TO THOSE PURPORTING ME AS ‘NYIGAT’, I AM SUPPORTING ‘NyIGAD’ IN ADDIS ABABA!
John, are you a supporter of Nyagat?…is a very naïve question one of the peace negotiators in Addis Ababa asked me on my arrival from Nairobi with the civil society team over a fortnight ago. I gave Right Reverend ‘Thomas Israel’ the right reference that I gave some friends during my first attendance of the talks here in February this year (stored on my Facebook status) thus: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201428577542659&set=a.1599057502624.2080230.1421628562&type=1&theater
“ARE YOU ON THE REBEL OR GOVERNMENT SIDE IN ADDIS ABABA? “ This question is so common in my inbox. Ok, my answer is: I have neither rebelled nor have I governed badly against anyone in South Sudan, so why should I be on either side of any one? But I am on the side of the truth; so should any leader or citizen meet me on that side, they benefit.
At the same time in February, another rebel member wrote behind us that our delegation of the Coalition of Young Leaders of South Sudan was a government-sponsored one. The same time at Adulala Lodge (Debre Zeit/Bishoftu town), the government refused to meet us because we did not come directly from Juba. Good! That is how our South Sudanese political mindsets are modeled.
Here again, I shall not waste much time on answering these questions because I had answered them before the asking (Back to my December 2013 reaction here): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201127951027184&set=a.1599057502624.2080230.1421628562&type=1&theater
…Riek is an individual among all these heroes and it is hypocrisy of the Judas brand to call for the killing of such leaders in the hand of opportunists exploiting our leader’s inefficiency. Where and why have we thrown our love of nationalism, the unity we had before it became the Republic of South Sudan? Do you think Kiir would personally feel good to be the president of South Sudan after all his comrades are executed by the underground returnee forces now implementing Al Bashir’s last year’s promise to ‘liberate’ South Sudan from SPLM insects? Money…but absolute power…corrupts absolutely!
I condemn Kiir and his cohorts for the torturing of our senior brothers now in political detention much as I condemn Riek, Gatdet and their tribal gang, etc. for keeping my mother again in the bush upon their endless tribal power pursuit. History will absolve such atrocities and dissolve one’s name into oblivion completely.
When I independently voice my activism for the rights of these historicals and others’, the unity of our party and peace of our nation, some affiliated and traumatized youth classify me with those political morons, whom I left due to their disgusting style of leadership. I repeat, Kiir and Riek found me writing when they became president and vice president in 2005, and they will leave me on my pages here. No amount of threat, bread, bribe, tribe, etc. will ever sway my spirit to sell my trust, truth and personal independence to some outgoing, backward-sinking oldies setting a bad precedent to our forward-thinking generation.
I mean, nothing will compromise my independent outlook on the blood-stained leadership of Kiir and Riek in South Sudan. The fact that I have refused to spread shameful lies (coup d’etat) on my Facebook status and blog does not make me a supporter of so and so. I hate moral equivalence, this forceful balancing of two sides at the expense of the innocent one. It’s hypocrisy. I cannot blame Kiir on Riek’s mistake nor can I blame Riek on Kiir’s mistake, unless it’s both theirs. Being objective, to me, is not being neutral. I hate being neutral. I see people who sit on the fence as committing an offence to themselves and the truth. I sit on the side of truth, and there are two wings only in politics: truth and falsehood. So where do you sit…on Riek’s, Kiir’s or Truth’s?
And I am here to stay, knowing what I am saying or typing here today will be verified some years later, when all this tribal drunkenness is down in the heads of the firebrand ‘tribal army’ of the day. Peace is our ultimate goal today. Revenge takes us to the Rwanda of 1994 and tribal sympathies take us to the current state of Somalia, which South Sudan has already surpassed according to this year’s ‘Failed States’ report. Peace must prevail by all cost.
Read this part of Garang’s vision for our today’s nation and compare it with Kiir’s rudimentary SPLM Nyakuron Constitution that endorses cow-horn system (show-of-hands) in the place of secret ballot for electing a chairman, the chairman to then appoint the party leadership from his own choices, etc. With such a constitution, you think war or any form of struggle for change, would stay put away?
