Category: Featured

Conflict may hurt Juba’s bid to join East African Community

By GALGALLO FAYO, Business Daily, NAIROBI, KENYA;
Posted September 18/2012

In Summary

*An applicant must also demonstrate the potential to contribute to the integration in the bloc.
*South Sudan is facing US dollar shortage and has restricted the volume of transactions, affecting trade.
*South Sudan loses about $1 billion a year in hard currency to neighbouring Kenya and Uganda through remittances, informal trade and imports of goods

A volatile currency and rampant insecurity could hurt South Sudan’s bid to join the East African Community (EAC) bloc.

The country, which seceded from Sudan last year under a 2005 peace deal, hopes to tap into the potential of the EAC common market, which has 133 million people.

Sporadic cases of violent conflict between Juba and Khartoum over oil export deal and border disputes threatens this dream.

The dispute led the south to halt oil exports through Sudan erasing its main source of hard currency, leading to serious instability in its import and export trade.

The oil shutdown wiped about 98 per cent of the landlocked nation’s state revenues. It has almost no other industries apart from oil after decades of civil war with Sudan.

“There are some issues within the treaty that they must conform to, there are certain conditions they have not met, we are negotiating with them,” EAC Affairs minister Musa Sirma said. “A country must be stable, a country must have free economy based on good business culture.”

According to Article 3 of the EAC Treaty, parties seeking membership of the bloc must adhere to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human right s and social justice.

An applicant must also demonstrate the potential to contribute to the integration in the bloc.

Besides, a State is obligated to prove that it has the capacity to establish and maintain a market driven economy and policies that are compatible with those of the EAC.

Mr Sirma said South Sudan is facing US dollar shortage and has restricted the volume of transactions, affecting trade.

South Sudanese Commerce minister Garang Diing Akuong was quoted by Reuters as having said that the country aims to seal a $200 million credit line from an international bank within three months to cover imports and bolster the local currency.

South Sudan loses about $1 billion a year in hard currency to neighbouring Kenya and Uganda through remittances, informal trade and imports of goods as diverse as medicine, cement, clothes, furniture and food, he told the news agency.

