Thursday December 14, 2017

SARAH GATWECH: Salva Kiir, the man who set South Sudan ablaze, and a century behind


December 15 will go down in the history of our great nation as a time when Salva Kiir trained, fully armed his tribal militias against his voters who casted their votes for him in 2010, not out of hate for other candidates but because our unity if Salva Kiir stays would have been realised.
I remember in Malakal in April that year I had to travel from Pigi after a mission there and go to Malakal Municipality to vote for the first time in my adult life. Not knowing that three years later, the same man I voted in will come to haunt me and unleash his deadliest force against my tribe singlehandedly because he feel threatened in his quench for a longer rule.
December 15 will be remembered in my family for its when we lost my cousin Tut, Nyarew and her kids in her 107 home, my nephew Chan who was trying to stay over at his Equatorian friends in Jebel and on return was shot dead because he couldn’t say a single word in Dinka when asked.
The force of tribal militias who massacred innocent Nuer on this day didn’t act uninstructed. They had the instructions of Kiir himself, Malong Awan and the order executed by Marial Chanuong (a person who himself has a Nuer wife). No one can get away with such hideous crimes and today marks the fate of those militias in the arms of justice whether through a court of law or God.
I cannot write this without sympathy for the orphaned kids who are currently in my family’s care in Kampala. Although we are not related, I hope you have found a sanctuary even if it’s not as good as you would have found from your dead parents. my nephew Matthew Deng I love you to death. You are disabled but you are not dead.
December 15 will not be forgotten by myself and the rest of us who escaped narrowly in that bloodiest Monday of December 16. It will never be forgotten because our social fabrics have been broken by one man’s thirst for power. His greed to promote Warrapism and not South Sudanism. His fear for vocal critics and not AK47 critics.
Unlike the previous tribal wars between Nuer and Dinka, Salva Kiir has planted a grave yard in the hearts of these two great family that will not easily go away nor amended quickly no matter how many “One Nation One People” slogans put together or how many peace conferences patched together.
Kiir and his militias are heartless, irresponsible, and murderous. In the history of wars between Nuer and Dinka, there has never been any reckless killing that target children, mow down houses, shoot down pregnant mothers etc. such vulnerable people are taken as captives because they don’t represent anything in the battles between men. On December 15-20, Salva Kiir for the first time in the history of Nilotes brutally killed these people. None of whom has any knowledge about political wrangling within the SPLM and some of whom comes from other states like Unity and Upper Nile to celebrate Christmas in Juba.
I cannot go without thanking my friend and former workmate James Jundi, a brave Bari man who sheltered 7 Nuer men I evacuated from a rouble in Gudele at 9:45 pm (Dec 16) using his minibus. James had to tie the heads of 3 Nuer men with forehead marks using torn clothes found in his bonnets. Some of these men are now in Kenya. 4 are still at Tongpiny.
This day will be remembered in the modern history of South Sudan as the day that one man alone and a few of his cohorts set our beloved country 3 centuries back. We could have thought about building our country this year and beyond but now because of Salva Kiir Mayardiit, we had to be refugees again, fight out an unnecessary civil war and lose a generation indirectly or directly as a result of one man’s poor leadership skills.
I would urge everyone to take this crisis as between Kiir and South Sudanese and not Nuer and Dinka. We will never rescue South Sudan if our mindset is narrowed that way.
Salva Kiir did it and our unity has been tested brutally.
I would urge you all to light up 15 candles and stand for 15 secs of silent wherever you might be, at work, in your room at a gathering etc because those innocent lives we lost during that day are human souls and because the situation that happened can happen to anyone, any community and anywhere in the world.


WE WILL NEVER EVER FORGET December 15, 2013.


NOTE: The views expressed here don’t represent those of the Upper Nile Times.

Sarah N Gawech

Sarah is a contributor for the Upper Nile Times. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.


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