HONOR OUR MARTYRS WITH PEACE AND JUSTICE SALUTATIONS

By Dak Buoth Riek Gaaq

South Sudan army saluting while singing the national anthem (Photo: via Nile)

South Sudan army saluting while singing the national anthem (Photo: via Nile)

1st August, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Wisdom has it that when a man falls down, resilience is not measured by how long he remain on the ground but by how quick he raised up. Happy Martyrs!! Martyrs!! Martyrs!!—-Day!! Day!!

The sincerity of our remembrances to our martyrs lies on our commitment to peace and justice, anything rather than that will be deem traitorous. In so doing, we should also thump up to ourselves for the goods that we have jointly done to our country.

We should remain steadfast in our quest to find our rightful place on the continent and the world, hence, the speeds at which we can do that still rely on our proximity as people of south Sudan because no nation including the stable democracies has ever reached its apex in exclusivity.

Doing so isn’t an end in itself but a mean to an end. In the Journey of life wittingly or unwittingly; two baskets got filled, one with evil deeds and other one with good deeds; but the question to be asked at the end of the journey is, which is the heavies between the two basket?

The journey to achieving nationhood and democracy has since antiquity been uphill task. But as we continue crawling, we must be mindful that there will never be shortage of cynics; individuals when they find their glasses are half full, they will say they are half empties but we must soldier along notwithstanding those tormentors who have fence our path to righteousness.

The 30th day of July 2014 is the day in our national calendar set aside to commemorate our martyrs. But if you are to examine our state however, on its current socioeconomic and political landscape, certainly, if few martyrs were to resurrect today as happened to Jesus Christ, they would regret why they gave up their lives for us those days.

Any martyr or real war veterans and those who participated and saw actual combat, they really do not wish to see any conflict again in south Sudan because their experience were extremely painful , physically and psychologically not to mention the physical scars they still carry around.

Sincerely, if we heartily care and truly acknowledge our martyrs’ roles, how come 10 years of our independent, the government of the day run by the SPLM did not construct at least one memorial hospital in their honor where the remaining veterans could be afforded specialized treatment peculiar to their injuries, along with psychological and mental treatment?

Oddly, when the president visited Lake State couples of weeks ago to open empty shelved women hospital which he shamelessly named after himself, he defied Elders suggestion who recommended the hospital to be named after a war veteran and doyen politician Samuel Aru Bol who was buried where the hospital was erected.

In fact, honor is something that come or accorded after one exited the realm. In other words, its’ something people earn not demanded. Perhaps the president was trying to adopt the vague legacy imposed by former Kenyan president Daniel Arab Moi who forcefully named almost every institution after himself except the toilet.

Appraisingly, some of the places that were named after Moi during his reign are now being scraped or renamed. You remember there used to be Moi stadium Kasarani, now it is renamed Safaricom kasarani stadium. Kenyan are beginning to ride out of that tragic legacy slowly by slowly.

I verily recalled in eighties, when Hon. Omar Hassan, now Mombasa county Senator and leading member of the opposition coalition, (CORD) then student leader at Moi University Eldoret vigorously protested the naming of Moi university after Daniel Arap Moi who was then sitting head of state. Hon. Omar Hassan militantly argued that naming the University after Daniel Arab Moi was an affront to democracy and rule of natural justice.

Upon the broadcast of that students protest in and outside university, President Moi responded promptly through a decree read in the national television that he ordered the immediate expulsion of the student Chairman of Moi University by the name Omar Hassan. That same decree also barred him (Omar Hassan) from joining any university within its jurisdiction.

Such undemocratic rules never deterred him from agitating for what he consider good for Kenyan even when he was outside the university premises. He never thought of crossing Kenya’s borders for other country where he could finish his studies. He continue rig leading the fight for multi-party democracy until they ultimately achieved in 1992.

He resumes his studies in 2002 when NARC government took over power led by Hon. Mwai Kibaki. Before then, Kenyan elected him as national vice chairperson of Kenya human rights commission, a position he held until recently when he was unanimously elected senator of Mombasa county beating several other prominent politicians, the likes of Najib Balala and Ramadan Kajembe Kenyan are justice oriented people…Kenya akuona matata………

President Kiir has spent nearly four decades in the bush fighting for south sudanese liberty. Why can’t he give south Sudanese amble time to see whether or not we can honor his selfless roles in the fight for our independent instead of imposed everything unto us?