Pres. Kiir won’t be re-elected again: Reply to Ateny Wek

BY: Isaiah Abraham, SSN; Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, a columnist with the Citizen Newspaper, Juba, wrote a spirited piece challenging Mr. Mabior Garang Mabior, the son of the founding father of this nation about the later expression of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Mr. Ateny called Mr. Garang junior names including that of a ‘prodigal’ son. He fumed and argued until he gets to why this author couldn’t take it anymore.
I have just picked three enigmatic lines from his article written on Citizen Newspaper dated September 4th 2012, Vol. 7, Issue No. 234. One line reads thus: “Garang boys still control everything…”.
Before we argue much as to why such a statement is terrible and uncalled for, allow me to briefly rehearse key words from Alan Boswell of the McClatchy Newspaper publicized interview with Garang junior. Mr. Garang Junior was reported to have said that the government is doing little on corruption drive/ fight and that the current leadership has abandoned the path charted forward by his father.
He was also quoted to have sought the need for intervention or a change through the people and not through the army. Lastly Mr. Garang quizzed and squared Mr. Kiir’s security against him, and for the death of a Kenyan worker on a bus related to Mama Rebecca Nyandeng, the mother of Mabior Garang Mabior.
As natural as everything else, opinions are subject to different interpretations; each of us will slice part of Garang’s argument differently. Some might not agree with his alleged statements, but others will go extra mile personal or political. To this group they will think that it will be too much from the mouth of a young man whose father and Kiir are somewhat one and the same thing. The two in fact are joined at the hip; the two started the journey together and are respected by many. I don’t know whether my colleague Ateny Wek was right to jump to such an aggressive position.
Ateny falls in the category of the people who sees Garang and Kiir differently. To Ateng, Garang isn’t Kiir and the opposite is true. I agree. In fact the majority of Kiir home boys are pushing hard to anoint Kiir anywhere at the expense of Garang, but Mr. Kiir has kept away from such a school, at least publicly. That is another argument another day, but the extension of that argument has spilled over to this topic, and I shall reference it as we go along.
Anyway, we still have a long way to go given our patronage tendencies and allegiance that must not be wished away overnight. The strings are being pulled and normally it goes that way until at a certain time when the chicken comes home to roast.
To this author it will be callous for anyone to disrepute either; both are important leaders of our time. Kiir himself can’t accept that his colleague be treated that way, and I gave him the credit for not poking his neck anywhere to claim superiority over his brother John Garang.
Garang and Kiir are birds of the same feathers; they come a long way together and are still even together; I must repeat myself. It is the death that has separated the two leaders. I don’t think it is fair for the young man from Aweil to try to go between the two. Thus the two shared failures and successes of the SPLM. If SPLM is rotten under Kiir, the excuse shouldn’t be roundly shouldered by him, but he also has a role to play to correct whatever Garang didn’t do well.
Garang boys vs Kiir boys
Now let’s look briefly the sentence above, “Garang boys are still controlling everything”, especially  the word ‘still’. To me Mr. Ateny wasn’t sure why ‘Garang boys’ are allowed to continue to ‘control’ things at Kiir’s time. To him, the ‘boy’s reign should have been gone with the late leader. That is his opinion and I don’t have to argue much, but I now doubt his girth about anything. I will fear now his judgment and reasoning, the very person I thought he won’t be subjective.
Many Dinka are like that! They are horrible when it comes to us vs them.
But also the two words: ‘Garang boys’ has a connotation. Mr. Ateny carefully used these two words consciously and hence my contention. His choice of these words didn’t just come out while he was writing his pejorative piece, the man had earlier consulted his conscience and concluded that for him to raise the bar, he must dredge something up to settle a score against people whom he sees as anti-Kiir.
Remember we have been hearing these maundering statements every now and then, specifically during Kiir ascension to power; it was from people who are interested in separating Kiir from Garang. Please Ateny, there were/are Garang boys vs Kiir boys, Kiir himself was one the boys under Garang. But Kiir and whoever else are leaders on their own right, and we must respect them, and not to insult them.
“SPLM rooted in the way it was designed”
I find the second enigmatic statement from Ateny so offensive; It partly reads like this: “ the culture of the SPLM rooted in the way it was designed. If Mabior sees the failure of the SPLM led government, which is systemic with its fluctuating political culture from communist to capitalist”
The composition of this passage was wrong, the intent was also wrong as does the phrasing. If the culture of the SPLM was faulty, then what does that got to do with Mabior reminding you and me about them?
You one moment attempt to say failure and just try to push to someone else, yet in another split second you put a blanket on the face of Mabior. If there are failures from that time to date, because of that ‘design,’ who has stopped Kiir from correcting the wrong ‘design’? How about changing ideology from communist to capitalism, what relevance are we attaching into our affairs at the moment?
If Mr. Ateny intention was to charge Garang of having erected a wrong foundation, then his attempt to exonerate Kiir is off the mark. Corruption, mismanagement and lack of vision aren’t ideological, but methodological or means under poor governance.
