Tuesday December 12, 2017

DR. PETER ADWOK NYABA: LEST WE FORGET THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS WHO PERISHED IN SALVA KIIR’S JUBA GENOCIDE!

REFUGEES. People gather at a makeshift IDP camp at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba on December 22, 2013 where South Sudanese continue to flock as fears of a resumption of fighting in the capital fester. AFP/Tony Karumba

Today, December 15, 2014, marks the first anniversary of the Juba massacre of ethnic Nuers ordered by President Salva Kiir Mayardit. It remains the saddest day in the history of South Sudan for it triggered the worst animal instincts, dehumanized us, that in a matter of moments we began to discriminate and decimate ourselves on the basis of ethnicity. Initially, the Nuers alone were marked for death at the hands of ‘dutku beny’ or the auxiliary presidential guards recruited specifically for that purpose at the behest of President Kiir by Paul Malong Awan. Nevertheless, any Dinka with facial marks as the Nuers suffered the same brutal fate. The village boys from Warrap and Awiel did not know that other Dinka people existed in Upper Nile or Jonglei. They also murdered a Chollo judge because they wanted to possess the Toyota V8 he drove.

Then, in a few days the mayhem spread like bush fire to other towns Bor, Bentiu, Malakal, Renk, etc., where now the Nuer in a similar fashion avenged their beloved ones against the Shilluk, Dinka, Nuer, Maaban, etc. The Shilluk also took on the Nuer; the Dinka took on the Shilluk, Nuer and Maaban. In his desperation, President Salva Kiir Mayardit invited the Dar Furi Sudanese rebels [Tora Bora], the Justice and Equality Movement to join the war against Dr. Riek Machar. He also invited the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces [UPDF] and their Helicopter Gunships whose gunners could not differentiate between the Nuers, Dinka, SPLA or White Army and bombed them without segregation, in a civil turned regional war with ill-defined political objective. Nevertheless, characterized by vengeance and counter-vengeance, for no reason, in which innocent women, elderly and children without distinction, perished in a manner unprecedented in our wars not even when we fought the mujahedeen and the muralieen.

December 15, 2013 is the day for which, we must invariably lower our heads in shame to deflate our individual inordinately enlarged ego. For that day imperceptibly exposed our five decades pretence and collective self-deception that we were one people fighting for liberation, equality, freedom and justice. On that day, inadvertently we denied our commonality, collective heritage and we forgot about neighbourhood or neighbour standing up to defend the neighbour in danger. It was the day indeed our compatriots who after the CPA came back from the Diaspora quickly identified themselves as American, Canadian, British, French, Australian citizens as they stampeded to catch the airplanes evacuating foreigners from Juba, Bor, Malakal and other towns in South Sudan leaving us to finish the job killing ourselves. Some of the perpetrators of the Juba massacre even evacuated to go back to Nairobi, Kampala, Australia and USA whence they came from. We know them individually and justice and accountability will not spare them when that time comes.

On December 15, 2013, we confirmed to our detractors that nothing but the common enemy in form of northern Sudan united us. We did not have a magnanimous leader since we lost Dr. John Garang de Mabior. Indeed, that tragic Helicopter crashed with all of us. Comrade Salva Kiir did not fit into Garang’s shoes. He was not the Joshua once in 2005 the Archbishop of Juba Archdiocese described him. Therefore by thinking solely of himself and his power Salva Kiir did not invest much in keeping our people united. For on December 15, 2013 he invited foreign troops to kill or people thus negating the independence and sovereignty for which our fore fathers and ourselves sacrificed over the decades.

One year on today December 14, 2014, the job is not finished. The killing still goes on unabated fuelled by intense hatred and the urge to finish the others as if we want to bury the country with the dead we killed. On the following days, our people voted with their feet travelling to Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia to the refugee camps. However, the affluent ones, the potbellied linked to the Warrap mafia with connexion to the Central Bank of South Sudan made up with huge dollars bank notes to purchase real estate in Kampala, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and other regional cities in order to run away from the consequences of their conspiracy. They did not want to see the corpses they felled. The poor land locked ones in Upper Nile and Unity states made it back to the Sudan; back to the squalid makeshift camps in the suburbs of Khartoum, Kosti, Medani, etc., suggesting yet that the Southern Sudan referendum and the independence vote they cast was the biggest mistake in their lives.

No! Our people made no mistake voting in the referendum for self-determination. Their leaders betrayed them! The leaders of the war of national liberation betrayed them. All along the twenty-one years of revolutionary armed struggle and chanting liberation songs, the people had believed, and wrongly though, that their liberation leaders were different from the Arabized Northern elite who ruled the Sudan from Khartoum since 1956. The CPA transformed those liberation leaders into the people’s ‘oppressive-eaters’. In eight years, by their performance in government, those leaders not only turned the people of South Sudan against each other in ethnicized conflicts, but also looted the country’s resources, drank the oil, killed the innocent, emasculated the burgeoning state institutions and transformed the country into a limited liability enterprise in order to facilitate and lubricate the looting.

