By Elhag Paul
November 30, 2015 (SSNA) — The behaviour of the SPLM/A since its inception has demonstrated symptoms of organisational illness, but this has continued to be ignored by the people either due to ignorance or opportunism. Pathological organisations often reflect the collective ill mind of its members and this comes out clearly in the manner it conducts its business. SPLM/A’s pathology manifested itself initially with the killing of Samuel Gai Tut and Akwot Atem.
In his book, SPLM SPLA Inside an African Revolution, on page 260 Dr Lam Akol referring to an armed confrontation in the early stages of the movement points out that, “Samuel Gai Tut himself was killed during the fighting. This was on March 30, 1984. His body was not discovered until two days later. On receiving the news, Dr John Garang and Kerubino Kwanyin Bol flew by a helicopter to Adura where Kerubino lashed the decomposing body of Gai Tut fifty strokes while Garang looked on in appreciation. The body by then was beyond recognition were it not for the characteristic finger of Gai Tut.”
This surely is not normal behaviour, lashing a dead body is certainly the actions of a deranged mind. In this bizarre behaviour there are issues of pathological hatred and an abnormal thought process devoid of South Sudanese cultural beliefs and values. With hindsight, the question can be asked: why was the body of Samuel Gai Tut (a Nuer) mutilated and that of his Jieng colleague not? Can this specific act portend the deadly relationship between the Nuer and Jieng in the SPLM/A? The answer to this question only helps in understanding what has transpired since then, but can not provide a clue to the pathology of the SPLM/A as an organisation.
To understand the likely source of this malaise we have to go back to 1970s. On 3rd March 1972 when Anyanya forces under the leadership of General Joseph Lagu won regional autonomy for South Sudan, he allowed Mr Abel Alier to be the President of the High Executive Council, the highest body governing South Sudan. Alier, unlike Lagu who devoted his time to develop a new generation of South Sudanese military leaders, engaged in promoting tribalism. At the time an idea emerged from the Jieng politicians and intellectuals that they the (Jieng) are “born to rule”. The Jieng intellectuals led by late Dr Justin Yac and others loudly verbalised this phrase and put it into action.
In spite of the fact that this was an illusion, Alier systematically began to tribalise the government. He Jienganised the police force through Major General Ruben Mach. What was bad was that most of the police force now consisted of illiterate officers who hardly knew how to write their names let alone taking a statement from a suspect or statement about an incident. Pumped up with the belief of superiority they began to misbehave and abuse the people which led to Kokora. Kokora is a Bari word meaning division. Basically the Equatorians called for Kokora (division of South Sudan into three self governing regions) to free themselves from Jieng abuse. As can be seen the implementation of the ideology of “born to rule” was concocted at the expense of the other tribes and of the unity of the South Sudanese people.
With the explosion of corruption in the Sudanese army in the Southern Command, Division 105 stationed in Bor led by Col. Kerubino Kwanyin rebelled sparking the war in 1983. The coincidence of the rebellion and the redivision of South Sudan into three regions motivated the Jieng who hated the new system to flock to the bush. The very promoters of Jieng supremacy joined the new rebellion and assumed positions of responsibility, and they continued on with their project in the emerging movement. Please see, Fudging the Issue: President Kiir and Corruption in RS http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/fudging-the-issue-president-kiir-and-corruption-in-rss
From 1983 to 2013, this group operated in the SPLM/A effectively but clandestinely. Albeit Dr Garang himself was a believer of this idea of the born to rule, he had greater ambitions of realising the born to rule ideology in his own project, ‘the New Sudan’. The evidence for this can be gleaned from the way he filled all the important positions in the movement with his tribes mate, while he worked hand in hand with the Jieng supremacists. The desire for dominance by the Jieng leaders therefore is not a new thing, it has been there for a long time and what is happening in Juba today is the pursuance of this policy.
