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You are here: Opinion Articles Dr John Garang was an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM

Dr John Garang was an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM

By Elhag Paul

February 3, 2013 (SSNA) -- Manyok Chuol’s article, ‘Dr Garang and the question of South Sudan Founding father: A reply to Elhag Paul’ published on 12th January 2013 by South Sudan Nation is a clear indication that the Jieng are unwilling to take responsibility for the ravages they are inflicting on the country. It is unbelievable that in the face of overwhelming evidence they attempt to hide behind projecting their hatred of others to their own victims (other South Sudanese). Thus it is crucial to challenge this projection at this point.  As Manyok has chosen two themes namely the issues of Founding Father and ‘anti-Dinka activist’ as his grounds for writing I shall oblige. 

Manyok writes that “South Sudanese who have read most of Mr. Paul’s articles will have probably come to the same conclusion, as I (Manyok) have, that this writer harbors deep-seated anti-Dinka sentiments. It’s now also more apparent that Mr. Paul various attempts at denigration of Dr. John Garang and his  legacy is in fact a subset of the author’s overall revulsion of the Jieng (Dinka).”

If I hated the Jieng I would say it because there is nothing that can stop me from declaring my feelings. I was born free and will continue to live free which means if someone attempts to oppress me I shall fight back to maintain my freedom.

I do not hold any ill feelings towards the Jieng or any other groups in our country as I have explained before. I have no problem with Jieng as human beings but I do have a problem with their behavior which causes unnecessary hurt and pain to people in our country.  I know that behavior is acquired through socialization and it is nurtured. Equally it can be abandoned and forgotten through determination and the will to change. People always applaud good behaviours and promote it while bad behaviours are condemned unequivocally world wide. Behaviour generally affects relationships and co-existence among human beings that is why there are institutions for maintenance of peace like police service and even the United Nations in case of countries. 

The behavior of Jieng in South Sudan without mincing any words is atrocious and it is wrong for the Jieng to expect others to put up with it. This is why I have sought through some of my writings to provide enough feedback to the Jieng in order for them to change. It is unfortunate that instead of the educated Jieng like Manyok Chuol, Ateny Wek Ateny, Joseph Deng Garang and Kuir e Garang taking responsibility to be agents of change by educating their people; they come out with guns blazing condoning and defending this atrocious behavior by accusing those of us who have acted in good faith as being tribalists, divisive, Nygats, pro Arab, inciters and so on. 

If telling Jieng the truth invites tirade and projection of the real problem (Jieng tribalism) on us then let it be. What the Jieng have completely forgotten is that it is their behavior which is the real problem dividing the people of South Sudan and they have a moral duty to address it.  Shying away from it is not going to endear them to their brothers and sisters in the country, nor will it go away. It is no good for the Jieng to ask for unity in pretense when they are set on their horrible ways. It would save us all a lot of time and trouble if only the Jieng could look at their behavior critically and change accordingly in order to foster harmonious living with the rest of the people of South Sudan.

Do I abhor Dr Garang’s legacy because he is a Jieng as argued by Manyok? The answer is unequivocally ‘No’. Who am I to question other peoples’ ethnicities?   After all I am just a mortal being who believes in fairness. I do not hold supremacist and expansionist views such as ‘Born to rule’ and the right to colonise other people and their land respectively.  Essentially I believe in fairness which in turn leads to equal opportunities and the right of everybody according to their ability. 

Thus in regards to Dr Garang I can not be denigrating him if all I am doing is pointing out the facts.  Any reasonable person will see that there is no connection between arguing Dr Garang’s corner and my criticism of the Jieng. The two are different. I believe that Dr Garang’s work should not be vandalized by the likes of Manyok Chuol. Dr Garang’s beliefs and achievement need to be highly valued within context. It must not be deliberately inflated with lies in order for his community to milk it for narrow selfish end to put others down. 

Dr Garang was a formidable person of high intellect, no argument about it. He was a suave political operator full of confidence.   A speaker of rare breed. Dr Garang knew what he wanted (United New Sudan) and he went for it in spite of the odds against it. Anybody who respects and values Dr Garang will not reduce his stature by not acknowledging his political belief and objective. To accept Dr Garang is to agree with what he stood for. There can be no cherry picking of the person’s character. It is here that I have great respect for his son Captain Mabior Garang Mabior who humbly acknowledges the unionists beliefs of his father. People like Manyok are in fact the destroyers of Dr Garang’s personal legacy and achievements. Dr Garang’s unionist stance made him a renowned politician in the Sudan, the whole of Africa and beyond, and this should not be desecrated. 

