Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Riek Machar’


How President Kiir Set Himself Up for Trouble

By PaanLuel Wël, Kampala, Uganda

One month into the political, military and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, and peace is still a distant chimera to the beleaguered souls caught up in the vicious conflict across the country. One glimmer of hope, so far, is that the recently drafted (and signed) agreement on cessation of hostilities between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition) would offer a viable solution to the burgeoning conflict in South Sudan.

In the event that the “Draft Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition)” is endorsed (and respected) by both parties, the next step would be to find a feasible political solution to the military and humanitarian crisis in the country.

Surely, much will depend on the hard political and military compromises that the GRSS under President Kiir and the SPLM/A in Opposition under Dr. Riek Machar are, and will be, prepared to make. But if the post-1991 Nasir Coup negotiations between the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang (led by James Wani Igga) and the Nasir group under Dr. Riek Machar (led by Dr. Lam Akol) are anything to go by, South Sudanese people will have a long way to go before trust and peace is restored, again, in their beloved country.

Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail: Political Doom Road to December 15th

The crisis that erupted on Sunday, 15 December 2013, was, and still is, a political crisis, not a military one, and should therefore be seen from the perspective, and solved within the prism, of South Sudanese political discourse. With the benefit of hindsight, one could argue that the current political crisis began way back in 2005—15 July 2005, to be precise—when the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, reconfigured the SPLM/A Leadership in preparation for the post-CPA era, by dissolving all the SPLM institutions—The SPLM Political Bureau, the SPLM National Liberation Council, the SPLM National Executive Committee and the SPLA staff command structures.

Failure to reconfigure the SPLM/A leadership, Garang had reasoned, would have meant that the “composition of the Government of Southern Sudan would logically follow the rank in the SPLM/A Leadership Council in total disregard to merit and other considerations.” In other words, appointment would have been based on the bush seniority within the SPLM/A irrespective of merit and experience, gender equity and ethnic consideration. Reportedly, Salva Kiir was outraged by Garang’s decision to dissolve the SPLM/A Leadership Council, and he strongly condemned the Chairman. When Salva Kiir took over as the SPLM/A Chairman, President of GOSS and the First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan, after the death of Dr. John Garang, his first official decree was an immediate reinstatement of the dissolved SPLM/A Leadership Council.

Over the years—prior to and after the independence of South Sudan—President Kiir has been appointing government officials virtually from the wartime SPLM/A Leadership Council—the SPLM Politburo and the SPLM/A National Liberation Council, plus the SPLA. Over the years President Kiir has been appointing and dismissing these powerful members of the party as his “constitutional prerogatives” dictate. While there have been “Thank-giving” parties whenever he decrees in ministers, assistant ministers or other government appointees, there have also been grudges and bitterness whenever he decrees them out. And because these are the same members—of the SPLM Politburo and the National Liberation Council—charged with the election of the party leader/chairman, it was just a matter of time before the dismissed members would gang up and exact their political vendetta on the President—and they did, much to the tripedation of the entire country.

All that these embittered members needed to avenge their dismissal was a tool to use against the President. That is how Dr. Riek Machar came into the picture. Dr. Machar is blessed with a strong dosage of high political ambitions, and thus he is invariably on the lookout for political opportunities to exploit. Not only that, he had his own political grudges to settle with the President. In the lead up to South Sudan independence in 2011, for instance, President Kiir had given the impression, or so thought Dr. Machar, that he would voluntarily retire to his Akon village in Warrap State as soon as South Sudan’s independence was declared. Dr. Machar was visibly elated and strove to make it his habit to make it known to anyone—most of whom were the expats community he was dying to endear himself to—with time and ear to listen to his recital that “he is the next President of the Republic of South Sudan.” Ngundeng might have been right after all, he must have thought to himself.

After independence, however, President Kiir—prompted by Dr. Machar’s and the expats community’s endless talk of his immediate and unconditional political departure to his home village of Akon—made it publicly clear that there was no vacancy at the Presidency and anyone who want the seat must wait for his/her time. South Sudan has never been the same again, since that day. The charismatic and fiercely nationalistic SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, and the loquacious Mother of the Nation, Madam Rebecca Nyandeng, both of whom have been positioning themselves to take on Dr. Riek Machar—the duo, like Dr. Machar, were convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that President Kiir meant his words when he promised to retire after serving one term—were thrown into total political confusion. Instead of Dr. Machar, it was President Kiir that they turn their blazing guns on.

Dr. Machar, Pagan Amum and Madam Nyandeng—in collusion with the disgruntled, former cabinet members dismissed by President Kiir—ganged up in preparation for the SPLM party National Convention. Each of these individuals—Dr. Machar, Pagan Amum, Madam Nyandeng and the disgruntled ex-members of Kiir’s cabinet—had their own respective political grievances to settle with the President. It was a marriage of political convenient conceived in hell. President Kiir, finding himself outnumbered and outmaneuvered within the SPLM Politburo, panicked and called off the party National Convention. He called it off again and again and again, hoping to buy time and possibly salvage his dwindling political fortune. Dr. Machar, Pagan and Nyandeng overtly came out questioning President Kiir’s ability to manage the country, upping the political pressure on the President, prompting him to dismiss his entire cabinet in July 2013. Pagan Amum, the vocal Party Secretary General, was suspended and placed under House Arrest—he was barred from talking to the media or leaving the country. Dr. Machar was dismissed from the post of the Vice President; however, it had to be done indirectly—sacking of the entire cabinet—for fear of engendering a tribally motivated negative and/or violent reaction to his dismissal.

But the dismissal of the entire cabinet, majority of whom never made it back to the government, only increased the numbers of President Kiir’s enemies within the SPLM Politburo, the very organ charged with electing the party chairman. The exact trouble that Dr. John Garang had attempted to avoid had, by then, become the living nightmare for President Kiir. With the numbers of President Kiir’s political opponents burgeoning within the critical party structure—the SPLM Politburo—President Kiir’s hope of retaining his prized post of party chairmanship was doomed or so he had then concluded. Consequently, President Kiir undertook exactly the very action that he had, 8 years earlier, censured Dr. John Garang for: he dissolved all the SPLM party structures with the exception of his post—the chairmanship.

The dissolution of the SPLM party structures by President Kiir, unlike the one undertaken by Dr. John Garang in 2005, was meant to serve three main purposes: firstly, to get rid of the party organs, particularly the SPLM politburo, that have been taken over by his political antagonists; secondly to further frustrate his political opponents so as to force them out of the party, and thirdly, having rid the party of his political challengers, to restructure and reconstitute the party organs, staffing it with allies, to ensure his success at the party to-be-choreographed chairmanship contest.

To Kiir’s utter surprise, his opponents made it publicly clear that they would rather fight their political wars within, not outside, the party. Not only that, they went as far as accusing the President, in a televised Conference, of having abandoned the party vision, principles and mission in preference to taking orders from Khartoum, listing Kiir’s indifference to the conduct, and results, of the Abyei referendum exercise as the key case in point. President Kiir’s allies sardonically dismissed their Conference as a futile work of disgruntled political opportunists. “Growing disenchantment and international criticism created fertile ground for opportunists masquerading as democrats,” whispered President Kiir’s ally.

Incentivization of Violent Rebellion: Military Doom Road to December 15th

As President Kiir’s bungled wrestling with his political foes within the ruling SPLM party widened and heightened, he turned to the army to leverage its influence for his own political survival. But to his dismay, the army—including his own Presidential Guards—was numerically dominated by soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group, the community his main nemesis, Dr. Machar, hails from. Again, the domination of the army by one ethnic group, like President Kiir’s failure to steer the main organ of the party to his favor, was a lapse of reasoning and a case study of poor foresight on the part of the President. Like most perils confronting President Kiir these days, it all goes back to the time of Dr. John Garang, when the late SPLM/A leader, on the eve of CPA, commenced South-South Dialogue and Reconciliation Process. The SPLM/A—convinced that there would never be a long lasting peace, political stability and sustainable economic development in South Sudan with Khartoum-backed militias strolling the countryside—undertook a serious and sincere peaceful dialogue to strike political and military solutions to the problems among Southern Sudanese.

When President Kiir took over from Dr. John Garang in August 2005, he continued and even sped up the South-South Dialogue—much to his credit and legacy in the eyes of most South Sudanese people who have long borne the brunt of the wars. But President Kiir strayed away from one fundamental principle of Dr. John Garang: while Dr. John Garang wanted to politically and militarily integrate the various militias in his own (SPLM/A’s) terms, President Kiir, in what appeared to have been, and continued to be, his eagerness to please, gave in and politically and militarily integrated the militias on their own outrageous terms, much to the consternation of the historical SPLM/A members. And because these Khartoum-armed and –backed militias were overwhelmingly from the Nuer ethnic group—and more so because these militias negotiated and were integrated as separate independent groups and at various times—the SPLA (South Sudan National Army) ended up being dominated by soldiers from the Nuer ethnic community.

It wasn’t so much the goal of these Nuer warlords and militias to take over the SPLA, much less was it carried out as an insurance policy to support Dr. Machar—whom the militias have bitterly fought in the past as fiercely and mercilessly as they have fought the SPLM/A—in his future political and military contests against President Kiir as much as it was simply a self-interested act by the Nuer warlords eager to take home the highest political and military concessions they could squeeze out of President Kiir. In President Kiir the militia warlords got away with more than they had bargained for—military domination of South Sudan armed forces—the SPLA—particularly among the foot soldiers. Of particular interest to December 15th event was the ‘2006 Juba Declaration’ between the renegade militia leader, Paulino Matip, and the Government of Southern Sudan. President Kiir, as part of the deal, appointed Paulino Matip as deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA, technically taking the bulk of his rebel militias into the elite Presidential Guards unit entrusted with protecting the President. Because of this single benign act by the President, soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group, like in the SPLA, dominated the Presidential Guards unit—the unit that triggered the current evolving civil war in the country.

President Kiir’s eagerness to give blanket amnesty to any militia Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth, instead of seeding long lasting peace, political stability and sustainable economic development across the country as he had hoped for, saw the inflation of violent rebellions, wanton death of civilians, destruction of property and political instability throughout the country. Blanket amnesty had incentivized violent rebellion. That is, in the words of Dr. John Garang, spoken in reference to Southern Sudanese relentless armed rebellion against successive repressive Khartoum regimes, “under these circumstances” in which President Kiir had specialized in granting blanket amnesty to any warlord Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth, “the marginal cost of rebellion in the [Republic of] South [Sudan] became very small, zero or negative; that is, in the [Republic of] South [Sudan] it pays to rebel.”

Thus the main cause of political instability—read armed rebellions—in South Sudan, prior to and after independence, has been the incentivization of violent rebellions in the form of blanket amnesty to any Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth. A mere glance at the composition of the previous and present government of South Sudan, both at the national and state levels, glaringly screams out one fact: there is an incentive to rebel. It pays to rebel and to kill innocent citizens! The sheer immense attractiveness of political reward for unprovoked revolts and ridiculous butchering of innocent unarmed inhabitants is what drive politic and guarantee easy access to both power and wealth in Juba. Where the rule of law is abandoned and political terror recognized and embraced, there is only one outcome: practical people will follow where incentives lead. That, exactly, has been and continues to be the stark reality we grapple with in South Sudan, a natural outcome of a systematic state policy sponsor and sustain by the government of South Sudan.

Sensitive and proud as all soldiers are, what did the President expect the likes of the SPLM/A war veterans to do having just witnessed NCP-allied militias they not-long-ago ferociously fought against being placed above them as their new bosses? The only logical course of action that any disillusioned and miserable soldier can do, of course: find a flimsy pretext, rebel, kill and maim, and then come back, threateningly, in the name of peace and political stability. The case in point is that of Gen. George Athor Deng, an SPLM/A war veteran who had distinguished himself in the battlefield during the war of liberation but who rebelled against the government following the 2010 generation election. Providentially to the Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth of South Sudan, President has been more than ready, willing and able to grant them blanket amnesty in the name of “our national unity” and promote them as rewards for the rebellions and the wanton killings they have been engaging in.

In this Rebonomics—the economy of violent political and military rebellion—South Sudan has witnessed the mushrooming of rebel outfits in the names of South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A); the South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A); South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), and in the personalities of Paulino Matip Nhial, Gordon Koang Chuol, Peter Gadet Yak, Gabriel Tanginye, Thomas Mabor Dhol, John Duiet Yiech, Bapiny Monytuel Wijang, James Gai Yoach, Gatluak Gai George Athor Deng, David Yau-Yau, Karlo Kuol Ruach, Bol Gatkuoth, Muntu Muntalla Abdallah, Marko Chuol Ruei, Peter Kuol Chol, Thomas Duoth Lam, Mathews Puljang Top and Gordon Buay Malek.

This argument does not entail that one is against the so-called South-South Dialogue if conducted in good faith with the sole target of achieving palpable national unity, long lasting peace and socio-economic development in South Sudan. In fact, President Kiir can be applauded for taking the mantle from the late Dr. John Garang in successfully integrating almost all the NCP-allied militias, a process without which the CPA-mandated Southern referendum—along with the subsequent secession of South Sudan—would not have seen the light of the day. The most imperative thing is that the process of national reconciliation, of which presidential amnesty may be an integral part, should not inevitably tantamount to giving blanket amnesty to every Militia Deng, Lado and/or Gatkuoth. Blanket amnesty rewards evils and incentivizes violent rebellions.

Surely, it may not be the case that these militias certainly take delight in armed revolts or love to kill innocent civilians. It is most likely that they could just be communicating the message in town—give us better positions like what you did to other militias or else we go on killing spree! The necessity for the South-South Dialogue for the sake of national reconciliation and unity should have been balanced by the menace of incentivizing violent rebellion. Otherwise, as Dr. John Garang once opined, “under these circumstances the marginal cost of rebellion in the South became very small, zero or negative; that is, in the South it pays to rebel.”

The bald-faced heedlessness at which President Kiir carried out the military integration of the rebels’ forces into the SPLA led to the domination of the army and the presidential guards by members of one ethnic group—Nuer. What did the President do when he discovered that he was outnumbered and outmaneuvered in both the SPLM and the SPLA? For him, it was too late to change anything in his favor in the two institutions of power within the ruling party or so he seemed to have resigned himself to that conclusion. Instead, he went back to the drawing board and was said to have turned to Governor Malong Awan of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State to launch a new recruitment exercise, mostly targeting local Dinka vigilante group known as Gelweng/Titweng—traditionally, local young Dinka men that organized themselves according to their age group to protect their cattle from Arab militias of Messeryia and Marahlein. Governor Malong Awan—a veteran of the SPLM/A war of liberation and senior member of the ruling SPLM party—was said to have recruited exclusively from Warrap (where the President comes from) and Northern Bahr el Ghazal States. James Hoth Mai, Chief of General Staffs and another veteran of the war and a senior member of the SPLM, was either deliberately kept in the dark or was not directly involved in the recruitment exercise.

After their training sting in Maper (Aweil), Northern Bahr el Ghazal state where Malong Awan is the state Governor, the new recruits, then renamed Gel-beny/Tit-beny (Presidential protectors) were taken to Juba for redeployment. James Hoth Mai, however, was not amused by the arrival of a covert army, and was narrated to have formally objected to their entry into the city, let alone their deployment, on the ground that he was not aware of any newly recruited SPLA soldiers. Gelbeny/Titbeny was reportedly deployed outside the city, at Luri cattle camp owned by the President—his version of President Museveni’s Rwakitura rural sanctuary. And so as President Kiir battle his political rivals within the party, Governor Malong Awan, who recently commandeered the government troops that re-recaptured Bor from the armed forces of the SPLM/A in Opposition, suddenly emerged as the man behind the throne as he became more vocal in his virulent attacks on President Kiir’s real and imagined political enemies—Dr. Machar, Pagan Amum, and Rebecca Nyandeng in addition to the disgruntled ex-members of President Kiir’s cabinet that dominate the SPLM Politburo (SPLM-PB).

When President Kiir’s best bet of forcing his political rivals out of the ruling party faltered through, he turned to and called the SPLM National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting, an action that was said to have breached the party constitution because the NLC could only sit after the SPLM-PB. The NLC, unlike the elitist SPLM-PB, has more members, most of whom have never been part of the government and were therefore trying to curry favor with the President in the hope of getting noticed for future appointments, or simply put, had no deep seated political grudges to settle with the President. Of course, when the NLC meeting convened—scheduled on the same day and hour that President Kiir’s rivals had allotted to their second “public appearance” at Dr. John Garang’s Mausoleum—President Kiir’s political rivals, by virtue of being senior members of the party, showed up for the meeting.

But there, unlike in the SPLA and the SPLM-PB, President Kiir appeared to have done his homework well. His rivals were outnumbered and their proposals were all voted down till they—feeling humiliated and a little bit startled by the turn of events in Kiir’s favor—stormed out of the meeting on the second day. Pagan Amum, the suspended SPLM SG who was supposed to have convened and chaired the party NLC meeting, was barred by police from accessing the venue.

And the Impunity Strikes Back: Corruption Doom Road to December 15th

Much have been said and written about how ungodly and corrupt the entire leadership of the SPLM—the SPLM-in-Government (The SPLM-G) and the SPLM-in-Opposition (the SPLM-O)—has been since the inauguration of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) in 2005 after the signing and promulgation of the Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). As Governor Chol Tong Mayai—the detained former governor of Lakes State—recently acknowledged in public, it is self-evident that “we have all failed including us seated here (SPLM-O) together with you in government (SPLM-G). It is only our children who are going to study in good schools in East Africa. When we fall sick we are airlifted out of the country. It’s our children who are eating ice cream. The children of the local people are not eating ice cream. Lets us all sit down and have a dialogue and see how to resolve the leadership crisis and see how we can move forward.”

While there had been accusations of financial mismanagements during the SPLM-in-the-Bush (SPLM-B) era under the leadership of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, the first ever recorded allegation of corruption under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayaardit surfaced in 2006, barely a year into his assumption of the SPLM/A mantle. For instance, the SPLM general secretariat, once in Khartoum, was empowered by the “SPLM’s Strategic Framework for War-to-Peace Transition” document to embark on a nationwide process of membership mobilization—and a serious institutional development within the party—that would have enabled it to win the CPA-mandated general election scheduled at the end of the transitional period. That would have certified the SPLM/A to fulfil its vision of an ANC-styled peaceful dismantling of the Khartoum government and to usher in a democratic transformation of the old Sudan into the New Sudan envisaged by Dr. John Garang.

In furtherance of that objective, the “SPLM-LC decided to contribute (forego) to the SPLM secretariat salaries that would have been paid to the SPLA, CANS, and the NLC during the pre-interim period of six months.” Whereas the total amount payable to the SPLM general secretariat was $378 million, only $60 million was eventually paid in 2006, with the cabal around President Kiir, most of whom had made careers out of opposing Dr. John Garang till his death, pocketing the remaining $318 million meant for refurbishing and the strengthening of the SPLM-B party. Reportedly, it was from the $60 million paid to the SPLM general secretariat in 2006 that Pagan Amum has been accused of having taken about $30 million. Interestingly, it is the damning accusation that President Kiir brought up lately when Madam Rebecca Nyandeng went to meet him after the December 15th mutiny. No one has ever questioned—not even the President himself—where the $318 million went.

Yet, that there would be such kinds of hurried rent-seeking activities under the leadership of President Salva Kiir was greatly baffling, not least because in 2004, during the Rumbek Crisis meeting, Commander Salva Kiir had severely criticized the late Dr. John Garang on the apparent failures of SPLM-in-B to meet its obligations to South Sudanese, particularly on the alleged rampant cases of corruption and false complacency:

…members (SPLA) have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system we are going to establish in South Sudan?….There are people among us who are more dangerous than the enemy. I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you, must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will lead us to a very serious political defeat. Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem.”

Threats against Dr. John Garang aside, there is every reason to believe that Commander Salva Kiir Mayaardit was calling for transparency, accountability and the strengthening of the SPLM-in-B party in readiness for the CPA era. So when, in the post-Garang SPLM of 2006, the very people who had, in that infamous Rumbek Meeting of 2004, cheered on Commander Salva Kiir to overthrow Dr. John Garang began stealing money meant for revamping the party and President Kiir gave a deaf ear and a blind eye to their sleazy deeds, many observers concluded that Commander Salva Kiir might have been paying a lip service to fighting corruption and was not keen on strengthening the SPLM-in-B to make it a national party, capable of competing and win election against “other political parties that are more organized” in the Sudan.

That conclusion—that President Kiir was never keen on fighting corruption, contrary to his 2004 pronouncements—was confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt in 2007. As a new government starting from scratch, GoSS authorized the Ministry of Finance, then headed by Arthur Akuien Chol, to purchase government vehicles for the ministries and other government institutions. The minister for Finance, on the official advice from the office of the Vice President of GoSS, Dr. Riek Machar, contracted an international company to undertake the purchasing and procurement of the said vehicles. Soon after the cars—all V-8—had arrived in Juba, it transpired that the SPLA military men (James Hoth Mai in particular), also given the green light to purchase and procure their own military vehicles, were intrigued to discover that the price per vehicle paid for by the SPLM was almost ten times that of the SPLA vehicle.

Nhial Bol, the intrepid Editor-in-Chief of the Citizen Newspaper, launched his own investigation into the matter. Not long thereafter, he was arrested after his newspaper exposed a “wasteful spending at the finance ministry, which purchased 153 cars for government officials.” According to Aljazeera, the price tag was $60 million—a staggering $400,000 per vehicle, compare to $45,000 for the military. Arthur Akuien Chol, GoSS first minister for Finance was soon later arrested and incarcerated. Before any formal investigation and trial were to be conducted, however, armed youth from his clan, stormed the state prison, broke in and freed him. He was never brought back to stand trial for the misappropriation of the government funds.

The case of Arthur Akuien Chol—one that happened in a broad daylight and thus formed the bulk of the chitchats during those days, months and years afterwards in government offices, hotels, bars, homes, countryside and even in the sprawling brothels of Juba—set a bad precedence that has been haunting the fight against official corruption ever since. It was as if President Kiir (by failing to punish the youth that broke into a government facility and freed a suspect, by failing to bring back and duly persecute Arthur Akuien Chol) has given a green light to every Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth to embark on a risk-free corruption spree. And indeed every Deng, Lado and Gatkuoth did indulge in rent-seeking activities, spectacularly for that matter. By the time President Kiir wrote an official letter to “75 former and current senior” government officials, May 3rd, 2012:

“An estimated $4 billion are unaccounted for, or simply put, stolen by current and former South Sudan officials as corrupt individuals with close ties to government officials. Most of these have been taken out of the country and deposit in foreign accounts. Some have purchased properties; often paid in cash…the people of South Sudan and the International Community are alarmed by the level of corruption in South Sudan. Many people in South Sudan are suffering, and yet some government officials simply care about themselves. The credibility of our government is on the line…we fought for freedom, justice and equality. Many of our friends died to achieve these objectives. Yet, once we got to power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people…I am writing to encourage you to return these stolen funds (full or partial) to this account. If funds are returned, the government of the Republic of South Sudan will grant amnesty and will keep your name confidential. I and only one other official will have access to this information.”

The post-independence Salva Kiir writing to “encourage you to return these stolen funds” was surely not—with the benefit of hindsight—the fire-breathing Salva Kiir of 2004. The Salva Kiir of the SPLM-in-B had meticulously inculcated an allergic reaction against all forms of corruptions. The Salva Kiir of the SPLM-in-B was principally aware of, and had declared that there were, some people within the SPLM-in-B more dangerous than the enemy and had sternly warned Dr. John Garang that “those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you”. The Salva Kiir of the SPLM-in-B had defined the fundamental problem within the SPLM as thus: “Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat.”

For Salva Kiir who was ready to fight Dr. John Garang for the cause of the South Sudanese people to come around condoning and begging the thieves to return stolen funds was a stark case of compromise becoming divorced from principle. With that puzzling announcement of $4 billion missing, many South Sudanese were, and still are, utterly confused of what to make of the President—is he a willing dupe or a craven coconspirator, they wonder in outrage. Not surprisingly, of the “75 former and current government officials” alleged to have misappropriated $4 billion of public funds, only two of them—Madam Awut Deng and Dr. Lual Achuek Deng—did acknowledge receiving the letters from the President; and of the $4 Billion dollars stolen, only $60 million was recovered. Then as now, no one knew who the remaining 73 former and current government officials were, and neither did anyone know from whom that $60 million was recovered. That prompted South Sudanese civil society groups, led by activists such as Deng Athuaai Mawiir, to march on “South Sudan’s parliament demanding the government publish the names of the officials alleged to have stolen a total of $4 billion since 2005.”

As South Sudanese were celebrating the first anniversary of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan on July 9th, 2012, Mr. Mawiir, the Chairperson of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, was fighting for his dear life at the Juba Teaching hospital. Masked men had kidnapped him on the 4th of July in Juba, South Sudan. He was lured into a “green-blue” car, blindfolded with his hands tied behind him and then ferried to an unknown location where he was repeatedly tortured till July 7, 2012 when he was dumped in a sack on the Juba-Bor highway. “You have been talking about the money being stolen in corruption, is it your father’s money that was stolen? Why do you like to speak every time on all these issues and who mandates you to speak on behalf of the people of South Sudan?” Demanded the kidnappers of Mr. Mawiir.

Alarmed by the persistent call, both from within and outside the country, to disclose the names of the alleged corrupt government officials, President Kiir went on national television in June 2012 to claim that “I did not say the money was stolen neither I did say $4Bn has been stolen. I said the money has been lost somewhere and someone has to account for it. I have written to 75 former and present gov’t officials. This does not mean that these 75 officials are suspects but they have the responsibility. I will still write to some officials whom I had written to them and now claimed to have not received any letter from my office. I will again write to some more officials whom I did not write to them earlier.” If his failure to retrieved and persecute former minister of finance, Arthur Akuien Chol, had set a bad precedence in the war on corruption, his equivocations was another stark case of compromise becoming divorced from principle, for his desire not to persecute members of his cabinet had only succeeded, in the eyes of those cabinet members and all concerned citizens, to incentivize rampant corruption and impunity within the corridors of power in Juba. While some civil and political activists like Mr. Mawiir were lucky to survive the torture, others like the prolific political commentator, Isaiah Abraham, were killed in cold blood in their own houses in the middle of the night.

With impunity running riot in Juba, it wasn’t long before corruption graduated from the ministries and government bureaucracies to the heart of the government—Presidential office itself. Just last year, March 2013, it was sensationally revealed that over $6 million in cash had been stolen from the office of the President by the officials working there, all of whom, not so incidentally—to borrow Dr. John Garang’s phrase in reference to the tripartite Riverian Arab tribes who had dominated the government of the Sudan since 1956—were from President Kiir’s home county in Warrap state.  The officials in charge were suspended, and formal inquiry was launched, but all the accused were later secretly reinstated into office, with the missing funds still unaccounted for. None was charged for the crime. And the case—like that of the Dura Saga, the Arthur Akuien Fiasco, the Vehicle Scandal, the $4 billion Infamy—has not live to see the light of the day. The reign of impunity under the watchful eyes of President Kiir—a man who had histrionically commenced his presidency under the banner of zero tolerance for corruption—is very much related to December 15th because impunity has been made the norm, as none of the culprits is held accountable for the frauds committed against the nation.

With impunity enshrined in practice in Juba, it was not that puzzling to see dismissed corrupt and failed ministers ganging up against the President because, in their conscience, (1) there was no bigger economic crime than the one committed by Arthur Akuien Chol, and yet he is as free as freedom itself, and (2) the President, himself steep in sleaze, has no moral authority nor the grit to pursue and indict corrupt and failed government officials and civil servants within his own government without running the risk of rocking the boat from within. Thus, impunity, in form of corruptions, paves the doom road to December 15th.

The Ticking Time Bomb

This is how the fate of the entire nation precariously hang in the balance—the bitter sacrifices and historic triumphs of all the martyrs, the wounded heroes/heroines and the war veterans, and the destiny of South Sudanese’ present and future generations—a day to that infamous Sunday, 15 December 2013, when an Attempted Coup (President Kiir and his cohorts) or the Mutiny (Kiir’s opponents and the International Community) erupted within the elite Presidential Guards of Tiger battalion, stationed at Gihada Military Barrack, next to Juba University, in Juba city, the seat of the Government the Republic of South Sudan.

PaanLuel Wël (paanluel2011@gmail.com) is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers. He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or on the blog:https://paanluelwel.com/


“Giving an apology is the best way of bringing in peace. We don’t want to pass these painful things to our children. We want them to be living in a peaceful and democratic state in South Sudan…So those of us who have survived and who [have] seen painful things during the war, we need to kick off the process of national reconciliation,” said Dr. Machar in Bor on Tuesday (April 3rd, 2012) during a peace workshop held to reconcile the warring ethnic groups in Jonglei state, as quoted by Sudan Tribune.

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By PaanLuel Wël, Washington DC, USA, Planet Earth.

In the politically correct circles of the academic-left of the Western World, there is an understanding, called it a theory or an argument, that goes like this: some foreign cultural practices and beliefs—the caste system in India, killing of twins and albinos in some parts of Africa, witchcraft, polygamy and wife inheritance in Africa and the Islamic world and so forth—are obnoxious, despicable and barbarous. But because these are highly controversial subjects that may, and do indeed, insult those local people, it is better—politically correct—that the West should not talk about—condemn and eradicate—those cultural practices. Rather, it should be left upon the “enlightened” foreigners—the Indians, Africans, Arabs etc—to censure and exterminate their barbaric traditional customs and norms that are, or so they say, virtually anachronistic to the civilized world of the 21st century.

When appropriately and timely applied though, Political Correctness—the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult certain groups of people—can be an effective tool to broach, and perhaps solve, such sensitive issues as the Bor Massacre of 1991. To cut the long story short, none of the members of other South Sudanese communities—not even other sections of the Dinka society—would be prepared to come forward and urge the Bor Dinka Community to accept Dr. Machar’s apology and make peace with him for the fear that they may offend/insult Bor Dinka community—the victims of the 1991 Bor massacre.

Thus, I believe it is upon members of the Bor Dinka community, like myself, to break the silence over the taboo that Dr. Riek Machar, who masterminded the killing of unarmed, innocent civilians of the Greater Bor region, does not deserve to be forgiven, no matter how many apologies he is prepared to offer. To some, dare I say most, aggrieved members of the Bor Dinka community, it hardly makes any difference if and when those apologies are offered in Juba, Bortown, in each of the three counties of the Greater Bor region or even in each of the villages that constitute the Greater Bor community. To such a group of Bor Dinka members, an unequivocal acceptance of Dr. Machar’s apology and the prospect of a genuine reconciliation with him tantamount to the ultimate betrayal of their dead mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, relatives and colleagues killed by armed forces commanded by the very man they are making peace with.

But for how long will the Bor Dinka community gonna hold bitter grudge against a man who has come out—against all odds and intense pressure from tribal bigots within his Nuer community—to unconditionally accept his not-so-admirable past, offer unreserved apology and called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that would open a window of opportunity for the young Republic of South Sudan to come to term with its long troubled past? For how long will the two communities—the Dinkas and the Nuers—be continually defined by an ugly past that none of them had any overall control over? For how long will the Dinkas and the Nuers will the entire country hostage to their tribal enmity? When will the two communities understand that any war—any conflict—between themselves is an all-out war among South Sudanese and any reconciliation and peace between them is the definitive peace for the whole country? Arguably, because of their size and political influence, a war between the Dinkas and the Nuers will always be a war against South Sudan itself while peace and reconciliation between the two will invariably result in long lasting peace and social prosperity for the whole country.

If Dr. Machar—who has unrivaled influence among the Nuer community—has wholeheartedly decided to make peace with his past by apologizing to the victims of his political adventures, isn’t it a high time that the Bor Dinka community welcomes his earnest apology and accept his peaceful overtures for the sake of the young—but already troubled—republic of South Sudan? I believe it is!

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When Dr. Machar offered his first public apology to the Bor Dinka Community on August 10, 2011, it was meant as an acknowledgement of his responsibility for the 1991 Bor Massacre—killing and mass displacement of the Bor Dinka civilians—following his defection on 28 August 1991 from the SPLM/A under the leadership of the late Dr. John Garang. The fact that the apology was given in a gathering organized and attended by senior leaders of the Bor Dinka community—including Rebecca Nyanding, the widow of Dr. John Garang that Dr. Machar rebelled against and fought a bitter war with—speak volume to the resolve and determination on the part of Dr. Machar to chart a new bright future for himself as a political leader and for South Sudan as a conflict-ridden nation.

Although Dr. Machar was categorical that his apology was solely aimed at bringing about some kind of a final closure on the dark past of the war era and, hopefully, to engender unity and harmonious relationship between the Dinkas and the Nuers, the apology was, unsurprisingly, received with mixed feelings from both quarters. On the one hand, some members of the Bor Dinka community such as the elders, Rebecca Nyandeng and Malaak Ayuen who were present during the gathering did “expressed their forgiveness to the vice president” and “commended [him] for accepting responsibility for the [Bor] incident.”  To them, the apology was the beginning of a long reconciliation process to come. In their reaction to the apology, the Bor Dinka Students from Uganda described Dr. Machar’s apology as the “beginning of a new era.” On the other hand, some members of the Bor Dinka community thought that the apology was not enough—chiefly because it was delivered in a small house in the distant land of Juba instead of in public gathering in the land of the victims.

The ethnic Nuer community among whom the Vice President hailed from did expressed mixed reactions too. While some welcomed Dr. Machar apology as a long overdue positive initiative to bring together the two estranged communities, others did worry that the Bor Dinka community would use the apology as “evidence of a crime” to arraign him before the ICC court for the 1991 Bor Massacre. Still, some members of the Nuer community like Deng Gatluak thought that the apology was premature:

“I don’t believe Riek Machar apologized just like that to the Dinka Bor community. If it is true and aimed to reconcile with the Bor community, then that reconciliation should have been a two-way process. Who among the Dinka Bor’s top leaders apologized on behalf of late Garang for the killing of Jikany Nuer unarmed civilians in 1985?” [Sudan Tribune, August 10, 2011].

