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Editorial: SPLM/A is the Jieng vehicle for land grab

By Elhag Paul

February 27, 2016 (SSNA) -- The destruction of the fabric of Equatoria’s society by the Jieng through routine herding of cattle into established settlements to cause disruptions in life style followed by massive violence cannot under any circumstance be termed as an acceptable norm of social interaction.  President Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) have failed squarely on issues of social and human management.  Their plan to install themselves as elites in South Sudan already looks tattered.  To get the point just access and watch this URL: ‘Independent South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership’

The recent problem in Lobonok (Vice President James Wani Igga’s home area) in southern Bari is not the first and it will not be the last.   The same intruders and aggressors have been doing it since 2005 throughout Equatoria.  Nimule, Mundri etc stand out as examples.  The aggressive cattle herders have consistently refused to behave and promote peaceful coexistence with the local people and their way of living.  Wherever they go in Equatoria the Jieng wantonly aggress the locals with impunity with the government looking the other way pretending not to see. 

Always there are no investigations to crimes committed by the heavily armed cattle herders (Jieng) with their victims’ grievances remaining unaddressed by the government.  In the then Sudan, the government had a firm grip on law and order keeping the Jieng on check which made them to behave and respect law and order.  However, with South Sudan becoming independent with the government in Juba fully dominated by the Jieng the problem has become unbearable.  Reason: Simple! The Jieng “hijacked” the state of South Sudan and they armed the average Jieng while disarming all the Equatorian people creating a situation of huge power imbalance in their favour.  Worse still, they have disabled the judiciary deliberately to be blind to non Jieng grievances.

The only tribes that have managed to defend themselves against the Jieng are the Murle and the Nuer to a certain extent simply because these tribes are equally armed.  Were the Equatorians to be armed, the Jieng would not be traversing freely in Equatoria as there would be a cost to such aggressions.  While the Jieng are still abusing state power, this problem is unlikely to go away without it being addressed adequately by the Equatorians.   In absence of a properly functioning state as now in South Sudan there is need for Equatorians to find a way of how to survive the ongoing onslaught on their way of life.

The deliberate intrusion of the Jieng into Equatorian way of life with its painful disruptions of normal daily life appears to be a Jieng strategy to achieve their much trumpeted objective of “born to rule”.  All the signs are that they want to achieve their objective in an atmosphere of chaos.  Now if one surveys the landscape of Equatoria Jieng aggression stands out.  This is even at this time when the country is supposed to be in peace.  Certainly, for the average South Sudanese peace has not yet come.  For those who would argue to the contrary, let them explain to us why are the United Nations Protection camps still swelling with people seeking protection.  These innocent people live under constant fear due to being preyed on by the SPLA, the Jieng military machine.  For example, in this week the SPLA attacked the civilians who have taken refuge in Malakal UN Protection Camp.  Please see, ‘Mass killing at UN protection site in South Sudan’  Let them also explain to us why South Sudanese are flocking to Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda as refugees seeking safety.

Internally, look at what is happening in Nimule, Mundri, Yambio, Wonduruba etc.  Does this show prevalence of peace or a state of war?  The Agreement for Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) is supposed to be the saviour, but this unfortunately is now questionable given the glaring violations of its provisions by the government.  On the other hand the poor and ineffective leadership of Dr Riek Machar is not helping.  The SPLM-IO has already committed serious blunders in the implementation process.  Peter Lokarlo in his article, ‘Firm Foundation first and the roof later, Mr Mogae’ draws the attention of those concerned to the pitfalls ahead should they continue on this perilous path.

Riek lackadaisically has given the government that created war with its own people and committed ethnic cleansing of its own people the upper hand in slicing the agreement apart.  Depressingly, the government appears to be operating a violate-ARCISS-and-prevail strategy without any stiff opposition.  If Riek wants a positive outcome, he needs to wake up from his political slumber and use the mechanisms in ARCISS to hold the president and his acolyte to account.  He needs to involve the guarantors at this stage because things are not looking good.  Otherwise this implementation process will be drawn out for a long period allowing President Kiir and the JCE to buy ruling time at the expense of the suffering of the people.  There is a risk in this scenario.  The longer the implementation process takes time the more likely the international community becomes fatigued leading to its slow withdrawal with possibility of South Sudanese returning into all out civil war.  Agreements not implemented in time often breakdown at the end.