Therefore, it is just unfair to try to gag Garang junior because he is the son of Dr. John Garang. Mr. Mabior openness is good for us all; this is self criticism and shouldn’t be thrown out of the window. After all he is a South Sudanese like everyone else in this land, and has every right to express himself. If he says things aren’t going people’s way, who is this Ateny to say that they are?
Majority of our people are dissatisfied, save for a few around the corridors of power. What will he say about Kiir hands in glove in tackling of corrupt practices in his government? Is that not a concern? I think it is so! To me there is a huge concern and a weakness from the top man in our land. He must do things differently to prove to many his worth being there.
People might conclude that by being indifferent and indecisive perhaps he’s is one of the corrupt people in the land.
Second, Mr. Garang has voiced what we all know; this isn’t secret anymore. There is total leadership deficit and this must be corrected next year during party Convention. There are manageable crisis such as insecurity in some parts of the country, and then food insecurity, lack of infrastructures or services as well as the diplomatic dirt for not being proactive and visional. The list however goes on.
The so-called post outstanding differences between the Sudan and South Sudan are by products of our failure to appreciate situations before they actually occur. The government acts haphazardly and impromptu and not on a laid out one, two and three strategic plans. No guidance, no supervision and no evaluation, and thereby no nothing. That is exactly what Mr. Garang Junior lamented about.
We must not bury our heads in fear because the security people will torture us, people of this land are to be free from ineptitude and poor guidance from Kiir camp.
Garang was an undisputed leader
Ateny, if Garang was alive we won’t have been at this state, I must say this with certitude! That man was gifted, he knew what step to take, why to take and what it would take to take it. Of course he wasn’t god, but his developmental agenda fits our fertile grounds. May be you don’t know him, and only heard from FORUM instigative and negative onslaught against him in London.
Of course we know the turncoats that are becoming hard cores and inner circles of the system currently in Juba. Time is coming when you will be accounted for the mess you have done against the people of this country. South Sudan can’t be led like that and someone can’t step up to hush anyone.
Garang junior wasn’t whistleblower but truth teller — change is inevitable
The third enigmatic statement from Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny on his dying line goes like this: “the prodigal son of the former leader is a whistleblower for something yet designed to come”. Mr. Ateny, Mr. Mabior wasn’t a whistleblower about any impending coup d’etat or anything similar to that school.
Look, no one will remove President Kiir through any violent means. He is an elected leader and our people are law abiding ones. The army you see are disciplined; they were brought up by reasonable man. Kiir will be president until election time in 2015, be assured of that. But take this from this little author; Mr. Kiir will not be the president of this republic beyond 2015. I will tell you why.
The man has lost his base, and has since resigned to that situation. He still holds on the skeleton anyway, but the reality is that the SPLM, which should have been his very base, is infiltrated and not anymore standing united the way we came in-2005. The true cadres of the party have no courage to market Kiir the same way they did it few years ago. They aren’t closer to where the national matters are discussed. Some people have already found their way, and are running the show.
But to be exact, the trouble started when Kiir formed his first cabinet after election in 2010. The party should have been on the fore front to nominate who should be the Minister, Deputy Minister, Undersecretary and so on. Mr. Kiir sat in his villa house in Juba and called his two men (Machar and Wani) and the trio divided the seats among their cronies from their respective three regions.
This has alienated so many able people. You see, the party regionalized its own regional slots and not the executive. Executive is about specialists, a group of people with specific and technical knowhow.
The Magayas, the Agnes of the NCP and the Bettys and the likes shouldn’t have been in the Cabinet in the first place. Their political backgrounds are murkier and darker than one could imagine.
Can anyone dream of appointing turncoats, straight to the heart of the system, as if SPLM has no men/women from the bush who could run the government? If we had managed then to run the movement for many years without anything and under difficult challenges circumstances, how about now when we have everything in place to manage things?
Gen. Obote could have been the right man in Interior not the Magaya if the position was reserved for the Equatorians.
Return Awut to the Council of Ministers
I seize this opportunity to request His Excellency the President to return Ms Awut Deng Achuil to the Cabinet. Madame Awut is an achiever and shouldn’t be left in the cool. His problem was busybodies in the Council of Ministers who were denied ghost names in payrolls. She a fighter, has a character and not corrupt. Please sir, make use of this lady talent; don’t listen to lies, overturn her resignation letter and reappoint her in another production ministry such as Commerce.
Kiir consultation is limited
Kiir had no time consulting his party secretariat on serious national decisions. Yes once the president is elected he ceases becoming partisan, but policies are always generated by the party. The party initiates and forms any part of his move. Our President casually connects with his party and that shouldn’t be the case. He made all his big decision around Council of Ministers and in his house.
Take for example the shut down of the oil production; the decision was made elsewhere or by a few without careful study about its economic repercussions. Literally experts weren’t consulted and here we are in an economic quagmire, whom do we blame? Of course the Chief Executive who felt short of making use of his base.