Others though saw the bigger picture, especially given the fact that Dr. Machar, the current vice president of South Sudan, may aspire to the highest office in the future and may not wish to embark on that political quest with a lot of baggage. According to one Lul Gatkuoth Nguth from Canada, Dr. Machar’s apology was nothing less than a “politically astute move, to bring peace and harmony to the [two] communities:”

“In my opinion, it is not a shame that Riek Machar Teny apologized to Dinka Bor community. This is how the politics work. If you go through peace and conciliation process, this term ’apology’ has to apply if you are a real good politician who has a big mind” [Sudan Tribune, August 10, 2011].

It was within, or because of, these not-so-clear reactions from the two disgruntled communities that I responded to Dr. Machar apology with an article “Dr. Machar’s Apology to the Dinka Bor Community: A Tradeoff between long lasting Peace and Social Justice.” In that article written on August 13, 2011, I argued that the Bor Dinka community must trade off deserved social justice for the victims of the Bor Massacre for a long lasting peace and societal harmony in the new republic of South Sudan. My argument was in formed by the recognition that Dr. Machar, the perpetrator of the alleged mayhems, has freely and willingly initiated the peace and reconciliation process and the Bor Dinka community must therefore meet him half-way and strike a compromise for the sake of the country.

The Israelis, in their conflict with the Palestinian Arabs, have a policy referred to as “Land for Peace” in which Israelis are prepared to give up their Biblically land to the Arabs in exchange for peaceful co-existence with them. My contention, therefore, was that the Bor Dinka community should also embrace the policy of “Peace for Justice” instead of the traditional policy of retributive justice—Justice for Peace in which a true peace must be accompanied by a severe punishment for the perpetrator of the crimes. If South Sudanese have made peace—yes, CPA—with President Al-Bashir of Sudan who murdered millions of South Sudanese, how could they not forgive their own son who have volunteered to have his apology accepted and be forgiven for the sins committed by his armed forces?

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As I have previously mentioned, one key objection raised by various members of the Bor Dinka community against Dr. Machar’s first apology was that it was delivered in Juba instead of Bortown, and in small house, instead of in a public gathering where most members of the affected community would be present to witness and receive the apology from Dr. Machar. Well, it now appears that that complains from the Bor Dinka was not entirely lost on Guandit Machar. On Tuesday this week, April 3rd 2012, Dr. Machar offered his reaffirmation of the apology to the Bor Dinka community he had last year delivered in Juba. It was publicly delivered in Bortown where the massacre occurred and among those, whose family members were killed, maimed or displaced.

Will that be the end of the story? No, it is not. Not for Dr. Machar himself for he is calling for a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission and not for the Bor Dinka either for they still find issues with the apology itself.

For example, some members of the Bor Dinka community see the apology as a “window dressing” process, delivered in meetings and public gatherings not meant for the discussion of the 1991 atrocities. The allegation is that the first apology was delivered in a gathering meant to mark the anniversary of the death of Dr. John Garang in Rebecca Nyandeng’s home in Juba, while the second apology was given in Bor on an occasion designated to stop the ongoing inter-ethnic strife in Jonglei. Though the two incidences in Bor are related, in that both concern conflict resolution and peace building mechanisms, some members of the Bor Dinka Community do feel that holding his apology on that occasion tends to generalize and hence belittled the magnitude of the Bor Massacre—something they feel should be given its own special day and occasion to discuss it.

Taking advantage of anonymity provided by online websites, some comments on Dr. Machar’s second apology are even harsher. Typical of most tribal bigots in all South Sudanese communities, one commentator from the online, France-based Sudan Tribune went even further in his vehement rejection of Dr. Machar’s second apology in Bor:

“Groups of people who just forgive easily are undoubtedly corrupt; forgiveness is the brother of destruction. Anybody who forgives is encouraging crime on his capacity. No apology is accepted from Dr. Riek Machar and he can go to court with what he did of murdering children, women, and elderly people not only in Bor but even in some part of Nuerland.”

The same antagonistic line of argument was echoed in these words from another online commentator:

“He can make apologies as much as he wishes, but we are not going to buy his craps. His thirst for power forced him to apologize at the wrong time. He will not hold his antelope horn spoon as a president of South Sudan. People who will vote for him are his blind Nuer followers. They know no truth or are denying the facts about the destructions he caused to civilians.”

Moreover, Some within the Bor Dinka Community maintain that the 1991 failed coup against the leadership of Dr. John Garang of the SPLM/A that resulted in the Bor Massacre and the mass displacement of the Bor civilians did not just affected the Bor community but also all the communities of South Sudan. This avowal is well captured below by Peter Nhiany on South Sudanese Bloggers’ blog. Because the comment can best be understood and appreciated in its entirety, I am going to quote the whole statement as it appears on the blog:

“I have a big problem with the repetition of this apology thing from Mr. Vice President. Do I want him forgiven? An answer to this question is obvious but Mr. Vice President just does not get it right. Does he understand that the human catastrophe he caused in Jonglei State didn’t occur neither in Juba nor in Bor town alone. This was a sweeping tragedy across Jonglei from Nyarweng to Anyidi in Bor South. Apologizing while in Juba does not constitutes legitimate apology; apologizing in Bor town does not constitute it either. Do not get me wrong; I’m not rejecting an apology from our Vice President. There is a missing piece that Mr. Vice President overlooks every single time he repeatedly apologizes for his human destruction he committed in 1991. Mr. Vice President forgets that those heroic SPLA soldiers who fought against his vicious army in those months in 1991 were not only from Bor or Jonglei State. They came from all walks of lives from South Sudan communities. I mean from all tribes of South Sudan. When he apologizes, he needs not to forget that he caused harm to other tribes in South Sudan as well and that he should not forget. Kiir Mayardit knows it very well. The 1991 war between SPLA and SSIM did not only killed Bor civillians and Bor citizens who were soldiers, but soldiers from all tribes from South Sudan. I want Mr. Vice President to come clean by not apologizing to one part and leave another out. I love peace and I want our new nation to live in peace for the rest of the generations. Dr. Teny needs not only to apologize to Bor or Jonglei people but to the whole of South Sudan. Whether his intention was to bring victory to the South Sudanese over NIF/NCP, he did it in a wrong way; a way that took away the lives of those who would be helping in developing our new nation now. I do welcome his apology, but he still has more to do in order for him to come clean. Mr. Vice President needs to look at a bigger picture instead. I’m sure we people from Bor are not in position to seek any revenge for what Dr. Teny did to us in 1991. We love peace and will continue to love peace regardless of how much we are hated by the enemies of Peace. I do thank all the soldiers who stood with our leaders to protect not only the people of Bor, but further escalation of the 1991 defection and divide within our party. I’m also sure that all people of Bor or Jonglei communities who were affected by the SSIM rebelling are at this time not seeking any punishment for Dr. Riek Machar-Teny. I hold no grudges against him, but if he wants to continue to be our leader, he really needs to re-strategies and develop new approach. May God bless RSS and South Sudanese.” [Peter Nhiany, April 4, 2012, South Sudanese Bloggers]

Peter Nhiany’s argument that the carnages of the 1991 split didn’t only affected the Bor Dinka community but the entire people of South Sudan is in place. It is true that Dinkas’ as well as Nuers’ civilians and soldiers were indiscriminately killed or maimed and so were other community members of South Sudanese society. But I also think that Dr Machar, as an individual and as a leader, has done enough of his part by leading from front instead of waiting to be pushed around or behind by others. He has initiated the process of national reconciliation and forgiveness. As members of the Bor Dinka community that was heavily affected by the 1991 split within the SPLM/A, we must give him a chance and hear him out before passing the next verdict on the man.

What remain to be done, as Dr. Machar has already proposed, is to organize and have a national conference of all South Sudanese people since all were affected as Mr. Nhiany has explicated, though to varying degree. We can borrow the very model used in South Africa after the demised of Apartheid, or in Rwanda after the genocide, to bring about national dialogue: South Sudan needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with such deep-rooted and emotional issues such as the Bor Massacre. I think that is what Dr. Machar was calling for in his reaffirmation of his apology in Bortown. Remember how people reacted to his first statement offered in Juba? He was told to go to Bortown and made an apology. Well, now he has gone to Bortown, humbling himself to do as members of Bor Dinka community advised him to.

In fact, a call to establish a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission has a lot of support from South Sudanese citizens. Steve Paterno, a South Sudanese political pundit residing in the USA who authored a biography of Father Saturlino Ohure—the spiritual father of South Sudanese liberation struggle, thinks that:

“The VP Riek Machar may be sincere in his apology, but his approach is naïve at best and haphazard at worst. In its recent convention, the SPLM National Liberation Council resolved among other things a need for a national reconciliation. Such undertaking must be institutionalized in a similar way with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is in such a proceeding that we will, for example, know as to what is that Riek Machar did in his capacity that contributed into the Bor Massacre, plus other incidents he is accused of orchestrating.”

Another South Sudanese from the USA, Agereb Leek Chol, a Master Student at Clark University in Massachusetts, also lends his support to the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Sudan:

“On April 3, 2012, my Vice President extended his apology to civilians in Bor town to “confirm” his apology. I will welcome Dr. Riek Machar apology once and for all. The reason is not because he went to the grassroots, but if we want South Sudan and Jonglei State to be in peace as we pray and write about it, we then need to forgive ourselves. This doesn’t mean we forgot Dr. Riek Machar’s crimes during the civil war, but this is the only right way forward. If the Black South Africans reconciled with the Apartheid regime, Hutu and Tutsi in Rwandan, Dr. Garang de Mabior with Dr. Riek Machar in 2002, President Salva with Paulino Matip and Peter Gatdet, then we the civil society have to jump on the bandwagon too. Should Dr. Riek Machar extend his apology to the entire country because the Nasir Coup affected all tribes in the South, then we have to give him some credits because he has started the dialogue and reconciliation process. On a personal note, I ran at a gunpoint in Bor town in 1991 escaping Dr. Riek Machar’s merciless armed forces. South Sudan Oyee! And SPLA Oyeee!!”

It was the same melody from Ayuen Awan. Commenting on a link article on Dr. Machar’s second apology on my Facebook page, Mr. Awan wrote thus:

“A mere apology is not the way to go. Dr. Riek should be dragged to a Truth & Reconciliation Commission for public hearing. Those who were victimized by his brutality should also give their testimonies.”

I did welcome his first Juba apology and I wrote about it sometimes back. As someone from the Bor Dinka community in which the 1991 bloodsheds is still a matter of personal tragedy in every family and as someone who lost relatives in the process, I need not be told what it feel like to broach the subject. But the Bor Dinka community must remember that it was their own sons, lead by Dr. John Garang, who initiated and agreed to make peace with Dr. Machar. It was done lest the blood of the martyrs must have been shed in vain. The Nasir Coup of 1991 weakened the Movement to the point of self-annihilation. The Movememt had to make peace with Dr. Machar, and Dr. Machar had to make peace with the Movement, to ensure that the Movement is strong enough to confront the enemy and achieve its long-term goal of political liberation. And it was achieved, with combined forces of all South Sudanese whose hearts and souls were wedded to the Movement, for better or for worse, in death or life, and in defeat or victory!!

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Personally, I hold no grudge against Dr. Machar so long as he works—and he had been doing so since he rejoined the Movement in 2002—for the interest of all South Sudanese people. But if he had decided to offer an apology, I would accept it because it is human nature to apologize if one believes that they have unfairly or unintentionally wrong someone. Dr. Machar is under immense pressure from some diehard tribalists within his own community—yes, there are tribal chauvinists in every community—and the Bor Dinkas must appreciate his resolve to do and say what he is currently doing or saying. For the record, he is the only leader so far to own up to his sins in South Sudan and probably among very few across the African continent. The pride that comes with leadership, particularly in Africa where leaders can easily mobilized their tribes to defeat justice, make it simpler for the horse to pass through the eye of the needle than for the politician to own up to the crime he committed in broad daylight. Ask Kenyans about Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto and you would appreciate Dr. Machar’s overtures for peace in South Sudan.

No matter how much the agonies of the 1991 Bor Massacre may conspire to cloud our present judgment of the man, we the Bor Dinka community must see him not only as the “Riek Machar man col amook ci baai riook” of the past accused of masterminding the massacre of innocent unarmed civilians but also as the current vice president of South Sudan pleading to have his apologies accepted and calling for national reconciliation and healing. It is not a secret that the Bor Dinka Community prides itself as the most civilized, law-abiding, and peace-loving society in South Sudan. Whether or not that is a true reflection of who they are or just a mere self-aggrandizement does not matter; the challenge in front of the Bor Dinka community is whether they are prepared to make peace with the “enemy” who is publicly prepared and ready to make amend with them.

The Bor Dinka community have lost many leading sons—more than any other community relative to their size and the seniority of the victims—to the cause of South Sudan: Akuot Atem Mayen, Martin Majier Ghai, Arok Thon Arok and above all, Dr. John Garang himself. The victims of the 1991 Bor Massacre are more or less part of the costliest package paid to secure the independence of South Sudan. A peaceful and prosperous South Sudan—only attainable with harmonious co-existence of the Dinkas and the Nuers—is the highest gift that any member of the Bor Dinka community can ever bestow on the graves of their beloved lost ones and that all South Sudanese can ever dream to bequeath to their children and children’s children.

Before the Biblical Paul was Paul, he was Saul—a murderous madman targeting Christians in their dens. Who knows, the Saul who murdered the Bor Dinka people might one day be the Paul of the republic of South Sudan!! Like the Jews of Europe, the Bor Dinka community must forgive their tormentors but never forget the atrocities committed against them!!

PaanLuel Wël (paanluel2011@gmail.com) is the Managing Editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers. He can be reached through his Facebook page, Twitter account or on the blog: https://paanluelwel2011.wordpress.com/


By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

Synopsis of Elhaq Paul’s Contention

In his September 28, 2011 article SPLM and mass media: Promoting history on falsity published by South Sudan News Agency, Mr Elhaq Paul undertook to disassociate Dr. John Garang and the SPLM/A leadership from any claim to the attainment of self-determination in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the successful secession of South Sudan from the North.

Mr. Elhaq Paul argues that Dr. John Garang was not a separatist and therefore cannot be the founding father and the hero of the independence of South Sudan. Thus, Elhaq Paul maintains, any attempt by the SPLM/A leadership in Juba or his wife Madam Nyandeng, through public media, to project him as an ardent separatist, the great champion of South Sudan liberation struggle, the hero of South Sudan independence and the founding father of the new nation is a falsehood that would have been rejected by Dr. Garang himself. According to Elhaq Paul’s thinking, Dr. John Garang was an “avowed unionist” who had nothing to do with separation or the present image being concocted on his behalf. Mr. Elhaq Paul concludes that all those actions being done by President Kiir’s government amount to state promotion of Dinka superiority under Dinkocracy—Dinka hegemony.

In an attempt to support his claims, Elhaq Paul quoted from John Garang Speaks”a book purportedly written by or about Dr. John Garang in which he had allegedly stated his main objections to South Sudan separation from the north in preference to one United New Sudan. To buttress his indictment of Dr. John Garang, Mr. Elhaq Paul cited the oft-time quoted statement of Dr. John Garang that ‘our first bullets were fired against the separatists.” And these first victims of the SPLM/A are supposed to be Samuel Gai Tut and Akuot Atem Mayen. Both gentlemen were killed, according to Mr. Elhaq Paul’s assertion, because of their secessionist beliefs.

In what appears to conjure up a grotesque picture of an Old Testament prophet, Mr. Elhaq Paul give the impression of someone on an urgent divined mission to warn, inform and redeem South Sudanese from being misled into entertaining and accepting fabricated and distorted history being written by one community—the Dinka—purposely to enshrine their ethnic superiority of Dinkocracy. For those who have been exposed to his writings for a while, this is the overarching theme you can adduce whenever you study his work: resistance to and redemption from Dinkocracy.

In a nutshell, Mr. Elhaq Paul thesis is that Dr. John Garang is not the father and champion of South Sudan’s independence because (1) South Sudanese, through the ballot box, liberated themselves from the Arabs, and (2) Dr. John Garang was a murderous unionist who killed, imprisoned or/and threatened separatists—Akuot Atem, Gai Tut, Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol etc—who liberated South Sudan from the Arabs. For that reason, in his judgment, these separatists—dead or lucky to be alive—should be the true champions and founding fathers of South Sudan independence and not Dr. John Garang, Kerubino Kuanyin, William Nyuon, Arok Thon, Joseph Oduho, Majier Ghai, President Kiir, Pagan Amum, Wani Igga etc.

Response to Mr. Elhaq Paul’s Core Argument

As anyone can grasp from the plethora of counter-arguments and counter-claims already made against his article, there are a lot of objections that one can muster against Mr. Elhaq Paul’s fundamental disputation. The first of course is about whether or not Dr. John Garang, the former leader of the SPLM/A, was a separatist or a unionist. This has to be well established because, in Mr. Paul’s argument, Dr. John Garang can never be the real hero of South Sudan’s independence or the founding father of the nation insofar as he is not a separatist. The assumption here is that only separatists liberated South Sudan. And since only liberators should be bestowed the honor of being the national heroes/heroines and founding fathers/mothers of the republic, a person like Dr. John Garang, Mr. Elhaq Paul affirms, cannot qualify for that accolade: they must be excluded at best or maligned at worst.

Mr. Elhaq proceeds to counsel South Sudanese to take Dr. John Garang by his own words which are, allegedly, revealing of his unionistic bearing. But which are his words? That (1) “Our first bullets were fired against the separatists”—in the 1980s which places him among the unionists—or that (2) “I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years, have brought to you CPA in a golden plate. Our mission is accomplished. It is now your turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience bush life. When time comes to vote at referendum, it is your golden choice to determine your fate. Would you like to vote to be second class citizens in your own country? It is absolutely your choice”—Rumbek, May 15, 2005, which put Dr. John Garang on top of the separatists’ list? On which basis must anyone pick proclamation (1) in total disregard to declaration (2) or choose statement (2) without putting into consideration affirmation (1)?

Indeed, as Brian Adeba points out in his reaction to Elhaq Paul’s article, the main problem with Elhaq Paul’s argument is that his “article failed to account for Garang’s flexible stances on self determination and the evolution of these stances over a [long] period of time.” In other words, the Dr. John Garang that Mr. Elhaq Paul seems to be sacrificing may be the one of the 1980’s while he would be contented, it is apparent from his pronouncements, to dine on the table, and worship under the feet, of Dr. John Garang of May 2005. But since it is the same man leading a party battered, and in the process shaped, by different circumstances over a long period of time, which Dr. John Garang should South Sudanese take on his words and on which words precisely?

Judging by what I read from other South Sudanese commentators, combined with my own personal analysis of Dr. John Garang’s political evolution, Dr. John Garang, plus Dr. Riek and Dr. Lam too etc as I will explained below, might be compare to Simon Peter—that biblical disciple to Jesus of Nazareth, the first century Jewish teacher of morality believe by some people to be a god. Simon Peter was first the leading apostle of Christ; then he stumbled and retreated when he denied Jesus at the hour of reckoning, only later to emerge as the first successor to Jesus Christ. Similarly, Dr. John Garang, as an Anyanya One freedom fighter, could be considered to have started out as a separatist (how else could he have joined a separatist movement of Anyanya One if he was not a party to their ideology). This is where Dr. John Garang’s letter to Gen. Joseph Lagu comes in as a certification of this stance though that letter does not triumph the fact that Dr. John Garang was a member of Anyanya One, a separatist Movement. His mere present and full participation in Anyanya One Movement is more of a solid proof than any written letter: action speaks louder than words.

Nonetheless, by the time the SPLM/A was founded in Ethiopia, Dr. John Garang seemed to have renounced separatism and adopted New United Sudan as a vision for the Party, either as a strategy as some people argue or as his core absolute belief as others presume. The Garang of Ethiopia—1980s—is the one boasting of having shot the first bullets at the separatists. That statement itself though, subject to critical analysis, is mistaken unless we want to believe that May 16, 1983—when Kerubino Kunayin Bol in Bor and William Nyuon Bany in Ayod started the revolution by shooting the first bullets at Arab officers and soldiers—was not the date the Revolution began. The fighting did rage on for days in Bor town and William Nyuon murdered almost an entire squad of Arab soldiers till the well was filled to the brim. Were those Arabs separatists? Of course not and so Dr. John Garang’s statement might be tempting at face value but it is erroneous per se. The first bullet was shot at the Arabs in Bor town! Whatever that Dr. John Garang was talking about might have been his propaganda war—one that erupted over power struggle—against Akuot-Gai’s group to boost the morale among his troops.

And while it is veritably true that Samuel Gai Tut died at the hand of the SPLM/A, it is not the case that Akuot Atem was killed by the SPLM/A as Mr. Elhaq Paul appears to be professing. In reality, he was murdered in cold blood by Abdalla Chuol, his minister of defense and commander-in-chief, either because of internal disagreement amongst themselves over proposed collaboration with the Arabs or because Abdalla Chuol wanted to avenge Gai Tut whom he believed to have been killed, and publicly humiliated, by the Dinkas (read Kerubino Kunayin). From what has been written about the death of Gai Tut, the Adura Camp of SPLM/A were enraged by two main factors: (1) the interception and killing of SPLM/A new unsuspecting recruits coming from Bhar el Ghazel and Abyei by the Bukteng camp of Akuot Atem and Gai Tut and (2) the killing of 24 senior SPLM/A officers, among them Francis Ngor who was only next to Dr. Garang in seniority. The officers and Ngor were killed when Akuot and Gai Tut camp attacked and overran SPLM/A headquarters of Adura camp in Ethiopia. The SPLM/A soldiers, led by Kerubino Kuanyin, went on the revenge spree, tricked/pre-empted (there are two version to his death) Gai Tut into/before peace talk and fatally wounded him in the ambush. Then, unfortunately, he was humiliated (his dead-decomposing body was whipped by Kuanyin Bol). The public humiliation, it is deemed, might have led Nuer soldiers under Abdalla Chuol to kill Akuot Atem, a Dinka, as a revenge for Gai Tut’s killing and public humiliation by what they (the Gai-Chuol’s soldiers) considered as a rerun of Dinka-Nuer’s old tribal rivalry.

Indubitably, Akuot Atem and Gai Tut, being former members of Anyanya One, were strong advocates for South Sudan independence. What is disputable though is the claim that their public stance on separation, of which they were not the exception as most Anyanya One leaders would attest—uncle Joseph Oduho, for example—was the main cause of contention between them, and the Garang-led group of Adura camp. Be informed that by this time in the Movement, as it was later the case with the Nasir group, both Akuot-Gai group and Garang-Kuanyin-Nyuon-Kiir group considered themselves as SPLM/A. It was not about the name or the objectives or the manifesto of the party, but rather who should be the leader of the Movement. That does not mean that the call for self-determination was discarded; rather it was not the main issue because both Adura and Bukteng camps were conscious of the non-viability of forming a separatist movement in Ethiopia. It was a non-starter for the Ethiopian Dergue regime, the only lifeline for the revolution in those days.

As Dr. Majak argues in his response to Mr. Elhaq Paul’s article, Both Akuot and Gai Tut were there when the manifesto was drafted and signed and they never objected or chose to leave the party. In fact, Akuot was temporarily appointed (force himself upon the group) as the chairperson, and he appointed his longtime friend, Gai Tut, as his deputy and the head of the army, with Dr. John Garang as the chief of staff. As for the prefer ideology of the new rebel group, it was forced upon the group by their host—the Ethiopian government through General Masfin and President Mengistu who were fighting a separatist rebellion and would not have entertained hosting a separatist movement. The mere business of writing the first statement of the movement attest to this fact because it had to be drafted, rewritten and revised many times in order to make it acceptable to the Ethiopian government. That arduous process of writing, redrafting and revising the Manifesto to satisfy Ethiopian’s stern demand was overseen by none other than Akuot Atem as the self-appointed Chairperson and Samuel Gai Tut as his deputy and commander of the armed forces.

Akuot Atem and Gai Tut never objected to the proposal—or rather order—from the Mengistu government about the nature and direction of the movement. They were contented so long as they were leading the new Movement. Trouble started only when Kerubino Kuanyin and William Nyuon arrived in Ethiopia—accompanied by larger army than that of Akuot and Gai Tut. Both Kerubino and William Nyuon (they were late because Kerubino was still recuperating from the wound he had sustained in Bortown while William Nyuon was reportedly amassing wealth and money on the way to Ethiopia) were horrified to discover that they were being led by Akuot and Gai Tut. Added to this internal leadership wrangling was the external pressure from the Ethiopian government which was openly demanding Dr. John Garang to be the leader of the new rebel. (Interestingly, the Ethiopian are said to have been advised by Dr. Lam and others to settle on Dr. Garang as the leader) Outsmarted by Dr. Garang alliance with the Ethiopian government and outnumbered in army to army numbers and strength because of the arrival of William Nyuon with larger army, Akuot Atem and Gai Tut stormed out of the Adura camp and moved to Bukteng Village which was inside Sudan. It was from Bukteng camp that they started sabotaging the SPLM/A by intercepting and murdering new recruits joining the Movement from around the country.

While we may never know the real truth as to whether Dr. John Garang was just a separatist by heart and a unionist by strategy as some people do rationalize, there is no doubt that the event of 1990s did compel him to revisit and to revise his ideology. First, the demised of the Soviet Union led to the sudden fall of the Dergue Regime in Ethiopia which deprived the SPLM/A of their sanctuary and ready supply of arms and material supports. Then came the August 28, 1991 Nasir coup led by Dr. Lam and Dr. Riek Machar, cutting SPLM/A forces in half; hence, reducing their numerical and military strengths as well as demoralizing them. The resurgence of emboldened Jallaba under the new leadership of an Islamist party of NIF headed by Bashir and Hassan El Turabi took advantage of the mayhem within the SPLM/A that was first initiated by the fall of Mengistu’s government and then worsened by the Nasir coup plotters.

The subsequent humiliating defeats that SPLM/A suffered at the hand of a rejuvenated Arabs Mujadeens in the earlier 1990s, might have been enough to tilt the balance of discussion within the SPLM/A ranks about the questions of separation. After all, there was no more Ethiopian government to be appeased. As the SPLM/A was teetering on the verge of defeat, the 1994 SPLM/A Convention in Chukudum decided to adopt self-determination as an option in addition to the New Sudan Vision. The Dr. Garang that was reborn by circumstances or who, as some people have argued, re-assumed his true colors during 1994 Chukudum Convention is the same one talking in Rumbek, May 2005, lecturing about the choice between being a second class citizens in the old Sudan or opting to be a first class citizen in your own country. It is reminiscence of the one we initially found in the bushes of Anyanya One war.

Given that kind of declarations from Dr. John Garang of Rumbek, 2005, what do you think he would have voted for if he was there to cast his vote on referendum day? To Mr. Elhaq Paul, Dr. John Garang would have voted for unity because he was, in his word, an “avowed unionist.” But as Brian Adeba noted, the shortcomings of that argument is that it deliberately or inadvertently overlook the “evolution of these stances over a period of time.” Dr. John Garang, unquestionably supported the killing of Gai Tut, just as Gai Tut did wish the same to him, and I think he was also exultant to learn about the death of Akuot at the hand of his own soldiers. But this was justified because Akuot and Gai Tut intercepted and killed innocent recruits who left their beloved families and cattle to join the movement to fight for their rights. Whoever whose conscience is dark enough to murder such kind of selfless individuals, according to the rule of the jungle (the SPLM/A was a rebel movement, not a liberal democratic party in Western Europe) must be brought to justice and that is exactly what the SPLM/A did. It is not, and will never be, immoral to kill a killer. It was just a matter of who kill who first between the two warring camps. That Akuot Atem and Gai Tut were unlucky to get kill in a competitive war could not possibly be a logical ground to turn their death into martyrdom.

Another aspect that I would like to address here is the insinuation in Mr. Elhaq Paul argument that SPLM/A killed or imprisoned some leaders just because of their ethnicity. Mr. Elhaq Paul mentioned the imprisonment of freedom fighters whose identities (read ethnicities) or ideas (read separatism) were not entertained by the movement leaders. However, historical accounts point to the fact that most leaders detained by the SPLM/A under Dr. Garang were arrested, chiefly, due to power struggle, not ideological differences and not ethnicity either because among them were Dinkas i.e Akuot Mayen (Dinka Bor), Arok Thon (Dinka Bor), Majier Gai (Dinka Bor), Kuanyin Bol (Dinka Bahr el Ghazel) among others. In fact, it was only after the elimination of these leaders by the SPLM/A under Dr. Garang that Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar emerged to fill the vacuum, a position that they later use to instigate the coup. Even the SPLM-Nasir had many Dinkas among them, the detainees for instance, who were freed by William Nyuon. Interestingly, among the freed detainees—the so called progressive officers like Alfred Lado, Chol Deng Alaak, Wantok Ammon, Dhol Acuil, etc—were arrested by William Nyuon, Arok Thon and Kerubino in their internal struggle against Dr. Garang and Salva Kiir.

To articulate that ethnicity was given strong consideration is to overlook the conspicuous fact that most of the power struggle and tragedies within the SPLM/A were, at first, mostly between Dinkas. Akuot Atem, who sided with Gai Tut, was not only a Dinka like Dr. John Garang but they were both from Dinka Bor. And even within Dinka Bor, they came from the same Twic East, or what was formerly referred to as Kongor. To talk of ethnicity there is not only outlandish but it is just pure ignorance. While Akuot and Gai Tut, a Dinka and Nuer, were in one camp, Dr. John Garang, Kerubino kuanyin and William Nyuon etc were on the other camp, a mixture of different tribes. The internal power struggle among the SPLM/A leaders affected and victimized people of all tribes and regions. It started with Garang vs Akuot in the 1980s and ended with Garang vs Salva Kiir in Rumbek, 2004. And if revelations from Wikileak are to be believed and taken seriousness, then power Ping-Pong is still going on since President Kiir is suspicious of Madam Nyandeng whom he believe to be planning a coup to ouster him from power (a hallmark of gender equality when men genuinely feel threatened by women?).

The second contestation of power was between the less educated (Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon) on the one hand and the progressive group (Dr. John Garang and Salva Kiir) on the other hand. Arok Thon Arok was pitting the two groups against each other in the hope of reaping from the self-destructive fallout of the two groups (Arok was enraged for having been placed under Salva Kiir, his junior officer in the Sudanese intelligence, in the SPLM/A ranking. He also used to consider himself too smart and too qualified to be under any of those guys). It has to be recalled that by this time, Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar were junior officers with no voice. If tribalism was the determining factor, then (1) the Dinkas—Dr. John Garang, Salva Kiir and Kuanyin Bol would have ganged up against William Nyuon, the sole Nuer among the high ranking officers, or (2) Kuanyin Bol and Salva Kiir, being not only from Bahr el Ghazel but from the same Twic of Gogrial, would have joined hand against either Dr. John Garang and Arok Thon, who were not only from Dinka Bor but from the same Twic East. Moreover, Arok Thon was Garang’s maternal uncle since Garang’s mother is from Kongor where Arok hailed from. But that was never the case, Dr. Garang teamed up with Salva Kiir instead while Arok Thon despised them all, including William Nyuon and Kerubino Kuanyin. Arok’s arrogance and defiance and Kuanyin’s rebelliousness and belligerence, not their ethnicity, later led to their eventual arrests and detention.

What I am trying to say is that pure power struggle over leadership, and possibly a little dosage of dictatorship from Dr. John Garang, was the sole reason for all the squabbling, detentions and the unfortunate killings. It had little to do with either ideology or ethnicity because the alliances were never delineated along tribal groupings; and nor did the SPLM/A ever attacked a party formed by secessionists that was fighting the Arabs on the frontlines. The separatists, that ever were, chose to ally themselves with the Arabs where they became a mere tool used to fight the SPLM/A. Take for example the case of the remnants of Gai-Akuot groups under Abdalla Chuol, who relocated to the outskirt of Malakal near the Arabs. The question become, how do you purport to fight for the separation of South Sudan when you are in bed with the enemy? Must SPLM/A cease to exist before they could have commenced fighting the real enemy?

But then again, if it is the case that Dr. John Garang was first a separatist, then a Unionist and then again reverted back to separatism; somebody may wonder: don’t the Nasir coup makers have a valid point when they claim that they re-introduced the call for self-determination into the debate and hence compelled SPLM/A to adopt it? My response is that it is true. It is true because without the 1991 Nasir coup, the SPLM/A might have toppled the central government with Dr. Garang as the president. It is hard to see and argue how SPLM/A could have reversed gear from there to embrace separation. And even if the SPLM/A would have not succeeded in an outright military victory; they would have still been strong enough, without the coup, to force the Khartoum government to negotiate on their terms. Both scenarios point to one fact: the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang was a real force to reckon with in the pre-coup days in Sudanese political arena and it was not prepared to settle on the moon when it believed itself to have sufficient fuel to reach the star.

In the post-coup day, however, the SPLM/A was weakened internally, having been violently uprooted from it bases in Ethiopia and heavily pounded and hotly pursued by the resurging Arabs invigorated by the coup. Therefore, the coup makers, deliberately or inadvertently (I believe this) killed the SPLM/A’s goal of ever dislodging the Khartoum government from power. Face with little room to maneuver around, The SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang, switched or rather expanded their objectives of the war and adopted self-determination as one of their objectives in the 1994 Chukudum Convention. And even though Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar publicly adopted the call for self-determination as the centerpiece of their missions, there is little of it that had appeared from their writings before the coup. The writings of Dr. Lam, who did almost all the writings, were mostly about Dr. Garang’s alleged dictatorship—what he termed as one-man show—lack of democracy, dysfunctional party institutions and human rights abuses. The same accusations were later labeled against both Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar when they themselves became party leaders.

