NOV/02/2015, SSN; EDITORIAL:
Now that the long-awaited African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) Report has been made public, the most outstanding revelation now exposed is that Dr. Riek Machar and those now with him in the SPLM-IO had absolutely ZERO intelligence on the cooking Jieng master plan of genocide against the Nuer on December 15, 2013.
How could President Salva Kiir and his closest Jieng advisers as far way back as 2009 conceive, prepare and execute their murderous scheme in full public view, using the national resources that incorporated the national military personnel and facilities without anybody in Dr. Machar’s camp not having the slightest intelligence info?
Seriously, how could Machar as the next powerful person in government and an Army Lt.general, for that matter, not have his own people in the intelligence agencies and even as insiders in president Kiir’s camp since the two top leaders were mortally antagonistic against each other?
Moreover, Machar’s own Nuer tribes-people were so predominant in the army, police and national security services, that surely they could have easily spied on president Kiir’s and Jieng’s nefarious maneuvers at the behest of Machar and their self preservation.
Plainly, reading the Obasanjo-led AUCISS Report, it was shamefully and embarrassingly clear the Dr. Riek Machar, ex-governor Taban Deng, Pagan Amum, Dr. Majak Agot, Oyai Deng Ajak, Alfred Lado Gore, John Luk and the many so-called high-ranking Nuer generals, and also including those of Dr. Lam Akol and opposition politicians, all fatally missed the warning signs of the impending massacre.
On the genesis of the conflict, this is what the AUCISS reported:
49. From its consultations with leaders and other sections of South Sudanese society, the Commission learnt that prior to the outbreak of violence on December 15, 2013, there were indications as early as 2009 that all was not well, and that differences within the party portended violence. The Commission heard that conflicts emerged within the SPLM in 2009 as Southern Sudan prepared to hold elections in 2010. At the time, differences between the President and Pagan Amum, the then Secretary General of the SPLM had threatened to derail progress towards elections. The differences were eventually resolved, with many urging for unity of purpose as the elections and the eventual referendum approached.
50. The other dimension to these developments was the relationship between the President and his Vice President. The Commission established that long before the 2010 elections, the relationship between the two leaders was already strained, and that these differences were overlooked for the sake of unity within the party during the Interim Period (2005-2011). It is was suggested that the SPLM split in 1991, and the reordering of the SPLM leadership to accommodate Riek Machar on his return were partly to blame for the frosty relationship that carried on into government after independence. In 2010, the two leaders are said to have supported rival candidates in a number of key electoral positions, particularly the governorships of several states.
Now, the most serious question supporters of the opposition might query is, how much competent and qualified are those of Machar and his group to aspire for the country’s leadership when the reality now exposed shows their utter incompetence even to safeguard themselves leave alone millions of other South Sudanese citizens?
Once again, the AUCISS revealed that:
Article 52. Perhaps the strongest signal that the situation could deteriorate into violent confrontation was the developments in political circles. The dismissal of the Cabinet in July 2013, heightened tensions and fostered a sense of exclusion in sections of South Sudanese society. The Commission heard from many respondents that following this event, and in the lead up to the SPLM meetings held in December, there were rumours around Juba ‘that the Dinka and Nuer are going to fight’, pointing to deteriorating security situation around the capital.
Clearly, for any normal and even lesser intelligent person than these Ph.D. holders-cum-leaders in Machar’s and Lam Akol’s camps, the impending predicament was inevitable; it was going to be either Kiir or Machar being extinguished, as there was no mutual co-habitation anymore between the these two.
The question is: how much was Machar and his ‘co-conspirators’ prepared for this eventuality since they had publicly vowed their opposition to president Kiir?
Once again, the AUCISS clearly revealed in the following two paragraphs that:
62. With the frosty relationship between the President and Vice President as a background, the Vice President’s declared ambitions to contest for the position of party chairman (and subsequently the Presidency in 2015) coupled with his criticism of the government further politicised the discussions within the party relating to the adoption of the party constitution, manifesto and rules and regulations in preparation for its registration under the new Political Parties Act, 2012. It is in this context of souring relations within the party, that the President is said to have acted, reportedly stripping the Vice President of his executive powers in May 2013.
63. Eventually, President Kiir would dismiss, on 23 July 2013, the Vice-President along with the entire Cabinet (with the exception of 4 ministers) and suspended SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum for alleged corruption.