Following the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer in Juba in December 2013, they the Jieng leaders came out openly under the name of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). Unsurprisingly all the members of this group are the same personalities in Abel Alier’s government in the 1970s, who coined and spearheaded the ideology of the “born to rule”. Why this group decided to come out at that particular time is unclear. Perhaps this could be due to a new found confidence that they now have fully tribalised the army through the amalgamation of their various militia groups such as Dootku Beny, Mathiang Anyoor and Gelweng into the national army in addition to controlling the levers of the state. In a sense their crimes of ethnic cleansing have given them confidence and assurance of possession of power.
Now that this group has come out publicly it is important to examine the characters of the membership of this group in future, so as to understand why this organisation exhibits such belligerence.
So the insanity that started in the 1970s with the utterance of few short- sighted individuals became group insanity taking its own self perpetuating life, infecting the SPLM/A. As the organisation is supposed to be a liberation movement, those at the head of the liberation struggle automatically become the rulers. To oppose them, or to point to their mistake becomes an act of treason. SPLM/A becomes Jieng and Jieng becomes SPLM/A. In fact the minutes of the Jieng meeting of 2009 in Ark Hotel in Kampala, Uganda declares this point. Equally SPLM/A becomes the state of South Sudan and the state of South Sudan becomes SPLM/A. The three are moulded into one. Thus by default the Jieng are the party and the state. This abnormality comes out clearly in the letters of the JCE to IGAD in opposition to the then proposed Compromise Peace Agreement. Please see, ‘JCE Response to the Latest IGAD Proposal on Power Sharing’ file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/JCE%20-%20Response%20to%20IGAD%20Proposal%20on%20Power%20Sharing%20(1).pdf and ‘Position of the JCE on the IGAD-Plus Proposal Compromise Agreement‘ file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/JCE%20-%20Position%20on%20Proposed%20Compromise%20Agreement%20(1).pdf
SPLM/A as a result has become a tool of the JCE’s ideology of supremacy. This ideology is doomed to fail with incalculable consequences to the followers for two reasons. First, internally it is unlikely to survive due to issues of management, contradictions and lack of a coherent supportive narrative. The ideology entirely depends on extreme violence for its survival. Secondly, externally it constantly faces fierce resistance from the other tribes who believe in another ideology namely democracy.
The JCE’s insanity now is manifested in their claim of being the legitimate conveyors of South Sudan’s wishes as exemplified by the recent letters referred to above. Corralling the masses like cattle under duress in order to deceive the world that the ideas of the JCE are a legitimate representation of the people of South Sudan will not work, especially as it is only in order to serve the interests of the JCE. This unsustainable act of political fraudulency will not let the government off the hook, nor will it stop the haemorrhaging of support for the Juba regime.
This process is already in action. The supporters of this pathological ideology of the ‘born to rule’ are simply burning their bridges with all the other people of South Sudan for a short lived glory. In its popular broadcast, South Sudan in Focus, Voice of America on the 22nd September 2015 shed some light on what is going on in the country in an interview with Mr Pagan Amum:
“John Tanza (VOA): which tribe is trying to hijack the SPLM?
Pagan Amum: of course you know, what is happening now in Juba, you have a Dinka or Jieng Elders Council which is almost becoming the leadership of the party that is in power. It is the one that is determining every policy and it is the one that is making campaigns against other tribes in South Sudan (like the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer; the dispossession of Equatorian tribes, Chollo and Fertit people of their lands etc). It is very very unfortunate.”
For Amum to reach this correct conclusion about his beloved pathological organisation is very encouraging. He specifically played a very important role in nurturing this microbe that has critically infected South Sudanese society. He doggedly defended the dysfunction and abuses of the SPLM/A blindly thinking they were liberating a country for all.
SPLM/A has a lot of unstable personalities in its leadership. This is no exaggeration or idle insult, but the fact and reality of the situation. One of the main traits of the SPLM/A that distinguishes it from all other political organisations that existed in South Sudan is its extreme nonsensical brutality without any accountability. This says a lot about the mind set of this organisation and the minds of the people who run it, and the minds of its members. The SPLM in its totality, including all its factions are beyond any comprehension the evidence is plentiful. For example a clear examination of Dr Peter Nyaba’s book, Dr Lam Akol’s book, Minutes of the Rumbek meeting of 2004, the report of African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, Human Rights Watch reports and others, will testify of such incomprehensible behaviour.
