By Gattuak C Guek,
June 10, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan is an oil land that is locked by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Central Africa Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. It was only 3 years ago when Southerners had freely opted to break-away from Sudan, but because the land is naturally blessed with resources such as gold, diamonds, copper, iron, hardwood and hydropower, foreign nations such as Uganda have jumped in with open mouths to devour our resources, and to worsen the crisis senior politicians whom are supposed to represent their constituencies are being largely bribed and can no longer act on behalf of their citizens, due to this, madness has fundamentally escalated because of money-oriented minds.
Let us begin by looking upon some of the big names who are backing the Juba regime because of their positions or money. Joseph Nguen (Bentiu), James Kok (Fangak), Marial Benjamin (Lou) and Simon Kun (Jikany) are great sons of Nuer community who according to my understanding can protect the freedom of Nuer civilians. However instead they have chosen to free their own lands from opposing forces, in other words their cousins. Unity state; for instance, the birthland of Nuer people was in January declared as a disastrous zone after the mass defection of SPLA’s 4th Division under the command of Major General Koang Chuol Ranley.
General Koang desertion from South Sudan Army was instigated by an assassination attempt from his tank unit. But because Koang had heard about the Juba incident that had caused thousands of lives, he proudly rejected all the persuasions offered to him by the ex-Chief of SPLA. This bequeathed the governor Joseph Nguen Monytuil to run to Juba. But because this war involves cash Nguen made a deadly comeback by using his General Matthews Puljang and the combined forces of SPLA’s 3rd Division, and Justice and Equal Movement to capture Unity State for the first time on January 10th, this led to mass displacement of civilians in Mayom, Rubkona, Koch, Guit and Leer. Many residents fled to bushes but some died later due to starvation.
Simon Kun Pouc is also the most respected man in Upper Niles State but was often seen talking about taking SPLA soldiers to Jikany-land in particular to Nasir. Maybe he was right about leading the operation to Nasir, because by then Nasir was heavily guarded by Jikany White Army and on top of that Dr Riek Machar the pro-democracy chairman, was using it for his central command. Simon Kun and his men did eventually capture Nasir via Ulang in early May where countless of Ulang residents were caught by surprise because the government forces had bypassed the mighty white army fighters stationed in Wagga and Wunpiew north of Ulang. Over 50 people were mercilessly shot dead and several went missing including local chiefs and Ulang County commissioner. Moreover, the lucky ones who made it to unbuilt westbank of Sobat River were hit by torrential rains where newborn babies, elders and sick persons suffered as a result. If civilians were running away from Simon Kun and his men what else could impress him more than money and his position as the governor of a state that is rich in oil.
One must be candid about South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Marial Benjamin, the member for Uror County whom I have never seen commenting about the capturing of Lou Nuer land, but I have certainly seen him denying the massacre of Nuer civilians in Juba where he clearly said on SudanTribune on May 2nd “there is no genocide but yes there is a rebellion”. Marial’s language is often regarded as offensive, especially when he denies the destroying of Leer hospital by the government troops on BBC’s hard talk program. One would question Marial’s ulterior motive was he bribed to abandon his citizen?
Furthermore, James Kok Ruei is no different from Marial because he was more like a TV propagandist. Some insiders were perhaps using this man to expose Dr Machar and his men whom he forgot were fighting on behalf of innocent Nuer civilians. Being silent I think could have saved him from being criticised by his community rather than gaining popularity in a bad manner. So could it be money that has driven Mr Kok to roar more often on South Sudan TV or was it the idea of preventing South Sudan from being transformed to a democratic nation? I guess money plays a negative role in this war. Remember Jesus Christ, the son of God was once betrayed by his trusted disciple because of 30 silver coins. I therefore believe it is not far that these politicians are being mentally disturbed by big money sitting in their bags.
Uganda interference is far marked than these politicians being blinded by unmatched salaries though it is being motived by oil money, and a puny leadership that president Museveni can easily undermine. Uganda is of course a nation with specific interests that might anytime soon come to an end if a new leadership succeeds. In fact, Uganda preferred a stable South Sudan because of security, political and economic cooperation. For the last few years Uganda became a key trading partner of South Sudan where exporting goods in particular tangible goods such as vehicles, coffee, clothes and shoes generated millions of dollars annually. Uganda was also believed to have backed the SPLA during the armed struggle against the Government of Sudan. Besides Ugandan president Museveni’s friendship with President of South Sudan Salva Kiir is more concrete and thus both men are blissful to rule the two countries in the same time so that their friendship will every time be secured. However, for Museveni this is just a way to steal our natural resources and feed Ugandan this is something that Salva Kiir has not understood.
Unlike the northern rebels of JEM and SPLA-N that are fighting alongside South Sudan government to secure their funding under the leadership of Salva Kiir. JEM and the rest are heavily at war with Sudanese government that denies their freedom. To them, winning the war in South will mean having the upper hand in the civil war in north because Uganda and South Sudan without the distraction of Dr Machar will provide them with the needed warfare arms to combat the marginalisation and oppression of al-Basher regime. And to prove their loyalty to Salva Kiir’s regime these northern rebels have fought in several battlefields in Upper Nile region in particular Unity and Upper Nile States, and as a result their hands appear on the atrocities committed. Civilians from Malakal had physically identified the SPLA-N rebels as well as the Unity state residents who confirmed the participation of JEM soldiers. However, at the end of day they are not fighting for money as Uganda and some of these politicians whom are intoxicated by money, in fact they are fighting for future support in the war against Sudan.
Overall, it is correct to conclude that money and egoism have torched our cities, sold our land, destroyed lives and yet complicated the peace process where ordinary citizens and members of parliament whether on the streets of Malakal or Juba are greatly bribed to not speak out the truth based on the pragmatism of what is shaping the political landscape of South Sudan. Senior officials such as Joseph Nguen, Marial Benjamin, Simon Kun, James Kok and any of their likes are timid from doing anything virtuous for their community but yet still retain the government seated.
Money is definitely included in this infidelity process; the power of money must not be underestimated since Jesus was given away due to silver coins. It is also apparent that the Uganda participation was secured through oil money meaning if oil is no longer working Uganda cannot waste its military backing. To bring our country back to normalisation we southerners must disregard money and look deep into our crisis. Consequently, speaking only the truth and distancing ourselves from money are the basic ways to revive our national pride in a country where monies nearly bamboozled everyone.
Gattuak C Guek, is a concern South Sudanese living abroad. He can be reached at email@example.com