Lower your head Igwambe, we no longer have flesh on our bones

Posted: March 30, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Majok Arol Dhieu, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Majok Arol Dhieu, Juba, South Sudan

Murle dancing

March 30, 2017 (SSB) — For the edification of the possible readers who are entirely uninformed, Mr. Michael Igwambe was a paramount chief of Gamberia village too long ago. He was said by the traditional historians that his face looks unattractive because he screwed –up ugly expression on his face always.  Not only was he rude but he had a face look like a bulldog chewing a wasp. Whenever he said something, he would look as if he is quarrelling.

Chief Igwambe and his guvnor were said to have led a renowned insidious rebellion against dictator chief Mr. Nyamer Mwaper under Gamberia Servicemen/women (GSm/w) umbrella which no one’s ever done it of late. Throughout the said to-ing and fro-ing conflict, his deputy Mr. Mali Bokora was reportedly had been leading an effective countervailing force against them contemporaneously with their common enemy because he accused them of having rudimentary knowledge about GSm/w and the purpose it was formed.

His guvnor was killed in action and in spite of his political opponents; he’d served as a leader of the GSm/w during the period of peace negotiation to end the conflict and again stands the test of time to become the first paramount chief of lower Gamberia village for more than nineteen years after they seceded from Upper Gamberia.

Having achieved full control of Lower Gamberia, Igwambe and his administration members get on classifying and creating order of suppression of remaining opposition groups and shortly by the end of their struggle through peace, the other groups had been intimidated into disbanding.

However, after a long period of his incompetence and maladministration, he was lastly at odds with the group of libertarians identifying themselves as Village’s Eyes Group (VEG) who’ve seen and witnessed Igwambe’s administration as the corrupt regime.

Between declarations of independence of Gamberia village and the first elections, chief was accused of fishing in troubled waters because he’d gained an advantage for himself from a disturbed state of affairs. Although there have been elections, there has also been election fraud by increasing the vote share in his favour and depressing the vote share of the rival candidate.

In other cases during Gamberia village’s elections, other clans were disenfranchised by attacking polling places in some areas known to support rival candidate, thus making it impossible for people in those areas to vote. Supporters of GSm/w in the offing of election would make it known that if a particular village or clan is found to have voted the ‘wrong way’, reprisals will be made against that clan/village. This caused fear and all people for the years of elections would opt to vote for chief Igwambe to avoid being in danger.

Elections rigging were made by chief and his diehard supporters who verily hailed from the same clan because they severally claimed that their clan has participated in the war with absolute concentration whereas other clans deserted front lines and fled to neighbouring villages as refugees.

He himself was quoted many times saying that if there’s anyone who want to contest for his seat, would first be castrated and taken to participate in the neighbour war for four years. This was seen by other clans as a complication and a blocking scenario for those who want to leads, and it has led people to think of rebellion as the only option to bring change.

More or less, the VEG group and the representatives have tried very much to bring a change. It’s with their assistance that opened the eyes of all citizens in the village to start holding chief and his members in contempt because chief was said to have been a progenitor of materialism. His chieftainship had merely fogged the situation of the Gamberia village for long time, and no further suffering was needed by representatives and VEG group.

Facts speak for themselves that his rule has engineered unbridled disunity of Gamberia people and moreover, his tribal GSm/w has targeted and systematically slain many people in cool blood from other sub-villages of Gamberia. Death and mass execution took place in sub-villages of his opposition groups and also subjected them to half-starved and freezing and had to live in homeless shelters.

More and more, his unmanageable GSm/w has persecuted people base on clan’s line. In most of his administration members reshuffles, it has been lurching people from crisis to crisis as it has been described by traditional historians as the process of relieving hyenas and appointing wolves. This has added insult to injury by creating mistrust between him and the people in his administration who feel that things are not done correctly because they have been dictated.

One pretty day, he was flooded with lots of letters from the Representatives composite of selected members from every tribes of Lower Gamberia village. They wanted him to address the entire village on the issues related to random murder, raping, vandalism, looting of people properties and all other form of unfair rule.

