The Feather of Glory ( a Novella )

Posted: February 28, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël in David Aoloch
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By David Aoloch Bion

Chapter Eleven 

After Abuk  Deng, Madut had been marrying other three wives the following three years. They were Amou Malual, Achol Geng and Amear Bil. He gave each woman a herd of cattle as soon as he married her. He built each woman a homestead. He didn’t dig the farms. If he was asked why, he said he was not the son of a farmer or fisherman. He didn’t stay with any of his four homesteads Luak, he stayed in the village chief Luak during daytime and his food was taken to him there.

He pretended as though he wouldn’t love any of his wives yet he was devoted to all  of them in secret. One day he traveled to a black smith who made beads by ostrich egg shells. He bought four beads. He went to Abuk. He gave her one bead. He warned her not to show it to the other three wives. He told her that she was the only woman she loved so much among his wives. He went to the other three wives and gave them beads at different times. As he gave each woman he warned her not to show the other women and that she was the only one woman he loved so much.

One afternoon, Madut’s four women went to collect firewood. Amou and Amear quarreled and they fought. Abuk and Achol separated them and stopped them from fighting.

“I can’t talk with you” Amou said

“Why can’t I talk with you? We are all Madut’s wives” Amear replied.

“Do you think Madut loves you the way he loves me?” Amou asked.

“Yes, madut loves me” Amear answered.

“If he loves you, what has he given you?”

“What about you? What has he given you if he loves you?”

“Madut loves me and he gave me this beautiful bead of an ostrich egg shell” Amou showed her bead

“What about this” Amear showed her bead of ostrich egg shell.

All the four women were surprised by Madut’s trick. Amou was greatly disturbed by this deceiving incident. It was discovered that all four women had the same bead. In that evening, the four women cooked and ate the meal with their four children. Madut moved from home to home and never found food. The following morning, the four wives came to Madut and asked him why he deceived them about the beads. Madut told them that all of them were his wives and he had to treat them equally. All the other wives forgave Madut, but Amou who was boasting about being loved so much never forgave him.

Two months went. Madut put on his feather of glory and with other eighty men went hunting for elephants. An elephant was killed. Hunters were so many that they scrambled over the elephant carcass. As all hunters were naked Madut cut of the testicles of a man called Mareng Lual. Maleng didn’t feel the pain. When the animal finished he fell down dead. The man who cut his testicles was unidentified. Mareng was carried home. Madut took to the meat he brought from hunting to his wife Amou Malual. Amou found the testicles of the man in the meat.

“What is this?” she wondered. She called in her husband Madut and showed the testicles to him.

“That is a man’s testicle” said Madut.

“Who’s?” Amou asked.

“For Mareng Lual.”

“What shall we do?”

“Don’t tell anyone”

Madut buried the testicles. Months passed. Amou beat to death a calf. When madut was about to beat her, she said “I will tell the other secret.” Madut stopped from beating her and walked away very angry.

Amou continued misbehaving and always threatened Madut with the other secret. Amou first born son was very young, she was called Dut.

“Madut had left the home of Amou Malual for the home of Achol Geng for fear that Amou might cause him problems. As it has been said, “there is no good home.” Madut got some problems at Achol’s home again. Madut quarreled with Achol and he beat her violently. The neighbour came and helped Achol from Madut. That very night Madut and Achol went to the hut to sleep. At mid night Achol woke up, she lit a bundle of grass and moved around the hut.

“What are you looking for? You will burn the hut. If you burn the hut I will beat you severely and you will suffer and suffer” Madut said.

“I’m looking for love” Achol said.

“Which love?” Madut asked.

“Our love during engagement. The sweet words you had been telling me. Where are they now?” asked Achol.

“Love is different from stubbornness” said Madut.

“A person you love you can’t beat like this.” Achol said

President Salva Kiir Mayaardit: Indicted by the USA

Posted: February 28, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël in Reports

The Feather of Glory ( a Novella )

Posted: February 27, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël in David Aoloch
Tags:

By David Aoloch Bion

Chapter Ten

It was the middle of the dry season. All cattle camps had moved to Toc pastures along the great river. It was a habit that young men or girls could not spend the dry season at homesteads. In the village it was hot and dusty since wind blew so much. Those who stayed were poor to endure hot and thirsty conditions.

