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Editorial: The message behind President Kiir’s press briefing

By Elhag Paul

September 27, 2015 (SSNA) -- 15th September 2015 was a day of anticipation for the war battered people of South Sudan.   The country was earlier prepared through the media to expect a special speech from the President of the republic, Salva Kiir.  Radio Tamazuj like other media outlets informed the country a day earlier about the intended President’s address through an article under the heading ‘President Kiir to address the nation on economic hardship’  Eventually when President Kiir delivered the speech, it turns out to be a squelch of a man being dragged screaming and kicking to the implementation phase of the Compromise Peace Agreement he wholeheartedly detests. file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/STATEMENT%20OF%20H.%20E.%20PRESIDENTSALVA%20KIIR%20MAYARDIT.pdf

The heroics he attempted to display in Addis Ababa on 17th August 2015 by refusing to sign the agreement ended with his tail between his legs.  In less than a week, President Kiir begged IGAD to bring the agreement to him in Juba to sign.

Since then the president has been whingeing like an insecure toddler.  Being in that state, President Kiir disingenuously claims in his speech that “the purpose of his press briefing is mainly to share ideas with you (the public) in order to find the best strategies to restore lasting peace in our country.”  Really?

If this press briefing was for finding the best strategies, how would it be operationalised and achieved?  Crucially, the president has not explained the mechanism for achieving such strategies. This supposed purpose for the press briefing ends in the introductory part of the briefing and it does not cascade into the body and the conclusion.  It stands out alone, disconnected from the other issues the president raised and emphasised.

As is the case with any written work, the public receive it and interpret it according to their understanding based on their own historical knowledge, values and beliefs.  Regardless of the types of lenses or tools used to make sense, President Kiir’s message conveys three points clearly.

First, is the capitulation of the regime to the regional body (IGAD).  The song of ‘reservations’ and explanations about violation of South Sudan’s sovereignty is an acknowledgement of a reality that he president Kiir has no power to stop the gathering clouds of peace.  Here, he is between the rock and the hard place.  Power is just slipping away gradually as the agreement gets implemented.  The absolute powers he gleefully wielded in the last decade issuing decrees left and right, threatening members of parliament with ‘roaming the streets’ and sacking elected governors have been drastically curtailed in the agreement he signed.  The act of signing away one’s own illegally obtained powers is the ultimate humiliation of the man and the Jieng Council of Elders.  It is the loss of this power and the status that goes with it which the agreement has brought that is making President Kiir shouts: ‘Help please! Help please! Our sovereignty is being violated!’  He and the JCE expect South Sudanese to be receptive to their cries and rally behind them.  No, Sirs.  Nobody is getting duped.  Nobody is buying his crocodile tears. 

True, South Sudan’s sovereignty is being tampered with but why should South Sudanese care since he (President Kiir) and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) were the first to violate it.  The JCE is a body of Jieng elders composed of Jieng intellectuals and semi illiterate self styled military officers whose objective is to further the interest of the Jieng tribe at the expense of the whole country.  It is not far fetched to argue that it is the JCE that actually has been running the affairs of the country.  Unlike elders anywhere in the world, the JCE is violent and kleptocratic.  In contrast, the global elders composed of dignitaries such as Mr Martti Ahtisaari. Mr Kofi Anan, Mrs Ela Bhatt, Ms Gro Harlem Bruntland, Ms Hina Jilani, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi, Mr Fernando Cardoso, Mr Jimmy Carter, Mr Nelson Mandela, Arcbishop Desmond Tutu etc devote their invaluable time to promoting peace and harmony among the people of the world.  They work tirelessly for world peace and they handle issues with care and prudence.  This is what is expected from real elders and not the violence of the JCE.

Back to the issue of sovereignty, President Kiir and the JCE have hijacked the sovereignty of South Sudan and they freely use it to advance Jieng interest in detriment to the whole country.  The Compromise Peace Agreement is actually a product of abuse of sovereignty of South Sudan by this same group.  Right after IGAD took over the mediation of the talks, President Kiir with the advice of JCE consistently denied the other stakeholders in the country to partake in finding a solution to the conflict.  For example, the denial and violation of the right of travel of people like Mr Peter Sule, Dr Lam Akol and others from going to attend the talks in Addis Ababa.  The question now is: why is President Kiir and the JCE seeking support from those they trashed and abused?  The centuries old adage – you reap what you sow applies here. 