Chief read all the letters one by one and when he opened a hand-lettered document in a yellow envelope, he first saw a statement written on it, virtually in an indecipherable handwriting which stated as, “lower your head chief Igwambe, we no longer have flesh on our bones”, he opened this envelope very carefully, burning with curiosity.

In those letters, he was on horns of dilemma because he was faced with a choice between two equally unpleasant options.

One letter instructed him to resign from his position as a paramount chief of lower Gamberia because he had driven the village’s economy into the deep and damaging recession which has thrown the people into nothingness. The issue of insecurity become the most itching problem at the backs of all citizens in the village. People are being killed on daily basis by unknown warriors and there was pure looting at night time.

While in another letter from lower house, he was told to relieve all his administrators simply because they have failed to deliver services to people at a fair and equitable manner—-there are too looters and no people to do work. Should he fail; the letter added that the society will go on a severe strike instead of dying one by one. It’s clear that the days of his misrule are numbered and the suffered citizens need an urgent solution.

He was quandary about what to do and paused after reading two letters. He then said to himself that he has to call a meeting of minds from his crooked cronies to see if there are some solutions they would propose and also they don’t want to go to the general meeting without too many preconceptions about what the other groups want.

He straightforwardly called a close meeting with his administration members excluding the representatives. The agenda number one was to discuss how they could confront tactically Representative proposals.

However, there were still disputes from majority of his administration members by half-heartedly arguing that their administration was perfectly.

The outcome of the chief and his administrators close meeting was to call a general meeting which involve all administration members and the representatives. Chief secret plans were met by head of his security personals suggestion who said that there must be a good number of GSm/w deployed round the meeting house on the day of meeting.

So, he immediately commands his security personals to prepare the Chief Loyal Lancers (CLL) to be present on the meeting day around the palace since he accused the Representatives and VEG that they might be plotting a coup to unseat him.

He also gave his security personal strict instructions to use the poor humiliated and degraded staffs to remain blacklegs and bribes them to spy on whistleblowers throughout the village and report to the chief with immediate effect so that they’re sure of what is going on.  As ever, the rate of lootings of civilians’ properties and the kidnapping of civilians into the correction’s house has gone high and the whole condition suddenly deteriorated. Some were said to have been dragged and killed before they have reached the prison.

According to what many traditional historians said, those taken to the correction’s house would sometimes be complicate by being subjected to starvation, tortured,  and horrific brutalities and should they tries to escape; the soldiers who were beliefs to have been paramount chief kinsmen would raise their guns, take aim, and fire at them. This has been done repeatedly and many people lose heart when they see their people being taken into that prison.

After the close meeting in the afternoon, an agreement between Igwambe and his cohorts was looked decidedly difficult according to the news that was broadcasted on the idiot box in that evening. General public was unrest and in disarray about the news. Chief Igwambe knows very carefully from the back of his mine that, he was not having his predecessor who could be blame for evils of the past. His predecessor was killed in an ambush attack when he was travelling from lower Gamberia to attend a peace negotiation in the head-quarter of the defunct Gamberia.

Most of his administration members were also divided. Some said that the written statements of the beliefs, aims and policies of GSm/w must to be revised but some argue that there’s no need to rewrite anything.

Those who favoured that decision of change within were dismissed on that day.

Although Igwambe and his clique discovered that they were fighting a losing battle trying to convince the most frustrated citizens at the freedom hall, they also secretly organized their GSm/w to deter and undo VEG and representatives’ cause should they play it tough.

The next morning, he first wrote a letter back to the representatives appointing a day of the general meeting before he could hold a political rally. He said in the letter that they will meet after four days from the date of the letter. Chief was deliberately delay taking action in order to be able to act more effectively later. Also he was on pins and needles while he was waiting for the day of general meeting assuming that pigs might fly.

Four days elapsed; and the representatives together with VEGs came very early in the morning and seated on clayey benches in the meeting house. A couple of old codgers and senior citizens in the VEG were invited to be present in the meeting house. There was huge number of GSm/w of all new faces deployed round the meeting house intentionally to threat the voices of change and to intimidate the radical’s reformers within the chief administration.

