By Pel K. Chol
December 30, 2014 (SSNA) -- As the South Sudanese civil war is entering into its second year, the signs are appearing bleak for the SPLA in opposition which most of its fighters are from the Nuer ethnic group. It is not to proclaim a negative publicity that the rebels don’t have the number nor the support of the population against the genocidal regime. Rather it is an observation which compels me to admit what the majority of us have since longsighted but do not want to reveal.
If we look at the strategies on how the war has been fought, while taking away our emotions, we could certainly acquiesce that we are either lacking strategy or becoming too complacent. That itself has become an aid to the enemy which is working hard for our detrimental. You only need to look at the behaviour of its top leadership such as the President and his chief of staff as well as the remarks made by its supporters to see the facts for yourself.
Despite that, I optimistically think, it will take a great deal of time for our leaders who need to be political scientists to realise that the participation of Kiir in IGAD led peace talks is just to circumvent the conditions that could lead to sanctions and isolation of his government by the international community. It is not a commitment for a genuine peace.
Kiir is trying to appear as a good guy in the eyes of the international community by carefully buying his time while covertly conducting military operations under the guise of peace deals. How many times did one see them appearing on SSTV when they attacked our forces and negatively accused us that Riek Machar’s forces have yet again attacked our positions?
We have seen that thousands of times but done little to counter that while Kiir and his cronies are fully determined to bury justice in South Sudan.
This time round, it would be up to us whether to let our people down particularly the families of those Kiir had murdered cold-bloodedly or bring justice and establish an adult government where everyone is equal before the law.
For the latter to happen, we should not be parsimony on peace talks not because we didn’t initiate the violence but of many defects that followed.
On January 23, 2014, when cessation of hostilities was signed, we were fully in control of the Greater Upper Nile (3 states). Despite the peace agreement, Kiir had invited the Uganda People Defense Force (UPDF) and other mercenaries such as the Sudan rebels.
All these groups attacked our positions and since then, Kiir and his collaborators have regained control of more than 80 percent of the three states while IGADD is standing idly by issuing only the rhetoric.
Worst still was that our forces in their defensive positions did not have enough weapons nor the ammunitions to confront the enemy. What they were doing to survive the onslaught was to resupply from their opponents, a form of classical insurgency which was effective only in the 1960’s. A continuation of this style would exhibit a complete lack of understanding or the strategy into how we could win this war.
From the Juba points of view, the insignia of the war is that, it will be won militarily. Yet we are putting little emphasis on the planning and organisation as well as the political will to invite others.
Kiir has turned South Sudan into a killing field for the Nuer. He had armed all the ethnic groups throughout the country to kill Nuer beside the invitation of the UPDF and the Sudan rebels to do just that.
One could ask what the stakes are for such foreign forces to get involve into an affair of another sovereign state especially when they were supporting the perpetrator and a criminal.
Well, if our leaders show a little bit of common-sense, they could not be hesitant to counteract Kiir’s strategies and turn South Sudan into a killing zone, not just for the Nuer as Kiir had aimed, but for everyone including any living nature that dwells in it.
It won’t take too long to get someone into the cabal because Museveni’ regime is as unfriendly as a fire, not only toward its neighbour but beyond its borders. The DRC, Angola, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea and Mozambique are few countries which cannot put up with him.
Museveni was the architect of the Congolese Crises which the United Nation Security Council dubbed ‘Africa’s world war’ as 11 African nations got involved in the conflict. If it wasn’t for the mighty army of southern African states which threw him out, he would still be conquering the DRC today. It wasn’t IGADD or the UNSC that shown him the exit but it was Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia while South Africa played political role in favour of her neighbours.
For the Sudanese rebels who operate inside the South Sudan soil, there is a good reason to eliminate them, if they overlooked their course as they did, so that stability in South Sudan and Sudan can be accomplished. Despite these obvious signs of attraction, we are unable or unwilling to invite others.
About Kiir’s military strategies, he dismissed the former money lover, General Gathoth Mai and replaced him with Paul Malong Awan. Since Malong became the chief of staff, he expressed clearly that he was going to recruit one million people from his Greater Bar El Ghazel to catch Riek Machar in Nasir and end the rebellion in a month.
Malong was right in recruiting thugs from his clan as well as the control of Nasir but was erroneous in underestimating the power of the oppressed. His troops suffer miserably whenever they try to crash the rebellion.
As we see the bravery displayed by our young men in all the battle fields, the question that one would like to ask is that, for how long can we sleep and continue to be unprepared while the Dinka plus our active minority such as the likes of Buay Malek and other Nuer money lovers in Kiir’s government are determined to defeat us?