So far the implementation of this agreement does not indicate South Sudan will see any meaningful reforms.  The signs are that Riek and SPLM-IO are being conditioned to return to the fold with the tribal system returning to their ways of looting and misgovernance as usual.  All the destruction done by the SPLM including the killing of tenth of thousands of innocent people and the massive displacement of people is going to be scarified for SPLM unity and return to business as usual.  For those who have believed and thought Riek would be a saviour, they have another thing coming.  Leopards do not change their skins.

SPLM’s unity means the repair of the Jieng broken down killing machine.  It means South Sudanese are again empowering the Jieng to continue with their abuse of the state.  If the other 62 tribes of South Sudan want to see peace in South Sudan they had better walk away from this monster called the SPLM.  This horrible organisation only benefits the Jieng and their informers.  It is of no benefit whatsoever to South Sudan.  Leave it to the Jieng and join your fellow countrymen in the other parties to realise a democratic peaceful South Sudan.  Contrary to what South Sudan Television Station preaches, the unity of SPLM is not a unity of South Sudanese people.  It is the empowerment of the Jieng and it will not bring peace.  It will bring more catastrophes with Jieng oppression.

So what does this mean to Equatoria in context of peaceful life?  Will it stop the constant disruptions of life in Equatoria such as in Lobonok?  Unfortunately not.  The pattern of Jieng aggression in Equatoria since 2005 has been consistent with support of the government.  For example, the Jieng invasion and occupation of Nimule and the irresponsible utterance of the former Minister of Interior Aleu Ayeny Aleu.  The Jieng invasion of Mundri etc with the latest being Lobonok suggest the Jieng have a strategy to establish settlements in Equatoria to realise their objective of “born to rule” through promotion of chaos and instability.

It must be remembered that the Jieng are known for displacing peaceful communities deliberately to acquire land.  For example, Tonj originally was a Bongo land.  The Jieng encroached on it and wrestled it away from the Bongo people forcing most of them to relocate to Central African Republic.  The Jieng themselves are victims of displacement.  It is possible that they learnt this behaviour from the Arabs who displaced them forcefully from Shendi all the way to Khartoum in the Sudan to their present locations.  Their latest experience is Abyei.  The present area demarcated as Abyei is less than 20 percent of the original Abyei which includes Muglad and Meiram.  This Arab land grab is done in day light with the so called “born to rule” being completely paralysed.  Now they are transferring what has been done on them on the Equatorians.

Therefore, the disruption of normal life in Equatoria consistently and persistently appear to be designed to breakdown the social, economic and political structures of the various social groups to weaken them in order to allow the Jieng to settle and install themselves as the rulers.  So the ongoing chaos is done to create a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.  Such feeling is part of a process of achieving subjugation of the people.  Central to this feeling of helplessness and hopelessness is the absence of community leadership.  With Equatorian leaders of all levels frequently being eliminated, people find themselves voiceless, demoralised and hopeless.  In effect what the Jieng are doing is that they are normalising chaos in order to condition the people in Equatoria to accept the unacceptable as normal while at the same time constructing a new culture where they as holders of power are by default accommodated in their new conquests and colonies.

Crucially it must be noted that in all the chaos going on in Equatoria, the Jieng do not feel the negativity of all the horrible things they are doing to the Equatorians.  To the contrary they feel good and they like it which motivates them to carry on.  This is why President Kiir and the JCE do not see any need for a genuine reform and peaceful co-existence.  It was not for nothing when both Dr John Garang and Mr Ambrose Riing Thiik (the chairman of the Jieng Council of Elders) in the Rumbek meeting of 2004 argued against any reforms in SPLM/A.  Garang said, “Our imperfect structures have brought us (the Jieng) to the present day.  Let us (the Jieng) not throw away these structures now, otherwise we will throw ourselves (Jieng) away.”   Ambrose concurred reinforcing the point by saying, “I want to say that a lot has been done by a few.  Most of the things done are imperfect, but they have served us (Jieng).”   Note the structures being referred to here are the SPLM/A and the state of chaos in the country.  If you are an Equatorian or a non Jieng, ask yourself as to why you should support these structures.

