NUER LEADERS ARE TOO ADAMANTS TO SAFEGUARD THE DIGNITY OF TRIBESMEN
By Kim Gatkuoth Duach,
November 26th 2015, May the history be the judge given all the ups, downs, and other unprecedented instances the Nuer had been going through in their quest for self-determination for the people of South Sudan. It started in 1983, after the famous late hero Samuel Gai Tut, a Nuer differed with late hero Dr. John Garang, a Dinka in their vision and objective one had wanted to achieve.
Late Samuel Gai wanted a separate South Sudan, while Garang from the other side was a unionist whose goal was to transform Sudan into a secular and united country. Garang, being well informed about geopolitics and regional diplomacy; he then lured Mengistu Haile Mariam, the then Ethiopian President to earn his trust and support. It’s to be noted with interest that the Dinka regime led by Dr. John Garang didn’t spare its precious time to invite foreign alliance forces to help him eliminate the Nuer leader (Samuel Gai Tut). They managed to oust him from Bilpam and some days later killed him at Thiajak.
This was the beginning of the rifts between Nuer vs. Dinka. Dr. John Garang who was supposedly to have a vast knowledge and knows the causes that brought South Sudanese out of Sudan and fight the regime in the north; he felt short for unknown reasons and became too blinded to truthfully see what South Sudanese really wanted, instead he started targeting every Nuer and other figures that would correct his administrative system.
Though Gai’s goal and vision was what inspired many South Sudanese, John Garang didn’t care much about it and these odds from the duos led to the instantaneous split of the movement. Subsequently, Samuel Gai, a true nationalist advocating for the right of separate South Sudan, was killed few months later by unionist forces. Gai’s death became a blessing to Garang who in turn started running the movement according to his wishes and lucks. His first plan was to displace Gajaak-Jikany Nuer from their land and ensured that Dinka could occupy it. But with God’s grace, Gajaak were well trained with gun’s usage and power, and therefore, Dr. Garang’s strategy didn’t hold its ground on their territory.
It’s to be noted here that this support Garang got from Ethiopia was actually used in later days by Dinka in the history boasting their shoulders that they defeated Nuer and gives Dinka a mere assumption that they are better fighters over Nuer by killing their leader (Samuel Gai Tut). I don’t know if it’s a pride to claim a victory in Nilotic culture where in facts you happened to be using other person’s strength to help you defeat your opponent!!
From the above scenario two things were noted and Nuer leaders of today ought to learn from: Either Gai Tut lacked better strategy to win the support of Ethiopia regime by clinging much on separation principle or he was too adamant to foreseen that his defeat by Garang would have negative implication upon his tribesmen (Nuer) being singlehandedly targeted by Garang. In other words, a charismatic leader decisions must be backed up by smarter implementation process.
After Gai’s death the remnant Nuer leaders had no choice but to abandoned the separation vision and surrendered totally to Garang. And Garang being the one emerged victorious, had to make sure he only integrated the weakest Nuer leaders into the ranks and files of his movement whereby these weakest Nuer in turn had to adapt the policy of master appeasement. In other words, these Nuer leaders simply existed as Nuer by birth but psychology were brainwashed and ‘Dinkanized’. They have become belly lovers and less talked of anything that may be perceived to favor Nuer interest. This is proven while James Hoth Mai was the General Chief of Staff of the Dinka government of South Sudan, during his tenure, Dinka were using resources of the country. They were sending their children to best military trainings, arming themselves and even prior to the time they attacked Nuer in December 2013. The guy was just laughing and eating within Dinka kingdom as if nothing disastrous had would have not happened to his tribesmen/Nuer. What a shame to be a belly lover!
However, from the Dinka side the opposite is true that all Dinka leaders among whom Garang had groomed including Salva Kiir are in the leadership for Dinka interest being their first priority and Nationalism being after. This makes them always to be the right political figures from their tribesmen. Unquestionable leaders!!
1991 Coup with the Emerging of a Nuer Leader
Like the waiting and coming of Messiah by Jews; the 1991 coup d’état by Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol was perceived and welcomed with enthusiasm, not only by Nuer but South Sudanese who were tired of Garang totalitarian leadership. Given its priority to self-determination; citizens were so exuberant and ready to fight back the unionist SPLM-Torit faction, should they resist this call this time around. Truly Garang didn’t give a damn to accept the new change in the movement, and this led to a series of confrontation between Nasir and Torit factions.