But the trouble of claiming absolute ownership of the demand for South Sudan self-determination by the Nasir coup makers is the glaring disparity between their public declarations and public actions. Like the Anyanya Two of Akuot Atem, Gai Tut and Abdalla Chuol, they were separatists by proclamations and collaborators by deeds. As if by fate, neither the Anyanya Two Movement nor the SPLM/A-Nasir fought the real enemy—the Arabs. In the words of Dr. Majak D’Agoot, South Sudan’s self-determination and the present-day independence was not won on “empty proclamations, sloganeering, or even through nonviolent means—read Khartoum and Fashoda Peace Accord of 1997” but rather “through a protracted struggle that took many lives and eventually weakened the resolve of the most determined and even fanatic opponent that Khartoum was.” Both the Anyanya Two and SPLM/A-Nasir collapsed and disintegrated. Had SPLM/A been defeated by the NIF/NCP during the dark trying days of the 1990s, Mr. Elhaq Paul would not have been talking today about whether or not Dr. John is the founding father of the nation because that nation wouldn’t have existed. The Nasir camp has nothing—but their collaborations with the Arabs—to show for their public adoption of the call for self-determination.

Therefore, while Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar might be right (the idea was already there) to talk about the re-introduction of the demand for South Sudan self-determination into the debate, they should show South Sudanese what they did to realize their dreams. The coup did changed the SPLM/A not because of what they were saying about the separation of South Sudan but because the coup divided and weakened the SPLM rendering the goal of deposing the Khartoum government impossible. And so the SPLM/A had to settle for the moon rather than longing for a star whose reach was evidently beyond their military and political capacity.

Even after the 1994 Chukudum resolution, the SPLM/A was not yet officially done with the New Sudan Vision. For example, the SPLM/A went to the peace talk (the CPA) with the agenda of a “New Sudan which would be multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural,” and secular but the NCP’s adamant insistence on retaining an Islamic law in the country change the course of the peace talks. Self determination clause was arrived at as a political compromise: the NCP getting to keep Sharia law in all Northern Sudan except in Khartoum and the SPLM/A got the option to secede under the self-determination clause. That is why it is incorrect for some people to argue that the signing of Khartoum Peace Agreement had made South Sudan’s self-determination a foregone conclusion. If it was the case, then the reverse would have been true: SPLM/A tabling and insistence on self-determination for South Sudan forcing the NCP to trade it for an Islamic north. But we know that was not what actually happened; it was the other way round.

When self-determination clause was being worked out, the Khartoum and the Fashoda peace accords provided the framework for the clause. Of course, that does not mean that the “the right of self-determination of the people of South Sudan to determine their future status through a referendum” came from Khartoum and Fashoda peace accords; it was arrived at as a political compromise between the SPLM/A and the NCP—the two parties who signed the CPA. In his article “South Sudan Referendum: First Thing First” Dr. Lam reports thus: “the self-determination in the CPA was an attempt to break the deadlock over the issue of separation of religion from the state and the relation between the religion and the state. So the CPA stipulated that Northerners shall have the right to apply Islamic Sharia in the North provided that Southerners shall have the right to self-determination” in the South. So it was not because Anyanya Two or the Nasir group had championed it, but because of the political deadlock over the preservation and application of Sharia law!

While Dr. Lam was not actually making this argument to show the origin of self-determination as a compromise between the two negotiating parties, it does however show the fluidity of the demand for and the attaining of the right to self-determination by South Sudanese. (Let me clarify here that Dr. Lam was advancing the argument that Northerners have the full right to apply sharia law in the North because it was stipulated in the CPA and so for the SPLM/A to deny them that right during the GoNU period was to call for the renegotiation of the CPA). As commonly known by most South Sudanese, the first time it was demanded or made was in the 1947 Juba Conference by the likes of Uncle Both Diw. The 1960s also saw the re-emergence of the call for self-determination and that continued till the days of both Anyanya One and Two and then the Nasir group. It is as old as South Sudanese struggle itself.

Astoundingly, by the time the CPA negotiation started, many people apparently assumed that the SPLM/A and NCP went into the Peace Talk on the basis of self-determination stipulated in both the Khartoum and the Fashoda peace agreements. That was never the case because as Dr. Lam observed above, the only time the idea of self-determination was brought on the negotiating table was when the NCP refuses to accept the basis of a Secular Sudan where religion would be separated from the state. Had the NCP agreed to a non-religious state, self-determination might not have been part of the deal. Unless there was a clear connection between NCP’s refusal to abandon an Islamic-Sharia state and the 1991 Nasir coup, there is no direct relationship between the inclusions of the self-determination clause and Dr. Lam’s claim of being the father of South Sudan self-determination. Oddly, it may sound funny but the NCP may actually be the real father because it was only due to their dogmatic insistence to part way with Sharia law that the SPLM/A settled for a self-determination which was not their first priority though it was part of their adopted official agenda.

Alternatively, the Anyanya Two may lay a better claim to the call for self-determination more than the Nasir guys. After all, there was hardly any difference between the two camps. They both fought the SPLM/A, allied themselves with the Arabs and both espoused South Sudan separation. Although Anyanya Two was a hired-to-kill machine by the Arabs, they never abandoned their call for South Sudan separation till 1991 when the coup occurred. So what does re-introduction of self-determination into South Sudan official debate mean if it has been there all along? If Dr. Machar and Dr. Lam were still part of the SPLM/A, then it would be meaningful to talk of re-introduction. But since they were no longer members of the SPLM/A, they neither re-introduced the idea into the party nor into South Sudan national’s debate because it was already there through the call made by, and Arabs’ promises to, Anyanya Two Movement.

As a matter of fact, I do not agree with those who champion the idea that Dr. John Garang was a separatist from the beginning but decided to “employ the Machiavellian intelligence—-to achieve the independence of South Sudan” or that he was, to rephrase it differently, a unionist by day and a separatist by night. The notion that the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang employed “the Machiavellian intelligence—-to achieve the independence of South Sudan” is appalling because it could, among other things, suggest that the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang intentionally misled, used and dumped people of Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and other northern states. That would be a cantankerous claim to make about Dr. John Garang and the vision he gave up his life for. It would be as insulting as Mr. Elhaq Paul’s allegation. He pursued the New Sudan Vision because he had believed in it attainment as it was within reach before the demised of Mengistu regime and the 1991 coup. He later adopted separation when the chances of removing a regime “too deformed to be reformed” from power become hardly feasible.

Simply, he changed and adapted and rebranded the vision based on the prevailing political and military circumstances. Dr. John Garang underwent various ideological and strategic metamorphoses through which he responded and adjusted his vision to achieve the best he could given the realities of the situation he was confronted with to realized the goal of liberation. Thus there are two main reasons why he revised his stance: (1) the military weakening of the SPLM/A by the 1991 coup, not the hollow proclamations of those who were with the Arabs; and (2) the adamant persistence of the NCP to retain a religious state during the CPA negotiation. History will testify that those are the main factors that change the course of SPLM/A ideology. Of course, other South Sudanese have their own version of events and claims to truth, but unless those claims combined and reconciled words and actions, they are baseless and hubristic.

To say that Dr. John Garang was indeed influenced, negatively, by the actions of the Nasir coup may sound as if I am conceding a point to the supporters of Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar. Quite to the contrary, the changes I am talking about happened across the political divides. For example, Dr. Majak mentioned the fact that Dr. Machar and his colleagues in London had formed another unionist party—Sudan Congress Front?—in October 1983. This party, that never saw the light of the day, was co-chaired by Dr. Riek Machar and Benjamin Bol Akook. People like Dr. Chol Dau, Dr. Marial Benjamin, Dr. Thomas Gordon, Justice Mabil Anyieth, Justice John Luk, John Roach, among others, were confirmed members.

When Dr. Machar went to Libya to solicit for military support, he was told by Muamar Ghadhafi, who was already supply arms to the SPLM/A, to join the SPLM/A since they was no difference between the two. Not only had Dr. Machar, the champion of the Nasir coup, formed a unionist party, he went ahead and willingly joined SPLM/A which was a unionist party instead of Anyanya Two, the separatist. The same logic applies to Dr. Lam Akol: not only did he officially recommend Dr. John Garang, a unionist against the separatists of Akuot and Gai Tut, to the Ethiopian government, he also freely participated in the founding of, and later officially joined, the SPLM/A, the unionist party. Both Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar, if truly they had never been unionists like Dr. John Garang, would have comfortably joined Anyanya Two whose official policy was separation. Simply put, they just changed their ideologies depending on the circumstances as much and often as Dr. John Garang did change his. This is equally applicable to Akuot Atem and Gai Tut of Anyanya Two because they would have remained in the SPLM/A had they been offered those positions they demanded.

That is the kind of ideological transmutation I believe Dr. John Garang did undergo through. It is meaningless and unrealistic to place him under one category as being a unionist or a separatist. He was everything that could have worked for him to achieve the goal of liberation, which, in the heydays of the SPLM/A, was the liberation of the whole Sudan, while, in the darkest days of the SPLM/A, became the separation of South Sudan. By everything I am not thinking of the so called “Peace from within” which was, and still remain, a gentleman term—a psychological euphemism—for surrendering oneself to the Arabs in a gentleman agreement with nothing to guarantee its implementation. It was just signed on paper to save faces while the two parties are/were cognizance of the fact that the document will have no bearings whatsoever on realities. That was the fate that doomed both the Khartoum and the Fashoda Peace Agreements. The CPA, because it was backed up and protected by the SPLA, was able to see the light of the day—and now millennia to come.

While “Dr. John Garang is unquestionably the father of South Sudan, the champion of its independence and its greatest hero” the fact of the matter is that Kuanyin Bol, William Nyuon, Arok Thon, Joseph Oduho, Justice Martin Majier, Dr. Lam Akol, Dr. Riek Machar, Nyacigak Nyaciluk etc were among the founding members of the SPLM/A and they will always be remembered for their sacrifices. Moreover, Dr. Machar, as the first vice president of the republic of South Sudan, and Dr. Lam, as the first official opposition leader of an independent South Sudan, would be remembered among the founding fathers of the republic of South Sudan.

And this need to extent the horizon of national recognition, as Dr. Okuk rightly argues, is the reason why we are having this debate. It is not that Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar want to introduce a law barring Dr. John Garang from being considered as the leading founding father and the champion of South Sudan independence; the debate gyrates around the call to have more than one person recognizes as the champion of South Sudan independence. It is about the need to have other people recognize too for their contributions to the liberation of South Sudan. I do suppose that Dr. Lam and Dr. Machar’s reason for glorifying the 1991 coup which ushered in division, misery, death and had almost led to the extinction of the Movement, could be because of the way they are labelled as traitors and collaborators. If only people let bygones be bygones, I surmise that this debate about “founding fathers/mothers” would die a natural death in the next few years to come.

Conclusion

Amidst all the tribulations South Sudan is undergoing today, there are so many opportunities for those who wanna be considered founding fathers/mothers or heroes/heroines or the champion of so and so. Let’s have the founding father of long lasting peace and sustainable development and the mother of national integration, harmony, and mutual co-existences in South Sudan. Let’s have the hero of political stability and the heroines of democracy and the rule of law. Let’s have the champion of anti-illiteracy, anti-corruptions, anti-tribalism and anti-tribal conflicts campaign in South Sudan. There are as many opportunities in South Sudan to be great as there are many willing hearts and minds, ready to pay the cost and reap the benefits. Who is heeding the call?

PaanLuel Wel can be reached at paanluel2011 or through his blog, twitter or facebook page.

Was Dr. John Garang a Unionist or a Separatist.pdf

(1)   SPLM and mass media: Promoting history on falsity

By Elhag Paul

Sudan Tribune: September 28, 2011 — The late John Garang De Mabior would have certainly objected to being projected as a separatist by his widow Rebecca Nyandeng, close relatives, the Dinka community and the SPLM in their never ending quest to use his formidable life story to promote him as the person who brought the independence to South Sudan and by implication Dinka superiority.

Recently, having personally attended the shameful and shambolic celebration of independence of the republic of South Sudan on 9 July 2011 in Juba, it was asphyxiating to witness the promotion of Garang as the father of the nation and the hero of independence of South Sudan. Large electronically refined coloured adverts on giant billboards around Juba’s main streets showing pictures of Garang walking into freedom with masses of followers. This story is a fabricated lie and had Garang been alive, he certainly would have objected to it.

Garang was very honest with his political beliefs. He made it absolutely clear in various fora and writings that he was an avowed unionist and this gained him respect in North Sudan, Arab world, Africa and the west.

Garang in his book, titled ‘John Garang Speaks’ published in London in 1987 by KPI on pages 253 and 254 writes that:

“Our believe in the Sudanese Unity and territorial integrity is axiomatic, that is, it is principled position. In our Manifesto published 31 July 1983 we said in very unequivocal terms, and I quote, It must be reiterated that the principle objective of the SPLM/SPLA is not separation for the South. The South is an integral and inseparable part of the Sudan. Africa has been fragmented sufficiently enough by colonialism and neo-colonialism and its further fragmentation can only be in the interest of her enemies. The separatist attitude that has developed in the South since 1955 has caught the imagination of the backward areas in Northern Sudan. Separatists Movements have already emerged with guerrillas fighting in Western and Eastern Sudan. If left unchecked these separatist Movements in the South, East, West coupled with stubborn determination of repressive minority clique regime in Khartoum to hang onto power at all costs will lead to the total disintegration of the Sudan. The imminent, latent and impending disintegration and fragmentation of the Sudan is what the SPLM/A aims to stop by developing and implementing a consistent democratic solution to both the nationality and religious questions within the context of a United New Sudan. This was in 1983. Our position remains the same.”

There you are. This is from the horse’s mouth. To refuse to believe it is to make a fool of oneself.

Unity has always been the official policy of SPLM/A. It did not remain in the files as a redundant or dormant policy but it was operationised and put into practice with devastating consequences on the separatists. Garang did not hesitate to kill any separatist who make his case.

Among the prominent separatists who paid dearly with their lives were Samuel Gai Tut and Akot Atem. The atmosphere in SPLM/A controlled areas  at the time was akin to that of the communists during Nimeiri’s era in the Sudan. The words associated with secession were considered treasonable and the consequences were dire for anyone who dared to invoke them.

At the apex of Garang’s power towards the end of 1980s and beginning 1990 he had become so arrogant to the extent that he freely rubs salt on the wounds of the separatists at every occasion the subject came up. He haughtily proclaimed that ‘our first bullets were fired against the separatists.’  Anybody doubting should research the barbaric murder of Samuel Gai Tut and Akot Atem.

Peter Nyaba in his book, titled ‘The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View’ published by Fountain Publishers in 1997 in Kampala, Uganda on page 45 writes that after Kerubino’s forces ambushed and murdered Gai Tut, he (Kerubino) refused ‘the burial of the remains of Mr Samuel Gai Tut and to have his corpse given eighty lashes daily until it decomposed.’ From this act alone, one can imagine the raw emotions of hatred towards the separatists.

What kind of people are these who engage in such a wanton brutality to the extent that they could not respect the dead? These dead brave South Sudanese spoke and died for separation. Paradoxically, today, the very people who killed them are enjoying the fruits of these separatists’ foresight. So far, the SPLM has not shown any remorse or decency to say sorry for their heinous acts and their divisive policy of ‘New Sudan’. What a shame on SPLM/A.

In the House of Commons in UK, the then secretary for International Development Claire Short used to dismiss us the South Sudanese pressing for support of secession. Her argument was that she had no misgiving about South Sudanese aspiration to secede. Her own visits to the refugee camps in Kenya, Uganda, Congo and the liberated areas in the Sudan proved to her beyond doubt that the overwhelming majority of South Sudanese wished to secede. However, what confused her was that also the majority of South Sudanese supported SPLM/A and its objective of united Sudan. Garang and SPLM, she asserted, were adamant about unity and so it was up to us the South Sudanese to speak with one voice of what we wanted. Because SPLM/A represented the majority of South Sudanese she would promote unity of the Sudan. With this, the separatists melted away like ‘Halawa Goton’. Or should I say with tails in between legs. Such was the hullabaloo SPLM/A created.

With the above, Garang has abundantly made his case loud and clear. What baffles people like me is the mendacity of Garang’s family and the SPLM to assert forcefully that Garang is the father and champion of South Sudan’s independence. How could this be when Garang put his policy of unionism in practice by killing separatists? The fact is that the separatist victims of Garang’s policy are well known and well documented. These should be the true champions of South Sudan independence and not Garang. To be fair to Garang, he was a revolutionary who worked hard to transform the Sudan. He fought tooth and nail to realise his objective but unfortunately this has not materialised. May be the SPLM/A North in the Sudan will succeed to implement the project of ‘New Sudan’ in that country. But it must be emphasised: Garang was not a separatist. He was a unionist to his core.

SPLM/A knows that to promote the lie that Garang is the hero of South Sudan’s independence, it has to use all means available to it regardless of the cost. Hence, it is now engaged in deploying the arsenals of mass media in the form of advertisement, SSTV and the radio service to bludgeon South Sudan psychologically. By bombarding the South Sudanese masses on a daily basis with the lie, it will not be before long when the young generation and the South Sudanese masses succumb to the story of the masters resulting into ecstatic triumph of the rulers in establishing themselves as the elites of South Sudanese society.

This is on one front of the media war. On the other, the heavy use of advertisement to promote Garang as the champion of South Sudan independence although it is costing GOSS a fortune is not for nothing, it has a strategic meaning. The purpose of advertisement is to create fantasy and illusions in the mind of the watchers to promote craving for the product – in this case, the story of the ‘hero’ of South Sudan’s liberation. As this kind of product is not for purchase pecuniarly, it is specifically designed to influence thoughts and the mind to cultivate a hyperreal history of the struggle. The consumer (you, me and others) if not critical minded and well informed inevitably end up by believing what is shown on these giant billboards as the truth and reality. Once this is achieved, history is distorted and re-written in favour of the agents beautifully portrayed in the adverts.

To buttress this fabricated story, SPLM has blended Kiir in. During the independence celebration an interesting poster was displayed around Juba. This poster presenting sergeant Kiir in long white Jallabia sitting amongst a group of senior SPLA officers in military uniform wearing red epaulets. The writing on the poster congratulated sergeant Kiir for liberating the country. Like those posters of Garang, it not only buttresses the fabricated story but elevates the social status of these actors.

In this particular poster, Kiir’s dress indirectly appears to be designed to present him as a benign, intelligent, and caring leader protected by the might of SPLA. Here is one man the country cannot afford to lose. Therefore, he must be protected like the queen ant. Looking at this poster subliminally draws one attention to the well circulated picture of Jesus in Jallabia carrying a lamb and followed by sheep. Now Kiir is being presented as the caring saviour and shepherd. While in reality, this is the man who was Garang’s Rottweiler for 22 years. He supervised the despatch of hundreds of innocent people to death. Kiir was responsible for the suffocating poorly aerated prison containers.

Do you remember the story of John Nambu who was imprisoned in a container until he turned yellow before his death due to lack of aeration? Nambu’s crime was only because he hailed from the wrong ethnicity and wanted to join the SPLM. This was only one horrible way of violating human rights in SPLM/A. The other was the imprisonment of freedom fighters whose identities or ideas were not entertained by the movement leaders in 10 meters deep holes where the unfortunate prisoners occasionally were visited by all sorts of deadly snakes and creatures. During the rainy season prisoners got drowned in these prison holes. The master supervisor of these horrendous joints was none other than Kiir himself. Please note that most of these victims were separatists.

This benign supposedly caring leader has now been in power for six years and what has he done for the people of South Sudan. Nothing at all, apart from presiding over orgies of looting and massive corruption. His lack of due diligence in running and protecting the country is breathtaking. Yet SPLM is squandering massive resources on media to promote him and re-write our history. Come to us here in Juba and visit any office, you will not miss seeing Garang and Kiir looking at you from hanging photographs strategically positioned.

The work of Jean Baudrillard (1929 – 2007), the French philosopher and sociologist on the influence of mass media techniques and especially of images on human beings shows that the use of images create its own reality divorced from original facts or truth of what is being represented. It paints its own reality constructed by values and stories attached to the images displayed. This is politics at its most psychologically dangerous, because it is not only the blatant promotion of crude tribalism, but it is also the sowing of seeds of discord for future conflict.

SPLM as an instrument of the masters of South Sudan is using massive resource of the country to promote a big lie with implication for history and future generations.

The question to ask is: why is the SPLM deploying expensive mass media techniques to promote a fabricated story of one section of our community to distort our history? Whose interest as a minister of information is Mr Barnaba Marial serving? Is it serving South Sudan or a specific tribe? I leave the answers to you to work it out for yourself. Why is the true story of the South Sudan not being promoted since 1983? Why is there no reference to Oliver Albino’s and other books on the Anya-Nya movement? Why is there no mention to Aggrey Jaden hard work on separation of the south? Why this obsessive promotion of our fresh distorted history which when truly unpacked contains horror stories?

To understand the magnitude of the brutality, inhuman policies and heinous acts of SPLM/A against humanity, it is absolutely necessary to read the work of Garang, Peter Nyaba, Lam Akol, and reports prepared by Human Rights bodies such as Africa Watch, Amnesty International and so on. There is no justification for that kind of behaviour meted out to the South Sudanese people other than from wanton criminals. Hence, the necessity to pursue the establishment of Justice and Reconciliation Commission, as in the case of Rwanda and South Africa to bring Kiir and his cohorts to account. Bringing these people to account might help us even to understand better Kiir’s current presiding over the orgies of looting of public resources and corruption by his group. For South Sudan to develop healthily, this deep internal mental injury on its psyche must be addressed and urgently. Glossing over it with mass media tricks is a surest way of returning to mistakes done by the rulers of the Sudan at the time of its independence in 1956.

The self-determination which the South Sudanese had been fighting for since 1947 was forced on SPLM/A by circumstances beyond its control. It first entered into the vocabulary of SPLM/A following the 1991 failed Nasir coup led by Reik Machar, Lam Akol and John Koang. These three, opportunistically calculated that since SPLM/A lost its support base following the overthrow of the Mengistu Dirge regime in Ethiopia the time was ripe to get rid of Garang. As we all know, they failed and they continued to pursue their objective of ousting Garang through alliance with NCP. But the benefit to South Sudan of their unpopular act was to force SPLM/A to accept the principle of self-determination, especially after the talks in Abuja in early 1990s.

This was further advanced in the Khartoum agreement of 1997 with the same group. However, paradoxically this time NCP blundered and included the principle of self-determination into the constitution of the Sudan. When the peace talk under IGAD was first started in early 2000s, self-determination was not on the agenda. SPLM and Rev. John Danforth, the American envoy to the talks were content with the idea of solving the problem of the Sudan within a framework of a united country based on the  project of ‘New Sudan’ which would be multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural etc. It was only when the Diaspora in Europe and North America rose up forcefully and brought pressure to bear on the talks that the principle of self-determination was then included on the agenda. The first protocol on self-determination was won because NCP was cornered by the fact that self-determination was already catered for in the constitution of the Sudan. The rest was history and we had our CPA of 2005.

The provision of the referendum in the CPA allowed each and everyone of us to decide for ourselves what we wanted. We individually (through the power of our votes) chose separation and thus liberated ourselves from the Arabs. It has nothing to do with Garang liberating us to qualify him as the father of the nation. This must be made clear to avoid distortion of our history and construction of a false history. The true separatists are those Garang fired his first bullets of unionism at such as Samuel Gai Tut and Akot Atem.

In light of the above, the minister of Information should desist from promoting one section of our society as being solely responsible for the liberation of South Sudan with Garang as its founding father based on falsity. For this does not bode well for the future.

Elhag Paul lives in South Sudan. He can be reached at elhagpaul@aol.com
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(2) Lwal Baguoot

Dear all:

I’m sharing with you the following article published today by the New Sudan  Vision newspaper. It rebuts a scathing and misleading article written by Mr. Elhag Paul not long ago, in which he knowingly or unknowing misled the public that self-determination and secession of South Sudan were altogether foreign and alien objectives and ideas to Dr. John Garang De Mabior prior to the infamous defection of some SPLA/M senior commanders.

Central to Mr. Elhag Paul’s argument is that the 1991 disastrous defection, led by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin and the company, forced Dr. Garang De Mabior to accept and embrace self-determination as a new basis for waging war against the Khartoum rogue regime. Evidently in contrary to Mr. Elhag’s misinformation, Dr. John Garang De Mabior, on January 24, 1972, wrote a powerful and cautionary letter to the Anyanya Movement leadership articulating and outlining his vision for a peaceful resolution of “Sudan fundamental problems” either through Southern Sudan separation or United New Sudan.

Dr. Garang intelligently and cleverly articulated how both options could lead to achieving a permanent peace in Sudan if the parties involved were genuinely committed to reaching PEACE. One can also see in this letter that the seeds for the CPA were planted way before the signing of the 1972 Addis Ababa Accord.

Lwal Baguoot
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(3) Dr. John Garang, the SPLM and the question of unity: A rebuttal to Mr. Elhag Paul (In response to Elhaq Paul’s artcile above)

Written by Deng A. Dekuek (Perth, Australia)
Saturday, 08 October 2011 02:01
The New Sudan Vision: In the course of human affairs it is a rarity to come across obtuse slanderous remarks from a seemingly learned man of reason. I unequivocally, have no problems whatsoever with a person or people expressing their opinion, however what is outrageous, absurd and warrants universal condemnation is distortion and manufacturing of facts to malign a particular person and or community or communities. Even worse universally, speaking ill of the dead is an abhorrent and a tasteless culture, which is unfortunately condoned, encouraged and has taken root in South Sudan.In a distasteful disregard for cultural etiquettes, journalistic professionalism and standards, The Sudan Tribune on the 29th of September 2011 published an opinion piece, which was, blatantly aimed at assassinating the character of the late Dr. John Garang. In a rumbling monologue of vengeful, distorted and sugarcoated facts and unsubstantiated allegations, Mr. Elhag Paul accused the late Dr. Garang, his widow Madam Nyandeng, his family, his people the Dinka, the People’s Movement, the SPLM and by that extension a significant proportion of South Sudanese of being hypocritical. Mr. Paul’s long allegations can be summarised as follows:“Dr. Garang does not deserve to be called the father of South Sudan nation, because he always was an advocate for a united Sudan. I know this because he said so in ‘John Garang Speakers’. Madame Nyandeng, his family, his people, the SPLM/A and anyone who claims otherwise and mentions him as a hero and champion of South Sudanese independence is a liar because Dr. Garang always advocated for a democratic united secular Sudan. I know this because he wrote about it. He was dead set on unity because he killed all those who advocated for separation like Mr. Samuel Gai Tut and Mr. Akot Atem Mayen because they were separatist. I know this because Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba wrote about it. Living in Sudan as a communist during Nimeiri’s terror was better than living in the liberated areas because Claire Short spoke about it in the British Parliament.”He further insinuated that the President of the Republic, a Lieutenant General and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army whom he reduced to a rank of a “Sergeant Kiir” was a murderous dog at the disposal of the late Dr. Garang – “Garang’s Rottweiler.” He went on to question national fidelity of Dr. Benjamin the Minister of Information and hinted that he was serving his tribe and not the nation. Such utter disrespect for the office (I am not saying the individuals but the office) of the President is astonishing. Having said that, I would like to point out and correct some historical fabrications, misconceptions and outright lies in Mr. Paul’s article. I am not going to write in defence of the President or the Honourable Minister but in that of the defenseless Dr. Garang and the People’s Movement, the SPLM.It appears that Mr. Paul either has selective amnesia or does not want to acknowledge the fact that Dr. Garang was not a village idiot but a cunning political and military tactician who was a master of political games, trickery and theatre. I am wondering whether Mr. Paul knows or has considered the possibility that perhaps Dr. Garang was employing Machiavellian intelligence in his unwavering advocacy of a democratic united secular Sudan to achieve unknown agenda, which has eventuated and has become apparent to some who do not think and see things in plain black and white.Mr. Paul’s revisionism and negation of history is disturbing. Distorting the writings of the esteemed Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba is alarming. I do not dispute the facts following the death of Mr. Samuel Gai Tut but I find it preposterous and completely reject in its entirety the insinuation that his death was personally sanctioned by Dr. Garang or SPLM/A because he was an advocate for South Sudan separation. This is a manufactured perception of raved faculties. It was and still is a common knowledge among the rank and file of the People’s Army that in the early days of the People’s Movement in 80s, Anyanya 2, of Commander Gordon Koang Chuol, Mr. Tut and Mr. Mayen was hostile to SPLA/M and that its leadership had ignored repeated warnings from SPLA/M to cease attacks on their recruits. It is highly probable and highly likely that as a consequent Mr. Samuel was killed in one of these confrontations with the SPLA as a result of SPLA feeling its warnings were not being heeded.Following Mr. Tut’s death nobody knows why Commander Kerubino Kuanyin Bol did what he did notwithstanding the fact that he was a maverick with occasionally deranged tendencies. Whether it was to punish Mr. Tut or whether it was a form of psychological warfare to demoralise Anyanya 2, nobody can answer that except Commander Kerubino but to present mere speculations, fantasies and distortions as facts is unscrupulous. This has been the fundamental foundation of Mr. Paul’s argument that those Southerners who were killed were meted the fate of death because they were separatist or that they were imprisoned because they advocated such ideas.In addition, a sensationalist claim that living in the Sudan as a communist during Nimeiri’s tyranny was of an equal measure to living in the liberated areas is a personal insult to any of the people who lived in Nasir, Kapoeta, Boma and other liberated areas. Although I was a young boy, I never heard then or know of anyone among all those who were executed by firing squads, anyone and I repeat anyone who was executed for being an exponent of an independent Southern Sudan.

Perhaps the most telling and remarkable were the slanderous claims that self-determination was an alien concept to Dr. Garang and the SPLM until 1991 when Nasir plotters forced it upon them. This clearly shows that the author is lacking in capacity and his superficial and crammed understanding of South Sudan’s history is illusionary. Thirty years before the landmark Declaration of Principles of 1994, there existed a political party called the Southern Front, which was formed inside Sudan after what was known as the October Revolution of 1964 that toppled military rule of Abud. Late Uncle Clement Umboro led it and the objective of that southern party was SELF DETERMINTION while SANU, the other southern party was aiming at FEDERAL SYSTEM in Sudan, led by late William Deng Nhial and late Joseph Oduho. Southerners in the Round Table Conference of March 1965 presented those two positions, and referendum for Southerners for self-determination was proposed in that Conference. Hence self-determination was never a new notion to Dr. Garang or the SPLM/A to be said to have been invented by Nasir splitters. This is a historical crime to distort facts known to all.

The 1991 failed opportunists, chief among them Dr. Lam Akol who hasn’t learned from history, can attest that the 24th of March 1986 Koka Dam Declaration signed by then Lt. Col Kerubino Kuanyin Bol were a culmination of negotiations spanning 1985 to 1986 where SPLA/M was represented by Commander Kerubino and Commander Arok Thon Arok. At the conference self-determination was discussed and this desire for self-determination was clearly demonstrated in the context of Article 2(d) which called for the “adoption of the 1956 Constitution as amended in 1964 with incorporation of ‘Regional Government’ and all other such matters on which a consensus opinion of all the political forces shall be reached.” In addition the Koka Dam Declaration aimed to (a) repeal September 1983 sharia laws and (b) dissolve the government, and called for new general elections and formation of a coalition government that would include SPLM/A. However, these agreed points were never taken up because Sadiq al-Mahdi took power and was never keen on resolving the war.

Mr. Paul also shamelessly contradicts himself by partially correctly stating that self-determination was discussed at the Abuja 1 and 2 Peace Negotiations but then goes on to say that it was off the agenda in early 2000s until the people in diaspora put pressure on SPLM and the NCP. What a laughable joke! Abuja 1 and 2 Peace Negotiations, which  Elijah Malok Aleng and the late Dr. Justin Yac Arop and late Commander William Nyuon Bany were the SPLM representatives certainly discussed self-determination however, it was not forced upon the People’s Movement as insinuated. It was rather because the Southerners felt a need to present a united front and they had nothing in common except to see a free Southern Sudan. Mind you there was still heavy fighting between the SPLM and the Nasir plotters and the NIF at that time. Also the idea that self-determination was off the agenda in early 2000s is a blatant lie. SPLM/A and NIF had already committed themselves to the “Declaration of Principles” on the 20th of July 1994 where the most significant point was Article 2. It said:

“the right of self-determination of the people of south Sudan to determine their future status through a referendum must be affirmed.”

 

Dr. Garang is unquestionably the father of South Sudan, the champion of its independence and its greatest hero. His vision and the fundamental pillars of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) were formulated way back before the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement was concluded on the 27th of March 1972. Dr. Garang wrote a remarkable letter to General Joseph Lagu on the 24th of January 1972. The letter is presented here in its entirety to dispel any doubts that I am quoting favorable parts to my argument:

Click here to read Dr. John Garang letter

This letter is a proof beyond reasonable doubt that Dr. Garang was an advocate of Southern Sudanese autonomy in whatever form and outlines the critical structures of C.P.A which are (a) separate armies (b) self-government during the interim period (c) referendum for Southerners.

Reflecting on Mr. Paul’s article there are few things that indicate the following:

  1. Writer’s lack of in-depth knowledge of the History of South Sudan which he claims to be defending but is consciously and maliciously distorting.

2.                  The author thought that by cleverly disguising his anti-SPLM rhetoric and tribalist animosity towards the Dinka he would be taken as a serious intellectual.

3.                  The author is lacking in critical thinking because of his simplistic interpretation of Dr. Garang and SPLM’s political ideology.