Obviously, as revealed by the AUCISS, Machar and supporters seemingly had ample time to prepare themselves for the D-Day, since now it was publicly as plain as sunlight that Machar and Kiir were on collusion course as unrepentant and deadly rivals. One of them was surely going to be hurt, and very badly!
The AUCISS Report had this to say:
51. Respondents described to the Commission a difficult working relationship, and that throughout the interim period and after independence, there had been no direct communication between the Office of the President and that of the Vice President, with each cultivating other relationships and working directly with other government officials. Based on the remarks of a senior government official who served with both leaders that ‘there was no file moving from (Office of President) OP to VP’s Office and vice versa’, it appears that for sometime, there were two parallel governments, and that the political differences within the SPLM merely accentuated the factionalism revolving around the two leaders. In this regard, one respondent narrated as follows:
I recall it every time especially when we had this transitional period of the CPA of the six years. The evidence made me know that one day something will happen is that there are two governments. You know if you are a civil servant, you know what is going on in the system. The President was there busy with his own goal to reach the referendum and the Vice President was given all the powers but he was setting [working with] his own people who were affiliated to him … in all ministries and we can see the soundness [implications] of what was going on.
Now, from the above developments explicitly exposed by the AUCISS, most of which were no secret to most ordinary South Sudanese citizens in Juba, it was just a matter of time before something catastrophic would occur.
Moreover, the Nuer of Machar and his other allies had people in the top positions of the national security (second in command was and still is a Nuer), the SPLA chief of staff was a Nuer and the national security minister, Oyai Deng was Machar’s co-collaborator.
Isn’t it really mind boggling that Machar and his allies missed the “intelligence” about the impending massacre?
These developments below were very foreboding and should have been of great and serious concern to Riek Machar and his group, plus those Nuer military generals and the politicians.
Once again, the AUCISS revealed the following:
53. Respondents also noted that the recruitment exercise carried out by the army added to the suspicion and tension that was building up in political circles. On this issue, the Commission was unable to establish the exact number of those recruited, as we received conflicting information. Figures ranged from 7,500 to 15,000. The Commission heard further that the recruitment was conducted mainly from Bahr el Ghazal by the then Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal Paul Malong as a response to the build up of tensions with Sudan over Heglig. The President confirmed that 7500 were recruited. A majority of the newly trained soldiers were not regularly integrated into the SPLA. According to officials, between 330 and 700 of these soldiers were eventually integrated into the Tiger Unit (Presidential Guard) following a commissioning ceremony attended by President. It was not clear, from the Commission’s consultations, what happened to the rest of the newly trained recruits. However, the Commission heard that some of these were deployed around Juba disguised as ‘street cleaners’ in the weeks leading up to December 15.
59. Although most senior political leaders are not in the factionalism that marks the political terrain, particularly within the SPLM finds expression in the military and, in the end, sections of the military identify with particular political leaders because of the lack of cohesion within the SPLA, which many respondents described as a ‘collection of ethnic militia.’
187. The third concern that was raised by many respondents is the lack of diversity and reported Nuer dominance of the SPLA. The Commission established that by December 15, 2013, 65-70 per cent of the SPLA was of Nuer ethnic extraction. This imbalance is said to be in part a product of amnesty and integration policy that brought several militia into the SPLA. In this regard, one witness informed the Commission that ‘what brought the ethnic people, Nuer, the majority in the army was because they were a majority in the militia, and they were integrated to the Army’. The concentration of militias within the SPLA, and the dominance of one ethnic community is seen as part of the factors that created the current crisis in the SPLA (its lack of a national character). In this regard, a senior SPLM official stated that:
[b]y December 15th. 70% of the National Army was made up of militias all from Upper Nile and from one ethnic group. Isn’t that a problem and militias? 70% people who were not loyal to the government not loyal to the command and illiterate and people who were at one time fighting the same Army they absorbed in. That is a problem.
Inevitably, it was clear that president Kiir’s recruitment of his own Jieng of Bahr el Ghazal was an expeditiously evil and counteractive attempt to offset the numerical superiority of and dominance of the SPLA by Machar’s Nuer tribesmen.
