Contributor's Daniel Juol




A member of COBRA guerrilla who waged war against Salva Kiir government, today majority of COBRA have joined the Juba regime but some are still waging war against Kiir's led SPLM/SSPDF government(Photo: file)
A member of COBRA guerrilla who waged war against Salva Kiir government, today majority of COBRA have joined the Juba regime but some are still waging war against Kiir’s led SPLM/SSPDF government(Photo: file)

Aug 20, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —- For one to be a rebel, he or she must oppose the government backed by an intention to use force to unseat the government of the day. In the Cambridge English Dictionary a rebel is defined as a person who is opposed to the political system in their country and tries to change it using force (see; dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/English/rebel).

In the same way, Urban Dictionary: rebel defines  a rebel as a person who stands up for their own personal opinions despite what anyone else says. Thus, a true rebel stands up for what they believe is right, not against what’s right. It’s not about smoking crack, drinking till you’re rendered unconscious, or beating the crap out of anyone that crosses your path.

Urban Dictionary above in addition adds that being a rebel may be understood as all about being an individual and refusing to follow a crowd that forces you to think the same way they do even if it means becoming an outcast to society.  Hence, true rebels know who they are and do not compromise their individuality or personal opinion for anyone. They’re straightforward and honest and they will sure as hell tell it like it is.

In addition Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines a rebel as someone who opposes or fights against people in authority Anti-government rebels attacked the town. Furthermore, Collins English Dictionary defines rebels in plural as people who are fighting against their own country’s army in order to change the political system there, while Vocabulary.com defines a rebel as someone who fights authority. It goes further to state clear that “a rebel, whether the cause they are fighting for is just or not, is always the underdog”.

According to  Merriam-Webster a rebel is some who opposes or takes arms against a government or ruler. In other Hindi a rebel means— (a) a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions); and (b) someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action (see; rebel – Meaning in Hindi – rebel in Hindi- Shabdkosh | शब्दकोशwww.shabdkosh.com/translate/rebel/rebel-meaning-in-Hindi-English,).

Moreover, a rebel  in Arabic translation at bab.la English-Arabic dictionary (visit: en.bab.la/dictionary/english-arabic/rebel means the following  انْتَفَضَ [intafaḍa] {vb} (ثارَ)  to rebel ثارَ [ṯāra] {vb} (قاوَمَ)  to rebel (also: to resist, to mutiny, to disobey) عَصى [ʻaṣā] {vb}  to rebel (also: to be rebellious) مَرَدَ [marada] {vb}   [rebelled|rebelled] {verb} to rebel (also: to revolt, to rise up).

The term rebel is known in different languages as the opposing views exist in different societies. Therefore, even if in Dinka language I am not sure of the equivalent term of the rebel, there is a concept of rebellion. For instance, someone who opposes the elders in Dinka community is called “Ran Cin Puou or ran ci ping weel kakocdit.”

It implies that in every community and in every language there is a concept of rebellion and because of that there exists the word rebel in each of these communities. I can go on and on citing the languages of all 6,000 languages in the world and how they understand the word rebel. However, that is not the aim of this article.

The aim of this article is to define the word rebel and then use personal example as stringboard to stir up a debate on who is a rebel in the context of South Sudan. Thus the questions we are trying to answer in this work, is who is a rebel in South Sudan? Or Is Daniel Juol Nhomngek a rebel? For a person to be termed as a rebel such a person must be implicated in not only opposing the government but also he or she must use force against the government as seen in different definitions I have given above.

This question whether Daniel Juol is a rebel or who is a rebel in South Sudan came into play as a result of the recent experience I underwent when some of the SPLM-Youth League members Kampala labeled me as rebel simply because I have been criticizing the system of governance in our country or mismanagement of the country due to corruption and other related issues of misgovernment.

To Some of the SPLM youth League Members like their counterparts in the government, whoever point out mismanagement of the country or government is either a rebel or against the government or against the president of South Sudan. Thus, they give impression that the SPLM government is the government which protects the institutionalized corruption and mismanagement. It is somehow sad to see some of the so-called SPLM supporters supporting mismanagement and corruption.

Whereas, it is not bad to be a rebel but it is even worse to label someone as rebel because he or she disagrees with us on some matters of arguments. Hence, categorizing someone who carries different opinion from ours or someone who tells the truth about our misdeeds as a rebel is somehow simplistic and buffoonish.  

