South Sudan: Lesson Learned, One People, One Nation!
Feb 6, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Despite constant bleeding, ruthlessness and politicization of the conflict it was never too late to save one more life, frustration and anger. The thousands of people who gathered, waiting helplessly for Isaiah Chol Aruai, Jacob Alier and Mading Akueth in Juba, Bor, Panyagor, and other areas could be mourning and cursing gods while planning funerals instead of celebrations if the SPLM leadership did not exercise the rule of law and exemplary leadership.
Thanks to Dr. Riek Machar and his leadership for taking a swift and bold decision to free Isaiah Chol, Jacob Alier and Mading Akueth, the latest G3, who found themselves in the lion den in Ayod county. Isaiah Chol was a big catch for the opposition being a “National” Chairman (Statistics and Census), Community Chairman (Kongor) and a Brigadier General on Salva Kiir’s side, however, due to true call for democracy and the rule of law, Hon. Chol et al were accorded their wishes without preconditions.
For the sake of records, Jiech Payam is one of the territories in Ayod County that any invading enemy rarely penetrates. From the past SPLM/A and NIF wars to subsequent Nuer inter-clan feuds, Jiech has been a safe haven. You can temporarily seize Kuachdeng, Ayod town, Wau, Mogok, Pagil or any other towns at the edge of the county but not Jiech. This is the main reason why Maj.Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam, the military governor of Jonglei/Phou state has made it his headquarters, because it is safe and strategic. Therefore, the release of Brig. General Chol and his two friends had nothing to do with insecurity or any other politicization.
This is important because in the past when the SPLM/SPLA released the Paramount Chief of Duk County, James Cuei Leek, who was captured by the white army, some Kiirians went on with their usual campaigns, including the politics between Twic East and Bor, but when he was later released some claimed that he was re-captured in war. In this case, which has united the three counties, the Nuer and the Dinka, and the two warring parties, the politicians of politicking have coined new theories to explain the phenomenon. Well, it shouldn’t have been that complicated!
While some proposed that Isaiah Chol et al were released because Chol was Dr. Machar’s classmate (and only God knows, maybe over 40 years ago) others claim that there was an eminent threat to re-attack the IDPs in Bor. The humanitarian-politicians, however, took it to the next level, claiming that the UN (Ban Ki- Moon, or perhaps Hellen Johnson) intervened. The last group, and I believe, hypothesized that they had to be released because they were not captured in the battle fields.
Based on experience, none of these has been observed on Kiir’s side. IDPs (children and women), who were not captured at the front line, were cowardly killed in the town of Bor yet many sons and daughters of Bor in Juba and Diaspora celebrated the killing of these innocent people. In fact the judge, Makuei Lueth, justified that they were killed because they are rebels sympathizers, but sadly, Makuei would never testify that the infants, who were killed in that attack, as shown in the video, celebrated any defeat of Kiir’s side. Again, there is no different between celebrating a defeat and arresting the military general that has been defeated in the battle fields, as exercised by Juba.
UN staffs were kidnapped in Malakal by the government soldiers or their militias, UN intervened, but regardless, they were killed. 6 employees working for UNIDO (national NGO), who landed late in Juba but with permission were arrested because they are ethnic Nuer. Although they were innocent, they spent 3 weeks (12-31 December, 2014) in a prison that suffocates inmates.
Similar hostages and cold blood killings went on in Malakal, Mapel, Maban and wau. You can also claim that they were released because they are uncles to Jesus Deng Madingchaui and Mabior Garang de Mabior but you should also consider that a brother-in law to Chief of External Security, Thomas Duoth Guet from Ayod county has been in prison for almost one year. There are also many innocent civilian-relatives to senior officials on Salva Kiir’s side, who are in prisons, dead or alive, in Juba, Malakal, Bentiu and elsewhere in the country. So instead we should except that logic works only in Dr. Machar camp but not on Kiir’s side.
In sum, these officials were released because of the overall objectives of SPLM/SPLA, not because of individuals’ friendships and relations. The SPLM/SPLA wants to prove that we cannot solve this problem using the same logic that created it. Museveni cooked the idea of using ethnicity into Salva Kiir, because it worked in Rwanda, to fit the Nuer and the Dinka against one another to divert attention from his political weaknesses and failures. These gentlemen, despite their ranks and supports of Kiir’s rhetoric, there was no propound reason to humiliate, torture or kill them other than their ethnicity and believes.
We all have relatives on both sides of the conflict for one reason or another, and therefore, our ethnicity and believes, political or religious, should never have been contentious. Hon. Chol should have freely remained in Ayod if he wishes but since he chose to return to Juba, he had to be given such right unconditionally. This is the practical call for one people, one nation that we should all encourage, irregardless of tribe, region, political affiliation or any form of identity. Leadership is a learning curve, let’s see if Salva Kiir learns!
Thanks to everyone who played a role in one way or another. We all hope that Brig. Gen. Isaiah Chol and these two gentlemen will not follow the footstep of Brig.Gen. Malak Ayuen, who was saved by Dr. Machar from death row only to later bite the hand that fed him. May we continue praying for these gentlemen to carry the symbol of peace, love and unity in our nation.