One evening Madut Kuol had fastened the bundle of horsetail at the tip of white and black bull and a big gong on the neck of the black bull. He drove out two bulls to Abuk Deng’s cattle camp for a night singing. He sang for the whole night. All girls and boys lost their nights sleep to listen to their classic songs. Madut Kuol’s songs talked about beauty of his bull and his engagement girl; beauty and glory of his clan.

In the morning, Abuk Deng and his sisters took the bulls outside the camp for oil anointment ceremony. Madut and his bull were washed with cow butter of in present all including Abuk’s father and brothers. The oil ointment was a sign of girl appreciation of the songs and the men’s gentleness. By this time Madut’s popularity increased because of his songs, his wrestling strength, his bravery in rescuing of abducted children and rustled cattle by the warriors of an enemy tribes.

When all cattle were returned from Toc the greenest pastures to homestead, Madut Kuol announced his plan of marrying Abuk Deng. There are many types of marriage in the Boralian tribe. First and the most important is Riong wedding, in Riong wedding, more than One Hundred cattle were paid as bride price. It is the most expensive one and is for the rich. There is Kenywedding where about thirty to fifty cattle are given as bride price. There is Liec wedding where the girl is impregnated at her father’s home and Kuel wedding where the girl is eloped. All these types take fewer cattle.

Madut and Abuk had chosen Riong type of wedding. The news of Madut Riong spread to all villages. Some two other men tried to compete with Madut for Abuk but they were knocked out of race early. One man was rejected by parents because he was from an evil-eyed family and another one was rejected because he had few cattle. Abuk’s parents chose Madut because of his handsomeness and the many cattle he had.

The Riong wedding was organized with big two dances by Madut’s clan. They danced at Abuk’s home.

After Riong dancing, Abuk remained in her father’s home and her father went to Madut’s cattle camp. Deng the father of Abuk took one hundred and seventy cattle as a bride price for his daughter and four bulls were slaughtered as a wedding meal.

After the cattle were taken, Madut came with two hundred entourages to take his wife-Abuk Deng.

As it was a Riong wedding, the father of Abuk gave a heifer to his son-in-law Madut asAlokthok is a cow given to the son in-law or father in-law as a sign of respect and honour so that he could eat at his in-law’s home. And the father of Abuk gave a fat bull to be eaten by his daughter’s guests.

Before the guests could eat, they lined up for choosing ceremony, where the girl could choose the man as mockery husband they could go and cook food for them. The bride came first.

Abuk came and picked her husband Madut, she was followed by her uncle’s daughter Ayen Nhial who chose her mockery husband. It was a worse ceremony if an ugly girl choose you, you had to refuse her before the crowd. Some girls were crying because they were refused by the men they had chosen. After the choice, the girl could go and cook food and bring it to the man she had chosen.

When the meat had been cooked and all girls had come with their food. Abuk, the bride came with a calabash of meat, she put it in the middle sitting floor. She went straight to her bride groom Madut, held his hand and brought to eat. Each of them (Abuk and Madut) picked a small of meat and ate as a green light for all to eat. Then the two entourages started eating. After the meal, the parent of Abuk came to hand over the bride. Her entourage put this song.

Abuk was wearing a leopard skin and adorned with greenest wedding bead. She walked out on her sitting on mats entourage in great adoration for Madut and his clan. She was holding graceful bending long beautiful white ostrich feather. She talked in an eagletic tone.

“I great you all, all my respected, loved and handsome guests. Madut Kuol has married me with a great wealth – a great wealth of cattle, and I have married him with this feather, The Feather of Glory. And this feather of glory is the only prestigious thing I must honour him on earth” Abuk said as she was putting the ostrich feather on the red ash treated hair of Madut.

You will always wear it wherever and whenever you go for occasion – occasions like dancing, wrestling, singing, judging, hunting and fighting”.

“If you fail to wear it for one occasion I will refuse to eat food.”

“If you fail to wear it for two occasions I will divorce” Abuk swore solemnly on 11-7-7051 RCP.


By Jacob Dut Chol, Juba

February 27, 2015 (SSB) —  The voyage of South Sudan State Crafting and Consolidation has been a multifaceted endeavor involving all the stakeholders. South Sudan in September 2011 ratified the United Nations Charter and became 193rd member, received applauds for joining International Government. Many UN agencies have been supporting the people of South Sudan before the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement, during the interim period and towards the independence of South Sudan. These supports have been spelt out in various mandates UN agencies are executing in South Sudan.