The president and his Jieng short-sightedly antagonised the majority of South Sudanese.  They never thought there would be hard times.  Now, hard times are here, they want support of the very people they abused and deprived.  No, that support will not come.  In fact they first need to account for destroying the country.  As they have sowed killings, hatred, mega theft of public resource, ethnic cleansing, expansionists policies etc they now must reap “rebooting” of governance in the country with thorough accountability.  Thus as South Sudan is being rebooted South Sudanese really do not give a damn about a ‘hijacked sovereignty’ serving the interest of a single tribe: Jieng.

The second message President Kiir is passing to South Sudanese is that SPLM/A has ceased to be what it was.  This is most welcome news because this Jieng machine (SPLM/A) is the real cause of all the sufferings of South Sudanese people.  There is no need to talk about its evil because it is obvious.  Time and again South Sudanese have been warned that the SPLM/A will destroy them, but this message keeps falling on deaf ears.  Its leaders in the person of Pagan Amum and his group are now on the run for their dear lives from it.  For those who do not know much about the SPLM/A they should check the World Wide Web for the plethora of information about this criminal organisation.

President Kiir declared, ‘It must be stated clearly that the reality of political difference within the SPLM which has been cemented in the peace agreement, and accepted cheerfully by our colleagues in the opposition; requires us all to organise ourselves on new basis.  This simply means “The SPLM will never be one again as long as we follow the implementation of this Compromise Peace Agreement.”’ 

While this notification comes as a massive relief to majority of South Sudanese, President Kiir must be held to account for the role he played in destroying their beloved machine of terror.  The whole calamity that hit South Sudan ignited by the SPLM meeting of 5th March 2013 is a direct result of his gross negligence, poor leadership, and refusal to accept to be guided by party rules.  His obsession to remain “the flag bearer” without following the party rules landed the country into the current chaos.

President Kiir can not just now use the bitter pill of the Compromise Peace Agreement administered to them to place the blame of SPLM/A break up on Pagan Amum and Riek Machar.  He laments, “This IGAD prescribed peace document on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan is the most divisive and unprecedented peace deal ever seen in the history of our country and the African continent at large.”

This may well be the case but President Kiir should look himself in the mirror on the issue of division.  This ‘scarcely literate’ President forgets that he has been one of the most divisive figures in the country.  Since he came to power in 2005, Kiir has presided over the division of various ethnic groups in the whole country to promote Jieng expansionist policies.  For instance, in Upper Nile, he blatantly decreed Chollo land of Pigi county to the Jieng of Padang.  In Nimule, Eastern Equatoria, he promoted through violent means resettlements of Jieng of Bor and so on.  On the area of law and order he has allowed the Jieng to kill members of other ethnicities without accountability.  Tragically, in December 2013, President Kiir displayed his hateful traits by ethnically cleansing the Nuer in Juba.  Not only that but he imprisoned the survivors in the UN Protection camps to date.

So what division is President Kiir talking about?  The Compromise Peace Agreement actually unites all the people of South Sudan if anything.  Cynically, President Kiir attempts to convey a false picture to the world that South Sudanese before the Compromise Peace Agreement were united.  He and his JCE are the architect of divisions in the country with their vicious practice of violent tribalism.

As the SPLM/A is now heading towards a break up, the members of this dysfunctional organisation from the other ethnic groups should seize on this opportunity to free themselves completely by severing ties and joining other political groups.  This will ensure that the state powers the Jieng capitalised on under the SPLM/A becomes something of the past.  Let the JCE remain with their “SPLM “ and let the people see how they will gain votes from other ethnicities to accede to power again in a genuine election.

The third point subtly delivered is a threat or rather a declaration to obstruct the whole process of the transitional period.  President Kiir is a well known hypocrite.  He is fond of doing the opposite of what he promises or says.  During the celebration of South Sudan independence on 9th July 2011 he emphatically promised South Sudanese peace.  Before his words could be forgotten, he embarked on disarming all the other ethnicities and re-arming the Jieng.  The Nuer being the majority in the army by then also did the same.

