By Sabrino Majok Majok
January 7, 2014 - In his article entitled, “The Finger Prints on Genocide in South Sudan," published on Sudan Tribune Website on January 1, 2014, Mr. Stephen Par Kuol, former minister of Education, wrote one sided, diluted tribal propaganda in his accusation of President Kiir Mayardit and six other generals all of whom are from Dinka Community of Greater Bahr El Ghazal: (1) General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan; (2) General Malong Awan, the current Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State; (3) General Marial Chinong, the Commander of Tiger Battalion, the Presidential Guards; (4) General Salva Mathuok Gengdit, the former Deputy Minister of Interior; (5) General Garang Mabil; (6) General Bol Akot; (7) General Aleu Ayieny, the current Minister of Interior.
Mr. Mr. Stephen accused South Sudan’s army generals of "(1) Genocide and crime against humanity; (2) War crimes in violation of Geneva Convention; and (3) Vandalism and formation of a private tribal army for the sole purpose of committing genocide in violation of South Sudan Transitional Constitution.”
What Mr. Stephen avoided to accept is that these generals were and are doing their national duty to defend and protect the Constitution and National sovereignty as sanctioned by Republic of South Sudan Transitional Constitution (RSSTC), 2011, in the wake of a failed coup by Dr. Riek Machr and followers.
Further, Stephen miserably failed to understand the intended meaning of Article 4(1-3) even though he claimed to be a legal expert. For his information, RSSTC says: 4(1) "No person or group of persons shall take or retain control of State power except in accordance with this Constitution; 4(2) Any person or group of persons who attempt(s) to overthrow the constitutional government, or suspend or abrogate this Constitution commits treason; 4(3) Every citizens shall have the duty to resist any person or group of persons seeking to overthrow the constitutional government, or suspendor abrogate this constitution.”
As authorized by RSSTC to defend and protect the sovereignty of the Nation from traitors, as cited above, Mr. Stephen should be advised not to re-invent the wheel and wrongly interpret the laws of the Land, the Republic of South Sudan, simply to cover up Dr. Riek’s treacherous act to overthrow the Constitutional government. Indeed, the Generals whom he falsely accused were and are currently doing their citizenry mandate and duty to defend and protect the Constitution and National Sovereignty from power hungry individuals on top of whom is Dr. Riek Machar.
In the aftermath of failed coup, I am certain that the Generals in question did not and will not target innocent civilians irrespective of their region or tribe. This is because these generals have South Sudan at heart and know very well that the war of liberation was fought by all South Sudan ethnic groups, not Dinka or Nuer tribe alone. It has to be noted here that since inception of SPLM/A, these general served with comrades from diverse backgrounds. In their long service, there have never been any complaints against them whatsoever.
Admittedly, on December 15 and 16, there were unfortunate deaths of civilians from all tribes of South Sudan including foreigners in Juba, but certain ethnic groups, including the Nuer, were not targeted by President Salva and SPLA generals contrary to Stephen’s claim in his infamous article. I believe that those civilians who lost their lives in Juba might have gotten themselves in cross fire ignited by Dr. Riek’s allied Presidential Guards. Consequently, the Generals in question had to do the needful: to defend and protect the constitution and sovereignty of the new born nation, the Republic of South Sudan, from traitors and enemies of peace and stability under the leadership of warlord, Dr. Riek Machar. Therefore, accusation of President Salva and his generals of "premeditated heinous crimes against humanity," is a mere exaggeration of what transpired in Juba, and might have been necessitated by chronic tribal sentiments on his part, to say the least. This is why:
Allegation against 1st Lt.-General SalvaKiirMayardit, President of Republic of South Sudan, Commander-in-Chief of SPLA, and Chairman of SPLM
By all counts, President Salva Kiir Mayardit is the most uniting factor in the Republic of South Sudan. His desire for unity amongst Southerners and stability of South Sudan is evident in his daily deeds from Anya-Nya I through liberation struggle championed by SPLM/A until Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005.
First, since taking over the leadership in 2005after fateful chopper crash that claimed the life of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, General Salva Kiir has played a positive role to unite all South Sudanese including armed militia who would otherwise have not joined ranks with SPLM during Dr. John era.
