July 26, 2014 (SSNA) — When a liar is caught in the act, their first reaction is ‘denial’. They would protest their innocence. If the case is pressed harder they will then begin to crack. At the end lies are always exposed because lying by its very nature has no foundation to sustain itself. Unlike truth which remains constant, solid and unassailable.
President Kiir and his advocates have resorted to denying their evil plan to ethnically cleanse Equatorians because they have been caught red handed. They are now calling their evil plan ‘assassination rumours’. But the question is: rumours by whom? If these are rumours, why has the government not come out publicly to dispel the story and set up an enquiry? Again if the evil plan to ethnically cleanse Equatorians was an ‘assassination rumour’ why did General Paul Molong Awan, the chief of the army specifically disarm the Equatorian members of the armed forces? Why did General Awan deploy Jieng militia under the cover of SPLA to all the three states of Greater Equatoria? What was the rational? Can somebody tell us please?
If people can learn from the contemporary conflict in the country, the South Sudanese would do well to remember that it was the attempted disarmament of the Nuer on 15th December 2013 that set the prelude to the Nuer ethnic cleansing. If this was the case, could the act of disarming Equatorians in the armed forces itself be clear evidence that something fishy was afoot? SPLA is repeating the same pattern of behaviour towards the Equatorians now as they did towards the Nuer prior to 15th December 2013. Why this behaviour?
Equatorians should not buy the story of ‘assassination rumours’. The evidence points to the existence of such a vile plan. Thus, Equatorians must not lower their guard and allow themselves to be taken by surprise in the future.
The Jieng are now reported to be angry because of these ‘assassination rumours’. In addition, the Jieng leaders are vigorously complaining that they are being provoked by Equatoria’s call for federalism. Surely, something is not right here. How can Equatoria’s demand for federalism amount to provocation? The Jieng need to explain this most bizarre and irrational assertion. Why should a political right of the Equatorians enshrined in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 amount to provocation? Part 1, Article 1 of the mentioned instrument grants all peoples including Equatorians the right to organise themselves in the way they like. Why is it a problem to the Jieng? Who are the Jieng to decide on Equatoria’s choice? Why do the Jieng feel free to bully people of other ethnicities?
It is important that all the people of South Sudan realise that we are all equal and nobody including the Jieng is better or above the others. So, if the Jieng do not like federalism, they simply need to argue their case to win. If they win through argument that would be fair and square, but not to intimidate, bully and kill people as in Maridi in the mistaken believe that they will dissuade people from federalism. Throwing tantrums like spoilt brats is juvenile and unacceptable.
Equatorians should not back down from their rightful demand for federalism. They are the first people to call for federalism in independent South Sudan in their conference held in Nyakouran in mid April 2011. Equatorians consistently pioneered federalism in independent South Sudan and it would be a disaster for them not to follow it through regardless of what the Jieng do. The importance of this is to assert the fact that all South Sudanese are equal and nobody must be allowed to intimidate others. South Sudanese fought to obtain this right from Khartoum. Therefore no South Sudanese must accept this kind of abuse. This is a principle that people died for and it can not be conceded simply because somebody does not like it for no credible reason or anger. Appeasing the Jieng will only feed into the stereotype that Equatorians are cowards and slaves, but it would set a precedent which psychologically will always make Equatorians insecure and undetermined.
Further the Jieng are spreading rumours that Equatorians are preparing to attack and evict them from Equatoria. To back this wild unfounded allegation, General Paul Molong Awan has put the Jieng militia in SPLA uniform on standby supposedly to protect the Jieng. This is the grandmother of all lies constructed by the Council of Jieng Elders. How could Equatorians attack the Jieng when they have no arms and their sons and daughters in the army are already disarmed. The reality is that the placement of the Jieng militia on standby was supposed to carry out their vile plan of ethnic cleansing.
Killing other people is something that the Jieng leaders seem to routinely do without any thought of consequences. This is because the system (Dinkocracy) is blatantly Jieng centred and totally irresponsive to Jieng crimes. They think if they kill their supposed or perceived enemies their problems will go away. This is a bizarre state of mind.
Rational people always think in terms of cause and effect, this does not seem to be happening in South Sudan. Why is that? For example, in mid December 2013, the Jieng set out to ethnically cleanse the Nuer without weighing the repercussions that would follow. As a result, the Nuer reacted with a lightening speed which scared the Jieng prompting them to hire UPDF (Uganda People Defence Force) for protection. Until when will the UPDF be able to protect them? Do you see the irrational and pathological behaviour of President Kiir and his Council of Jieng Elders?
