Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

N. Bahr el Ghazal’s government formation was our biggest deformation

By Aken Pankon Ngor-Tong

A letter to the president Salva Kiir

The recent cabinet makeups drown across the states of South Sudan and from all the political spectrums whitewashed murmurs and skepticism the masses employed. Without exception, I would like, on behalf of Aweil Youths (Northern Bahr el Ghazal state) to convivially pay the President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit the fulsome appreciation for wise selection of his federal cabinet and their deputies.

During and after the independence, president delivered moving speeches, seemed prophetic in sight. According to his words “the next government will be based on qualification and strength”. There horrendously it is!!! This scraggy outcome incredibly put citizens to the heat asking whether president made his call promising.
In the line, we read that the formation has deficiently marginalized the vast quarters of other states specifically Northern Bahr el Ghazal. But is it not the same SPLM’s propensity policies towards Aweil people? Definitely YES! And has the SPLM/SPLA been kind to Aweil during and after the war? The answer remains relatively NO! On the contrary, president Kiir inherited this culture of making Aweil a state of novices, hence, needs imperialists from outside to represent it, a clear aberration politics that imbued the South to engage Khartoum’s governments bitterly for quite a dangerous past.

It was a state known to be “the garden’s edge” by the late brother leader, John Garang. According to him, the farm’s edge could easily be forgotten and eventually pest-invaded; the crops here couldn’t find any mercy at all and hardly reach to their harvesting end.

This has been recycled in politics of the day where a state known to have a population similar to a country of Kuwait according to 1983 Sudan’s population census (and the highest today if a population doesn’t grow downward) can never nurture its leaders. I thought this scheme had been laid to rest alongside our former leader, little did I know it had been survived by the SPLM’s rule. When will this culture end? Nobody knows so long as Kiir and his SPLM still in picture and out of touch.
The Historical Marginalization of Aweil People by the SPLM/SPLA:

In 1983, Aweil people made a journey seemed improbable, full with ripple anxiety to joining the SPLA/M in Ethiopia which was thousand miles away while trekking. Many of whom found their demise before reaching Ethiopia under the hands of delinquent militiamen.

With courage, they crossed the blockage while fighting enemies using bare hands to resist and defend. They suffered hugely in the lust of militias from Warrap to Lakes State to Upper Nile down to Ethiopia. Prudently, those in command of unarmed youths retained their self-given ranks, Aweil People were exceptional. With genuine buzz of presentiment in the army, many got promoted not on Education ground as others may want us to accept their lies. It was preponderantly explicit despite the deluge promotion; one could hardly find Aweil person holding high ranks in the movement.

Cognizantly, privileged few who were given ranks were put under the unprecedented brutality of SPLA/M under the hand of its former leader. No problem, it was a clear manifestation of a guerilla movement.
Few who got promoted to the high ranks were quickly deployed to frontlines and didn’t survive the war. The proportions of Aweil since then in the army became dominant. We were the ones fighting for the south at every angle of villages, states and counties across the south and still we are. There is no single village our bloods never poured. From the far east of Upper Nile to the west of it—to the South of Equatoria and its eastern fronts.

Many of the SPLM arch enemies who happened to maintain their prominence in the government of the day broke their covenant with the movement and had their way in bid to climb the highest echelon of the movement, encompassing to have taken a rightful direction in the guise of independent south.

Aweil people denounced such a treacherous move and religiously stood by SPLM/A throughout the entire period of liberation might. They fought enemies not just by color but whoever tends to undermine the quest of south Sudanese to have a country where equality and fairness prevails.
They congruently stood with people of Warrap state in early 90s to repel the connive forces of Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and Riek Machar combined and denied them presence there. They championed swift seizure of towns such as Kaya, Morobo, Yei, Maridi, Rumbek, Kurmuk, Yambior, Torit and so forth to having us breathe at the harness. They participated in the battlefields manly and informatively.
After realizing some pockets of cowardice, they sprung to composing songs which charged everyone to empty villages and filled the barracks (Mith Kuan Aweil Pel ku gat piny buk them riel, Bai ace pan ben lew galam) literally means, let every sons of this mighty and gigantic state of Aweil, put off going to schools, and replacing it with guns for its through guns can we liberate ourselves from tyranny, totalitarianism, to enjoy freedom and secure peace.

This song is common in the SPLA’s military band today which is sang gleeingly. Aweil supported SPLM/A and its leaders, of which, the situation brought by 1991 split in the movement’s ranks, the Kerubino Kuanyin Bol’s forces’ activism in Bahr el Ghazal and Gogrial in particular would have risen our eye-brows had it not been Aweil people’s support.