Second, from 2005 to date, General Salva Kiir brought former antagonists to serve in the government and national army without discrimination or reservation. In fact, he unreservedly made peace with former oppositions and pardoned thousands others, including renegade Peter Gatdet Yak who had defected from SPLA many times. Had it not been for Salva Kiir’s unmatched quest for peace, unity, and stability of South Sudan, rebel Peter Gatdet and people of unpredictable personalities would have been languishing in detention centers long time ago if not fire squatted for reckless actions in the government and SPLM Party.
Third, Salva Kiir patience is unmatched as well in South Sudan Community. However, his forgiving behaviour was abused to a point where some senior SPLM leaders were able to violate rules and regulations at will without severe reprimand until days leading to a failed coup on December 15, 2013. Otherwise, SPLM rebels such as Dr. Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, Deng Alor, among others, would have had their days in court and inevitably sentenced for corruption or in subornation in the Government and SPLM Party. In my opinion, Salva Kiir Mayardit deserves thanks and appreciation, but not condemnation and accusation as Stephen Par Kuol would like to suggest otherwise.
Fourth, in the wake of December 15 failed coup, President Salva kept his cool and conducted himself as President of all Southerners irrespective of region or tribe. Even SPLM rebels who were caught red-handed are currently enjoying good treatment because of President Salva Kiir’s compassionate character.
Fifth, despite uncalled for cold blood killings of citizens of South Sudan and destruction of properties done by the rebels, President Salva was the first to offer unconditional cease-fire hoping to encourage Dr. Riek to follow suit. President Salva did so for love of Republic of South Sudan and her people, but the offer of cease fire wasn’t made out of fear.
Sixth, instead of condemning December 15 failed coup plotters, Mr. Stephen par accused wrong people and calling for an unconditional release of political detainees. It beats people logic to see somebody who is a law-literate advocating for release of law-breakers without following due legal processes in court of law where necessary decision on their release is made. One only wonders about quality of legal expertise that Mr. Stephen Par claim to have!
Based on these glaring facts narrated above, Mr. Stephen has no case against President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Because his article is heavy loaded only with hearsay accounts void of truth, and so it must be condemned in contempt it deserves for inflaming an already complicated situation in our country. It should be indicated here that Mr. Stephen’s underlying motive is to sow fruits of anger and continuous counter revenge amongst Dinka and Nuer brothers to achieve a treacherous agenda. This is evident in his tone and selective approach of the subject matter. To this end, I therefore recommend that allegations made by Stephen Par against the President be dismissed and condemned in their entirety.
Allegation against Lt-General Paul Malong Awan, Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, Chairman of Aweil Community, and Chairman of SPLM of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State
Northern Bahr El Ghazal is the most peaceful State in the Republic of South Sudan. The State has been famous for its peaceful co-existence amongst its citizens and with its neighbors. Today, Northern Bahr El Ghazal is a home of diverse ethnic groups although Dinka and Lou are dominant tribes. The present security conditions do not happen by chance but through hard work and commitment of sitting Governor, Lt-General Paul Malong Awan and his team in the State. This is in addition to the fact that peaceful co-existence is an inborn culture for the people of Aweil. This is why people don’t hear of sectional or tribal conflict in the State, even at times when some tribes and communities in South Sudan are tearing themselves apart over cattle rustling or resources, as now the case in Jonglei, Lakes, and Unity States.
Furthermore, in aftermath of December 15 failed coup, citizens of Northern Bahr El are still living in peace with their brothers and sisters from other States. As I write this piece, NBGS is among few Dinka or Nuer-dominated states where different ethnic communities include the Nuer go about their daily businesses without any threat. If Gen. Paul Malong had intention to killed members of Nuer Community he would have done it the State where he is a de facto Governor. Therefore, Mr. Stephen Par allegation is simply a mere propaganda and falsehood of first order,
On Going Massacres of South Sudanese civilians, mostly Dinka ethnic origin, in Greater Upper Nile
Since December 15, 2013, there have been ongoing massacres of South Sudanese civilians in Unity and Jonglei States, mostly Dinka ethnic origin in the hands of some of their Nuer cousins. Although nobody knows for sure how many people have been killed in cold blood there, the figure of those who perished will be shocking when accurate information and data are established in the due course. Surprisingly, Mr. Stephen intentionally avoided mentioning this glaring reality on the ground. Even so, members of Dinka Community did not and must not revenge reckless acts of some of their Nuer cousins across Sudan, particularly in Dinka dominated States of Greater Bahr El Ghazal (Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Western Bahr El Ghazal, Lakes and Warrap) where most of the victims come from. It’s believed that "an eye for an eye," will surely make all of us Southerners blind if it’s practiced.