If any lessons are to be drawn from this, they would be that Sudan Tribune’s editorial and journalistic standards have descended lower into
the gutters to allow the publication of an article that insults and calls the President of the Republic, a Rottweiler (that is a breed of a butcher’s dog).

It is clear that Mr. Paul needs to read more since he does not understand various tactics including the Machiavellian intelligence employed by Dr.Garang and SPLM/A to achieve the independence of South Sudan. Just because Dr. Garang, SPLM/A or any Southerner advocated for a democratic united secular Sudan does not mean that their minds were set in a perpetual immobile granitic slab and deaf to the manifest calls for separation.

The notion that because Dr. Garang called for a democratic united secular Sudan disqualifies him from his rightful place in our nation is insulting. The man deserves his dignified place as the father of our nation and deserves much more than the respect we are showing his legacy for he went above and beyond the call of duty for his people, the South Sudanese.

Deng Dekuek is a South Sudanese Geologist and can be reached at dengdekuek@gmail.com

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Dekuek: Shooting down his SPLM/A clients.(In Response to Deng Dekuek)

BY: AlHag Paul, SOUTH SUDAN

OCT. 16/2011, SSN; This is a response to an article posted on New Sudan Vision website on 8th October 2011 and South Sudan Nation website on 12th October 2011 by Mr Deng A. Dekuek titled: ‘Dr John Garang, the SPLM and the question of unity: A rebuttal to Mr Elhag Paul.’

I came across the said article by chance while browsing through New Sudan Vision website and it became of interest to me for obvious reasons articulated in my article under the heading, ‘SPLM and mass media: promoting history on falsity.’ Published recently in South Sudan Nation, Sudan Tribune and South Sudan News Agency websites.  I welcome Mr Dekuek’s rebuttal of my article and wish to say that I am more than happy to engage Dekuek on the issues raised.

The intimidatory tone of Dekuek’s rebuttal is all the more telling especially his withering attack on the websites that published my article.  One would expect that intellectuals would be the last people to pander to censorship but that is not the case here.

Dekuek essentially takes issue with me on a number of points.  These are: 1) blatant assassination of Dr Garang’s name.  2) disrespect for the office of the president and the office of the minister for information.  3) negating the history of South Sudan.  4) comparing Nimeiri’s treatment of communist to SPLM’s treatment of separatists.  5) that Koka Dam agreement discussed self determination.  6) Contradicting self on the issue of self determination.  In addition, Dekuek presents a letter supposedly written by Dr Garang in support of his argument.  Let us now look at these issues point by point.

Dekuek argues that “In a distasteful disregard for cultural etiquettes, journalistic professionalism and standards, The Sudan Tribune on 29th of September 2011 published an opinion, which was blatantly aimed at assassinating the character of the late Dr John Garang.  In a rumbling monologue of vengeful, distorted and sugar-coated facts and unsubstantiated allegations, Mr Elhag Paul accused the late Dr Garang, his widow Madam Nyandeng, his family, his people the Dinka, the people’s movement, the SPLM and by extension a significant proportion of South Sudanese of being hypocritical.”

Garang’s real beliefs: With this comment Dekuek is trying to muddy the waters in order to confuse people.  Given this, it is important to separate issues for better understanding and clarification.  First of all, I did not assassinate the character of late Dr John Garang.  If anything, my article set out clearly to present what the late himself expressed about his beliefs and personal views about the conflict in the Sudan.  I quoted directly from the book: ‘John Garang Speaks’ edited by Mansour Khalid in order to avoid the kind of accusation Dekuek is now throwing at me. 

Secondly, I believe that it is unethical for the family of late Dr Garang, and the SPLM to use his formidable life story to distort the history of South Sudan.  For the distortion to work, it necessitates that Dr Garang is branded as a separatist.  It is this false branding that is unacceptable because it has huge implication for South Sudan history and the various strata in the society.  Without branding Dr Garang as a separatist, SPLM would not be able to indoctrinate the people of South Sudan and elevate certain sections of the society as elites.  Dr Garang was an exceptionally intelligent, clear minded, far sighted, articulate and highly ambitious person.  These are characteristic that can not be taken away from him and muddying these with lies will not do him justice. 

Disregarding Dr Garang’s documented own words about himself and assigning something (secession) that he hated to be associated with him is at best intellectual dishonesty and at worst intellectual vandalism.  Dekuek and company should not discredit Dr Garang’s great mind and intellectual integrity to diminish my argument about Dr Garang’s unambiguous stand for a united Sudan.  They should not negate the possibility that Dr Garang truly could have ruled the Sudan had he not tragically met his death. 

What I find more dishonourable is for Dekuek and company to accuse Dr Garang of being a liar.  Dr Garang documented his views and beliefs in his books and spoke publicly in numerous fora about his unionist position. Is Dekuek trying to say Dr Garang’s books, speeches and presentation are a bunch of lies?  In light of what has been said, who is assassinating Dr Garang’s character? 

Nothing wrong for sergeant as president: Dekuek further argues that the article abused the offices of the president and that of the minister of information by being disrespectful to president Kiir and Dr Benjamin.  My reference to the president as a sergeant is based on the fact that the president is a ranker and he held that esteemed post.  In the army being a sergeant commands much respect.  There is nothing wrong with a sergeant being a president.  There are numerous examples in the world.  Liberia, for instance was once ruled by a sergeant Samuel Doe and he was respected by the professional well trained Liberian army generals.   My questioning of Dr Benjamin’s involvement with mass media and falsification of South Sudan history is my right as a citizen. 

The government in South Sudan should treat all sections of the society equally.  It is not right that state tool like the ministry of information is used to promote one section of the society to the detriment of the others.  Given this, is Dekuek comfortable with the falsification of the history of South Sudan?  If he is, then this reveals his personal interest in promoting Dinkocracy. Thus his supposed defence of Dr Garang and the president is nothing but a smoke screen for promotion of his interest.  If he is not, then he can be excused for his ignorance on this matter.

Dekuek continues, that “Mr Paul’s revisionism and negation of history is disturbing.  Distorting the writings of esteemed Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba is alarming…………….   Following Mr Tut’s death nobody knows why Commander Kerubino Kuanyin Bol did what he did notwithstanding the fact that he was a maverick with occasional deranged tendencies.”  As stated above, I quoted directly from Dr Nyaba’s book and this as far as I was concerned could not constitute distortion.  It is interesting that Dekuek himself acknowledges that he does not dispute the quoted facts but yet goes to call them distortion.  This is very strange.  It begs the question as to whether Dekuek really understands the meaning of the word ‘distortion’ or whether he is captivated by this word and would like to use it to show off his intellectual prowess.  It would be helpful if Dekuek could clarify where the distortion was in regards to the quote I took from Dr Nyaba’s book. 

As a voluntary self appointed advocate of SPLM, Dekuek surprisingly scores points against his own client.  His report of Kerubino’s mental state is something that should never happen in any normal organisation.  Deranged people pose danger to themselves and the public.  Knowing this, Dekuek should have questioned the rational of allowing Kerubino to run havoc in the SPLM for such a long time and not to try to excuse him in his rebuttal of my article.  What is more shocking is that Dr Garang was present when the body of late Gai Tut was being desecrated by Kerubino.  Dr Garang did nothing but to rash to BBC to announce that Gai Tut was accorded full military burial.  Dr Nyaba for unknown reasons did not report the presence of Dr Garang during the nauseating lashing of Mr Gai Tut’s body in his book. 

However, Dr Lam in his book, titled ‘SPLM/SPLA: Inside an African Revolution’ published by Khartoum University Press in Khartoum in 2001 on pages 202 – 203 indicates that although Gai Tut very much wanted reconciliation, Dr Garang appeared uninterested and this eventually led to attack and counter attack where “Samuel Gai Tut himself was killed during the fighting.  This was on March 30, 1984.  His body was not discovered until two days later.  On receiving the news, Dr John Garang and Kerubino Kuanyin Bol flew by a helicopter to Adura where Kerubino lashed the decomposing body of Gai Tut fifty strokes while Garang looked on in appreciation.  The body by then was beyond recognition were it not for the characteristic finger of Gai Tut.  Soon after, Garang wrote to the London office of the SPLA that Samuel Gai Tut was buried ‘with full military honours’!”  Just imagine this level of gruesome brutality. 

Dekuek is right to highlight the deranged mind of the leaders of SPLM.  He only failed to see the inhuman part of it. No wonder his client SPLM/A turned out to be what it is now.  If Dekuek on the basis of humanity only can not condemn the inhuman acts of SPLM leaders and its management by deranged people, how can he be taken seriously?  Can he clarify why he finds it difficult to condemn both Kerubino and Dr Garang for such inhuman act?  Where are Dekuek’s duties here as a good citizen towards other South Sudanese regardless of their tribe, race, sex etc?  To be a good citizen demands that one protects the rights and freedom of others.  For in doing this one indirectly protects their own as well.  So, in South Sudan, the citizens need to treat each other with respect to allow a healthy society to develop. Further to this, is Dekuek’s attempt to rebut my article by distortion intended to create confusion to mask the gains that the Dinka people stand to benefit from their use of mass media? Where is the credibility of Dekuek’s argument here?  In fighting to maintain the lie, Dekuek is shooting down his own clients.  Whereas in stating the truth everybody (South Sudanese) stands to benefit.

Dekuek states that “in addition, a sensationalist claim that living in the Sudan as a communist during Nimeiri’s tyranny was of an equal measure to living in the liberated areas is a personal insult to any of the people who lived in Nasir, Kapoeta, Boma and other liberated areas.  Although I was a young boy, I never heard then or know of anyone among all those who were executed by firing squad, anyone and I repeat who was executed for being an exponent of an independent South Sudan.”  At least Dekuek is being honest here.  He acknowledges the fact that his understanding of events in the liberated areas was limited due to his age. 

Soundless defence of Garang: According to Dekuek he did not hear or learn of any executions of separatists.  His measure for evidence is grounded on hearing and learning from others as he was young.  But how could hear-say be evidence.  What method did he apply to distil the truth from the stories he heard and learnt? The fact that he did not hear does not mean that separatist were not being murdered.  Did Dekuek know that Martin Majer, Martin Kejivoru and others were murdered in cold blood towards the end of 1990s around Morobo after long period of incarceration without trial?  Now, would it be right for him to deny this because he never heard? 

Dekuek can not hide behind being young in order to snipe at people he disagrees with.  Either he knows or he doesn’t.  If he doesn’t, he either puts up or shuts up.  Having committed himself to defend “the defenceless Garang and the People’s Movement, the SPLM”, Dekuek needs to read more widely before taking up such a difficult assignment.  Dekuek’s clients have an interesting complex history of 28 years which requires mature minded advocates.  Rumbling with hear-say without documented evidence and refusing to accept what his clients have documented does not look like sound defence.

Dekuek invokes the Koka Dam talks as his evidence that self determination was discussed and adopted.  This is a red herring.  The outcome of Koka Dam agreement is clear as blue skies.  It aimed at achieving a united Sudan.  Steve Wondu and Ann Lesch in their book, titled ‘The Battle for Peace in Sudan: An Analysis of the Abuja Conferences 1992 – 1993’ published by University Press of America, Maryland in 2000 on page 9 states that, “The Koka Dam declaration called for the creation of a New Sudan free from racism, tribalism and sectarianism; a system that would eliminate the causes of discrimination and regional economic disparities.  The national constitutional conference to define the New Sudan would address the basic problems of Sudan and not the problems of the South alone.  The government must repeal the Islamic decrees and restore the secular constitution that was in place at the time of independence.  In addition the government must lift the state of emergency and abrogate military pacts with foreign countries (Egypt and Libya) that infringe on the sovereignty of the Sudan.  After that, both sides would declare and enforce ceasefire.”  These are the hard facts about Koka Dam.  It beggars believe that Dekuek deliberately goes out to twist facts in order to portray his client the SPLM as a separatist movement.

Dekuek writes, “Mr Paul also shamelessly contradicts himself by partially correctly stating that self-determination was discussed at the Abuja 1 and 2 Peace Negotiations but then goes on to say that it was off the agenda in early 2000s until the people in diaspora put pressure on SPLM and the NCP.  What a laughable joke!”  Dekuek’s inability to understand my article reveals his limited knowledge of contemporary history of South Sudan.  The fact remains that self-determination was tabled, discussed and accepted in Abuja in early 1990s.  Also the fact remains that the talks in Machakos in early 2000s initially did not have self-determination on the agenda.  Dekuek should consult with his client the SPLM for more information on this reality.  What seems as contradiction to Dekuek is the usual game of SPLM of vacillating between two things.  Although SPLM accepted self determination in Abuja, it was not a priority policy for the movement.  The unity of Sudan always took top priority with self determination coming at the bottom as a last resort.  Hence when the talks started in Machakos self determination was not on the agenda, SPLM was content and happy to have the problems of the Sudan solved based on the concept of New Sudan.  So there is no joke in what I wrote.  I am dead serious in what I write.

Dekuek has produced a letter purportedly written by Dr John Garang on 24th January 1972 to support his arguments.  First of all, the address on top left hand of the letter is highly suspect.  The wording state, “Khartoum – Anyanya. Negotiation: Guideline”.   As far as South Sudan was concerned the peace talks were held in Addis Ababa and Anyanya did not have an office in Khartoum,  So, what is all this about?  Secondly, the letter itself has no signature, name, title or/and position of the writer?  How authentic then is this letter?  Dekuek also failed to reference the letter clearly to show where he obtained it from and who had custody of it?  Careful scrutiny of this letter raises a lot of issues around its authenticity.  Mr Brian Adeba unfortunately failed to notice this questionable discrepancy.  He hurriedly waded in to support Dekuek pre-maturely saying: “Thanks for forwarding this note here.  It certainly offers a perspective about John Garang’s (and the SPLM’s) vision for a separate and independent Sudan……………. Elhag Paul’s article failed to account for Garang’s flexible stances on self determination and the evolution of these stances over a period of time.”   Until the questions posed about this letter are answered, this document remains high suspicious.   Dekuek’s knowledge of Addis Ababa agreement is so wanting.  He erroneously claims that Addis Ababa agreement was signed on 27th March 1972.  How he got this date is something that I do not understand but it says a lot about him and his ability to research.

Even if this document were to be authentic, it does not mean in any way that Dr Garang was a separatist, because from 1972 to 1983 there is nothing documented that tells the world about his life story.  The only time Dr Garang’s view of the world became known was when he released his speech on 3rd March 1983.  In this speech he clearly declares his unionist credentials and it is this that led to him later saying ‘our first bullets were fired at the separatists’.  As SPLM/A was formed in 1983 and from the word go it was a unionist movement, it is difficult to see the connection that Dekuek is trying to make in order to portray it as a separatist movement by referring to 1972.

Now it has become extremely important to address the issue raised by Adeba above regarding Garang’s flexible stance.  Adeba seems to imply that Dr Garang began to change his political position “a month prior to the coup, the SPLM had already asked the Nigerian mediator to include self determination in the agenda of the talks”.  It is true that SPLM/A had already written to the Nigerian and Sudanese governments on the issue of self determination.  Steve Wondu and Ann Lesch in their book, titled ‘The Battle for Peace in Sudan: An Analysis of Abuja Conferences 1992 – 1993’ published by University Press of America, Maryland in 2000 on page 22 confirms this point.  They state that “the independence option was therefore included in the still-united SPLM’s proposal for the Abuja agenda that was submitted to Nigerian and Sudanese government on 29th July 1991.” 

On taking this as his evidence for Garang’s flexible stance, Adeba has erred simply because he failed to consider fully the context in which SPLM/A was forced to adopt the new position.  By early 1991, Dr Garang and the SPLM/A were already aware of the developments about the impending coup.  Combat Intelligence, the feared security organ of SPLM/A which reported directly to Dr Garang detected the conspiracy by Dr Riek, Dr Akol and Koang to overthrow Dr Garang at its earliest stages.  It kept monitoring, observing and collecting detailed information on the trio.  As early as June 1991, Dr Garang was already in possession of considerable intelligence at his disposal about the intentions of the trio with their objectives.  At about this same time internally in the Sudan, South Sudanese had begun to call for secession because of the policies of the new NIF regime. 

Douglas H. Johnson in his book, titled ‘The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars’ published by Fountain Publishers in Kampala, Uganda in 2003 on page 174 writes: “The NIF government’s halt to substantive constitutional discussions in 1989 and its open pursuit of Islamist agenda revived talk of separation among many southern Sudanese living in the government-held areas.  The SPLA was already preparing a new position on self determination in 1991 when the Nasir declaration finally brought the issue of southern Sudanese independence to the fore, not just for debate among southern Sudanese but between southern and northern Sudanese.  At first the SPLA’s response seemed equivocal, in that it proposed a number of alternatives plans to self determination, including confederation within a united Sudan and an association of sovereign states.” 

So in the government controlled areas and within SPLM/A the pressure was already building up in favour of secession.  Externally, the main supporter of SPLM/A, Ethiopia started to fall apart from the advancing Ethiopian rebels.  Holistically, the intelligence pointed to one direction only and that was – a change that can be supported by the masses of the south Sudan.  That only position at the time was secession.  Hence, Dr Garang, intelligent and suave as he was tactically seized the opportunity and conceded a little to adopt self determination as an option of last resort while maintaining the policy of unity.  In doing this, Dr Garang had hoped to spoil the plans of the trio and also to firmly keep the support of South Sudanese.   He succeeded.

After the trio announced their coup in August 1991, the pressure increased on SPLM/A and it issued a public statement to confirm their new position with unity as the top priority and self determination as the option of last resort.  Arop Madut Arop in his book titled ‘Sudan’s Painful Road to Peace’ published by BookSurge, LLC.  ISBN: 1-4196-1153-4.  www.boksurge.com on pages 276 – 278 drawing from Lesch (1998) points out that the SPLA Polico-Military High Command met in Torit in September 1991 and among other recommendations it “proposed four options the movement would present to the peace conference scheduled to convene in Abuja, the Nigerian capital city.  The four options were:

1.  The maintenance of the SPLA demand for a united secular democratic state.

2.  Confederation between the north and the south

3.  Association of sovereign states

4.  During the referendum the people of the marginalised regions shall choose between unity and secession.

The last option was the most significant departure from the first one because it was the first time that the SPLM/SPLA in its eight year of armed struggle was able to give signal that the South Sudan could possibly secede if the government of the Sudan maintained its centralised and unitary Arab-Islamic state in the country.”

In political manoeuvres and the psychology of negotiations, adversaries often try to outwit their opponents by presenting or offering the opponent unpalatable propositions they knowingly are aware would be rejected to achieve their aims. In proposing self determination in July 1991, Dr Garang might have wanted to frighten the NIF with the possibility of breakup of the country so that they abandon Islamic policies for him to achieve secular democratic Sudan.  Dr Garang was aware that if the NIF rejected his proposal, he would find himself in a limbo and so he left a leeway for himself to retreat with his policy of unity intact by insisting that unity was the top priority.  So when the NIF rejected his bluff, he back off and continued to pursue the policy of united Sudan.  Amin Hamid Zeinelabdin of University of Khartoum suggested else where that the position taken by SPLM in July 1991 on self determination could have been a strategic political bluff to pressure the NIF to accept secularism.

Deducing from the above, the letter written to the Nigerians in 1991 that Adeba refers to is a product of concerted pressure internally and externally on the SPLM/A leaving it with no option.  The choice at the time was either it changed and adapted or it imploded and atrophied.  Dr Garang wisely chose the former.  Now change under such circumstance can not be referred to as ‘flexible stance’.  Dr Garang did not have many options to choose from to allow him any ‘flexible stance.’  He was forced by a very hostile atmosphere.  It is just like a hurricane coming your way.  You either evacuated or you remained and got hit and swept away.  The highest organ of the movement responded swiftly and appropriately to the fast changing political terrain by adopting self determination to save itself from demise.  Hence, it was forced to accept self determination.

Reducing Garang to a liar: Although Dr Garang and SPLM/A accepted self determination, it consistently remained as an option of last resort.  Officially, unity was the top priority and this is why when the Machakos talks started self determination was off the agenda.  Yes, Garang saw self determination as a possible solution, but it was not in his believe or preference.  It was not his political choice.  Given this record how could “Garang’s flexible stance” be justified.  Reading and arguing Garang into a separatist in the face of naked evidence is unhelpful for him as it denies him what he proudly stood for and fought for with blood.  Garang bought the position of unity with blood and this was not a joke.   Again it is not right that indirectly a leader of such formidable stature should be reduced to a liar by his own supporters rejecting his own documented words in order to mould him into what they want. 

Some South Sudanese should by now recognise that Dr Garang’s political position as a separatist is indefensible.  No matter how some people philosophise over the issue, the evidence will not go away.   The more they do it the more they disrespect Dr Garang as a formidable thinker.  Dr Garang toyed with the idea of self-determination only to maintain unity of Sudan under his ideology of the New Sudan as the first option.  Dr Garang was not only consistent in pursuing unity, but shed blood to advance it.  So, evidence to baptise Dr Garang posthumously as a separatist is thin and unfair. Thus promoting him as father of the nation can not stick because he is not.  Dr Garang could not be a father of a nation that he did not want to see born.  Therefore, please stop ascribing to Dr Garang what he did not believe in.

Having said this, it is important to note that self determination was a constant demand of South Sudanese prior to independence of the Sudan in 1956 and up to 1983 when Dr Garang zapped it with his speech of 3rd March followed by violence.  So the period in contest relates only from 1983 to 2005.  The only other South Sudanese who openly and sincerely stood for unity is Garang’s name sake: Mr Joseph Garang who was executed by Nimeiri in 1971 following the failed communist coup. 

Resting this case, it is unfortunate that Dekuek in his attempt to rebut the evidence has gone down the slippery slope clutching straws in defence of his clients.

Elhag Paul at elhagpaul@aol.com

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(4) Brian Adeba

Dear Lwal,

Thanks for forwarding this note here. It certainly offers a perspective about John Garang’s (and the SPLM’s) vision for a separate and independent South Sudan. Most significantly, Garang’s letter shows that he wasn’t opposed to the idea of self-determination. And as a matter of fact, Elhag Paul’s article failed to account for Garang’s flexible stances on self-determination and the evolution of these stances over a period of time.

In essence, as the records show (and as some of us have argued previously), the Nasir coup plotters CAN’T claim sole ownership of “introducing the self-determination agenda” in the early ’90s (This is not to say that they did not play a significant role). This is a fact. (A month prior to the coup, the SPLM had already asked the Nigerian mediator to include self-determination in the agenda of the talks). As well, the argument that Garang was totally opposed to self-determination is spurious.

Brian

twitter.com/kalamashaka

“Chance favours the prepared mind”

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(5) Dr. Majak D’Agoot (in response to Alhaq Paul)

Dear Brian & Lwal

It is hard for critics to make a convincing case that Dr. John Garang was an ardent unionist as they try in vain to misrepresent history… The life of Garang – the freedom fighter – since his mundane engagement with the South Sudanese National Liberation Struggle is choke-full of examples of deep-seated belief in South Sudanese nationalism and quest for independence…

The letter just published here in this forum (thanks to late Dr. Akec Mohammed who kept the copy for years even after Garang lost the originals) is one of the few testimonies of his legacy… His only deviation, however,  from his predecessors/contemporaries – for example Uncle Joseph Oduho, the late William Deng, Gen. Lagu, Col. Samuel Gai, my own uncle – the late Akuot Atem, Gordon Murtat, Bona Malwal, Abel Alier, Luigi Odwok, Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol, etc. – was that he introduced the most powerful tools of modern politics into the game.

He applied a superb game theory anchored in supreme principles of political and military strategy… He wasn’t, however, engaged in an abstract game that our children master on their computer screens these days but in an absolute shooting war overshadowed by complex geo-strategic and geopolitical environments… Dr. Garang understood very well the adage (attributed to Sun Tzu) that “War is a master of great concern to a people/country, a province of life and death, the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be carefully studied.”  Despite of these boundless challenges, Dr. Garang had a gift of boiling hard problems in political calculus down to simple and manageable proportions in addition to his unmatched will-power… For those of us who were closely associated with him during the war, we simply clang to him because he was patriotic, consistent, and focused… He was perhaps complex and hard to pin down in certain occasions but that was understandable… For those of us that he trusted absolutely and fought the war together with him, we knew what he wanted; which was, in fact, in perfect fit with what we also wanted…

Self-determination as is always debated on this forum was not to be won on empty proclamations, sloganeering, or even through nonviolent means. Rather, it was to be won through a protracted struggle that took many lives and eventually weakened the resolve of the most determined and even fanatic opponent that Khartoum was…

The chronicles of self-determination teaches us that our Chiefs called for it in the Juba Conference of 1947 in their own expressions before the advent of the political science’s parlance into our political vocabulary. At the Malakal’s Southern Front Convention of February 1965, part of Southern elites assembled under this political rubric (SF), such as Hilary Lugali, Bona Malwal, Abel Alier, Gordon Abyei, Clement Mboro, Luigi Adwok, etc., called for self-determination and pursued it through the Round Table Conference… Historically, it derived largely from the early call for self-determination in the 1940s by the Northern elites from the Condominia..

Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol have, however, stayed in the SPLM for almost a decade before the split… Akuot Atem and Samuel Gai even took part in the formation of the SPLM in July 1983 and including the drafting of the first Manifesto which we used till September 1984 and which talked about the Problem of the Sudan… It was reviewed and reprinted in Libya after the First Split in 1984 to suit the new realities… Therefore, what ripped Southerners apart in the two bloody splits (1983 and 1991) that we have seen during the Second War was power struggle and not differences in the objectives of the struggle…

You know my views on this topic as contained in my unpublished piece: “Defying Mao’s Archetype: Analysis of the Sluggishness of the Periphery-originated Insurgencies in the Sudan” which I shared with you last year…

At broad brush, Dr. Garang acquired his bearings right through a well-thought-out, diagnostic net assessment of the complex situation in which South Sudanese fought the two protracted liberation wars… He analysed trends and asymmetries in relative strengths and weaknesses of the South as opposed to its adversary(ies)…He also considered broader factors ( instruments of power) such as demographics, economy, allies, military capabilities, strategic culture, disruptive phenomena (uncertainty), which may affect the balance of power in the long-term…

My submission (or rather contention), as yours my friend, is to discourage these misrepresentations and misalignments of history which are crafted to fit egocentric discourse that is out-of-path with historical facts… Furthermore, I also concur with you that Dr. John Garang’s contribution shouldn’t be linked to any particular ethnicity, region or creed… John Garang was an archenemy of sectarianism and would turn manifold in his grave if he were to know that this was what the South Sudan is determined to to become after his death..

Kindest regards

Dr. Majak D’Agoot

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(6) Dr. Isaac Gang (in response to Dr. Majak D’Agoot)

Hello all,

I really enjoyed reading the rejoinder from one of my role models, Dr. Majak D’ Agoot because it was full of logical arguments despite eventually falling in the same trap as those he was trying to correct. I made it a point to stay away from these type of discussions not because they are not important in shaping the direction of our nascent nation but due the fact that the way we approach them threatens the very existence of the same.

While I generally agree with Brian Adeba that the architects of 1991 cannot be fully credited with the introduction of self-determination into the national consciousness, for national heroes such as Samuel Gai Tut, Hilary Lugali, Joseph Lagu, Akuot Atem, Both Dieu, Luigi Adwok, Biliw Reath Kok, William Deng Nhial, to mention a few, are on the record calling for self-determination (as correctly recalled by Dr. Agoot), dismissing the contribution of Dr. Riek Machar and those who stood with him, such as Dr. Lam Akol, Arok Thon Arok, Joseph Uduho and others, is nothing short of misrepresentation of history.

While my fellow comrade, Dr. Agoot, is correct in asserting that Dr. John Garang was a very shrewd liberator, whose strategic calculations were often concealed from the average man’s plain comprehension as circumstances dictated, thinking that this intricate ideology should have been a common knowledge is simply asking for too much from our SPLM/SPLA masses. While I personally belief, based on critical analysis of the historical events, That Dr. John was a unionist by day and a separatist by night, I don’t expect everyone to conduct the same analysis in order to come to the same conclusion as my comrade, Dr. Agoot, appears to expect from the average South Sudanese since most people sleep at night. This phenomenon, in my opinion, explains what Dr. Agoot described as discrepancies between the time the the manifesto was drafted and the time those who expressed dissatisfaction with the direction of the movement both in 1983 and 1991 make it known.

What a balanced Historian would concluded when analyzing these historical events is that the few analytical thinkers within the SPLM/A leadership wanted, at some points, Dr. John to be a separatist by day, especially when circumstances were conducive, so that the average man in the SPLM/A will know what the heck is going on. When I was a Jesh el Amer in group 3 at Tharpam in Itang, my colleagues and I were just happy to get up early in the morning to attend the parade and sing songs, but I am sure we would eventually want to know what is going on in a plain language since it was a struggle for us putting a complete sentence together leave alone analyze anything.

The point I am trying to make here is that the events of 1991 opened the eyes of the average South Sudanese given the plain language of the objective. This forced the late Dr. John Garang to be a separatist by day as he called the first SPLM Convention in Chukudum in 1994 making the self-determination a twin objective of the movement. Dr. Agoot knows this very well.

Furthermore, a Jalaba would rather die of thirst rather than drinking from a glass with a ‘self-determination’ written on it before 1997. After 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA), this was a forgone conclusion as the precedent was set in that document recognizing the right of self-determination by the people of South Sudan. These are just some of the reasons why it is important for anyone trying to right the wrong to do so without misrepresenting the history, however bitter it maybe.

So just like I believe that those who put Dr. John only in the box of unionist are distorting history either intentionally or otherwise, those like Dr. Agoot, who refute and correct them by dismissing the events of 1983 and 1991 as mere ‘power struggle’ not deserving of any credit for the achievement of self-determination, are also guilty of the same crime.

The lesson here is to get our history right.

Dr. Isaac Gang

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(7) Dr. Majak D’Agoot (in response to Dr. Isaac Gang)

Dear Dr. Kang,

Millions of congratulations on your recent academic achievement. The acquisition of critical skills by individual citizens coupled with nationwide human capital accumulation have a centrality as well as far-reaching consequence on leapfrogging socioeconomic recovery in a post-conflict environment such as the case of South Sudan. Again, accept my congratulations on a persuasive but impressive critique on my ‘on-the-ground account’ on the thesis and antithesis of the South Sudanese Self-Determination.

This anger-free approach that we adopted, provides a pathfinder to navigate through the labyrinth of distortions of history that have been largely responsible for the ‘Dilemma of a Southern Intellectual’ to quote the less celebrated son of South Sudan – the late Joseph Garang. These ill-conceived and incoherent accounts appalled our conflict-injured psyche; even generating more intricate lines of traps that are difficult to undo. Put another way, for us to crack the nut of historical mystery that has always shrouded our accounts, we need this kind of sobriety to find answers to plethora questions that are yet to be dissected..

Comparing my rejoinder to the one you posted on this forum, I admit that we have both made a case that epitomises the side of argument that is fundamentally progressive. My contention on the splits of the SPLM by describing them as being power-driven, has provided, in my view, a cure to misrepresentation rather than a mere palliative or  exercibating   the phenomenon.

I strongly argued that denying Dr. Garang the glory of our hard-won independence that he led; and that he didn’t even live to take a pie, is unpatriotic, shameful, and completely out of synch with the realities that you and I had lived in the bush. For we know that it is a virtue and value for an enlightened mind to be intellectually astute and altruistic but not simply degenerate into entertaining a make-believe that “a glorious history is often a story of the living to the injustice of the dead”.

While the SPLM/A and its bush leadership (Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol included) and populations in the rebel-controlled South absorbed the bulk of the costs, other South Sudanese in Khartoum-held towns and Diaspora variedly shared in footing the bill of freedom. Hence, we should equally accept the grades that history has assigned to us during this arduous and daunting historical experience – the war. If Dr. John Garang has stood out of the pack as an outstanding contributor to our freedom, it doesn’t assume away the fact that others too, have made their great and modest contributions…

Indisputably, the call for Self-Determination, as I said, attributes its genesis in South Sudanese political lexicon to the call for the same right by the Northerners from the Condominia in the 1940s. Uncle Both Diew and his colleagues made their first robust call mirrored on Northern demands from the Condominia but building on a solid foundation of the 1947 Juba Conference that carried this aspiration. So, in terms of articulating it, no party has even done better than the elite-based Southern Front (SF) in mid-1960s.. The question is not really about who said it first, last, less, or more than others. Rather, it is about who really fought for it and delivered it in the final analysis…

It is because of this reality of lethality of Khartoum and the fear of becoming pawns in the geopolitics of the Cold War, that our leaders on both sides of the divide (Akuot-Gai politicians’ Alliance Versus Garang-Kerubino-Nyuon Militarists’ Axis in 1983; Riek – Lam Nasir Alliance Versus Garang-Salva Torit Alliance in 1991) chose this vagueness and obscurity of objective. But this vagueness in what was abandoned to Garang to become his discourse and legacy, drew to the SPLM a large number of combatants from the peripheral North, who during the Anyanya War, were in support of the riparian Arab clientele State..

This strategic correctness is responsible, to greater degree, for the tremendous groundswell of opposition to the regime in Khartoum and which has helped us reaching the referendum during the interim period and may help in shaping the undemarcated border between the Sudan and the South Sudan.  

These splits, I contend, were therefore driven by power struggle among the political and military elites of South Sudan.. If this proposition is considered farfetched or admonished by some people, let somebody out there provide a failsafe hypothesis on:

A) Why did Akuot-Gai Alliance took part in the founding of the SPLM and even participated in outlining its objectives, principles, as well as its political and military structures ( The Executive Committee, The Central Committee, The Military High Command; not The Politico-Military High Command that the Militarists constituted out of the two organs after falling out with Akuot-Gai Alliance and subsequently with Joseph Oduho and Justice Martin Majier); and not proclaiming secessionism right away? Why did their call for secession become more pronounced after losing the support of the Ethiopians who lent their full support to the Militarists ostensibly on belief that they would deliver well on the geopolitical/geostrategic duels of the Cold War?

