Why ongoing crisis will hurt Greater Upper Nile most

BY: Michael Thon Mangok, South Sudan, MAR/02/2014, SSN;

These are the first days of the month of March and the conflict that started on 15th December last year that many thought it would last for a few days have no sign of ending soon. Those who had wanted to keep power as their own and those who wanted to take power by any means, thought that it was going to be an exercise that would last for a few hours.

This conflict was seen coming but both sides turned a blind eye to any preventive measures. What each camp was seeing was the advantage that is coming with the conflict. Each side was calculating the victory of their own.

Camp A was seeing it as an opportunity to keep power and chase away the undisciplined group. To them it was “we will keep this power and you will never get it.”

In camp B it was an opportunity to introduce conditional democracy, cause chaos and get the power by force if need be. Their data was showing them that they have 75 percent of the army and it would only take an hour to go to State house should the democracy fail. So everyone was seeing victory on their side.

The only person who knew what was going on was Archbishop Paulino Lokudu. In the liberation Council meeting on 14th Dec, he said to Salva and Riek, “please, do not put the country into crisis in the Christmas season.”

He said, “there is tension here now in the room.” He prayed but may be God could not answer his prayers because the two did not join him in prayers from their hearts.

However, what both camps did not calculate was the level of the destruction that would come with what many thought was a disagreement in the SPLM party in Juba.

The SPLM has liberated this country but now it is the very SPLM that is destroying the country and that is the irony of this conflict.

The level of destruction in upper Nile region within two month has gone far beyond than in the last 22 years of the civil war against Khartoum.

The mass grave in Bor is our first experience. We did not bury many people like that during the war. What does that mean to the people of upper Nile region?

Am not a supporter of regional bloc the way Bar el Ghazel and Equatoria conferences had been on for some years but this crisis is forcing me to pose a question to the people of Upper Nile region.

Does it worry us that Upper Nile now does not exist?

There is no Malakal, Bor and Bentiu to speak of right now. A child who should have been to school now in Malakal is in the bush and his/her fellow age mate in Wau is in school.

A mama in Bentiu who used to sell local foods in a restaurant to pay the school fees of her children is now struggling for her life in the bush while her counterpart in Yambio is thinking about how to expand her business next year so that her children can go to better schools.

A business man who has lost everything in Bor is now thinking whether there is any reason to live in this world while his counterpart in Torit is thinking on how to expand his business to nearby counties of Eastern Equatoria come 2015.

All these are happening in Upper Nile region and the rest of parts of the country is moving on. That is why the three governors of the Equatoria region met and released their joint statement.

“We don’t want war in our land,” and nobody asked who are they? It did not stop from there!

The Western Equatoria governor Bakasoro said, “You Dinka and Nuer go and fight your war elsewhere, we don’t need war here,” and Eastern Equatoria governor Luois Lobong said, “Dinka IDPS are headache to my government.”

All these are hate speeches but nobody cares to talk about them.

If things continue like this, the Upper Nile region will be a war zone and the rest of the region will continue with the development.

As we speak, there is a construction of the airport going on in Rumbek with the cost of $137 Millions while children and women in the bushes around Bor, Bentiu and Malakal could not access water and food.

The crisis management committee in Juba is busy spending millions of pounds on travel allowances.

Instead of moving to the affected areas, they travels to safer zones like Wau, Yambio, Kuajok, Torit etc.. to spent a lot of time explaining that what happened in Juba was a coup while the people who’re supposed to get food from the money for crisis are dying.

The leaders and the young people from Upper Nile should begin to rethink about the ongoing conflict. We need to ask ourselves why the war always in Upper Nile region?

What is the cause of division among the communities? And what is the way forward?

Bar el Gahzel and Equatoria are moving on with their regional agenda and whether Upper Nile likes it or not, they must come together.

Bar el Ghazel regional meeting does not recognize Bor and Ngok because they are not from that region.

To rebuild what was destroyed in the three capitals cities in Upper Nile will require a hard work of twenty years or so.

If people of Upper Nile don’t open their eyes and have honest debate then this will be the beginning of the marginalization of the region.

The message here from the rest is simple: “Keep on busy killing yourselves and we will keep on developing our regions with the money of the oil produced from upper Nile.”