In a nut shell the real problem in South Sudan is the SPLM/A because it is the vehicle through which the Jieng drive their tribal agenda of land grab and supremacist ideas.  Therefore, the logical thing to do if you are an Equatorian or a non Jieng is to quietly detach yourself from this Jieng machine of terror and join the other parties.  If you do this, you will have played a big role in beginning your own emancipation, the emancipation of Equatoria and the emancipation of South Sudan. 

[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 .

Editorial: Forming Transitional Government of National Unity without addressing violations is playing into the hands of President Salva Kiir and JCE

By Elhag Paul

February 9, 2016 (SSNA) -- Why is the chairman of Joint the Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), President Festus Mogae not exercising his powers to veto the Establishment Order of President Salva Kiir?  The Compromise Peace Agreement of August 2015 has granted him all the necessary powers he requires to manage the transition period in South Sudan.  Why then does President Mogae feel impotent and unable to act in the face of a clear violation of the agreement by President Kiir, which he accepts and acknowledges?

President Mogae already has the support of the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Troika (United States of America, United Kingdom and Norway).  With these powerful African organisations and powerful Western governments of which two are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council behind him, President Mogae should consider himself as a well resourced governor.  Therefore, with his immaculate leadership credentials President Mogae should be able to exercise those powers without any hesitation to live up to his reputation.  President Mogae should not walk on a tight rope or sit on the fence as he is doing now with the issue of demilitarisation and the 28 states threatening the Agreement on Conflict Resolution in South Sudan (ARCISS).  As the person with the ultimate say in the country he needs to govern, and governing effectively calls for President Mogae to act at this critical time decisively.

President Kiir whose term of office expired in July 2015 enjoys the presidency now because ARCISS legitimised his continuation in power.  Otherwise his continuation in that office would be unlawful.  His support base in the form of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) has gained a massive amount of confidence so much so that they openly challenge powerful groups internally, namely the Nuer and externally, the international community.  Sudan Tribune defines the JCE as, “The Dinka Council of Elders is not a traditional group but a self-appointed group comprising influential Dinka politicians and relatives of President Salva Kiir who advice him on how to run the affairs of the country in the interest of ethnic Dinka.”  Please see, ‘Jieng Council of Elders warn of war over new states’  From this definition it is crystal clear that the JCE does not in any way represent the people of South Sudan.   

President Kiir and the JCE consider themselves invincible because they control all the resources of the country and they have Jienganised the entire security sector.  They feel confident and comfortable to destabilise the country in the interest of their tribe.  To get a feel of their confidence please read their statements and press releases, some of which are quoted in this piece.  The JCE without a doubt is responsible for the entrenchment of tribalism in South Sudan in opposition to democracy and pluralism. 

As described in the USA Senate meeting the Jieng “hijacked” the state of South Sudan and they are using it to commit grave crimes against its people.  Please see, ‘Independent South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership’  So the problems of the 28 states and the difficulties around demilitarisation of Juba on the in-tray of President Mogae directly emanate from the abuse of the state by the Jieng.

The JCE as a body is deeply implicated in the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer and killing of South Sudanese in general in pursuance of their interest which is to install themselves as the elites in the country.  The African Union Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan points an accusing finger to some members of the JCE as being instrumental in the planning and organisation of the Nuer ethnic cleansing in the country.  With this kind of background it should naturally be expected that President Kiir and the JCE are going to create obstacles on the road to peace.  After all they initially refused to endorse the agreement.  They were only brought in kicking and screaming by Troika. 

The obstructions President Kiir and the JCE are heaping on ARCISS may be a continuous thing along the route.  So far it seems the guarantors of the peace agreement do not have a plan B to deal with such inconveniences. If this is the situation, I suggest that they should consider what is proposed here as one.  Yes, the chairman of JMEC, President Festus Mogae said, and here I would like to say that most South Sudanese would agree with him, South Sudan should not be plunged back into war.

