BY: BEL DENG, South Sudan, DEC/29/2014, SSN;
As long as the current leadership in Juba exists, with foreign backing intact, the citizenry (NUER) need to know that enduring more devastation in the next coming few months is imminent. The politicians and generals in Juba see that there is a window of opportunity to crash the Nuer rebels by military means and compel them to submission.
The rebels though having a weak leadership and disorganized military operations against the Juba regime won’t yield to Juba regime and hence continuation of war without clear attainable cause.
Nuer as community will continue to carry a load heavier than its weight. Nuer cannot sacrifice heavily as such in the name of change triggered by revenge ambition meanwhile others are watching at the sideline. The Nuer cannot face the rest of tribes in South Sudan with foreign mercenaries backing in the name of democratic change.
This community is not a sacrificial lamb. It must fight for a better cause. Nuer should only focus on how its members must survive among the predators in the region by demanding the self-rule for Nuer-land.
The following points are reasons why Nuer should demand self-determination as the objective for the war:
– foreign interference in the conflict,
– the desire by the Juba group to subdue the rebels,
– acquisition of advance weaponry by Juba group,
– symptoms of weaknesses in the rebels camp,
– the power of money and other myths.
Foreign intervention particularly Uganda has significantly transformed the conflict and increased the duration of fighting for the unforeseeable future. This war would have been short and decisive if it was left in the hands of the two warring parties. The fact that Ugandan Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) threw their weight on Kiir’s side remains an igniting factor among many in the rebels camp.
The use of cluster bombs by these foreign troops against the citizenry by the order of someone once they called their leader will always have a lasting effect among rebels and the Nuer community in particular. This in addition to door to door killing of unarmed Nuer women, children, pastors, elderly and unarmed men which became the cause of eternal distrust between the Nuer and Dinka communities.
Many in Nuer community have no other option but to choose death over humiliation. And the insistence of Juba group to keep foreign troops in the fighting is a slap in the face.
To avoid the cycle of violence between the Nuer and Dinka, separation between the two communities should be the objective. Better be good neighbours than hateful citizens of the same country.
Among the politicians in Kiir regime and generals in the South Sudan Army, there is a strong desire for military solution to this conflict. They are determined to subdue the rebels as well as the Nuer civilians in their villages.
Today, as we speak South Sudan Army is on the move. They are preparing to launch the mother of all battles yet in this civil war against Greater Lou counties of Akobo, Nyirol and Uror. They are assembling in Gadiang, Twi East, Duk and possibly through Pibor and Pochala corridors.
The battle for control over Greater Akobo counties will definitely occur between January and April 2015 depending on dryness of the area that may allow the passage of tanks, personnel carriers and vehicles mounted with artilleries, rocket launchers and logistics supplies.
Imagine a Dinka leadership inserting its control over Nuer people with a long history of harsh rivalry and hatred, what would be the consequences?
Nuer should only give lives in that battle in the name of Nuer-land self-rule from the rest of South Sudan otherwise it would be a waste of precious lives without a cause. Riek Machar and his group should not continue to fight for meaningless reasons such as revenging the massacre of Juba 2013 and democratic change within the same country.
Many South Sudanese have hidden their tails between their legs, while others suffering under the same regime are singing side by side with the evils in killing the Nuer. Nuer cannot afford to carry this huge load.
There is going to be no peace so long as Juba regime has acquired the newest advanced technology of weaponry; it’s hope is to use them fully to subdue the rebels to submission. Today, they have amphibian tanks which they have used against the rebels in Fangak, they have several BM/system rocket launchers, ZUK (6 barrels) and many others.
However, the regime and their allies need to be reminded that war is not won by technology but the will of those using the technology. The willingness to die for what a person believes in delivering South Sudan out from the bondage of Khartoum.
Based on what I know, willingness to stand up against the odds determines the end point as young Nuer are currently showing, but the community needs to have a political and survivability strategies otherwise Nuer will be wiped out on the face of the earth.
Nuer must lobby for either joining Khartoum or Addis Ababa so that we have a full backing of anyone of the two countries we may think would offer us better protection. I believe survivability of Nuer as a community is in question.
Nuer is no longer facing only Dinka and her South Sudanese allies but East African troops and Sudanese rebels. This is a big load for Nuer to withstand without political strategy. Political partnership with a foreign country would safeguard the survival of the remaining Nuer instead of relying only on Nuer power as the solution.
Nuer can live without Dinka or Shilluk, so there is no reason to stick on maintaining South Sudan as one country. Split it up into tribal kingdoms so that this cycle of violence is curbed.
Also, Juba leadership is successfully employing its economic power in subduing it enemies to submission. People who once rebelled against the regime are now returning to Juba because of money.
In addition, the regime has a comfortable diplomatic superiority over the rebels in East Africa and around the world whilst there is a weak leadership displayed by rebels. Riek Machar leadership style remains the biggest issue that will cause the extinction of Nuer.
He has a huge ambition for leadership but he does not know how he can achieve it. I advise Riek to rectify his political objective for Nuer-land and lobby either Khartoum or Addis Ababa for political and military protection for the Nuer-land and its people.
Failure for Riek and his group to commit to this cause will mean the doomsday for Nuer people will be unavoidable. Nuer must not be misled by voices that do not have soldiers on the ground. Lip service is not worth it.
Meanwhile, militarily, the regime is continuously gaining ground from the rebels. The capture of Phom, Ayod, Nasir and Mathiang by Dinka regime demonstrates the weaknesses of Riek Machar’s fighting strategy. As a resistance movement the first that should have been in place was the military command for the direction of military operations across the country.
Riek is also failing to transport the war to Bharel Ghazal and Equatoria regions. Concentrating the war in Nuer-land is stupidity and lack of knowledge about war strategies.
Riek and his team are demanding blindly when they have no military achievements to back them up. Kiir and his co. will not give a damn about powerless demands. Failure by Riek and his co. to poise a formidable threat encourages the regime in Juba to pursue military solutions to the conflict..
The economic power, military, and diplomatic success for the regime means peace won’t come to South Sudan unless rebels do something extraordinary or else surrender. Nuer should know that surrendering to Dinka leadership in Juba would mean total destruction of Nuer people once and for all.
Separation tendency where Nuer should opt for outside powers for political and military sanctuary would be better choice rather than accept the Dinka hegemony with devastating consequences.
The surrendering of some Nuer to Juba regime is a lack of far-sightedness among those elements and would surely enforce the myth in Dinka community that Nuer are food lovers and that they do not resist tough situations. This is painful smear for those of us that have endured suffering as children at the age of 12-13 years in the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1980s.
My fellow Nuer, this war is not about individuals such as Riek Machar but the whole Nuer society is in trouble. Personally, I would have lived and continue working in Juba/Bhar el Ghazale then but the situation was not conducive for me just because of my being who I am.
I wonder how some Nuer who support the regime handle this! I have witnessed how hard it was in early days of the conflict in 2013-2014 and in 1991 where I remained a dedicated member of SPLM/SPLA mainstream but nearly faced death for being a Nuer.
Finally, I believe true reconciliation and forgiveness between the Nuer and South Sudanese communities particularly Dinka and to some extent Shilluk and Maban will only prevail when Nuer-land goes its way from South Sudan.
I do not see a fruitful future for Nuer so long as Dinka with foreign backing and remaining dominant in South Sudan’s affairs.
Demand for self-determination for Nuer-land with serious lobbying for political and military protection from either Khartoum or Addis Ababa would ensure the survivability of Nuer in the midst of predators.
Bel is a concern citizen and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org