For example, if one revenges in a tribal conflict, the targeted victim is most of the time not a culprit, but simply a member of a particular group.
What happened on Sunday, December 15, and events that ensued should save as a wakeup call for all of us South Sudanese if we so wish the Republic of South Sudan to exist and prosper. Because there are people who are determined to see South Sudan crumble to ashes for their selfish reasons as it’s the case now in Greater Upper Nile. These kinds of people should not be given a chance to pursue their devilish dream unchecked. They must be met head-on so that the next generation will not go through this anymore. Citizens of South Sudan do not need a third temptation after August 28, 1991, and December 15, 2013.
“Enough is enough.”
Mr. Stephen Par Kuol must identify himself
Having diligently read his article, I have come to conclusion that Mr. Stephen Par is a member of rebel group led by Dr. Machar. I based on my assessment on the following items:
(1) What happened on the night of December 15 was a well-planned, rehearsed and coordinated coup. Based on what we know, coupled with Government version, Mr. Stephen refusal to admit as such implicated him as one of those who plotted to overthrow an elected government by force.
(2) It’s now established by the government that civilians’ death was caused by cross fire between two warring parties. If Mr. Stephen was fair, he would have blamed Dr. Riek Machar for igniting it, not President Salva and generals who were doing their national duty to protect the Constitution and Sovereignty of the country. In addition, Mr. Stephen decision to focus only on Nuer civilians who died to exclusion of other victims squarely explains his tribal orientation as Mr. Riek Machar who is commanding tribal army, the so-called “White Army.”
(3) In the same article, Mr. Stephen identified himself as “….former State Minister of Education in the recently overthrown Government of Jonglei State by Dr. Riek Machar’s forces.” This is ridiculous! How can a minister be “overthrown,” when the boss, the Governor, is currently performing his constitutional duties in the State. If anything, Mr. Stephen might have defected like some of his colleagues who joined Dr. Riek and allied militia. At this juncture, Mr. Stephen should be honest and admit that he had defected from Government of South Sudan as he alluded to. He should take courage and tell South Sudanese which side he is on: President Salva’s South Sudan or rebel Dr. Riek Machar. But his addressing President Salva as a “serial killer, master of genocide, and prime suspect,”speaks volume.
(4) Stephen Par’s call for indictment of the President of the Republic technically confirms his rebellion against the system and the nation.
(5)The ongoing conflict is not Dinka-Nuer affair as Mr. Stephen Par Kuol erroneously asserted in his infamous article. Rather, it’s a fight between the Government of South Sudan and rebel forces under Dr. Riek Machar’s command. Therefore, Mr. Stephen’s declaration that the war is between Dinka and Nuer is nothing but tribal incitement by coup fugitive to instigate Rwanda like genocide in the country.
An Appeal to Caretaker Governor of Jonglei State John Kong Nyuon:
As a matter of formality and urgency, I am appealing to Caretaker Governor, John Kong Nyuon, to officially relieve this rebel member, Mr. Stephen Par Kuol so that lines become clearer between him in rebel group and government of South Sudan. Indeed, Mr. Stephen Par has already resigned as evidenced by his admission that he is a former Minister of Education in Jonglei State. But it is a constitutional requirement that a letter of dismissal is written by Hon. Caretaker Governor and a new Minister of Education is appointed in Jonglei so that educational services continue to be discharged to our young people in that State.
An Appeal to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Since Mr. Stephen Par has unilaterally resigned from the Government of South Sudan and defected to Dr. Riek Machar’s led rebel group, I would like to urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to immediately withdraw diplomatic passport which Mr. Stephen Par still illegally possesses. I would also like to urge the ministry to withdraw all diplomatic passports still being held by fugitive rebels and to direct all South Sudan embassies around the world to execute this important task.
Sabrino Majok Majok is a South Sudanese working in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org