By Deng Vanang,
May 06, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— In September 1984 I went to Itang refugee camp in Ethiopia, then the largest in the world for only Sudanese fleeing rocket shells and bullets back home. The purpose was to continue with my lower primary education interrupted by civil war than to join the movement as everybody’s craze at the time.
Reason was not being fond of the SPLM/A and everything about it. Such as the deadly internal power struggles, imposed vision of united new Sudan and the movement’s brutality towards people it wanted to liberate.
I was to be proven right eight years later by Nasir creeping revolution of 1991 that aspired for self-determination which after wards culminated in the independence of South Sudan from the North in 2011.
The movement I once loathed later recruited me as its political commissar in 2004 four years following graduation with my first degree. It wasn’t an opportunism either on my part to join it while folding up to become government of the day. It is because in the bush SPLM/A became government for any South Sudanese than just liberation movement per se.
The same SPLM/A I loathed in the bush disappointed me all over again as the government. Like many cynics I attempted to flee it but utterly impossible. Reason, the movement transformed into political party proves to be one’s shadow from which he can’t run away. A futile run to nowhere since any political association worth joining calls itself SPLM.
Those who are born members and lived through an ordeal called SPLM/A without interruption can actually be rewarded for their perseverance to resist the unbearable heat.
One of these guys is President Salva Kiir Mayardit born from known humble back ground and grew up into an adulthood in armed struggles of both Anyanya I and SPLM/A. It is an historic journey through fire and brimstone unscathed that expands well over 40 something years. A long struggle in which he was recruited probably as non-commissioned soldier and graduated to an epic of full military general.
Fought and Kept faith with God in those most trying liberation days. For he was low key and trouble dodger unlike other four permanent members of SPLM/A Political Military High Command, PMHC.
The quartet were Col. John Garang, Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, Major William Nyuon Bany and Major Arok Thon Arok. All of whom were flamboyantly high on the unrestrained use of immense powers as they lasted.
SPLM/A was typically a male dominated movement and a Nilotic one in which every man seemed to have an act to grind with everybody among the four besides Kiir. Arok had problem with Kerubino and Nyuon jointly whom he disparagingly regarded as semi-literate. While he clamped down hard on Kerubino for firing the first bullet prematurely against the Arab soldiers that touched off the Bor mutiny.
Proposedly, according to Arok, to jump queue and be next to Garang in hierarchy in about to be launched armed movement, SPLM/A on May 16th, 1983. At the time Arok who was People’s Regional Legislative Assembly’s military representative in Juba was thrusted into jail by Arabs as key suspect in the mutiny.
Arok delivered the above punchlines while addressing a huge crowd in Itang as he venomously tore into Kerubino who was recently hauled into jail on charges of trying to over throw the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Garang in late 1987.
Following the mutiny Garang, Kerubino, Nyuon and Kiir dashed quickly to Ethiopia and shared out spoils of rebellion while Arok gnashed teeth in jail until he got released and showed up late in the bush to take last number five among permanent members of PMHC. That had been the source of enmity between Arok and Kerubino till death did them part.
On the other, Arok who was professionally trained cadet officer in the Sudanese army, disdained Garang for not being the best trained soldier enough to lead the liberation struggle. It is such disdain that resultantly landed him in jail on Garang’s order on charges of leading a parallel progressive officers’ movement within the movement opposed to the top hierarchy and Garang’s leadership style.
That was the highest price he had to pay for fighting everybody in the leadership and at the same time trying to climb up the ladder with the same hands.
The only good guy in the pack became Kiir until temptation to break ranks with Garang late in September 2004. He rued that encounter with Garang whom he described as both unforgiving and never forgetful. That made him swear by Almighty God to die fighting and not to be caught off guard by Garang like those he eliminated in the past.
This caution made each and every step out of his closely guarded SRRC’s residence in Rumbek looked like taking a military offensive to a nearby enemy’s town with all the heavily armored convoy of vehicles in tow and affront.
Before Kerubino, Nyuon and Arok vanished and that ordeal between him and Garang occurred, Kiir cleverly avoided petty fights as he looked on the rest taking on one another in their Hoban state of all against all over power, cash, cattle and women.
And as security chief of the entire movement his role was reduced to compiling trumped up charges as alleged by the gang of three, except Arok, against their victims. Some of these victims were their political competitors among others who were innocent movement’s cadres and civilians.
Religiously wheeled the victims under his safe custody and later released to the butchers on their shorter notice. This may be the reason why Kiir is the only survivor among five 30 something years later.
And one of good reasons he has to thank God for and continue to dodge trouble like he wonderfully did in the past, although power always corrupts and absolutely so.
Too, becoming President of an autonomous Southern Sudan and eventually independence country following the demise of his boss, his spectacular rise was unexpected miracle even for him, leave alone others.
For when he was in the bush he set his sight so low on just becoming Chief of general staff or defense Minister in the would be government. The post he held for many years in the bush after security docket and not that high office of head of state.
Kiir raised the flag of the independence, a blessing God offers to only one person once in a country. From that big office he got his huge money which makes him the likely richest man in South Sudan.
All those four blessings are not easier favors for a single person to gain in a country of 12 million souls. Since the blessings of such magnitude now a days don’t only come one’s way that cheap but also far in between if they ever come. That can even make several observers to conclude that God in South Sudan is Kiir’s God as the rest follow to claim a piece of Him.
And being the reason as to why he couldn’t just apologize to people of South Sudan for causing them such unnecessary suffering together with his colleagues in the ruling party, SPLM when he received his first Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar from Pagak.
He should have said even more sorry to God who raised him from ordinary to become many extra-ordinary things. For if one survived among many, makes countless money bags, lives to lead and raise the independence flag, then what else to crave for to the point of destroying what he has built instead of thanking God for all those goodies?
Deng Vanang is a political scientist, journalist and author, reachable at:email@example.com
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