Our dictionaries would help us knows who the martyrs are based on the sacrifices they accorded. My sumsang dictionary here rightly define who a martyr is and his role. They are defined as person (s) who were brutally killed or made to inhumanly suffer as a result of their insistent for certain religious and political beliefs. Any person regarded as martyr or veteran by extension fought relentlessly for his people freedom; they fought to be free and to decide what they wanted. They did not fought so that
ultimately other people or themselves would imposed their ill will on others like we experience today in our nation‘s capital.

Strangely, our real war veterans permit the independent they fought for to be hijack by greedy colleagues, yet they mingle silently and in fear. They now become victims of the good process they started in good faith. They now become spectators watching helplessly as their ultimate efforts are soiled, they have been robbed of their sacrifices, their dignity and of their country. Their dreams lie in ruin as fake veterans benefit at their expense.

Compatriots, all of us, ‘’the disgruntles’’ are politically, spiritually, morally and practically together in the struggle to defend and secure our inalienable right to life, peace and to transform our country from its backward culture of impunity, runaway corruption, tribalism, nepotism and primitive cronyism to industrial splendor, where equity, equality, social justice, the rule of law, constitutionalism and political pluralism.

My long time confidante in the student’s politics told the mammoth crowd at graduation ceremonies for south Sudanese students at Daystar University fortnight ago; that story will be reverse soon, referring to the current system perpetuated by the ruling SPLM. That it will be substituted with a system of Good governance, transparency, accountability, democracy and respect for human rights.

As matter of fact, nobody wanted his name recorded in story book as being indifferent and complacent. We all demand an immediate and practical overhaul of the current flagrant system that has crippled and forced our people to sought refuge in the scorching UN camps in our nation‘s capital Juba and across the country.

We urge each other to maintain and uphold the zeal; we shouldn’t tremble nor should we give up the fight completely despite the turbulences that come with it. We are pursuing a just cause which was first started by our ancestors in 1955 against the earlier colonialist down to Anya-anya movement of seventies and eighties against the Khartuom ‘Arab monolithic regime.

Millions people have died for that cause and we are associated with that struggle; dying for that cause. We will never mind dying for the cause; up to now we don’t mind dying for the cause, though we know they are still willing and able to get rid of us using all kind of crooks and Goons that they had brought to shield them.

So far, several progressive and pro democratic campaigners were deliberately and brutally murdered for their insistence to agitate against the evils facing our people, the like of Isaiah Abraham who was killed in Juba, up to date no information was ever unravel by the investigating team constituted after his death to track down his killers.

It is now that we wanted that change, if not now, right now. In doing so, we must stop wishful thinking. We ought to be practical devoid of any superstition as said by earlier revolutionaries ‘‘Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which comes by myth. It is rather the indispensible condition for the quest for human completion;

Our discord lies on the modalities and procedures that we applied to effect that change. One of the young radical reformist told me on 8th July 2014 at Traritoria Hotel next to 20th century that there is only a thin line between rebels and oppositionists but the duo have an one concordant aim which is to promptly overhaul or deform the status quo in the country.

Some of us bitterly broke ranks and became disgruntled after the Juba 15th December incident perhaps after their love ones were innocently maimed and murdered. Some perhaps turned against the regime after the infamous July 3013 cabinet reshuffle when they felt their cups were half empties.

Thirdly, some authentically and wittingly turn against the regime to overturn all kind of autocratic rules and impunity that the ruling SPLM had imposed on the people of south Sudan.

But for me, I was the ‘‘first dissident’’ I felt disgruntled right back at time when the separatist movement (SPDF) which was then my staunchest party emerged with SPLM/A then led by late Dr. John Garang in 2002 here in Nairobi.

It wasn’t the amalgamation of the two liberation parties perse that I deem improper but rather the modalities and the procedures used to seal that political agreement. The process was completely farcical; it was more of social and moral agreement without terms and conditions.

