his life as well; for the terrible failure of the plan has gone far beyond the team’s ability to control it. It should have been a successful project if the national army and national security apparatus’s agreement was solicited and guaranteed. Salva’s plan to implement his egoistic, immoral, and dangerous plan, by using his hometown boys was the first mistake ever a normal person in his caliber could possibly think. As the masterpiece of the failed plan, Museveni will employ all the East African Magicians and witches to make sure that the useless war, which he ignited in South Sudan ends in his favor. Unless and otherwise, his financiers reconsider their position, Museveni will not simply be deter by means of political pressure.

This writer has a question for his readers, which need honest answer. In 2012, a workshop was conducted in one of the prestigious Hotels in Juba for Senior SPLA Officers. One of the key Facilitators was a retired Army General from Uganda. In his opening remarks, he stressed to the attendants that in Africa two strong tribes couldn’t peacefully co-exit. Therefore, one must be brought to its knees by use of force. One of the means he mentioned as the most effective ways of doing that is by sidelining the intended tribe from the Army. He concluded by saying “When you trained and equipped your boys and girls fully, all oppositions must do everything your ways or highways”. As there is no secret in Juba, don’t ask where did this author learnt of this disturbing lesson, which supposed to be delivered to a friend in secret location. The questions then become:

1. What was in the mind of General when he delivered his lecture?
2. What message he was delivering to his friends in South Sudan?
3. Are our brothers in Uganda made to believe that everybody in South Sudan is a Dinka?
4. If Museveni sent his troops in respond to what happened in South Sudan on December 15, 2013, why did he deployed some of his special forces in Juba in July 2013?
5. When the Chief of General Staff of the SPLA sent a unit to the Uganda border to stop another advancing Uganda Artillery Battalion in August, 2013, the only thing the Commander of the UDF need to know was whether the SPLA boys were Dinka or not. Were these Ugandans responding to an ongoing crisis that time or in a preparation for something to happen yet? 

Another question, which one would not afford to miss is that, are none Nuer and none Dinka in South Sudan parts of solution or parts of problem between Nuer and Dinka? It may sound too personal and simply an opinionated assertion, but if we are really natural and logical, our brothers and sisters in other tribes are the big parts of the problem. For the last eight years plus, we have heard lots of self-proclaimed heroes, who had been calling for change in our country, whether forcefully or peacefully, but when the going get tough, those heroes are nowhere to be found. Stay connected, for there will be more on this in separate piece in the near future.

In conclusion and in nutshell, being a survivor of and an eye-witness to what happened in our country on December 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the year  2013,  I came to believe that unlike previous man-made disasters, the current crisis has changed the face of our country forever. To be honest, many people had died in a short period of time, but many more are going to perish because our cousins, Dinka will never admit that Salva Kir Mayardit had never been and will never manage our country. Again, there are still some few Nuers who continue to mislead Salva Kir by telling him that those who rebelled will come back. Those who still believe in this notion of Nuer can go out today and come back tomorrow must be made aware that EITHER NUER IN EACEFUL UNITED SOUTH SUDAN OR SALVA KIR MAYARIDIT IN UNSTABLE AND DIVIDED PIECE OF LAND LOCATED SOMEWHERE BETWEEN REPUBLIC OF SUDAN AND REPUBLIC OF UGANDA. Furthermore, those who are trying to connect what is happening today with the SPLM internal political bickering be made fully aware of the fact that everything has its own limitation, so lying is not an exception to this golden rule. Therefore, Riek Machaar and his group will go back to where they used to be, but not the Orphans, Widows, Widowers, Disabled and all Survivors of Salva Kir/Museveni’s genocidal war. Salva Kir Mayardit’s failure to unite all Jieng sections and wins them into his political side caused him to play with the lives of innocent women, children, elderly, and all none politicized Nuer community so that upon the Nuers reaction, they will have no time to distinguish between good Dinka and bad one. “Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity”, says Greene, The 49 Laws of Power.

The author can be reached at [email protected].

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