Within five months after independence the country was thrown into a tribal war between an alliance of Jieng and Nuer against the Murle.  President Kiir and his Vice Riek did nothing as if nothing seriously damaging the credibility of the state had happened re its duty to protect.  Neglectfully neither of the two called or instituted an enquiry.  That was the first sign of failure in leadership of both President Kiir and Riek and the failure of state to protect its citizen.   Fresh from this debacle, President Kiir unnecessarily went into a wild adventure of invading the Sudan and eventually retreating to remain in the disputed Panthou.  He crowed to Mr Ban Ki Moon that he would never withdraw.  Within a day he pulled out.  Please see, ‘Panthou war: the reflections of unnecessary war’

In 2012 President Kiir promised to address the problem of rampant corruption.  He even produced a list of 75 alleged thieves.  What has he done?  Nothing!  Then in 2013 he recruits a private militia popularly known as Dootku Beny/Mathiang Anyoor/Gelweng.  It is this militia that became responsible for the cleansing of the Nuer in Juba sparking the current vicious war that has consumed tenth of thousands of lives and displaced over two million people.

It is clear from these few examples that President Kiir is definitely a hypocrite. 

Now read this excerpt from the Lord of Darkness’ briefing.  “Having made our reservations and expressed our disappointment on the provision of the Agreement, I (President Kiir) finally signed the Peace Document with reservations to return our country back to peace and development.  With that signature, I had fully committed the government to faithful implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.  All institutions of government in the country shall be bound by this Agreement and shall be expected to carry out the functions stipulated for them therein.  I believe you are aware of that National Council ministers has already endorsed and adopted the Agreement and that the National Legislature has ratified it as well.  In my capacity as Commander-In-Chief of the SPLA, I have already issued a cease fire order for SPLA troops to stop any military offensive in the conflict zones unless on self defence.”

Anybody who is a close observer of the president will be worried by what he has outlined.  His weasel words signify troubles.  President Kiir as a hypocrite may not be promising peace.  He may be declaring obstruction to the implementation of the peace agreement.  It is not a surprise therefore to see his troops aided by Uganda People Defence Forces using helicopter gunships to decimate the Chollo villages in Upper Nile and Unity states to clear land for resettlement of the Jieng.  This is a serious violation of the peace agreement.  Equally, he has unleashed his dogs of war on Equatoria while deceptively preaching peace as in his press briefing.  Equatoria now must face the reality of its predicament resulting from non active political engagement in the country.

The three points in the message sums up a declaration for a protracted obstruction to derail the Compromise Peace agreement.  In effect SPLM-IG and the evil forces running it have wedged themselves on the road to peace in South Sudan. The implementation of the peace agreement is not going to be an easy one. The road ahead will be bumpy with unexpected dangers along the way. 

Will Dr Riek Machar manage travelling on this road?  There is a big question mark.   Riek does not appear to grasp the dynamics emanating from the new reality created by the agreement.  In some state of lullaby dreaming of becoming a president, this pretender without any skills and knowledge of leadership is a disaster waiting to happen.  Instead of taking serious note of the violations by Juba so far denting the agreement and making it questionable, he is nowhere to be heard or seen.  Riek should by now vigorously be engaging the IGAD, South Sudanese people and the international community by delivering relevant national statements and holding conferences to highlight the numerous violations of the peace agreement with recommendations of what should be done. 

Unfortunately, he is nowhere to be heard or seen.  Sadly, he leaves this vital job to his spokesman.

Riek now jubilantly goes around with wide smiles deluding himself that he has achieved a victory.  Anybody who followed Riek’s behaviour after he signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 can not fail to see the same naive behaviour surfacing again in him.  Back then he carried himself as if he wielded real power in Khartoum.  His tribalistic actions were everywhere to be seen with posts dished out to close family members and some favoured Nuer.  That experience in short ended bitterly as he had to run to Dr Garang in 2002 with his tail coiled.   South Sudanese are about to be administered a dose of similar behaviour in a very fluid and dangerous circumstances whereby the oppressors of the people are geared to fighting to the death.

If Riek wants to win this battle in order to realise peace for a democratic transformation in the county, he must be pro-active, constantly alert, highly communicative and actively engaging the stakeholders, drafters and guarantors of the deal to breath fire on the regime in Juba.  Otherwise his credibility and limited support will be a foregone conclusion.

In conclusion, President Kiir’s press briefing is a serious message of a wounded bull whose future has been blown by the IGAD document.  It is a declaration of a fight to the death.  Therefore, South Sudanese, the drafters of the agreement and the international community must take note and be prepared for the worst.

[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 .