B) Why did Dr. Lam Akol and Edward Lino recommended Dr. Garang – the unionist – to the Ethiopian Ambassador in Khartoum few weeks after the Bor Mutiny as the most promising candidate among other prospective leaders (Dr. Lam and Edward have talked publicly about this meeting)? Why did Dr. Lam followed four years later to join a ‘Unionist Organisation”? Why did Dr. Machar join the SPLM/A in 1984 when it was already founded on unionist principles? Do most of our Forum members know that Dr. Machar, Dr. Benjamin Bol Akook, Dr. Chol Dau, Dr. Marial Benjamin, Dr. Thomas Gordon, Justice Mabil Anyieth, Justice John Luk, among others, had set up another unionist movement with Dr. Machar and Dr. Akook as cochairmen and even visited Libya on that political ticket in October 1983? Why did Dr. Machar stayed in a unionist organisation that the SPLM/A was for seven years before splitting in 1991?

Returning to diagnostics of the 1991 split, I dismiss the justification of it on grounds of the call for Self-Determination based on the aforementioned points. However, I reluctantly espouse the justification of the coup on grounds of democracy and human rights even though the Nasir experience did not walk the talk on these principles and values.

But in the interest of fairness and objectivity, by 1991, most SPLA officers had already been alarmed by Dr. Garang’s tendency to centralised authority to the detriment of initiative and autonomous action which are both highly required in a Guerrilla organisation. Accusations of autocratic leadership and abuse of human rights were already a talk in the streets/roads of Itang (our then Refugee Capital), our bases inside Ethiopia and liberated areas as good portion of our leaders languished in jail.. When Kerubino challenged Garang in 1987, he premised his justification on account of lack of structures (not democracy and human rights of course)..

Whether or not the split has induced change and democratic reforms in the movement, I submit that it is true. But look at the bigger ballgame: the end of the Call War, the fall of the Mangistu Derg regime, politics of NIF radical Islam, etc as other key variables that have also delivered even the most robust influence on Dr. Garang to make reforms… Additionally, the call for Self-Determination by Nasir Group coincided with the wind of change that blew across the former Soviet Union and the then Eastern Bloc and the Eritrean victory.

This was the era when a call for secession was not any longer a taboo but a celebrated orthodoxy.. As an intellectual, you may be persuaded to accept a proposition that this call was opportunistic given its timing. I would also make a contestation if this claim was genuine why did this call was not made prior to the end of the Cold War; say, in 1988, 1989, or 1990, for instance…

Was this not power struggle sugarcoated in these slogans? If there is another most powerful argument out there than this modest one, I would rest my case; or we should avoid deluding ourselves.

Kindest regards

Dr. Majak

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(8) Dr. James Okuk (a rejoinder to Dr. Majak’s)
Folks,

The below post from Dr. Majak  D’ Agoot is more interesting as it confirms my assertion earlier that we should write credible history of founding fathers of South Sudan in an inclusive and sincere manner, and without tendency of creating a personality cult for any one particular person or tribe.”

The strong point Dr. Agoot put forward in his latest post is that evolution and change took place within the SPLM/A leaders. These comrades might have appeared unionists institutionally at the start due to geo-political politicking of the time. That is, Dr. John Garang formed a unionist SPLM/A in 1980s together with those of Mr. Salva Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol and others. There was no objection raised against SPLM/A unionistic Manifesto by then prior to founding, joining or being in it (SPLM/A).

But later after 1990s, objection popped up as some of these leaders changed to become separatists by proposing institutionalization of the right to self-determination for Southern Sudanese, and with a consequence of secession as opposed to unity of the Sudan. As the demand of the situation became greater, Dr. John Garang changed too and accepted the new move towards self-determination. In 2005 Dr. Garang went as far as telling Southerners to choose between being Second Class Citizen in the Sudan or First Class Citizen in their own South Sudan Republic.

Surely, this suggestive rhetoric shows that Dr. John Garang became a changed man for an independent South Sudan. The same rhetoric was adopted and given more weight by Mr. Salva Kiir, Mr. Pagan Amum and other Southerners later (after the untimely death of Dr. Garang), especially during the campaign for the referendum for self-determination.

Thus, it may be concluded that if being unionist is a political sin in South Sudan, all SPLM/A and other leaders have sinned. No one among them could be clean to take the first separatist stone and throw it at another leader. Also if change makes sense in political dynamism, all of these leaders should be given credit of having shifted from unionists to separatists, even at the last second of eleven hour.

Having established this understanding of political dynamism in Southern Sudanese politics of liberation, then it could become comfortable to draw the criteria of naming the significant founding fathers of the Republic of South Sudan without biases or prejudices.

Sincerely,

Dr. James Okuk

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(9) Dr. James Okuk (a follow up)

Folks,

This is a very interesting exchange of ideas. It is the right path of sifting and finding the real truth from myths. It is the correct way of search for putting records straight (i.e writing credible history of the founding fathers of of South Sudan) to be taught to next generations.

But the core question remains: who is (are) really the founding father(s) of South Sudan Republic?

AlHag Paul refuted the common claims that it is Dr. John Garang who is the founding father of South Sudan. Nonetheless, he did not advance beyond this refutation to tell us exactly who is (are) really the founding father(s) of the new republic by names. Perhaps he found it difficult to pin this down with a simple answer.

Brian Adebe, Dr. Majak D’ Agoot, Dr. Isaac K. Geng and others have only reacted to AlHag’s critique by refuting his denial that Dr. John Garang is not the founding father of South Sudan. Nevertheless, they did not come out directly to say who (by names) should really be crown with historical honor of founding father(s) of the Republic of South Sudan. Maybe their current positions in the SPLM/A makes it sensitive for them to go specific.

I would have given a competent answer if I were not a student in this field of compiling objective literature of history of the the Republic of South Sudan. This novitiate situation tempts me to lean to the side of AlHag Paul.

I see a separatist as a separatist whether at night time or day time; likewise a unionist. The time (day or night) of practice doesn’t matter to me; the practice itself matters.

If Dr. John Garang was both a separatist and a unionist irrespective of time difference, then this dualism puts me into a serious dilemma of specific identification or ‘sectionalization’. Hence, it makes it very sophisticated for me to pin him down as a founding father of South Sudan Republic conveniently, far away from propagandist or sympathetic tendency.

But a hard fact remains; SPLM/A Chairman Dr. John Garang negotiated or perhaps accepted the right of self-determination in the CPA to get institutionalized in the Republic of the Sudan  (as it was done with Khartoum and Fashoda Peace Agreements), and with a consequence of possible secession for independence of South Sudan.

Dr. Garang ensured that this right was guaranteed internationally by the UN, IGAD, friends of IGAD and other forces. Also he ensured that this right was guaranteed nationally by the SPLA as an independent military force ready to recommence the war in case of violation.

The same situation was accepted by President Omer Al-Bashir and Vice-President Ali Osman Taha until it reached down to the people of Southern Sudan in order to put it into real practice of individual votes (i.e., referendum).

In other word, if the SPLM/A Chairman Dr. Garang and the Sudan President Al-Bashir did not institutionalize the right of self-determination and guaranteed its practice, it wouldn’t have been possible for the people of South Sudan to separate from the Sudan peacefully in a democratic manner. Also, if the people of South Sudan did not go out massively to practice the right of their self-determination in the renowned referendum, there wouldn’t have been a republic called South Sudan in the World map as we have it today. 

That is, the decision for the separation of South Sudan was complimentary (i.e., it was not one-way traffic or one-man show).  Thus, AlHag Paul was partially right that it was the people of South Sudan who who decided to separate and declare their independent state. They are the heroes and founding fathers/mothers of South Sudan. However, this could have not been possible without political will from leaders of the Republic of the Sudan (Southern Sudan included by then).

Can we say here too that Mr. Salva Kiir and other living leaders of South Sudan who ensured ( i.e., political will) that the referendum for self-determination took place as agreed in the CPA, are the founding fathers of the new republic? Partly I can say yes, but with no prejudice to those who cleared the road before them in struggle for separation and independence of South Sudan, whether by military or democracy force.

In a nutshell, we should write credible history of founding fathers of South Sudan in an inclusive and sincere manner, and without tendency of creating a personality cult for any one particular person or tribe.

History should be written fairly that South Sudan has many founding fathers and not one founding father. But we should find a proper criterion of doing this so that we don’t flood our history with so many insignificant founding fathers. The core criteria here should be the political contribution of the selected founding fathers and with a clear road-map; not mere military courage or majoritarian tribal backing.

Sincerely,

Dr. James Okuk

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(10) By Peter Gatkuoth (in response to the debate)

Dear brothers and sisters,

I came late to realize that the topic is about the vision of the movement. I would respond to you as quickly to give you more medicine and to help you understand what the vision mean. The New Sudan Vision is a life history and it is subject to personal interpretation. It is a Vision rooted in a philosophical design and only few among us know what it really meant.

Although you may not agree with it, it is just a matter of how you interpret it and use it as a daily history to be preached. Yes, I know most of us are not aware of what the Vision aimed at or leaned towards but some people who criticize Dr. John Garang that he is a unionist do not even remember that John Garang was a young frontier of A/A one. If there is anything brought to light by the group of A/A, John Garang would have credit in the part of the phase one of the struggles.

The worse things that caught the man with mental capacity was how to frame the Vision into one with more arrays within it. As I said above that the vision is subject to interpretation is because how you understand it may thus be the way you preach it but the reality is there. It would take thousands of pages to link you with the fact but hatred has gotten rooms in the life of individuals and therefore, they fail to hear the voice of reasoning of how the vision is about…..

First, John Garang himself was a very separatist-minded person, and I am here to preach why but having the mental capability to deceive and bring the Arab alliance inclusive would never be a job of someone with that short mental ability. Dr. Garang preached the separation in his own ways by using the alliance of Southerners and Northerners to fight for the cause of our way to separation.

In the Nuer culture, there was a story of man who was so hungry and need to eat but he cannot find anything to eat. Few hours later, he found a bunch of many young men who killed an ox for certain celebration. He looked at their eyes and concluded that they will not give him the meat he wants to survive quickly. Instead, the guy involves himself in the process of preparing and putting meat together while the young men were chanting.

After few minutes, he was asked “what do you want?” The guy responded that he wanted the whole body of the cow. They young men reacted and said, “just give him one leg of the cow”……you know how big is the part of the leg.The man smiled and said, “okay I will take it, and I am sorry.” The groups laughed and just told him to eat and take that part of the cow later when he decided to leave.

This is the same scenario to the vision. The vision of the SPLM/A by Dr. Garang is something he does not wanted to disclose to all members of the SPLM/A. When some commanders asked him as to what the vision meant, he always asked them that when you reach where you think worth more for you, stop right there and I will continue alone.

It is like when people asked Jesus, he always answered them with questions and few are the one to capture the tone of the reasoning and interpret it appropriately.

Take care and expect me to come back or I will try to put something together for readers if I manage to have few hours free later today.

Peter Reat Gatkuoth

Costa Rica, Central America 

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(11) By Bol Deng (in appreciation of Dr. Majak and Dr. Ganng Arguments)

Dear All,

Now that Dr. Majak D’Agoot and Dr. Isaac Gang have engaged in this epistemologically, high-pitched intellectual debate on the politics of unity and secession as well as the call for self-determination; in addition to factual accounts by Mr. Deng Atem de Garang and Isaiah Abraham on Sudantribune and Newsudanvision, I strongly believe that the key thesis of Mr. Elhag Paul and his apologists has been shattered and put to rest, once and for all.

The second issue of who is the father or are the fathers of the nation is trivial and marginal. I suspect that could be the reason why Dr. Agoot and Dr. Gang focused more on the theme of self-determination, unity and separation and brushed this aside completely. Obviously, it is not Dr. Garang, neither his family nor his socalled tribe/clan who made the decision of being called so. In the interest of fairness, it is the powers that be who proclaimed him as the national hero and father of the nation. What I know, the Committee for the Celebrations of South Sudan Independence were chaired by Dr. Machar. The people who made official statements during the celebrations were President Kiir and Speaker Igga.

If any decision of or any statement ‘deifying Dr. Garang’ were taken or made, Mr. Alhag and those debating this like Dr. Okuk should ask the powers that be why so. This makes me wonder on why some people on this forum were perplexed on why President Salva, VP Dr. Machar, or Speaker Igga were not the ones proclaimed as fathers of the nation, or among other fathers of the nation. Perhaps they made a deliberate decision to leave it to you and the posterity to judge them when their bones are long interred. Then, how could the dead person build a personality cult as Dr. Okuk claims? I thought what amounts to creating a personality cult is what he is exactly doing by promoting Dr. Lam Akol as a hero in a broad daylight forgery.

Again, this same argument renders the theology and philosophical innuendos of my admirable Professor, Dr. Alfred Lokuji absolutely redundant. As a theologian myself, there was one Virgin Birth that I know and that is of our Lord Jesus Christ. Other births- including our independence are pure natural processes; often, involving political and social intercourse. But like other sacred human activity, are blessed by the Holy Spirit. The blessings that Sarah and Abraham received to have Isaac; or Elizabeth and Zachariah received to have John the Baptism, could be more analogously correct and theologically relevant. South Sudan did not just drop down from the Heaven on the eve of the independence. Rather, it was delivered through a rough intercourse with adverse factors such as war and after stressful years of infertility and stigma.

On intellectual bias, Professor Lokujji is aware, I believe, that viewpoints are not belief-proof. Even in his own academic writings – probably including his doctoral thesis (if read critically) – he must have subtly included a few of his hunches, beliefs or bias. I’ve experienced this dilemma in writing my two short theses for Master’s of Theology and Master’s of Business Administration where I sneaked in a few biased positions about my religion, my country and the struggle of its people. My supervisors noted them but they were not fatally subjective. So, to a certain degree, objectivity is relative.

As for how the nurses run the nursery these days, this is none of Dr. Garang’s business as it concerns the living. His mission is accomplished and the rest is left to you and me to fix. In a nutshell, I thought Professor Lokuji could have simply posted a new article on his views on the future of the country than just putting everything together in one lest we digress.

God bless

Bol Deng
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(12) Dr. James Okuk (in response to Bol Deng) 
Dear Bol Deng,

1. The question of the “Founding Father(s)” of South Sudan is neither trivial nor marginal as you may think. In fact, it is the most important one now as we try to write history of the new republic. That is why it is drawing interest and reactions from Southerners. Of course, this question could be sensitive to Dr. Majak D’ Agoot and Dr. Isaac K. Geng due to the positions they are holding now on SPLM ticket. This might be the reason of their tactic of avoidance.

2. Where I disagree with ElHage Paul is when he denies that Dr. John Garang should not be crown with the honour of “Founding Father” of South Sudan. For me, his argument did not consider the aspect of political dynamism in the politics of South Sudan liberation. He failed to notice that Dr. Garang become a changed man later towards separation of South Sudan.

3. Also where I disagree with you is when you try by any means (especially fallacy of appeal to SPLM and RSS authority) to betray the African spirit of solidarity and inclusivity. You seem to endorse the anti-thesis of ElHag Paul that the statue of Dr. Garang should be the only one erected in Juba and other parts of South Sudan. In other word, Dr. Garang has been chosen as the only “Founding Father” of the Republic of South Sudan by crowning him hero of the heroes during the declaration of our independence. Hence, he should remain being so alone as far as the government of the day and the living SPLM leaders are comfortable with this scene.

4. But for me, this is exclusivity and unfair action to history. Yes, Dr. Garang is a “Founding Father” but not him alone. We are proud to have his statue in Juba and other places in South Sudan as well as his head on all specimens of our currency. Nonetheless, this should not be the terminal. We need to go further and crown other “Founding Fathers and Mothers” in accordance with sincere criteria of selection and naming. It will make me more prouder to see statues of other “Founding Fathers and Mothers” of South Sudan being erected side by side with that of Dr. John Garang.

Sincerely,

Dr. James Okuk

Was Dr. John Garang a Unionist or a Separatist.pdf Was Dr. John Garang a Unionist or a Separatist.pdf
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CONFIDENTIAL REPORT

On the Joint meeting of the SPLM/A leadership Council, General Military Command Council, Heads of Commissions, SPLM Secretariats, SPLM County Secretaries, Civil Society & Community Leaders.

RUMBEK 29TH OF NOVEMBER TO 1ST OF DECEMBER 2004

DAY 1 Opening Prayer: Rev. Clement Janda
Introduction: Cdr. Dr. Riek Machar
Briefing: Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit

Introduction

Cdr. Dr. Riek Machar Thanked Cdr. Mark Nyipuoch, Cdr. Dr. John Garang and the other participants and announced the beginning of the meeting, which had been ordered by the Chairman. The first part of the meeting comprised of the leadership council, the Secretariats, and the members of the General Staff. The second part was composed of the members of IGAD team, and the Commissioners and Secretaries of the SPLM.

In the opening of the meeting the Chairman Cdr. Dr. John Garang, thanked members of the SPLM/A national leadership Council and welcomed all the participants who traveled to Rumbek. ‘I thank you in the name of the Almighty God. To begin with I wrote two messages:

One on 14/11/004 (No. 001/11/004) to address the following accusations/rumours;
• That there was a meeting held in Nairobi under the Chairmanship of myself where Cdr. Salva Kiir would be replaced by the Chairman with Cdr. Nhial Deng.
• That I went to Kampala and met with Cdr. Pieng and ordered him to arrest Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit.
• That Cdr. Malual Majok went to Ramciel to collect forces to go and arrest Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit at Yei.

They are all lies and a big propaganda initiative.

The second message was on 23/11/04 calling for this meeting which we are now convening today and where I want to make a general briefing about the signing of peace next month in which each and every one should be informed accordingly.

Cdr. Machar then welcomed Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit to brief the national leadership meeting where he welcomed the Chairman and C-in-C and the national leadership. ‘I confirm the two messages read to you by the Chairman are all true. The rumours came from Nairobi and around the leadership of the SPLM/A. The second message I got was through Cdr. Pagan Amum who was visiting the liberated areas with friends from friendly countries. I requested Cdr. Mabior Kuer to ask the HQs why I am not talking directly to the Chairman. I spoke to the Chairman when he was in Kampala and he told me that I should meet him in Yirol, which I didn’t reply to in the light of the rumours.

The rumours implied that I will be arrested at Ramciel where the Chairman was, so I decided not to go. When I received that rumour, I called the security personnel in Yei and discussed the issue in length with them. I also informed them to find out where the sources of the rumours from Nairobi were coming from, which they did.

After I spoke with the Chairman, I also met Cdr. Pieng in Yei for the whole day and he was advising me to join the Chairman in Yirol, which I refused. After that I met Cdr. Kuol Manyang and Cdr. Deng Alor. They came from Nairobi with information that I should go to Nairobi for reconciliation between the two of us. I considered the word reconciliation as something very serious, and therefore decided to tell them that I will not go to Nairobi. The HQs of the Chairman complained that they were calling me and that if I recognized their number, I would switch off the telephone. That is not true; I never received any call from them and switch off my telephone.

I assure you that the allegation that I am against peace is not true. I am really for peace so that the International Community could rescue our suffering people. People of Bahr El Ghazal have suffered too much from repeated famine and from the Arab militias – and for these reasons I am the first to embrace peace to relief them from suffering. Peace efforts such as the Wunlit Peace Conference have up to date ceased hostilities between Western Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal; and that is good. So I need peace. There are those who want to create confusion in the Movement and fabricate such things. I don’t have personal problem with the Chairman.

If we are National Leaders, which I don’t believe we are because we have no cohesion within our leadership structure, let us be sincere with ourselves. After meetings are concluded, we run to foreign countries. There is no code of conduct to guide the Movement’s structures. When the Chairman leaves for abroad, no directives are left and no one is left to act on his behalf. I don’t know with whom the Movement is left with; or does he carry it in his own brief case?

The Chairman killed the national Executive Council (NEC) by creating the leadership Council. But there is no provision in the Convention for a ‘Leadership Council’. Does he want to revive the Political Military High Command? The Leadership Council creates a situation where all are directly reporting to the Chairman – including SPLM County Secretaries. When I mentioned these facts, they should not be construed to be my personal or family problems. Those around the Chairman don’t tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from a finance officer to one at the lowest level.

Corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate.

In fact, there are many outstanding administrative problems that require our attention. These include the infrequent converting of conferences at the leadership level, causing an absence in the SPLA/M chain of command and making others to directly communicate with the Chairman without following the right procedures. This should be corrected. If the responsibility of Governors goes directly to the Chairman, what will be the work of Cdr. Daniel Awet? I hope Cdr. Daniel Awet will address all those things. The Chairman should not make appointments of SPLM County Secretaries; it is the work of the Governors.

The other issue I would like Comrade Chairman to address is how the CANS structures are now operating, e.g., take the absence of the SPLM Regional Secretary for Bahr El Gazal from his area of responsibility while there has been sporadic tribal feuds within the region – and which has resulted into sectional conflict. The Chairman most of the time send Cdr. Deng Alor on foreign missions which were supposed to be the work of Cdr. Nhial Deng.

There are several other administrative issues that require correction. We are three Deputies without functions. The Chairman is responsible for all systems including the Army General Headquarters. Our HQs. started in Yei, then Rumbek, then new Cush and now Ramciel. When are we going to establish our HQs? The deputies of the General Staff are the ones commanding the forces; they should stay in the General Headquarters instead of commanding. Yet the Chairman is the one who dismantled the General Headquarters. Comrade Chairman, the establishment of the General headquarters hasn’t been fulfilled and this I have been requesting ever since Yei was liberated. Branch officers such as the Director of Military Intelligence and his deputy are now in your Headquarters, though they are supposed to remain at the General Headquarters. The Chairman concentrates on his headquarters forgetting the rest of the army. It is only his headquarters, which has military uniforms, boots and other supplies.

Our present situation requires us to be organized and prepared. If peace is signed, the question is; what have we done in training our military cadres so that they meet the standard of their counterparts in the integrated army. There are rumours that the Chairman had already selected by name those Commanders who would command the Joint Integrated Army. What about the rest of the army and who will pay them? The Chairman seems to have taken the Movement as his own property. As we leave Rumbek after this meeting, I would like to see that all our administrative issues be addressed and implemented following this meeting’s resolutions.

I would also want Comrade Chairman to give me full powers of the Chief of the General Staff (COGS) to enable me expedite the regrouping and reorganization of the SPLA, and if Comrade Chairman sees that I am not able to do that job, then he can appoint another person to do it.

The Chairman is to be 1st Vice-President of the Sudan and the head of the Government of Southern Sudan, but he is not talking to Southerners. The North is organizing southern militias so that we fight among ourselves. We must unite our own ranks and not just unity with the north. On a personal basis, I don’t have any problems with the Chairman but our working relationship is bad and leaves a lot to be desired.

I would also like to say something about rampant corruption in the Movement. At the moment some members of the Movement have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system are we going to establish in South Sudan considering ourselves indulged in this respect.

2nd Session

 Response from the Chairman. I give the floor to the national leadership to comment on what had been said by Cdr. Salva Kiir, I don’t want this to be a debate between Cdr. Salva Kiir and I.

Edward Lino thanked the Chairman and said we are really in need of resolving the problems within the SPLM/A. The people of Abyei are accused of being Dr. John’s supporters and as such, are victimized for that. Cdr. Pieng made an intervention that Cdr. Edward was not addressing the issues.

Cdr. Elijah Malok stated he really supported what Cdr. Salva Kiir said, and recommended that a collective leadership be created. Here in Bahr El Ghazal Cdr. Deng Alor has been away for too long and these are known facts; the leadership council should address and resolve these outstanding issues and go back on the right track. Let us form committees to reorganize the army, since all the units are here. I don’t believe what Cdr. Mayardit said about the people being victimized. Structures are to be recognized right way as a government so let us reorganize them and work in the right way as a government.

Dr. Justin Yac. I will go with the suggestion of Cdr. Pieng that the Chairman response to the issues raised by Cdr. Salva Kiir.

Cdr./Dr. John Garang I will give my contribution to what has been raised; that firstly we need to dispose of rumours. In the whole of South Sudan, there is a general concern from the citizens, and in Yei, the officers and citizens believe there is a danger facing the Movement. We have to clear the danger and give our people assurances.

Cdr. Salva Kiir and I have been together in the movement for 22 years, and have been close friends, and we will continue that way. 22 years of friendship can’t be thrown away by rumours; Cdr. Salva will be with me now until the end of the interim period and beyond, and I will cite what was said when I visited Malual Kon and the “Luak” of the family of Cdr. Salva where I entered the house to show comradeship and a long cherished friendship. At a meeting while visiting there we were told, “You are the two orphans” left because the original members of the High Command died, both of us will carry on to bring peace.

I cited what happened at New Site recently when the Chiefs a ceremony where a bull was sacrificed to show how we are united. At the spiritual performance, one traditional leader said that 4 things will happen:-
1. The bull will urinate.
2. The bull will fall down.
3. The bull will face the North.
4. The bull will die without being slaughtered.

And all the four happened.

The allegation that I was going to dismiss Cdr. Salva and arrest him was not only a lie, but it did not even occur in my mind. I was preoccupied with the peace process and not trying to create a crisis. Before UN Security Council Meeting, I received a telephone call from President Bush who said that he now had those who will work with him during the next four years and that I am one of them. President Bush said, “John don’t let us down. We want peace before the end of the year”.

The allegation that I will be replacing Cdr. Salva was a bad lie. If Cdr. Salva was dismissed and replaced with Cdr. Nhial Deng Nhial, it would mean that I would have dismissed all those senior to Cdr. Nhial which includes Cdr. Riek, Cdr. James, Cdr. Daniel Awet, Cdr. Lual Diing, etc. – which would be bad for the Movement. So this allegation is a lie. The crisis only has the support of our enemies who want a crisis in the Movement. This situation was created by our enemies because they do not want to sign the peace agreement.

The Chairman pointed out that the GOS has never been happy with the protocols, specially the Machakos protocol, because of the self-determination clause. The GOS and their supporters don’t accept the security arrangement and the Wealth Sharing Agreement, which gives the South of Sudan 51%. The Khartoum Government wants to reject the agreement being signed or at least delay it. By delaying in signing, Khartoum will gain $2.5 billion from the oil revenues, which we must prevent by all means possible. Khartoum was unhappy with the Power Sharing and 3 areas protocols. Neither I nor Cdr. Salva had any interest in delaying the peace agreement. I have nothing to gain by dismissing Cdr. Salva.

Finally I have never had any thought of dismissing Cdr. Salva. And it should be considered a lie. This rumour has caused commotion everywhere in Southern Sudan, Khartoum and the Diaspora – so I will assure our people everywhere and send a strong message to Khartoum Government that they will not divide the SPLM/A.

Cdr. Salva and I are innocent of the situation, and four of our leaders will appear in a press conference telling the whole world about our unity and that there is no problem among SPLM/A members. Secondly, I want to assure you of my confidence in Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit. My relationship with Cdr. Salva goes back to 1983 – Cdr. Chagai Atem, Kerubino and many others were close to me. I still have personal relationship with Cdr. Salva and I trust and have confidence in him. This is needed now than ever before. I want Cdr. Salva to be around me during the interim period, and beyond.

The Government of Sudan called upon all the Newspapers to stop making allegations against the Movement. So let us put that issue to rest.

Secondly, Cdr. Salva said that I brought all the officers around me, leaving him alone in vacuum. What I can say is that is not true.

On internal reforms, I agree that reforms are necessary. We are all behind them. We have been making reforms since 1983, e.g., the Zonal Command, Political High Command, NLC, NEC, etc.. these structures can be changed but the objective remains the same. Our imperfect structures have brought us to the present day. Let us not throw away these structures now, otherwise we will throw ourselves away.

The Chairman urged the meeting to introduce changes slowly. He said he is for change but slow change. The Chairman reiterated that all SPLM/A members will be protected; he assured all members that no one will be left out. On the issue of new comers who are said to be taking over the Movement, he said we should accept all southerners new or old because there are more southerners than members of the SPLM/A who must be accommodated; but no newcomer will displace anyone who has been with us for years.

On the appointment of Governors; all Governors will be appointed from their respective areas, e.g. in Lakes the Governor here will come from Lakes. As for States, people of each State will form their governments with no marginalization within States.

As for the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), there will be representation based on the states, fairness and justice. Similarly at the Central Government, there will be State representation. All Governments, whether GOSS or State Governments will be based on modern standardized structures.

The army will be organized based on modern standards. The SPLM will be reorganized democratically. There will be a mult-party system. There will be no need for coup d’etat anymore, so for example my friend Dr. Riek Machar will not need to make a coup because he can form his own party if he is discontented with SPLM.

The issue now is how to achieve a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. After that, the 2nd national Convention will be convened as soon as possible after the peace agreement is signed. The NIF Government is not happy having to sign the agreement on or before 31st December 2004. The Government is not happy with the UN Security Council Resolution1574. The NIF want to create an armed group loyal to them. They also want to create a political group from among southerners to be used by them. We must stop such a move that will create enemies among Southerners to fight among themselves.

South-to-South dialogue must be organized properly, but the leadership has refused outside mediation. I told the European groups about our stand on this. The Power Sharing protocol states that the SPLM will form the Government in the South. The protocol give 15% to non-SPLM/A members and 15% to members of other parties. There will be discussions therefore with Southern parties.

On Civil Society, we need to dialogue with them including the Churches. On top of that, lawyers and other concerned members will write a constitution for Southern Sudan. There will be a constitution for states and the rule of law will be established.

Finally, regarding our vision and strategies; we must continue with our programmes because we are succeeding in the process. I reject the view that there are some of us who are unionists and others separatists within the SPLM/A. There are no such differences among our people. We are all for the unity of Southern people, and the Movement will carry out the referendum. As for members of the Khartoum National Government who have mutinied, there is a group calling themselves SPLM/A members. I told them that we want peace and we don’t want you to be SPLM/A now. I told the group to organize their own independent Movement, and not be associated with SPLM/A.

On the structures the only way to resolve it is through the national Convention, which should be convened as soon as possible.

3rd Session

Cdr. Deng Monydit. Greeted everyone and praised the leaders for coming together. He stated his appreciation of the response given by the leadership; ‘I want to say I am happy to discuss what was about to be stolen from us, and it is not the concern of those in London. This struggle is not the private property of anybody. Whoever says the Movement is his property is wrong, for the movement is for all.

Cdr. Garang Mobil. I thank the leaders. Since 1997 I decided to stay in my house because I did not believe that our problems should be solved by violence. Facts must be stated now in order to solve them once and for all. On the ‘orphans’ there six (6) members who died and only two (2) are left. The question I want to discuss today, is that there is a problem but the Chairman keeps saying there are no problems, only a ‘gap’ between him and Cdr. Salva. He will not accept there are problems in the New Sudan. But if the problem is not solved, there will be no peace. I also want to say that the movement is in the hands of a few and many are alienated. National resources must be shared by all, no matter how small it is. The structures are controlled by a few minority groups, and this must be sorted out now in Rumbek. This minority group is the problem; hand picking people must stop now because it is creating problems.

Cdr. Agassio Akol. There is a problem because many people avoid Cdr. Salva as Deputy Chairman and Chief of the General Staff. The Governors and their deputies bypass Salva and correspond directly with the Chairman of the Movement, which I consider to be outside proper procedure. Cdr. Salva said that in his talks, he raised specific issues which he needed answers on. The Chairman must have failed to answer these issues, otherwise, the talks would have ended. Cdr. Salva said he did not blame anyone but the Chairman. He wanted the Chairman to tell him whether he was wrong or not. For example Cdr. Salva questioned the legitimacy of the leadership Council, as he considered it to be illegal.

The National Convention is unlikely to come soon to solve the problems of our structures; the convention has no importance for now. For Cdr. Salva, structures cannot be done by a Convention. So who is going to organize the army? {Cdr. Mark Nyipuoc intervened by saying a press conference should be made.}

Cdr. Taban Deng Gai. I want to express my appreciation and happiness for this meeting. It is good to discuss issues of this nature, which appear to divide our movement. I want to congratulate the leaders for agreeing to come to attend the meeting. I want to congratulate Dr. Riek, Ayendit and others for the mediation. If we had such mediation in 1991, there would have been no problems that year, and the coup d’etat would not have taken place. This meeting is on internal issues. Those in Khartoum are happy to see the SPLM/A destroyed by Southern interests. But we are now victorious for we have stopped that disaster. As for our system, there are institutions but not functioning ones. The Leadership Council will not take us anywhere. The era of the Political Military High Command is gone. We must have a modern system of government created by the following committees:
1. Committee for the Army;
2. Committee for the Government;
3. Committee for the Judiciary; and
4. The Parliament.

Justice Ambrose Riny. I greet the Leadership and SPLA officers. In 1994 the Convention created institutions. When I talked about the independence of the Judiciary, many officers reacted against it. It was the intervention of the Chairman who permitted the Committee to complete its work. There have been difficulties and roadblocks by those who did not want a system. There have been difficulties in implementing the resolutions. In 2004, the leadership Council was set up to replace the NLC and NEC. The Leadership Council has no legal base to exist. The Chairman dissolved legally instituted organs of the movement as contained in the national convention of 1994, but unilaterally established illegal institutions which are not supported by any legal provisions of the convention thereof.

I want to say that a lot has been done by a few. Most of the things done are imperfect, but they have served us. I appreciate what has been done on South-South dialogue under the SPLM/A Secretary General. The Chairman was supposed to establish a constitutional committee to draft our constitution. We must come together in a place where all departments are residing; there should be one center for the government of SPLM/A to stop all these rumours.

