[ VOICES ] “Tribalism will bury us if we don’t bury it” – THE VICTIMS OF POLITICAL MANEUVERS IN SOUTH SUDAN

by Clement Maring Samuel, first published on Nyamilepedia with original title as “MUNDARI PEOPLE: THE VICTIMS OF POLITICAL MANEUVERS IN SOUTH SUDAN  March 13, 2018  (https://www.nyamile.com/2018/03/13/mundari-people-the-victims-of-political-maneuvers-in-south-sudan/)

The Mundari Ethnic group celebrating the independent of a new country, South Sudan, with their instruments in 2011(Photo: South Sudan 2011)

This article responds to the ominous plans designed by some ill-willed people in South Sudan who invented negative plans to harm the Mundari community in order to achieve their political interests. This paper addresses some of the injustices created by negative politicians and groups who target the Mundari people as ladder to achieve their objectives. One of these evil plans is manifested in minutes of a meeting conducted at ARK HOTEL, Kampala Uganda, on 6/11/2009, by some Dinka Bor intellectuals including SPLA Generals. The other evil plan which is actually the first is wielded in the political Marathon between the Pro-division and anti-division politics of the then Southern Sudan regional government. The purpose of this paper is to warn wrong elements in South Sudan to stop manipulating certain communities to achieve their goals.

In 2009, the minutes of the eight members of the Dinka Bor meeting held in Ark Hotel in Kampala on 6/11/2009 circulated secretly in South Sudan, and the Mundari people undermined it because that was a critical period where South Sudan was at the verge of separating from the North. The Mundari community focuses on the general elections and the referendum other than on this selfish plan. The paper resurfaced these days on social media, and circulation of this document is reawakening fresh memories of the fighting between the Dinka Bor and Mundari communities in 2009 as a result of this document. Since it has resurfaced, it will be so naïve to just ignore it because the architect’s intention is evil, which demands challenge. The architects of this paper are denying its authenticity, they might be right or wrong, it is common understanding that cowards always plan evil things behind the scene and then deny it. The fighting between Dink Bor and Mundari in Gemeiza up to Mangalla revealed that the effects on the ground are far from denial, there is no smoke without fire. The sin of Ark hotel in Kampala to this evil group is the exposition of the odor of this mafia who think that when they hiss underneath the water, the smell cannot be felt at the surface. The Mundari are aware of the ploy to destroy them as a people in their land. But as a people in their God given land, they maintain reservation and keep the maximum vigil on how this evil plan will be implemented, and also to identify the culprits behind it.

The provision of the Dinka Bor for services to take control over the Mundari-land has happened since 2009. They created violence in Gemeiza and burnt down number of Mundari villages using the government forces who were supported by high ranking military commanders to fulfill their ill intention of annexing the pastures in Equatoria to Bor. This is to have a political influence in central Equatoria, the seat of the government of South Sudan, in order to dominate Equatoria politics and exploit it. The Mundari people are seen as obstacle to achieve this goal, and so, they should first deal with the Mundari community to enable easy access into other parts of Equatoria. Wani Nyambur Boughta who hailed from Gemeiza and a neighbor to Bor is targeted and singled out as a threat to their expansion strategy. Wani Nyambur was incriminated of acquiring great knowledge about the colonial and khedival history, and the condominium administrative borders with Bor, and his social life with chiefs seems to be a threat to Bor intellectuals since he is an SPLA officer and a political figure in SPLM. These chattels are use to retract Wani Nyambur from getting promotions into high military and political positions in central government. Wani Nyambur Boughta was one of the first Mundari cadres who joined the SPLA in the early days of the liberation struggle and contributed immensely for the movement. The Dinka Bor describes him as “high educated person and high qualified gifted politician”, but when it comes to reward, they betrayed him by describing him as “an associate with the NCP and betrayer of the Mundari people”. Yet, their NCP leaders are considered as liberators while denouncing the Mundari freedom fighters. This is injustice in the SPLM an SPLA shows that politics of tribal domination overshadows the contribution of those who sacrificed for the liberation of South Sudan. Instead, they appease rebellion with high political and military rewards while discarding the diehards into dustbins. This injustice in the SPLM/A is making the just minds within the SPLM/A to ask this question: What kind of comradeship is this and where is nationalism in the SPLM/A?