Did the president’s recent state of the nation address meet the threshold of an ideal state of the nation/union address?

By Juma Mabor Marial

September 21, 2015 (SSNA) -- Sometimes, one gives up on public affairs when the nation has ended up on a road to nowhere. This is the conclusion I made when I stopped writing and concentrated on my private businesses. I deliberately stopped writing to avoid putting myself into loggerhead with those who thought I might have been infringing on their authority.

But even as I was busy with my private businesses, I didn’t neglect my civic duties of sharing with colleagues and other like-minded intellectuals the challenges and wrong path our nascent country was taking. I didn’t however shared a lot on the on-going conflict and it dynamics or the peace negotiations basically on the assessment I had made and against the experiences and the difficulties those who contributed faced as most of them were easily branded as rebels sympathizers or government mouth-piece. It was and it is still a risky venture to undertake and that is why I decided to remain neutral at least until the objectivity and rationalism is restored.

This may not be the topic of discussion but I thought about this disclaimer because I wish to once again share with the public my reaction to the recent State of the Nation/Union Address by the President of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir. For some of us who may not be familiar with the meaning and objectives of the State of the Nation/Union Address, I want to share a little bit on the theory before we could move on to the content and analyst the strengths and weaknesses of the recent State of the Nation/Union Address by the President.

A State of the Nation/Union Address (SoN/UA/) is a political model in which the President  reports on the status of the nation. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the President to outline his or her national agenda and national priorities. It is here that the President can recommend any measures that he or she believes are necessary and expedient.

The SoN/UA is often broadcast to inform the nation about its present economic, political, and social condition. It is also a vehicle for the President to summarize the accomplishments and plans of his/her programme of government both for a particular year and until the end of his/her term of office.

In the United States of America, the President address a joint session of the United States Congress, typically delivered annually. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the President to outline his or her legislative agenda (for which they need the cooperation of Congress) and national priorities. The address fulfills rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, requiring the President to periodically give Congress information on the "state of the union" and recommend any measures that he or she believes are indispensable and convenient. During most of the country's first century, the President primarily only submitted a written report to Congress. With the advent of radio and television, the address is now broadcast live across the country on most networks.

In several countries, state of the nation address are criticized by various sectors for being too ostentatious and flashy, with politicians and media personalities treating the event as a red carpet fashion show. One Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago blasted the organizers and called the event a "thoughtless extravagance" where "peacocks spread their tails and turn around and around, as coached by media in a feeding frenzy."

This criticism is too heavy to be replicated in South Sudan or one risked other consequences, but let us now moves back to the situation and critically looks at the state of the union address of our President. Unlike in the United States of America and many other countries of the world, the State of the Nation/Union Address of the President of the Republic of South Sudan is not delivered through the legislature or given on a specified calendar date. This may be by design or default.

It is unfortunate that, the few technocrats that controls the timetable of the President sits and decides any weekend that the President should address the nation on this date and rush the announcement to the media thus obliging everyone to anxiously wait for what the surprise state of the nation address would deliver. This can of course not be blamed on these secretaries in the office of the President but it should be blamed entirely on the framers of the Transitional Constitution and the legislators for not having thought it important to incorporate a specific calendar date for the state of the nation address as an integral provision of the supreme law and other enabling legislations.

Their attempt to cater for this event is vaguely articulated under article 78 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 which states that ‘the President may personally or by a message, address the national legislature or either of its houses. The national legislature or either of its two houses shall accord priority to such request over any other business. The President may also request the opinion of the national legislature or either of its two houses on any subject matter’. 

This is the highest ambiguity that any constitution would allow because the letter and spirit of this provision is to the extent that, its gives the President the privilege and the freedom to call on parliament any time he deems fit and appropriate to address the nation, i.e. If the state of the nation address is to be given through the parliament. Again, if one look at article 101 (t) of the Transitional Constitution on the functions of the President, this is where you would find the proviso on the annual state of the nation address but whether this one is being implemented is another glaring question because for instance, how many state of nation address did the President made since South Sudan gained independence, one would likely suggest four on approximate but whether they were four or more is another area that need research. But that is not the issue of contention here; the question is the substance of what the context of the State of the Nation/Union Address that the President has been giving and is yet to be giving entails.

