Do not abhor General Lul for re-joining the butcher, but work on how to stop others from following suit

By Pel K. Chol

February 20, 2015 (SSNA) — Democratic sympathisers attracted to General Lul Ruai Kong on facebook and other media networks were caught by surprise hearing the defection of the man whom they thought understood the nature of his job very well more than anyone else in the rebel movement.

General Lul has been bringing credible news not only to the members of the opposition group but to everyone in South Sudan as well as some other media outlets such as the insider, Chimreports and the Sudan Tribune.  He never shy away from telling the truth even when his forces had a military setback.

That was what hurts the genocidal government telling the truth about Machar’s rebel movement as well as the atrocities the government commits throughout the country day in and day out.

General Lul had many facebook followers more than any other General one can name in the SPLA –IO resistance not merely toughness but his access to modern technology heightened him. However, his rise has been brought down by what many would argue as entirely a greed factor.

Lul broken the ranks with his colleagues and master and on February 18, 2015, he decided to re-join the monster he once dubbed “the Genocidal and Tribal Government and an enemy of the World Peace and International Security”.

Lul’s fans could not believe he would disappear like a blink of an eye in the opposition movement. His fans were indeed unaware that the General actually shared uncommon principles in the quest for bringing peace and justice in South Sudan. Until recently Lul stood firm with many families whose relatives, friends and fellow citizens were slaughtered by Salva Kiir’s rogue regime.

He once expressed that no stone would be left unturned for the death of thousands of Nuer Civilians in Juba in the hands of East Africa’s most brutal butcher.

I was once attracted to his conviction and once spoken with him asking for some queries about strategies we could employ  to win this war not knowing that I was impetuously speaking to “a soon would be an enemy General”.

General Lul’s departure from the SPLA in Opposition will not make any significant impact in the rebel movement as Lou Nuer where he hails from have completely disowned him including the SPLA-IO Chief of Staff, Mr Gatwech Dual.

His defection to Kiir would instead categorise him in the list of sons and daughters of the Lou Nuer all of whom have been repudiated by their society notably the likes of Nyadak Puol, Riek Gai Kok and Marial Benjamin to mention a few.

Lou Nuer is the heartland of Rebel movement and anyone who knows it would vouch that it would neither be intimidated nor shaken by resource seek Nuers which many freedom fighters refer as Money Lovers.  

A defection of a military General or a medical doctor who prefers food a head of justice for the Nuer killed in Juba would not change the game on the ground. Kiir’s policies in South Sudan particularly on staying in power for life at the expenses of South Sudanese lives could be compared with an ugly rich person who cannot find love but buys sex. With his money he could buy sex but does that symbolise a fulfilment to attain love? This is a question many ugly rich people struggle to comprehend.

Likewise, it implies to evil dictators such as Kiir who is out of touch and out of reality with South Sudanese but uses the country’s resources to buy cheap peace. Kiir has been setting up communities against each other so that people would be terrified of him and then praise him like Adolf Hitler.

He is also busy setting up communities such as Maban, Shiluk and Nuer Money Lovers all with the intention to go after South Sudanese who are trying to see justice serve about the death of innocent civilians in Juba. All this was meant by him to protect his throne as well as keeping South Sudanese busy killing one another rather than seeking development that the country badly needs.

It is apparent that IGADD lost its credibility by Kiir’s bribing technique encouraging them to mediate peace without addressing the root cause. This has led to the dysfunction of IGADD as well as the return to Juba of some Nuers including General Lul.

However, Kiir would be wrong into believing that he can buy a permanent peace because everyone understand that he is a failed leader who bases his policies on terror. With South Sudan resources, Kiir can buy people as an ugly person can buy sex but that won’t articulate into establishing polices which can bring a lasting peace. Instead he would be creating war after war if he were to win this current one.

Many would think Kiir’s strategy in getting General Lul may not entirely mean a pathway to Lou Nuer counties but to shut him down in exposing atrocities and evil acts Kiir’s government commits in a daily basis.   

General Lul was able to tell the true nature of Kiir’s rogue regime and its mass violation of human rights and crimes against humanity. In one occasion, particularly when civilians were lured by Kiir’s forces into giving them food aid in Mathiang, Upper Nile State, General Lul articulated it very well. He was able to inform the world about the subsequent atrocities which followed that civilians were raped and the food aid they thought they were receiving was contaminated with poison which yet again resulted into unnecessary Nuer deaths.

General Lul’s defection caused some discomfort in the rebel movement and many question were raised into why a prominent person like him would re-join a government he denounced so many times as bad as Idi Amin’s regime.

Some speculations were made that he was bribed and others pointed to a disagreement he may have with Mabior Garang, the son of late SPLA founder, Dr John Garang, who like many others has been humiliated and tortured by Kiir and now is at the centre of the rebel camp as the Spoke Person for the SPLA in Opposition. 

While other suggestions indicate that he was not supported in his role as a military spoke person and therefore he was left to fend for himself as well as the financial challenges that involved when he was in Addis Ababa and in Nairobi.

Regardless of whatever one may think behind this event, General Lul’s defection is an indicative of what I have always been saying not just about him but generally about the lack of strategies within our leadership and also the lack of support we South Sudanese in Diaspora could provide to the rebel movement.

According to my notes, on my Master in Counter Terrorism when referring to a former French commander, during Franco –Algerian War, my observation is that Salva Kiir is ticking every box I could see on counter insurgency principles to win this war.

