Dystrocracy or Stratocracy: The Return of the 19th Century to South Sudan!

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, UNITY STATE, JUN/27/2014, SSN;

A friend once told me that the wealthy elites in our country didn’t want to “roll back” the new political deal when self-indulgence tempered with patriotism, nationalism but wanted to roll back the entire 19th century political weights and heights when things gone astray politically.

His point was that military or dictatorship worked well in 19th century in Africa. I didn’t fully appreciate his antidote until our country turned into a military camp after a failed coup attempt in December, 2013. Finally I jokingly told him that his political magic should be sold to those who wanted to take power by force in the baby nation, South Sudan.

The political turmoil which caused rebellion in 2013 was instigated by paradoxical reactions, political rivalry within the SPLM and wary feelings among politicians within the same political machine, political grouping, and prophetic hope for leadership by individuals.

And the same chaos which led to a failed coup attempt in Juba inevitably followed too, after Dr Machar, Mr Amum and the likes were fired by President Kiir from his government or the SPLM national convention itself made the day. Thereafter, Dr Machar, Peter Gadet and Marial Chinuong should be blamed for all the killings of innocent lives in the new nation.

Is Coup d’état a political fashion in Africa?
With the dawn of independent in the late 50’s and early 60’s, elation and new hopes swept through Africa after nations attained self-governments. There were new dreams and expectations as the colonial masters packed their luggage and handed over the instruments of power to Africans. It was the end of a longer struggle for freedom, in which so many people had suffered. It was the end of slavery, human dilapidation and exploitation.

However, these dreams were soon shattered as governments had shortly fell victim to the coup d’état across the continent. The new military rulers accused the civilian government of everything from corruption and incompetence to mismanagement of the national economy and resources. Experience has shown that the military are no better than civilians when it comes to governance in Africa, although they claimed to be good angels.

Subsequently, African contemporary political and socio-economic problems, military coup d’état had inclined the continent into even further suffering and commotion. This had been previously the case in Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Congo, Mali and several other African states, apart from South Sudan whose coup attempt failed last year.

The future propensity is that coup in Africa will remain a common trend so long political and economic instability exists. Analytically, the political intention for mechanized failed coup attempt in South Sudan by politicians was to:
• Have a leader {Kiir} overthrown for new system of government to reign.
• Have Dr Gerang’s boys political dreams fulfilled.
• Have Dr Machar aspiration for presidency easily materialized.
• Have President Kiir and his groups fished out of politics forever.
• Fight corruption, strengthen diplomacy, transform SPLM and revive shattered economic according to them.
• Strengthen South Sudanism worldwide.

As South Sudan is currently paining or bleeding – innocent lives are still being taken, trust already lost, movement of citizens across the states in the country is avoided – things are not really moving as needed by the citizens, nevertheless, leaders must bring back our country. There is a need for leaders to continue negotiation, table their political differences in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in order to end the blood-shed in the new nation. Peace is really needed.

Why force leaders to stratocracy?

I thought about writing this piece after hearing President Kiir addressing the August House in Juba concerning the upcoming interim government with rebel of Dr Machar. And in his words, President Kiir clearly stated that “any interim government in South Sudan without me as president is a red line …?” The president is willingly anticipated to make the war comes to an end should he be given a chance to form and lead the interim government.

Is it easy to exclude an elected leader from interim government in South Sudan? I wanted to remind you that president Kiir is the Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA. He will not easily accept to be overthrown – he should head the interim government if South Sudanese and IGAD mediators wanted peace to reign.

We all say “my country”, but we don’t mean that we own it, like we own our computers, books and houses. And if others think that South Sudan is their property – that they should destroy it as they sought – it’s obviously worth saying that those who fight fire with fire end up with ashes. Nobody need war in South Sudan expect politicians – but are their kids in frontline fighting their common and political enemies?