For instance, UNDP mandate has been building strong accountable institutions of the governance, rule of law and service delivery while UNMISS initial mandate ranges from protection of civilians, human rights monitoring & reporting and support for the establishment and extension of accountable State authority. Now, the UNMISS mandate has been restricted to protection of civilians, human rights monitoring and reporting, leaving out extension to accountable State authority.

Although these mandates sound glaring, they should not make UNDP and UNMISS so righteous to the extent of throwing the first stone to the sinful South Sudan. Why is it so? Why is the UN, preferably UNDP and UNMISS could not be the first to throw stone to the crumbling South Sudan? Are they not accomplice in South Sudan State wobbling? Who is holier than thou in South Sudan State crafting and failure?

This short analysis shall argue that even though UNDP and UNMISS have aided in South Sudan State crafting, they have equally contributed to South Sudan State deconstruction making the country to stay on the run ways for this long. Thus two analyses of institutional building and political expedient are critical for this piece.

To begin with, institutional building has been one of the core areas where UNDP and UNMISS have contributed so far in South Sudan State crafting. To be sure, UNDP established its offices across the ten states as early as 2006 to build the government structures and accountability system with a special support to the office of the President. In the office of the President, many advisors contracted by UNDP and assigned to help strengthen accountability system and coach staff to manage decentralization and inter-governmental linkages could not fix the system well.

In the state levels, each advisor either on governance, development, rule of law, peace, economy & finance, gender or health issues has been embedded at the Governor’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Law Enforcement, Judiciary, Physical Infrastructures, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Gender & Social Welfare to mention but a few to help building robust systems that could enhance accountability, transparency and service delivery. Indeed, UNDP helped in building and rehabilitating State Police Offices, Prison Services and Judiciary and so on.

These endeavors, managed by the UNDP Support to States Project helped in charting the State crafting in the desired direction. The deployment of more than 280 specialists through both the Rapid Capacity Placement Initiative (RCPI) and IGAD projects has gone a long way in providing much needed coaching and mentoring support of durable nature and enabled accountability for UNDP’s programming.

However, UNDP is viewed to have contributed to South Sudan State failure. A compelling argument is that with the presence of UNDP advisors to the governments at the ten states and even within the highest office of the President, rule of law and accountability systems are still to be fully instituted. Yet, UNDP has attracted billions of dollars in tandem to South Sudan State Crafting and Reconstruction. Much of these dollars has been allocated to Policy Work, Service Delivery and Capacity Building.

Policy work and service delivery aside, the idea of ‘Capacity Building’ has been a tool used to solicit funds from the Development Community. UNDP and other NGOS have been quite passionate about this idea. However, ‘Capacity Building’ has been a practice of ‘Capacity Sucking out’. The Development Community comes so richly endowed and full of capacities that it tends to crowd out rather than complement the extremely weak state capacities of the targeted countries.

This means that while the governance functions are performed, indigenous capacity does not increase; and the countries in question are likely to revert to their former situations once the international development community loses interest or moves to the next crisis area. Thus ‘capacity sucking out’ of UNDP and NGOs in South Sudan context could apply to the aforementioned argument and moreover refers to drawing out the most qualified South Sudanese from the Government to work at UN offices, resulting in a brain-drained situation at the Government of South Sudan.

The provision of on job mentoring and coaching, technical trainings and fostering South Sudanese linkages through the deployment of regional civil servants to government institutions has not only suffocated the lowly skilled staff but also made them redundant. However, not only that the hypocrisy of ‘capacity building’ has been quite perturbing, the participation of donor community in the destruction of capacity through institutional neglect is a case in the nascent African State.

So in South Sudan, it is probable to argue that true emphasize on capacity building is another form of “tough love” to quote Francis Fukuyama, that, like conditionality, is very hard for well-intentioned people to actually it carryout. So what we get in the meantime is lip service to the importance of capacity building and the continued displacement of institutional capacity by outside donors.

Thus this conundrum does not go away but in fact becomes most severe when external leverage comes through nation-building rather than arms-length conditionality. Although the development community knows how to supply government services, it knows much less how to create self-sustaining indigenous institutions.