The driver of the vehicle of violence wreaking havoc in South Sudan is President Kiir and the JCE.  To bring a genuine peace to the country, the JCE should be sanctioned.  Its entire membership should be put under a rigorous regime of sanction.  In addition to this those implicated in the ethnic cleansing of December 2013 should specifically be referred to the International Criminal Court.  In a sense this will be like hitting the head of the snake in the house hard enough with a stick to disable it from biting anybody to restore a state of peace.

Without the JCE, the ‘scarcely literate’ President Kiir with his militia will not have another option but to implement ARCISS smoothly.  It is noted President Mogae has said threats from this tribal body is unacceptable.   Though this is welcome, it is not enough without firm action to address abuses.  It is important for President Mogae to make a statement of ‘no nonsense’ at this stage to drive the message to the system in Juba that he means business, that is if he wants to put a stop to the cycle of violence in South Sudan, as he expressed in his report to the 55th Extra Ordinary Session of IGAD Council of ministers held in Addis Ababa on 30th January 2016. President Mogae needs to take a tough and firm action to put the JCE in its right place in regards to his own position.

It must be remembered this threat of war is not the first time the JCE has made such threats.  During the consultation stage of the proposed compromise peace agreement the JCE dished out similar threats.  Please see, ‘Jieng Council of Elders rejects imposition of peace on South Sudan: A clear message to the potential perpetrators of South Sudan destruction.’      

In this letter the JCE threatens and warns IGAD mediators by saying, “Any person who under estimate the will of liberators to defend the price of their liberation struggle is simply toying around with fire.”  The impression projected here deceptively portrays the Jieng as an invincible people who solely liberated South Sudan on their own.  This elaborate facade ignores the facts documented about South Sudan’s liberation struggle in its totality. 

This JCE’s heroic and jingoistic presentation does not take into consideration the reality that had Equatoria not intervened in the mid 1990s to rescue the SPLM/A from total defeat by Khartoum, SPLA would not be able to crow as they do now.  Furthermore, were it not to be for Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni’s  uncalled for interference in South Sudanese affairs in December 2013, President Kiir and the JCE’s regime would have been consigned to history.  General Peter Gadet Yaka could have easily disarmed the ethnic cleansers in Juba and instituted a new system.  So the JCE should spare the people of South Sudan this empty talk.

The current destruction in the country ignited by President Kiir’s Machiavellian plan to rid himself of the opposition operationalised through lies of a coup has been fought for the president mainly by foreigners: Uganda’s UPDF, Sudan’s Darduri rebels and SPLM/A-North.  Even with its glaring weakness, President Kiir and the JCE stubbornly appear focused on pursuing the madness of war to achieve their failed objective of December 2013.

Which brings us to the irrational call of AU, IGAD and Troika for a transitional government to be formed “immediately” while leaving the contentious issues pending.  It is my belief that this decision influenced by a combination of Eurocentric and Afro-dictatorial thinking, devoid of any local perspective of South Sudan is resetting the country for another round of violence.  Unfortunately, this demand to form a transitional government ignores the fresh history of ethnic cleansing in the country.

Aljazeera interviewed Dr Riek Machar on the subject recently and it appears the concerted pressure brought on him has finally broken him.  He seems to have caved in, indicating he would accept forming a TGONU.  Machar has failed to ask himself: why did President Kiir and the JCE violate the agreement?  What was the violation supposed to achieve for them?  What does suspending the implementation of 28 states exactly mean?  Which governance structure will apply in the mean time?  What makes him sure that when the TGONU is formed and they later fail to agree that this issue will not lead to conflict and violence like in 2013? The answers to these questions and others should have been taken into consideration in assessing the issue.  How Machar reached his decision is baffling.  Please see ‘Q&A The Future Peace in South Sudan’

Everybody should ask herself/himself as to why ethnic cleansing happened in Juba in December 2013.  The short answer is that in the struggle for power in the SPLM/A a simple thing like disagreement over the voting model to choose a leader set the country on fire.  Who were the leaders then?  The same lot of the various SPLM/A factions which ARCISS ironically has empowered again.  With this knowledge in our hands, why does the international community want a transitional government set up of the same people with serious issues of disagreements left unresolved?  Is this not setting up a scenario similar or worse to that of December2013?  It is common talk among South Sudanese at home and in the Diaspora that President Kiir and the JCE are still itching to complete their ethnic cleansing of the Nuer which started two years ago so they can intensify their aggression on Equatoria.