People thought there are plans after that, but to date they are in distant future or in pipe dream/nowhere. The President and his small kitchen cabinet emotionally made so many decisions on behalf of everyone else, even that of a party. Though the decision to shut down oil production has become a blessing in disguise, it wasn’t carefully thought out.
Dr. Garang won’t have reached this stage if he was there, and that is exactly what the young Garang was trying to say.
Kiir will not be re-elected again
Mr. Ateny must be reminded that Kiir re-election bid will be a daunting task. If it happens it will be with a price. In essence the party will divide into pieces. Some people are quiet now because time hasn’t yet come, but once that time arrives, you will hear power struggle issue come up everywhere; that is if Kiir insists of running again for another term.
If he cares for the party will have to give others the chance. The SPLM Chairman is walking under tight rope, very exposed and must be left to retire. Dr. Machar is angling and will not wait longer until 2020. Then he will be 68 years, an age bracket not suitable for this generation. I love him!
However these days there is a charge by Central Equatoria City Council against him that he has grabbed large chunk of land around Juba town.
If proven true then that is bad precedent for the top man to do just that. Another concern is his laissez faire type of leadership. I’m not sure whether South Sudan is ripe enough for that kind of a style. To me they will finish themselves off one by one, and there comes a failed state.
This is a Third world country, someone will have to lead using carrots, brooms and sticks at times to guide and correct. Dr. Machar if elected must be asked to abandon his federation project. It is too earlier to go federal; some governments can declare their independence in parliament or put difficult bumps for anyone to check their activities.
Unity and the Promised Land
I hear elsewhere that Mr. Ateny erroneously beat a confidence chord that Mr. Kiir will be elected president for few more years, because he has united the people of South Sudan and had actually brought about independence of the country. He even called ‘father of the nation’. Well, Ateny shouldn’t be carried out. We all know his achievement and everyone is proud of him being there. Everyone appreciates our leader patience and humility in the face of problems, but you are overstated things for undue credit. Kiir is the first president of the Republic of South Sudan period, nothing will erase this accolade for anytime to come, but to call him ‘father of the nation’ is wild claim, naivety, and disparagingly insulting. I will leave it that way!
Unity of South Sudan is faulty
Mr. Ateny, we are not yet united, we are not near there; instead we are closer to polarization. In which way did he unite the people of this republic? His unity with militiamen in 2006 and in between was bound to happen regardless and irrespective of who/what approach he uses; they had no choice after the CPA was signed. What we now see as unity is faulty, it is on sand and likely to crumble anytime. Mr. Mabior didn’t mention it, but this is my generalization about Kiir’s poor records.
True, sharing of national cake is one of the elements that brings about unity, but that is ephemeral in substance and in nature. Representation is materialist, unrealistic and can’t bring the real unity. That arrangement isn’t sustainable and lasts for a short period of time. The unity we truly yearn for therefore is the very one that would be in our minds.
Today we have a government with all faces in it, but still we didn’t reach the unity of our people. The question is why? Unity goes beyond inclusiveness, it has to be in our behavior towards one another. Someone does it in Rwanda and in few centuries to come, the issue of Tutsi vs Hutu will be history.
If we are united we won’t have people running away from one another-federation quest or people crying for autonomous. We would have been comfortable with who comes to power, provided that he/she delivers.
I still hope that time will come when we shall a Juba Commissioner from Murle, or a Toposa becoming a governor in Upper Nile State. I long for a situation where our people shall embrace one another and not in lens of tribes, classes or groups.  Kiir didn’t do enough there, and will leave it that way.  
On the journey to the Promised Land, no single person can brag about having brought us freedom. Even Garang with all his extraordinary efforts couldn’t say he had singlehanded freed this country. But also under the CPA foundation it was possible for anyone to bring people out of the bondage.
That agreement was too grounded on rocks. Kiir had even failed to use it properly. He has been reclusive and never stayed longer in the presidency in Khartoum. He shied from making himself heard. The today issues such as the Disputed Areas or the problem in two areas of South Korfofan and Blue Nile would have been heard. People were surprised when Panthou became a disputed land.
Mr. Ateny must not make mistake that Mabior family is jealous about Kiir’s presidency. Dr. John Garang’s family is hardworking and are working for their self-reliance. Mama Rebecca is a tough lady; they are building their own lives like everyone else and this is encouraging.
The young Garang moreover has been careful, quiet and his timing is right. If he isn’t talking who will voice the concern of the people of this republic? We must be tolerant and allow constructive criticism.
This author is an SPLM member and has no reason not to say things the way they are. I love this party, I love my president and our big brother John Garang de Mabior, and many more who participated in the struggle of the people of South Sudan.  
The SPLM is dying and unless the Chairman listens to voices of Garang Junior and others, he will kiss the ground in shame. The best way to go is to take serious the recommendations by the Committees he had formed, then peacefully give way to others to try it. No third option.
Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba; he’s on Isaiah_abraham@yahoo.co.uk JUBA
SEPT. 8/2012