Drawing indigenous institutions deficit in South Sudan, UNDP appeared as a foreign own institution, The UNDP cadres’ development has been skewed towards maintenance of foreign staff at the highest levels with national staff at the middle and lowest levels. For example, UNDP South Sudan does have a few national specialists and team leaders while international staff dominated the top management of the development agency.

As a matter of capacity appreciation, Deputy Country Director could have gone to the highly experienced South Sudanese national given the availability pool of this expertise but this has not been the case with UNDP South Sudan. Although this state of affairs has not been realized as an ingredient of UNDP failure towards South Sudan State crafting, the gravity of denying nationals senior management portfolios has equally failed the development agency in realizing it goals and outcomes.

This comes in the form of government institutions viewing UNDP as a foreign managed entity that does not promotes “we feeling” and thus received apathy in implementation of projects. Most of foreign staffs go home every month with Hugh chunk of money including decent house allowances and air tickets that are not given to even more experienced and qualified South Sudanese nationals.

This lavishly pay has created ‘Development Tourism” whereby the international staff enjoy their stay in South Sudan as development tourists rather than partners in meaningful development.

On political expedient analysis, UNMISS comes handy in understanding its roles in South Sudan State crafting and failure. Wait a minute, UNMISS contributed to both South Sudan reconstruction and fragility. To be exact, one cannot forget the applauding efforts UNMISS showcased in averting genocide during December 2013 political ignominy. Having accommodated over four hundred thousand civilians during the political crisis in Bentiu, Malakal, Bor and Juba Protection Camps, UNMISS appeared as serious stakeholder in South Sudan State crafting and consolidation.

But again did the UNMISS response on time? Why is it that majority of civilians were lynched in Bor, Akobo, Bentiu, Malakal and Juba in presence of large UNMISS troops? Could that really be a strategic neglect on the side of UNMISS? Even though UNMISS averted large-scale genocide, it has really allowed deaths of very many poor South Sudanese in their watch during the power pursuit skirmishes. The leitmotif that civilians have to run to the UNMISS compounds to seek protection does not make protection really protection.

Yet the responsibility to protect should be exercised to the civilians that have not run to the UNMISS precinct. Despite this, it is fair to say that UNMISS contribution to South Sudan State reconstruction is historical. Not only did UNMISS reign its glory on the protection of civilians, it had also contributed in strengthening the capacities of police force and prison services and modest infrastructure development such as upgrading of rough roads.

Nonetheless, UNMISS has been viewed to have contributed to South Sudan State crumbling from the onset of the inking of Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). SOFA gives UNMISS personnel exclusive rights of travelling everywhere in South Sudan without any restriction, control of UNMISS special terminal at Juba International Airport (JIA) and implementation of their work programmes without governmental approval.

Unfortunately, the SOFA has been abused, thrown under the carpet by some individuals in the UNMISS in tandem of dodging the responsibility and genuine support to South Sudan State Crafting. For instance, it is alleged that some UNMISS contractors would stay after their contracts have expired to do other illicit businesses. Moreover, some contractors would bring in their girlfriends and boyfriends to South Sudan on the pretext that they are UN contractors. This has not only been a pitfall on the implementation of SOFA, but also other serious posers have been associated with the trashing of SOFA.

An allegation has it that many UNMISS staff have been trading dollars in the black market with even some found with sophisticated machines of faking dollars. What is more, given the exclusive freedom of control of its terminal in JIA, some UNMISS individuals have been alleged to have smuggled in some prohibited drugs to South Sudan soil. Is this really being holy to throw the first stone to South Sudan?

Still connected to free traveling inside South Sudan without hindrance and together with SOFA’s clause of UNMISS assets not to be inspected, UNMISS did a serious misstep in its history in the world. The impoundment of UNMISS trucks by a nationalist soldier in Rumbek while transporting assaults of military hardware leveled as humanitarian goods to Bentiu, is attestation to this claim.

Although the UNMISS management including the UN Secretary General apologized for this as gravest mistake arguing that the trucks were wrongly leveled and weapons destined for Ghanaian Battalion’s in Bentiu, the damage of this incident could not exonerate anything else but rather pinpoint UNMISS as having an intended plan for South Sudan State failure not candid crafting. Although the government has equally bruised UNMISS and breached the SOFA either, the government response has been perhaps done under deep-seated suspicion.