One can’t tell why Aweil people have been triumphantly supportive to leaders of different regions if it’s not the need for national building, for there is no successful government builds on regionalism and states’ basis.
This openness and ready to support a national leader regardless of regions, party and religion made others in the SPLM/A to view Aweil as a state where everyone, including crooks can gather votes without clear reference to the past mistreatment ever done to it. This time will be different if Mr. President couldn’t change his policies. Aweil didn’t do this just to be dashed out and damn.
Formation of SPLA forces and SPLM:

The SPLA at the start had a Military high command; this group comprised of military men and women both the initiators and adoptees (new comers) alike. The composition of this body ensured that all the regions and states as to be represented.

Aweil in this regard was neglected. In the SPLA today, Aweil only gets 3-4 major generals while other states fly high above 40—50. Don’t tell me these states joined the movement right during the inception. They joined it as late as 3-4years after the formation while Aweil joined it at the harness in large numbers up to the day.

This doesn’t augur well to Aweil being marginalized in the army where 90% of its foot soldiers since 1983 are from Aweil. In 2006—2010 however, the statistics of those young men and women in uniform under the military sponsorship to South Africa and Ethiopia, none from Aweil was sent. One cannot wonder but to question the authenticity of army’s policy to eliminate those even known to fight the successful wars. I thought Aweil should have not been marginalized in the army where their contribution during the war is remarkable.

Nevertheless, in the National Police force, Wild life, Prison, Fire Brigade and National Security, Aweil has not been represented. Who is responsible for pushing Aweil to the very limit? President has the answer.
SPLM Political Bureau, Security Council, SPLM Secretariat and the Party Inner Circles:

Hard to believe! The most powerful bodies in the Republic of south Sudan which have their representatives derived across the Ten States of south Sudan and Two states of Southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan (the members of latter states have not been relieved officially yet) the state of Aweil is the one, and only one, lacking its representatives in all the aforementioned sensitive bodies.

No one, even a rocket doctor can tell why Aweil is not represented. The truth is historical and the president Kiir has vowed to maintain the status quo. The repercussion of misrepresentation can be crystallized in the April 2010 South Sudan general Election where SPLM political Bureau preferred dead politicians over the sick ones as legitimate representatives of Aweil people. Again, it was a misrepresentation which bred that blatant error which could have nearly threw Aweil into a state of anarchy had it not been the strong bond which unites Aweil masses. This is a heavy baggage we shouldn’t carry anymore Mr. President. Again I beg you to rethink making us a second class citizen as is the case under your leadership.

I presume SPLM might not want Aweil citizens in its ranks and Files, who knows. This leaves us with question than answers as to what did Aweil State do for God’s sake which couldn’t be forgiven? What about those in Opposition Parties who are Aweilians? What about women under their own ticket the 25%? Sabotage them and they will voluntarily follow the tract. Right!
We need to look back and envision our contribution to Sudan and see whether we were like how the president ought to think we were.
Aweil stance before the 1983:
Unlike other states, Aweil had been instrumental in pushing southern Agenda in the national government (Sudan government). Right after the independence, Aweil politicians of the time made real their promise for South Sudan. It’s believed that the Current Juba University which became educational hub for South Sudan was a gift to Aweil town.

A pledge by the Kuwaiti government as they were moved/pleased by the exact population Aweil had with the state of Kuwait (refer to 1983 Sudan’s population Census). The minister of Education in the Sudanese Government happened to be a son of Aweil; the minister did not wish to bring the university down to Aweil for it was at the edge of south Sudan which could deny many students across the South a chance to pursue their higher education there.

Mind-wrenching yea!! True to be believed. The minister is not the type of those we have today. The current ones, if such opportunities knock their way, God forbids!! They won’t dare thinking rational but putting such a huge national project to their villages and name it Tefengdit or Mayardit or Gadluakdit in solidarity with the family of the clan leave alone the tribes. Aweil people are far from this chauvinistic scheme. Welcome to Juba University, the education hub for South Sudan!

Furthermore, the people of Aweil stated quite vocally that—for one to succeed, it has to be in conformity with other brothers and sisters in the bench. Not just building an Island on the aging tree and think it will last forever.

In 1972, Aweil People wholeheartedly stood with Abel Alier towards winning the presidency of the High Executive Council. Again, they also championed the vehement support of 1978-1980’s Joseph Lagu leadership. All these assistants Aweil people rendered were not signs of being followers but of that of a political partnership– for our end game was collectively destined.

This stalwart support had remarkably backfired Aweil People, I am afraid, the space dictates me to have these bearing consequences omitted.
That was long before the war which brought SPLM/A to formation. Yes this loyalty is, perhaps, a sign of Foolishness by Aweil elders and people according to SPLM leaders, I guess. Are you not familiar with this? The word therein is not anything new to me and the readers too, I presume.

Gov’t of National Unity, GOSS, and the Consulates:

Simple arithmetic is needed to allocate the ministerial posts in either the Government of National Unity which had a base in Khartoum, the government of South Sudan in Juba and the Consulates abroad. Out of quantifiable number of ministers alluded to South Sudan in the Government of National Unity, none were from Aweil.