More over it is of utmost importance that the history of RSS is recorded correctly for the future generations. Distortion of history will mean distortion of future management of RSS. Facts must be stated as they are without hype.

Manyok presenting himself as a tolerant person writes that “this isn’t about denying Elhag Paul the exercise of such right; the issue really is the cowardly deliberate incitement of ordinary citizens against their compatriots, disguised as government criticism.” What a bold assertion? The only problem is that Manyok like Ateny Wek Ateny in their quest to divert attention from Jieng tribalism abuse English words freely in their calculated attempt to discourage people from talking about their atrocious behaviour. Please see the following articles: ‘The Oyee Deniers of Truth in RSS’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/the-oyee-deniers-of-truth-in-rss; ‘Response to Mr Ateny Wek Ateny on Panthou war’

http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/response-to-mr-ateny-wek-ateny-on-panthou-war and ‘Kuir Garang! South Sudan is not a nation’ 

http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/kuir-garang-south-sudan-is-not-a-nation

Ateny in some of his articles accused me of being a racist with genocidal tendencies without providing any evidence at all. Now Manyok is accusing me of incitement without providing any evidence at all in the hope that he would frighten me into submission. This is not going to happen. What have I written that amounts to incitement? As the allegation that Manyok has made is serious I would appreciate concrete evidence from him. I look forward to having an exhaustive debate on this subject of incitement with him.

Manyok further argues that “let’s also remember that President Kiir is a South Sudanese national and if we are to start holding communities collectively responsible for shortcomings of individuals, Mr Paul should use the same yardstick and hold all South Sudanese, including himself, guilty by association for their government failures as the presidency and government have a South Sudanese national association/identity.” 

There are differences between institutions, individuals and tribes. Institutions are formed of governing documents and management bodies such as constitutions and board of directors. Anybody heading such an institution (chief executive) is expected to be guided by the constitution. So long as such a person upholds the constitution for the interest of all members he/she can not be lumped up with his/her tribe or any other group of association because his/her actions would be fair and legitimate.   However, were such a person to violate the constitution for the benefit of his personal family or tribal group with active support of the group then that organization would find it difficult to separate itself from the identity of the beneficiaries. Such is the situation in South Sudan.

RSS has a constitution but president Kiir and his party SPLM (Jieng organization) ignores it. Buoyed by Jieng support he violates the constitution and governs according to his personal whims allowing the Jieng to commit all sorts of crimes with impunity. This kind of governance clearly is a tribal one. Since SPLM is the ruling party and the ruling party has already been certified by independent scholars as a Jieng organization (please see above URls for evidence), it follows that the government is a Jieng government. I can not see how Manyok or any other Jieng would get out of this mess unscathed. This is the reality of the situation. As Manyok denies that the SPLM is not a Jieng organization the ball is in his court to do the necessary scholarly research to refute the flood of evidence already in existence in the academic domain. So it is not me only but there are a number of institutions out there who have already reached this irrefutable conclusion.

Wading deeper, the ascent of president Kiir to power was not through the consent of the people of South Sudan in a fair election. SPLM (Jieng organization) rigged itself into power in April 2010. Since coming to power, president Kiir has been promoting Jieng interest at the expense of all others in the country. Here are few examples:

1) The overwhelming majority of the 75 thieves who stole the billions of Dollars from the country’s coffers are Jieng. The refusal of president Kiir to reveal the names of these thieves known to him speaks for itself.

2) The plight of the Murle in Jungle is a direct result of their discrimination by the Jieng in that state.  This is exactly the same as what happened to the Didinga people in Eastern Equatoria in late 1990s when the SPLM/A used its entire might to try to destroy the Didinga people for the Jieng to settle in their land. A similar thing is going on in Nimule presently as we argue with each other.

3) The plight of the Fertit in Bahr El Ghazal state. The recent statement made by president Kiir following the carnage of citizens in that state exposes not only his lack of governance skills but his tribalistic nature.