I would like to point out that many members of the movement have lost their ability to sit in an office. I want to point out an incident where a commander told me that what Dr. John or Cdr. Kuol Manyang say ‘up there’ does not work in the South. What kind of a system is this, if it is not respected by its officers? There is no system respected in this movement. I suggest that a committee be formed to organize the army and a conference to inform the world and our supporters that there is no problem from within.

Mama Kezia. I thank both leaders for coming together to discuss all the issues. I was happy with the 1st Vice-Chairman for saying everything in his heart. The rumours outside are bad. Both leaders say it was only a misunderstanding. I appreciate what is happening and I call upon Rev. Clement Janda to bless our conclusion. I agree with the 1st Vice-Chairman that there is something wrong with our system. After the death of the Chairman of my commission, no one has been appointed, and therefore there is no one to report to. For me it took three (3) years to see the leader of the movement. There isn’t a good system. But I think that from now on there will be a system in place.

Cdr. Pieng. Greetings. I will be saying something different; that I have not been happy with our meetings that end without resolutions. I am a revolutionary soldier. I have both military and political interest and if anybody things I don’t have both, he is lying. I am not happy with the response of the Chairman; there are problems to be addressed, and these problems must be solved now.

The Chairman has not committed mistakes; for me, they are unintended mistakes, for the Chairman could not create problems for himself. I mentioned that during the time of Kerubino there were problems. There were rumours that the Chairman was going to throw away his SPLM/A cadres and replace them with people who have not been in the movement since its inception. There must be committees to reorganize the movement; I agree with Cdr. Elijah Malok’s call for a system and committees. When the Chairman goes away on a visit, he never leaves anyone to act where officers should report to.

Cdr. David. Greetings. I blame the Chief of the General Staff for having failed to do anything until now. But nothing is too late; I suggest that the army be organized now. First create a General Command for the SPLA, for there is no army without a General Staff.

Cdr. Oyai Deng. I want to add my voice of being happy to participate in this meeting. When the movement started, you were seven (7) and now you are only two (2) remaining. Some said that you conspired against those who died and now you are conspiring against yourselves. I am shocked to hear Cdr. Salva talk here only about Bahr El Ghazal and not the South in general give he is a leader for all. I strongly agree with Cdr. Salva that when the Chairman goes away, he locks the South in his bag. This is wrong. Cdr. Salva has the right to question anything wrong. There is a problem that must be solved by taking the right decisions.

Cdr. Gier Chuang. I understand what is happening; I didn’t believe that Dr. John will sit near Cdr. Salva again today. I am happy to see this conference. Many people have died due to internal differences and I refer to what had happened in the 1991 crisis. There must be resolutions for all issues, which bring about conflicts; there must be committees established, specially for the SPLA. I also pointed out that during the December 2003 meeting in New Site, there were no representatives from the army. What is a government without an army.

Cdr. James Oath. I greet the gathering. When the movement started you were seven (7) and now you are only two (2) – five died having problems with you (Dr. John). Why do you have problems with your colleagues? The leadership has disabled the movement, so why keep it? Why is there a GMC, because it has never met until now? There is no SPLA ready to fight, and for me there is no army to order. If I am ordered to arrest Cdr. Salva, I do not have an army to arrest anyone. Even the Chief of Staff cannot order me to do anything because there is no army. There is no chance to meet the C-in-C – it will take long time to meet him. This is not good, therefore a committee must be formed now to sort everything out.

Cdr. Oboto Mamur. Greetings. The Chairman always had problems with his colleagues. Now you are two (2) and you are turning against yourselves. Chairman you have been lying throughout since 1983. A Chairman should trust his deputies because there is a big problem here. I ask the Chairman whether he has mandated us to judge him? And if so, we will pass our judgment on him now. We don’t want to talk for the sake of talking. There must be a committee to follow up on all the resolutions agreed on here. And I add, the convention will not solve our problems.

Cdr. George J. Deng. This meeting is a good opportunity to talk today in front of other commanders. The reply by Cdr. John to Cdr. Salva is not convincing at all. My suggestion is that a committee must be formed to organize things right away. There is no longer any army. Therefore a committee has to be formed for the agreement to succeed. I view the SPLA as my home; if the leaders want to go then it is up to them.

Cdr. Malong Awan. Everyone is waiting for the outcome of this dispute. Both leaders therefore should solve their differences. If they don’t solve their differences then they should remain inside this room until the crisis is over. Nor should we blame our enemies for the rumours came from ourselves – we should not blame outsiders. For example Ayen Maguat went to talk to Cdr. Salva. Many from Yei volunteered to go to talk to Cdr. Salva. She complained that Cdr. Wani Igga was in Yei but failed to talk to Cdr. Salva. Instead he went to his village. This was not good leadership and I disagree with Cdr. Wani Igga’s position.

Session 4.

Cdr. Santo Ayang. I thank the communities of Bahr El Ghazal, Bor and the committees that went to Yei. Without them things would have got out of hand. The Chairman must tell us the truth about the source of these rumours. All that was circulated was not rumour, and no one was bribed by the enemy. You tell the world that you brought peace to Sudan, but the reality is that peace was brought about by those who fought for it and died. Those around you only please you and do not tell you the truth. I support the formation of committees suggested by Taban Deng Gai.

Cdr. Ayuen Jongror. The conflict is within the leadership. When conflict arises, it must be resolved immediately. The two of you must be in one place and not in Nairobi and Yei. The style of your leadership is causing lots of problems. The GMC Secretariat was supposed to be formed, but since then, nothing has happened. The GMC should meet to discuss the issues of the army and structures of the Movement must be formed before the convention.

Cdr. Elias Wai. There is fire so we need it not to burn further. Cdr. Salva is not convinced. All are not convinced with the reaction of the Chairman towards issues raised by Cdr. Salva Kiir. The Chairman is placing his relatives in key positions including Elijah Malok, too old, for example, to hold the position of Governor of the Central Bank. Note, there might be popular uprising one day and the army will join the public.

Cdr. Jadalla. We are here to solve our problems. Committees should be formed to investigate the rumours. You think you are the founder of this movement, and as such, that you can do what you want without consulting people? The public is not ready for more problems.

Cdr. Patrick Aitang. We are talking about rumours, but what do we do next? The letter alleged to have been written by Equatorians caused serious tensions. Thanks to Cdr. Salva for salvaging the situation. The ball is now in the court of the Chairman and he should come out with the facts leading up to this dispute. The Chairman should be bold and form the necessary structures.

Cdr. Kitchener. The Chairman and Salva should work together until the end of the liberation struggle. We need leadership to lead us.

Cdr. Ayual Makol. To achieve our objective, we must be united. If the two leaders of the Movement only agree to disagree, then it will lead to internal warfare. Form a committee to investigate the rumours

Cdr. Dominic Dim. I agree that the Leadership Council should be abolished and the commissions replaced by the NEC. The Chairman has locked the NEC in his boxes. Dr. John’s response to Cdr. Salva was neither good nor sufficient. For me, there is still a problem as people still remain suspicious of the Chairman’s intentions. I reiterate that if the problem in question is not resolved, there will be a bigger problem in the Movement. I suggest that the Chairman be clear on resolving this conflict. We should remember how General Swar El Dahab was forced to take over during the crisis at that time. Cdr. Salva was asked by many people to take over, but he refused to do so. I support the formation of committees to restructure the movement and provide us with collective leadership.

Cdr. Bior Ajang. I thank the previous speakers. Cdr. Salva has the right to blame the Leadership Council. The rumours are no longer rumours, but facts as said by Cdr. Salva. There is a problem and that problem should be solved now. I support the formation of committees. What transpired in Yei was the product of two rumours; 1) the arrest of Salva Kiir, and 2) the dismissal of Cdr. Salva Kiir.

Cdr. Salva Kiir gave us the chance and invited us to meet. I thank the bodyguards of Salva for handling the situation very wisely. Dr. John has no powers to dismiss Cdr. Salva because the national Convention elected both of them. I emphasize that rumours do not only originate from Nairobi. Yei is also a source. I support formation of committees.

Cdr. Ismail. We should combat the rumours. It is very unusual for a Deputy Chairman not to have easy access to the Chairman. However, forming committees is another way of avoiding the problem. The explanation of the Chairman hasn’t convinced most of the people nor answered what was raised by Cdr. Salva.

 Cdr. Dau Akec Deng. I thank the 1st Vice-Chairman for his stand.

Lt. Col. Mathiang Rok. This meeting has saved the lives of many people in the South. I would like to quote from Francis Mading’s book; “things that are not said divide people”. The Leadership Council has taken the powers of the NLC. People still doubt the Chairman’s comments were satisfactory. There are many ‘huddles’ in the system, e.g. the Leadership Council has taken up the role of the National Convention. Our main concern is how the structures will be made functional. We are here to bring peace and harmony among ourselves. If there is anything, which is not clear, it should be said now!

Cdr. Chagai Atem. These rumours started in 1994 and I was the chief negotiator between the two. Now they are caught red handed again.

Father George Kinga. I greet and thank the leaders. The four leaders are great and must be respected. The issues are institutional ones. I also support the formation of committees.

Mr. Pascal Babindi. I am happy to have the chance of addressing this important and historic meeting. The restructuring we decided on at the Gorok NLC meeting pushed us ahead. I am confident that the reforms that shall soon be made will also push us ahead.

Cdr. Achol Marial. A committee should be formed to investigate into where those rumours originated from. I appeal to the leadership to mobilize resources prior to the formation of ministries.

Dr. Komanyangi. The formation of committees shall lead to a final solution to all our problems. I suggest that we give ourselves time for these deliberations to continue for one more day so that all issues are exhausted.

Cdr. Simon Kun Pouch. The speakers have not talked on how to combat corruption. The formation of a committee to work out functions for our structures is not really a priority because they already exist, we need only to share power and prepare job descriptions for all the institutions of the movement.

Cdr. James Kok Ruea. A preparatory committee for the Convention should be formed within the shortest time possible. We should work on the structures that will make the Movement function during the interim period as follows: 1) 1st Vice Chairman to chair the GMC, 2) 2nd Vice Chairman to chair the committee for the interim period and 3) 3rd Vice Chairman to chair the committee for National Convention.

Mr. Muhammad Marjan. I believe that the world is looking forward to knowing what our movement will be like once peace is signed and we emerge as a government.

Cdr. Michael Makuei Lueth. There is no need to form a committee to investigate the rumours, which were circulating, unless Cdr. Salva insists that they have never been rumours. I call upon both the Chairman and Cdr. Salva to build confidence between themselves. I assure the Chairman that as we are entering a new era, and if we remain in an unprepared manner, we will eventually be finished. The immediate establishment of our structures is necessary. The distribution of powers is also necessary. The army must be organized. There is also the importance of speeding up South-South dialogue before we enter the forthcoming era. The other issue is corruption. I am saying that the leadership is not committed to fighting corruption. I am against the suggestion that there should be a committee for the army’s reorganization. It is for the COGS, his deputies, and the directors to sit at the GHQs and issue orders according to the plans they set. The national Liberation members sh!
ould not blame the Chairman alone. In Gorok, the NLC gave the Chairman a blank cheque to restructure the movement, and that was when things started to go wrong.

DAY 2

Session 1

Opening remarks by the Master of ceremony after prayers noted that the present meeting has come out in the internet; and a warning was given to those who might have done so.

Mr. Kosti Manibe. I want to add my voice to those who have already spoken. I express my appreciation to those concerned for having resorted to peace negotiations and to end the conflict through dialogue. I am happy that the 1991 disaster has been avoided. I acknowledge the existence of gaps in the system and I call upon the leaders to address the communication needs. I stress the need for media to send accurate messages to our people, enemies, etc.. The Movement should have a capacity for communication to deal with the media when required. I point out that a lot has been achieved – 90% of the objectives have been achieved. There are structures, but a lot of work requires to be done

The JAM’s programme on capacity building should be followed. Functions will be set out. On policy issues, I suggest that a lot remains to be done to build confidence in our system and institutions. I suggest that there is a need to form a small committee to look into the minutes of this meeting and to identify the crucial issues that needs resolutions as soon as possible. Such information should be disseminated.

Cdr. John Luke. I am happy that the rumours have been resolved. The rumours of the dismissal of Cdr. Salva has been on air for a long time. There were other rumours that Cdr. James Wani was going to be replaced by Cdr. Pagan. Some responsible people in the Leadership Council have been quoted as saying that Cdr. Salva, with support from Bona Malual, will make a coup. There has been a problem among members of Leadership Council who have been complaining a lot. There is no system, especially in the office of the Chairman, which is treated as a private entity. The office of a leader must be well organized and staffed properly to do its work.

On the responsibility of leadership, Cdr. Dr. John should not be blamed alone because there are others. The dissolution of the Leadership Council will not mean that a normal system will be established. No proper changes will take place, even if the Leadership Council is dissolved. If Dr. Garang dissolves the Leadership Council, he will appoint the same people in the L.C. There is no need to make changes now until peace is signed. The formation process f or the government needs wide consultation; people should wait for a month until peace is signed.

The Chairman is being accused for not implementing decisions. In the army, if you need structures, I see Cdr. Salva as a political figure; so a pure army officer should be appointed as Chief of Staff and Cdr. Salva should be given a Commission. This way, the army should be run by an army officer who is not a politician.

Why is the leadership avoiding South-South dialogue? The Chairman refused to accept dialogue, but claims it after others implemented it. It was Cdr. Salva who supported the Wunlit Peace Conference – but the Chairman was against it. At the recent conference in Nairobi organized by the Kenyan Minister for Planning, the SPLM/A failed to attend because the Chairman had refused to let the SPLM attend. Cdr. James Wani is weak and the Chairman uses him to kill things related to South-South dialogue. The NLC is dead and I suggest that an emergency convention be organized immediately.

 Cdr. Marc Nyipouch. Cdr. Marc stated that the rumour that madam Nyandeng was arrested with 3.5 is libel and defamation. He continued to cite the case of General Lagu during the Regional Government. On the issue of Governor Deng Alor, Cdr. Marc said that Cdr. Deng collects money from abroad, banks it with the Chairman’s or his (Deng’s)
bank account, and that is why Deng Alor was taken away from the region – just to do that. Something Nhial has failed to do but what Deng is able to do. Deng should either be a Governor of Bahr el Ghazal or be replaced.

Mr. Arthur Akuien. I am being called the Finance Secretary but without any finance. I want to point out that the rumours have been destructive and that the leadership style encourages such rumours. I want to say that the Chairman does not delegate powers to his deputies. The Chairman is responsible for creating this crisis in the movement.

On the structures, there are structures. But the Chairman after appointing someone to a position does not work with him, but he will appoint someone else to do the work, which is wrong. The Chairman creates all these problems within the system, and this is why he is being blamed. I also point out when a senior person tries to discipline a junior, the Chairman always fails to solve the problem among the staff and instead interferes. The leadership style of the Chairman’s work is bad and cannot be corrected. The Chairman has not been doing well in his job and he may be forced to leave his office before six years.

Dr. Justin Yac. The Chairman is good for external contacts but within his own institutions he is not good. The Chairman is good in talking but poor in doing things. The Cdrs. Condemned him the day before and I quote Cdr. Salva who said that “Dr. John does not forget and does not forgive”, and who ever quarreled him ended up dead.

Many people know the Chairman’s abilities and weaknesses for the last twenty-two years. The Chairman can impress people when he talks, but lacks action. The commanders the day before gave the Chairman grade F because he failed to adequately answer the issues raised by Cdr. Salva. The Chairman should not think that he is always right; rather he must admit his mistakes. The Chairman must work with a team and not be a leader of the NLC and Chairman of SPLM. Leadership must be collective.

The officers the other day faced the Chairman with hard facts, but we have not been telling the Chairman the truth. We are also to blame. The Chairman should respond to issues of structures to avoid the recurrence of this problem. The Chairman can listen and write on issues, but he always discards them. The Chairman has been everything ever since the movement started. I call upon the Chairman to work with people and not alone. The Chairman should know that he has been wrong because some of the members have not been telling him the truth. Some leaders should be blamed for not doing their part, for many have not been doing things properly. I repeat what Cdr. Salva said that Dr. John does not forget and forgive. So I want to say that those without guns are vulnerable. The Cdrs. Are secure because they have guns to protect themselves from the Chairman, but I ask, who is going to protect those of us without guns?

I call upon Dr. John to listen to all the demands and that he (the Chairman) should make changes and suitable structures. I also suggest that the Rumbek meeting should come up with resolutions that we support the finalization of the peace agreement now, all should be committed to the peace process.

On the issue of dissolution of the leadership council, there is no difference so no changes are necessary. I urge the Chairman to work closely with his aids. We have sat here because we are part and parcel of the executive and leadership as well. Mr. Chairman, I urge you to treat us equally and remove doubts that there are people you prefer.

Cdr. Elijah Malok. I propose the formation of three (3) committees, and that they remain here in Rumbek to start their work as we may have problems with resources and the committees should finish before December 31st.

Cdr. John Koang Nyuon. I thank the Chairman and his 1st Deputy to have responded positively to our wish to sit, as we are doing now to discuss and resolve issues that create misunderstandings. Rumours always create problems. The availability of Thuraya telephones in abundance is really a problem as some of their users can verbally reveal our secrets for the sake of money or any other reason. The reaction by some officers is appreciated, as they only want the resolution of our outstanding problems.

I suggest the formation of regional committees to organize our army within the coming month since you mentioned that peace is likely to be signed by the end of December. I see this as the immediate priority other than the rest we are now discussing – as other structures already exist. To organize the army is not so difficult.

A clarification was made by 1st Vice Chairman Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit: “What brought us here to meet is the question of the rumours, which have been circulating. As the Chairman read in his messages, we haven’t reached a conclusion, as we have not known from where they emanate. When I went to greet the Chairman it was immediately announced that Cdr. Salva has met with Dr. John and their differences are resolved. The question is how does this news go out? I believe that they are not from my part. The rumours came from Nairobi not from Yei”.

Cdr. Abdelaziz Adam Alhilu. The structures formed during the 1st national convention exist, the only thing is that they are not effective due to meager resources. The lack of adequate resources is the main problem that affects their functioning. Instability is also a factor. A system normally operates when the enemy is inactive.

The establishment of structures at present when peace is not yet signed will also put us in difficulties, so it is important to wait for a conducive atmosphere. I agree with the suggestion for the 2nd national convention to take place as soon as possible. I don’t agree with those who say committees should be formed to organize the army. I see it fit that local committees shoulder such responsibilities provided that resources are made available.

Cdr. Daniel Awet Akot. This is a good opportunity for one to air out what had been said before, As Dr. John and Cdr. Salva put it, that they don’t have personal or political problems – then that is appreciated.

Cdr. Ayuen Alier. If the style of leadership is changed, things will automatically change for the better. The whole issue is our general problem not only the Chairman and his deputies. Our top leaders restricted travel to Nairobi with their officers, but that cannot work. Every-body gets there on his own. There is a necessity that capacity building starts now. Cdr. Ayuen made the additional observation, that the lack of self- confidence is always the cause of our problems, and as for rumours, which have been confusing, I assure you that those who have self-confidence cannot be affected by rumours.

The suggestion by Cdr. Elijah Malok that committees be formed and start their work here in Rumbek is supported by me. The delegation for the peace talks should be the only ones to go: let us support peace because it is the requirement for now. Mr. Chairman I end by thanking both of you for having cooled your nerves. Come together to discuss so that we can resolve whatever problems are facing us.

Cdr. Kuol Manyang. I think this meeting is historical and as we enter a new era, we are going to be more united after this meeting. You differ with someone and you reconcile. Differences are natural. A person can easily make a problem between him and another. We have to unite and this is how you can overcome rumours, which confuses the people. Like the recent situation, I was informed through unofficial channels that Cdr. Salva had been removed. I called Cdr. Deng Alor and we were joined by Cdr. Awet and we went to Cdr. Salva and told him that what is being alleged is a lie, and that there was no meeting held concerning this. We then moved to Nairobi where we communicated this issue to Dr. John Garang and that was when this meeting was planned and Cdr. James Kok and Cdr. Nhial were asked to organize transportation to this end.

So I thank both Cdr./Dr. John Garang and Cdr. Salva Kiir for having attended this meeting and permitting us to discuss and come up with decisions that promotes unity and harmony. Differences between Cdr. Salva and Dr. John existed from a long time ago, as Cdr. Chagai mentioned, but there was no decisive steps taken to resolve them until today.

As for structures, they are there. The only problem is how to maintain and have them effectively function due to a lack of resources. Our structures have to be operationalized. But the matter is not a question of dissolving other bodies such as the Leadership Council, NLC and so on. I don’t have any objection with the formation of committees, but I only say that reorganization of the army must be the responsibility of COGS and his Deputies. I urge both of you, the Chairman and Cdr. Salva to open a new page in order for us to go forward.

Cdr. Nhial. People should be judged by what they have contributed to the Movement. We should sincerely address our issues. I am absolutely prepared for the proposal to dissolve the Leadership Council and we all see what scenario we can take.

To have structures and institutions you need to have three things; 1) the structure itself, 2) resources, and 3) the people, because its people who run the structures. The resources and the personnel go together. Without having prepared for this, it is now one of the serious problems we face as we enter the forthcoming era.

CDr. Malik Agar. The current issue of the differences between the Chairman and his deputy is surprising in that I was aware of this even ten years ago. Whenever it is about to be addressed, each of them says there is ‘no problem’. The big problem is trust among yourselves. This needs to be rebuilt and you will be the ones to arrive at sound solutions to the existing problems.

Comrade Chairman, as we enter the new era, we shall be competing with other parties. Let us start with the effective establishment of our structures and draw up our programmes. We need a system. I have worked as a Governor for ten (10) years; yet, I could have committed many mistakes during that time. Has the Chairman any day called me to tell me that I have made a mistake? There is no system here.

The issue of reorganizing the army is a burning issue as most of the soldiers are now in an unorganized form and this will work against us. As monitors will verify, we don’t have the army. The distribution of powers is the vital issue to avoid future misunderstandings.

Cdr. Pagan Amum Okech. Comrade Chairman, I will focus on the crucial issue, but before that, I want to tell you this. We are here to discuss the rumours that have been circulating and which almost created a very serious development within the movement’s liberated areas, in Khartoum and among the Diaspora. My advice is to the Southerners who have fought for the last twenty two (22) years. I am first going to concentrate on the recent rumours. Cdr. Gier happened to ring me asking me whether I came across information from Yei that the leadership have met and decided to remove him from the second position. I advised Cdr. Gier not to believe that because it is a rumour, and if it spreads, it will create confusion. He then heeded my advice. Again Cdr. Deng Alor phoned to me on the same issue, but I also told him that these are rumours and Cdr. Salva should not believe such rumours. There had been meetings in Khartoum and there was a public statement made by Uncle Bona Malual and r!
etired General Joseph Lagu. If the enemy succeeds in dividing us, it may lead to our failure and peace may not be achieved.

This time is very critical Cdr. Salva and Cdr. Chairman; if we say we will remain here to deal with the rumours only, I think we will be here up to the coming year. I advise both of you to put aside these rumours. Even though we did not defeat the enemy, what we had achieved will make the enemy coincide with what we tell them. At this crucial moment we must think thoroughly of what we should do to enable us go forward. This is my appeal to both of you Cdr. Salva and Cdr. Chairman. There is another rumour now that I want to take the place of Cdr. James Wani Igga. I assure you Cdr. Wani that there is nothing like this at all.

The establishment and building of structures at this particular time is vital. Our priority is now to finalize the peace talks. The Chairman and his deputies must go to Nairobi so that we are not considered intransigent because the process can easily be derailed. Concerning the reorganization of the COGS and his deputies, we can do that unless the problem of resources hinders us.

Cdr. James Wani Igga. I congratulate the Chairman for calling this important meeting. I also congratulate Cdr. Salva for having attended this meeting. This paves a way for a solution to our problems. I thank both of you for your patriotic stand since the beginning of the struggle – both of you have collectively worked to protect this movement from upheavals. I consider you as the central pillars of this Movement. Let me come to the main topics, which are the SPLM/A’s major problems. Solving a problem is like bringing pus out from somebody’s gull. Problem No. 1, we are not working as a team, which results in disgruntlement.

No. 2, we have the structures formed in the 1994 Convention which were only the NEC & NLC, but by 1998, people became fed up of those structures. I appeal that we keep these structures but make necessary changes. I would like to underline something connected with structure. In 1998 we came out with a constitution named the SPLM constitution. This was not passed by the NLC because they were expecting a state constitution. But we had agreed to use that constitution, and there are structures there. In one of the L.C. meetings we had revised the constitution and even the manifesto. Up to now, we had passed four (4) documents. The SPLM constitution. The SPLM manifesto. The 3rd document is the SPLM policy on dialogue and it concerns how we go about South-South dialogue. Our main constraint in starting South-South dialogue is the lack of money. Documents No. 4, is the SPLM policy on the transformation of Sudan. All these documents are there ready. Comrade Chairman, our constraint i!
n the political Affairs Commission is lack of facilities, but we have really tried our best. As for the army reorganization, if we become surprised by the signing of the peace deal, I think it will be difficult to regroup our army simply because we don’t have resources. Once peace is signed, there is going to be the establishment of standard national structures. Structures are our No. 2 problems, including the official management of office institutions.

Cdr. Wani listed other problems:
No. 3: The existence of a Kitchen Cabinet is deplorable and creates doubts and mistrust.

No. 4: The geographical imbalances found in the movement. If this is not addressed, we will never be in harmony.
No. 5: Poor chain of command.
No. 6: Spread of rumours.

Let’s come to the question of rumours. When rumours were developing I was in Nairobi and I went to Kampala. When I reached Kaya, I was being asked what had happened. I was then told that you are coming from Nairobi and that you met and decided to replace Cdr. Salva with Cdr. Nhial. I told that that this is just rumours and I believe that Cdr. Salva will not believe this. He will immediately throw it out the window.

Problem 7: Lack of implementation of resolutions and the lack of a follow up body. Our resolutions always die on the paper.
Problem 8: Corruption which remains rampant in the Movement. Corruption must be fought for example, some years back the Chairman in a meeting informed us that Cdr. Deng Alor brought some money from Nigeria, but how that money was spent had never been explained to us again. I ask the question where is the transparency and accountability we talked about?

Problem 9: Lack of cooperation, accompanied by sabotage. Some work for the
downfall of others without any accountability.

Problem 10: Neglect of the army and its welfare.
Problem 11: Absence of job description, which cause confusion.
Problem 12: Nepotism. It should be fought.

There are two examples to illustrate the issue of nepotism. One is the removal of Aleu Anyeny from his position and his replacement by the Chairman with an officer from his home village. Another is the appointment of Dr. Lual Deng as an advisor to the Chairman. We all heard this in a meeting in which the Chairman announced Lual’s appointment without any official procedures followed. When I talk about regional imbalances, all I need to say is that no Equatorian was even allowed to be a signatory of the six protocols. We are making history and this history should involve all the people of New Sudan. The protocols are only signed by individuals from Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Nuba Mountains and Funj!

Problem 13: Neglect in the chain of command, which has led to indiscipline.

Cdr. Wani proposed a way forward. I suggest that an investigation committee be appointed by the Chairman to find out the origination of these rumours. Let’s avoid ‘Kitchen Cabinets’ and combat corruption. We need a mechanism to be adopted to fight corruption. Let’s respect the chain of command. Let’s avoid any regional misbalancing. Job descriptions must be effected. South-South dialogue advanced. The convening of the second National convention requires additional money. The reaction of the Chairman to all the listed problems is necessary. As a sign of true reconciliation, they need to warmly greet themselves in front of us here, then follow that up with a joint statement. A traditional ceremony should be carried out by some of the elders here. We take what had happened like a normal wave when in a canoe. Let us reconcile so that we defeat our common enemy.

Cdr. Riek Machar. I was struggling whether to speak or not because of the nature of the issues being raised. When we met as a Leadership Council, there were divergent views. Before that I met Aleu Anyieny and he told me that if you are going to talk to Cdr. Salva, don’t talk about the problems being personal. These problems are administrative. Serious rumours have also been circulating in London when I was there. They talked about a ‘change of the guards’ and the removal and replacement of Cdr. Salva by Cdr. Nhial. I appealed to the participants in that meeting that we should unite since we are entering peace, because if there is a split, the enemy may dishonour the agreement we had already signed. In any case, suppose we sign the peace, the SPLA will be a national army whereas the SPLM will be competing with other political parties. The SPLA must retain an independent national character.

Concerning the structures, I have participated in a workshop on the formation of structures at all levels including the transformation of the SPLM into a political party. These are all being worked out. We are only behind in our military preparations. This doesn’t need a committee to do that. The COGS, his deputies, directors, and local commanders can do that. The army is the most important element to protect the gains of the struggle and as such we need to organize it and take care of them and their families. We all have to participate in calling them to report to their units or camps where they should regroup and organize. Our chiefs are important institutions that can effectively participate in this endeavor.

Another problem we will face is the returnees, which are estimated to be up to 4 million residing in exile for almost fifteen years. They have acquired different attitudes, culture and perspectives. Not only are they in the north, but we have a good number of our people living in various western countries. We will be confronted by all these groups with a series of problems of cultural differences and we must be prepared to integrate these two groups into our civil life and norms.

I believe that unless something happens in Khartoum, the war is over. Unless the enemy causes us to split, the war is over. This requires us to expedite the reorganization of the army. I do not agree with Mathiang Rok about his suggestion that committees be formed to discuss the six (6) signed protocols. In addition, we should be privileged that the UN SG visited Africa to discuss the issue of peace in Sudan – The first time it happened was during the decolonization of Africa – making the achievement of peace highly likely this year.

As for South-South dialogue, we can start now. We should be prepared to negotiate with whatever party is ready to dialogue. If we wait until the government is formed, they will be the ones to undermine the GOSS. We must achieve consensus. Let us not delay south-south dialogue. The lack of dialogue can be a source of disunity, but if we handle it properly, it can also be a source of unity and this will allow the people to rally behind the leadership. There is a need to call the NLC as soon as possible to deliberate on the agreement. What I mean is the current NLC. The next convention, which needs to be convened as soon as possible, will elect a new NLC and who will be charged with the responsibility of working on a national constitutional government of south Sudan, etc.. From now, we have agreed that the judiciary be independent.

Session 5

Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Greetings to the Chairman and Madame de Mabior and others in this meeting. We apologize for not allowing you to attend the first meeting, which lasted for two days. The second meeting is composed of SPLM Counties Secretaries, civil society, women groups, the youth, etc.. The decision was deliberate and we did not want the meeting to be talking shop.

I have no more to say. The issue which brought us here have been raised and you all have given your concerns. Let us take the line of peace to be the priority. In the absence of peace we must be prepared for war. There had been many Security Council resolutions of the same nature passed like this of Sudan, but have not been implemented, such as the PLO, Western Sahara, etc..

I thank those who have exerted efforts to travel from their various locations to Yei where they met me on the situation. As I told you, there were no personal problems, they are administrative given my profession, and I know that rumours are dangerous. Rumours must be treated as rumours, but there is no smoke without fire. I don’t agree with Cdr. Wani that these rumours were created by the enemy. There are people among us who are more dangerous than the enemy. I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will l!
ead us to a very serious political defeat. Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem

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Minutes of Historical SPLM Meeting in Rumbek 2004.

SPLM/A Founders

Minutes of Historical SPLM Meeting in Rumbek 2004.

At the end of 2004, while the Sudanese people were closely following Naivasha peace talks with a lot of expectations for freedom and democratic transformation, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) was plagued with rumors and accusations of conspiracy.