When I think about this my heart bleeds.

14 Comments

  1. jay johnson says:

    surely upper nile will regret the destruction they have caused to their region when they have fully recovered from Ngundengism intoxication and looting spree. The fool unknowingly plot their own destruction only to realize what they have inflicted upon themselves when it is too late to salvage anything of useful value

    “Bahr el Ghazel regional meeting does not recognize Bor and Ngok because they are not from that region”

    At least, the BOR AND NGOK FANATIC CLASSIFICATION are still not getting it. May be it is time to open up these lots minds by doing major operation so that they can learnt that ……

    Ngok is a section within Padang Dinka and That eastern Twi, Hol and Nyarweng Dinka are not BUOR.
    Got it,…… Manyok?

    • Mr. Michael Thon, which Upper Nile are you talking about when it was the same sons of Greater Upper Nile who destroyed Bor, Bentiu and Malakal, they killed elderly, children, raped women and killed them, killed sick people on their hospital beds without remorse, despite the fact that the people they were killing were citizens of the Greater region the very perpetuators hail from, do you think it will be easy for the shulluk men, the Dinka Pariang and the Padang who lost their dear love ones to just forget all what the Gawaar and the Lou Nuer did to their people and unite ranks with the killers of their relatives based on the pretext of being from Greater Upper Nile? it will take time my friend for these atrocities to go away from the memories of the people, the Orphants who lost their parents through Riek Machar Rebellion in 1991 are now killed in the second Riek Machar rebellion of 2013 – 14 what a cursed leadership in south Sudan, I doubt very much that Ngondeng had prophesied Riek Machar Leadership? what kind of leadership that could come through pools of blood of innocent an armed civilians?

  2. Charles says:

    Dear Mangok

    For once we are hearing from a realist from Upper Nile. This statement: ” The leaders and the young people from Upper Nile should begin to rethink about the ongoing conflict. We need to ask ourselves why the war is always in Upper Nile region? ” expresses the concern of many a South Sudanese.For a long time we have been living in self-denial, and when this issue is mentioned some of us are accused of being tribalists. This obsession of always trying to resolve issues by fighting should be seriously curbed among certain communities, otherwise there is no way that people will move forward. Fighting brings about destruction, instability, insecurity, and serve as disincentive to any investors. Moreover many professionals will decline to go and serve in such areas, including those from the se areas themselves.

    Once again, unfortunately you have fallen into the usual trap of blaming those from Equatoria and western BG.for resolving their problems in a peaceful manner. It is not that they do not have problems. They do, but in most cases they resort to resolving them peacefully. Instead of borrowing a leaf from them, we tend to accuse them of not caring about what is happening in Upper Nile, etc. The communities in Upper Nile and Lakes, warrap and Northern BG must embrace peace and learn to resolve their differences in non-violent manner, else the cycle of violence and revenge killings will unfortunately be the order of the day. And the rest of South Sudan will not be waiting for them to catch up.

  3. Tyson says:

    It is sad!!
    Ask Kiir, Riek, Kuol Manyang. John Luk, Paul Malong, Alieu, Alier, etc for all the carnage in Upper Nile region.
    Equatorians don’t want to be drawn into senseless war where a brother slaughters a fellow brother for no reason. Equatorians are not power hunger too!! They are shamelessly labeled by Jieng as cowards, foreigners, etc, etc. All the criminals in power and within SPLM are the cause of bleeding in Upper Nile.
    You can realize peace if you are bold enough to hold them accountable and persecute them for the crimes committed against innocent people of Upper Nile!!!!

  4. Eastern says:

    Thon, tell your fellow cattle people to begin valuing life more than cattle. Equatoria will continue to grow in leaps and bounds while you continue to kill yourselves.

    If you are the Thon who used to host Wake Up Juba in radio Bakhita fm then, please drive some senses into the head your people. The governors of the three Equatoria have spoken.