There were certain events on the ground that shows the fulfillment of objectives of the minutes in Ark hotel. The systematic burning down of more than 16 Mundari villages in Gemeiza in 2009 by Dinka Bor youths signaled the implementation of this plan. . The movement of the commissioner of Bor using his flag throughout Mundari areas of Gemeiza is the actual implementation of the minutes of Ark hotel plan. The use of army to fight the Mundari people in order to frustrate efforts for peace and reconciliations between the Dinka Bor and Mundari of high academic profile are all the fulfillment of this letter. This strategy was implemented through creating disorder by killing to create inter-ethnic fights, organizing bush attacks, cattle raids, seizure of grazing areas, intimidation, harassments, and creating political instability and regional conflicts. Surprisingly, the same people who created these atrocities are the first to accuse the Mundari community in the media, but the Mundari people took a peaceful approach to quell down this intended plan through peace and reconciliation conference held in Terekeka in 2010, which drew the neighboring tribes of Bor and Aliab Dinka to reconcile with the Mundari.

The current civil war in the country is a result of many factors some of which are maneuvered by people who operated behind the scene and uses certain community as seal to achieve their hidden plans. When Gen. George Athor waged his war in Jonglei State, he wanted to advance to Juba by creating insecurity in Mundari land so that he gets opportunity to march to Juba. Some top political and security elements in the government from Bor were behind his move, but with the strong leadership and security alertness of the commissioner of Terekeka County in 2010, their evil plan was defused. Their target was the leadership of South Sudan, but the ladder is through Mundari community, and their destiny is establishment of Bor Kingdom in Equatoria. The occupation of land in Equatoria is taking place in Southern Bari, Kajokeji and Nimule. Cattle camps in those areas belong to the top military and political leaders of Bor which are heavily militarized, and this is one of their strategies how to occupy the lands of Equatoria, and when the owners complain, they are accused as un-nationalists. Where is nationalism here when certain communities in South Sudan feel that they can dominate others? Some wrong elements believe that the leadership of South Sudan belongs to Bor, hence, snatched away from Bor by the Bahr el Ghazal Dinka who are inferior to Bor. This superiority complex is manifested in their document when they arrogated upon themselves the authority to create Dinka Bor a class society which is superior to any tribe at national level. Their dire needs of creating a super class and the zeal to occupy the land of Equatoria are the driving engines behind this move since the period of the former Southern Sudan Regional Government. This hegemonic spirit is the one that gave birth to the Jieng Council of Elders who behaves like cankerworms in the government of Salva Kiir Mayardit.

History has shown about the injustices done to the Mundari people whether by the Equatorian or by the Dinka politicians. During the Southern Regional Government, the Mundari were used by Equatorians politicians to fight their war known as the Kokora. The kokora ideology was not initiated by Mundari; it was a political game between the politicians who want to divide the South into three regions and those politicians who want to maintain the unity of Southern Sudan. It was a political war between politicians, but not a war between the Mundari and Bor Dinka who pays the brunt. The pro-kokora politicians seem to have not played their politics objectively in the representative parliament in Juba. This result shows that the anti-kokora candidate defeated the kokora candidate in the national assembly by 2 to 1. This created tension between the losers and winners, and the Equatorian politicians resorted to instigate the innocent Mundari citizens who were shelling their cows in Salakana, konyokonyo and Rujal Mafi to fight the Dinka Bor for them.

