BY: Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, OCT/29/2016, SSN;
“Tell no lies … Claim no easy victories.” Amilcar Cabral
Josef Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, famed for turning a lie into truth through repetition. These days, a falsehood, simulating Goebbels methodology, is being engineered to become some kind of truth in future. It all began with the US tour by Ustaz Bona Malual in 2015. On 16 May 2016, Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk found the thirty-second anniversary of the formation of the SPLM/SPLA an occasion to resonate Bona Malual’s message that only the Dinka fought and died in large numbers in the liberation of South Sudan.
While addressing an induction seminar for the so-called states SPLM interim Chairperson, President Salva Kiir seemed to push the point home.
The Dinka is the single largest nationality in South Sudan, and the Aja in Western Bahr el Ghazal could be the smallest nationality and there is no qualms about that. It also goes without saying that all the sixty-four nationalities inhabiting South Sudan in one-way or the other participated in the war of national liberation.
In the social and political engineering calculus of South Sudan, liberation was an ‘integrating’ process leading to the fusion of these nationalities into one South Sudan nation. However, with their statements, some Dinka leaders are now attempting to ‘differentiate’ the SPLA combatants and martyrs as well as South Sudanese people based on their respective nationalities.
The claims, therefore, that Dinka alone fought in the war of national liberation is not only dangerously fallacious but also a betrayal of all other nationalities, including the Nuba and the Funj, whose bones litter different parts of South Sudan. It comes in the context of this differentiation, not integrating with others, to justify the monopoly of power and wealth by a tiny clique in the name of Dinka nationality.
While it is imperative and of strategic significance to combat this falsehood as earlier as possible, it is equally necessary to understand the process of ‘differentiation’ as opposed to ‘integration’ vide which Dinka nationality or sections it came to dominate at the different stages of the SPLM/A life.
Going by the numbers, the Dinka and for that matter the Bahr el Ghazal without question would be the largest single group in the SPLA. The Nuer, the Azande, the Chollo, Otuho, Toposa, etc. would follow the Dinka in succession. What mattered here would be their integration and fusion into South Sudan nation based on freedom, justice, fraternity and democracy.
However, this did not occur as anticipated in the morale songs of the SPLA combatants as they passed out from training in their numerous divisions. Many people including myself are witnesses to some funny happenings in the training camps, which reflect almost mirror images of the happenings nowadays.
As Thomas Sankara once said, “without a patriotic political education a rebel (my addition) soldier is only a potential criminal.”
We may also add, without ideological education and orientation a liberation movement is only a bourgeois petit Trojan horse in a people’s stock shade. Its so-called national liberation become a tool for supplanting the oppressor without transforming his methods.
With the peace agreement, the combatants and leaders recoiled back to their status ante; the gears disengage and the SPLM/SPLA beats a retreat to the ethnic cocoons and old ways of differentiating people according their ethnic configurations.
Those who were fugitives of Sudan justice system went back to their trade after the war. The local feuds and conflicts fudged by the exigencies of the war of national liberation resurfaced and insecurity became ubiquitous throughout South Sudan.
Eleven years into peace with Khartoum, President Salva Kiir and Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk can only reminisce, of all whom they commanded, only those hailing from their Dinka nationality. The Nuers, who were second in term of numbers, degenerated into ‘tribal militias.’
This policy differentiation must have started much earlier but as subtleties. It explains why the SPLA officers ‘pensioned off’ in 1992/3 hailed essentially from one locality, which in hindsight suggests it was an intelligent scheme for ‘preservation’ consequent to a devastation of that locality that occurred a year earlier.
Did we ask ourselves why the so-called lost boys; transported to US at the dying days of the war, hailed from one nationality? Did it ever occur to any one that it was an investment? In this case, the use of ‘lost boys’ is a deceptive misnomer.
That the Dinka alone constitutes the SPLA, as it apparently is, was not because the other nationalities, especially the Equatorians, have refused to join as President Salva Kiir explicitly alleged. It is not that they do not possess warrior’s traits as wrongly perceived by some people, but simply because of this differentiation practices in the distribution of ranks and deployment process and assignment of duties, arrogant and condescending behaviours of the dominant authorities in the SPLA.
