Opinion: Three options for Stephen Buay Rolnyang
By Dak Buoth
November 30th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The unexpected release of major General Stephen Buay was a victory that did not comes on a silver platter. As you have heard and seen over the one and half year, the push to release him was not a Walk in the Park.
It is pleasing to hear that he was release. He can now nurse his wounds outside Prison. I’m sure he will get heal through the nice ventilation that comes with his freedom of movement and medical assistance that are open to him anywhere, anytime.
I presumed that the group of conspirators who attempted to kill him and those who thought he was going to rot in jail are now feeling ashamed of themselves. They truly deserve to be ashamed.
Those whose function is to negate the cause of justice and violations of human rights have no place in the modern South Sudan. Their days are numbered. They will be overtaken by events very soon. This country was not meant to be thrown to the Dogs. Of course from the look of things, our country appeared as if it had been thrown to the Dogs because it is in the hands of wrong ones who forgot the cause that we toiled and moiled for.
South Sudan was intentionally crafted to be a Human Rights State and not Refugee State where citizens are begging for their inalienable rights to justice and other basic necessities of life.
When I learnt the news about Buay’s release yesterday, I raise my fist and said it is a victory. When the news went viral, some youthful people took to social media to thank President Kiir for releasing him. I think those who thanked him are attributing this victory to him. They should not thank Kiir for merely releasing Buay. Let them find something else to thank him. The arts of thanking- giving is good thing that must be accorded where it is due. Undoubtedly, President Kiir was part and parcel of the plot to have Buay subjected to the disgrace ruling. President Kiir would have earn our appreciations if he dismiss the unjust ruling by General Court martial (GCM) that striped Buay of his Ranks from Major General to civilian. But he did confirmed the verdict. His confirmation of the ruling proved that he is not prudent Leader. In Nuer we say, ‘‘Dwaap lenye diil.’’ Which means the one who copied bad behavior (s) from another becomes worse than the real owner. I heard Kiir used to be good and humble person in his earlier days; that he became ruthless because he leaned his ears to the devil; that bad people are misadvising him; and that also power he has that had corrupted him.
Lord Acton in his letter to Bishop Madell Creighton in 1887 says: ‘’Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’’ In fact those people who thanked President Kiir for releasing Stephen Buay are just being naïve to say the least. And what made me felt annoyed was the fact that majority of those who thanked Kiir were the Nuer people. Their appreciation to Kiir on this serious matter demonstrated that they are fearful and sycophant. The Nuer Youth must wash off this sycophantic traits by learning from the historical events that have shaped this country.
Sycophancy is antisocial behavior that ought to be shun. The prevailing culture of remaining mum and complacent in the face of injustice and intimidation is an alien to the Nuer people and a few others in South Sudan. However, I understand the compelling situation facing the people In South Sudan. The Nuer like other citizens are typical south Sudanese. And they should not think of begging to survive or get what is due to them. As I have stated before, the mistreatment of Buay was due to his ethnicity, and I will be there to justify it now and in future.
I believe President Kiir ordered Stephen Buay’s release out of fear for unknown. He was made to be paranoid by the unstoppable noises made by the proponents of Peace and Justice who had been calling for Buay’s immediate release right from the onset. More than ever before, these noises were mounting on him making him and company to panic like leaves.
In my view, the gallant Defense Lawyer, Philip Anyang Ngor and some media houses especially Nyamilepedia and Radio Tamazuj deserves our utmost appreciation in the release of Buay. I believe Anyang had offered ‘pro bono’ or what is called ‘free legal services’ in layperson’s language. Just like his name ‘Anyang’ which means crocodile in most Nilotic Languages. He stood strong to the end. I described him as gallant because he never quite throughout the trial period despite all manner of threats and intimidation that characterized the process.
Philip Anyang is Lawyer of our times. He did not lost the case. Many would agree that if the Judges of GCM were free to decide the case on facts and evidences he would have won the case in broad day light. The aforementioned Media Houses has always provided us with raw news and updates about the inhuman conditions that Buay was subjected to. Their bold reporting on this matter of public interest have prompted the citizens to call for his release. I tell you, were it not for the pressures mounted on Kiir and company, Buay would have been kill for no good reason. Anybody who says no is lying to himself. When over 20, 000 innocent Nuer were killed in Juba on 15th December 2013, was there any good reason for taking away their lives? The simple answer is no, and Buay knows it because he was on their side at the time.