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent those of the website.

A Country of the Laziest Never Prospers: A case of South Sudan

By John Adoor Deng, Australia

SEPT. 02/2012, SSN; Almost countless articles get posted daily on South Sudan news channels, the question is, are these articles being read widely? If they are read, are their messages internalised or are dust-binned?  Whether affirmative or not, it is still an obligation to many writers to continue talking their minds to the masses.

This article is intended to highlight triggers that seem to precipitate our national backwardness.  The independence of South Sudan comes with tasks for building a nation from scratch to complete settlement. This scratchiness of our country calls for the spirit of hardwork, diligence and togetherness.

However, current indicatives in the country are pointing to a disastrous direction. Majority of our population are ignorantly lazy even to put food on their tables.  They sit daily under shady trees to just play cards, play jokes, and talk politics immaturely and in the evening crowd homes of the few working individuals.

Although many money-earning jobs are available at their disposal in the form of construction, building of houses, waiter jobs, cleaning and other manual jobs, this category of people will tell you that these are not jobs for them! Despite the facts that they hold no qualifications, they want ‘office jobs’ with no idea of what is done in the office.

These utterances are very economically poisonous in our national rebuilding. Brothers and sisters in this dark category must know that the country of the laziest never prospers. For example, the reason why communism failed was because lazy people did nothing while getting the same wage that non-lazy people get. So the non-lazy people said, “why should we work if they’re getting paid to do nothing!”

Again, in the recent crisis in Greece, economists are referring to Greece as country of the laziest. South Sudan will never prosper if this uninformed mentality is not eradicated. Job is job; people must appreciate any opportunity that earns them money for living.

Also, on a government level, the state of the country is symbolized by a lack of discipline within the system and deep-rooted corruption within the bureaucratic maze of the country.

Our founding fathers had envisioned an Independent South Sudan which was free, transparent and corruption free. Greed has seeped in so much within certain sections of society that this has become an endemic disease.

Despite the valiant efforts of the Anti-corruption movement, there is a long way to go before we eradicate it from our society. The basis for the solution lies in having discipline inherent in our day to day affairs. Our forefather’s centuries ago were known for this, now we are known to be lacking in it.

It pains me deeply to write about triggers that precipitate our national backwardness. I felt it had to be written to come to terms with realities. It is not a rant nor is it a piece to gain attention.

I am a proud South Sudanese as anyone could be. However, I want South Sudan which stands up to all those ideals that our forefathers had set it out to be. I want South Sudan which has pride in its identity, its multiple cultures and treasures, the numerous languages that it has been ordained with, and a nation of hardworking men and women.