The result was that, when the SPLA took arms against the Sudan government in 1993. The first martyrs who faced the brunt of the SPLA were Mundari in 1984. Many Mundari people lost their lives in Tombek, Muni, Bori, and Mundari-Mulla including citizens of Gemeiza who lived in the islands along the River Nile. A lot of untold Human Rights abuses were reported. The movement was no longer perceived as a liberation movement by the Mundari because the attitudes of the Dinka Bor soldiers in the SPLA forces towards Mundari people shows that the movement was a Revenge Movement (RM) for the kokora saga in Juba because the commanders and soldiers who attack the Mundari people and caused inhuman atrocities were mainly from Bor. Some of them are still active in the top executive and military positions in the government of South Sudan, and they are using their high positions to cause instability in Gemeiza so that their hidden objectives are fulfilled. But this ill intention is exposed, and calamity will judge the perpetrators harshly, some of whom have already met their evil fate.

The injustices created both by politicians from Equatorian and those from Bor are not healthy politics for building of a just nation. The Mundari were used by the Equatorian politicians as the fighting tanks during the fighting, after the fight, they were dumped while the Equatorian politicians were busy dividing the cake. This same spirit happens after signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the SPLM decided to abandon the Mundari people in sharing of the national cake since 2005 to present, labeling them as Jalaba and incriminating the Mundari people just because Gen. Clement Wani Konga did not join the SPLA, and disregarding the gallant Mundari SPLA forces and SPLM cadres who consistently sacrificed their lives for the cause of the movement since its inception in 1983 up to the end in 2005. These wrong elements among the Equatorian selfish politicians, the Dinka Bor mafia groups and the greedy short sighted SPLM individuals have exploited the Mundari community for their selfish gains. This exploitative mentality should stop forthwith in modern political dispensation. It is high time that the Mundari people should not allow themselves to be use by greedy politicians or evil groups as the fighting tanks to achieve individual or group’s objectives and then damped during the division of the cake. In 1982, late Engineer Joseph James Tombura was elected as president of the High Executive Council (HEC) in Juba to champion his administrative reform agenda and decentralization policy in Southern Sudan. He appointed Gajuk Wurnyang Lupaya as Commissioner of Eastern Equatoria Province. He was described as the Commissioner who Bulldozes Dinka squatter camps in Juba and breaks the Dinka control over the Juba meat market, replacing them with Mundari butchers and meat sellers. When Gen. Clement Wani Konga had contacts with late John Garang de Mabior to join the SPLA in 1989-1992, he was betrayed by his Equatoria Commanders who were near Garang because they fear that if Clement Wani joins the SPLA, it will affect their Military ranks. In protest of this move, they attack Clement Wani Konga in Nyori as he was getting out of Terekeka through the River Nile that injured him on the knee now making him lame. The enemies of SPLA are the political opponents of Clement Wani Konga who did not want him to join the SPLA during the early days. Again, they have forgotten that it was Clement Wani Konga who rescued them from the claws of the Arabs during massacre in Juba under the Governor of Equatoria Bahr el Jebel State. No any leader in South Sudan did that accept Clement Wani Konga. Today he is accused as a Jalaba by selfish leaders who just wanted to elbow him out from the national cake, while, forgetting the protection he did to all South Sudanese in the Government controlled areas. Col. Wani Nyambur Boughta joined the SPLA as a student in university of Juba, he contributed immensely for the Movement, but today, he is abandoned and described by wrong elements as a betrayer of his own people and a collaborator with the National Congress Party. If people can victimize Clement Wani Konga because he did not joined the SPLA, what about Wani Nyambur Boughta who joined the SPLA at his young age? Will these wrong elements in the SPLM and in Bor justify why they victimize Wani Nyambur Boughta? I think, the issue is not about Cement Wani Konga or Wani Nyambur Boughta, but it is all about inculcating tribal politics in South Sudan. It is a call for any young Mundari to detest any injustices use against certain community to enhance individual, groups or tribal agenda.

The author is an Independent Researcher, can be reached at warun1maring@gmail.com or +256783332685


“Tribalism will bury us

if we don’t bury it” 

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