Given the above elucidated arguments on UNDP and UNMISS, it is plausible concluding that UN should not throw the first stone to sinful South Sudan for the very reason that it has equally sinned and deserved to undertake technical and political repentant. The UN agencies should be more vigilant about their mandates and programmes so as to eschew programmes duplication, overstretching donors funding and over-stepping on the Government toe.

Although the Government has its shortcomings and indeed sinned, UNDP and UNMISS are not righteous entities.

Mr. Chol is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Juba and PhD Candidate of State Crafting and Institutional Design (Political Engineering) in Post-Political Crisis Societies. He can be reached at dutsenior@yahoo.com

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The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Wënnë Madyt Deŋ

February 27, 2015 (SSB) —  Following the numerous points of concern in Republic of South Sudan; many writers are relentlessly visualizing the upcoming doom status of invasive state of swaying-greed for leadership shouldered on cursed-filled-deads. I am standing still to let the reality shine in the face of the paradoxical allied front-runners of this-nation-so-called-South- Sudan. Everyday there is peace talk that doesn’t translate itself into physical harmony. Peace itself isn’t an asset that requires international community intervention. Somalia, DR Congo, Libya and Iraq are good examples that president Kiir should put into consideration as he pushes his government

Unsteady security situation in South Sudan since 2010 after Salva Kiir Mayardit became the president keeps everything stagnant and it disapproves the leadership ofKiir is as the legitimate president of South Sudan; thousands of innocent South Sudanese civilians lost their lives to rebels starting with George Athor Deng Dut and David YauYau who discriminately killed thousands of innocent civilians. Dr. Riek Machar finally blew the final whistle of doom to demonstrate how weak his political strength is and it was also a test to the government of president Kiir. The government which gives rebels credit every year. The government which doesn’t bring any culprit into law; the government that cannot afford to protect citizens.

To make it easy, many writers highlighted the disadvantages of giving amnesty to “little insects” like Gabriel Tanginya, Gatwei Dual and Bapiny who are gravely headache to the government of Kiir as I write. It would have been a big ideal if one could have written something about it but!

However, insecurity is the chief enemy of development. South Sudan will never develop if president Kiir remains in the presidency. Appointing corrupt ministers and governors who work for their families not the country; development includes Agriculture, Education, Health and physical infrastructures principally. The very people who embezzle public funds are the one removed and reappointed.

Rich country like South Sudan direly needs a proactive, innovative and patriotic leader who is ready to achieve the dream of Dr. John Garang De Mabior of taking town to the people not people to town.

Abuse of human rights and international humanitarian laws have been rampant as government forces are not trained or even once introduced to the rules of war. Both SPLA and organized forces are not transformed. They assume to be part of their respective tribes; this later fosters bad image to the word.

The current peace talk which is branded to be the final phase will neither bring peace to the stranded citizens in Counties, Payams and Bomas nor will it trace back the massive numbers of citizens who are seeking refuge in neighboring countries. The harm of the conflict will not be removed in the heart of citizens who lost their beloved relatives on 15 December 2013. We can’t wait with our arms folded saying that President Kiir was in the chain of SPLM/A comrades who fought for freedom. No. That is absolutely wrong. He wasn’t fighting for his position but for the general right of Southerners. There are plenty points that disapprove the leadership of president Kiir.

Since I remain conversant with myself since I personalized the forth condition that MUST smokescreen the spirit of this country as politics has become a mean of deriving soundless legacy in the light of unrealistic decision reasoned to cataclysmic mandate to ruin the future of South Sudan.

The citizen who will read this piece of tangible scrutiny of what will undoubtedly come forth; should read and re-read this very critique,I felt consoled after many South Sudanese came to me and discussed issues that would actualize the real image of South Sudan and her connection to sovereign ability to solving internal issues.

Since the war clicked the trunk of South Sudan I proved that all of us are enemies of living a long lasting life as we all bear a symbol of insurgency on our forehead; however, we all assume to be consuming smoky cold temperatures out of no clinical code of conduct. Any citizen who is annexed to the list of serfdom and extermination to reveal the existing realism should always think of how to liberate the dying humanity in this chaotic Republic of South Sudan. I opted to chain my dirt into the pond of fouls to replace exhilarating pounds in reference to the leashing even handedness not only to share when they are cheering but also to mind my own business.