South Sudan has been traumatised more than enough by experiencing the brutality of SPLM/A.  Everything should be done to avoid another political eruption that will compound their trauma.  Therefore, ARCISS should be implemented as agreed without deferment of issues of violation like the 28 states programme of President Kiir and the demilitarisation of Juba and so on.  It is better to delay the formation of a transitional government of national unity than to rush and end up with another catastrophe.  Better still if President Mogae exercises his powers as an arbiter on issues of difference in South Sudan to bring a quick solution to this simmering problem.

Without emphasise if President Mogae continues to manage ARCISS in the manner he has since coming to the post, he runs the real risk of finding himself severely undermined, despised and turned into a laughing stalk of the SPLM/A.  He needs to come to terms with the reality found in the various internationally produced reports that he is dealing with a bunch of seasoned criminals who are well experienced in manipulation, mendacity and lawlessness.  These are masters of tying knots of confusion around the simplest of things to convert it into a nightmare in order for them to win.

Remember, these  criminals know that ARCISS’ ultimate objective is to make them account for their crimes and they are not fools.  They will try every trick in the book including those not recorded to derail the agreement, and playing into their hands with the demand to form a TGONU with their violations shelved is helping them with their script of wreaking havoc on the agreement.  When it suits them they will cooperate and when it does not, they will vilify and demonise JMEC without thinking of the consequence of their loaded words.  Please see, ‘South Sudan’s senior officials’ irresponsible use of language’

Finally the insistence of the international community for President Kiir and Riek to form a government of national unity without the contentious issues of 28 states and demilitarisation of Juba, properly cleared carries a very serious risk to the successful implementation of ARCISS.  But worse still it runs the risk of exposing the people of South Sudan to the possibility of another conflict.  A month prior to the sad and tragic events of December 2013, the international community was warned through an article, ‘South Sudan Needs Intensive Care’ published in the various South Sudanese websites but the message fell on deaf ears.  As a result South Sudan exploded with tens of thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives and the displacement of millions more.   The crucial question now is: can President Mogae reflect and act accordingly to avert another catastrophe in South Sudan?

[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 .

Editorial: The decapitation of Equatoria

By Elhag Paul

December 30, 2015 (SSNA) -- The attack on Equatoria is evidenced by the series of abductions, detentions and killings of Equatorians in South Sudan and neighbouring countries. The recent abduction and detention of Dr Leonzio Angole Onek demonstrates this calculated attack to eliminate Equatoria leadership in South Sudan, as a means to render Equatoria leaderless, so as to be subject to control and abuse by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

The objective of the JCE and The SPLM to destroy Equatoria is being recorded in contemporary history where a series of Equatorian leaders are presently unaccounted for, such as the elimination of Joseph Oduho, the elimination of Martin Kejivura, the elimination of Cecilia Oba Towongo, the elimination of John Nambu, the elimination of Equatorian police officers, the mysterious death of Dr Wani Tombe, the unexplained disappearance of Justice Peter Sule and General Elias Lino Jada and many others.  Presently this regime is actively terrorising Joseph Bakasoro, the former Governor of Western Equatoria state.  As I write he is being subjected to arbitrary detention afflicted with physical and emotional abuse.

If terror and death could extinguish the will for freedom and the ideas that go with it, South Sudan would not have been freed and born as a sovereign state; for the ideas and proclamations made by the pioneers of South Sudan liberation such as Emilio Tafeng, Paul Ali Gbatala, Joseph Oduho, Zbon Mundiri, Fr. Saturnino Ohure etc would have atrophied with them. However, their words and deeds became the fuel that ran the struggle against Khartoum for over half a century.  With the present oppression of Equatoria by the Jieng, the words of Peter Sule, Dr Wani Tombe etc will be the fuel that runs the emerging Equatoria resistance to the Jieng regime.  Just listen to some of these words in this YouTube video

The abduction of Dr Onek similar to the detention of Joseph Bakasoro further highlights the undeclared decapitation policy that the Jieng Council of Elders is promoting to destroy Equatoria.  This Jieng’s policy eventually will intensify the resolve of the people of Equatoria to double their energies and efforts to assert their right.  The weakness pulling Equatoria down is the division that the SPLM has planted in its midst via vulnerable Equatorians, who are intimidated and bought with government posts.  In addition to this the SPLM sets one tribe against the other. 