As much as we would love to have these, the reality seems that we are far away from these ideals.

The Author is John Adoor Deng, MPRL & Director of South Sudan Support Foundation. He can be reached at: johnadoordeng@yahoo.com.au

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent those of the website.

Mabior Garang, son of South Sudan’s founder, blasts country’s leadership

SEPT. 01/2012, SSN; NAIROBI, Kenya— In a move that’s likely to shake the foundations of

Dinkocracy is a subset of Jieng-centerism: Mr. Paul is just hand-waving

BY: Kuir ё Garang, CANADA

AUG. 26/2012, SSN; I was preparing my second novel (The Pipers) for publication so I had no time to respond to Elhag Paul’s response (SSN, July 29th) to my article (SSN July 19th).  This article will be superficial given the angle and the manner Mr. Paul has taken to handle the issue; and that is, he’s mentally fixated on the fact that the problem in Juba is squarely a Dinka-engendered problem.

So every Jieng person has to bear the responsibility of the insecurity and economic mess the country is facing. Now, each and every Jieng person has to keep in mind that Elhag Paul is holding ALL of you people responsible for the problems we are facing. I bet the Jieng people have to change to make Mr. Paul pacified and respectful of Jieng’s humanity.

Well, Mr. Paul will have to tell us my conjectures above are wrong and that he means something different. However, I like literary, political and analytical discourses that are handled with emotional maturity and political realism. I’m glad Mr. Paul has emotional maturity, well, not so much political realism.

I’m writing not because I’m a Jieng man but because we have to scour our political landscape for solutions so that Nyoka in Kaya can take her kids to school in peace and also find a job relevant to her education and experience. We need to remind the government that Nyakong in Akobo needs a secure home, school and well-equipped clinics for her children.

We have to write because we are solution-focused. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be hate-filled reservoirs motivated by our tribal allegiances. Every single corrupt soul should be exposed for who they are; and not protected because they are from one’s tribe. Anyone familiar with my commentaries over the years knows that I don’t spare anyone. Whether it was Dr. John Garang or Salva Kiir or Pagan Amum or Riek Machar; I give them their dues. So, enough of that!

Definition of Dinkocracy

How about what Mr. Paul says about Dinkocracy?  Mr. Paul defines ‘Dinkocracy as

“a system of rule that can be found in South Sudan based on tribalism whereby parliament is either wholly or partially filled by appointment of corrupt members. Institutions and structures that are presently in place are just for face saving purpose. In this system consultation and citizen’s rights are not respected. The views and opinions of citizens also do not mean anything. Looting and corruption is accepted as a method of wealth gathering with the façade that the government is working to address it. The police force is predominantly illiterate and come from the ruling tribe. Their job is to administer brute injustice. Violence is routinely exercised freely by members of the ruling tribe (in the organised forces) with impunity. Government officials are guarded and protected by their kith and kin as opposed to agents of the state.”

Now, if that is the definition of ‘Dinkocracy’ then Mr. Paul is either trying to be clever or he doesn’t know what he’s actually saying. The definition and his actual application of the word are different. I’m not trying to be ‘subtly abusive’ here.  For the term ‘Dinkocracy’ to make any sense, the word Dinka has to appear somewhere in the definition. I do understand the ‘ruling tribe’ being alluded to is Jieng; however, the definition has to be unequivocally clear; otherwise, what Mr. Paul is defining is a general ‘Tribocracy’ or tribal tyranny (dictatorship/totalitarianism/fascism). The given definition can apply to any tribe given the ‘ruling tribe’ of the time. So Dinkocracy, Nuerocracy, or Bariocracy are all subsets of Tribocracy.

What makes the system in Juba Dinkocracy, as per Mr. Paul, is because the ruling party majority is Jieng (Dinka). Would the system of governance still be Dinkocracy if the ruling tribe wasn’t Jieng (Dinka)?  The answer is No in honesty. The rulers in Juba are not all dinkocrats; they are tribocrats of different tribocracies overshadowed by one tribocracy.