There has never been a contemporary political agreement ever done like that. I was at my primary five then but still I could detect and envisioned the repercussions invented by that agreement. This to me caused the 2013 conflict. At the onset, the idea or the decision to join the SPLM and SPDF was indeed a breath of fresh air among southern Sudanese generality whose quest for common freedom look demoralized by persistent ethnic supremacy dated back at the time of Anyanya one (1) than continue to heavily influence the second liberation struggle.

In those days, whenever an idea is crafted and brought to fore by one revolutionary, others comrades would struggle to sabotage it on the bases of ethnic supremacy, saying ineptly that it is not applicable for community X or Y to be the one that pioneer a decision for this country.

If you verily recalled the barbaric death of Anyanya One Leader Lt. Samuel Gen. Gai Tut orchestrated by Dr. Garang on a pretext that he wanted a democratic, socialist, secular and united Sudan govern by a person from the south. It was just a full and organized scheme to sabotage the leadership of Lt. Gen. Samuel Gai Tut who wanted an independent south Sudan just because Tut hailed from other ethnic group.

Because that issue was never address, it led to our people losing lives in 1991, again when we failed to openly address that regrettable incident of 1991, it led to juba massacre 2013. I may not predict what may occur next if the 2013 massacre is not adequately solved; but am certain history normally repeat itself when its not recorded well.

Compatriots, since our aim is identical and timely in this cause, it is immaterial to highlight here who the first and second dissidents are? What I deem paramount right now is the question of how to correctly emerge our ideas toward fastening this inevitable change that we all yearn for.

Pointing out openly the shortcomings of the government is usually a function of responsible citizens in all the stable democracies. Remember that political ‘‘dissidence is the highest degree of patriotism as alluded for by W. Fulbright. An American liberalist who once said, Self-criticism and criticism of one‘s national leader, one‘s political party and one‘s government is the only genuine expression of loyalty and the utmost display of patriotism,

In the same way however, all expressions of public criticism must be delivered in a tone or with an intention which does not destroy the character of those criticized but on the contrary.

It should be to enliven and encourage them to mend their ways into exemplary service; that is why all positive criticisms are usually accompanied with suggestions for alternatives action.

If you rightly recalled in history, the greatest of the world‘s leaders were first dissidents some of whom are deceased, these includes Jesus Christ, Fidel Castro, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Oginga Odinga, mahatma Gandhi, Dr. martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, steve Biko, Ngugi Wa thiongo, Lt. Samuel Tut, Gen. Dindane Kimathi, Hon. Marcus Garvey, Gen. Tito Biel Chuor, Gen. Arokson Arok, Miguna Miguna, Desmond Tutu, Koigi Wa Wamwere, Hon. Iddres Aggrey. Gen. Keribino Kuanyin Bol, Dr. Adwok Nyaba, Mabior Garang Hon. Bol Riel Gatluak, Gen. Alfred Lado, Prof. Jok Madut Jok and Julius Nyarere et ceteria.

For the last nine years since we attained self rule in 2005, south Sudan was pregnant with war, any awaken south Sudanese was privy to the fact that it will deliver a baby whose name would be call death, massacre, catastrophe and famine et cetera thus, the 15th day of December 2013 which culminated to a massive loss of life was just a delivery date which did not occurred as happenstance.

If a reasonable and objective citizenry Judge this internecine fighting from its magnitude and the scale it has reached, one could undoubtedly tell that it’s a premeditated act, measured and executed professionally by Juba Government to displace, maim and kill with an intention to depopulate section of south Sudanese society; thus any leader who had served in the aforesaid government whether a legislator or cabinet member cannot in any way escape responsibility for that irreparable act.

Anybody including those In the SPLM/AIO who had served in that government for nine years in that system that has mastermind and orchestrated this erasable horror ought to publicly admit faults either by omission or commission because one is not only guilty for doing something wrong alone but also for the goods that he didn’t do at the material time.

We owe ourselves a duty of care to undertake a vigorous and countless meditation to unravel an objective analysis with a view to find out where the rain started beating us, so as to straighten the way we execute public affairs devoid of any incendiary rhetoric.

