Analyses News Opinion Politics Yien W. Mayuak

Opinion: The peace loving, forgiveness, patience and avoidance of tribalism and killing as the weakness of Gat-Machar

By Yien W. Mayuak,

File: SPLM-IO leader and South Sudan's First Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar Teny
File: SPLM-IO leader and South Sudan’s First Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar Teny

Nov 24, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The Kenyan lawyer, PLO Lumumba once said that the voices of reasons are not heard in Africa. He also added that what matters in African politics is having the deepest pockets and a large tribe. Ideas are not a big deal in African politics. Although you have great ideas, without money and a large tribe, your voice cannot be heard. In our continent Africa, you can stay in power as long as you want if you have a deep pocket and a large tribe to protect your power. This politics of mama Africa has put so many leaders in long struggle and danger; I mean those who have ideas and are not interested in corruption and tribalism. No matter how good your ideas are, you cannot make it easily in African politics without having enough money and a large tribe.  Corruption and tribalism which are the worst things in other parts of the world are the best things to African politicians which they use in order to win in African politics.

The African institutions are pretentiously teaching law, political science and good governance to their students like they should be put to practice while what they should teach according to the situation of the continent is tribalism and corruption. The Department of corruption should teach Africans to corrupt in every little chance they get so that they can be suited to the situation of the continent. Teaching law to students in Africa is only putting them at risk because the law will only teach them to avoid corruption leading them to suffer in the hands of self-taught corrupt individuals. The corrupt individuals will bribe people turning them against the one who knows and follows the law and doesn’t have money to afford to bribe people.

The Department of tribalism on the other hand should teach students about how to use their tribes as the modality to win in politics. If it was done this way, there would be no one to suffer in the hand of the other because everyone in the continent would be fitted to corruption and tribalism. This would lead the continent to collapse without any hope for amelioration than it is now because the small number of individuals who are not interested in corruption and tribalism is the hope that one day the whole continent may be ameliorated even though they are suffering in the hands of corrupt and tribal African leaders.

South Sudan is the country where corruption and tribalism are prominent. The young nation is engulfed by corruption and tribalism which are circulating from top to bottom. Corruption and tribalism which are manifested in different dimensions are the cause of the civil war in the country which dragged the country into insecurity, economic collapse and destruction of both lives and properties. The people of the young nation are eagerly praying and searching for peace in forests, on mountains and in other countries but there is no sign of peace in those places and hence insecurity, economic collapse and destruction of both lives and properties continue. Peace is somewhere there; it is concealed by corruption and tribalism. To bring peace back to the young nation, there is only a simple task required; abolishing corruption and tribalism. If the corruption and tribalism are abolished in the young nation, peace will come in a jet like speed because if these two phenomena no longer exist, there will be no money looted to bribe people to fight and tribal hatred that has been haunting in the minds of South Sudanese which is the obvious factor keeping the continuity of war will no longer exist and peace can be achieved as easily as that.

The forgiveness, patience and peace loving of Gat-Machar weaken the Nuer community but the only threshold for a greater South Sudan

The current situation of South Sudan which prioritized tribalism triggered a very skeptic ideology among South Sudanese who have ambition of leading the country one day, everyone who think about being a leader in South Sudan has only two things in mind; where to get money to bribe people and do I have a large tribe to put me into power and protect my power. As the tribe is seen now a day as the modality to survive in South Sudan politics, if someone who had a large tribe and needs to get into power easily, he/she would have surrounded him/herself with his/her tribe so that he/she can be driven to every seat he/he want by that tribe.

One may wonder and ask a question like, how does someone without leadership skill make it in leadership? The answer is very simple; a large tribe is the clue and the good example is not far from being Gat-mayardit, the president of the republic of South Sudan. The president promised his tribe of ownership of everything in the country and hence, everything against the president is against his tribe and this led his tribe to be the prominent protector of his power. It now becomes obvious that supplanting him is not easy and someone without the similar ideology cannot supplant him. When I look at all the senior politicians of South Sudan, I cannot find a person who can replace president Gat-Mayardit with the country not ending like Somali and Democratic Republic of Congo other than Gat-Machar, the first vice president of the republic of South Sudan.

