By Dr. Jok Madut Jok.
August 19, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — As more and more people conclude that there was no coup and that the events of December 2013 in Juba, South Sudan, were nothing more than a concoction by a desperate dictator, I find myself needing to get on record, that there was indeed a very badly planned coup.
I don’t have a concrete evidence that could stand up in a court of law, but as i piece together the lies, the contradictions and the historical trajectories of some leaders, i find myself more and more convinced that there was indeed a plan to overthrow the government of Salva Kiir. History, the only thing that is hard to hide from and to fake forever, will be our judge. This is not to rehash old debates, but to simply say that the story of coup or no coup, something that has caused the unnecessary death of so many citizens, is not going to go away so easily.
But having said all this, and once again don’t kill me for not having concrete evidence, I must hastily proceed to point out some of the loopholes in both arguments for or against the coup narrative. One, how does a foiled coup attempt translate into the killing of large number of Nuer people in Juba, people who surely had nothing to do with any coup? Don’t expect any reconciliation and coexistence without unearthing the truth about this incident and confronting it head on.
But whether it was a coup, a minor disagreement between members of the Tiger battalion or competition for power within the ruling SPLM, no one can easily explain the connection between any of these incidents and the Juba massacre. I have some ideas about that, but now is not the time for speculations about what that connection might be. Second, Riek Machar, the man who was supposedly running for his life from Juba in the wee hours of December 16th, declares on the second day of his flight, that he is a contender for presidency and lies about the sequence of events between the night of December 15 and December 18th when he connected with so many military generals to form “an armed resistance” and the quest for military take over of Juba. So many things in this story do not add up.
Now, another quandary is the connection to the coup of the rest of political leaders who had lost office back in July 2013 and were no friends to Salva Kiir. The release of 7 of them and the win in court by the remaining 4 suggest either that the government did not do a thorough job of investigating their connection or they were not at all connected. I have talked to so many people in these circles and watched the video of the press conference on December 6th, 2013 by these political leaders, including Dr. Riek, and my reading of the dynamics of that instance is that there were two competing positions, that of Dr. Riek who wanted an immediate change of government, even if it took a military action, and that of the rest, like Nyandeng, Pagan, Deng Alor, who wanted to challenge the government, but in a more civic way. The truth about this coup lies between these events. Let me also point out that this is only a personal hunch, not a result of a scientific study and i will humbly accept any convincing explication of this muddy situation, for or against the coup story.
Jok Madut Jok is the chairman of the Board of Directors at Sudd Institute. He can be reached at jokmadutjok [at] marolacademysudan [dot] org