Dr John Garang was the first to device the fragmentation of Equatoria by instituting a policy that any person wishing to join the SPLM, must come as an individual.  This policy that appeared simple and harmless on face value ensured that Equatorian leaders were stripped of their leadership and subsequently their following. This was the initial process of decapitation of Equatoria.  Please see, ‘The marginalisation of Equatoria’

The other SPLM factions similarly use the same intrigues to keep the Equatorians out of positions of power and influence; of all these techniques, the real problem lies in the pitying of one tribe against the other.  Presently, albeit the Equatorians are agreed that the current system in the country is their worst nightmare they still operate as divided, with each tribe supporting their own in the ranks of the opposition.  For example, each tribe will collect material and monetary contributions to support the cause for their tribe. In this, the Equatorians have failed to see that without coming together under a clear objective and working as one there will be no head ways. 

Nimule, Wonduruba, Mundri, and Yambio will continue to burn and the other areas will follow too.  This is the reality.  Politics, as Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian thinker and author of the influential book The Prince, argues is about power, and getting power involves nasty things like those taking place in the mentioned towns in Equatoria.  This is what is called realpolitik.  It is simply pragmatism and it has nothing to do with emotions and civility.  Bari on their own means nothing, Moru on their own means nothing, Kuku on their own means nothing, Pojulu on their own means nothing, and Zande on their own means nothing etc.  Because Equatoria is fragmented the way it is, its enemies confidently find it easy to pick on them one by one.  For example, when President Kiir and the JCE abused Peter Sule, they did so, knowing that he did not have group support behind him.  They are now abusing Dr Onek and Bakasoro knowing that there is a lack of regional group support.  The behaviour of President Kiir and the JCE is typical of predators preying on their quarry.

If Equatoria wants to regain its lost strength in order to be protective of its people, its people must discard short sighted approaches and work as one, or Equatoria’s future in the jungle that is called South Sudan is bleak.  Simply put, if Equatorians cannot protect and sacrifice for their leaders the future looks very bad.

This protection must start at home.  First it is important for Equatorians to shun or distance themselves from Equatorian informers and lackeys of the “born to rule”.  These informers should be shunned from the society in line with Equatorian cultures.  This is necessary for survival, as informers are used as tools by oppressors to aid in the subjugation and enslavement of a people(s).  Addressing the issue of informers, allows for a group to begin addressing the oppressor; this is because the oppressor lacks leverage without informers.

The literature on conquest, social control and domination posits that for powerful groups to exercise their power over a target group that is to be dominated, the target group must not have leaders.  Without this, it is next to impossible to succeed in colonising any people.  This is why the imperialists and colonialists in the past destroyed indigenous leaders and replaced them with handpicked leaders serving the masters.  In South Sudan, Equatoria’s handpicked lackeys include the Vice President, some of the national ministers, Equatorian apparatchiks of the SPLM, appointed governors, appointed members of parliament, and one or two appointed ambassadors who distinguish themselves by extreme subservience to the Jieng. 

But why do the Jieng strive to colonise Equatoria?  This is a big question that cannot be answered in one article.  The genesis of this problem is explained in my previous article, ‘SPLM a pathological organisation’

In the mind of the Jieng, if they are to achieve their objective of establishing themselves as the elites in South Sudan, Equatoria must be destroyed.  They believe that Equatorians hate the Jieng and as such it is the main obstacle to their project of ‘born to rule’. This belief though unfounded, is real to them.

In his book, ‘Sudan and South Sudan: from one to two’, Bona Malwal vividly conveys the feelings of the Jieng towards Equatorians.  He argues that “Unfortunately, Equatoria, this rather unusual indeed non-existing constitutional being in South Sudan, has now got onto the bandwagon of Riek Machar Teny, hoping to defeat and overthrow the Dinka (Jieng) that Equatoria has always hated.”  The tone and sentiment expressed here speaks for itself.  While the Jieng assume they are hated by Equatoria, what are the feelings of Equatorians?  In reality, the Equatorians do not hate the Jieng or any other social group in South Sudan for that matter.  What they abhor is the uncalled for senseless violence of the Jieng.  A good example is what is going on throughout Equatoria presently and the horrendous events of December 2013.