South Sudan has travelled further in the route to conflict and collapse but does not travel furthest like Somali and Democratic republic of Congo. What prevents the country from reaching the level of Somali and Democratic republic of Congo is only less response compared to the inflicted destruction of lives. Gat-Machar is the only man who has been impeding the wrath and response of the people who are the victims of the conflict in South Sudan. Gat-Machar since the outbreak of the civil war in 2013 has been trying all he could to minimize the response that could drive the country to the level of Somali and Democratic republic of Congo. What Gat-Machar used to say to Nuer people prior to the outbreak of civil war is that your enemy is not all Dinka but Gat-Mayardit and his regime. If Gat-Machar didn’t try to impede the response of the Nuer people to the genocide which took place in Juba, there would be too much destruction than what already took place.

Sometimes, the peace loving ideology and mercy of Gat-Machar let people like me think that he is weak, but in reality, he is not weak. Gat-Machar is ambitious; he doesn’t want to escalate the killing. If he wanted to do revenge, he would seek help from other countries and I am sure he would be endowed with enough weapons which is indeed the interest of so many fighters from the Nuer community like the late Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak. Once upon a time, someone told me that Gat-Machar was once angry at white army after killing a lot of Government soldiers in certain battles and told them that they should not kill people like they would eat them. I was not happy when I heard that story because I thought the government soldiers deserve to be killed after all the massacres they did in the country, but thinking carefully about why Gat-Machar behaved that way, I realized that it is only Gat-Machar who has the capacity to unite South Sudanese.

Some Nuer fighters and politicians think that Gat-Machar weakens the Nuer community by not taking serious actions against the regime of Gat-Mayardit which massacred them. The Nuer fought bravely against the regime in Juba with only light weapons which they only got from the enemies after defeating them while they would be supplied with any weapon they needed if Gat-Machar requested. On the other hand, the troops of Gat-Mayardit used heavy machine guns and military tanks against the Nuer.  Gat-Machar did not sign any deal of weapons with any country. He did not want to expedite the destruction; rather his intention was to impede the destruction by advocating for peace because he loves South Sudan.

So many people are saying that Gat-Machar is the one who gave Gat-Mayardit a chance to stay in power up to now. Gat-Machar is a gift to the people of South Sudan, but because he doesn’t want to use tribalism and corruption to cling to power, his ambition of getting to power and ruling South Sudan through democratic means has been used by Gat-Mayardit as a chance to stay long in power. In 2014, so many countries showed up to Gat-Machar offering him military assistance, but Gat-Machar didn’t agree. Those countries needed him to give them promises that one day if he becomes the president of the republic, he will compensate them with the resources of the country but he did not accept. When he was asked why he didn’t want to buy weapons from those countries with the resources of the country, what he said disappointed the fighters; he said that these resources should not be wasted for war because they are for this generation and generations to come.

Representatives from those countries then reached out to generals and told them that your leader didn’t want to accept the weapons we decided to offer for you to fight the war. While the IGAD peace mediation was going on in Addis Ababa in 2014, some generals like late Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak, late Gen. Gatwech Chan AKA Tanginye and others encouraged Gat-Machar to avoid peace for war, but Gat-Machar didn’t accept that.  The generals were disappointed by Gat-Macchar and this led them to abandon the movement in 2015. In spite of the lack of heavy weapons to fight, the forces which were loyal to Gat-Machar won so many battles which surprised the world. The white army bravely fought the war; they had no fear fighting against the soldiers who had machine guns like military tanks with only light weapons like AKA-47 and spears.