Having said this, one would not be surprise by the substance of what the content of the address entails as it is prima facie a rush and unplanned event where some note takers thinks it is just but a bullet point exercise that is not worth wasting time to prepare. Throughout his state of the nation address, the President has continued to keep the nation (citizens) glued to the televisions and their ears fixed on the radios waiting for something that never come at the end of the day.

In his recent state of the nation address, the President was expected to inform the nation (citizens) about the relationship with the foreign and diplomatic community and affirm whether the gaps that were apparent have been bridged after he signed the peace agreement, people were also eagerly waiting to hear the security status of the country and what are the developmental and infrastructural plans for the country, the commitment to peace agreement and the challenges and achievements that the government is able to report. He was also expected to talk about the economy.

The President didn’t do much in all the above areas except that he spent his entire time talking about the Compromised Peace Agreement that he had signed and reiterates his insistency on a number of reservations that he made when he signed the pact. This is not a bad elaboration to have been made by H.E. because, as the head of state, he must share his commitment on the peace by enlightening the citizens on the deal and ask them to support him in the implementation in order to have a sustainable peace in the country.

The President scored highly on this item and he was applauded crossed the country and around the world for this statesmanship. Those who assisted him from his office on the literature and philosophy in giving the world and the people the assurances of his commitment to peace were equally appreciated.

However, it was unfortunate to realize that, the state of the nation address was only organized to talk about the signed peace agreement and left out other crucial issues like the state of our foreign relation as a country, our development master plan, the achievements that the President and his government might have made despite the strife in the country, the infrastructural plans, the economic status and the challenges that the nation faced as a result of the conflict and other external factors.

Precisely, the President was expected to assure the citizens that his decision to append his signature on the Compromised Peace Agreement (CPA) has improved the foreign relations of South Sudan and her international friends, he was also expected to give a rough summary of what his government has achieved despite the on-going conflict, talk about the northern corridor project, the EAC engagement, the cooperation agreement with Sudan, the implementation by his government of the GPAA peace agreement, the improvement on the healthcare, education and infrastructural development. The President should have also taken it as his government achievement the declaration of cease-fire even if it is being sabotaged by the enemies of peace. He should have informed the nation of his government short and long-terms plans. The recently pasted vision 2040, what it entails in terms of development, infrastructure, education, healthcare systems, democracy, security and other well-fare issues.

After that the President should have talked about the challenges that his government is facing in its attempt to deliver services to the nation and this is where it would have been convenient for him to justify his calls for the nation to support him in the implementation process so that the country can return to stability and redefine its destiny. Again because the organizers of this event thought it was just a breakfast activity, they made the President, someone I have always considered a Wiseman and hold with highest respect repeat himself over and over again on one item called the implementation of the peace agreement.

My ultimate discontentment came about when the President came to the end of his address with regard to the state of our economy and informed the nation that and I quote; ‘I know some of you wanted me to talk about economy, but I decided not to talk about it purposely because I know, even if I talk about it [economy], we will just be discussing it here, but there is nothing that can be done about it’. This is where he scored NIL, as a President, you are like a doctor, a teacher, a father in the house and everything. You may be aware of the difficulties and the challenges just like all of us knows that the economy of the country has nearly collapsed but the last person to declare that is the President because like a doctor, you cannot tell the patient that the disease is incurable less you risk them taking their lives before you leave that room, as a father, you cannot tell your children that, I know you are hungry but there is no food and therefore, you have to live with it.

I know the President was giving this statement from the position of honesty but what he should have known is that there is more to his office than just being honest, he didn’t have to express himself in the negative but rather, he should have turn it positive by informing the nation that, he is aware of the economic difficulties the country is facing as a consequent of the conflict and the only way out would be for all the citizens to join him in implementing the agreement that he has signed with the rebels as this will enhance improvements in the economic sector.

This statement would not mean doing something about it but rather, it will help in restoring hopes among the citizens and that is why the Presidents are called the fathers of the nations because they are the symbols of hope for the nation even in situations where the people are in despair. The President should have realized what his actions and his statements could do when he signed the peace agreement on 26th August, 2015, the market reacted positively to this development and a dollar that was exchanging at 17 SSP in the black market lowered to 11 SSP just in a matter of hours, this is doing something about fragile economic situation because economy usually reacts to political developments. His statement that there was nothing that could be done about the worsening economic situation open flood gates for unscrupulous business practitioners to abuse the market and after that day, the dollar that was trading at 14 SSP shot up to 16 SSP while the local shopkeepers increased their prices by 40 % and when asked about why they are doing that, they would simply reply, ‘there is nothing we can do about it’.

