Jieng Council of Elders should not be scapegoated for the mess in South Sudan

Posted: December 12, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Kuach Loch Garang Deng, Calgary, Canada

President Kiir with members of the JCE

President Kiir with members of the JCE

December 12, 2017 (SSB) — In Dinka culture, or other cultures which practice this tradition of taking a brother’s wife in case of death or infertility of brother, people should know its normal. It’s normal for one to socialize children born on his bed. When an infertile man sought a helping hand from his brother, then children or a child born in his bed is or are named by him. These kids are all socialized and taught or parented by the very same man who wedded their mother; paid dowry and called her his wife.

This man should be the legal father of these children and husband to this woman. Therefore, if these children become successful or fail in lives, no one should blame a smarten purse who only step up on the voluntary ground to procreate a family on his brother’s behalf when that custom is normally practiced in the said culture. As a result, a sole responsibility should be taken by a father for a good credit or failure as children grow up.

On the other hands, it would be immoral if this surrogate man claims these children or brag about them in the public of being their father. Same goes to political advisors, special aides and interest groups. All types of interest groups advocate for greater benefits on behalf of their organizations. Labor unions for example, advocate for workers’ rights while business groups advocate for better business opportunities for their groups and so does interest group.

After all, these interest groups, mostly lobby for their benefits in the first place and they would convince the government in the power that picking their policy issue would a help a government gain the public support and trust. Therefore, it’s a government responsibility to take their advice, expertise and knowledge and use these policies and issues wisely to fit with its objectives.

That government also have right to leave all the advice if they do not fit with its objectives. In fact, blaming interest groups for lobbying for their political rights is not a solution. South Sudanese should not leave a big elephant in the room and go after a mockingbird.

Jieng Council of Elders in this regard and president advisors should not be scapegoated for the failure of the South Sudan government under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardit when in fact SPLM/IG and SPLM IO accepted the responsibility of the 2013 crisis in the Arusha Agreement that they took a full responsibility for 2013 senseless war.

In my personal opinions, Salva Mayardit as the President of the Republic of South Sudan should take a full blame or full credit for any outcomes or result in the South Sudan political development or destruction.

Jieng Council of Elders is not the only group that lobbied the government of South Sudan. There are some so many tribal groups and individuals that lobbied the government or the president Kiir in form of gossiping and others with a well-articulated policy agenda.

Indeed, I think the president who is the head of state should take a full blame for all these failures including why he accept unexamined advices or gossips. President Salva Kiir took over the power after the untimely plane crash that killed Dr. John Garang Mabior and since then Juba government runs on gossiping and hearsays.

Jieng Council of Elders in my personal opinion is an interest group that do not even represent Dinka!

These elders are very well seasoned politicians and so they think they should have a say in South Sudan public affairs which is their constitutional rights. According to their president Justice Ambrose Thiik, he claimed that they formed this council to stop Riek Machar from repeating 1991 massacre? I wonder if anyone saw what kind of difference they made during the current civil war in term of stopping Machar. Did they?

I think JCE made it so hard for the Dinka community and the government of South Sudan under President Kiir Mayardit to be trusted by none Dinka because they declared their support to the government verbally but they add no value. In fact, that has hindered peace to return back to South Sudan and they neglected their basic role as elders in solving Dinka/Dinka conflict and Dinka with their neighbors through peaceful means.That why I think JCE is not a Dinka organization or works for their benefits?

First of all, I have a respect to members of Jieng council as individuals but they have let down Dinka community to suffer a lot before and after they have formed their organization. Unfortunately, Jieng Council of Elders were/are unable to come up with an idea on how to solve even problems among and between the Dinka communities themselves.

