By Chuol C. Puoch,
October 23rd, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — It’s not only disgusting putting a comment in a very sensitive conflict like that of South Sudan base on rumors and imagination, but also a situation worsening, if you didn’t know. I write this piece not as a criticism to the international observers and commentators of South Sudan conflict, but rather a guidance piece on the events that led to the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan as well as the factors contributing on its prolonging.
Honestly, it has been happening not only as a surprise, but instead a shocking, hearing some international friends of South Sudan commenting obliviously and sometime misinformed on the South Sudan conflict’s complexity. Most of them, but surely not all of them, have been seeing the South Sudan conflict as mere tribal mocking and cleansing which would have been addressed in whatever way possible by Salva Kirr, whether militarily or politically and get rid of the Nuer of Riek Machar.
The Nuer as a community had no ground of recognition from the east African Countries for a very long time. Some leaders of the SPLM who were Dinka ethnic group used to lei to the east African in conferences calling other tribes as part of Dinka; there was Dinka-Topossa, Dinka-Nuer, Dinka-Shilluk and just count the rest of the sixty tribes of South Sudan. However, the east African observers didn’t know this community calls Nuer. They didn’t know their social and culture guiding principle which absolutely base on Democracy and equality.
Tribal hatred and differences:
In a brief explanation, the conflict was thought of by the close friends of Salva Kirr in politics, masterminded, designed and supported by Yoweri Museveni of Uganda; it was later fueled by tribal hatred between Dinka and Nuer which led to the Nuer massacre in Juba in the first place.
Dinka and Nuer had never been under one ruling in their societies. From 1960th to 1970th during the Anyanya I struggle, Nuer and Dinka were together in uniforms as soldiers but not in the governance and societal solidarity and prosperity. It was believed that the second enemy of a Dinka or a Nuer after an Arab was Nuer and Dinka respectively. From the Akobo mutiny of 1975 up to 1982, which mark the Anyanya II struggle in the history of South Sudan, the forces of the South Sudanese Liberation Moment/Army (SSLM/A) and their politicians never strongly come together and looked into the tribal tension between the Nuer and the Dinka.
Thus, it was also the case with the SPLM/A after its formation in 1983 especially the events of 1990-91 where some leaders thought to have had the other tribes and ethnicities pocketed with no political existence and strength among others, which eventually led to the division of SPLM/A into two complete different unit: The SPLM/A-Torit faction and the SPLM/A-Nasir faction.
The leaders of all the South Sudanese moments (Anyanya I which started in Torit from 1955, before the Sudan independence to 1972 after Addis Ababa Peace Agreement; Anyanya II which erupted in Akobo in 1975 and lasted till the formation of the SPLM/A in 1983; The SPLM/A of 1983 which is also the current South Sudan Republic) never had a chance to look into the ethnic difference and hatred and especially among the Nilotic tribes of Anyuak, Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, etc.)
However, this conflict, though orchestrated politically, the ethnic aspect of it has been very deadly and divisive which make it the most badly contributing factor on the prolonging of this conflict.
Political Differences and Power Struggle:
SPLM as a political party ruling the Country, is very well associated with ethnic ideologies; even politicians themselves are much more concerned and caring for their tribe mates much more than those whom they shares the same political ideology, objectives and strategies with. This has badly made the South Sudan politics to be dirtier than it is in any other Country on the universe.
The power struggle and political differences is not something new to those who have been following the events in South Sudan from day one. As a matter of example, the SPLM/A was divided in 1991 due to some political differences and power domination which was ethnically motivated. There was the SPLM/A fighting under the ideology of a secular united Sudan base on democracy and unity of all the Sudanese people under the leadership of the Late Dr. John Garang De Mabior. The other SPLM/A was fighting for an Independence South Sudan which would be achieved and governed through the free wills of its people with Democracy and Rule of Law under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon
The SPLM/A remained as different factions up to 2002 reconciliation and unification of ideologies which eventually favored the ideology of Dr. Riek Machar for the independence of South Sudan.
Before the signing of the CPA, Gen Salva Kirr Mayardit was not pleased by the unity of the two SPLM as the case would result into him losing his post as the 1st Deputy of the SPLM/A. He had to point a gun on his boss, Dr. John Garang in 2004 refusing to render his post to Riek Machar as that supposed to have been the case.
Fortunately, through the helps of Dr. Riek Machar himself and the late George Athor Deng (May his soul rest in Peace), Salva Kirr was convinced by the two to not spoil the to-be achieved comprehensive peace agreement with the Sudanese government. Riek assured Salva that he will talk over the issue with John Garang and he ( Salva) would be the 1st Deputy of the moment.
The current war was not a result of an instigated coup against the government; or rather was it a planned ethnic fighting. The war was purely a political fearing by the chairman of the SPLM who is also the president of the Country. He knew, and everyone knew, that he would have lost in the party election and the chairmanship would have been taken by other members of the party and especially Dr. Riek who expressed his interest for it.
Then, Gen. Kirr Mayardit had to cook his mind with the help of his regional friends and the founded solution was to make a self coup to arrest others for it. The real intention was not to imprison all of them, it was to kill the most popular ones and leave the yes-men survive in prison. None of the SPLM leaders planed any coup against the government of Salva Kirr Mayardit.
Not only that, there was absolutely no reason for a coup against somebody who doesn’t defeat you politically as Salva Kirr himself is not an influential leader even in his village, County and State of Warrap, leave alone the whole of South Sudan.
Ideologies versus Ideologies:
Should we pursue the SPLM for a united Sudan or the SPLM for independence of South Sudan? Should we believe in Dinka born to rule ideology or can we say that others can rule?
Can we go for federalism or remain centralized government under the name of decentralization? Should we embrace that clean democracy or remain dictatorship?
Can we rule the Country militarily or should we adopt the best form of governing a diverse Country under democratic political leadership?
All these and many more are the most dividing factors that always lead us to bloodletting confrontation in the history of our Country. Sometime, the above mentioned ideologies are always backed tribally depending on who from which tribe mastering what ideology.
Some More Fact and Realities:
It’s worth mentioning that there has never been any trust among the leaders of SPLM when it come to guiding and shaping the future of the Country. The only place you would find them cooperating is when it comes to looking for position and money in the government.
There is also the fact that even the SPLA troops have their loyalty not to the hierarchical commanders but their tribal general in the army. So, how do we expect such a military to ever unite and protect our Country?
In all those regards, the international commentators and observers only look at the outer surface of the situation without deep analysis to find out the truth. Some blames Riek Machar for this war while in fact he (Riek) was the right target of the conflict. The rebellion was not started by Riek Machar, it was due to the Nuer massacre in Juba by Salva which led Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka (or Jundi Irag as that is his nick name) to rebel against the government in absent of Riek Machar who was running in the bush for his dear life. Peter Gatdet fired his first bullet two days after the massacre and Riek Machar arrived some 7 days later after managing to escape from Juba.
Chuol C. Puoch is a South Sudanese living in South Sudan; (But in Nairobi in time of writing this piece) he can be added/follow on Facebook with his name mentioned above, on twitter @ChuolChot and via email: email@example.com . You can also access and follow his words on www.chuolchotson.wordpress.com