Chief Igwambe himself was the one welcoming two groups who entered the meeting house. He said to the participants that the four days he’d declared in the letter weren’t spent with ease and not to waste time too much on that, he asked the representatives and VEGs group to let their speakers start forthwith. He added that the meeting must to be opened with prayers by an octogenarian Nicolas Bieru of the Ufanga Village.

Nicolas rose and was too old enough to speak loudly. He was murmuring to himself and lastly said, let’s resit. All sat back and their first speaker Mr. Lubano Wember remained standing to start his speech but before he started, he paused first while standing to listen to the harassment of spear carriers used instead of chief’s lancers to point at him an unrecognisable weapon as the mean of intimidation.

Nevertheless, he started his speech finally as below.

Your Honor, already the disciples of illiberal democrats have tasted how sweet and blessed materialist rule is, and have also seen and satisfied madness of the multitudes who decried the unfair mistreatment of people, exploitation and misuse of public funds, and they’ve known better that there’s no one who acts incorruptibly in the administration of this village. It’s acknowledged and diarized although those who record facts and figures were deradicalize by your administration.

The inescapable reality of corruption in many different ways has harmed our society. Radical reformers and whistle-blowers who try several times to produce evidence of corruption have been press-ganged and taken into correction’s house created by the perpetrators of corruption. If you knew about it and kept quiet, we need you to address it today and find a solution to it but if you don’t know, then we’ve said it today and in facts you should be able to know everything happening in this small village.

I, Lubano as an elder have had a chance to visit the correction’s house myself and found that they can’t be allowed to urinate outside leave alone defecation with guns at their cheeks even when they’re told to eat their food after being examined. When I asked what kind of crimes they have made, I was told that some were brought in because of intoxication and some have fought their wives. Those are simplest crimes that shouldn’t lose the life of somebody.

Your Honor, see how your men have complicated the situation of this village. On top of that untold suffering, each prisoner could pay the amount of 30 Gberi as a punishment but the severity of punishment should match the seriousness of the crime. Is this how we should move our village forward? I call it a pure looting, please excuse my language. From here, if chief hears the term looting, he would sway his feet in signalling his guards in order to point the threatening weapon in the direction of the speaker as the means of gagging him.

Notwithstanding some chief objections, he continued. Most of your administration members have become pathological liars and wheeler-dealers, and all of us know it better that under those formidable figures, often all types of corruptions could be at higher level like at a glance, we are presently experiencing a judiciary corruption (both entire village and private) because the budget is completely controlled by the executive.

Judiciary corruption is a type of corruption which is most difficult to eradicate in the society. I know that crime and freedom are inseparable. You can’t have one without other. In this case, judges have got an advantage of accepting passive and active bribery under your administration to intentionally and maliciously cause harm to other people or to avoid delaying the case that would have required procedural laws before final sentences. This has created lots of revenge killing among clans because they felt that taking laws into their own hands could be better than following unachievable procedural laws.

To remind you about the ruinous years of war between us and upper Gamberia in which we all participated maximally, the communities we are representing have suffered enough and their pillaged wealth would have been compensated back in form of roads, health centres, water facilities, Schools etc.

Your Honor, facts must be told, this is not the struggle we fought for, and this is not how our policies were. I and my colleagues in this meeting house were hoping that your administration would have delivered services to the people instead of allowing some few people to enrich themselves with public funds.

In your present, allow me to remind you that all cashiers you’ve employed in departments whom I think might be relating you in one way or another have been cooking the books and were not held accountable for.  They have been collecting kickbacks. Does anyone among you here aware of that? It’s outside our ethics as people of Gamberia. Pure thefts were incurred under your administration even in your own office and those were not brought to book. It shows that you are entertaining such unbecoming practice.

I proved myself the corruption I am just speaking about when I visited my nephew was working in one of the oil companies. I was called a lucky man by one of them who seemed to be their boss I guess. I met the when they came back from Vvembui market where they sold oil in drums and distribute among themselves with each pocketing fifty Gberi.

I was treated as an important guest and was given a little amount for my transport back to my area.