Though I respect rebel for they have different way of doing things and I also respect government for it has different way of doing things, I don’t subscribe to the views of neither of the two as they have no help to our nation building. This implies that I am neither a rebel nor a supporter of the government or any other group but independent South Sudanese lawyer enjoying my independent opinion amidst the power and wealth hungry opposing forces.

As it is a matter of fact, in South Sudan the term rebel is not applied in its conventional sense but it is used as the way of silencing the critics so that individuals go on looting the state resources without facing dissenting opinions. It is because of this the truth is equated with the Movement called the SPLM-In-Opposition, which is contrary to the clear understanding of the term “rebel”.

Contrary to the understanding of the word “rebel” in South Sudan, the conventional meaning of a rebel as seen in the definition from different dictionaries and languages above,  a rebel is defined as a person who is opposed to the political system in their country and tries to change it using force. This means that a person who opposes the system or administration without intention of using force to change the government is not a rebel.

For that reason, me and others who criticize the system without joining rebels to use force are not rebels in the real sense. We are protected under the Constitution and international human rights law. Therefore, it is very unfortunate to see the term rebel being used loosely as a way of protecting embedded self-interest of individuals who are part of the government.

Whereas I clearly respect the president of South Sudan and I can even protect him from destruction or from being overthrown since it is in the best interest of South Sudan to have peaceful transfer of power, I will never stop criticizing the system since the system has rebelled against South Sudanese.

The system of governance in South Sudan has been controlled by a group of individuals who are now in place to use it in protecting their circles and to satisfy their own primordial interests and unbridled yearning for wealth.

These individuals in the system are trying to use the system to their advantage in protecting their own interests to the detriment of the majority of South Sudanese. In order to protect their interests, they have devised the means of protecting themselves effectively and because of that the term rebel is the proper candidate for the purpose.

It is on that ground Daniel Juol Nhomngek has been termed as a rebel because he says different thing from what the individuals as stated described above believe. What I need to tell these individuals is that I am neither rebel nor do I have any dream of becoming rebel in the near future.

I was born before the SPLM/A war began, and by 1983, I was a young child who was aware of the situations.  By 1990s, I was a grown up man and because of that I became a human vehicle of the SPLA who used to carry different types of ammunitions and bullets on my head when the SPLA. From 1983 to 2005, civilians were the cars of the SPLA that could carry their weapons. I was one the people who could carry them loyally.

In addition, our cows and grains including my own were the sources of which the SPLA soldiers fed on and because of that the SPLM/A was able to sustain the war against the North.

Moreover, from the inception of the SPLM to date I have never switched my allegiance to any other party and even now or in the near future I do not have any intention to leave the SPLM. I am staunch supporter of the SPLM in its original form not in the diluted form we have currently.

The original SPLM of which president Kiir, Daniel Awet Akot and those of Former Detainees or G10 are members is the one I support.  The current SPLM has become political rubbish or refuse basket where every Tom and Dicks who do not know the vision and mission of the SPLM are accommodated.

Hence, every sycophant youth and those who equate the government with money are accommodated. These youth look at the SPLM as the source of money and because of that any youth who is capable is seen as threat but not as assets of the SPLM.

Due to the above reasons, the SPLM has been turned into the political party of gossipers, uncouth, miscreant gang of and all kinds of youth who are there to use the system for their own benefits. They are using the SPLM in a donkey manner like as they do not serve the SPLM when it is in need.   

In summary, I am neither a rebel nor the supporter of the current government. I am South Sudanese youth who is searching for the truth and peace in South Sudan. I support the SPLM not the Government. Those youth who view SPLM in term of money will never understand this point. However, the fact it is that it is only when the danger comes to the SPLM and when the SPLM needs human sacrifice that is when they understand this point.

As long as they are milking the SPLM, they will never under the people who oppose them in honest ways. They will always push them unwillingly to the side of IO or even kill  them to protect their interest.

However, the vision of the SPLM will one day prevail since it is the truth itself and all South Sudanese including me who are categorized as rebels will find a space in the SPLM while those who are milking the SPLM now blindly will be thrown into dustbin of history of the SPLM party.

The writer is the lawyer by profession and the human rights consultant; he is the member of the SPLM-IO and nominated MP representing Cueibet County residing in Juba. He can be reached through email:  nhomngekjuol@gmail.com; Tel: +211922772165.

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