World is walled up with born and elected leaders but South Sudan has suddenly mistaken the living fact of the universe and took the counterfeited system of disposed autocracy which was formerly meant for ancient rulers of the late world. There is no prevailing categorical system that divides the government in advent to withhold the known right in least developed environment. President Kiir is not the correct leader to rule South Sudan at this digitalized stage based on our rights as citizens of this country.

The third majority (Quorum) of every discussion either within family or other social gatherings remains detached from what you think in upper house; the citizens are traumatized as they know there is no bright future as per the current leadership. Many citizens sacrificed their souls to fight for freedom from Khartoum regime hoping that they would one day be stakeholders and first class citizens of their own New Sudan and they are facing the opposite contemporary.

To be continued……………..!

Writer can be reached through: wennemadyt63@gmail.com

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The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Emmanuel Malual Makuach, Kenya

February 27, 2015 (SSB) —  Thousands of South Sudanese student in the North Rift Valley are gathered to listen to the education attaché at the South Sudan Embassy in Kenya, Madam Dicho Elizabeth Clement.

Madam Dicho wanted to acquaint herself with the challenges facing students in Kenya, particularly in the North Rift Valley region and part of western Kenya.

This is the first time since she took over that the students from various public and private universities has used the occasion to explain their challenges to her.

The students are also asking the government to assist those who are studying outside the country. They are requesting for financial assistance. Among the challenges students face are imposed conditions such as the 20 percent pay by foreign students in public universities and colleges in Kenya.

There is also the question about the money transfer systems, which delayed their school fees and therefore affect their studies every year. For example, some students are missing the semester because they have gone home to get school fees.

The students call upon the government to consider the policy of money transfer, arguing that the government and relevant authorities should priorities the educational needs of South Sudanese students in foreign countries.

The education attaché at the Embassy of South Sudan, Madam Dicho, assure the students of the commitment of the government, saying that she remains available for resolving or assisting in sorting out the students’ problem were necessary.

“We are available for advice and counseling, giving direction and other support that the office can afford,” she assured the students. She continued saying that the office is aware of the students issues that ranges from tuition fees, certificates authentication, need for guidance and counseling, and moral support.

“As far as certificates are concerned, we advise that any student that is ready to leave South Sudan to go to any country should observe to take note the following:  if you are primary leaver, make sure your certificates are stamped or verified by the central ministry of education science and technology and then authenticated by ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation in Juba, South Sudan.

Also if you have completed both primary and secondary schools, make sure the ministry of foreign affairs and international trade of the republic of Kenya and any other relevant concerned authority authenticate your certificate before you leave for another country to study, furthermore the office of education continuing advising the students to registered and joined recognized institutions mandated by the commission for higher education.

If you finish well, you are the human resources that the country South Sudan need. For the students’ financial support, we do not have any at the moment because the current political turmoil in our country makes our financial difficulties back home.

The Embassy encourages and requires that every South Sudanese students in Kenya to register with the embassy.  Therefore, we have a form for collecting the students’ data for Kenya; we would like to know how many you are here in Kenya. Thanks you.”

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The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Michael Mading Akueth, Juba

Mading Akueth, with Isaiah Chol Aruai, and Aleer Longar, speaking to reporters on their arrival in Juba after two days in captivity

Mading Akueth (in the middle, grey shirt) with Isaiah Chol Aruai and Aleer Longar, speaking to reporters on their arrival in Juba after two days in captivity

February 27, 2015 (SSB) —  In the fateful day of Feb 3, 215, Hon. Isaiah Chol Aruai, Jacob Aleer and I boarded a United Nation Humanitarians Services (UNHAS) helicopter from Mabior (Panyagor) to Juba. However, for the reason best known to the Russian Pilot, the chopper took us to the SPLM-IO control areas called Jiech, Ayod County, where the rebels’ military governor had earlier issued the order that UN should not bring Dinka and Uganda nationals to their areas.

We happened to be from the Dinka ethnic group who are not needed in the area so we were immediately arrested and the chopper was released to continue with its journey back to Juba.

I came to learnt — in the midst of pain and fear and at the face of death — the real human being behavior which was hidden for many years truly emerge and priorities start to align themselves perfectly; we could think what is most important to us. We could think about our beautiful families, relatives, friends and visions. I could clearly see priorities of my life; what I will do? Where I will do it? And how I will do it if I could be allowed to live again by the rebels?