Once more, the AUCISS has proven that president Kiir’s Jienge soldiers made the preemptive assault and the fatal beginning of sequence of ethnic cleansing:
387. All reports indicate that when fighting broke out within the Presidential Guards in Juba, Dinka members of the Presidential guard and other security forces targeted Nuer soldiers and civilians. Violence spread to various neighbourhoods in Juba i.e Munuki 107, New Site, Eden, Gudele, Khor William, Mangaten, Mia Saba, Jebel and Lologo as Dinka soldiers, members of Presidential guard and other security forces conducted house-to-house searches, killing Nuer soldiers and civilians in and near their homes. It is reported that some were arrested and killed elsewhere. Police stations and security installations were alleged to be sites of killings. Some were allegedly suffocated in containers, survivors were shot. Mass burial sites are said to exist.
Politically, it’s time that Riek Machar and his group expeditiously come to the reality: this monstrosity called the SPLM/A is frozen in time, it has demonstrated the “inability of the party to resolve the political conflict that spiraled into the current crisis which is partly because of lack of internal democracy, and the failure to institutionalize good governance:
the SPLM has been having problems may be since its inception as a result of just one single factor of lack of organization and absence of institutions of internal governance. So always when contradictions got out they easily translate into violence and military confrontation.”
313. Most respondents and commentators agree that the current conflict grew out of the ruling party’s inability to resolve conflicts internally. The Commission found that conflicts surrounding leadership contests seem to be a common feature of the recent history of the party. Examples cited include the 1991 split and the 2004 crisis arising out of the differences between Dr John Garang and his deputy Salva Kiir in 2004.
251 It is the Commission’s view that these party conflicts are due, for the most part, to lack of institutionalization. Indeed, one commentator suggests that the 2013 conflict (relating to the choice of new party officials) was expected, given that in 2008, the party resolved not to elect new officials following disputes over certain candidates. It thus seems evident that ‘the political upheavals within the SPLM follow a cyclical pattern that habitually surfaces before SPLM conventions.’
In the final analysis, the SPLM/A has proven again and again that it’s a failed institution and those of Machar and SPLM-IO collaborators should by now have painfully come to the stark realization that their possible reintegration into the SPLM won’t be a joyous event since they are an unwanted butch of “traitors.”
So long as the Jieng of Kiir enjoy their predatory advantage, this SPLM/A as it is, will never change, it keeps killing its supposedly own citizens without compunction or accountability or justice.
Today, in Machar’s own backyard of Unity State, president Kiir has wickedly ‘hired’ the same Bul Nuer of Machar’s ethnicity to ‘cleanse’ all supporters and other innocents Nuer citizens at Kiir’s Jieng behest. Shamefully, it’s no longer the rival Jieng raping and killing the Nuer but Nuer ethnic cleansing itself.
Finally, if the truth be exposed and said openly, Dr. Machar the leader of the SPLM-IO and many now with him, like Generals Gadet, Tanginye, Gatkouth, Kenyi, or others like Dr. Mulla, Alfred Lado, Taban Gai and many others, had once defected, abandoned or rebelled and fought against this same monstrosity called the SPLM/A under Garang and the same president Kiir.
Separately or en mass, they were simply forgiven and reinstated and many of them sufficiently accommodated as ministers, and thus in collusion with the same president Kiir they looted and messed up the country.
Mr. Luk, for instance, a Nuer, as legal affairs minister abetted in drawing up the current so-called national constitution that basically empowered president Kiir to become a dictatorial president.
Those of Oyai Deng and Dr. Majak de Agoot were in ministerial positions with president Kiir when Mr. Isaiah Abraham was brutally killed by government security agents and till now they said or did nothing.
Dr. Riak Machar himself and others now in SPLM-IO were there with president Kiir when the list of the 75 top looters in government was exposed and still till now Machar and group has said nothing further.
Anyway, whilst those of Machar and co-collaborators who in their previous political lives happily colluded with the same Kiir to mess up the nation, are now preparing to go back to another round of sharing power with Kiir again, however, millions of Nuer tribes-people, the Wonduruba citizens, the Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal citizens and others have apparently died in vain and without recompense or recognition.
Will there ever be real justice for those innocent citizens that are being killed and are dying, and will there be real justice against those perpetuating, perpetrating and persecuting the killings of thousands of innocent citizens across the nation? Oh! Cry the Beloved Country!