By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey, Juba, South Sudan
November 29, 2016 (SSB) —- Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders, JCE: “We tried to tell the truth and state facts surrounding war in South Sudan and, tried to explain off the rogues’ accusations and charges, but the brains of our enemies are blocked: “not allowed!”
JCE has been the waste basket of unverified stories, fabricated propaganda and evil-minding lies, that the Jieng Elders planned, implemented and fuelled the war of 15 December 2013. Some went as far as saying that JCE are the hardliners and against peaceful settlement of the conflict. Some of them concentrated on the disinformation that the Elders are the ones running the Government, not President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
We identified and evidentially tried to verify the stories to find that they are only intended, divisive propagandists advertisements. We expect the manufacturers to be hiding within the midsts of former members of the Sudan Communist party, under the skins of the FDs and SPLM IO. By extensions, some SPLA Generals (RTD), who failed to stop the coup and army soldiers desertions to rebellion, in December 2013, have guts to full mouth blame the JCE.
It is to be recalled that the former Chief of Staff, General James Hoth Mai, could have saved the country by stopped the rebelling arms units in Juba, Bentiu, Bor, Akobo, Malakal and Nasr at the time. General James and other retired SPLA generals are on record (President Obasanjo report 2014) that the “Jieng Council of Elders are responsible for the ongoing violence because they brought the Dinka milias to Juba. What a criminal and dangerous lie? As Dinka community members, we had never hid our opinion from Khartoum. The Dinka and Nuer people had been in the open fields of liberation since long.
To attend to General Majak Agot Atem de Mayen, a nephew of Akuot Atem de Mayen and his close associates from Jonglei, I state that “they are overwhelmingly in a mood to disregard and belittle the power of the Jieng Elders”. Some young social media contributors went as far as saying that the Dinka of Greater Bahr Al Ghazal lack leaders that can govern this country now and in the future to come. In such a statement, I can only comment: “their knowledge of political history of Southern Sudan is low or never had a primary knowledge about Dinka heroism from the Turkish invaders 1820 to the end of war with Khartoum in 2005.
This gross and idiotic statement of hate which has no backing or linkage to the political history of the liberation struggle from 1955 to 2005, must be categorically dismissed as a game of unworthiness. I can only describe such writers as “below necessary standards, blocked ignorance, naive and selfish”. I must confirm and state the historical facts: Bahr Al Ghazal had always been in the fore of our struggle for freedom and it had, honestly, contributed to liberation efforts, both in material and human resources.
To prove that the Jonglei Dinka youth are wrong in their evaluation of leaders, is because they have skipped the history of collective and solidarity of the people of Bahr Al Ghazal and Upper Nile on military and political fronts of the liberation. This political and social solidarity, was witnessed throughout the fifty years of Anya nya one, Anya nya two and the SPLA/SPLM arms campaign (1955-2005). The first differences that occurred, were in March 1965, following the Round Table Conference on problem of Southern Sudan, between the leaderships of Anya nya one/ Southern Front on one hand and the Sudan African National Union, SANU, on the other hand.
In presenting their position papers to the Round Table Conference on 3rd of March 1965, Aggrey Jadan represented SANU/Anya nya one and Hillary Paul Logali represented the South Front, tha two agreed on the “right to self-determination”. But SANU, represented by Raan (Human) William Deng Nhial, presented “Federal System of Government for a united Federal Republic of the Sudan”. That division, nevertheless, did not affect co-operation and unity of propose between leaders in Southern Front and SANU. However, the three groups embraced the Addis Ababa Agreement of March 1972. Political violence ever never occurred among the leaders, the communities, within the Anya nya one or Anya nya Two forces, from 1955 to 1983.
The second fallout among the Southern Sudanese was in August 1983, in Bilpham, Ethiopia (then under col. Maqgesio Hailemariam). The disagreement occurred between the Chairman of Anya nya Two, Akuot Atem de Mayen and Dr. John Garang de Mabior (both came from Dinka section of Jonglei). Akuot wanted secession of Southern Sudan from Northern Sudan. Garang wanted a revolutionary approach that could, possibly, transformed Sudan into secular democratic “United Republic of the Sudan”-an attempt to dislodge the then Islamic/Arab centralised system of government. This division, for the first time in the political history of Southern Sudan, was a complete dichotomy of parallel political programmes: National Liberation versus National Revolutionary Transformation; Liberal democracy and Socialist Oriented dictatorship ideologies. The political dichotomy couldn’t accommodate a “unity of purpose” between the two movements since causes were completely separate. Thus ending up in idealogical violence in which many Nuer and Dinka civilian died.
The third war-link conspiracy concerned the August 1991 coup from Nasr in Upper Nile Region. Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol defected there, U turned, abandoned the SPLM/SPLA, forged a secessionist movement and named it: “Southern Sudan Independence Movement, SSIM”, in order to provide and accelerate a working agreement with a centralised Islamic government in Khartoum. SSIM’s agenda was committed to anti-SPLM/SPLA, anti-Dr. John Garang de Mabior as a person and anti-Dinka Community. This organisation clearly intended to promoted tribal hatred among the Nuer, Dinka and Shilluk.
That pronounced hatred was immediately translated into indiscriminate killing of innocent children, elderly and women from both sides. Dr. Lam in his usual political senarios, deserted further the new SSIM and went for another “Fashoda agreement” with Khartoum. What could be appreciated was the fact that the Shilluk did not fight physically the Nuer, Dinka or the SPLA. But the continued fighting the SPLA until 2005. It is assumed that shiluk played a dirty middle games to promote Nuer and Dinka feudalism.