Many wanted Buay release so that he can look after his children and family who needed him the most. There are many helpless orphans in South Sudan. Their parents were killed for no good reason. Buay earned the blames of defending and nurturing a rotten system that has perfected the arts of violation Human Rights in South Sudan. The role of a soldier the world over is to defend the citizens from any external attack, and if the attack emerges from within the country he ought to take a stand. Buay is also blamed for allowing butch of greedy, immoral and illiterate fools to mistreat him in a manner that has brought the entire Nuer community into a bad light. The Nuer are treated like people who can be hired to go against each other very easily. These are justifiable blames that emanated from a blunders that need to be corrected forthwith. Buay could have acted like a lion who normally lay down as if it’s sleeping but aware when to strikes in time of attacks.
Unjust situation requires an options to change it. Usually, the way someone rises from the dust to a better situation determine what the man is. To justify this assertion further, let me paraphrase an adage which says that, the strength of a man is not measured by how long he spend on the ground when he fall down but it is measured by how quick he rises up from the ground. Sitting idle and allows the situation to change it has never work. Hence, Buay need to undertake the below options.
Contrary to the beliefs held by many who are pessimistic about him getting justice on appeal, I think Buay should rethink and urge his lawyer to launch an appeal to challenge the ruling that strip him of his ranks and dismissed him in the army totally. Remember this is a system that Buay had invested a lot in. Thus, he need to exhaust it to get justice for him. And if the window for appeal had been closed by law or person he should also think outside the box.
If the options for appeal are not working at the moment due to the time bar and other circumstances that are hindering justice, Buay should think of joining politics within the system by speaking about reform. This option will enable him to speak out against the bad things he faced. Recently, General Gathoth Gatkuoth was said to have been targeted by the vice President, Taban Deng Gai, he then decided to play politics within the rotten system, and now he found his way out into another position of the so- called Latjor state which will be scrapped very soon if the Revitalized Agreement on the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS) is anything to go by.
We are not short of the Rebel group in South Sudan. If Buay cannot form a rebel group, he can join an existing rebel groups. As we are all aware, South Sudan had gone back to dark days where we were fighting for independent of Southern Sudan. In those days, whenever one is offended in one rebel camp, he would go and join or form another rebel group to fight for the same cause.
It happened to Gen. Kuanyin Bol, Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol, Gen. Paulino Matip to mentioned but a few. At first they accused Dr. John Garang of handling the SPLM like his own property. As result some people like Gen. Kerubino and Arokson Arok were put behind bars for years.
In protest, Lam Akol, Riek Machar and Gorden Koang Chuol broke ranks. They rebelled and formed what became known as the SPLM Nasir in 1991. When Kerubino and Arokson came out from prison they joined SPLM-Nasir group before divorcing it years later.
The same thing occurred in 2015. When Dr. Riek Machar chased away Gen. Gatdet Yaka and General Gathoth from SPLM-IO after he signed peace with President Salva Kiir the same year, they did not hesitate or allow Riek to mishandle them continuously. They went apart and formed separate parties that formed the coalition called South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA).
Buay is not only a senior but educated Army General like General Thomas Cirilo and General Malong Awan. We all knew the stories of the latter. Buay is much younger and energetic to seek justice for himself and the people who look up to him for defense and protection. President Kiir and company had provoked him. More often than not, most people side with the victim.
If Genera Buay cannot join SPLM-IO he cannot fail to form a Bul Community based Movement. Majority of our people in Unity State county of Mayom are armed to the teeth by government and they are not short of aggrieved people who can back him in the quest for justice.
Most rebel groups in South Sudan and around the world are made of people who are aggrieved and offended by the system for one reason or another. Buay should give President Kiir unspecified ultimatum to give him back his ranks failure to which he can explore these options.
An Army general is not an easy person that can be mistreated anyhow. Our Army Generals need to be treated with courtesy and care that they deserves. They don’t deserve to languish in poverty given the sacrifices they made for our country. We need a new leadership that is friendly to our army Generals so that we can reduce some of these unnecessary rebellions in the country. Return Stephen Buay to the Army, Return his Ranks.
The author is the Chairman of Liech Community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own and do not represent that of the Liech community. He is reachable via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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