The war we are fighting has all the ingredients for a success yet we are lacking planning and organisation as well as the training of our forces. All those are detrimental to failure making this unlosable rebellion a unwinnable one.
If we would lose this war, one would see Nuer dying in vast number more than those massacred in Juba not just in the hands of the rogue regime but by anger, disbelief, frustration as well as the agony of being a Dinka slave for centuries. We better let that not to happen.
When the war started, we were so close to removing Kiir militarily and that could have been a big luck if we did dispose him because, we did not prepare or planned for it. But now that we have become aware of his evil ideology and brutality, we have done little except that our leaders have become too obsessive of either ending the war politically while Kiir is attacking our forces day in and day out or falsely believing that Nuer have never been defeated by Dinka.
We need to get our mindset out of this wilful disregard of facts. Firstly, we are not only fighting the Dinka but a group of thugs including some Nuer all of which are fighting for their wallets. Secondly, the Dinka are recruiting into the Dinka led government in their thousands.
But we have not been countering that. All the White Army we see defending towns in Upper Nile are just doing it for the love of their identity because they didn’t like what happened to Nuer in Juba. Not that there is an active encouragement for them to defend the towns. There has not been enough encouragement too for our young men and women who are now in the refugee camps.
The Nuer abroad have not been able to contribute enough money to support our people who are stranded in UNMISS compounds some of which can actually form dozens of regiments if not divisions based on their experiences.
Hence, we have allowed ourselves to become keyboard warriors who want to see the victory of our men on computer screens with little attribute. Or we have become a passive population who will one day go by the wind depending who wins. This is as bad as ethnocentrism if we base our belief on those aspirations.
Our leaders have made enough mistakes prior to the war and now we do not need any more of those. The major one was the lack of empathy when they watched Kiir training his private army but were unable to understand neither his motivation nor the interest about what he was going to do with it.
It still appears that we have not yet learnt the lessons countenancing the history to repeat itself. Here are some of the reasons which prompted me to formulate such expressions. Kuol Manyang has repeatedly said that the rebellion in Greater Upper Nile will be brought to an end in 2015.
Yet, we seem not to take those comments seriously. The Dinka are recruiting themselves for an all-out war in 2015 to defeat us. But we do not have any plan not only to win the war but even to defend small towns such as Nasir. Many people, prior to the recapture of Nasir by the Dinka, were saying that the Dinka could never set foot on Nasir disregarding any strategy they could have established to defend it. What I would like to say to you my friends is that it could be good if we are mindful with the fact that rebels do not win by losing towns and cities.
Now that the Dinka are gearing up to attack the Lou Nuer counties, we are still making the same statements that Lou had never been conquered by anyone who used force on them. Are we still going to continue being over confidence which allows us to get the facts wrong? Instead of being over confidence about our strength, why don’t we become over prepared so that we could instantly subdue our enemy?
An over preparation would imply an active encouragement of our young men throughout the Nuer land and in refugee camps to join the rebellion and get trained properly before deploying them into battlefields. We also have to work conjunctively with our brothers from the Greater Equatoria to train as many young people as we can to match Kiir’s forces. The job that democratic sympathisers who live abroad could do is to facilitate funds so that we could be able to meet our goals and strategies.
Failure to plan a head would be a great upheaval for our movement. We are never going to topple this genocidal government if we do not do enough. Instead what will follow is the dissatisfaction of our forces back to the government when they see that we are not fully committed, a phrase I hate to say.
A cording to counterinsurgency principles, Kiir is ticking all the boxes that would victimise us forever if we do not take a different stand.
Worst of all are our active minority whom we call the Nuer Money Lovers who betrayed the blood of our people Kiir had lit in South Sudan. We see them collaborating with our haters, going back to the government and coming back to our areas trying to convince us that Kiir did not kill our people eventhough almost every one of them including former chief of Staff, General Gathoth Mai, had a relative or know someone Kiir had killed.
A person by the name of Yiey Puoch, from Upper Nile whose sister and his six nephews and nieces were killed by Kiir’s forces in Malakal is a perfect example. Yiey fought against Kiir’s forces in Malakal seeking justice for his family but was not resilience enough to make it to the end. He allowed greed to override sister’s life. He went back to the same government which created a deep hole on his family.
I personally don’t understand what kind of heart and brain these people have re-joining the death camp eventhough the person who has killed them has never shown any kind of remorse. For such a people to understand that they are as worse as Kiir, someone among them has to be exterminated, the same way Kiir did to our people even if it means burning them alive. No Sympathy.