What he does not have is only that the country’s whole population is not behind him and that is the only advantage we could get at the moment which we could hold onto. As rebels, we do not have the luxury of attracting people with money but we need a good structure where everyone feels valued in their role to bring down this terrible dictator.

But it does not seem to be the case and as a result, we aren’t ticking the boxes of winning this war. Despite many obvious sings of attraction where we can turn South Sudan into a killing field for all those who want to burry justice and rob us off our freedom, our leaders seem to live in a different world thinking that the issue will be resolved through dialogue.  

Instead of seeking allies or taking different strategy, our leaders have chosen the opposite and allowed South Sudan to be a killing zone for the Nuer. 

For instance, Uganda has done a lot of damage to us driving General Peter Gatdet out of Jonglei and used ban weapons against our forces. He denied the stability South Sudanese would have enjoyed because Kiir would have been long gone if it was not Uganda’s involvement. But we are not inviting Uganda’s foe to meet in the plains of South Sudan.

This is not the first time Uganda involved in the affair of another sovereign nation. Uganda created what the United Nations called Africa’s world war by overthrowing the former Zairean regime (now DRC) led by Mobutu Seseseko in support of Laurent Kabila.

Two years later, Museveni murdered his old friend, Kabila because Kabila asked him to withdraw his troops. Following the death of Kabila, Museveni launched a full scale war for a regime change to run DRC as like he run south Sudan.

Despite the outcry of many Congolese from the United Nations to get Uganda out of DRC, Museveni was not asked by the UN general assembly or the Security Council to leave Congo. He left only when Joseph Kabila used his IQ inviting the Zimbabwean, Angolan and Namibian troops who kicked Museveni and Kigame asses out of the DRC soil.

These are credible scenarios our leaders should take notice of and try to invite others who can help us with the challenges ahead of us. But they seem to be parsimony with finding a peaceful solution through peace talks which only work to serve the interest of the government and its allies. Our soldiers, commanders and generals will be tired of endless struggle in the bushes and ultimately will eventually give up such as what we have seen with general Lul’s defection.

On the other hand, when one looks the structure of our rebel movement, the best category he or she could give is that it is a Loosely type of Coupled Movement where there is no one person who can make decisions that are binding and agreed upon by its members.

Such movements are characterised by the absence of control and influence and often are called Leaderless Resistances.

In a war that we did not start, our leaders have been sitting in Addis Ababa trying to achieve a political settlement while those who initiated it are there in Juba connected with their army on the ground and deployed massive number of troops, weapons and ammunitions in our defensive positions trying to end the war militarily.

Personally, I do not believe our leaders are working toward any specific goal because no peace could be achieved by ignoring the root cause of the conflict. This is where they have missed and from day one when IGADD tried to find a political settlement, we could have avoided continuing further negotiations because IGADD has become tainted with the blood of innocent people.

We could have been frank to them objecting further negotiations as the issue is not about leadership in South Sudan but about why innocent people with no political affiliation whatsoever were killed with ethnicity being a driving factor.

Now that we have seen how IGADD behaved, Dr Riek is unable to see that what they are doing is a delaying technique until every general he has re-joined the genocidal government. If Lul has joined, then the next target would be Peter Gadet if not the SPLA-IO chief of staff Gatwech Dual.

I understand that there would be some people who would disagree with my article. But I am writing from experience as a graduate of Master Degree in the field of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. Some of the things that we are seeing today have long been foreseen especially on my posts on social media a way before they emerge. My observation forces me to admit that General Lul’s defection won’t be the last if we do not take a different strategy. 

I believe Addis Ababa is not a place for our leaders to live and this IGADD led peace talk is not viable either. South Sudan solution will be solved militarily. There are elements of Kiir who would never agree to our political demands such as holding those who started the war to account as well as the creation of a federalist republic where people have the ability to choose their representative.

While our leaders continue to look IGADD in the eye to bring some sort of divine intervention into bringing a breakthrough, our leaders are passionately constraining every avenue for victory by going through an impossible route to navigate.

According to my essays on violence in Uganda, particularly the LRA, Museveni is not stupid if you may think he is. Since taking power in 1986 from Milton Obote and Tito Okello, there were 13 different rebel movements who fought against him with LRA being the dominant.

He managed to crush them all although some were as strong as our one. How he crushed them was through the technique IGADD is now doing as bribery, cheap peace deals and isolation methods all of which Kiir is now trying to use. If this cycle continues, what you will see is a dissatisfaction of our support base as well as our fighters and the end result would be Kiir’s Victory.

I personally think that such a strategy is a betrayal to our young men who joined the resistance based on what happened to Nuer in Juba but we left them to fight with their heart with no adequate support or morale from their leader.

It is also a betrayal to our commanders who have abandoned the care of their families for the care of the entire Nuer as they are left with no support while their wives are suffering in UNMISS compounds and in the refugee camps.

Although Nuer in Diaspora have been contributing some money to help with the situation at home, I don’t think that we have been doing enough. Lul Might not have thought to re-join the government but the condition of his family might have been a factor. 

We should be specifying some goals into how we think we are going to win the hearts and minds of our young men as well as of our commanders. Our leaders should be prioritising what our plan B is apart from IGADD led peace process which is paralysed by Uganda and which will never bring peace to South Sudan as long as they remain determinant not to address what caused the conflict.

Pel K Chol is waiting graduation with a master degree in Macquarie University’s Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. He could be reached at [email protected].

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