While the war became tribal, the Dinka and the Nuer were showing their bravery in the war. Gat-Mayardit was ready for war as his generals were but Gat-Machar was not eager for that tribal war as were his generals. Gat-Mayardit released a huge budget for buying heavy weapons to fight the Nuer while Gat-Machar on the other hand was discouraging the continuity of the war. Gat-Mayardit involved other countries like Uganda in the war; he bought dangerous weapons from those countries while Gat-Machar didn’t change his mind. The weapons which were used against the forces loyal to Gat-Machar were heartbreaking considering the fact that there was a way to get the same weapons that would match those used by the forces loyal president Gat-Mayardit but only because Gat-Machar didn’t like to buy weapons simply because he didn’t want the war to be lethal and continued.

Some generals thought that Gat-Machar didn’t want to request weapons from other countries because he feared being taken to ICC, but to me, Gat-Machar is very brave and being taken to ICC was not the reason he didn’t want to provide his forces with enough and heavy weapons. If he was a coward, he would not go to Juba in 2016 because going to Juba in 2016 was risky. The world was waiting to hear his death after he arrived in Juba in April, 2016. It is without any reasonable doubt that he was taken to Juba to be killed in 2016 because before he travelled to Juba, the government struggled to make sure that he went to Juba without any heavy weapon apart from the AKA-47. The government of Gat-Mayardit would relegate its members to come and observe the weapons that the guards of Gat-Machar would carry to Juba. If they got any heavy weapon, they would tell the IGAD about that and that weapon would be dropped which indeed delayed their flight to Juba.

It is beyond bravery, Gat-Machar went to Juba without any weapons for his guards apart from AKA-47 because all the heavy weapons were detained in Gambella airport and a few months later, the dogfight took place in J1 which led him to travel to Congo for 40 days. With only a few soldiers he had with him, he was followed by the government using a large number of troops and war jets but fortunately, they made it to Congo. I heard that while they were leaving Juba, Gen. Gat-Dual didn’t agree to leave saying that he would better be killed in Juba than to run away.

Gat-Machar is a peace lover; he forgives people even his enemies. Even if you advise him about his safety and how to deal with his enemy, he will not agree with you and this led so many people to call him dictator. I think the man doesn’t care about his life or maybe he puts all his protection in the hand of God. In the earliest month of the war while most of the Nuer military generals and politicians met, some people like late Gen. Peter Gatdet told him about Taban Deng Gai that Taban is not a good man that he would get rid of him but he wouldn’t listen and what Taban did in 2016 is what was predicted. Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak wanted to kill Taban in those days and if he did, there wouldn’t be anyone who would do what Taban did in 2016.

Gat-Machar is not a tribal leader

People who are loyal to Gat-Mayardit have been saying that Gat-Machar is a tribal leader. They do that because they need to take away supporters of Gat-Machar who are from other ethnic groups. If Gat-Machar is a tribal leader, we will not have any hope for the country to get back to normalcy. The Nuer have a greater capacity to destroy the country and remove Gat-Mayardit from power. Gat-Machar has never told Nuer about their future if becomes the president one day. He never promises about what he will do for them if he becomes the president of the country.  What I know he uses to impart to the Nuer is that we are fighting to ensure that a democratic country is established where no tribe can live at the expense of others. The Nuer are fighting without any hope from Gat-Machar that they will be the most benefited if he becomes the president of South Sudan.

I don’t know the dimension where his tribalism is seen as some people talk about it. In everything Gat-Machar does, he does it fairly. His appointment of cabinet ministers in 2016 and this year indicated that he is not a tribal leader because he distributed the positions fairly without Nuer being the most appointed. Gat-machar is the only hope for minority tribes in the country because if becomes the president, he will make sure that democratic elections are conducted so that everyone will have a democratic right to elect and to be elected. If he becomes the president, he will abolish ethnocentrism in the country where being from a large tribe will not be a pride like it is happening today. Gat-Machar is the only hope of the minority tribes, because minority tribes cannot make it to presidency if authentic democracy is not implemented in the country.

