By Dr. James Okuk
May 17, 2010 (SSNA) — Many people would like to enjoy speculating and manufacturing rumors these days regarding the fresh military rebellion of the former SPLA General, Mr. George Athor. Some have been against and others for what this great man has done as a consequence of his self-defense against the GoSS and SPLM leaders who want to violate his democratic rights by force. This division is a sign that Southerners are not yet one nation to speak with one voluminous voice in the coming referendum (if it is going to take place de jure?). It has been known that disunity is a serious challenge to achieving common good and collective rights in public life of successful human societies. At least unity in diversity has been successful in advanced big nations because of their respect for the sense of direction with the rule of just laws. Resorting to the rule of law were justice is lacking has never thrived, surely.
Crushing Mr. Athor militarily and suspecting some Shilluk people of supporting him is not going to work at all. Let’s avoid war and value peace!!! We have done it after Nasir Split when we dialogued it out in 2001 – 2002 to re-merge our splintered forces prior to CPA great achievement, we have done it again in Rumbek in 2004 when we put our house in order so that Dr. John Garang does not any longer carry the SPLM/A in his briefcase when he traveled (of course that briefcase got burnt in the crashed evil Ugandan Presidential Chopper leaving SPLM behind with the current continuous confusion), and we have done it in the Juba Declaration in 2006 when we dialogued it out with Paulino Matip, Ismail Kony, Clement Wani Konga and others in order to join and integrate our gallant forces for the defend of the Greater South Sudan and dignity of its people.
Unfortunately we failed to do it directly with Gabriel Tang-ginya, Tom El-Nour and few others though at least we managed to keep general peace with them (except for some few instances of clashes with them in 2007 and 2009) as they continued to pay their loyalties to the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). What can prevent us at this moment to dialogue it out with Mr. Athor and others at this critical moment without showing our tired SPLA military muscles from the 22 civil war? None!!! Mr. Athor is one of us and he is capable of understanding our concerns as we consider his case too. He is not idiot as some people would like to portray him. He knows what he is doing and his demands are all reasonable for negotiation. He knows that the Sudanese and especially South Sudanese courts are a failure to waste time with because at the end of the day, most of the judges are SPLM supporters.
On Saturday and Sunday, 15th and 16th May, 2010 the SPLA went on rampage in the areas of the Shilluk Kingdom which lie on the western bank of the Nile, beating children, youth, women and men of all ages mercilessly in the name of fake disarmament that has never been carried out honestly elsewhere in the South. These uniformed men had a list of youth and men they were directed to disarm in some villages, and when they failed to get hold of them, the supposed liberators of Southerners and protectors of the people of Southern Sudan (the SPLA) turned brutal and wicked on the families of the alleged names. They left many innocent Shilluk civilian wounded and traumatized as they arrested others for more torture and intimidation. What a terrible “Army of South Sudan!” God come to our aid!!
Surely, if the so-called GoSS and SPLM leaders are rational human beings who know what to learn from history as they were honestly advised online by Prof. John A. Akec of Juba University in his opinion article; “Doleib Hill Crisis: Lessons from History” seconded by James Chol De’Guin in his article; “Athor Crisis: Peace Must Always be Given a Priority”, these leaders should disciplined their army at this critical time not to mistreat the Shilluk or any other people of Southern Sudan. Alas!
What the SPLA has done in the Shilluk land, so far and so bad these days can, without much doubts, is adding fuel to the fire of Mr. Athor’s rebellion. While the wise voices are calling for peaceful settlement of burning issues and erupting problems, the SPLA commanders are ordering force and violence even on the innocent civilian in the Shilluk Kingdom and suspected areas of Padang Dinka that harbour the courageous son, Mr. Athor. The SPLA has a loosed chain-of-command because of maintaining its bush system of commanders’ headquarters. Any headquarter of a certain commander with a SPLA force can order any operation without the knowledge of the C-in-C and even the General Chief of Staff. This has caused many blunders because any commander or officer can take some SPLA on offence for his selfish interest without the knowledge of his above bosses.