4) Over 80 percent of all the influential positions in the country are awarded to Jieng, many of whom are unqualified.

5) Staffing of ministries of Justice, defence, Home affairs etc with Jieng, many of whom are unqualified

6) Imposition of Jieng police, Jieng legal officers in all the states, including those states where they are not resident against the letter of the shoddy constitution.

Given the above I like those who did not vote or approve of president Kiir’s government can not be ”guilty by association for their (the) government failures as the presidency and government have a South Sudanese national association/identity. “ The government is a Jieng government and the mess it generates is Jieng mess. Full stop.   

Manyok drawing from Wikipedia vigorously argues that because Dr Garang formed the SPLM, this automatically should qualify him to be the Father of the nation. “A founding father is widely recognized as a person who has established an important organization or idea or as one Wikipedia entry broadly defines national founding fathers as:

[T]ypically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, (i.e. political system form of government, and constitution), of the country. They can also be military leaders of a war of independence that led to the existence of the country [emphasis is mine].” 

Well it is arguable whether Dr Garang really did form the SPLM. When the SPLM was formed Dr Garang was nowhere near the battle fields of South Sudan in Upper Nile. He was with his family in Haj Yusuf in the outskirts of Khartoum North. The SPLM was formed by Bol Kur Alangjok on 30th August 1980. Please see ‘Experiences in the resistance movement against Arab colonial rule in Sudan’ authored by Thaan Nyibil and published in 1990 by Vantage Press, New York. 

The Ethiopians under Col. Mengisto appropriated the name of SPLM/A from Anya Nya 2 group. They then appointed Dr Garang to it and handed it over to him as their response to Khartoum’s support to the Eritrean rebels. So Dr Garang was an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM/A, far from being founder of the movement as asserted by Manyok.   The whole story of Dr Garang, Kerubino Kuanyin, William Nyoun, Arok Thon and Salva Kiir being founders of SPLM/A is a well choreographed lie that does not stand proper scrutiny. Hopefully independent researchers will pick up this theme for the truth to be established. In the meantime, the evidence suggests otherwise.

As with regards to president Kiir’s claim to being one of the founders of SPLM/A; this should be taken with a pinch of salt. Nyaba in his book, ‘The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View’ published in 1997 by Fountain in Kampala, Uganda throws serious doubts on this claim. Nyaba on page 41 of his book argues that, “For sometime the names of Dr John Garang, Kerubino Kuanyin and William Nyoun were the only ones tagged to the leadership of the Movement in the poems and morale songs of the recruits and SPLA soldiers, and in the administrative structure of the Movement. Then slowly, the names of Salva Kiir Mayardit and Arok Thon Arok were added, as permanent members of the politico-military High Command of the Movement. The inclusion of Salva and Arok was on the grounds that they were in the clandestine cells back inside the Sudan, something that cannot be proved.” There you are. How could Salva Kiir have been a founding member of the movement and yet a mere member of a clandestine cell inside the Sudan? Frankly speaking SPLM Oyee is a fraud because the truth about this movement is deliberately hidden to allow the fraudsters to shine.

With the foregoing, Manyok’s grounds for glorifying Dr Garang as Father of the Nation based on the ‘founding of the movement’, falls flat on its face. Therefore one can only say tough luck to those who want to stitch the lie together because the available evidence does not support it.

All in all, the attempt to label those who speak out against Jieng tribalism as ‘anti-Dinka activist(s)’ will not wash because what the Jieng are doing is only projection of their own tribalism onto their victims. The Jieng are failing to acknowledge and address their weakness by trying to divert the problem onto their victims and unfortunately the world knows the truth. It is time that they critically look at themselves in order for them to change their atrocious behaviour. Painting Dr Garang as Father of the Nation will not help the Jieng in their struggle to assert themselves as the elites of South Sudan. Only the truth can but there is no truth here. If Dr Garang is the Father of the Nation, what would Amelio Tafeng, Paul Ali Gbatala, Saturino Ohure, Joseph Lagu etc be - the Grandfathers of South Sudan? 

Remember here that it is an undisputable fact that Joseph Lagu was personally and crucially responsible for the development of Dr Garang educationally and militarily.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

The Author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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