By Dak Buoth,
July 18, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– At the onset, I encourage readers to mark the aforementioned word in quote so that you don’t go on a tangent and begins quoting this writer out of context. I always pity the skimming-readers who are always afraid of words, what these fellows normally do is to read the title and escape the whole article and later claim to make a point out of such literary discourse. Not long ago, my soul mate Victor Ochieng, also budding writer once whispered to me what another author opined, ‘that writers are warned not to make their work obvious’
In this regards, I’m cognizant that this piece may raise eyebrows across divides; and that to me gives it a substance. Certain group I know will feel please with the title perse but they will feel uneasy with its content. At the same time, vast majority I’m aware of will not like the title but they will agree with the content. On the other hand, a few among them will just write off this argument altogether. Other readers will remain mum; instead they would wish I had face to face discussion with them on this agenda.
However, since I’m aware of these opinionated factions and have speculated their reactions on the same, I can stand before each one of them and defend this argument; and if they can’t agree now, I know history will absolves me.
Nuer alias Naath is one of the 64 Nilotic tribes that currently inhabited South Sudan. Before this ongoing civil war unfolded in the country in 2013, most Nuers lives and occupy parts of the oil rich Northern region of Upper Nile which is the size of Kenya as all; and of course there are Nuer of Ethiopia and united states etc.
Numerically, Nuer are said to be the second largest tribe after their nomad cousins Dinka. I always dismiss this narrative as untrue and unfounded. Unless one live in planet Pluto, he would verily know that, since time immemorial, no national census has ever been conducted in South Sudan as well as in the older Sudan. Hence, for one to rank these communities in term of numbers, to me is mere assumption and guess work. I can only agree if one rank them according to their Alphabetical order. This is not to say that i means Nuer are the minority or majority, what I’m simply saying is that no scientific research or study have yet been carry out to proved either ways.
Here in Kenya for example, it is undeniable that members of the Agikikuyu community are the majority among the Kenya’s 42 tribes; and they did not arrived to this conclusion merely because Kikuyus are found in the Coast, Nairobi, Rift valley and in central provinces, no. Kenyans themselves know the reasons why Kikuyus happened to be in more than one county in Kenya.
Constitutionally, after every ten years, Kenya normally conducts countrywide national censuses where people are counted house to house. The latest national census was done in the year 2009 when I was residing in Nairobi’s Zimmerman estate; and the results clearly shows Kikuyu ethnic group are the majority in Kenya. This fictitious and archaic method of ranking communities on the basis of numbers is not known anywhere else but only in South Sudan
In addition, there are several myths about the Naath nation. To mention but a few, the first myth is that Nuer people have learned a violent culture, and that they are very hostile in behaviors; that Nuers are reactionary people who don’t plan for things to be done. That they are impatience people who don’t keep secret and have not mastered the virtue of confidentiality. And another myth is that Nuers suffers from low self-esteem! That they complain about most at anything and seem to delight in fault-finding!
That they are self-doubting, self-hating lot who would rather trust total stranger than their own kindred. Moreover, other myth is that there exist irreconcilable feeling of enmity, hatred and antagonism between them and their nomad cousins Dinka; and that this bad blood has polarizing effects on the country of South Sudan right from per-independence era. It is however important to state here and now that these are perceptions held by Nuer detractors and not facts established by any scientific research.
Relatively, when I said Nuer, I mean both the ‘Nuer Immigrants’ and the ‘Nuer-wew’. The Nuer immigrants are the internally displaced persons (IDPS) and those who fled the country residing in exile. It is indisputable that 99% of Nuer nationality in South Sudan has been displaced from their homes during this ongoing conflict. The term Nuer wew has political connotations, in other word, it is politically motivated. In a nutshell, it is political insult which can be translated to means a traitor. It is name given to the Nuers politicians, business men and soldiers who stand on President Salva Kiir side against the majority Nuers on Riek Machar’s side during this conflict. The word ‘wew’ mean money in the Dinka dialect. This term was invented by the Nuers on Machar’s political side. They believed Nuers on Kiir’s side were bought with money by President Salva Kiir and his Dinka cohorts against them. Since this term is politically charge, I hope this guys who are nicknamed as Nuerwew will find chance to expressed their view on the same, and it should not worry them that much because, Africa political discourse is characterized by malice, propaganda and misrepresentation of opponents with an aim of soiling their images. Today many people have perfected the art of discussing people and or personality rather than ideas or pertinent issues relating to one’s performance.