No Advisory post either, for we did not want to advise Bashir, lest we can tell him to accept the ruling of the Hague based court and surrender himself to ICC which may have not gone well with him, and might have equally risk our convenient marriage. Some states in the south had a fair share and even more. President’s state took the day. And their friendly neighbor (Aweil) is not a needed friend anymore.

This followed us to the Parliament in Khartoum where 3—4 represented Aweil of About 1000 constituencies. We have been cornered there! Huh!!
Juba government was of no better. Out of 32 ministries and 32undersecretaries for 10 states with a number of advisors. Aweil took 2 ministries and 0 Undersecretaries. Exactly like a foreign state of south Kordofan which was represented by 1 Advisor. One couldn’t imagine which country Aweil state belongs on earth.

This has become a copy and paste scenario which the president has again done in his decree dated 26th August 2011 where Aweil only got 2 ministries out of 29 ministries and 27 deputy ministries. This is indeed abomination Mr. President.

And your leadership style is merciless. Think back: the president pledged forming the government based on qualification and strength. Which is why Warrap state took 11 (Chief Justice and Central Bank Governor included) ministerial portfolios–Central Equatoria with 9(Assistant Bank Governor included) while Junglei tops the list with 12(Assistant bank Governor included), the last ones went with 4 and 5 respectively. Aweil still maintains its propensity figure of 2.

Could that be the criteria of selection which were based on qualification and strength could not be realized in Aweil? Perhaps, Aweil is constantly viewed a no-educated state as others want us to believe? Really!! See below Few selected prominent Aweil Politicians and Academics.

——————————————————————————————-
S/No Names Deserved Title
——————————————————————————————-
1 Dr. Akoon Akech Kuol —————————————Academic and Politician
2 Dr. Dhieu Mathok Diing————————————– Academic & Politician
3 Prof. Kuol Bak————————————————- Academic
4 Prof. okech Madut———————————————- Academic and politician
5 Dr. Bellario Ahoi Ngong Geng——————————– Academic and Politician
6 Dr. Sabirino Majong Majok ———————————-Academic and Politician
– Dr. Lawrence Lual Akuei Lual ———————————-Politician
– Eng. Chuor Deng Mareng—————————————Politician
7 Joseph Ajuong Manyuol —————————————-Experienced Politician
8 Aldo Ajou Deng Akuei ——————————————-Experienced Politician
9 Gen Paul Malong Awan—————————————— Politician
10 Gen. Madut Biar Yel——————————————– Politician
11 Kuel Aguer ——————————————————Politician & Economist
12 Gen. James Ajonga Mawut ———————————–SPLA Vetran
13 Kuol Athian Mawien ——————————————–Economist &Politician
14 Arthur Akuien Chol——————————————— Economist & Politician
15 Garang Diing Akuong——————————————- Politician
16 Celestino Mawein Kuc ——————————————Politician
17 Deng Majok Athian ———————————————Politician
18 Ajal Deng Gai—————————————————- Politician
19 Edward Lual Deng Kon —————————————–Politician
20 Garang Kuot Kuot———————————————- Academic and Politician
21 Tong Akeen Ngor Akech —————————————Politician
22 AKon Bol Akok —————————————————Academic and Politician
23 Kom Kom Geng————————————————— Politician
24 Stephen Ajonga Akol ——————————————-Politician
25 Kawac Makuei Mayar——————————————- Politician
26 Gen. Dau Aturjong ———————————————-Politician
27 Marach Thiik ——————————————————Politician
27 Gabriel Guot Guot ———————————————–Politician
28 Albino Akol Akol ————————————————–Politician
29 Deng Athuai Hal ————————————————–Economist &Politician
30 Akuei Mayen Akuei———————————————— Economist
31 Ngong Deng Gum ————————————————–Politician
32 Ateny Wek Ateny ————————————————–Politician
33 Deng Thiep Akok—————————————————–Politician
34 Victor Akok Anei —————————————————–Politician
37 Arkanjelo Athian Teng Angok————————————— Politician
38 Garang Angong——————————————————– Economist
39 Santino Deng Wol——————————————————- SPLA Veteran
42 Garang Deng Nyang—————————————————- Economist
>>> >>>>>

Just a sample and many left uncounted .Yes, president could admit that Aweil does have academic giants and Political scientists but ought to say these are not SPLM’s staunch loyalists as a political correctness to marginalize Aweil, if so, he entirely got it wrong altogether.

How about those in Warrap and other states? Wait a minute! They have a new formula to making them a favorite, what’s that? Treacherous at its best. President is lobbying to getting antagonists to his side giving him a tool to forget his protagonists. Un-political by nature!! But, it couldn’t be an easy ride either, Aweil for decades, had been at the receiving end of Kiir’s (SPLM) prejudice leadership which marginalized Aweil to the bottom.