Equatoria, therefore, does not hate the Jieng people but certainly it hates their destructive and abusive behaviour.  If the Jieng could only discipline themselves and behave in a humane way, nobody in Equatoria would dislike their ways.  For example, the family of Gordon Ayom and the family of Khatir Jubara who hail from the Jieng, are integrated in Equatoria because they know how to interact with people with respect.

Now the United States has come to the same conclusion as the Equatorians about the behaviour of the Jieng and their government.   Can President Kiir and the JCE really look the Americans in the eye and ask them as to why the US has a low opinion about their government?   If the Americans can not put up with the Juba nonsense, why should South Sudanese and Equatorians do so for that matter?  Please listen to the Senate Hearing titled, ‘Independent South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership’

The paradox in this bitter relationship between the Jieng and Equatoria is found in the Jieng Council of Elders whose actual leadership is not Jieng.  The most vocal and hawkish ones who intensely execrate Equatoria are of Equatorian and Jur blood.  These non Jieng leaders of the Jieng have their own issues rooted in their childhood which unfortunately they internalised and turned them into depraved persons.  They strongly hate their Equatorian and Jur traits.  By riding on the back of the entire Jieng they have found a convenient outlet to release their vent up hatred towards their own people in Equatoria and Bahr El Ghazal. 

This may come as a shock to many people as it sounds unbelievable.  But it is the truth.  Here we have a lost Equatorian and a lost Jur conniving to disguise their true identities in order to destroy the source of their very existence in this world.  These are not the only ones in the JCE, there are more.

The behaviour of concealment is associated with many things chiefly among them is the feeling of shame.  Shame often makes people feel inadequate and worthless.  In order to feel better, some people suffering from shame will resort to cover up traits considered negative in their lives.  The hawkish members of JCE appear to be doing exactly that.  Let us have a brief look at their background. 

The Equatorian Jieng is a product of colonial intervention in Jieng cultural life.  When the British came to Bahr El Ghazal they were shocked by the nudity of the Jieng.  They decided to acculturise them, and the plan they put in place was to import Equatorian tailors into Jieng land specifically to produce Chabong - a half robe or ‘Nus Jalabya’ in Arabic.  Initially the British thought the locals would embrace the robe but the Jieng resisted.

After a struggle the Jieng showed interest in Chabong.  The preference to Chabong may have something to do with the comforts of air fanning the lower parts of the body.  It must be remembered that these specific parts are conditioned to free flow of air since time immemorial and the robe in its usual form blocks the entire body from receiving normal aeration.  So the Chabong was the solution provided to introduce clothing to the Jieng.

Like most expats, the imported Equatorian tailors those days did not come with their women and as mother nature does not allow vacuum, interaction with the local women ensued and there we have our Equatorian Jieng leader in the JCE.  So, in essence a combination of British resourcefulness, Equatorian ingenuity and Jieng nudity produced an angry individual who hates Equatoria, part of his own identity.  This person has devoted most of his life to erase Equatoria out of existence.

As for the Jur, his story is tragic.  When he was a young child, he was vulnerable and uncared for, he roamed the streets and found his way to Babanousa and then Khartoum through the weekly train service between Khartoum and Wau.  Once in Khartoum he became a water boy in house of an influential political family in Omdurman.  He grew up there in the nooks of the Arab kitchen feeding on daily leftovers under the supervision of Haja (an old Arab house wife).  It is said that Haja used to refer to him in Arabic as – da walad kwes kalish, meaning this is a good boy.

The above is the brief background to the most hawkish of the JCE leadership.  Is it any wonder why the JCE is doing what it is doing?  These are people who are angry with the world.  People who have had a troubled and challenging childhood, and or those who have had an identity crisis, can experience internal conflict, low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness. While some children grow up to be responsible adults who work through these conflicts, trauma and challenges; others grow to become destructive to themselves, their community and their society.