To put an end to this acute crisis, an extraordinary meeting was convened to dissipate rumors and misunderstanding related to the removal of the deputy chairman of the SPLM, Salva Kiir Mayadrit and his replacement by the young Nhial Deng Nhial.
The importance of this meeting stems from the fact that it safeguarded the unity of the SPLM at a critical stage and paved the way for signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on January 9, 2005.The following is the full text of the minutes of the three-day meeting which took place in Rumbek from November 29 to December 1, 2004; one month before the signing of the CPA.
CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ON THE RUMBEK MEETING 2004
On the Joint meeting of the SPLM/A leadership Council, General Military Command Council, Heads of Commissions, SPLM Secretariats, SPLM County Secretaries, Civil Society & Community Leaders.
RUMBEK 29TH OF NOVEMBER TO 1ST OF DECEMBER 2004
DAY 1: Opening Prayer: Rev. Clement Janda
Introduction: Cdr. Dr. Riek Machar
Briefing: Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit
Introduction.
Cdr. Dr. Riek Machar Thanked Cdr. Mark Nyipuoch, Cdr. Dr. John Garang and the other participants and announced the beginning of the meeting, which had been ordered by the Chairman. The first part of the meeting comprised of the leadership council, the Secretariats, and the members of the General Staff. The second part was composed of the members of IGAD team, and the Commissioners and Secretaries of the SPLM.
In the opening of the meeting the Chairman Cdr. Dr. John Garang, thanked members of the SPLM/A national leadership Council and welcomed all the participants who traveled to Rumbek. ‘I thank you in the name of the Almighty God. To begin with I wrote two messages:
One on 14/11/004 (No. 001/11/004) to address the following accusations/rumours; • That there was a meeting held in Nairobi under the Chairmanship of myself where Cdr. Salva Kiir would be replaced by the Chairman with Cdr. Nhial Deng.
• That I went to Kampala and met with Cdr. Pieng and ordered him to arrest Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit.
• That Cdr. Malual Majok went to Ramciel to collect forces to go and arrest Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit at Yei.They are all lies and a big propaganda initiative.
The second message was on 23/11/04 calling for this meeting which we are now convening today and where I want to make a general briefing about the signing of peace next month in which each and every one should be informed accordingly.
Cdr. Machar then welcomed Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit to brief the national leadership meeting where he welcomed the Chairman and C-in-C and the national leadership. ‘I confirm the two messages read to you by the Chairman are all true. The rumours came from Nairobi and around the leadership of the SPLM/A. The second message I got was through Cdr. Pagan Amum who was visiting the liberated areas with friends from friendly countries. I requested Cdr. Mabior Kuer to ask the HQs why I am not talking directly to the Chairman. I spoke to the Chairman when he was in Kampala and he told me that I should meet him in Yirol, which I didn’t reply to in the light of the rumours.The rumours implied that I will be arrested at Ramciel where the Chairman was, so I decided not to go. When I received that rumour, I called the security personnel in Yei and discussed the issue in length with them. I also informed them to find out where the sources of the rumours from Nairobi were coming from, which they did.
After I spoke with the Chairman, I also met Cdr. Pieng in Yei for the whole day and he was advising me to join the Chairman in Yirol, which I refused. After that I met Cdr. Kuol Manyang and Cdr. Deng Alor. They came from Nairobi with information that I should go to Nairobi for reconciliation between the two of us. I considered the word reconciliation as something very serious, and therefore decided to tell them that I will not go to Nairobi. The HQs of the Chairman complained that they were calling me and that if I recognized their number, I would switch off the telephone. That is not true; I never received any call from them and switch off my telephone.
I assure you that the allegation that I am against peace is not true. I am really for peace so that the International Community could rescue our suffering people. People of Bahr El Ghazal have suffered too much from repeated famine and from the Arab militias – and for these reasons I am the first to embrace peace to relief them from suffering. Peace efforts such as the Wunlit Peace Conference have up to date ceased hostilities between Western Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal; and that is good. So I need peace. There are those who want to create confusion in the Movement and fabricate such things. I don’t have personal problem with the Chairman.
If we are National Leaders, which I don’t believe we are because we have no cohesion within our leadership structure, let us be sincere with ourselves. After meetings are concluded, we run to foreign countries. There is no code of conduct to guide the Movement’s structures. When the Chairman leaves for abroad, no directives are left and no one is left to act on his behalf. I don’t know with whom the Movement is left with; or does he carry it in his own brief case?
The Chairman killed the national Executive Council (NEC) by creating the leadership Council. But there is no provision in the Convention for a ‘Leadership Council’. Does he want to revive the Political Military High Command? The Leadership Council creates a situation where all are directly reporting to the Chairman – including SPLM County Secretaries. When I mentioned these facts, they should not be construed to be my personal or family problems. Those around the Chairman don’t tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from a finance officer to one at the lowest level.Corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability, which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate.
In fact, there are many outstanding administrative problems that require our attention. These include the infrequent converting of conferences at the leadership level, causing an absence in the SPLA/M chain of command and making others to directly communicate with the Chairman without following the right procedures. This should be corrected. If the responsibility of Governors goes directly to the Chairman, what will be the work of Cdr. Daniel Awet? I hope Cdr. Daniel Awet will address all those things. The Chairman should not make appointments of SPLM County Secretaries; it is the work of the Governors.
The other issue I would like Comrade Chairman to address is how the CANS structures are now operating, e.g., take the absence of the SPLM Regional Secretary for Bahr El Gazal from his area of responsibility while there has been sporadic tribal feuds within the region – and which has resulted into sectional conflict. The Chairman most of the time send Cdr. Deng Alor on foreign missions which were supposed to be the work of Cdr. Nhial Deng.There are several other administrative issues that require correction. We are three Deputies without functions. The Chairman is responsible for all systems including the Army General Headquarters. Our HQs. started in Yei, then Rumbek, then new Cush and now Ramciel. When are we going to establish our HQs? The deputies of the General Staff are the ones commanding the forces; they should stay in the General Headquarters instead of commanding. Yet the Chairman is the one who dismantled the General Headquarters. Comrade Chairman, the establishment of the General headquarters hasn’t been fulfilled and this I have been requesting ever since Yei was liberated. Branch officers such as the Director of Military Intelligence and his deputy are now in your Headquarters, though they are supposed to remain at the General Headquarters. The Chairman concentrates on his headquarters forgetting the rest of the army. It is only his headquarters, which has military uniforms, boots and other supplies.
Our present situation requires us to be organized and prepared. If peace is signed, the question is; what have we done in training our military cadres so that they meet the standard of their counterparts in the integrated army. There are rumours that the Chairman had already selected by name those Commanders who would command the Joint Integrated Army. What about the rest of the army and who will pay them? The Chairman seems to have taken the Movement as his own property. As we leave Rumbek after this meeting, I would like to see that all our administrative issues be addressed and implemented following this meeting’s resolutions.
I would also want Comrade Chairman to give me full powers of the Chief of the General Staff (COGS) to enable me expedite the regrouping and reorganization of the SPLA, and if Comrade Chairman sees that I am not able to do that job, then he can appoint another person to do it.The Chairman is to be 1st Vice-President of the Sudan and the head of the Government of Southern Sudan, but he is not talking to Southerners. The North is organizing southern militias so that we fight among ourselves. We must unite our own ranks and not just unity with the north. On a personal basis, I don’t have any problems with the Chairman but our working relationship is bad and leaves a lot to be desired.
I would also like to say something about rampant corruption in the Movement. At the moment some members of the Movement have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system are we going to establish in South Sudan considering ourselves indulged in this respect.
2nd Session
Response from the Chairman. I give the floor to the national leadership to comment on what had been said by Cdr. Salva Kiir, I don’t want this to be a debate between Cdr. Salva Kiir and I.
Edward Lino thanked the Chairman and said we are really in need of resolving the problems within the SPLM/A. The people of Abyei are accused of being Dr. John’s supporters and as such, are victimized for that.
Cdr. Pieng made an intervention that Cdr. Edward was not addressing the issues.
Cdr. Elijah Malok stated he really supported what Cdr. Salva Kiir said, and recommended that a collective leadership be created. Here in Bahr El Ghazal Cdr. Deng Alor has been away for too long and these are known facts; the leadership council should address and resolve these outstanding issues and go back on the right track. Let us form committees to reorganize the army, since all the units are here. I don’t believe what Cdr. Mayardit said about the people being victimized. Structures are to be recognized right way as a government so let us reorganize them and work in the right way as a government.Dr. Justin Yac. I will go with the suggestion of Cdr. Pieng that the Chairman response to the issues raised by Cdr. Salva Kiir.
Cdr./Dr. John Garang I will give my contribution to what has been raised; that firstly we need to dispose of rumours. In the whole of South Sudan, there is a general concern from the citizens, and in Yei, the officers and citizens believe there is a danger facing the Movement. We have to clear the danger and give our people assurances.
Cdr. Salva Kiir and I have been together in the movement for 22 years, and have been close friends, and we will continue that way. 22 years of friendship can’t be thrown away by rumours; Cdr. Salva will be with me now until the end of the interim period and beyond, and I will cite what was said when I visited Malual Kon and the “Luak” of the family of Cdr. Salva where I entered the house to show comradeship and a long cherished friendship. At a meeting while visiting there we were told, “You are the two orphans” left because the original members of the High Command died, both of us will carry on to bring peace.I cited what happened at New Site recently when the Chiefs a ceremony where a bull was sacrificed to show how we are united. At the spiritual performance, one traditional leader said that 4 things will happen: –
1. The bull will urinate.
2. The bull will fall down.
3. The bull will face the North.
4. The bull will die without being slaughtered.
And all the four happened.The allegation that I was going to dismiss Cdr. Salva and arrest him was not only a lie, but it did not even occur in my mind. I was preoccupied with the peace process and not trying to create a crisis. Before UN Security Council Meeting, I received a telephone call from President Bush who said that he now had those who will work with him during the next four years and that I am one of them. President Bush said, “John don’t let us down. We want peace before the end of the year”.
The allegation that I will be replacing Cdr. Salva was a bad lie. If Cdr. Salva was dismissed and replaced with Cdr. Nhial Deng Nhial, it would mean that I would have dismissed all those senior to Cdr. Nhial which includes Cdr. Riek, Cdr. James, Cdr. Daniel Awet, Cdr. Lual Diing, etc. – which would be bad for the Movement. So this allegation is a lie. The crisis only has the support of our enemies who want a crisis in the Movement. This situation was created by our enemies because they do not want to sign the peace agreement.The Chairman pointed out that the GOS has never been happy with the protocols, specially the Machakos protocol, because of the self-determination clause. The GOS and their supporters don’t accept the security arrangement and the Wealth Sharing Agreement, which gives the South of Sudan 51%. The Khartoum Government wants to reject the agreement being signed or at least delay it. By delaying in signing, Khartoum will gain $2.5 billion from the oil revenues, which we must prevent by all means possible. Khartoum was unhappy with the Power Sharing and 3 areas protocols. Neither I nor Cdr. Salva had any interest in delaying the peace agreement. I have nothing to gain by dismissing Cdr. Salva.Finally I have never had any thought of dismissing Cdr. Salva. And it should be considered a lie. This rumour has caused commotion everywhere in Southern Sudan, Khartoum and the Diaspora – so I will assure our people everywhere and send a strong message to Khartoum Government that they will not divide the SPLM/A.
Cdr. Salva and I are innocent of the situation, and four of our leaders will appear in a press conference telling the whole world about our unity and that there is no problem among SPLM/A members. Secondly, I want to assure you of my confidence in Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit. My relationship with Cdr. Salva goes back to 1983 – Cdr. Chagai Atem, Kerubino and many others were close to me. I still have personal relationship with Cdr. Salva and I trust and have confidence in him. This is needed now than ever before. I want Cdr. Salva to be around me during the interim period, and beyond.
The Government of Sudan called upon all the Newspapers to stop making allegations against the Movement. So let us put that issue to rest.
Secondly, Cdr. Salva said that I brought all the officers around me, leaving him alone in vacuum. What I can say is that is not true.
On internal reforms, I agree that reforms are necessary. We are all behind them. We have been making reforms since 1983, e.g., the Zonal Command, Political High Command, NLC, NEC, etc.. these structures can be changed but the objective remains the same. Our imperfect structures have brought us to the present day. Let us not throw away these structures now, otherwise we will throw ourselves away.
The Chairman urged the meeting to introduce changes slowly. He said he is for change but slow change. The Chairman reiterated that all SPLM/A members will be protected; he assured all members that no one will be left out. On the issue of new comers who are said to be taking over the Movement, he said we should accept all southerners new or old because there are more southerners than members of the SPLM/A who must be accommodated; but no newcomer will displace anyone who has been with us for years.
On the appointment of Governors; all Governors will be appointed from their respective areas, e.g. in Lakes the Governor here will come from Lakes. As for States, people of each State will form their governments with no marginalization within States.
As for the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), there will be representation based on the states, fairness and justice. Similarly at the Central Government, there will be State representation. All Governments, whether GOSS or State Governments will be based on modern standardized structures.The army will be organized based on modern standards. The SPLM will be reorganized democratically. There will be a mult-party system. There will be no need for coup d’etat anymore, so for example my friend Dr. Riek Machar will not need to make a coup because he can form his own party if he is discontented with SPLM.
The issue now is how to achieve a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. After that, the 2nd national Convention will be convened as soon as possible after the peace agreement is signed. The NIF Government is not happy having to sign the agreement on or before 31st December 2004. The Government is not happy with the UN Security Council Resolution1574. The NIF want to create an armed group loyal to them. They also want to create a political group from among southerners to be used by them. We must stop such a move that will create enemies among Southerners to fight among themselves.
South-to-South dialogue must be organized properly, but the leadership has refused outside mediation. I told the European groups about our stand on this. The Power Sharing protocol states that the SPLM will form the Government in the South. The protocol give 15% to non-SPLM/A members and 15% to members of other parties. There will be discussions therefore with Southern parties.On Civil Society, we need to dialogue with them including the Churches. On top of that, lawyers and other concerned members will write a constitution for Southern Sudan. There will be a constitution for states and the rule of law will be established.
Finally, regarding our vision and strategies; we must continue with our programmes because we are succeeding in the process. I reject the view that there are some of us who are unionists and others separatists within the SPLM/A. There are no such differences among our people. We are all for the unity of Southern people, and the Movement will carry out the referendum. As for members of the Khartoum National Government who have mutinied, there is a group calling themselves SPLM/A members. I told them that we want peace and we don’t want you to be SPLM/A now. I told the group to organize their own independent Movement, and not be associated with SPLM/A.
On the structures the only way to resolve it is through the national Convention, which should be convened as soon as possible.
3rd Session
Cdr. Deng Monydit. Greeted everyone and praised the leaders for coming together. He stated his appreciation of the response given by the leadership; ‘I want to say I am happy to discuss what was about to be stolen from us, and it is not the concern of those in London. This struggle is not the private property of anybody. Whoever says the Movement is his property is wrong, for the movement is for all.
Cdr. Garang Mobil. I thank the leaders. Since 1997 I decided to stay in my house because I did not believe that our problems should be solved by violence. Facts must be stated now in order to solve them once and for all. On the ‘orphans’ there six (6) members who died and only two (2) are left. The question I want to discuss today, is that there is a problem but the Chairman keeps saying there are no problems, only a ‘gap’ between him and Cdr. Salva. He will not accept there are problems in the New Sudan. But if the problem is not solved, there will be no peace. I also want to say that the movement is in the hands of a few and many are alienated. National resources must be shared by all, no matter how small it is. The structures are controlled by a few minority groups, and this must be sorted out now in Rumbek. This minority group is the problem; hand picking people must stop now because it is creating problems.
Cdr. Agassio Akol. There is a problem because many people avoid Cdr. Salva as Deputy Chairman and Chief of the General Staff. The Governors and their deputies bypass Salva and correspond directly with the Chairman of the Movement, which I consider to be outside proper procedure. Cdr. Salva said that in his talks, he raised specific issues which he needed answers on. The Chairman must have failed to answer these issues, otherwise, the talks would have ended. Cdr. Salva said he did not blame anyone but the Chairman. He wanted the Chairman to tell him whether he was wrong or not. For example Cdr. Salva questioned the legitimacy of the leadership Council, as he considered it to be illegal.The National Convention is unlikely to come soon to solve the problems of our structures; the convention has no importance for now. For Cdr. Salva, structures cannot be done by a Convention. So who is going to organize the army?
Cdr. Mark Nyipuoc intervened by saying a press conference should be made.
Cdr. Taban Deng Gai. I want to express my appreciation and happiness for this meeting. It is good to discuss issues of this nature, which appear to divide our movement. I want to congratulate the leaders for agreeing to come to attend the meeting. I want to congratulate Dr. Riek, Ayendit and others for the mediation. If we had such mediation in 1991, there would have been no problems that year, and the coup d’etat would not have taken place. This meeting is on internal issues. Those in Khartoum are happy to see the SPLM/A destroyed by Southern interests. But we are now victorious for we have stopped that disaster. As for our system, there are institutions but not functioning ones. The Leadership Council will not take us anywhere. The era of the Political Military High Command is gone. We must have a modern system of government created by the following committees:
1. Committee for the Army;
2. Committee for the Government;
3. Committee for the Judiciary; and
4. The Parliament.
Justice Ambrose Riny. I greet the Leadership and SPLA officers. In 1994 the Convention created institutions. When I talked about the independence of the Judiciary, many officers reacted against it. It was the intervention of the Chairman who permitted the Committee to complete its work. There have been difficulties and roadblocks by those who did not want a system. There have been difficulties in implementing the resolutions. In 2004, the leadership Council was set up to replace the NLC and NEC. The Leadership Council has no legal base to exist. The Chairman dissolved legally instituted organs of the movement as contained in the national convention of 1994, but unilaterally established illegal institutions which are not supported by any legal provisions of the convention thereof.
I want to say that a lot has been done by a few. Most of the things done are imperfect, but they have served us. I appreciate what has been done on South-South dialogue under the SPLM/A Secretary General. The Chairman was supposed to establish a constitutional committee to draft our constitution. We must come together in a place where all departments are residing; there should be one center for the government of SPLM/A to stop all these rumours.I would like to point out that many members of the movement have lost their ability to sit in an office. I want to point out an incident where a commander told me that what Dr. John or Cdr. Kuol Manyang say ‘up there’ does not work in the South. What kind of a system is this, if it is not respected by its officers? There is no system respected in this movement. I suggest that a committee be formed to organize the army and a conference to inform the world and our supporters that there is no problem from within.
Mama Kezia. I thank both leaders for coming together to discuss all the issues. I was happy with the 1st Vice-Chairman for saying everything in his heart. The rumours outside are bad. Both leaders say it was only a misunderstanding. I appreciate what is happening and I call upon Rev. Clement Janda to bless our conclusion. I agree with the 1st Vice-Chairman that there is something wrong with our system. After the death of the Chairman of my commission, no one has been appointed, and therefore there is no one to report to. For me it took three (3) years to see the leader of the movement. There isn’t a good system. But I think that from now on there will be a system in place.
Cdr. Pieng. Greetings. I will be saying something different; that I have not been happy with our meetings that end without resolutions. I am a revolutionary soldier. I have both military and political interest and if anybody things I don’t have both, he is lying. I am not happy with the response of the Chairman; there are problems to be addressed, and these problems must be solved now.The Chairman has not committed mistakes; for me, they are unintended mistakes, for the Chairman could not create problems for himself. I mentioned that during the time of Kerubino there were problems. There were rumours that the Chairman was going to throw away his SPLM/A cadres and replace them with people who have not been in the movement since its inception. There must be committees to reorganize the movement; I agree with Cdr. Elijah Malok’s call for a system and committees. When the Chairman goes away on a visit, he never leaves anyone to act where officers should report to.
Cdr. David. Greetings. I blame the Chief of the General Staff for having failed to do anything until now. But nothing is too late; I suggest that the army be organized now. First create a General Command for the SPLA, for there is no army without a General Staff.
Cdr. Oyai Deng. I want to add my voice of being happy to participate in this meeting. When the movement started, you were seven (7) and now you are only two (2) remaining. Some said that you conspired against those who died and now you are conspiring against yourselves. I am shocked to hear Cdr. Salva talk here only about Bahr El Ghazal and not the South in general give he is a leader for all. I strongly agree with Cdr. Salva that when the Chairman goes away, he locks the South in his bag. This is wrong. Cdr. Salva has the right to question anything wrong. There is a problem that must be solved by taking the right decisions.
Cdr. Gier Chuang. I understand what is happening; I didn’t believe that Dr. John will sit near Cdr. Salva again today. I am happy to see this conference. Many people have died due to internal differences and I refer to what had happened in the 1991 crisis. There must be resolutions for all issues, which bring about conflicts; there must be committees established, especially for the SPLA. I also pointed out that during the December 2003 meeting in New Site, there were no representatives from the army. What is a government without an army.
Cdr. James Oath. I greet the gathering. When the movement started you were seven (7) and now you are only two (2) – five died having problems with you (Dr. John). Why do you have problems with your colleagues? The leadership has disabled the movement, so why keep it? Why is there a GMC, because it has never met until now? There is no SPLA ready to fight, and for me there is no army to order. If I am ordered to arrest Cdr. Salva, I do not have an army to arrest anyone. Even the Chief of Staff cannot order me to do anything because there is no army. There is no chance to meet the C-in-C – it will take long time to meet him. This is not good, therefore a committee must be formed now to sort everything out.
Cdr. Oboto Mamur. Greetings. The Chairman always had problems with his colleagues. Now you are two (2) and you are turning against yourselves. Chairman you have been lying throughout since 1983. A Chairman should trust his deputies because there is a big problem here. I ask the Chairman whether he has mandated us to judge him? And if so, we will pass our judgment on him now. We don’t want to talk for the sake of talking. There must be a committee to follow up on all the resolutions agreed on here. And I add, the convention will not solve our problems.
Cdr. George J. Deng. This meeting is a good opportunity to talk today in front of other commanders. The reply by Cdr. John to Cdr. Salva is not convincing at all. My suggestion is that a committee must be formed to organize things right away. There is no longer any army. Therefore a committee has to be formed for the agreement to succeed. I view the SPLA as my home; if the leaders want to go then it is up to them.
Cdr. Malong Awan. Everyone is waiting for the outcome of this dispute. Both leaders therefore should solve their differences. If they don’t solve their differences then they should remain inside this room until the crisis is over. Nor should we blame our enemies for the rumours came from ourselves – we should not blame outsiders. For example Ayen Maguat went to talk to Cdr. Salva. Many from Yei volunteered to go to talk to Cdr. Salva. She complained that Cdr. Wani Igga was in Yei but failed to talk to Cdr. Salva. Instead he went to his village. This was not good leadership and I disagree with Cdr. Wani Igga’s position.
Session 4.
Cdr. Santo Ayang. I thank the communities of Bahr El Ghazal, Bor and the committees that went to Yei. Without them things would have got out of hand. The Chairman must tell us the truth about the source of these rumours. All that was circulated was not rumour, and no one was bribed by the enemy. You tell the world that you brought peace to Sudan, but the reality is that peace was brought about by those who fought for it and died. Those around you only please you and do not tell you the truth. I support the formation of committees suggested by Taban Deng Gai.
Cdr. Ayuen Jongror. The conflict is within the leadership. When conflict arises, it must be resolved immediately. The two of you must be in one place and not in Nairobi and Yei. The style of your leadership is causing lots of problems. The GMC Secretariat was supposed to be formed, but since then, nothing has happened. The GMC should meet to discuss the issues of the army and structures of the Movement must be formed before the convention.
Cdr. Elias Wai. There is fire so we need it not to burn further. Cdr. Salva is not convinced. All are not convinced with the reaction of the Chairman towards issues raised by Cdr. Salva Kiir. The Chairman is placing his relatives in key positions including Elijah Malok, too old, for example, to hold the position of Governor of the Central Bank. Note, there might be popular uprising one day and the army will join the public.
Cdr. Jadalla. We are here to solve our problems. Committees should be formed to investigate the rumours. You think you are the founder of this movement, and as such, that you can do what you want without consulting people? The public is not ready for more problems.
Cdr. Patrick Aitang. We are talking about rumours, but what do we do next? The letter alleged to have been written by Equatorians caused serious tensions. Thanks to Cdr. Salva for salvaging the situation. The ball is now in the court of the Chairman and he should come out with the facts leading up to this dispute. The Chairman should be bold and form the necessary structures.
Cdr. Kitchener. The Chairman and Salva should work together until the end of the liberation struggle. We need leadership to lead us. Cdr. Ayual Makol. To achieve our objective, we must be united. If the two leaders of the Movement only agree to disagree, then it will lead to internal warfare. Form a committee to investigate the rumours
Cdr. Dominic Dim. I agree that the Leadership Council should be abolished and the commissions replaced by the NEC. The Chairman has locked the NEC in his boxes. Dr. John’s response to Cdr. Salva was neither good nor sufficient. For me, there is still a problem as people still remain suspicious of the Chairman’s intentions. I reiterate that if the problem in question is not resolved, there will be a bigger problem in the Movement. I suggest that the Chairman be clear on resolving this conflict. We should remember how General Swar El Dahab was forced to take over during the crisis at that time. Cdr. Salva was asked by many people to take over, but he refused to do so. I support the formation of committees to restructure the movement and provide us with collective leadership.
Cdr. Bior Ajang. I thank the previous speakers. Cdr. Salva has the right to blame the Leadership Council. The rumours are no longer rumours, but facts as said by Cdr. Salva. There is a problem and that problem should be solved now. I support the formation of committees. What transpired in Yei was the product of two rumours; 1) the arrest of Salva Kiir, and 2) the dismissal of Cdr. Salva Kiir. Cdr. Salva Kiir gave us the chance and invited us to meet. I thank the bodyguards of Salva for handling the situation very wisely. Dr. John has no powers to dismiss Cdr. Salva because the national Convention elected both of them. I emphasize that rumours do not only originate from Nairobi. Yei is also a source. I support formation of committees.
Cdr. Ismail. We should combat the rumours. It is very unusual for a Deputy Chairman not to have easy access to the Chairman. However, forming committees is another way of avoiding the problem. The explanation of the Chairman hasn’t convinced most of the people nor answered what was raised by Cdr. Salva.
Cdr. Dau Akec Deng. I thank the 1st Vice-Chairman for his stand.
Lt. Col. Mathiang Rok. This meeting has saved the lives of many people in the South. I would like to quote from Francis Mading’s book; “things that are not said divide people”. The Leadership Council has taken the powers of the NLC. People still doubt the Chairman’s comments were satisfactory. There are many ‘huddles’ in the system, e.g. the Leadership Council has taken up the role of the National Convention. Our main concern is how the structures will be made functional. We are here to bring peace and harmony among ourselves. If there is anything, which is not clear, it should be said now!
Cdr. Chagai Atem. These rumours started in 1994 and I was the chief negotiator between the two. Now they are caught red handed again.
Father George Kinga. I greet and thank the leaders. The four leaders are great and must be respected. The issues are institutional ones. I also support the formation of committees.
Mr. Pascal Babindi. I am happy to have the chance of addressing this important and historic meeting. The restructuring we decided on at the Gorok NLC meeting pushed us ahead. I am confident that the reforms that shall soon be made will also push us ahead.
Cdr. Achol Marial. A committee should be formed to investigate into where those rumours originated. I appeal to the leadership to mobilize resources prior to the formation of ministries.
Dr. Komanyangi. The formation of committees shall lead to a final solution to all our problems. I suggest that we give ourselves time for these deliberations to continue for one more day so that all issues are exhausted.
Cdr. Simon Kun Pouch. The speakers have not talked on how to combat corruption. The formation of a committee to work out functions for our structures is not really a priority because they already exist, we need only to share power and prepare job descriptions for all the institutions of the movement.
Cdr. James Kok Ruea. A preparatory committee for the Convention should be formed within the shortest time possible. We should work on the structures that will make the Movement function during the interim period as follows: 1) 1st Vice Chairman to chair the GMC, 2) 2nd Vice Chairman to chair the committee for the interim period and 3) 3rd Vice Chairman to chair the committee for National Convention.
Mr. Muhammad Marjan. I believe that the world is looking forward to knowing what our movement will be like once peace is signed and we emerge as a government.
Cdr. Michael Makuei Lueth. There is no need to form a committee to investigate the rumours, which were circulating, unless Cdr. Salva insists that they have never been rumours. I call upon both the Chairman and Cdr. Salva to build confidence between themselves. I assure the Chairman that as we are entering a new era, and if we remain in an unprepared manner, we will eventually be finished. The immediate establishment of our structures is necessary. The distribution of powers is also necessary. The army must be organized. There is also the importance of speeding up South-South dialogue before we enter the forthcoming era. The other issue is corruption. I am saying that the leadership is not committed to fighting corruption. I am against the suggestion that there should be a committee for the army’s reorganization. It is for the COGS, his deputies, and the directors to sit at the GHQs and issue orders according to the plans they set. The national Liberation members should not blame the Chairman alone. In Gorok, the NLC gave the Chairman a blank cheque to restructure the movement, and that was when things started to go wrong.
DAY 2
Session 1
Opening remarks by the Master of ceremony after prayers noted that the present meeting has come out in the internet; and a warning was given to those who might have done so.
Mr. Kosti Manibe. I want to add my voice to those who have already spoken. I express my appreciation to those concerned for having resorted to peace negotiations and to end the conflict through dialogue. I am happy that the 1991 disaster has been avoided. I acknowledge the existence of gaps in the system and I call upon the leaders to address the communication needs. I stress the need for media to send accurate messages to our people, enemies, etc.. The Movement should have a capacity for communication to deal with the media when required. I point out that a lot has been achieved – 90% of the objectives have been achieved. There are structures, but a lot of work requires to be done.
The JAM’s programme on capacity building should be followed. Functions will be set out. On policy issues, I suggest that a lot remains to be done to build confidence in our system and institutions. I suggest that there is a need to form a small committee to look into the minutes of this meeting and to identify the crucial issues that needs resolutions as soon as possible. Such information should be disseminated.
Cdr. John Luke. I am happy that the rumours have been resolved. The rumours of the dismissal of Cdr. Salva has been on air for a long time. There were other rumours that Cdr. James Wani was going to be replaced by Cdr. Pagan. Some responsible people in the Leadership Council have been quoted as saying that Cdr. Salva, with support from Bona Malual, will make a coup. There has been a problem among members of Leadership Council who have been complaining a lot. There is no system, especially in the office of the Chairman, which is treated as a private entity. The office of a leader must be well organized and staffed properly to do its work.
On the responsibility of leadership, Cdr. Dr. John should not be blamed alone because there are others. The dissolution of the Leadership Council will not mean that a normal system will be established. No proper changes will take place, even if the Leadership Council is dissolved. If Dr. Garang dissolves the Leadership Council, he will appoint the same people in the L.C. There is no need to make changes now until peace is signed. The formation process f or the government needs wide consultation; people should wait for a month until peace is signed.The Chairman is being accused for not implementing decisions. In the army, if you need structures, I see Cdr. Salva as a political figure; so a pure army officer should be appointed as Chief of Staff and Cdr. Salva should be given a Commission. This way, the army should be run by an army officer who is not a politician.
Why is the leadership avoiding South-South dialogue? The Chairman refused to accept dialogue, but claims it after others implemented it. It was Cdr. Salva who supported the Wunlit Peace Conference – but the Chairman was against it. At the recent conference in Nairobi organized by the Kenyan Minister for Planning, the SPLM/A failed to attend because the Chairman had refused to let the SPLM attend. Cdr. James Wani is weak and the Chairman uses him to kill things related to South-South dialogue. The NLC is dead and I suggest that an emergency convention be organized immediately.
Cdr. Marc Nyipouch. Cdr. Marc stated that the rumour that madam Nyandeng was arrested with 3.5 is libel and defamation. He continued to cite the case of General Lagu during the Regional Government. On the issue of Governor Deng Alor, Cdr. Marc said that Cdr. Deng collects money from abroad, banks it with the Chairman’s or his (Deng’s) bank account, and that is why Deng Alor was taken away from the region – just to do that. Something Nhial has failed to do but what Deng is able to do. Deng should either be a Governor of Bahr el Ghazal or be replaced.
Mr. Arthur Akuien. I am being called the Finance Secretary but without any finance. I want to point out that the rumours have been destructive and that the leadership style encourages such rumours. I want to say that the Chairman does not delegate powers to his deputies. The Chairman is responsible for creating this crisis in the movement.
On the structures, there are structures. But the Chairman after appointing someone to a position does not work with him, but he will appoint someone else to do the work, which is wrong. The Chairman creates all these problems within the system, and this is why he is being blamed. I also point out when a senior person tries to discipline a junior, the Chairman always fails to solve the problem among the staff and instead interferes. The leadership style of the Chairman’s work is bad and cannot be corrected. The Chairman has not been doing well in his job and he may be forced to leave his office before six years.
Dr. Justin Yac. The Chairman is good for external contacts but within his own institutions he is not good. The Chairman is good in talking but poor in doing things. The Cdrs. Condemned him the day before and I quote Cdr. Salva who said that “Dr. John does not forget and does not forgive”, and who ever quarreled him ended up dead.
Many people know the Chairman’s abilities and weaknesses for the last twenty-two years. The Chairman can impress people when he talks, but lacks action. The commanders the day before gave the Chairman grade F because he failed to adequately answer the issues raised by Cdr. Salva. The Chairman should not think that he is always right; rather he must admit his mistakes. The Chairman must work with a team and not be a leader of the NLC and Chairman of SPLM. Leadership must be collective.
The officers the other day faced the Chairman with hard facts, but we have not been telling the Chairman the truth. We are also to blame. The Chairman should respond to issues of structures to avoid the recurrence of this problem. The Chairman can listen and write on issues, but he always discards them. The Chairman has been everything ever since the movement started. I call upon the Chairman to work with people and not alone. The Chairman should know that he has been wrong because some of the members have not been telling him the truth. Some leaders should be blamed for not doing their part, for many have not been doing things properly. I repeat what Cdr. Salva said that Dr. John does not forget and forgive. So I want to say that those without guns are vulnerable. The Cdrs. Are secure because they have guns to protect themselves from the Chairman, but I ask, who is going to protect those of us without guns?
I call upon Dr. John to listen to all the demands and that he (the Chairman) should make changes and suitable structures. I also suggest that the Rumbek meeting should come up with resolutions that we support the finalization of the peace agreement now, all should be committed to the peace process.
On the issue of dissolution of the leadership council, there is no difference so no changes are necessary. I urge the Chairman to work closely with his aids. We have sat here because we are part and parcel of the executive and leadership as well. Mr. Chairman, I urge you to treat us equally and remove doubts that there are people you prefer.
Cdr. Elijah Malok. I propose the formation of three (3) committees, and that they remain here in Rumbek to start their work as we may have problems with resources and the committees should finish before December 31st.
Cdr. John Koang Nyuon. I thank the Chairman and his 1st Deputy to have responded positively to our wish to sit, as we are doing now to discuss and resolve issues that create misunderstandings. Rumours always create problems. The availability of Thuraya telephones in abundance is really a problem as some of their users can verbally reveal our secrets for the sake of money or any other reason. The reaction by some officers is appreciated, as they only want the resolution of our outstanding problems.
I suggest the formation of regional committees to organize our army within the coming month since you mentioned that peace is likely to be signed by the end of December. I see this as the immediate priority other than the rest we are now discussing – as other structures already exist. To organize the army is not so difficult.
A clarification was made by 1st Vice Chairman Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit: “What brought us here to meet is the question of the rumours, which have been circulating. As the Chairman read in his messages, we haven’t reached a conclusion, as we have not known from where they emanate. When I went to greet the Chairman it was immediately announced that Cdr. Salva has met with Dr. John and their differences are resolved. The question is how does this news go out? I believe that they are not from my part. The rumours came from Nairobi not from Yei”.
Cdr. Abdelaziz Adam Alhilu. The structures formed during the 1st national convention exist, the only thing is that they are not effective due to meager resources. The lack of adequate resources is the main problem that affects their functioning. Instability is also a factor. A system normally operates when the enemy is inactive.
The establishment of structures at present when peace is not yet signed will also put us in difficulties, so it is important to wait for a conducive atmosphere. I agree with the suggestion for the 2nd national convention to take place as soon as possible. I don’t agree with those who say committees should be formed to organize the army. I see it fit that local committees shoulder such responsibilities provided that resources are made available.
Cdr. Daniel Awet Akot. This is a good opportunity for one to air out what had been said before, As Dr. John and Cdr. Salva put it, that they don’t have personal or political problems – then that is appreciated.
Cdr. Ayuen Alier. If the style of leadership is changed, things will automatically change for the better. The whole issue is our general problem not only the Chairman and his deputies. Our top leaders restricted travel to Nairobi with their officers, but that cannot work. Every-body gets there on his own. There is a necessity that capacity building starts now. Cdr. Ayuen made the additional observation, that the lack of self- confidence is always the cause of our problems, and as for rumours, which have been confusing, I assure you that those who have self-confidence cannot be affected by rumours.The suggestion by Cdr. Elijah Malok that committees be formed and start their work here in Rumbek is supported by me. The delegation for the peace talks should be the only ones to go: let us support peace because it is the requirement for now. Mr. Chairman I end by thanking both of you for having cooled your nerves. Come together to discuss so that we can resolve whatever problems are facing us.
Cdr. Kuol Manyang. I think this meeting is historical and as we enter a new era, we are going to be more united after this meeting. You differ with someone and you reconcile. Differences are natural. A person can easily make a problem between him and another. We have to unite and this is how you can overcome rumours, which confuses the people. Like the recent situation, I was informed through unofficial channels that Cdr. Salva had been removed. I called Cdr. Deng Alor and we were joined by Cdr. Awet and we went to Cdr. Salva and told him that what is being alleged is a lie, and that there was no meeting held concerning this. We then moved to Nairobi where we communicated this issue to Dr. John Garang and that was when this meeting was planned and Cdr. James Kok and Cdr. Nhial were asked to organize transportation to this end.
So I thank both Cdr./Dr. John Garang and Cdr. Salva Kiir for having attended this meeting and permitting us to discuss and come up with decisions that promotes unity and harmony. Differences between Cdr. Salva and Dr. John existed from a long time ago, as Cdr. Chagai mentioned, but there was no decisive steps taken to resolve them until today.As for structures, they are there. The only problem is how to maintain and have them effectively function due to a lack of resources. Our structures have to be operationalized. But the matter is not a question of dissolving other bodies such as the Leadership Council, NLC and so on. I don’t have any objection with the formation of committees, but I only say that reorganization of the army must be the responsibility of COGS and his Deputies. I urge both of you, the Chairman and Cdr. Salva to open a new page in order for us to go forward.
Cdr. Nhial. People should be judged by what they have contributed to the Movement. We should sincerely address our issues. I am absolutely prepared for the proposal to dissolve the Leadership Council and we all see what scenario we can take.
To have structures and institutions you need to have three things; 1) the structure itself, 2) resources, and 3) the people, because its people who run the structures. The resources and the personnel go together. Without having prepared for this, it is now one of the serious problems we face as we enter the forthcoming era.
Cdr. Malik Agar. The current issue of the differences between the Chairman and his deputy is surprising in that I was aware of this even ten years ago. Whenever it is about to be addressed, each of them says there is ‘no problem’. The big problem is trust among yourselves. This needs to be rebuilt and you will be the ones to arrive at sound solutions to the existing problems.Comrade Chairman, as we enter the new era, we shall be competing with other parties. Let us start with the effective establishment of our structures and draw up our programmes. We need a system. I have worked as a Governor for ten (10) years; yet, I could have committed many mistakes during that time. Has the Chairman any day called me to tell me that I have made a mistake? There is no system here.
The issue of reorganizing the army is a burning issue as most of the soldiers are now in an unorganized form and this will work against us. As monitors will verify, we don’t have the army. The distribution of powers is the vital issue to avoid future misunderstandings.
Cdr. Pagan Amum Okech. Comrade Chairman, I will focus on the crucial issue, but before that, I want to tell you this. We are here to discuss the rumours that have been circulating and which almost created a very serious development within the movement’s liberated areas, in Khartoum and among the Diaspora. My advice is to the Southerners who have fought for the last twenty two (22) years. I am first going to concentrate on the recent rumours. Cdr. Gier happened to ring me asking me whether I came across information from Yei that the leadership have met and decided to remove him from the second position. I advised Cdr. Gier not to believe that because it is a rumour, and if it spreads, it will create confusion. He then heeded my advice. Again Cdr. Deng Alor phoned to me on the same issue, but I also told him that these are rumours and Cdr. Salva should not believe such rumours. There had been meetings in Khartoum and there was a public statement made by Uncle Bona Malual and retired General Joseph Lagu. If the enemy succeeds in dividing us, it may lead to our failure and peace may not be achieved.This time is very critical Cdr. Salva and Cdr. Chairman; if we say we will remain here to deal with the rumours only, I think we will be here up to the coming year. I advise both of you to put aside these rumours. Even though we did not defeat the enemy, what we had achieved will make the enemy coincide with what we tell them. At this crucial moment we must think thoroughly of what we should do to enable us go forward. This is my appeal to both of you Cdr. Salva and Cdr. Chairman. There is another rumour now that I want to take the place of Cdr. James Wani Igga. I assure you Cdr. Wani that there is nothing like this at all.The establishment and building of structures at this particular time is vital. Our priority is now to finalize the peace talks. The Chairman and his deputies must go to Nairobi so that we are not considered intransigent because the process can easily be derailed. Concerning the reorganization of the COGS and his deputies, we can do that unless the problem of resources hinders us.
Cdr. James Wani Igga. I congratulate the Chairman for calling this important meeting. I also congratulate Cdr. Salva for having attended this meeting. This paves a way for a solution to our problems. I thank both of you for your patriotic stand since the beginning of the struggle – both of you have collectively worked to protect this movement from upheavals. I consider you as the central pillars of this Movement. Let me come to the main topics, which are the SPLM/A’s major problems. Solving a problem is like bringing pus out from somebody’s gull. Problem No. 1, we are not working as a team, which results in disgruntlement.No. 2, we have the structures formed in the 1994 Convention which were only the NEC & NLC, but by 1998, people became fed up of those structures. I appeal that we keep these structures but make necessary changes. I would like to underline something connected with structure. In 1998 we came out with a constitution named the SPLM constitution. This was not passed by the NLC because they were expecting a state constitution. But we had agreed to use that constitution, and there are structures there. In one of the L.C. meetings we had revised the constitution and even the manifesto. Up to now, we had passed four (4) documents. The SPLM constitution. The SPLM manifesto. The 3rd document is the SPLM policy on dialogue and it concerns how we go about South-South dialogue. Our main constraint in starting South-South dialogue is the lack of money. Documents No. 4, is the SPLM policy on the transformation of Sudan. All these documents are there ready. Comrade Chairman, our constraint in the political Affairs Commission is lack of facilities, but we have really tried our best. As for the army reorganization, if we become surprised by the signing of the peace deal, I think it will be difficult to regroup our army simply because we don’t have resources. Once peace is signed, there is going to be the establishment of standard national structures. Structures are our No. 2 problems, including the official management of office institutions.
Cdr. Wani listed other problems:
No. 3: The existence of a Kitchen Cabinet is deplorable and creates doubts and mistrust.
No. 4: The geographical imbalances found in the movement. If this is not addressed, we will never be in harmony.
No. 5: Poor chain of command.
No. 6: Spread of rumours.
Let’s come to the question of rumours. When rumours were developing I was in Nairobi and I went to Kampala. When I reached Kaya, I was being asked what had happened. I was then told that you are coming from Nairobi and that you met and decided to replace Cdr. Salva with Cdr. Nhial. I told that that this is just rumours and I believe that Cdr. Salva will not believe this. He will immediately throw it out the window.
Problem 7: Lack of implementation of resolutions and the lack of a follow up body. Our resolutions always die on the paper.
Problem 8: Corruption which remains rampant in the Movement. Corruption must be fought for example, some years back the Chairman in a meeting informed us that Cdr. Deng Alor brought some money from Nigeria, but how that money was spent had never been explained to us again. I ask the question where is the transparency and accountability we talked about?
Problem 9: Lack of cooperation, accompanied by sabotage. Some work for the downfall of others without any accountability.
Problem 10: Neglect of the army and its welfare.
Problem 11: Absence of job description, which cause confusion.
Problem 12: Nepotism. It should be fought.
There are two examples to illustrate the issue of nepotism. One is the removal of Aleu Anyeny from his position and his replacement by the Chairman with an officer from his home village. Another is the appointment of Dr. Lual Deng as an advisor to the Chairman. We all heard this in a meeting in which the Chairman announced Lual’s appointment without any official procedures followed. When I talk about regional imbalances, all I need to say is that no Equatorian was even allowed to be a signatory of the six protocols. We are making history and this history should involve all the people of New Sudan. The protocols are only signed by individuals from Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Nuba Mountains and Funj!
Problem 13: Neglect in the chain of command, which has led to indiscipline.
Cdr. Wani proposed a way forward. I suggest that an investigation committee be appointed by the Chairman to find out the origination of these rumours. Let’s avoid ‘Kitchen Cabinets’ and combat corruption. We need a mechanism to be adopted to fight corruption. Let’s respect the chain of command. Let’s avoid any regional misbalancing. Job descriptions must be effected. South-South dialogue advanced. The convening of the second National convention requires additional money. The reaction of the Chairman to all the listed problems is necessary. As a sign of true reconciliation, they need to warmly greet themselves in front of us here, then follow that up with a joint statement. A traditional ceremony should be carried out by some of the elders here. We take what had happened like a normal wave when in a canoe. Let us reconcile so that we defeat our common enemy.
Cdr. Riek Machar. I was struggling whether to speak or not because of the nature of the issues being raised. When we met as a Leadership Council, there were divergent views. Before that I met Aleu Anyieny and he told me that if you are going to talk to Cdr. Salva, don’t talk about the problems being personal. These problems are administrative. Serious rumours have also been circulating in London when I was there. They talked about a ‘change of the guards’ and the removal and replacement of Cdr. Salva by Cdr. Nhial. I appealed to the participants in that meeting that we should unite since we are entering peace, because if there is a split, the enemy may dishonour the agreement we had already signed. In any case, suppose we sign the peace, the SPLA will be a national army whereas the SPLM will be competing with other political parties. The SPLA must retain an independent national character.
Concerning the structures, I have participated in a workshop on the formation of structures at all levels including the transformation of the SPLM into a political party. These are all being worked out. We are only behind in our military preparations. This doesn’t need a committee to do that. The COGS, his deputies, directors, and local commanders can do that. The army is the most important element to protect the gains of the struggle and as such we need to organize it and take care of them and their families. We all have to participate in calling them to report to their units or camps where they should regroup and organize. Our chiefs are important institutions that can effectively participate in this endeavor.
Another problem we will face is the returnees, which are estimated to be up to 4 million residing in exile for almost fifteen years. They have acquired different attitudes, culture and perspectives. Not only are they in the north, but we have a good number of our people living in various western countries. We will be confronted by all these groups with a series of problems of cultural differences and we must be prepared to integrate these two groups into our civil life and norms.
I believe that unless something happens in Khartoum, the war is over. Unless the enemy causes us to split, the war is over. This requires us to expedite the reorganization of the army. I do not agree with Mathiang Rok about his suggestion that committees be formed to discuss the six (6) signed protocols. In addition, we should be privileged that the UN SG visited Africa to discuss the issue of peace in Sudan – The first time it happened was during the decolonization of Africa – making the achievement of peace highly likely this year.As for South-South dialogue, we can start now. We should be prepared to negotiate with whatever party is ready to dialogue. If we wait until the government is formed, they will be the ones to undermine the GOSS. We must achieve consensus. Let us not delay south-south dialogue. The lack of dialogue can be a source of disunity, but if we handle it properly, it can also be a source of unity and this will allow the people to rally behind the leadership. There is a need to call the NLC as soon as possible to deliberate on the agreement. What I mean is the current NLC. The next convention, which needs to be convened as soon as possible, will elect a new NLC and who will be charged with the responsibility of working on a national constitutional government of south Sudan, etc.. From now, we have agreed that the judiciary be independent.Session 5Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Greetings to the Chairman and Madame de Mabior and others in this meeting. We apologize for not allowing you to attend the first meeting, which lasted for two days. The second meeting is composed of SPLM Counties Secretaries, civil society, women groups, the youth, etc.. The decision was deliberate and we did not want the meeting to be talking shop.I have no more to say. The issue which brought us here have been raised and you all have given your concerns. Let us take the line of peace to be the priority. In the absence of peace we must be prepared for war. There had been many Security Council resolutions of the same nature passed like this of Sudan, but have not been implemented, such as the PLO, Western Sahara, etc..I thank those who have exerted efforts to travel from their various locations to Yei where they met me on the situation. As I told you, there were no personal problems, they are administrative given my profession, and I know that rumours are dangerous. Rumours must be treated as rumours, but there is no smoke without fire. I don’t agree with Cdr. Wani that these rumours were created by the enemy. There are people among us who are more dangerous than the enemy. I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs.

Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will lead us to a very serious political defeat.
Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem.

DR. JOHN GARANG SPEECH – RUMBEK NOV. 2004

Chairman’s Speech to Rumbek Combined Consultative Meeting

(November 28 – 30, 2004)

  1. 1.     Opening greetings and Minute of Silence

 

  1. 2.     Main Rumours to Dispel: (suddenness and intensity of the rumours)
  • Rumours started with story of Chairman’s wife arrested by UK Police …
  • That Chairman said it is Cdr. Salva Kiir that wrote the letter by Equatorians.
  • That Cdr. Salva Kiir is being dismissed and replaced by Cdr. Nhial Deng.
  • That Cdr. Salva Kiir is being arrested, by so and so and forces being moved …
  • The story that Cdr. Salva is marginalized and his work given to others. This feeling might have developed when Cdr. Salva no longer went for the peace talks and therefore I increasingly worked with Cdr. Nhial and Cdr. Pagan. But we all know how I took over the IGAD talks, as this was during the Officers Conference here in Rumbek. I was reluctant to go to Naivasha as you will recall and people pleaded with me including the Officers Conference.  After that both of us could not be in the talks, and indeed since then Comrade Salva has been doing most of the work in the field as you can see from the very few messages I write.
  • There are many other rumours, but these three are the serious ones around which other issues and rumours are built.
  • Affirm that all these are false [expound convincingly at length].

ü  We have 22 years of togetherness with Cdr. Salva in the SPLM/A, he has been my right hand man even when others were senior to him and up to now and he will continue to be my right hand man into peace and during the interim period … 22 years of togetherness and comradeship cannot be blown away by rumours.

ü  Akon story of June 2003 that out of 7 founding members, we are the only two remaining orphans of former PMHC and that we shall take people across the river.

ü   New Site ritual sacrifices by spiritual leaders last July cannot just be forgotten.

ü  My main preoccupation is to conclude and sign peace by 31/12/2004 as demanded by the UNSC, and there is only one month left, why would I create problems by arresting Cdr. Salva and replacing him with Cdr. Nhial?

ü  It is practically and politically not possible to leapfrog Cdr. Nhial to No.2 as alleged by the rumour mongers, for what are the practical and political implications?

ü  As predicted in our 1983 Manifesto it is the NIF regime [Islamic Fundamentalism] that wants to divide us, block the peace agreement and hijack the Movement, and this must not be allowed.  The fact that both of us, Cdr. Salva Kiir and I are here shows the maturity of our Movement and of our people … As the saying goes the NIF hyena has barked and so it will not eat us again.

ü  I want to end this part by assuring you that Cdr. Salva and I are a Leadership package decreed by 1994 NC, and only a NC can dismiss either of us, and so that I intend to dismiss Cdr. Salva cannot be possibly true, I want you to dismiss this malicious lie.  Cdr. Salva and I are two sides of one coin and so that coin can never be divided; the SPLM/A will never be divided; we are not shakable and the Movement and the coming peace are in safe hands; we will take the people across.

  1. 3.     NIF and Outsiders Meddling in the Affairs of the SPLM/A

 

  • How did these rumours start and who is behind them, the rumours must definitely have been created by someone or some people, and for what purpose? 
  • In my view there were two situations: (a) Situation (A) is that of Cdr. Salva, our 1st Vice Chairman and COGS that we know and that I have known for the last 21 years, and (b) Situation (B) is that created by rumours.  These rumours were not created by Cdr. Salva Kiir, they were created by the NIF regime either directly in some cases or through some of our people who need money, and the purpose is clear; it is to block the peace so that it is not signed by 31/12/2004 as demanded by UNSC Res. 1574.  Situation (A) of Cdr. Salva and situation (B) of the NIF are incompatible and were pulling in different and opposite directions. This is why the situation in Yei did not explode.  At end the Cdr. Salva’s situation took the upper hand and won. And in this context I want to commend Cdr. Salva Kiir for controlling the situation; I commend the officers in Yei; the community leaders that were in Yei or came to Yei; others who went to Yei including members of the SPLM-LC, and finally the role played by Cdr. Pieng and Cdr. Malong in their shuttles.
  • Why does the NIF regime want to block peace?  Because they don’t like the six protocols we have signed; they don’t want the 31/12/2004 deadline and they are looking for excuses not to meet this deadline [Narrate the background as to how the UNSC came to Nairobi, the telephone call of President Bush, etc.].
  • The SPLM/A is the struggle and property of the people of New Sudan (South and three areas and rest of Sudan), and they have paid tremendous sacrifices over the last 22 years and in previous struggles.
  • We must honour the struggle and sacrifices of our people by taking the struggle to its logical and final conclusion to achieve the cardinal objectives of the SPLM/A, i.e., New Sudan and the right of self-determination.   These can only be achieved through conclusion and signing of the peace agreement by 31/12/2004 as demanded by the UNSC, and we must not allow the NIF or any situation to delay or disrupt this process.  Across Southern Sudan and New Sudan and the rest of Sudan people want peace; that is the general cry.  If the NIF regime does not hear this and we in the SPLM will deliver this peace.
  1. 4.     Loss of trust and confidence between Chairman and his 1st Vice Chairman
  • The main talk here is that the Chairman does not share issues with Cdr. Salva, does not consult him often, is not as intimate as before, there are others around the Chairman that pull him away from Cdr. Salva, etc …
  • Assurances that this is not true and that the Chairman has every confidence in Cdr. Salva [Relate incidences, e.g., at Malual Gahoth, when Tiger’s plane crushed, at his village and Akon, sending him to South Africa and what I told him; I do send Comrade Salva on diplomatic mission – Egypt, Libya and Algeria and several times to Ethiopia in recent times, etc.
  • Trust and confidence are intangibles that are built over time.  From my side I have not lost that trust and confidence that I have had in Cdr. Salva since 1983, but if there is doubt as there obviously is given the recent developments in Yei then I want to tell you categorically here that I will work hard to repair that perceived damage.
  • Trust and confidence are even more important now then at any other time before, because unlike in the past we shall not be alone in the post conflict era; there will be other political forces in both South and North and we will compete with some of these parties.  It is our cohesiveness and solidity as a political organization that will enable us to deliver both the New Sudan and the exercise of the right of self-determination and development in general.  This requires the social capital called trust and confidence within the leadership of the SPLM, among the cadres and among the rank-and-file.
  1. 5.     Regarding Problems within the Movement and Internal Reforms.
  • Internal reforms necessary and I have talked about this on many occasions.
  • Internal reforms should not be related to or confused with problems created by the current rumours, since these rumours are baseless
  • I am aware there is general concern among the officer corps and rank-and-file that now that peace is coming the SPLM Leadership, and specifically Dr. John, will abandon the cadres of the Movement and embrace outsiders or new comers instead [Dispel this and give convincing explanations why this is impossible to be entertained by the Leadership or by Dr. John in particular]. Include programs of education and development in the next period and how our cadres fit in.
  • The coming peace agreement will impose new structures and there shall be full decentralization to the States and Counties. This coupled with fairness of distribution of jobs at the level of GOSS and GONU will bring justice to all our people of New Sudan. In general peace will bring us responsibilities in the following: (a) SPLM, (b) SPLA, (c) GOSS, (d) NUBA MTS GOVT, (e) SBN GOVT, (f) ABYEI AEC, (g) GONU, (h) STATE GOVTS IN REST OF NORTH, (i) SPLA National Reserve, and (j) above all a robust, strong and rapidly growing economy to provide jobs & services to our people who have suffered so much.
  • Finally, we must hold our 2nd National Convention as soon as time will allow; we already have the resources to do it, and I here directing the full Convention Organizing Committee to sit immediately and plan and expedite preparations to ensure that the 2nd National Convention is held before the end of March 2005.
  1. 6.     Regarding the Peace Process and Prospects
  • Background to the UNSC Nairobi meeting and SC Resolution (sent to all units) and SPLM-GOS MOU.
  • Negotiations by the Technical Committees started on 26/11/2004, and Ali Osman Taha and I will arrive in Nairobi on 5/12/2004 to finish the process.

ü  Outstanding Issues in Ceasefire and Implementation Modalities Annexes – The Committee of Cdr. Nhial will brief you in detail, but in summary …

ü  Guidance from this consultative conference and from the Leadership Council regarding outstanding issues to complete and sign by 31/12/2004.

  • NIF displeasure and ways of resisting ending the war by 31/12/2004 as demanded by UNSC Resolution 1574, or if they are forced to sign the CPA then they will use the same ways to frustrate implementation. This is not a secret, as the Internet and Khartoum newspapers are full of GOS disquiet and plans of how to destroy the Agreement.  NIF will use the following, and they are actually very advanced in using them: –

ü  GOS-Militias (OAGs) and this is why negotiations are difficult, as the NIF does not want to let go of these militias.  The aim and hope is to create an alternative armed Movement loyal to the NIF in the South.

ü  Use of their Coordinating Council reinforced by disgruntled Southern politicians.  The aim and hope is to create an alternative political force in the South that subservient to the NIF.

ü  The NIF has actually already announced that they will implement the Wealth Sharing Protocol as from 1/1/2005 whether there is an agreement signed with the SPLM/A, or not; they have even said that they will implement it without the SPLM/A.

ü  The NIF aims and hopes to combine the two subservient groups (the OAGs and the political militias) to block signing of the CPA or to frustrate implementation, and to turn the six Protocols into their so-called “Peace from within” and to use the developed situation to fight and eliminate the SPLM/A.  This is the meaning of what Beshir announced. The NIF aims and hopes that Southerners will fight over the 50% of oil revenues in the Wealth Sharing Protocol instead of fighting the NIF regime.

ü  It is generally accepted by Southerners, New Sudanists and Sudanese in general as well as by the Region and international community that no political force other than the SPLM/A can successfully maneuver out of the situation and implement the six Protocols.  The SPLM/A has the vision, the record of struggle and sacrifice (social capital) and the commitment.

ü  We will not shy away from multi-party politics and we will challenge the NCP politically and democratically in the North if they continue to make mistakes by sponsoring south-south conflict.

ü  We shall also compete with and defeat all the fake political parties in the South, and let me assure you that we welcome democracy, political pluralism and elections both in the South and North.

  1. Finally Regarding the Vision, Objectives and Strategies of the SPLM/A
  • We must continue with the objective of New Sudan and the exercise of the right of self-determination.  This vision and strategy is what has reached us this far, and it is what will see us through to final victory.
  • The objective of New Sudan and the right of self-determination are not contradictory; as a matter of fact one cannot achieve the exercise of the right of self-determination except through the method of New Sudan.
  • Those who criticize the New Sudan as being in conflict with the right of self-determination and Southern Sudanese independence fail to tell people their method for achieving the right of self-determination of Southern Sudanese independence.  They end up being either AOGs or political militias to be used or manipulated by the NIF.  Our method has worked and is working and that is why the NIF regime is always angry with us and not with the self-appointed saviours of Southern Sudan, since such convoluted salvation is through the enemy.

Rumbek (Day 2)

Day 2 in Rumbek

  1. A.    Concerning Rumours as the Main Problem
  1. Somebody yesterday quoted Dr. Francis Deng that “what is left unsaid is what divides”.  Let us be sincere about this issue.  The main problem confronting us was not that of structures of the Movement.  Ayendit and her delegation did not travel to Yei because of structures; they went to Yei because of rumours surrounding the dismissal and arrest of Cdr. Salva Kiir and a possible split in the Movement as a result of this.  It is the same with the three communities in Yei and all those who traveled to Yei (Kuol Manyang and Deng Alor, Riek Machar’s group and others concerned).  They went to Yei because of the situation created by rumours.  People in the liberated areas including our soldiers are concerned and are waiting for good news as to whether there is a split in the Movement or not.  This is the same for our people in the Diaspora as well as our adversary.
  1. This is the issue I was addressing yesterday in my statement and that is probably why some of you, especially the GMC members, felt that my response was not sufficient.  I did not address the issue of structures sufficiently because, although it is a problem, it is not what caused the situation in Yei. The connection between the commotion that occurred in Yei would be logical only if the rumours were created so that the issue of structures in the Movement are addressed.  Of course you all know here that this is not the case. I think Cdr. Santo Ayang and others pointed this out yesterday in their own way.
  1. The first problem that we need to dispose of therefore is that of the commotion that was created in Yei as a result of the rumours surrounding the dismissal, replacement and arrest of Cdr. Salva Kiir.  Let us not put this under the rug by letting it be overshadowed by the issue of structures.  Let us satisfy ourselves that these rumours were not true and dismiss them sincerely.  I believe that from my part I addressed this issue of rumours and the associated commotion or misunderstanding sufficiently yesterday and I was sincere about. Some people have asked yesterday for a committee to establish the facts. This is okay, but there would be no need for this if we are all satisfied that there was no such a thing, and in that case what we would need to address is how to address such rumours in the future so that they do not cause similar situations as almost happened in Yei, because the enemy will continue to devise more stratagems to divide us.  Some people like Kosti Manibe talked about some of the remedies to avoid creation of such situations in the future.
  1. As I said yesterday, our people everywhere are concerned about the rumours and commotion created in Yei.  If we are satisfied, as I believe we all are, that this problem of rumours about the dismissal, replacement and arrest of Cdr. Salva Kiir and the resulting commotion in Yei has been resolved then it is important and urgent that we move among our people and units to assure them that there was not such a thing, because that is what people are waiting to hear. Let us also tell our Diaspora and the international community, and this can best be done by holding an international press conference either here in Rumbek or in Nairobi with the four of us.
  2. B.    The Second Problem:  Trust and Confidence.

 

  1. The second issue I talked about yesterday was trust and confidence between me and Cdr. Salva Kiir. I considered this to be the second important issue after the rumours, because as some one put it, existence of a confidence gap provided fertile soil for the rumours to germinate. I talked at length about our long relationship since the Sudanese army and since 1983 and as recently as my visit to Akon in May 2003 and the sacrifice that was made at the Chiefs Conference in New Site, and so on.
  1. I think I addressed this issue sufficiently yesterday, except may be for one issue that of personal contact.  When I first came from the long trip abroad, I informed Cdr. Salva that I had arrived back and that I was visiting the Region (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya).  Cdr. Salva wrote to me welcoming me and informing all units that Comrade Chairman had returned back and is resuming his normal duties – a clear indication that he was acting in my absence, and so again it is not true that Cdr. Salva Kiir does not act in my absence, this is automatic; when the head leaves the deputy acts and there is normally no message sent to all units or departments every time the head leaves.
  1. On the issue of telephone contacts, we had a similar impression as Cdr. Salva.  One of my HQ officers, Major Amat Malual, had difficulty going through to the telephone of Cdr. Salva Kiir.  I was actually forced to go through Cdr. Malong Awan – I asked Cdr. Malong Awan twice to tell Cdr. Salva Kiir that I wanted to talk to him by phone and that I was not going through to him.  I was finally able to talk on the phone by arrangement with Cdr. Oyay Deng Ajak. Obviously we need to improve our communications, including having a hotline as someone suggested.
  1. The issues of a Kitchen Cabinet and some people having bought houses abroad are issues that better communications will solve because I obviously don’t have them.  The rents of the four of us here are being paid for by a friendly Government and I don’t believe any of the four of us has a house anywhere, although there are such rumours.  For those who might have houses they will talk for themselves.
  1. There are other issues of concern that were raise by Cdr. Salva on the question of trust and confidence that I should have addressed and touched on this morning by Dr. Justin Yac.  One is that Dr. John does not forgive those who have quarreled with him.  First I want to say that I do not consider that there has been a quarrel between me and Cdr. Salva.  The commotion in Yei was not caused by a quarrel between the two of us, but by rumours which we are now sorting out.  Secondly, it is not true that I do not forgive people. The five members of the first leadership who died were not because I did not forgive them. William Nyuon had come back to the Movement under complete reconciliation, we know how he died. The same thing for Kerubino.  Joseph Oduho also did not die on our side.  Arok Thon died in a plane crush on the Government side.  It is Majier whose circumstances of death are not clear.  But in the peace talks we made it clear that we are for a South African type truth and reconciliation commission.  As to those of Dr. Riek Machar we are already together as you can see him sitting near me. If anything I am criticized for too much reconciliation and too much forgiveness by even some of you in this hall.  So that I do not forgive is untrue.  I am very forgiving and will continue to be.
  1. The second issue that Cdr. Salva raised was guarantees for those who went public on the Internet and who appeared to support the rumours and commotion in Yei.  Again, I want to say that whereas there are those abroad who are writing all sorts of things, this really should not affect us here in the Movement.  We are one and there is no issue of victimization of anybody, as we have understood and satisfied each other regarding the last events in Yei.  These are the assurances we were giving yesterday, and I want to repeat that the issue of victimization of any sort does not arise at all; it will never happen and all those in this hall and Almighty God above are my witnesses.  So, to use Dr. Justin’s story, the concerns of Aguek Atem have no basis at all.  Let us unite more than at any other time before and move forward together.
  1.  I do not have much else to add on the issue of trust and confidence, except to say that trust and confidence are a form of social capital that people build over time – It is personal and there is very little you here can do about it.  However, from my part I want to assure you that I will work tirelessly to invest in trust and confidence between me and Cdr. Salva.
  1. Regarding the Issue of Structures of the Movement
  1. I agree that I did not address it sufficiently yesterday because I did not think it was the main problem.  It is not what caused the commotion or near-explosive situation in Yei.  This is not to say that the issue of structures is not a problem.
  1. The issue of structures is not new.  Second there is no argument that our structures are perfect, and there is nobody who is refusing that we reform our structures.  It is therefore a misrepresentation of the situation for anybody to suggest that the chairman did not reply the points of Cdr. Salva because the points regarding structures are not his. These are our collective problem and our collective responsibility. The issue of suitable structures for a liberation struggle is not easy and all of us have experimented with several structures since 1983. It was not the Chairman alone, but all of us collectively in the Leadership, whether this is the PMHC, the NLC/NEC or the SPLM-LC.  We used unorthodox means because of the unorthodox situation we are in.  Even the position of the COGS that somebody talked about before as being held by the Deputy Chairman is not the traditional organizational form.  This issue came up in the 1994 NC and my guidance was that let us not be catholic about this issue and that remains my position till today.
  1. The structures that we adopted at various times were dictated by changing situations and all of us participated in those changes and in the evolution of those structures.  Of course I am aware that often the credit goes to all and the blame goes to one in person, the Leader of any organization. In 1999 for example we all participated in the resolution passed by the NLC to restructure the Movement; this was not my decision alone. We were simply trying to solve pressing problems to survive.  The SPLM-LC was actually a compromise as some officers were calling for a return to military rule.
  1. Concerning assignments, these have sometimes been dictated by situations, like when Cdr. Salva Kiir was assigned as a Front Commander for BGR while he was Deputy Chairman and COGS.  This was to solve a particular situation in the Region. This is the same for other similar unorthodox assignments to solve similar situations.  These measures may now look wrong in hindsight, but this is how we got to where we are.
  1. Also the problem of a SPLA GHQ has always been with us. The GHQ has actually been there and is there now in Yei, but there are problems that we know which are associated with its functioning.  We need to solve these problems so that the GHQ functions normally.  The D/COGS at times had field assignments but this happens in many guerrilla situations and does not prevent the functioning of guerrilla GHQ.  We can have them at the GHQ and still we would have the same problems as we have in their absence.  Cdr. Peter Wal Athiu has since returned to GHQ and there is no noticeable improvement.  Now as move towards the peace agreement, we need to complete GHQ establishment and have the COGS and his deputies and other staffs in one place to organize the GHQ and the army.
  1. In the SPLA Act, that has been signed into law, the COGS has wide ranging powers which are organic to that office, the issue is using them and improving on the job description.
  1. Finally, the issue of structures in the transition was actually addressed by a large group of more than 150 cadres, and we discussed the issue of transition in the SPLM-LC.  The result was presented to me in a document entitled (______). I made some corrections and it is now under printing and will be presented by the Economic Commission to the LC.
  1. In it proposals of Transition Teams and Committees or Clusters as the document calls them has been made.  [Read some parts] – funding under the CBTF is also under way as the Economic commission is mobilizing resources.  The proposals of Cdr. Taban Deng and others are actually in this document, where we have three clusters:

(a)   SPLM(b)  SPLA and(c)   CANS

  1. These can be immediately formed and start working to effect the transition leading into Interim Period and formation of the GOSS.  Each of them would be under each of the three Vice-Chairmen and all supervised by the Chairman, and all working in one place as a collective leadership (SPLM-LC and Executive) managing the transition.  This is a good document in my view.  The only thing that might need reconsideration in the document is ISCOORT, so that it simply becomes a Secretariat of the SPLM-LC facilitating its work. What we may add is expediting of holding of the NC.

10.  Closing morale paragraph.