I am reacting to real threats to our holistic peace, both individual and public; peace of yours, peace of mine and our general peace of mind. During my blogging abstinence, which is a requirement in such a peace-searching environment, my silence has been broken by my fellow youth’s behavioral violence. Having first tried to observe my friend’s advice to abstain from commenting, I realized it’s useless to preserve my ‘integrity from being messed up by this war’ as they put it. By the way, what integrity I, at this age, should I protect and what behavior I, at this stage, should I project when my virgin nation is being destroyed in the hands of ethnically power-based leaders? At the moment, our citizenry is being defined or defiled in two ways: national and tribal. Taking side on tribal alliances at this age determines the quality of a citizenship one possesses.
This is what and why I told my warning cousin against my warring colleagues last year. “It takes a man to tell a man.” And if that man deliberately fails to change, things then fall apart. And if he fails to take corrective measures, things then follow in parts. Yes, majority of our analysts (me included) predicted this political plunder in a personal blunder of our leaders last year, and the years before – and the records are there – thanks to the internet. So who is s/he that thinks my allegiance to the truth of our nation should be less than my allegiance to my tribe?
SHUTTING DOWN NEWSPAPERS, RADIO STATION AND EVEN CONFISCATING T-SHIRTS WITH ANY CRITICAL MESSAGES…!
I could not believe that the government in Juba has gone such low below our law on freedom of expression! This negative conditioning of the population has put a great impact on their minds of ordinary citizens to the extent that they tend to look at everything of public information with negative interpretation. For instance, the writing on this T-shirt or the name attributed to it could cause an innocent vendor/hawker their dimes because they read like this (See the picture)! Not only that but because the quote is attributed to ‘JON PEN DE NGONG’ by a company that loved my article and took the quote by its title: South Sudan’s “PRIORITIES PLACED, REPLACED, DISPLACED, MISPLACED…” This has gone against some guts to boycott the shirts, just the way they always bend so low to ban the vending of The Citizen, The Juba Monitor, Bakhita, etc. as a means of venting their frustrations on poor hawkers or workers who have nothing to do with the messaging on that piece of media stuff.
So, dear ‘free citizens’, is the Freedom-Equality-Prosperity motto on the SPLM logo being put into action in this way? And when I call this type of dictatorship a ‘DemoKiiracy’, Kiir’s blind supporters would wish to be given ‘contracts’ on me. This reminds me of the poem I wrote last year: Visited by Khartoum! Frankly speaking, there is no ‘nyagat’ besides the one who kills the skills in the youth, hence wastes the useless in their youthfulness.
To lock the dotcom generation up in a Bolshevik style of suppression of expression with their rights rotting in their throats with rage and their knowledge boiling away in their brains with age is a crime that solicits rebellion of any kind. It is a nature of a young person to make noise of their choice, but should you let their right to riot rot in their throats with rage and knowledge evaporate away from their brains with age, your good history will be a bad story during their democratically freed ‘Republic of Tomorrow’
February 2014 (ADDIS ABABA)
THE MOODS IN THE PEACE AVENUES AND VENUES IN ADDIS ABABA
Addis Ababa weather this morning, according to the BBC weather updates as I am typing here, reads 23 Degrees Celsius, which on CNN reads 101 Degrees Fahrenheit. But that’s not the temperature reading on the political themometre of the South Sudanese peace talks’ Radisson Blu Hotel venue here. The boiling point on the political pot among the various ‘peace-talking’ camps is about or above 101 Degrees Celsius.
I mean there is serious tug-of-war wrangling and angling for better positions here. This has resulted in elbowing, instead of pulling, against one another’s group. John Luk Jok, the Spokesperson of the SPLM (Former Detainees) Leaders’ camp, told me in an uneasy hurry at dusk last evening as I asked him for the news of the various responses to the Framework (Agenda) Document. “Just wait here. You will hear something now…!” We waited for that ‘something’ till we went to bed with nothing to tell our people back home. The rumours flying about in the air was that the Government side had protested the presence of the former political detainees in the talks in February, yet they first agreed and release them for the same purpose in January this year.
Well, as we are here in Addis Ababa as youth fighting for full participation of every South Sudanese affected by this ‘War of the Seat’ in one way or the other, there should be no selfish reasons advanced in the way of our peace. I know, the so-called G7 will be G11 or even more in a few days to come if we want a comprehensive peace agreement in South Sudan. So keep the tempers low, uncles.