In the case of South Sudan President Salva Kiir who is another one with dubious background refers to the JCE as dogs because he knows their background very well.  These are individuals who have no loyalty to anybody on this earth but themselves.  They have now hijacked the Jieng tribe and they are using it to the maximum to fill the void in their lives to make themselves feel good.  They do not care about the well being of the Jieng tribe.  Look at the emotional and mental destruction they are inflicting on the young Jieng boys they recruit into the killing machine of the Jieng militia (Dootku Beny, Mathiang Anyoor and Gelweng). 

Malek Cook-Dwach in his article published by The Sudan Tribune, ‘Tribal politics is what is destroying our social fabric’ correctly points out that the damages inflicted by the JCE’s war will have long term impact for the recovery of the Jieng youth to return to normality due to the economies lost, lack of education, physical and psychological trauma.  As for the overall consequences of the JCE’s evil plans, please see, ‘The Jieeng Council of Elders, the erosion of Jieeng values and the Jieengization of South Sudan’ 

Therefore, the hatred of the JCE towards Equatoria is irrational and very dangerous as this group has set itself, the task of destroying Equatoria.  The destruction is being born out in two ways.  First, through the SPLM/A, the JCE is systematically eliminating Equatoria leaders and disempowering the whole community.  Secondly, the name Equatoria is being erased from existence in South Sudan through use of presidential decrees like the Decree 36/2015 Establishment Order.  This decree fragments Equatoria into smaller states and wipes out the name Equatoria.  Equatoria has no option left but it must rise to the challenge.

Now the abduction of Dr Onek has its root in what has been expressed in this article.  As a professor and a very intelligent person, the tribal system perceives him to be a threat, because should he decide to lead his people one day it would be difficult for the JCE and President Salva Kiir to push him aside.  So in line with Jieng policy of keeping Equatoria leaderless, Dr Onek has been preyed upon.  His abduction like the ongoing detention of Bakasoro is not only humiliation to him personally but in reality it is the humiliation of the whole Equatoria region. 

Previously the system did this to the Kakwa chiefs, it did it to Justice Peter Sule whose story now remains an enigma, it did it to the chairman of the Equatoria caucus in the parliament, it did it to the paramount chief of Didinga, it did it to the chiefs of Madi and Acholi, it is doing it now to the former Governor of Western Equatoria, Joseph Bakasoro.

The message in all this is clear.  If you are Equatorian with potential, then your own survival is at risk because the JCE has decided to destroy Equatoria through decapitation.   Their practice to achieve this objective includes arbitrary detentions, abductions, killings and terror.  The crucial question is: For how long is Equatoria going to be humiliated?  The cases of Dr Onek and that of Bakasoro are Equatorian cases and they must not be allowed to go on like what has happened to Peter Sule.  If the system has a case against Dr Onek and Bakasoro, they must be brought to open court and let them have their day in court.  It is just unacceptable that people are abused and oppressed to satisfy the ego of the JCE, because they are Equatorians.

This challenge demands the so called Equatorian Front in SPLM-IO to do something about it because of their unique position as partner of President Kiir in the peace agreement.  If General Alfred Ladu Gore is an Equatorian leader as is claimed, he needs to speak out and ensure that Professor Onek and Bakasoro are safe and released immediately.  This is very important for three reasons.  Firstly, this is because it is an act of solidarity.  Secondly, it is an act to protect Equatoria, and thirdly and crucially it is an act of self protection – ensuring he does not fall in the same trap. 

Equatoria community need to realise that their unity is a must if this predatory politics of the JCE is to be stopped once and for all.  So the Equatoria community in the country need to write to the trio (President Festos Mogae, President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar) demanding the release of Professor Onek and Bakasoro together with an enquiry on why Dr Onek was abducted and Bakasoro detained.  This very piece should serve the same purpose.

Finally in the larger context, the survival of Equatoria depends on the extent to which the people of the region (a third of the population of South Sudan) are prepared to resist in self defence.  President Kiir and JCE’s terror directed to Equatoria leaders and the people must be brought to a halt through a concerted multi prong action.  If Equatoria wants its sons and daughters to stand for it, it in turn has to protect them by whatever means available.  Otherwise the future of Equatoria is bleak in a system run by people who hold deep unfounded grudges against it for no rational reason.

[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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