However, interim government without president Kiir is impossible. We should be abstemious. Dr Machar rebelled and fought in order to get power after sacked as vice president. Mr Amum and his group are also dreaming of doing anything – they think they are politically clean after a mess; yearning for a chance to knock one of them and the rest shall milk the same government in Juba.

As democracy looked ugly after Dr Machar and Amum were sacked, what type of government {system} is appropriate for those who do easily fire up arms when sacked from the system of government? All of us are men but we should be law abiding people. The world has no owner. Hitler has gone …! Mr Charles Taylor is now imprisoned for 50 years.

Nobody is above the law! Anyone who dreams for presidency should wait for election, lest the current leadership may turn to stratocracy because when constitution is not respected, all of us become vulnerable to our doings, literally thinking to be everybody everywhere.
Saddam Hussein could have said it, and really felt that it was factually his. It does not matter if your title is King or Emperor, President or whatever. What matters is the law. You should respect the law. That is it!

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that democracy works well in some countries in Africa. But are we fashioning to dystrocracy or stratocracy system of government in South Sudan?

Dystrocracy is a regime which is so defective governmentally and rebellious to the extent that it might began murdering the whole nation – that it can’t also supply most of its people with food, comfortable shelter, basic needs, and no proper rule of law. Few nations in the world are purely dystrocratic. These facts are not disputed and there is no point in pouring out more statistics about dystrocratic countries.

Every country is composed of ordinary citizens and the swampy classes of politicians, militants, professionals, to run the government and private institutions. Any government institution has a distinctive posture; thus the leadership may be passive, the energetic, professional ones can do anything to make things get going.

In South Sudan, the perspective, perception and political styles are very different. Political, military related issues are done impatiently, rudely and unprofessionally, that make things go beyond our limit as the wrongdoers. If South Sudanese politicians who are opposing the current government claim that they are better than the ones reigning – then is a big “NO,” because South Sudanese political G7 and G4 were in the same government for years. The likes of Alor, Amum, Majak, Yel will not tempered to say Kiir’s government has been doing less than expected because they didn’t resign and waited for the government they deserve.

Prof. Nyamlel Wako, in 2012, said the government is rotten to the core, while working as a deputy minister for the same government but fired after days. Do we need to act against the government we work for?

Our political spirit as patriots, freedom of expression is weak. We should correct ourselves – or South Sudanese refuse correction! We should tell the truth. Coincidently, Prof. Adwok Nyaba, in the aftermath of failed coup attempt, woke up on the 16th of December, 2013, and wrote an article as title reads, ‘Sorry Sir: There was no Coup’, before he was detained as one of coup plotters. However, Dr Nyaba was, again the first person to be released but remained in Juba, even when all the political detainees were released and left for Nairobi.

Finally, he was frustrated and resigned from the SPLM. Maybe his writing made his day out of the SPLM – a party he engineered founding – until he lost his leg in the civil war in Sudan. Was Dr Nyaba’s resignation officially received by the Acting SG for the SPLM?

In his letter of resignation, Dr Adwok has this to say, “I am writing this letter to you as Chairman of the SPLM and as somebody, I have known since 1986”. First, I want to discuss my concerns in respect of the current political situation surrounding the SPLM as the ruling party, and our republic of South Sudan.

As a revolutionary, up to this point in time, I consider myself part of the SPLM and therefore equally responsible by commission or omission for some of the SPLM shortcomings, which have landed into this awkward situation. In this connection, therefore, and without any reservation, chauvinism or shame I offer to self-criticize myself, I resigned.”

Is deserting SPLM a solution to political chaos in South Sudan? Dr Nyaba had been frustrated or tired of doing anything which made no impact politically and socially.

A stratocracy is a form of government headed by military chiefs. It’s not the same as military dictatorship or military junta where the military’s political power is not enforced or even supported by other laws. Rather, stratocracy is a form of military government in which the state and the military are traditionally or constitutionally the same entity and government positions are always occupied by commissioned officers and military leaders.

Citizens with mandatory and/or voluntary military service, or who have been honorably discharged, have the right to elect and/or govern. The military’s political power is supported by law, the constitution, and the society.

A stratocracy therefore is more often a meritocracy and does not have to be autocratic by nature in order to preserve its right to rule.

Besides, the destiny of South Sudan up to now is in the hands of SPLM/A, its leadership and the members which started as a guerrilla movement. In 2004, at Rumbek freedom square, when CPA was almost fruiting, our late hero Dr Garang addressed the crowd of people and his message goes as quoted, “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.”

And after independent, the SPLM as a ruling party should take care of our country as Dr Garang told us to choose for who we wanted to become in the world. Hence the party dispute has been at the heart of the current crisis and its resolution is crucial to address national governance issues that will ultimately change the country and the people of South Sudan for affluence.

What will also force others to rule the country at their own will is federalism which is not wanted at this crucial time, and all the demand from rebels that can’t easily be fulfilled by the leadership …! The choice is yours.

It’s unpatriotic for politicians to put their political jobs a priority than security, basic needs for citizens who are sufferings in the country. Let’s move our country wisely, lest we shall make others as Mugabes, Musevenis and the late Amin of our new nation.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a columnist, blogger and humanitarian worker. He currently lives in Unity State and can be reached via mangokson@gmail.com


  1. Daniel.A..O. Ayong says:

    Please why done you stopped singing dead song called ”elected president”. Could you recalled under which constitution he was elected? I think it was under Old Sudan. now which constitution are we governing ourselves today? Transitional Constitution, what is connection between two? We are new state but still in the Old Sudan yoke.
    After Independence president status could have been confirm through public referendum, either to confirm him as elected or to rejected him. This never happened because many of us including yourself never follow rules and regulations.
    I wonder did people elected president to kill them or to protect them, this need explanation from you.
    It same that you are behind the news, for close a friend of Kiir, Ugandan President exposed him publicly that there was no Coup, is it not bad thing for intellectual like you to buy this cheap propaganda.
    Logically, if Kiir remain as president in the interim administration, this war will not end, take it from me for mistrust between rivaling communities will not end.
    Please be informed that people are not against Kiir but people are seeking peace in South Sudan. This peace will not be attain in present of Kiir and Riek in leadership. Try to look at thing critical in positive angle.
    Let be honest with ourselves by tell the realities to the public, this criminal war was started by president himself, he was trying to eliminate his political opponents within SPLM party, but when he failed to achieve that, he engineered the concept of Coup to save him from embarrassment by accusing his opponents publicly, and people know all these events, so you are not suppose to preach it again.
    Your phobia of Federal System is your own make, resulting from hidden agenda you have as community, so please avoid forcing your imperialism mentality to people of South Sudan, this nation is not one man show, or one tribe show. It is belong to all and all have full right to express their aspiration in regard to how this nation should be governed.
    I doubt if you could be fair humanitarian worker, because your position qualified you to be partial leader who support his community cost whether they are wrong you still stand with them, you speak about patriotic and you are not one.
    I just want to challenge you as brother to be objective in your analyses to the situation in our country.
    stay well.

  2. Elhag Paul says:

    Typical of the mentality that has destroyed South Sudan. What can one expect from fraudster and hypocrites?

  3. Elhag Paul says:

    Typical of the mentality that has destroyed South Sudan. What can one expect from murderers, fraudsters and hypocrites?

  4. martin. L says:

    Oh dear Deng! You are still singing the same old song “failed coup”. I thought by now the so called “failed coup” narrative was dismissed by the court of law!!

  5. Thon Giei says:

    Your article is excellent, I must say. The design is superverb and the content is unique unlike thoughtless article often outdrummed in the net.
    Peace will never come to South Sudan unless the rumour mongers among south sudanese stop what they are doing. Many African countries were torn apart in presence and participation of USA, African Organizationaly formerly, EU and Others.
    I like this: Fighting fire with fire with leave ashes.

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