It has to be noted by surprise that as Nasir faction was gaining field momentum and capturing many Garang’s areas, its leader seatback and withdrew all its forces in the pretext that human rights were being violated. This version led both leaders of Nasir faction, Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol, to have different views on how to approach this matter. Dr. Riek Machar was in an opinion that the war had to be fought cautiously while Dr. Lam Akol from his view didn’t care of these human right reports and suggested that the war must continue and warned that giving Garang a chance to breath will buy him leverage by rejuvenating his forces. This differences in opinions forced Dr. Lam Akol to break away.
Indeed, Dr. Lam Akol was right and his predictions came true given the significance of his predictions. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to agree with Dr. Lam Akol that once you declared a coup you must bear and accept all its odds whether it would be to committing massacre and genocide since these human right violation issues are secondary problems that may be resolved in the later days when the situation had become manageable. Always whenever a coup took place what matter is either you will be killed or you will kill somebody? No one, two…three!
Now, assumed Dr. Machar was too nationalist and didn’t want South Sudanese to kill themselves, then, the question begged: what is the reason for resisting a coup in the first place if he was not ready for the worse? This lack of military seriousness from Dr. Machar was seized by Dr. Garang who happened to utilize this window of opportunity to better organize and position his forces to defeat Machar entirely. Even though, survival strategies were employed (signinf peace agreement with Bashir), it did not save Machar from being observed back into the ranks and faced humiliation from these crooks.
Of course, someone must run for his safety, but with nationalism still lingering in Machar’s head and instead of looking for better way to fight Garang back, this put Machar at a loggerhead. Machar didn’t stop from pursuing and pushing for self-determination and separation of South Sudan. This called for separate South Sudan was observed as a joke by Khartoum to implement since you cannot run for your own survival and expect to take away the portion of the country. This only can happen in Machar’s world. But after Khartoum realized how serious Machar was on secession, then, Khartoum decided to abrogate the agreement. This moves unpleased Machar, so at the end Machar had no choice but to join back his former enemies in the bush.
In fact, Dr. Machar had better choices to pursue should he had happened to be a Dinka born man. But he missed that chance big time. The choice was clear and simple to have a political upper hand and this was to sell South Sudan out to Khartoum regime by sealing a deal of military cooperation and helped him bring down the tyranny regime of Dr. John Garang. Dr. Machar could have promised Bashir with oil income and this could sound a blessing to the Khartoum regime that in the past is well versed with Nuer strength. If this agreement was reached between the two alliances, Garang by all expenses could have lost the control of South Sudan and Dr. Machar on the other hand could rule South Sudan. On top of this, his Nuer tribesmen could have become politically dominant of South Sudan affairs, their areas developed and the best of all the Nuer could boaster their shoulders that they defeated Dinka. Unlike Dinka culture, defeating an enemy through third party in Nuer culture is not a pride though…but something must adapt.
This is to be noted that with this so called patriotism spirit in Dr. Machar’s heart of not selling South Sudan to the enemy, his coming back to South Sudan was negatively perceived by Dinka elites and its citizens as a total defeat against Nuer and portrayed Nuer image as losers and ‘Nyagaats’. This is very much similar to Samuel Gai Tut’s political approaches by pursuing nationalism first than Nuer’s interest when he failed to at least sell out a fake unity agenda to Mengistu to secure support. In practical politics one must worship any devil to survive as Dr. Garang did to lure in Ethiopian regime to help him topple out the separatists and killed their leader.
It’s unfortunate to mention though, the very Dr. Riek Machar who had just happened to escape the death camp convinced the youths not to move to Juba hoping that the world would take a drastic measure against Salva Kiir. This naivety calculation helped Salva Kiir to organize his forces like Garang did in 1991. Not only that, Salva Kiir also managed to bring in Uganda like what Garang had done in the past, bringing in Mengistu Haile Mariam to helped eliminate his opponents (Nuer).
Not only that, after being pushed out from major towns; Dr. Machar failed to arm his tribesmen with better weaponries to balance the nature of war, he instead locked himself in Addis Ababa praying for the peace to come to South Sudan. Until very this day of writing this paper the Nuer are still being indiscriminately targeted and killed on a daily basis in Bentiu and Upper Nile region. What a leader!
Unless, God is punishing Nuer through their leaders, so let’s try to give Dr. Machar a credit for not selling South Sudan to Khartoum during 1991 by the time he signed Khartoum Peace Agreement, because if he had done that, today there would have been no country called South Sudan. However, this second phase of war (December 15th 2013) Salva Kiir waged against Nuer is different from that of 1991 given the fact that who cares after all South Sudan is already an independent country. And for somebody like Salva Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders wanted to turn this nation like Somalia should have been taken seriously by Dr. Machar and need no sense of fear for anything comes what may, but to arm Nuer to their teeth and fought back harder to defeat Jiengs and their alliance forces. Since this is not done though, again history will register itself in favor of Dinka that they defeated Nuer, and this will make them in the later days to call Nuer by names, where in fact they (Dinka) will be misinterpreting that they are nothing to Nuer but their alliance forces and lack of seriousness from Riek Machar to fight them back makes their shoulder boaster!