I repeat. Given the fact that the first round of talks (Cessation of Hostilities) would not necessarily involve everybody but the Government and SPLM-in-Opposition (aka: the rebels), any derogatory expulsion of the latter would not augur well with the spirit of the comprehensive negotiation and our push for an all-inclusive peace talks for the nascent Republic of South Sudan.
However, my complaint is just a speck in the eyes of the Nhial Deng’s Camp, Deng Gai’s Camp or Deng Alor’s Camp. I have a big log in my own eye. In this tug of war wrestling, my own ‘party’ (the youth) members are not pulling us but pushing us towards the other extreme camps. There is a serious backstabbing from the youth all over, especially the social media ‘champagne campaign’ factions against my person and my fellow group members of the Coalition of Young Leaders of South Sudan (CYLOSS) initiated in response to the outbreak of the war. This is a voluntary youth group that sprang up in reaction to the December 15 crisis. They are a youth that have earned their names from long-term participation experiences with various professional, regional and ideological backgrounds. They have sacrificed their times and money to come and give a well informed pressure to the peace negotiation parties mediated by IGAD in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
While on their drive calling for the inclusion of the youth and the civil society in the talks on the ticket of driving the problem solution towards a national dialogue, some malicious militias of the Facebook battalion have carried out a damaging campaign not only injurious to the struggle for peace but also to the image of the individuals offering their time and skills behind IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development), the regional body whose envoys are mediating the warring factions of the South Sudanese people.
‘I HEARD YOU JOINED THE ‘NYIGAT’ TEAM IN ADDIS…’, inboxed my ever critical Facebook ‘friend’ whom I just left in Nairobi three weeks ago, and who was our civil society member of the South Sudan Peace Coalition (PECOSS) that came into being also in January as a result of the ambushing war.
And I replied, “No, I am not supporting your so-called ‘Nyigat’, I am backing ‘Nyi-Igad’. Whereas the derogatory term ‘nyigat’ is a local South Sudanese jargon describing somebody who has rebelled against the system—in extreme terms from the old SPLM/A context, ‘a traitor’, my new not-for-fun pun referring to IGAD as ‘Nyigad’ is not only meant to compare the two camps of the SPLM-iO (rebels) with the Mediators (IGAD Special Envoys).
Well, the origin of the word ‘nyigat’ is traced to various contextual and historical occurrences in the political history of South/Sudan, but I know it this way in my mother tongue. ‘Nyi-‘ or ‘nya-‘ is a feminine gender prefix as ‘gat’ is a name of a small blood-sucking insect of the gnat’s family. Yet again, this is not the actual connotation. Nyagat stems from various semantic backgrounds, but perfectly fits the current tribally politicized ‘cannibalism’ among South Sudanese. The term has been parochially used by the ‘Dinka of the liberation struggle’ against other tribes, partially on the Nuer, following the Riek Machar’s Nasir Declaration in 1991. It was initially used on the Anya-nya II bulwarks of Gai Tut and Akuot Atem as heard in the songs of Koryom Battalions of the SPLA in the early 80s.
For a simple and current case study, one of my peace-loving Dinka friend lamented on how an SPLA soldier of the Nuer origin, who lived with them, was harassed, embarrassed and arrested after the mass defection in Juba two months ago. When asked why he was being detained, one of his accusers responded in Dinka, “Ku yengo yen nyin lo ‘gat gat’?” This means, in literal translation, “but why are his eyes unsettled?” To make it clearer, ‘gat-gat’ here means wild or betraying or suspicious looks. This is the same context the late SPLM/A deputy leader, Cdr. William Nyuon Bany, decried as reasons leading to his defection in pageri in 1992. What is it? To be exact, it is a preempted ‘coup attack’ (call it looming coup attempt) by an impatient lot on another impatient lot who have allowed their eyes to look ‘gat-gat’. So the heroes of the movement, especially William Nyuon Bany and Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, were subjected to the trauma and projected on the drama of ‘gat’ or defection. To who, then? First to Omar al Bashir, then to the very Riek Machar with whom innocent others are being forcefully bundled together today! Hmm, history can be intentionally refused or ignorantly reduced, reused or recycled in South Sudan!