For example,

  • Lakes State has been to war with itself for almost a decade by now and JCE did nothing significant to stop their suffering. Hundreds have died and they are still killing themselves as of now.
  • Apuk and Agouk have been in off and on clan conflict and I have seen nothing done by former Chief Justice and current JCE Chairman as a son of the soil to relieve them from this suffering.
  • Tonj has minor clan feuds here and there and there is no major role played by JCE to reduce that clan conflict.
  • Jonglei Dinka communities have been subject of killing, women and children abduction by their neighbor communities.Yet JCE did nothing when these should be an emergency because its biggest problem since it harms women and children which are the next heirs of the community. It’s a direct threat to future and existence of the said community Dinka Jonglei in particular.This is an ethnocide if not genocide to say the least. In Dinka culture, cows and women are the major threat that brings peace or cause war. Without cows, a young man wouldn’t get married and have a family and without women, there would be no future generations. Therefore, Jonglei Dinka are under major threat and it’s sad if JCE which bears Dinka name cannot intervene in their daily tragedies.
  • Dinka Malual and their inhabitants are victims of this manmade war and they left to Sudan in great number. Yet, I have never seen either JCE or Juba government reaction on their suffering and depopulation of their homeland Aweil.
  • Dinka Padang communities in Upper Nile and Unity State have been fighting teeth and nails to maintain their existence in their ancestors’ lands. JCE of elders has never felt their suffering.
  • Dinka Ngok of Abyei section have been under physical threat from nomadic Arab of Elbaggara since 2005 until now. Abyei is under Constant threat of full war because of their fertile grazing land and water resources that El Misseriya needs for their livestock to survive and the oil-abundant oil Sudan government cannot survive without economic collapse .JCE did nothing to support Abyei morale or prepare any civil defense to be a buck up for Abyei in case of violent escalation! The clear example was the killing of chief Kuol Deng Kuol-Kuol Adol and invasion of Abyei by Sudanese government under Al Bashir in 2008! I did not to see any significant role played by JCE as the highest Dinka organization.
  • In Recent civil war, members of Dinka community regardless of their background, were targeted on Equatorian highways and were/are name called in the dehumanizing manner which makes them easy to be killed.JCE of did nothing to save their lives.

For this above reasons and thousands uncited reasons, I believe Jieng Council of Elders did nothing to help the government of South Sudan as they claimed and they let down their kin and kith the Dinka community. As a result, I do not know why someone would or group of people blame an interest group which doesn’t even defend what they claim to be their primary core objective when they formed their organization.

Dinka in this case, are victims because of the President Salva Kiir Mayardit who happen to be a Dinka by birth but the position he held is not of Dinka and does not benefits Dinka. Policies that president Kiir made in J1 do not help Dinka nor South Sudanese in general. Otherwise, this senseless war should have not last that longer given the suffering all South Sudanese are facing.

Dinka are victims because an interest group called JCE is mistaken by none Dinka as an entity which lobby for Dinka interest but they are not. In fact, they are fighting for their own political interest which is fine but they have done it on wrong time that harm their members direct or indirect.

Charity starts at home and if Dinka elders or an entity which is bears its name cannot even sympathize with Dinka when they are mourning. Then, it’s a clear failure in solving glaring and pressing issues that harm future generations. In this case, Dinka are losing it in very front and at home. As a result, having a power that one cannot use for his/her benefits, is not helping.

Jieng Council of Elders should and must prioritize peace among their Dinka communities and other South Sudanese communities for South Sudan to experience peace once again. Again, Jieng Council of Elders is the self-seeking leadership of South Sudan in a different way but the president of South Sudan should be accountable to all political decisions the government made.

Political power is a soft power that a leader use to rally his/her people behind him/her to develop a nation or unite people for common good for all. If a president finds it so hard to convince his own people to unite and do wonders for the benefits of the nation, then he lost a mandate to continue to govern.

Therefore, People of South Sudan should blame or credited the president of South Sudan for any political decision that comes out from Juba. Jieng Council of Elders however, are like any interest group but their use of tribe name puts Dinka in greater risk.

Therefore, they need to change their interest group name and leave Dinka community to form an organization that works for their benefits.

The author, Kuach Loch Garang Deng, is a South Sudanese Canadian concern citizens who can be reached at his email:  lochdit2002@yahoo.ca

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.comSSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from, plus a concise biography of yourself.


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