In relation to Equatoria, the Jieng have gotten comfortable with killing them. Dr John Garang using predatory tactics carefully and systematically eliminated prominent Equatorians to the extent that he decapitated the Equatorian body politic psychologically. For example, early on at the inception of SPLM/SPLA, prominent Equatorians like Joseph Kabulo, Justin Keri etc were brutally murdered. Others like late Colonel Martin Kejivura were basically detained for years without charge and eventually murdered. Those who joined the SPLM were brainwashed to accept being nobodies. The worst case scenario relates to the current Vice President James Wani Igga. During Dr Garang’s era, Wani often on seeing Garang would grin widely and start singing Baba ja! Tindikili! Baba Ja! Tindikili inflating the ego of the ‘born to rule’. Literally, Wani was (competing with Dr Garang’s children for recognition and attention) and this reduced him to the status of a puppet.
Under President Kiir now, Equatoria has a new bunch of grafted leaders to serve the interest of the Jieng. These so called leaders in their private hours are busy serving their masters (supposedly colleagues) with liquor. One of them has been observed cleaning the shoes of President Kiir when liquor accidently spilled on it. The poor soul quickly jumped up and pulled his own handkerchief and started cleaning his master’s shoes akin to some scenes in slave dramas exhibiting ultimate subjugation. What a disgrace?
With the foregoing, how can the Jieng audaciously claim to be provoked or angered by the Equatorian call for federalism when they have all along been the perpetrators of atrocities and horrendous crimes against Equatorians. If anybody would be angered it would rightly be the Equatorians as innocent victims of the system. For three decades the Jieng have been killing Equatorians with impunity. If they want to dispute this, let them come forward and the extensive list of their Equatorian victims can be published. The latest of this Jieng killing spree are the two boys killed in Maridi a couple of weeks ago over the issue of federalism. The question that must be asked is: what gives the Jieng the right to kill others as they want without accountability?
It is therefore disturbing to find that Equatorians exercising their right of self expression in relation to their right to claim for federalism, angers the Council of Jieng Elders. Why should the Equatorian call for it anger the Jieng? Let the Jieng tell the people of South Sudan why it is not good and not just resort to violence and abuse of power. The Jieng must also know that the current centralised system of government they dearly love can also work against them when others are in power. Given what is going on, it is highly likely that they will lose power. When that time comes they will regret their own foolery. With Uganda seriously re-assessing its intervention in South Sudan and with the rebellion gathering pace, the exit door is beckoning to President Kiir and the hopeless so called Council of Jieng Elders.
Whoever accedes to power will undo all that the Jieng are doing now including the dismantlement of the Dootku Beny with its leaders possibly heading to some form of courts to account for their crimes. Paradoxically, this seems to be what the Jieng are asking for by their continued short sightedness. Therefore, with or without federalism the Jieng are already losers in South Sudan because their behaviour repels others and coincidentally unites those others against them. The die is cast. If there is any wisdom in the Jieng community, they should now be apologising to South Sudanese for their horrendous acts and making amends. This is not the time for them to think of committing more crimes as these amounts to grave irresponsibility on part of the Council of Jieng Elders.
Now, if the Council of Jieng Elders consisting of blood thirsty people like Salva Mathok, Albino Akol Akol, Paul Molong Awan, Aldo Ajo etc are bent on implementing their vile plan of ethnic cleansing in Equatoria as evinced by the continuing disarmament of sons and daughters of Equatoria in the armed forces and the ceaseless threats from the likes of Salva Mathok, they need to know in advance that they will be doing Dr Riek Machar a favour. Under the adage, ‘your enemy’s enemy is your friend’, the Equatorians will not need to be persuaded. They will automatically rebel and make alliance with whoever is out there and this will be the time that the Jieng will truly be brought to account for their crimes of the past three decades. They must not think that they will get away with the murder ing Equatorians if they refuse to accept a system by all for all, which would ensure justice for all as well.
In conclusion, Equatorians should not buy President Kiir’s denial of their vile plan against Equatorians because he and the Council of the Jieng Elders have not sufficiently provided convincing answers. What they have done is to hide behind a lie and then shift more false blame that they are being provoked and angered. This is nonsense. They are the aggressors and they need to take responsibility for their obnoxious behaviour. Further their current actions and demands to silence Equatoria do not help anyone really nor do they assure any peaceful co-existence. Thus, Equatorians need to prepare for all eventualities in this chaotic South Sudan. Equatorians must not collude with a system that does not help them nor does it help the Jieng or any other groups in South Sudan except the individuals in power.[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected].