BY: Akot Mabor Marial, JUBA, MAY/20/2013, SSN;
The Second Sudanese Civil War was a conflict from 1983 to 2005 between the Central Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. It was largely a continuation of the first Sudanese Civil war of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated from Southern Sudan, the Civil war spread to the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, it lasted for 22 years.
Roughly two million people have died as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict. Four million people in Southern Sudan were displaced at least once (and often repeatedly) during the civil war. The civilian death toll was one of the highest of any war since world war two. The conflict officially ended with the signing of peace Agreement in 2005.
The war was often characterized as a fight between the Central government expanding and dominating peoples of the periphery. Raising allegations of marginalization or rather as ethnic conflict (Arabs in the central government Vs. Africans in the South) or as a religious war one (Muslims vs. Christians and Traditional African Religions). Scholars such as Douglas Johnson have pointed at exploitative governance as the root cause.
The contributions of the people of South Sudan, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile during the last civil war was enormous but now limited to only those young men and women who went to the bush and took up arms to physically fight the enemy forces, but also South Sudanese in the South made a tremendous contributions by offering food to our gallant SPLA forces, carried guns and ammunition on their shoulders around enemy garrisons, accommodation, maximum cooperation and giving basic information leading to enemy locations.
While those South Sudanese who went to the North used to leak secret information to the SPLA on the movement of enemy convoys or troops moving towards the South, sneaking military supplies to SPLA forces in the bush, hiding SPLA soldiers who went missing in action/battles in their houses and reporting atrocities inflicted on Southerners both in the South and in Northern Sudan to international media houses like the BBC, CNN, Reuters, MENA, AFP, AP and the list goes on and on, one such veteran Journalist was none other than Alfred Taban when serving as BBC Correspondent in Khartoum who was really on the forefront exposing mass killing of the people of South Sudan, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile State which actually made him to be at odds with authorities in Khartoum and he (Alfred Taban) sometimes ended up being taken behind bars in the hands of the oppressors.
As comrade and a nationalist, I sometime feel bad when I could imagine the way Alfred Taban is being handled by his comrades, the Security personnel who fought side by side with him during the war for one common enemy the Arabs and their associates, considering his current ill-health due to trauma he was subjected to by the enemy in Khartoum who were opposed to his relations with the SPLA in the bush. I pity him for being frequently taken for interrogations by our security service.
Another group whose vivid contributions were synonymous and can not go unmentioned, were our people in the Diaspora who worked tirelessly to enlighten host Countries to take serious steps in ending the sufferings of the people of South Sudan in the hands of Islamic government in Khartoum, mobilizing resources and channelling them to support the war in the South, exposing real atrocities being inflicted on the South Sudanese people to the world arena and always took to the streets in their various host Countries to protest when Khartoum government runs amok with its forces on the people of South Sudan, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile which sometime culminated into International Community imposing arms-embargo against the government in Sudan.
Our Diaspora community kept on pressurizing the International Community, IGAD, EU, AU and the Arab league in which their unreserved efforts led the International community to compel the National Congress Party-led government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army to settle for a negotiating table in Naivasha for a just and honourable peace deal that was finally achieved and singed on 9th January, 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya which ended Africa’s longest civil war.
That guaranteed the clause on Self-determination for the people of South Sudan achieved in February, 2011 when people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly by 98.83% for Secession while the ballots were suspended in 10 of the 79 counties for exceeding 100% of the voter turnout.
The determined date for the creation of an Independence state was on 9th July,2011 whose its birth was witnessed by the whole world considering the number of Dignitaries, Heads of states and governments who have attended the Independence Celebration of the Republic of South Sudan on 9th July,2011 as 54th African Independence and Sovereign State.
However, not to bore my readers with the history we are all well conversant with, I would rather set the record straight in contrast to war’s times and the deeds we intend to do to each other in our own Independent Country we all call home.
As we go about our daily activities which I believed we have all toiled for in our various capacities to bring forth whether you were in the bush fighting, providing food for the army who needed it most in the South, operating in Khartoum to monitor enemy convoys movement, giving-cover for SPLA soldiers missing-in-action in your houses in Juba in those dark days of 1991 to 92, carrying guns and ammunition on your shoulders for SPLA forces, or working during the day in the Diaspora to raise some dollars to support the war in the South and going to school at night to acquire the trade or skills needed for building the new nation, in the characteristic manner of Jesus Christ’s word for giving to Caesar what’s Caesar and to God what’s God.
All are therefore applicable here that all South Sudanese and the Peoples of Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile have contributed greatly to the birth of our new nation and everyone of us is free to enjoy the fruits of his/her labour irrespective of gender, tribe, religion or political affiliations.
But what puzzled me most is the behaviour of my fellow South Sudanese, who would very much want to set the Country on the verge of disintegrating it on the basis of tribes contrary to the fundamental principle of opting for a separate State.
Such vices could be observed in instances like segregating our fellow South Sudanese as people from Khartoum, East Africa, Middle East and the Diaspora groups or on the basis that they did not took up arms to fight the enemy during the war.
Nevertheless, such things like if Dinka is on the throne of leadership therefore, all Dinkas would want to rally behind their man and always accuse opponents as targeting their tribesman and not supporting a leader on what he/she can deliver to the Country.
Another scenario is that whenever there is political rift between the leaders, our citizens would rather take it on tribal line concluding to wishful thinking that if so and so is removed or unseated in the upcoming SPLM convention the two tribes of Nuer and Dinka would fight over leadership which is totally wrong perception.
South Sudan does belong to Dinkas or Nuers alone but for all South Sudanese and whoever expresses his/her willingness for the top job will be elected based on the merits and free choice of the people and not on the pretext of being from the largest tribes.
South Sudanese regardless of their tribes are sick and tired of self-serving politicians who lack national agenda that would bring all citizens on board and see no point of killing ourselves for the sake of leaders who are not doing enough to provide even a meal to their starving citizens in some parts of South Sudan leave alone talking of development.
Another certain visible case in point is that when Dr.Lam Akol fell out with some SPLM leaders and formed SPLM-DC in 2010 most of Shuluk community joined SPLM-DC and one region (upper Nile) took all senior positions in SPLM-DC marginalizing other regions of Bhar el Ghazal and Equatoria which of course made break-away SPLM-DC to lose national image and hence led to its current shape.
The last group are my humble brothers and sisters in greater Equatoria who after observing ongoing segregations in the corridors of government jobs, took it upon themselves to identify misdeeds of the government of the day with Dinka and Nuer tribes although some people of these Communities are innocent on how the State is being run by army generals who turned politicians.
To cite some few examples, Equatorians do assume that government jobs are being controlled by Dinkas and Nuers and at times tend to use their skills to venture in to private sector like NGOS and Companies and any Dinka or Nuer who dare apply for any given advertisement in the private sector would risk of having his/her application bearing Dinka or Nuer’s name being either thrown in the trash/dustbin by the watchman at the gate or being ignored to print based on the appearance of your name by an Equatorian sitting at the computer for those who applied online using webpages.
It’s worth mentioning that, many South Sudanese Citizens are annoyed that the wealth was staying in the hands of the greedy privileged few while our National Army (SPLA) continued to suffer at the borders and in some states ostensibly to either defend the nation from external aggressions or to quell down all hell let loose among the cattle rustlers in South Sudan or battling to put off insurgency from the Rebels of David Yau yau who took up arms to fight against the innocent civilian population who they purported to protect from the brutal regime of Khartoum in the last civil war.
But to make matters worse, whenever a soldier who was the only breadwinner to his family is killed like in the last war of Heglig, after three months names of the fallen soldiers are taken off pay roll and their families are left in God’s mercy while those in the barracks go for months without receiving their salaries .
In fact it can be quite disgusting and painful that many of fellow citizens in Warrap and Unity States starved to death as they couldn’t afford even a meal for survival while the government turned a blind eye on such human sufferings.
Fellow citizens and Countrymen, I can’t hold back my tears when looking into abject poverty our people have been subjected to especially in the rural areas by greedy few who robbed their masses to the last drop of their basic necessities like when some sympathizers (MPS) from the National Legislature approved some SSP 3.6 million to purchase Dura (Sorghum) for poor citizens only to end up in elites pockets and poor target beneficiaries left with nothing but prolonged starvation causing permanent organ damaged and eventually death.
Fellow compatriots, the horrific scenes of corruption, nepotism,tribalism name them in our Country generate more questions than answers’ wondering is this the South Sudan we all struggled to achieved or have we become oppressors of our own people?
In conclusion, I would like to state categorically that whatever we might be doing to mistreat fellow citizens in the name of generalizations on tribes won’t take us anywhere and we will be misplacing the disputes on an innocent citizen who has no connection with a politician enriching him/herself at the expense of the general public, assuming if Gen.Kiir is a President not all Dinkas are benefiting from his position.
You wouldn’t be hearing of starvation in Warrap state where our President hails from while the latter is being reported from Unity State where our Vice President hails from and so on and so forth.
Last but not least, in the name of the innocent people I command peace among the proletariat of South Sudan to be united irrespective of their Tribes, Religion or political affiliations as we go about our daily activities treating ourselves as fellow citizens and not as Nuer, Dinka, Shuluk, Bari, Azande, Balanda, Anyuak, Acholi just to mentioned a few. The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling toady.
Akot Mabor Marial,is a Civil rights Activist living in South Sudan and could be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0922053314.