Nuer are crying fouls, In the height of this armed conflict in 2014, I tried to reflects upon the solomonic words of Nhial Ruach, A Nuer man from Liech section, Unity State, he said‘’ Moopen jinino tuk tharejin’’ which mean in English, what prevents you from sleeping is of your own making. This phrase has over the years been taken as Nuer Proverb. In my reflections that year, I brought to the fore a question in relating to this conflict; and I said, are Nuers the cause of their ongoing suffering in South Sudan? That opinion elicited wide debate on social media.
A year later, in 2015 at Chai house Nairobi, I instituted another face to face debate on the same question, that round table brainstorming involved several opinion leaders, aspiring historians and writers namely Gai Manyuon, Nuor Par, Thor Bwath, Chuol Ruot and Bol Yar and others. In our discussion, these guys brought out several fundamental political cases which happened in the past to which the current conflict was linked and attached to. Ultimately, when I later made recollections on their views, indeed, they seemed to level blames on the Nuer Supreme leader Dr. Riek Machar of the community’s tribulations to some extends.
Former US President Mr. Harry S Truman said Men make history, not the other way around, ‘‘in period where there is no good leadership in the country, society stands still. And progress occurs only when courageous, and skillful leaders seize the opportunity to make things for the better’’ It is plain truth and not mere fact ‘that Nuer people have faced it rough in this civil war’ than any other community in South Sudan.
In this conflict, Nuer has on numerous occasions experienced and resisted extermination attempts from the country’s SPLM regime. Almost every Nuer including the so call Nuerwew has ‘licking wound’ and this writer isn’t exempted.
In 2014, Dr. Machar said in an Interview in Nasir town, that President Salva Kiir has shown his wrath on the Nuers’’ the act of castrating boys and sending soldiers to rape Nuer Girls and women en mass must not go un-condemn. When i talked to Lam Maet yesterday about how Dr. Dhuie Mathok, the Minister of Energy was tortured by President’s security guards in Juba, he said ‘what a long reign of brutality and oppression’.
As we converse now, many Nuer are feeling very bitter, and they says justifiably that they don’t deserve this hellish treatment in the hands of a government which they themselves voted into office. That even if some elements and facts could be established indicating that it’s tribal conflict between the Nuer and Dinka; in our view, it was supposed to be sibling rivalry. Bernard Chahilu, a Kenyan social commentator wrote in his article entitled ‘’Are Luhyas doomed to play fifth fiddle’’ that sibling rivalry is a universal human idiocy which elders can simply mediate in African way.
As correctly alluded to by political pundits, delivering and protecting human rights of its citizens is the cardinal responsibility of any government, and as common citizens, we should remember that universal human rights is not the absence of abuse of human rights but the delivery of full spectrum of rights. However, in South Sudan in particular, it is complete opposite. Since we gain our independence from Khartoum nearly a decade ago, Political power has been used by the leaders of ruling SPLM party headed by President Salva Kiir as a mean to revenge, suppress and oppress citizens who raise dissenting voices.
At the same time, political power in South Sudan is always use as tool to eliminate political rivals and to censored people’s thoughts and curtail fundamental freedom of expression with a view to maintain their iron hold on power. I imagine, if these trends continue to characterize our contemporary politics and governance system, I’m sure we shall take longer time to recovery from this severe political illness that bedevil our nations and has badly torn our social fabric apart.
With reference to the fighting which started at state house on 9TH July, 2016, I must say there is still no hope for the future. And It is on this account that I dreamed, Let no Nuer become president ‘soon’ in South Sudan; and this should be our wish altogether.
With the look of things around, if any Nuer ascend to political power today considering the fresh tribulations they underwent through, it is likely that they can go on revenge rather than reconciliatory mission. If other South Sudanese downtrodden could think like me, I would say let’s apply the biblical adage which says, ‘’forgive them lord for they don’t know that they are doing’ if we tries to lean back and have these looters and oppressors feel like they have defeated us, may be they can loosen their claws on us. As result they can undertake self-judgment and realized what they did was neither for the good of the country or themselves.
The Writer live in Kenya, he can be reach for comments via email@example.com