Inspite of severity of relations among the leaders: Dr. John Garang, Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol, were able to reconcile in 2001. Their reconciliation resulted in reunifying the SPLM/SPLA. Garang welcomed the returning leaders, reinstated them into the hierarchy of the SPLM/SPLA and included them into SPLM negotiating team and finally signed the historical “Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA”, with Khartoum on 9 January 2005.
Unfortunately Dr. John did not live long to supervise the implementation of the CPA. He was killed in a plane crash on 30 July 2005, between Uganda and Southern Sudan. Dr. John Garang brought peace and unity to Southern Sudan. However, his Deputy Salva Kiir Mayardit, took over the reign of power, committed himself to CPA and continued the legacy of the revolution, the legacy of Dr. John Garang de Mabior and Southern Sudan’s right of self-determination. General Salva Kiir kept close relationship with Riek Machar and Lam Akol. He appointed both of them as Deputy Chairman of SPLM, Vice President of the interim Government of Southern Sudan in Juba and Lam Akol for central ministry of foreign affairs in Khartoum, from August 2005 to December 2013.
As the saying goese that ” history repeats itself”, Dr. Riek Machar repeated the his legacy of coup-makings and rebellions. On 15 December 2013, he made another coup and followed by military rebellion, exactly repeating the 1991 Nasr coup and rebellion. He targeted again, as he did to Dr, John, the SPLM/SPLA and General Salva Kiir Mayardit. But, the only difference this time was that, Machar agreed with some Bor politicians, including Garang’s widow, Rebecca Nyandeeng and her son, Mabior Garang Mabior, to end Salva’s leadership of the party and the Government. This political deal between Riek and Bor Community emanated from the reconciliation and apologies in Madam Rebecca’s resident in Juba in 2012.
The fourth and final showdown between the group (Rebecca Nyandeeng, Dr. Riek Machan and Pagan Amuom) and the Chairman of the SPLM and Executive President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, occurred during the SPLM’s Political Bureau routine meetings in March 2013. In those meetings, two issues came up: (a) democratic reforms and amendments of the SPLM’s Charter and Constitution and (b) the SPLM’s second Convention and General elections in 2015.
In the same meetings, Riek Machar, Rebecca Nyandeeng and Pagan Amuom, advanced their individual personal interests, each nominating him/her-self for next leadership of the SPLM and Government in 2015. It was a bomp shell that indicated a strong division of the SPLM, yet to follow. On 27 July 2013, President Salva removed the group from the party and the Government, It was from this point and time, that the group appointed Dr. Riek as their leader to begin the fight for leadership. On 15 December 2013, the war began in earnest.
In considerate to the above sequences of political events that led to violence and death among South Sudanese, from 1983 to recent 2016, were caused mainly by intellectuals and politicians from Nuer, Dinka and Shiluk community origins. This new culture of political anarchy, mounting to deadly violence and war, seem to dominate eighty percent of the people of Greater Upper Nile’s approach to political power. This phenomena, must be given serious attention and appropriate legislation in order to eradicate it. Worst of all, this political violence, since 1983, was/is so wild and destructive that “it does not spare properties, humanity or natural environment”.
I conclude this article by calling on Dinka youth of Jonglei in particular, and youth of Greater Upper Nile in general, that JCE cannot take part in political violence, fuel insecurity or get involve in a tribal feud. All of us were brought up in an atmosphere of integral social interaction, respect for elders, mutual respect and harmony with neighbourhood. But our generation would not tolerate human misbehaviour such as physical aggression, arrogance, show of force or lying. Less we accept unrefined and abusive language like JCE “are evile, tribalist, killers and their political live is out of date”. However, there is no age bar or pension age in politics. What is known of this intimidating age phenomena comes from dictatorships, communist regimes or otherwise. Our Dinka traditions and law do not discriminate members of the community on the bases of age.
Any one concern requires to take note: “JCE is not a contender in the ongoing power struggle in the country, but the JCE cannot yield to a rogue propaganda, sponsored intimidation on national issues with intended destruction, not construction and nation building. JCE cannot tolerate or condone the used of violence as a means to political leadership. The JCE are obliged by the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan to defend the Flag during a crisis. No one has the right under the Sun to stop the JCE in defence of the country or the right of self-defence for their own community.
NB: I am giving this personal warning to a youngster from Bor Dinka who wrote about my goodself thus: “Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey, take your hands off the SPLM, you are not a part of it.. If you want to remain in politics, go back to your SANU and leave us alone ( I don’t know who they are) or go to your village-beec (Dinka Bor pronunciation- my home village is BAAC not beec, the man had an idea about me, but does not know anything about my root or origin. Such a language cannot and will not help people like Majak Agot Atem de Mayan, to ladder up to the highest echelon of leadership of South Sudan.
All in all, I think that Jonglei Dinka youth has demonstrated and continue to exposed an empty arrogance and foolish naivety, assuming that they and their elders are the best leaders South Sudan had had and should continue to have. Referring to Abel Alier and John Garang, all the time, may not continue attractive to South Sudanese any more event with Bor Community as a whole. Check your neighbours in Akobo, Pibor, Pacalla and Panjab. Can they now vote for Bor community candidate for presidency? Why do you leave your Biblical problem unresolved “respect your neighbour as you do to yourself”. Fulfil this obligation before extend your aggressive tongue to Bahr Al Ghazal Dinka Community.
Look up the following quote I borrowed for you, “Selfishness, like foolish assumption, does not pay for wants or wishes, but mutual respect introduce acceptance, trust and greatness”.
Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey is a former cabinet minister in the government of PM Sadiq el-Mahdi that was overthrown by Bashir in 1989, and current member of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).
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