Bari, or Nuer, if they are in power, wouldn’t want to belittle themselves by adopting, or adhering to, a different tribal system of governance. Nuer, Bari, Acholi, Azande and what have you, have their own rich, and grounded tribal systems of government. They’d want to brandish their tribal heritage. Mr. Paul will convince us that the ruling tribe would adopt the instituted system based on the rule of the former power tribe; the Jieng.

I’ll therefore ask Mr. Paul to give us another definition because what he’s defined is just Tribal Dictatorship with no tribal specificity; only sinister allusion.

Jiengcenterism vs. Dinkocracy

Mr. Paul assumed I misunderstood the meaning of Dickocracy. No, I didn’t; he’s just given us a term that is loosely defined. Dinkocracy is a system of governance in Juba as he says, but is that system of governance based on which tribe’s tribal thoughts? The thought informing the governance in Juba, as per Mr. Paul, are from the ‘ruling tribe’.  So the government is driven by self-centered thoughts from Jieng (Dinka) making South Sudan a land informed by Jieng’s ways of life, supposedly. I’m not saying this is true; I’m just working with Mr. Paul’s line of thought.

You can’t have a system of government controlled and informed by the thinking of a given tribe and maintain, at the same time, that that system is not that tribe-centered. That sounds oxymoronic at best and pointless at worse.

Just to make things clear, I admit, Jiengcenterism might not be Dinkocracy, but Dinkocracy in all its essence, if I understand it well, is Jiengcentered. Jiengcenterism might not be Dinkocracy because Jiengcenterism isn’t restricted to the system of governance or government. However, Dinkocracy is Jiengcenterism because it’s derived from it. It’s one of the subsets of Jiengcentered spectrum of ideas.

Elitism and Aristocracy in Juba

I didn’t say we have elites in Juba per se. What I said was that these guys are building a society of elites to remain on top as untouchables. If Wani’s son and I go to President Kiir now in search of a job, Kiir would not prefer me because of my tribe or qualifications. He’s going to prefer wani’s son over me even if Wani’s son isn’t qualified for that given job. He’ll identify with Wani’s son on the basis of the elitist system they are building.  They see themselves as important aristocrats of the country. That’s clear. And by the way, an elite doesn’t have to be an important, moral person, as Mr. Paul wants us to believe.

Besides, Mr. Paul, your understanding of aristocracy is anachronistic. You wrote:

Aristocrats are land owning ruling people who the masses accept as rulers because they believe them to be superior. The notion of aristocracy has its origins in feudalism, nation state and the theory of chain of being.

This is what I call copy-and-paste-to-dazzle. Would you call the government in the USA democracy? Maybe Cleisthenes’s intention when he instituted ‘democracy’ in Athens isn’t what is being practiced in the world now. His intentions and methods are different but we still call our electoral processes ‘democracies.’ What I’m saying is things don’t have to be understood in their primordial sense. Yes, history has to be kept in mind for meaningful comparison and discourse.

This is another unhelpful anachronism. You wrote that

A nation is a society of people who share the same cultures and more importantly speak one language such as the French in France, the English in England, the Germans [sic] in Germany or the Swazi people in Swaziland in Africa etc. In RSS we are a society composed of different tribes with different cultures and languages.

Granted, but this is not 19th century! Part of understanding of a given idea is to apply it to the existing realities, not to adhere to out-of-place and archaic understanding of the concept. It’s unfortunate to say that because we no longer have ‘feudalism’ and land ownership in the 19th century feudal understanding, then we can’t apply it now whatsoever.

Now, contextualized, we can say we have this systems now only to a different degree and in a context. We have leaders in Juba who have a feeling of superiority and who are grabbing lands from Equatorians. Some leaders are doing that in other parts of the country. You will be surprised to understand that some people still regard these commanders as respectable leaders who shouldn’t be questioned.