Some people particularly those who are loyal to Gat-Mayardit think that Gat-Machar encouraged Nuer to fight for him while he didn’t encourage anyone from the Nuer community. In 2013, when Gat-Machar was removed from the position of vice president by Gat-Mayardit without any reason, the Nuer were so eager to fight so that Gat-Mayardit would know that his tribe is not the only brave in the country as he thought. Gat-Machar discouraged the war to occur, he was only telling people that he served as the vice president for eight years which is enough and that the position can go to another person. He convinced everyone and no one from the Nuer community started the war. Gat-Machar is rare and a gift to the people of South Sudan, it is very seldom for South Sudanese I know to tell people are willing to fight for you not to fight.

The Dinka are brave and rude while the Nuer are brave and humble. The rudeness of  some Dinka who are loyal to Gat-Mayardit is what dragged the country into war while the humbleness of the Nuer is what prevented the country from being like Somali and Democratic republic of Congo. The Dinka  particularly those who are loyal to president Gat-Mayardit  think that they have defeated Nuer which is indeed the paradox, the paradox of tribal minded individuals.

The fear of being killed produced irresponsible citizens in South Sudan

Due to a very tight national security which is also called unknown gunmen in the country, people have a greater fear for their lives. Journalists due to the fear for their lives talk hardly about the weakness of president Gat-Mayardit. Such a situation has led so many people to falsely praise Gat-Mayardit while in reality, he should be criticized for dilapidating the country because if it was not his tribalism there would be no genocide in 2013 whose result pushed the country further to collapse. The national security is monitoring and killing everyone who speaks against the president in the country. The people of South Sudan praise Gat-Mayardit like he deserves to be praised, their fear of being killed led them to shout Salva Kiir oyeeee whenever they meet him.

Because Gat-Machar doesn’t kill people, he is the one who is being obviously criticized like he cannot kill people. Gat-Machar can kill people if he is interested in killing people like Gat-Mayardit because he has a lot of people who are loyal to him. He faced a lot of difficulties from Gat-Mayardit starting from 2013 only because he didn’t want to do revenge for the sake of the country but that has been used as the advantage by Gat-Mayardit and his loyalists to traumatize the Nuer community in particular and South Sudan in general.

Looking carefully at the loyalists of Gat-Mayardit, the way they praise him, someone who doesn’t know Mr. President very well may think that he is the president for his people while what triggered people to praise him is the fear of being killed. Those who cannot be able to pretend and praise the president cannot be safe in the company of the president. Gat-Machar becomes the center of criticism simply because he doesn’t kill people. Gat-Machar forgives a lot, he doesn’t care whether you are against them or not. He is merciful and a peace lover which indeed gives Gat-Mayardit a chance to run the country like his own property.

Most of the people who are loyal to Gat-Machar have been exhausted by the patience of Gat-Machar which allows Gat-Mayardit to traumatize the country. These people have been criticizing the chairmanship of Gat-Machar. Most of these people have been defecting to Gat-Mayardit’s camp citing leadership failure as Gat-Machar resumed the position of first vice president while Gat-Mayardit has been delaying the implementation of the peace agreement. As a result, the people fear that the 2016 incident may repeat itself. They need Gat-Machar to take action and declare war if Gat-Mayardit is not ready for peace but Gat-Machar doesn’t listen to them saying that peace is the best thing to pursue.  As for now, people have continuously been defecting from SPLM/A-IO as they think that Gat-Machar has surrendered to Gat-Mayardit. Others know that Gat-Machar has never been a failure and they are  hoping for greater South Sudan which will be made possible by Gat-Machar because they know that peace loving, forgiveness, patience and avoidance of tribalism and killing are not weaknesses rather they are the qualities of a good leader.

God direct South Sudan!!

The author is a Pan Africanist and an African cultures activist who can be reached via his email at yientharngoany@gmail.com or gatwiel2017@yahoo.com.

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