Prior to the 15th December south Sudanese holds that the differences between Dr. Machar and Gen. Kiir were internal political impasses in the ruling splm party that has little to do with innocent civilians and members of the discipline forces; It was crystal clear that those political differences were definitely going to be misconstrued by our people and they will ultimately incite and excite ethnic passions due to the verbal missile, obscene spending, outrageous accusation and counter-accusation like the venomous statements made on the 14th December at the party conference held in the Nyakuron cultural centre hours before gun fire was heard.

It was then viewable and in the public domain that their political competition comes 2015 would never be a healthy democratic contest but rather a fierce grenade battle; and that other party members would just be abetting.

It wasn’t their quest to vie for party primaries or presidency perse that people deem inflammable but rather their unpreparedness for election eventualities which resulted from the SPLM formula which they had crafted in 2010 tripartite election; where they declared wittingly that by hook or crook only SPLM candidates would be the ultimate winners in the 2010 election without envisioning that this precedent might haunt any of them when time approaches.

I still sympathized with Angelina Jany Kume from Unity state, George Athor of Jonglie and Alfred Lado Gore of central Equatoria, all were governors who were never crowned.

Had they ploughed and irrigated the democratic ground In 2010 election by allowing citizens to freely elect their leaders in a free and transparent manner without any coercion; and on the bases of the objectives one has for the people; and not necessarily on a party affiliation or tribes.

Certainly, a crisis of this sort would have been reduced though not avoided entirely, because we knew that south Sudan was going to walk a painful path toward achieving its democratic aspiration avis-avis that of the liberation war for independent alone isn’t always the panacea to ascertain the desired freedoms.

It is good that south Sudanese generality and the world had unequivocally denied the allegations that there was attempted act to abrogate the government. It was found out to be pretext and a ploy to killing any dissenting voices in and outside government. They are found to be false accusations with ‘’no material evidence’’ linking one to any malfeasance except slander whose ‘’shelf live is too short’’ it was a creation of anti-reform forces and anarchist strategy. That is why people gave it a contempt card.

In spite of the atrocities committed in this conflict, when time for accountability comes later, the law will first and foremost extract the intent and the causation of the fault before holding into account any orchestrator thus the ringleader would have at their disposal all the burden of proof at the trail.

Looking at the current political stance of the so call thirds blocs or G11 or former detainees one would undoubtedly tell that they were privy to the scheme designed on the 15th December 2013, their intention to date is not very clear. If you rightly recalled how they wrote the current transition constitution which is being use now as a bases to cripple the country. You would tell exactly that they opportunists.

They were the one who gave a ninety nine percent powers to the president, which is an overall people’s power not realizing that ‘‘absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who posses it. But they should rest assured like Bob Marley once said, you can deceived some people some time but you can deceived all the people all the times.

After the untimely death of Dr. John Garang in 2005, Dr. Machar and few others remained the embodiment and beacon of hope in south Sudan, somebody who should portrayed utmost tolerant even in worst scenario like this.
By the the time President Salva Kiir declared his interest to contest in the SPLM primaries; he ought to foresaw that it would be difficult for him to concede defeat in the SPLM primaries; and I did told people about it, that looking at the political landscape and other social indicators then i had foresaw that it would be easier for Salva Kiir to concede defeat in the presidential contest than in the SPLM party Primaries.

in this regard, I had wished that Dr. Machar and his erstwhile acolytes in the SPLM to just sit down with other likeminded in other political parties who are ululating the song of the president ‘s ouster by convening a nationwide conference, that include the churches, civil societies and all senior stakeholders which would touted as precursor to a grand coalition of opposition parties, trade unions and students associations, though it may lead to split in the beleaguered SPLM as happened now.

They could just adopt South African model where the African National Congress (ANC) and the south Africa Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of south African trade Unions (COSATU) contest elections as one entity but still maintain their organizational autonomy or the national rainbow coalition (NARC) that defeated president Daniel Arab Moi of Kenya in 2002 where parties dissolved themselves into one political formation.