This prompted massive defection among SPLA combatants and the retreat to their home areas, inadvertently leading to inordinately huge sedimentation of the Dinka and Nuer in the SPLA. The Dinka particularly the Bor dominating the officer’s corps while the Nuer the foot soldiers. It could have been deliberate policy to justify such binary thrash as the ‘liberators’ and the ‘liberated’ or the ‘born to rule’ and the ‘ruled’.
I recall a sad incident among the SPLA Nasir forces somewhere in Eastern Equatoria. The combatants demoralized due to repeated defeats so the level of discipline dropped to the lowest. The commander (Nuer) decided to have one soldier (a Nuer) executed by firing squad. When his clans heard this they rose up in arms against the commander forcing him to rescind the order and instead got an innocent Equatorian, who had nobody to stand up for him, to be executed instead – a travesty of justice. May his soul rest in peace.
Another incident involved another innocent Murle soldier, bodyguard of a Murle commander then holidaying in Narus, executed by SPLA to appease heavily armed Toposa youth who wanted to attack Narus to avenge one of them murdered by some Bor SPLA soldiers. The SPLA commander was a Bor and this led to the rebellion of the Murle SPLA commander.
I brought up these unfortunate examples to prove the point I made above about the SPLA shunning of political and ideological education but also to protest the murdering of innocent unarmed civilians especially those Dinka travelling on roads or Shilluk fishing on the Nile. These wanton acts of inhumanity do not compensate socially or psychologically for the crimes by those people in power.
Why is the civil war stirring up such animosities, and why are the stakes being heightened as to prompt the president of the republic to declare publicly that he would go to command war in Yei against those killing his tribesmen?
Why didn’t the massacre of twenty thousand ethnic Nuer in Juba (December 2013) or the massacre of unarmed demonstrators in Wau (December 2012) raise in the president such a rancour?
Does it mean to President Salva Kiir that his people are only Dinka and not all South Sudanese over whom he has ruled for eleven years? This is exactly what I meant by differentiation process. It proves the unconstitutionality of President Salva Kiir. He has voluntarily delegitimized himself.
There is, however, something poignant to this entire stratagem. President Salva Kiir is presiding over the construction of a falsehood that may become a truth in a few years to come. After ten years from now the small nationality groups – enormously called fertit, may become extinct; why? Because the strategy of annexing Raga to Awiel is to overwhelm and submerge the Fertit with the Malual Dinka.
Similarly, the case of East Bank Chollo Kingdom is being pushed in a manner that Chollo children born in displaced people’s camps will never know the truth after ten years from now. In the same vein, Narus, Heiman –New Kush, Nimule, Laboni. Kaya, Yei, Maridi, Yambio and Tambura are progressively being Dinkanized and pastoralized.
This socio-demographic transformation occurring in South Sudan, driven by the civil war, works in favour of the Dinka that in twenty-five years or even less the Dinka will be socially, economically and politically dominant in every corner of South Sudan.
This will even accelerate if the Salva Kiir and the JCE win this war by maintaining the status quo through ARCISS or a renegotiated peace agreement. The apathy the IGAD region has shown following the outbreak of violence in July encourages President Salva Kiir to pursue the dictates of the JCE, who are now engineering the formation of other councils of elders like the recently agreement with the so-called Jubek State Council of Elders, which include Dinka elders domicile in the Juba.
This is a dangerous scheme camouflaged as Establishment Order 36/2015. Recognizing and writing against its architects – the JCE and some think tank consultants, in any way does not make me anti-Dinka.
It is incumbent on me and other intellectuals and political thinkers and activists including Dinka compatriots, to say that consequent to implementation of policies emanating from this fascist ideology pits Dinka people against other nationalities. It does not augur well for the Dinka nor for South Sudan.
That is why the JCE and we must expose the think tank consultants; demystify, delegitimize and disempower President Salva Kiir Mayardit. He has let down the people of South Sudan.
Peter Adwok Nyaba
28 October 2016