By: Buot Manyiel Buot, RSS, MAR/11/2013, SSN;
Even before the very outset of the Equatoria Conference 2013, our media was already flooded with discourse and counter-discourse with regards to marginalization of Equatoria by other “Sisterly Regions.” After the conclusive “happy ending” of Equatoria Conference 2013, the discourse proliferated to the highest climax given the implications of the Resolutions in the aftermath of that Conference.
In fact, the Resolutions are upshots of the alleged discontent amongst the denizens of Equatoria-land, who are apparently harboring silent pain of “institutionalized Marginalization” occasioned by the current Leadership of the Republic of South Sudan. The ensuing politicking and public scuffle which subsequently followed this marginalization stuff really underscored the magnitude of the scheme and the motive involved.
It offered rare insights that the virtues of patriotism, nationalism, political intercourse and unity in diversity are on the verge of sacrificial altar. It is therefore imperative that in order for this Nation to progress, it must rise up against divisive sentiments and say Yes to social harmony and National Unity. After all, we all fall and rise together as a Nation, as a people.
As a matter of fact, the dogma of marginalization commands very diminutive usage in the vocabulary of African body politics, and South Sudan specifically. The idea was expertly crafted by our fallen Hero, late Dr. Garang De Mabior and his pioneering comrades for strategic reasons. If any group invokes marginalization stuff and brings it into play at this point in time, then that group surely could have forgotten the cause for which we sacrificed 2,000,000 martyrdoms.
As a responsible and dutiful citizen, I intend to offer a call for National Duty to every South Sudanese, in form of homework, to compare and contrast objectively the Marginalization which the SPLM/A leadership campaigned against during the real revolution/liberation era and the current Marginalization sung by the segment of Leadership of Equatorialand.
Surely, there is a sharp contrast to draw. Conversely however, we have three prominent South Sudanese – Alfred Taban, Joseph Akim Gordon and J.K. Lupai. These gentlemen are leaders on their own rights and are entitled to their freedom of speech and opinion.
Nevertheless, in blatant disregard to constitutional requirements and adherence to regulatory framework of our Country, their writings always almost contravene the principle of responsible reporting and fair comments on public issues and the records are res ipsa loquitur.
Ironically, as though in a bid to outclass their other counterparts, Joseph Akim and K.Lupai chose to sacrifice pragmatism and embarked on a gigantic demonization drive of certain tribes through their writings. Am no tribal bigot, but I subscribe to a given tribe through biological default or design.
We appreciate our tribal strata because such diversity is a source of national pride and unity. But I suspect Joseph and Lupai may harbor personalized hatred against certain tribes and leaders, otherwise, how do you explain away the tendency of two prominent intellectuals who meticulously target and vilify specific leaders of certain tribes?
These self-proclaimed “paramount chiefs” of looming “Equatoria Kingdom” think that the Region is terminally marginalized at the behest of other regions and that all able-bodied denizens of Equatoria-land must rise up to confront this challenge head-on and never surrender to perceived colonization.
Now they fall within the category of experienced character assassins through their writings. Fortunately or unfortunately, their vilification crusade only helps to fuel antagonism and deeply polarizes the political divide across the spectrum.
But then for the best interest of our national unity and respect for the two gentlemen, they will never feature much in this article, for we don’t have to discuss personalities or tribes. I must forewarn though, that Rwanda has scars of bitter experience that emanated from such fiery writings. Who wants a replica of Rwanda scenario anyway? Certainly nobody.
Indeed, these gentlemen have their country in heart and some of them have gone at lengths to sacrifice their lives at great personal risks. Today, we have a sovereign country in form of a Republic. My advice for them is to write on issues that unites us. And without much ado, let me drop in line to expound the theme of this article.
I must admit at the very onset that many people are disappointed by the resolutions that culminated from Equatoria Conference 2013 because they fall short of expediency. Equatoria Conferees should have passed such Resolutions, at least, after relative contemplation of the ultimate intended purpose.
The Resolutions to be honest do not confer any justice or rationale or temperament or appetite to the body politics of this Country. The Resolutions are already indicted in the court of public opinion, and the subsequent public verdict heavily weighed against the Resolutions, because their culpability to a large extent outweighed the underlying good intention.
Indeed, these resolutions involve higher probability of harm than good against this nation and certainly higher degree of unreasonableness, that is to say, a very substantial culpable deviation from a politically avowed national covenant we all subscribe to as South Sudanese – to unite for a common purpose.