In the investigation process, we could console ourselves that though we are thrown into the lions’ den; we adapt the attitude of Biblical Daniel who bravely faced the lions the whole night alone until dawn. We asked ourselves: “do the lions have a moral conviction to eat us alive since we are innocent before God, man and the law?” The biggest choice was with the lions.

The choice was squarely in the hands of SPLM-IO starting from the officers who had arrested us to the top leadership of their movement. We all know how systems work. By then, despite the immense pressures from the UN networks, the government in Juba, the SPLM former detainees and the entire South Sudanese communities all over the world, the SPLM-IO still held a final say to either release us and we returned to Juba to witness the big welcoming of captives from citizens in Juba International Airports or to kill us and throw our bodies to the bush for the birds of the airs and carnivores animals to satisfy their desire for most delicious meat they can get, the human bodies.

We, the former captives appreciate the rebels’ decision for releasing us; whether we are not more important than the people they had killed in Bor, Malakal and Bentiu or not. The fact remain that we were considered dead but now we are still alive and we shall continue doing the good work we have been doing for this country.

Some influential leaders in the Greater Bor community have already argued that “if a rat runs away from the cat, it should not thanks the cat but its own effort to have managed to escape from the cat.” I think this theory of “rat and cat” victorious escape does not fit in our situation because we did not managed by our efforts to run away from the prison. We were released as a gesture of goodwill that we are still one nation, regardless of the dimension this conflict is taking.

Indeed, if we could have struggled and escaped from their prison and ran to government control areas by our strength, we would have not appreciated their decision because the initiative would have been ours. But that is not the case, we were released, we did not escaped and that is why we appreciate the rebels for saving our lives.

We also appreciate the government lead by President Salva Kiir for establishing contact with the rebels and the UN leadership immediately and demand for our release. In Feb 13, 2015 when we met the president, he told us that when he first got the information of our arrest in the evening of Feb 3, 2015, he immediately called the representative of the UN Secretary General in South Sudan and told her that she should talk to the rebels for us to be release immediately without conditions.

The UN systems work so hard through UNOCHA to ensure that we were released and we appreciated the roles they had played in this particular case though we still question the rationale of taking us from Panyagor to Jiech which is under the rebels.

Moreover, the SPLM formers detainees used their contacts within the rebel circles to ensure that we were safe and treated well. Let me give the credit to where it is due. Dr. Majak De’ Agot was calling hourly to console us and provide us with updates about our release.

I remembered on Feb 4, 2015, Hon. Deng Dau, MP for Twic East, called using military governor’s Thuraya and talked to Isaiah about our situations and process for our release. Asante Mheshimiwa (thanks honorable) Deng Dau Malek.

All these leaders I have mentioned above, I don’t personally know them well though I do hear about them because they are public figures and they don’t also know me too well. I know that they were mainly calling because of Hon. Isaiah Chol who is their colleague in the SPLM/A or government, but our fate was tied together with him. We wholeheartedly say thank you with your teams for supporting us in our difficult time of dire need.

I know so many leaders in our community might want to call but they did not have contacts of SPLM-IO leaders; we appreciated your attempts too.

We thank the Greater Bor community for their tireless prayers, coordination, thanksgiving ceremonies and word of blessings they had pronounced on our lives. We know that you all love us dearly with all your heart, spirit, bodies and might. We are proud to be part of this great community which care and protect her humble citizens. We say the lord our Gods who remove us from the jaws of lions will bless you according to his riches in glory.

Finally, I think it is wiser for all the parties who had participated in our release to continue with this political goodwill to ensure that there is good security for all citizens both in government and rebels control areas so that our citizens can build back their trust again. We have learnt that our citizens still love themselves and they can still live together in this country.

We must take up responsibility for bringing peace to this country. We should focus our mind to bring peace and reconciliation in this country because it is good for all of us.

We cannot leave the issues of peace to the government, rebels, former detainees, civil societies and church leaders alone; we should also play our roles in promoting peaceful co-existence in the villages, markets and school.

I hope every party who was involved in our release did not just do so because of us but for the great concern they have for all citizens in this country. We must put our efforts together to make our country a peaceful and proud nation once more.

You can reach the author at his email address: madinakueth@yahoo.com or Facebook page: Mading Akueth

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