It is not surprising though that our President is not known for motivating the citizens in the situation of despair for instance, when the first graduation ceremony was made in the University of Juba early this year, the President told the grandaunts that they should not hope for being absorb into the government since there are very few positions in the government. This was not to encourage them to be job creators because he felt short in declaring that aspects, instead, he was telling them that there was nothing his government could do about the high rate of unemployment even as most of them graduates into the job market.

Summed up together, it is unfortunate to conclude that, the recent State of the Nation/Union Address by the President just like many other statements that he gives in public occasions failed to meet the threshold requires by an ideal state of the union practice. Most importantly, the President and those who organizes these functions with  him must also understand that the hopes and expectations of the people of South Sudan are usually anchored upon their office and anytime they come out to say something in form of the state of the nation address, people eagerly anticipates a solution to a number of challenges that are facing them and for the President to declare that there is nothing that can be done about something like economy is suicidal and  to some larger extent an absolute declaration of despair.

Finally, I can’t blame the President so much because he cannot do all by himself but my disappointment goes to those who are in his office, they should be the ones to read the minds of the public and advice the President to tailor his state of the nation address in such a comprehensive manner as to cover all the aspects regarding the country’s political and socio-economic situation. They should also advice the president to usually gives assurances and guarantees where the citizens are about to give up. These are the tasks for which they are being paid and maintained otherwise, if they allow the President to speaks the way he did in the recent state of the nation address, then, they could be deliberately sabotaging his relationship with the citizens or altogether ineptitude. I don’t know which one of these is relevant but a serious investigation must be made on those two scenarios.

Juma Mabor Marial is an advocate. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Why Nuer Unite During Wartimes and Split During Peacetimes? An Obnoxious Chronicle which calls for a Generational Change

By: Thomas Tut Doap

September 18, 2015 (SSNA) -- First and foremost, allow me to advise the entire readerships to, analytically, read the piece before reacting to it. I am saying this because experiences have shown that many internet politicians do not allow themselves sometimes to read the materials present by the authors, digest the substance and respond accordingly. Instead they only read the title and the writer’s name then immediately form their own opinionated negative/positive response. With that being said ladies and gentlemen, and before embarking on the main topic of this article, one love ask whether  Aesop and his famous parables makes any sense to any of you in his quote which goes as, “United we stand divided we fall”?

While it gives the impression that “United we stand divided we fall” would be the war cry of some famous soldier, its actual first recorded use dates back to Aesop and his parables. This quote can be found as a direct statement in “The Four Oxen and the Lion.” It can also be found indirectly in “The Bundle of Sticks.” That I am going to relate hereunder:

Aesop’s The Four Oxen and the Lion

The first parable reads as follows:

A lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to wane another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling [sic] among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in the separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

The second parable is Aesop’s The Bundle of Sticks

This short fable tells of a man whose sons often quarrel among themselves. To show them the benefit of working together, he brings them a bundle of sticks. He asks them to break the bundle of sticks. As expected, the brothers cannot break the sticks when they are together. However, they can easily be broken individually. The dictum of this tale is written as follows:

My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this bundle, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.

The two stories have the same moral value in that they embolden the unity of purpose among people whose vocation exclusively depends on it, whenever a need arises.

To this author, Nuer people’s behaviors fit well with the above two parables because of the following unfortunate circumstances that ensued for more than two generations:

1. Anya Nya I (South Sudan Liberation Movement) Era:

Like any other South Sudanese, the Nuer had heroically fought that war right from 1963 (the year well known to be the time when the Upper Nile Region joined the war of liberation, which started in August 1955, one year before the Sudan national independence) to 1972. When the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement between the government of the Sudan and the leadership of the Anya Nya One had concluded, some top Nuer field commanders came up with discontent attitude towards that agreement, among the well-known commanders at the time was Captain Kuanen of Fangak, who later got attacked and killed by Surgeon William Nyuon Bany by then, under the directives of Lt. Col. Mabil Riak, who assumed the Upper Nile zonal Command, after Oter’s mysterious demise at the battle of Khorfulus 1972. After the death of Captain Kuanen in the hands of his own brothers, William Nyuon was rewarded and given the rank of Captain Kuanen. This ordeal took place during peace time, when every Southern Sudanese inside and outside Sudan was preparing for the post-war projects of benefits, while Nuer were busy killing themselves due to the lack of better political orientation and education.