Eight years of random and rampant looting, these liberation leaders stashed their loots in foreign lands, doubly denying the people the benefit of investment and job creation in the country. They built palaces not in the land for which the fought and died but in the neighbourhood or far afield in Melbourne, Sidney or Washington DC and San Francisco. Not only that, but in the eight years these liberation leaders blocked, undermined, conspired against, chastised, elbowed out and ostracised their own comrades in struggle to enable personification of power and wealth. Some threw in the towel and left government posts in frustration. Some rebelled and met their deaths in hotel rooms in the neighbourhood. Yet Salva Kiir pardoned some and awarded government purchased villas. In the eight years following the CPA the best SPLA combatants registered as ‘unconfirmed names’ and were consigned to their homes – the revolution is over; and the ‘wounded in action’ registered in DDR projects which did not materialize as corruption also ate into the hearts and minds of the managers who arrived from the Diaspora. The widows and orphans of former SPLA combatants ‘fallen in action’ registered as concubines to satiate the sexual appetite of the living colleagues now promoted to the general.

These generals were the former SPLA commanders and alternate commanders etc. Those among them who have no command or did not become ministers to access easy money [inflated parades in the commands] now engage in bad business in everything with foreign ‘friends’ ranging from rent-seeking; providing services that frustrated and prevented modernizing transport system and the provision of pipe water in Juba, because their Ugandan driven boda boda or Ethiopian/Eritrean driven water-tankers must make money. Some ran, in collaboration with Ugandans and Congolese, brothels in Jebel Market dispensing HIV to unsuspecting adolescents. Some of them even ventured into higher education sector and with assistance of Ugandan conmen opened universities that awarded degrees to primary school dropouts. One of these universities in Awiel offered Bachelor of Legal Laws [abbreviated LLB] suggesting the people behind the project were fraudsters.

The patronage system informalized the economy lubricated by dollar notes available to relatives who sell it on the open Juba market [it would be a misnomer to call Black Market the umbrella covered street dollar vendors]. Free women, house-wives and young girls have been drawn into dollar business losing morals and morality as they conceive illegitimate children in the course of time. Land became a commodity for which one could lose life. An engineer, a former Mayor of Yei were murdered over land to mention a few cases of land grabbing. The owner of ‘Rock City Hotel Complex missed death by whisker because the principal wanted to own the business.

Eight and half years of vanity was bound to culminate in December 15, 2013. It could not have be less than that for leaders who lost the SPLM vision and direction. The leaders ran the country based on political patronage of ethnic and regional lobbies rather than formal institutions. Thus, after betraying the compatriots of the northern sector, the Nuba ad the funj whose bones litter South Sudan, these SPLM leaders betrayed the Abyei people and refused to stand with them to ensure the regional and international recognition of the successful referendum they conducted on October 31, 2013. Therefore, the events of December 15, 2013 represent the anti-climax of SPLM as a national liberation movement. The events of December 15, 2013 mark the decline from the height of national liberation to the fragility and then the state collapse. The events epitomize the end of Salva Kiir to the helm of the SPLM now split into SPLM [IG], SPLM {IO] and SPLM [FPD]. It could not have been otherwise given that Salva Kiir surrounded his leadership of the SPLM and the Government of Republic of South Sudan with Bahr el Ghazal [reader Gogrial and Awan] elders as the inner circle of the Jieng Council of Elders [JCE] since he inherited power in 2005. President Salva Kiir, the first president of the Republic is adamant on his incumbency notwithstanding the precarious crossroads, between being and not, he has now placed South Sudan. Now surrounded by a cartel of commercial interests, security barons and traditional leaders bent on enjoying power, wealth and influence Salva Kiir is constructing a despotism unprecedented in South Sudan and unparalleled in the region.

It is about time the people of South Sudan transformed this tragedy into its opposite as we commemorate the demise of hundreds of thousands of our people. Their death shall not have been in vain if we all rise to defeat ethnic chauvinism and bigotry, licentiousness, greed for power and wealth, as well as love of self. These viruses plunged this country into this dismal situation. The conflict contours are now well defined. In Arusha the three SPLM factions [IG, IO and FPD] discovered and located the root cause of this political malaise locate in the SPLM leadership failure not in the ethnic configuration of South Sudan.

It is now clear; our people have nothing against themselves. The Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Maaban, Murle, Mundari, Balanda, Ndogo, Kriesh, name them have nothing against each other as a people. Their predicament springs from the manipulations by the political and military elite, which the war of national liberation catapulted to the helm, of their social, linguistic and cultural diversity. The elite that put power and wealth over and above any human consideration, and which has put its tommy over and above the nation has consequently run down the country in less than eight years of brinksmanship. President Salva Kiir Mayardit represents that elite leadership that hangs onto power oblivious of and fails to notice how the country is sliding down the drain.

Lest we forget, it is now time the people of South Sudan took the initiative. It is no longer the issue of Salva Kiir; it is the country and the nation at stake. The war should come to an immediate end through the concerted efforts of all peace loving South Sudanese. It is about time that we rallied behind the resistance forces everywhere in South Sudan to route Salva Kiir out of J1 in order to salvage the country.

Organize do NOT Agonize! Lest we forget December 15, 2013!
Peter Adwok Nyaba

Pagak, Maiwut County, Upper Nile State
The Republic of South Sudan
December 15, 2014

Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba

is a Former Minister for Higher Education in the Government of South Sudan 2011-2013. He is a civil society activist, researcher and has carried out several studies for international humanitarian agencies operating in Southern Sudan. In 1997, he published a Noma Award winning book The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View (1996). He is now leading a member of SPLM-IO under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny


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