Others may tend to say that Aweil headed Ministry of Finance consecutively with financial fraudulences. This has been commonly echoed in every arena in the south and abroad. But common sense is needed to find the truth in sight.

Yes, Arthur Akuien had been a minister of Finance throughout the war’s time. But really did we have finances to administer? Logic has the answer that even Kiir himself complained for Garang been anything in the movement from Chairman to Finance—Vice, Foreign minister and down to an Advisor.

This was a serious accusation which had nearly brought the government in the bud to its knees before peace accord was reached. You may concur with me that in 2005—2006, the government lost hugely its fiscal budget to a known individuals in the SPLM/A.

You can’t tell me Arthur Akuein had a stake in this since withdrawals were done based on military ranks or leadership’s hierarchy where the senior Army generals and politicians representing SPLM unquestionably could ask bundles of money uncounted for.

The huge money haven’t gone far but still in the hands of the current stakeholders in government which they used to building villas/mansions abroad with few companies flying around in Juba today. Akuein here was just a small fish to be scared and damn as was the case.

Kuol Athian‘s reign was not exceptional. Few rationales could appreciate Kuol for the risk he took amidst gun- approach-method by High profile leaders in the SPLM/A. Excuse me if I have given unwanted stuffs? The case of Grain/Dura Scandal that you wanted to hear is here: Kuol made blatant mistake to open up business underneath reserved for SPLM’s top cadres.

The benefit of this scheme is pretty visible. Across the south, people are able to own businesses as a result, and this has caused a state of panic as to why Kuol enriched everybody using a project which was known to be for Liberators (SPLM Generals and Officials).

Not long after the dismayed SPLM groups demanded Kuol dismissal. In other words, the minister was serving South Sudanese at every end of villages and states which was unwanted by the government’s tops. If Kuol were not given the post, God Knows, the whole south would have been a country of Mice and the SPLM leaders would have been the only retailers, wholesalers and leaders of the day.

Take a break and think about this: the fact mentioned hitherto, establishes that, the leadership under the latter is national and this is what a country like south Sudan needs. What about David Deng son of Athorbei’s leadership? You have the answers. And majestically he has been recycled in the cabinet makeup because he isn’t from Aweil. There is something fishy why President wants Aweil cornered.
Concluding note and the way forward:
To all Aweilians, in the government where they are junior staff despite having immensely participated in the Liberation wars and with unmatched education credentials and rich in political paradigm, all young Aweilians in the security apparatus including the army, presidential guard force, Police where they serve as guards and messengers are all asked to honorably abandon their junior posts in the government and come home.
We did not choose to liberate the south from Arabs and be met with the same mistreatment by the other Arabs in the form of President Kiir.

It’s not our government anymore. How can it be our government when our Politicians are not valued?
How could it be ours when our ministers are regarded as the most corrupt by Kiir’s administration?
How could we be part of it when our men and women in Uniform work as subordinates?
How could we be in the helm when our interest is determined by others as if we are mere dithers? This can’t be a fair government to boast about. Where is the SPLM’s philosophy of inclusivity?

We didn’t sacrifice for the south in order to be mistreated and underrepresented. We are the community of peace. We embrace one another not by political affiliation but by southerness’ spirit.
I think President Kiir needs to come out overtly and tell us the country we belong on earth which we will embrace indefinitely.

What is the need to die for freedom and breath free, and again be subjected to the same cynicism by Kiir’s government? We have everything at stake to change course.

We are ready to stand alone if our right to represent ourselves by ourselves and for ourselves at the national government is not respected by Kiir’s SPLM organization.

Look! Counties have even petitioned Kiir why they are not represented. Sounds funny! While a state of Aweil with greatest population in the then Sudan according to 1983’s Sudan population Census is not anybody’s concern including the President.

Yes! Unity State doesn’t have a Federal Minister, but they have been fairly represented in the national Ministries where 4 ministries have been allocated for them. The second most powerful man in the country is from Unity State. The Vice commander-in-chief is from Unity state.
The Ambassador to United States who will be on his way to UN General Assembly is from Unity state. Ambassador to South Africa, Finland, Norway and Zimbabwe are also from Unity State.
Is this not a fair representation? I think it is and even more. The only state which could not be represented at the face of the earth whether its citizens want it or not is Aweil (Northern Bahr El Ghazal State).

Why? The answer is historical right from our founder John Garang in his Grave and President Salva Kiir in Juba. Its time Aweil people get united and got to form Republic of Aweil In south Sudan, lest we will finally be free!

Aken Pankon Ngor Tong is a Northern Bahr el Ghazal Youth representative and humanitarian worker based in the Republic of North Sudan, former reporter to The Citizen newspaper and a freelancer journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]