(Alhag Paul, South Sudan, SSN;) - The dynamics of the National Dialogue have thrown up interesting social realities
. One of these realities is the newly emerging willingness of some intellectual members of the Jieng community to speak out openly.
This is a good development because the blanket silence of the Jieng over the horrendous behaviour of their leaders and the regime in Juba is fueling hatred toward them.
The debate on the National Dialogue is offering opportunity for expression of such change. During a meeting on the subject at Westminster University on 28th March 2017, Peter Biar Ajak surprised some by coming clean.
Peter and the other speakers unanimously agreed that if the National Dialogue is to work, President Salva Kiir must not be the patron as he is part of the problem to avoid the issue of partiality of the process.
They also stressed that the National Dialogue must be inclusive and it should be held in a neutral place to ensure security of the participants.
These concerns have been raised internally by the various South Sudanese political groups and externally by international community.
For example, the People Democrat Movement (PDM) produced a detailed comprehensive document on the topic and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission emphasised the need for impartiality and inclusivity during his visit to Yei, South Sudan.
Peter crucially went further to touch the nexus of Dinkocracy to the National Dialogue. Important as it was, it nearly went unnoticed had Peter not brought it to light.
It appeared as if Peter was clear that the stain of Jieng tribalism would make the National Dialogue exercise lose its credibility.
This is not because over 40 percent of the steering committee of the National Dialogue including its leadership is Jieng, but rather because of the emerging picture about the Jieng government following the resignation of Lt. General Thomas Cirillo Swaka and others from the army.
The resignation letters of these patriotic servants of the people laid bare the tribal nature of the army.
Peter highlighted this point powerfully as an academic distancing himself from the tribal regime and appearing to be patriotic. He stated to the audience that, “since the creation of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), the structure of the government (of South Sudan) turned into Dinka government. With defection of General Thomas Cirillo now the remaining five Chiefs of the army are Dinka and this is now Dinka militia.”
He went on to say, “Dinka nationalism is becoming a threat to South Sudan”. With this truth, Peter in effect joined a new group of Jieng converts who are now seeing the light and want to act patriotically.
In contrast to Peter’s view, The Sudd Institute in their paper titled, The Dialogue Brief, South Sudan’s National Dialogue: what it should be and why it should be supported dated 31st March 2017 attempts to manipulate its readers.
It deceptively paints the national dialogue of President Kiir as a process that has a huge support throughout the country.
This sort of misinformation and manipulation should not surprise anyone as the Sudd Institute is one of the three Jieng think tanks funded clandestinely by the government of President Kiir.
The others are: Ebony managed by Deng Lual Aciek and Centre for Strategic Analysis and Research managed by Peter Biar Ajak himself.
Peter has spoken the truth.
Dinkocracy reigns supreme in South Sudan. Whether Peter’s expressed truism is honest or not, it does not matter. He has at last demonstrated that as a Jieng he has the capacity to be objective.
It would be wrong to say that Peter of all the Jieng is the first person to state the truth about the regime in Juba. Nearly a decade ago, a Jieng lady called Ayeng Jacqueline and few others complaint against Jieng imperialistic behaviour.
In my article, ‘Tear down the SPLM’: will South Sudanese now respond? I wrote about their novel efforts.
“True South Sudanese like Ayuen Panchol and Ayeng Jacqueline Ajak who expressed her view in “Let’s try to reform our people. A Dinka woman’s point of view on Madi land issue” published in February 2009 by South Sudan Nation are leading the way in the Jieng community to do the right thing for the country.
South Sudanese should stand up with them. They are caring of the country and its people. These are individuals who have demonstrated their human values. They say things as they are.
If South Sudan had the majority of its population with the likes of Ayeng and Ayuen, the country today would be a different place to live in and Oyee would have been history.”
The disappearance of these patriotic Jieng from the political scene of South Sudan must be a result of Jieng group pressure. As such we the non-Jieng need to support the good Jieng and where possible protect them to counter the tribal pressure exerted on them to conform.
These complaints must not be forgotten because this is the evidence that women are part of the struggle and they should not be made invisible by male dominance as experienced by women worldwide.
Of recent, converts such as Kuir Garang Kuir have been very vocal against the regime and credits should be given where it is due.
This will help in making the Jieng understand that they are not hated but rather it is their imperialistic behaviour that the people do not like.
Therefore, Peter Biar Ajak being a Jieng from Bor will go a long way if he starts to talk the truth about the Jieng occupation of Madi land, Bari land, Chollo land etc.
I have no doubt that people like him can persuade the Jieng to shun their colonial mentality if they so choose to be on the right side of history.
The impact of Jieng imperialistic adventures on the image of the Jieng and above all Jieng relationship with others is so unhealthy to the extent that it risks serious repercussions for the Jieng as a people.
Presently, Jieng unity that enabled them to abuse South Sudanese is in crisis. The Jieng delusionally committed horrendous crimes in believe that they will remain invincible.
Well, in life there is nothing like that. Human beings act in groups primarily as individuals and individuals have personal ambitions which if suppressed may lead to group fissures and ultimately to disunity and conflict.
This process now seems to be taking place among the Jieng. The squabbles in the heart of Jieng power triggered by the removal of Paul Malong from his military position have opened up cracks rippling through their supposed iron cast unity.
Paul Malong now most likely feels bitterly deceived, used and abused by President Kiir. He may virtually be going through emotional and mental turmoil.
To a large extent, he is possibly a person in crisis with the probability of posing danger to himself and the society.
What makes this situation worse is President Kiir’s Machiavellian restrictions on his movements which suggests he is under house arrest.
Worst still, His supporters are being weeded out of the system and disarmed at lightening speed while his opponents such as General Dau Aturjong are being rehabilitated and fast tracked into position of power.
In a nutshell, Paul Malong to President Kiir is now an enemy exactly like Riek Machar. What an irony? The conflict between this two is similarly replicated throughout the entire Jieng tribe mirroring the bigger conflict of the Jieng against the other 63 tribes.
To illustrate the cracks in the Jieng community, look at the following picture.
The Agouk Jieng of Chief Justice Chan Reec are accusing the Apuk Jieng of President Kiir of Apukanising Warrap like they Dinkocratised the country.
The Malual Jieng of Paul Malong are accusing the Apuk and the Agouk of using them as cannon fodder in their war of imperialism in the country.
The Tonj Jieng of Nhial Deng Nhial and Akol Kur are working hard to replace President Kiir.
The Bor Jieng of Michael Makuie are busy strengthening their militia after being armed by the state to start military incursions into Murle, Mundari and Bari lands.
In addition to this the Bor Jieng have started to challenge the Bahr El Ghazal Jieng groups re-igniting their centuries old rivalries.