Had they plagiarized this successful political precedent, three things would have happened, first, the President would have remained with only two options at his disposal, first being that he would have either rescind his decision to contest in the presidency or risk a humiliating defeat in the 2015 presidential if he chose to persist, he would have been the underdog in the race.

The ultimate advantage thereafter could be the fact that our country would not be where it is today.

Nevertheless, African proverb say, you cannot change the wind, but change the scene; it is not time for us to cover, retreat, or compromise anything deem right for our country south Sudan. We must boldly and meticulously agitate for the truth unto power such that we curb the current trend that have denied us opportunities and continue to degrade our future. Conflict and wars do not erupt overnight.

Usually they are the result of years of repression and denial of basic human rights, and the targeting of those who dare raise their voices to criticize those in power.

Fundamentally, there two issues I had wanted to raise and corrected, ‘‘they say you first the stain in your eye before you remove the loge other person’s eye; one being is the vile and venomous tone use by the opposition‘s military spokesperson Brig Gen Lul Ruai Koang via sudantribune website on the 6th july 2014, that Salva Kiir ‘S tribesmen, Dinka had attacked and killed civilians in western Equatoria, Maridi county.

It should not be reported that way, that is ethnic profiling retrogressive and anti-change. He should not generalize the all community because when you do that, it means you include the likes of Mabior De Garang Mabior and Dau Atorjong and many others who are staunchest members of the movement.

You must know that there is no crime of association, in fact, majority of those who resist change right now are not south Sudanese alone but rather mercenaries far beyond our borders

The south Sudanese armies that mastermind juba massacre include armies from all divides. It’s only that they received orders from the President himself. For a movement (SPLM/A in Opposition) to look like a national movement that represents and uphold rights and aspiration of south Sudanese people, we should desist making such stereotypical and frivolous statements.

It is devaluing for high profile official like Gen. Ruai to uses such languages in his reporting. It is a manifest of incompetency. It should be promptly reverse to avoid delegitimizing the movement or else it will backfire.

Those who made an attack in Maridi county to silence call for proposed federalism agenda were crook and goons hired by bootlickers in juba. They are not necessarily or purely Dinka men as you stated.

A recommendable, professional and mature reporting is what James Gadet Dak ingrained, that is a marvelous and intellectual reporting, I wondered why is Brig. Lul Ruai not copying from him instead of using a vexatious tone that would bring the movement in to disrepute.

The other pressing concern which to me sounds disgusting was the press statement made on 11th July 2014 by the opposition political leaders which justify and welcome the sanction of Gen. Peter Gadet Yaka by the European union. I asked myself, why would one convene a press conference in advance to welcome a verdict which he is not privy to? It is a manifest of blackmailing. How about if it the sanction turn onto you?

This include the earlier sanction issued by the American‘s treasury department‘s office of foreign Assets Control (OFAC) were completely unfounding, Gen. Gadet should not be used as a sacrificial lamb. I know he doesn’t or rarely travel to Europe nor does he have any banking with those friendly nations. But everybody has a right to good name.
These sanctions might not affect him directly now because he does not own anything but its repercussions can cascades down to his children or any of his aides or dependants.

As somebody who hails from unity state with him, and a citizen who is justice oriented. I am obliged to speak out for him if the so rebel leaders do not see these injustice that they are inflicting on this great honorable soldier.

I know Gen. Gadet is known for notoriety and I don’t consider absolutely innocent especially after he burnt down by house in Nyal in 2001 and thereafter killed my only hero Hon. Bol Riel Gatluak who was my county commissioner before south sudan independent; Rest in peace son of the soil.
logically, why did the American‘s treasury department‘s office of foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the European union decided to only Sanction people they knew have no resources and have never step feet in their soils? Is that being intelligent or manifest of hypocrisy?

If I were them, the people who should have be given a travel ban or have their properties frozen are those who have enrich themselves to the throat and are frequently traveling there. I am not exonerating or justifying That Gen. Gadet, Marial and Wol) are not impediment or deterrents to peace, but am just questioning the effect those sanctions will bring to fore since they will not be affected by them.

The writer is a student at Presbyterian university of East Africa ; he can be reach via eligodakb@yahoo.com