In early years of Addis Ababa Accord implementation, Samuel Gai Tut was grassed on and conspired against by his own fellow Nuer politicians and army officers, which culminated into his early retirement from the army. When Gai joined politics, he was assassinated, characteristically, by being sent to jail for good one year without charges and after pretested in the jail by going hunger strike, he was brought to court and absurdly charged with “possession of unlicensed weapon”. One would not waste a precious time and space to talk about who Gai Tut was and why he should not be qualified to own a handgun. This was done to bar him (Samuel Gai) from running the 1982 regional elections. (Judge Michael Makuei Lueth knows more about this). The conspirators were Samuel’s own colleagues, friends and even relatives that ganged up against him to destroy him militarily and politically. Gai was one of the renowned leaders and warriors during wartime, but during peace time, the very people he served and even saved turned against him and destroyed him permanently.

1975 Akobo Mutiny

Instead of Benson Kuany Latjoor and his team to be educated about the intend of their transfer to North by their informed Nuer politicians and military officers, they were decoyed into inadvertent and uncoordinated rebellion, which ended up with lots of their colleagues, who hesitated to take up arms in that hasty manner to lose their lives. As it was revealed later, Col. Abel Akol was one of the Officers who were planning a military coup against Jaafer Mohamed Numeeri in Khartoum and Abel was mobilizing some forces from Southern region to help in case of eventuality. But one of the Southern officers in Khartoum happened to know about Col. Abel’s mission and connived against him by misrepresenting the transfer to mean “disarmament” of that particular battalion in Akobo. That was peace time. But did Akobo incident made any sense for many Nuer politicians and military officers? Of course not! That was why Bilpam was easily overrun by the SPLA using the same William Nyuon as the Commander of Bilpam destruction without asking himself of who were in Bilpam to be destroyed?

1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement Era

Although the Sudan all-out civil war was still raging on, at least there must have been a relative peace in Upper Nile Region, which was predominantly a SSIM stronghold. Unfortunately, Nuer communities had lost a good number of their own sons in their own hands. Most of those who lost their lives were accused of unfounded allegations that were regretted later on. It was supposed to be a peace time that many had unnecessarily lost their lives.

2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement Era

After the conclusion of the CPA and the eventual convening of the South-South Dialogue, there supposed to be peace and unity among all ethnic groups in Southern Sudan. Regrettably, Nuer elements within the former SSDF, under Paulino Matip had remained with the North under the alleged reason that there was something amiss with SPLM-led government in Southern Sudan and that something must be done for them otherwise. The author of this piece volunteered to leave behind all beneficial engagements that would have earned him not only personal reward, but national benefit as well, to take time with SSDF Officers who remain in Khartoum to sway them that it was good to be with their leader, Paulino Matip. But that mission ended up with much disenchantment and loses of everything expected of me, including my education and daily earnings. On the processes and in less significant occasions, some of those officers who repudiated to follow Paulino under Juba Declaration, began to leave Khartoum and joined the same government they described as “Dinka government”, despite Riek Machaar being the second man in the leadership and technically the one in charge of Southern affairs at the time Salva Kiir was the fulltime Vice president of the Republic of the Sudan. Dr. Riek himself made more than necessary trips to Khartoum in an attempt to convince those Nuer officers that it was of their best interest to join the Southern government. One of the most disappointing meetings was done with this author present at Sudan Armed Forces HQs in Khartoum. One of the key speakers was Brigadier General Bapiny Monytuiil Wichjang, who had criticized Dr. Riek and accused him of “selling Nuer pride and dignity to Dinka”. Do one needs to ask now, who is who between Riek and Bapiny? That time supposed to be a peace time, but still many experienced military officers lost their lives fighting a war without clear agenda. Among those who died was Col. Met Monytuiil Wichjang, Kol Chaara Nyaang and Chuol Wal Banang, to mention just a few.

2015 Compromise Peace Agreement

Before the actual signing of the said agreement for some few days, there appeared a group of generals, who had expressed their frustration with Riek Machaar’s leadership and as a result, the later had taken an administrative action against those senior officers by removing them from their military assignments purportedly “pending” another assignments. When it became apparent to the detached senior officers that their commander-in-chief had an ill-intention for their removal, they declared their split from the movement and formed their own movement, which is yet to be named. Another group of politicians that called themselves as “Nuer Council of Elders” had announced their disassociation from Riek’s movement, expressing the same thing (dissatisfactions) with Riek’s leadership style.