Your Honor, several letters were intercepted by your security personal and possibly sometime prevent us when we are coming to you in person.

The matter here is the subject of discussion in the corridors of power at the present time. If we misunderstand ourselves, this’s where confusion comes in. How come they could be suspicious when we didn’t even speak to them? Haven’t we been in the liberation together? What is it that made them looked us as if we are carrying anus on our noses?

Today, I must say that there is a need for this area to be demilitarized zone and deploy your security personals along the borders if at all it’s the pride of weapons that had made them behave in immature manner. Oppositions warriors should be integrated into GSm/w units and dismiss completely those who have ranked themselves without your permission. I must also say that because of these security personals, journalists and writers have been sheltering behind a wall in order to avoid pigheadedly martyring themselves to the storm of dust and sleet from your self-centred administrators, preoccupied with materialism.

On touching part of materialism by the speaker, smoke went up in air because chief feel that he was insulted with his administration, but Mr. Lubano pull no punches, he went on to say that police corruption was concomitantly to that of judiciary corruption. Police departments which supposedly should have been responsible for protecting people and properties in the whole territory of Lower Gamberia have involved themselves in corruption too much.

There’s also a need to change their bosses or integrate them into other organized GSm/w units since chief constables have been working for personal gains, accepting bribes in exchange for not reporting organized drug, smuggling, prostitution or other illegals activities.

More dangerously, you can find chief constables calmly and deliberately participate in organized crime and flouting the police code of conduct in order to secure convictions of suspects through the use of falsified evidence. Police officers also defend their relatives who involved themselves in crime cases not to be arrest and if you ask them what is the article that release the accused without being proved not to be guilty, they can’t tell.

Second to that, we’ve suffered as you got it explicitly in our letter your honor. Employment has never been fair and free. The so-called favouritism, nepotism and political clientelism have destroyed our society. The perpetrators of corruption as I mentioned early have been favoured by a functional illiterate group you have been keeping in your administration; this alone increased the rate of criminality in this village. Hiring or promoting a family member to a role they are not qualified for would make them mess-up with resources and later end up in fraudulence.

I must say that the system of quid-pro-quo shows that an item or a service has been traded in return for something of value which in an employment understanding means recruit the one I recommend in exchange for the favour I will do for you tomorrow. We cannot and will never run our village affairs if we can’t totally reject such practices.

In other cases such as court cases, there was consideration among the judges, that is, the exchange something of value for something else of value. I’ve witnessed myself in which I was following up a case of murder. The first trial ended in a hung jury, the second in an acquittal. Then, there was no outcome of that case up to date.

Your Honor, also commodities and petroleum are being completely sold on the grey market. Should we not come up with a solution to stop this racketeering business in this village? Also what about the gun-running by the rebels, should we not stop it by deploying security forces along the borders to check first what is coming and going out of the village? Money itself is being traded on the black market and there are no laws and rules set up by your administration to minimize or destroys such businesses completely.

Your administration has sets the local currency at some arbitrary level to another currency that does not reflect its true market value. If you really want to succeed, please revive the economy effectively immediately using a fashionable nostrum.

Your honor and my colleagues here, I rest my case. Everybody in the meeting house applauded by nosily clapping their hands and sang their traditional song that says, a beast that has become the yoke round the neck would be died off by biting its tail.

Before the speaker sit on his clayey bench, a drum beat especially for war alarm was heard by the participants to the meeting, and within a shortest time, a dispatch messenger gate-crashed the meeting house.

There was pregnant pause to hear what he came here for.  Hum-hum-hum-mm, he was humming but lastly said, ‘’I was sent by village’s elders to rescue you’’. They are fighting out there, and probably, they are advancing to this place. I heard them saying, ‘we’ll behead them one by one’. I’ve seen and recognised the uniforms of recently recruited warriors clashing with demonstrators.

All the participants to the meeting went away in different directions and the chief was told by his lancers to remain seated inside the meeting house for until when the security gets calm.

I pay homage to you for being attentive and desirous to learn, please the next story will continue from here.

You can reach the author via his email: Majok Arol Dhieu <majongaroldit@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is 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.

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