Military Conscript and unfairness on Dr.Riek Machar SPLM-IO
On the onset of this senseless war in December 15th 2013, many Nuer young men/women responded in kind small and big, educated and uneducated hoping to send Salva Kiir to hell. Thousands join but lack of armaments, logistics and too long subjection to training camps for almost two years forced these people to abandon their commitments. Many of them felt that the leader was not serious and no point to waste suffer. Some of these men/women left for training from Western countries and carried with them master degrees and PhDs. A people their leader should treat with fair and dignity. Unfortunately; Dr. Machar instead left these people roaming and loosing let alone recognizing their unwavering support.
Sadly, sources indicate that Dr. Machar has secretly commissioned the boys from Greater Bhar el Ghazal and Greater Equatoria and most of them in the rank of Lt. Colonel and Colonel and these guys majority of them live in Western countries and never set a barefoot on military training camps. Their names were just sent to Dr. Machar in a disguise that they were among the ground forces of Major General Dau Atorjong and Major General Kanyi. Some of these hoax men already left western world for Pagak in order to participate as the commanders in the monitoring advance team in Juba. Common Dr. Machar, history is watching on you!
Monytuil Sons and Bul-Nuer Betrayal against Nuer Community
A leader will be born and will save Nuer from crumbling and enemies and that was the time Paulino Matip Nhial AKA Matip-Yaang as my dad used to nick him; Late Matip-Yaang a true Bul-Nuer and a hero Nuer son opposed and told late Dr. John Garang bluntly that enough is enough to enslave Nuer tribesmen and went straight to side with Khartoum and never switched a side and wholeheartedly fought Garang with all his mightiest during the liberation. A leader of action!!
However, Matip-Yaang predicted that his Bul-Nuer people will suffer/confuse after his death as they will be too blinds to safeguard the Nuer interest. Predictions sometimes sound dreams but this one has become the reality during the onset of the current war the Dinka has launched against Nuer. Though there are other elements of Nuer sections’ politicians supporting Salva Kiir until today, the support from Monytuil Sons and their fellow Bul-Nuer section is unique among others. Since the eruption of this war in December 15th 2013, no single Nuer section politician mobilized their youth to fight SPLM-IO and its Nuer majority except Monytuil Sons and their fellow Bul-Nuer section who happened by surprise to mobilize its youth and waged a terrible massacre, rapes, loots and many untold histories yet against their fellow brothers and sisters in Unity State.
In the Nuer family tree, it’s the Buol-Geke-Nuer-Raan-Kang-Piir-Noah which if someone prides of his tribal existence in this world it would be indeed for the best interest of Bul-Nuer and Lou-Nuer that always stay alert to protect the Nuer interest as they are the very original Nuer where other come after them. Credit and thumb up to Lou-Nuer/Bor-Char as always!
With history being so blind on Nuer, this didn’t happen this way and Bul-Nuer with the influence of their leaders (Monytuil Sons) sold out the Nuer-Interest simply of hatred against Taban Deng Gai and this caused more inflicting suffers to Nuer. Had it not been the intervention of Bul-Nuer to fight alongside the Jieng (Dinka) government by now the war could have reached Waraap state (Home of Salva Kiir) and at least and very least Dinka Bar el Ghazel region would smell the smoke of the war they started waging against Nuer through their greedy. Its unfortunate Paulino Matip Nhial AKA Matip-Yaang is not here today, so it up to Bul-Nuer to claim backs their ancestral legacy which Monytuil Sons have sold out. It’s up to Bul-Nuer to act before it’s too late to reclaim back their fabric with their fellow tribesmen instead of being led by belly interest of Monytuil Sons.
In conclusion; what lesson did Dr. Machar learned from his past political endeavors after the signing of compromise peace agreement? Like a tree, one must have a root to life and Dr. Machar this time around, instead of going to Juba to fully committed for the implementation of this agreement, he must sleep with one eye wider open seeing where the Nuer are this time. Starting from his office where he used to give administration and finance in the past to a useless Dinka by the name Deng Deng Akoon from Bhar el Ghazel, he must ensure that this time things are in different approach. You must be a nationalist but where is your tribesmen?
Kim Gatkuoth Duach is a PhD student at Cambridge University and currently lives in London. He can be reached: email@example.com