If an organisation wilfully remains chaotic and kills its own people, kills its young people, kills its women, kills its own members, this clearly shows that fundamentally something is wrong with it. They castrate boys and leave them to die. They rape women and after that abomination they shoot them dead. They throw babies and toddlers into fire etc. The question is: how can a society have a future without women, children and the educated? Killing these groups is killing the very basis of the society itself and the country. The article, Fight of the Beast in the Luak, was precisely written to make people think about the dire situation in the country but the message fell on deaf ears, and unfortunately the cost has been monumental in terms of lost lives, and the continuous destruction to our country South Sudan. http://www.southsudannation.com/?s=the+fight+of+the+beast+in+the+luak
SPLM/A’s actions prove beyond reasonable doubt that it is not a humane organisation and it needs to be restrained for its members and South Sudan’s own good. It is a danger to South Sudanese society as well as itself, and if left unchecked it will certainly destroy South Sudan. Take for example the lunacy of the ‘Establishment Order’. Without any feasibility study on the issue of states and boundary changes; without any respect for the interim constitution; and without honouring of the Compromise Peace Agreement the SPLM goes ahead and imposes the creation of 28 states with the potential to further destabilise the country. Do you see the irrationality?
This pathological insanity that has firmly gripped SPLM/A can easily be seen by normal rational people as concerning. However, if one wears the shoe of the supremacists that believe in the ‘born to rule’ ideology this very insanity makes sense from their perspective. Let us look again at the behaviour of Dr John Garang and Kerubino Kwanyin with the body of Samuel Gai Tut. Garang’s look of appreciation at the mutilation of Samuel Gai Tut’s body was an act of establishing the ultimate power for the Jieng in the new movement, and indeed from that time onwards Garang supported by Dr Justin Yac, Salva Kiir, Koul Manyang Juuk and others continued to inflict brutalities on the people of South Sudan to assert the idea of Jieng supremacy. For example the massacres of the Nuer in the mid 1980s, the massacres of the Uduk people at the same time, the massacres of the Taposa people in the 1990s and so on. At the root of the pathological behaviour of the SPLM is the objective of establishing the Jieng as the ultimate rulers of South Sudan. To the JCE, there is nothing wrong with SPLM. Simply put it is their tool of achieving the prioritisation of their interest in South Sudan.
The monopolisation of institutions by the Jieng is not a new thing. It has been there since Garang’s time and what President Kiir is doing now in Juba is the continuation of that agenda. The execution of this supremacist programme has not been done without the support of others. From Garang’s time allies have been co-opted from other tribes to help this supremacist agenda.
In a nutshell the pathology of the SPLM/A is embedded in the delusional idea of the ‘born to rule’, which started in the 1970s during the self rule of South Sudan, and was later transferred to SPLM/A by the same pioneers of the idea who now call themselves officially the Jieng Council of Elders.
In conclusion, SPLM/A is unsalvageable. It is terminally infected, and in order for South Sudan to be rescued SPLM/A has to be disbanded or people should just walk away from it so it dies of its own accord. Whether it is SPLM-IO or SPLM-G10 or SPLM-DC or SPLM-IG, they are all equally infected either pursuing tribal interest or individual personal opportunism. The outcome of their programmes has brought disaster for the people of South Sudan. The people now need to organise and mobilise under a new multi-tribal body that is truly representative of the people of South Sudan, to face down this insane monster SPLM/A once and for all. Such a new body must be seen to do the right thing for the country as a whole.
In ‘Legitimacy of Violence as a Political Act’, Noam Chomsky argues that, “A new society rises out of the actions, that are taken to form it and the institutions and the ideology it develops are not independent of those actions; in fact, they are shaped by them in many ways. And one can expect that actions that are cynical and vicious, whatever their intent, will inevitably condition and deface the quality of the ends that are achieved.” Is it any wonder that the behaviour of SPLM/A is all over the place?[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at email@example.com.