This is partly an imposition of their aristocratic intentions. They would want to wield their power and wealth and subjugate the poor. If you understand feudalism, you can apply it appropriately and intelligently to existing realities. This is the difference between going to school and getting educated.

All in all, some concepts have to be contextualized to fit in with contemporary realities.  Saying that South Sudan is not a nation given your archaic understanding, then many countries wouldn’t be nations. No country would be a nation if we go by strict application of linguistic and cultural homogeneity. Mr. Paul, you have to apply old concepts with an air of contemporariness; otherwise, you’re only reading and not understanding.

Who’s benefiting in the South

You wrote that “People like Wani Igga, Alison Magaya, Kosti Manibe and even Riek Machar are powerless cogs but important for the smooth running of this Dinka juggernaut machine.” However, these men are intelligent and if they have the interest of the country in heart, they’d have confronted the systemic thugs. They are quiet because the system favors them. If their tribes are being subjugated and they keep quiet, then what does that make them? Why aren’t they speaking up? Why are they supporting that rotten system? It’s because the system is favoring them. And that is why I say the top brass (the self-professed elites) are the problem because they are benefiting while ignoring the suffering of the average person.

And you are wrong to write that “For some time now, few among us have been duped to believe that the problem in Juba is created by elites. The use of this concept is again more of a distraction and does not help in addressing issues.” It’s not a distraction but the real path to solutions. If the elites see the problem and sleep on it, then why aren’t they the problem? Are they afraid of Dinka? Are they afraid of Kiir? You seem to belittle these people more than necessary.

Well, these people (the ruling class) don’t care about their tribes that much. They care about the status quo being built in Juba. Mr. Paul, open your eyes. You are so fixated in finding faults with Jieng that you are losing sight of the main problem. Wake up, the Iggas, the Machars, the Kongs, the Dengs, the Amums, the Kiirs are building a claque whose intentions will surprise you.

Again, it’s not the average Jieng (Dinka) who is benefiting.  I smiled smugly when you wrote that

I have passed through some Dinka villages and I was dumbfounded by what I saw. Deep in those bushes surrounded by Muras I saw hundreds of V8 vehicles parked with GoSS number plates looted from the ministries in Juba. The sizes of Muras and herd have expanded beyond believe. Cattle are now transported from Jieng villages to all over Equatoria in trucks in violation of Equatoria way of living with impunity. The Jieng cattle herders are well armed and they freely terrorise others with impunity.

I thought you were more sophisticated than that. Do you want to say that the average Jieng elder with his cattle, who cannot read or write and cannot drive a car owns an V8 vehicle? These vehicles are owned by the same Jieng elites who look down on the average Jieng people you think are benefiting from Juba loot. The average Jieng is dying of hunger and disease just as the average Nuer and Equatorian is dying of the same. People are dying of hunger even in the President’s home state. Wake up Mr. Paul and part with your 1980s mentality.

Those Jieng civilians who wield guns haven’t been afforded a proper system. It is you and I who will pressure the government to make sure that those guns are gone and be replaced by an enduring and sustainable economic and social system.

I cited in the previous article that there are some Jieng people who are actually benefiting from the loot and that we should see them for who they are: thieves not Dinkas or Jieng.  You seem to ignore that. You victimize the average Jieng person for reasons I don’t know. The average Jieng person (like me) should be your ally in the fight but you sideline us with insensitive tribal generality. You seem to have a point only to belittle your discourse with tribally motivated ‘invective’ and ‘diatribe’ against the whole tribe; most of whom are suffering like everyone else.

Why don’t you stand up for the oppressed poor in general and not Equatorians only? You’d be better a person if you stood up for the poor in every tribe. Stand up for the poor and don’t localize yourself as an Equatorian. You are better and bigger than that, I believe.  So stand up to the government on behalf of the poor generally, not Equatorians only. I’d want to believe that you are not a tribalist. Prove me right!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese novelist and poet living in Canada. For more information visit www.kuirthiy.info

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent those of the website.

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