The resolutions to say the least are unconscious disregard to the doctrine of National Unity as defined in our Constitution. The Resolutions are also terrible reminiscence of much-loathed Kokora cancer and disgraced 1990s splits. This is vital point to underscore.
Equatorians assert that Marginalisation of the 21st century era is an all-eye-catching political aggravation because it propels the public into consciousness when it is invoked and therefore, for necessity purposes it must be introduced primarily to enrage the potential discordance, and hence discharge public restiveness, and probably as a leverage, to safeguard the social, economical, legal and political interests it (Marginalisation) cherishes.
But I must insist that marginalisation in today’s politics is a very mysterious and intractable notional volition because it merely connotes a political fiction where a very subjective yardstick is invoked into play to determine that anyone whose certain political rights are apparently impinged, ought to be categorised as Marginalised, even when there is no objective criteria.
In the Equatoria case, nonetheless, marginalisation hysteria operates in the abstract and serves no purpose at all.
Columnist and writer, Ateny Wek Ateny, advocated for full nullification of such Resolutions, because the message contained therein blurred/marred rationality and therefore null and void. And to preclude the dangers of falling into the abyss of xenophobic inclinations, a word of caution should be asserted that opinion writers who unfairly generalise regions as unjust are chauvinists, and I must honestly underline here that there are good intentioned Equatorians who possess prudence to prevail over emotional discordant.
During the course of the conference, for instance, there were good intentioned statesmen, the likes of Uncle Joseph Lago, Uncle Wani Igga and many others who have never wavered and dedicated their lives in the whole course of revolutionary period. I respect/admire them, for they exhibit qualities of wisdom and prudence which exemplify anyone who aspires for virtue and nobility in their deeds.
But I wish they should have prevailed over the conferees because these statesmen understand and appreciate the necessity of acknowledging the limits to such actions.
I also wish they should have urged their fellow conferees not to be driven on by blind impulse but by deliberate and definitive and conscious resolve to attain specific objects. I doubt whether Equatoria Conference Resolutions 2013 are deliberate or definitive or are intended to attain specific object.
Paradoxically, veteran Journalist and leader, Mr. Alfred Taban, editor of Juba Monitor newspaper, disturbed and stirred the nation on the 26th Feb, 2013, when he had this to say and I quote, “A rebellion usually starts with complaints. When grievances are not addressed, you usually end up with rebellion or even secession. That is what those in Authority should understand,” unquote.
I have specific concern with the last dictum, (that is what those in authority should understand). What does the word “authority” imply? Gen. Wani Igga is the (Speaker) President of National Legislative Assembly, Gen. Alison Mogaya is the Minister of all-powerful Interior Ministry, Kosti Manibe is the Minister for Finance, and the list is honestly long for Equatoria leaders holding ministerial positions in Juba.
Surely the hold positions of authority. Do they have to understand that their kith and kin are about to initiate a rebellion because of non-representation in the Juba government? It baffles the entire nation what may have propelled this nationalist to vomit such fiery sentiments.
As you may have known, Alfred during the dark days in Khartoum was a reporter for BBC. He was a popular voice of the voiceless that every Southern Sudanese admired, for he fought for the cause of his people as evidenced by countless unjustified arrests of his person, including assassination attempts on his dear life by NISS security apparatus. He had to beat all the odds in the face of relentless intimidation, arrest, obstruction and censorship. Alfred was a symbolic object of resilience.
He later founded Khartoum Monitor newspaper which Khartoum “rightly” suspected of being a mouthpiece of the rebel movement, the SPLM/A. After the CPA was inked in 2005, Alfred helped in numerous aspects to ensure that Southerners vote for secession. In the 2010 general elections, Alfred expressed his inalienable right of being elected as leader. He applied for Governorship of CES, but the then notorious Electoral College rejected him, preferring the uncontrollable Wani Konga.
Since then, he became critical of the government policies, vocalizing his writing against the government and even compromising the editorial policy of his Newspaper.
After the conclusion of Equatoria Conference 2013, he incidentally called for the creation of the Republic of “Lado Enclave,” a utopian Nation-state to be populated exclusively by Equatorians, and only Equatorians. He was conceding to the fact that by establishing this impending Lado Enclave Republic, the Equatorians shall have averted the “abject Marginalisation” tricked on them by other Regions.
But then, he was apprehensive of the dangers posed by such imaginary Country and suggested that the compromise shall be avoidable at the preference of Equatorians by opting for a revolution in a real country, South Sudan, to claim what is rightfully stolen from them. i.e. equal representation in the army, security agencies, custom, and every other arms and wings of government.
To be continued…..
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