That’s not the topic here. The main subject matter is why everybody who seems to have an opinion other than the Benydit’s is labeled and libeled as ‘nyigat’ (rebel). I thought the action of ‘gat’ (defection or rebellion) is so widespread in this era of error of our nation building on tribal foundations that it would not look fit for a pot to call a kettle sooty. I mean, there are three types of camps for our youth to defect to today. There is the Riek Machar’s camp, the Salva Kiir’s camp, and now the IGAD’s camp. The first camp is on offensive, the second is on defensive or vice versa according to their own versions, and the third is on mediation. However, some voices of the ‘defensive’ camp, who believe in total ‘Salvatory Victory’ (military annihilation of the ‘other group’ by Gen. Salva Kiir’s forces) have gone beyond us to call IGAD ‘Nyigad’, a nyigat-sympathetic group. However, those are the intrigues and tactics of the negotiation war. As far as I can see with our radical leaders at Radisson here (the venue), not only me or us will fall victims to the Makueyan ideology of “if you sit with the rebels, you are a rebel”. But I saw Hon. Makuei lodging with Taban Deng Gai, hugging with Lado Gore and dining with Hon. Banguot Amum here in Radisson Addis, or there in Adulala where they do nothing but ‘lala’ (sleep in a Kenya language). To me, this is hypocrisy of the highest level. Therefore, I must sit with any youth here (Mabior Garang, Puot Kang, Bol Agau, Luris Mulla, Jerkuei Marek, etc.) not as sub-dhubat (NCOs or Non-Commissioned Officers as SPLA used to term them) but as a Constituency for Today and Tomorrow (youth), so long as s/he is a South Sudanese brother or sister, minding less about their political or tribal affiliations. No to this divisive ‘Makueyanism’! If you condemn me for that, then you, your very self, are the real rebel to South Sudanese (peace) and unity.
But the reality remains as put by my other Facebook friend that anybody who has intentionally decided to fail the political qualification test question is a nyigat. What question? This one: “Was it a coup attempt or not?” Answer it at your own risk! But as for me and my like-minded ‘nyIGAD’ faction of the youth ‘neutrals’, it was a ‘coup attempt’ whose perpetrator (either Machar or Mayar) is yet to be confirmed by a reliably independent investigation body as part of the peace process. So I feel the small scapegoats (G4) in prison in Juba should be released in the name of inclusive solution, since the big scapegoat is now in the bush.
Nevertheless, as for me and my lonely self, I failed that litmus test from the day one of the coup announcement, right before the small ‘scapegoats’ were detained and after the big scapegoat was allowed to escape. But as for today, and having widely consulted with all the parties involved, my collective position with other voices is let’s stop the war and wait for that investigation as part of the peace agreement. And if that position is also known as (aka) defection or gat, then be it. But my answer remains as on the Facebook response to my friends, like this. And this goes specifically to the so-called ‘Jesus (if not Judas) Deng Mading-chuai’, whom I just unfriended after he stabbed me/us at the back last week in his article in Nairobi, that some of us in CYLOSS are government agents. What a confusion from both camps?
HERE IS THE FULL POEM FROM MY SMALL POETRY COLLECTION ENTITLED ‘And the Truth Will Set You Flee…!” (NOT YET PUBLISHED).
A Warrant with a War Rant
Nay to unrest?
Say no to arrest!
I received my warrant,
A warrant in a war rant,
A warrant of harassment,
A warrant of embarrassment,
That’s way beyond a warrant of arrest!
And once I sensed this,
I had but to change my axis!
But my colleagues had had theirs lost,
When they thought that I was a fear host,
As they unto death carelessly decided to just rest!
I had already read and foreseen the Big Two
And their war rants laced with a noisy much ado.
The worst of it is a politician just grabs and then rents
My fellow youth to naively run their errands by war rants.
These youth even volunteer to issue out a warrant of arrest!
For this and another reason,
I couldn’t wait for their season.
Nay, I swore never to lend them my brain
So that they’d rent it for their personal grain.
Hence, I chose to run away from running for them an unrest.
And woe to who curses me for not joining their alliance,
The personal alliance for political and tribal dalliance.
I swear not to wear an artificial brain at this age
Lest they then upload into it their silly sage,
And rent me to sell it for their interest.
Thus I can spread their propaganda,
Which carries not proper agenda.
So be I, me, myself, independent,
Not flatteringly unrepentant,
For I am not a bootlicker;
I’m hot, a boot-clicker!
Say no to arrest;
No to unrest!
Book Title: And the Truth Will Set You Flee…!
Poem 18: A Warrant with a War Rant
Poet: Jon Pen de Ngong
Period: 2013 – 2014
Status: Not Published.