All along, since the December 2013 Juba terrible incident, those senior military officers and senior politicians have been with Riek and they shared lots of events such as conventions and political consultative conferences in Fagaak, Nasir and elsewhere. In all the events, that took place under the chairmanship of Dr. Riek, there had never been a word of dissatisfaction of Riek’s leadership and how the convention or the leadership should bother about correcting it. Only in the last minutes that it appeared there has been something wrong with Riek’s leadership.

Let’s presumed that there is undeniably an issue against Riek Machaar, which might need remedy, The questions that the author of this piece would like the Nuer intellectuals to answer professionally in their own views as individuals wherever they may be, are that:

1. Is this time the right time to divide Nuer population, when the whole world have turned their open eyes to the implementation of the current peace agreement because of Riek Machaar’s leadership style?

2. Are all Dinka communities satisfied with Salva Kiir’s leadership style? If not, are they (Dinka) united behind their son, despite all reservations on his leadership style?

3. Why do we move anti clockwise when other South Sudanese are taking different direction?

Some people may agree with the writer in that during the CPA era even after independence, there were many political commentators and analysts who always talked about a need for change in South Sudan. However, after 2013 incident, it became apparent that those writers and commentators disappeared in thin air and the whole South see the big problem as a Dink-Nuer people one. Are Nuer intellectuals reading between the lines of political development in horizon correctly?  

One must acknowledge, in a true meaning of the term, that I don’t know how to illustrate our demeanors towards leadership, collectively as one entity and individually as people. However, one thing I know for real is a fact that issues and times go hand in hand. Once you missed one of them, the whole thing fall apart. In more clear elucidations; if someone has an undisputable case, but missed the deadline, this is calls, in legal term, “Limitation of Statute”. That means, no matter how much a person tries, the end result always is “Sorry, there is nothing we can do!” some niches may argue that there is different between what is being presented here and the developed world’s political system, but South Sudan is already a member of the world body who does most of the things using established procedures, and failure to live up to this conception, would be more than a disaster.

One little thing I know about our behavior towards leadership is that we want everything to be done our way; and tend to be perfectionists all the times. Another observation is that we always approach uncertain future with negative attitudes, thinking only the bad result. This behavior has been the reason behind the failure of Nuer leadership from 1982-2002, because we are quick to quit and give up easily. And you remember, “A quitter never Wins and a Winner Never quits” (Preslutsky, 1986). We always think as losers; and that’s why we lost more than once.

The author of this article would not entertain any reasoning around “Riek Machaar’s weakness”, as one of the dependence mechanisms for our collective quilt. If any of you insists, and dwells on Riek’s leadership, one must inform the uninformed that Riek was not in Anya One, but John Pidak Lieeth and David Koak Guok were. Riek was not in Anya Two, but David Dak Gai, David Dogok Puoch, and John Jock Reath Luot were. Riek was not in Regional Government, but Peter Gatkuoth and countless of Nuer intellectuals were.

In conclusion, it is with this author’s confidence that unity of each ethnic group in South Sudan among itself will categorically lead into the total unity of the entire nation. And therefore, my personal appeal to my fellow Nuer intellectuals, being those politicians or military officers, is that the issue at hand currently has sidestepped personality’s politics; and it becomes an individual ability to use mental capacity to question and answer oneself fittingly. Moreover, our failure to distinguish between yesteryears, when we were just freedom fighters and the current situation, when we are talking about a country which we all called our own, will lead into undesirable ramifications. As such, if anyone believes that he or she has a big contribution to make but Riek Machaar has been his/her problem, with current peace agreement, you and Riek become equal in that each one of you will have his own role to play in the implementation of the agreement. Some of you may not even be able to see Riek until 2018 because of your different assignments during this period. LET OUR UNITY NOT TO BE AT THE WARTIMES AND NOT AT THE PEACETIMES because, “United We Stand Divided We Fall”!

Thomas Tut Doap is one of the concerned South Sudanese citizens and a graduate student at University of Bellevue, Nebraska U.S.A, college of Business Administration, majoring Human Resource Strategic Management, he can be reached via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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