  5. oyhath says:

    I find it ironic. You see the elephant in the room and you pretend it is not an elephant. I mean every knows that this problem started within the SPLM party. Every knows its root cause has to do with power grab within the SPLM leadership. But everybody also knows that this power grab within the SPLM leadership has ethnic (or call it tribal) coloration. So it really has nothing to with Upper Nile as such. The president is from Warrab state and the former Vice President is from Unity state; so it doesn’t seem to me to be specifically a problem of Upper Nile ( or greater Upper Nile if that is what you mean). So in thinking to find a solution to the current crisis we have to look at the root causes and we can’t lose our focus on its origins; otherwise it’s just self-deception that will take us nowhere. How about the violence and destruction of life and property that happened in Juba as a result of this crisis and is Juba part of Upper Nile?

    It is time to adopt a true federal system in South Sudan as a bottom approach to addressing ethnicism, preventing theft of public money, eliminating tribal dictatorship and bringing stability and development to the country. You can’t solve a problem without looking and finding its causes. To try to confine the violence, crimes and suffering resulting from this crisis to Upper Nile ( or greater Upper Nile if that is what you mean) is like trying to deviate our attention from the real problem and its real causes. That’s not being honest about finding a honest solution to the problem. Yes, there has been barbaric destruction of innocent life and property particularly in Bor, Malakal, Bentiu, etc; but that did happen Juba too. And because of this, as part of overall solution to this problem we all (not only Upper Nile or greater Upper Nile people) need to insist that those involved in these crimes are made accountable to their actions. But we can’t say that Upper Nile or greater Upper Nile for that matter should somehow alone try to do something about it when the root cause of the problem lies outside Upper Nile.

    • bolabokdit says:

      Things should be put in thier place. The Upper Nile problem statrted long time since conflict of Anya-nya two with SPLM/A. The reaon of that conflict was centred around leadership of who who will lead the movement. It was the issue that can be solve peacefully if Upper Nile people, but instead it breed sectarianism, hatred and that they involved everyone in Suothern Sudan.
      I knew from the beginning that there will be a problem in the government of Suoth Sudan if the president of the republic is not from Upper Nile, although those who did government structure are sincerely innocent. Kiir will go like any other president in the world, and I assured you problem will never stop in Upper Nile, even if president is from Upper Nile. Killing, looting, and distruction will still be heard continuing in other places in Upper Nile.

      The answer to question What is the cause of division among the communities and what is the way forward?. Sustain from use of force and resolve any conflict of interest or grievances in a peaceful manner. Convince communities that we are in a modern time (civil state) not state of nature where anyone use his foce to grab thing for survival.

      The only thing Upper Nile can do is to attract investors and create project which will be funded by government to develop thier region, and leave selfishness and love of power which will lead them nowhere. Leadership can be in Upper Nile, Equatoria or Bahr El Gazal but that should not be a point of conflict.

  6. Thiang Geka says:

    Michael Thon,
    It was deliberately engineered that this war will be the worst in Greater Upper Nile for variety of reasons one of which is because Nuer are living in Greater Upper Nile. They do this without knowing that Nuer cannot be discipline through the barrel of the gun. Kiir’s Dinkacracy will not continue even a mile from here.

    Michael Thon, Mading Ngor..etc,
    Have all changed side after the failure of Dec 15 assassination attempt. Mading Ngor ran from South Sudan because his life was threatened by Salva Kiir’s agents who killed Isaiah Abraham. But unexpectedly and drastically almost all of them went to Warrap. Salva Kiir’s Government gives freedoms to journalists, they say. Is that not tribalism by itself? What can make it a good government after a failed assassination attempt which was not there before?

    They are now trying to force understands US, UK, International community to say it was a coup attempt. US’s Ambassador to SS, Susan Page is being told to pronounce it a coup. Just tune to ‘’Wake Up Juba’’ you will only hear Dinkacracy is being preached. If it happen that you’re called a guest in the Bhakita’s Studio and you failed to mention ‘’failed coup attempt, 1991, Riek Machar’’ then they termed you as uneducated.

    Thiang Geka

    Thanks

  7. Lado says:

    I may rather say why always rebelion start in UPPER NILE REGION?. This is because most of leaders in this region are not serving their entire community interest,each one is struggling for his own or interest of his clansmen who they cheat due to ignorant of those who follow them without knowing their rights as citizens of this nation. All entire communities of Upper nile should bear in mind not to follow any wrong politician in our era. You should often know their agenda before following them blindly. I think enough is enough for people who have been slained or killed in a cold blood during ongoing crisis, may almight God forgive our barbaric/uncivilized leaders to come to their sense in order to stop this senseless fighting and spare the remaining lives.

  8. Kanya Gogo says:

    Dear All,

    I don’t think it is realistic to just limit the impact of this conflict on upper nile only. There are destruction in Juba, Bor and Bentiu. Besides we should not be blind to see non visible impact of war. If we only focus on visible impact we may miss the opportunity to see real suffering.

    This conflict affects every part of South Sudan let alone the entire region and the world. Those who think it is only affecting our brothers and sisters in Upper Nile and Bahr el ghazal think again.

    For Equatorians who keep saying let them kill themselves are living in mars. Do you know how many of your Equatorian brothers are fighting alongside Kiir’s Army or even Riek’s side? Soon we will wake up to find that all our boys are gone and yet we are preaching that let them kill themselves.

    Peaceful settlement of issues is an ideal mechanism but sometimes it does not work. We have seen this all over the world where sometimes people fail to solve issues peacefully until violence chips in. This does not mean I don’t embrace peace, there is always a limit for peace to prevail in settling issues.

    Using the context of South Sudan, you can not be neutral and you expect to gain after the conflict. The local population is insisting Equatorians are neutral in this conflict yet all the Equatorian leaders in government are in support of Kiir’s government. It is only time that will judge us about this local people’s neutrality we are preaching yet our leaders have taken sides.

    Kanya Gogo
    Nimule South Sudan.

  9. Elijah Samuel says:

    Equatorians are neutral is a myth and a propaganda from the Dinka ellite hoping to keep the eqautotian aside while they carry ethnic cleansing against our Nuer Brothers and Sisters using the state powers!
    The Puppet Lubong pledge support for Kiir and Wani Iga went all over the equatorians state recruiting young men to fight, this two are equatorians who have taken sides with the hands that feed them, the Dinka government!
    Many of our young people are killed in the fights in Bor, Equatorian young men are fighting for Kiir. So it is nonsense to say Euqtorians are neutral, those who say such want to keep the masses in equator who hate the the Kiir government to stay aloof but I tell you Soon, the entire South Sudan will rise up and fight to liberate themselves from this dictator and killer of women and children!
    I bet you did not mention the tremendous killing of Nuer women and children that took place in juba, is it because they do not count?
    The Problem of These regions you mention is the Dinka, The same fought in murk land, the same caused death in kakwa lands, in Toposa land in Didinka lands, in Murle lands and in Madi lands!! There shall be no peace in South Sudan until the Dinka renounce the born to rule mentality and use of force!

  10. Makur Panyon says:

    The impact of the current conflict is felt by South Sudanese who are in Uganda and Kenya leave a lone other regions of Bahr-El-Gazal and Equatoria for that matter.

  11. GatCharwearbol says:

    Dear Mangok;

    That is indeed undeniable. The greater region of Upper Nile will suffer enormously. But they are suffering for a good cause. Earning your freedom is never free; it is pricey. Upper Nilians are paying heavy price for this worthy cause. At the end, we will all laugh and walk with our heads height.

    You ought to know that the greater nation in the world, The United States of America was not handed to her people freely. They paid high price for it. After attaining independence from Great British, they plunged into civil war. A lot of people died. After those people died, they ironed out their differences and this is when they came to achieve a lasting peace and freedom. If we have to free ourselves from the bondage of some selfish few, we must pay heavy price for that freedom.

    We all agree with you on this my friend. Just remember that these people are suffering for good a reason.

    • bolabokdit says:

      CatCha.
      A soldier or malitia who lost his life in this war have died without course because the only war Suothern Sudanese suppose to sacrifice their lives was between North and Suoth. That is the reason we remember our martyers who bleed and die for our independence.
      The current war is a war of greed and selfishness of those who want rule and it does’nt claim or represent national interest. Who will go and die for a trible war if it happen than it is very foolish for someone to do risk himself.

      Look what happen to detainees after they were trelease from prison. Riak and his allies call to join them in rebellion, but thise politician found that Riak has gone too far and they want to mess. Riak Ally told them that they will not have any position had their rebellion succeed. Is it true that powerful tribe will govern or we apply democracy system

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