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South Sudan: Truth hurts but it pays off


By Luka Kuol

My interview with Jongkor went viral and created unprecedented debate in social media but importantly inside South Sudan. A friend of mine in Juba told me “with this interview you have committed political suicide as you have angered the overwhelming majority of Dinka”. Others and especially youth from various ethnic groups including Dinka appreciated my courage of saying the unsaid.

But what did I say in the interview that angered JCE regime and some Dinka elites? Is it not a fact that the ruling elites in Juba do not represent SPLM but guided by JCE. Is not a fact that the post-independence Dinka ruling elites in Juba abandoned at the independence the decentralized federal system; the popular demand of people of South Sudan, in 2011 Constitution and replaced it with unitary and autocratic system that exhibited similar behaviour of the post-independence Ja’aliyin ruling elites who denied the demand of the people of South Sudan for federalism and created instead unitary system. Is it not a fact that the ruling elites in Juba since independence are so detached from the rural community and that led some analyst to describe South Sudan as Juba Republic headed by the JCE regime (Dinka Juba).

Is it not a fact that the normal Dinka in the rural area and even in Juba are equally suffering like other communities and the JCE regime does not at all represent them. Is not a fact that people of South Sudan including Dinka and Nuer in national dialogue would like SK and RM to step down voluntarily. Is it not a fact that if we continue with the joint leadership of SK and RM the country may slide into another violence unless there is political will and national vision that can only be provided by a united SPLM.

I am aware that the JCE regime may not be happy to hear such bitter facts. But I am shocked and saddened to see some Dinka elites in Juba not to see these facts but to label themselves as part of the JCE regime in Juba that does not at all represent them. If we the Dinka elites are unable to talk the truth and to standby about what is happening in our country, we will be equally contributing to the looming disintegration of our country if we do not change our mindset and tell the truth. During this crisis, I did not take a side in the political divide but I decided to follow my conscience and truth and I am not expecting one day to seek a vote from anyone including my own community to seek a public position in any government.

What was very consoling from this interview is that it has created space for discussing critical challenges facing our country; particularly among the young generation. After listening carefully to my interview, my great friend Pagan Amum said: “Luka you have really opened a new war of ideas with courage…..you have only lost JCE regime that did not only hate you for creating a forum to defend their 28 states but they disowned you as a citizen of SS”. One very senior person in government who listened to the interview told me that “Luka I fully agree with you 1000 per cent but we may differ on the way out”. Dr Peter Nyaba told me after listening to the interview that he fully agrees with me that there is a need for revolutionary ideas to save this country from imminent collapse but raised genuine concern for not recognizing the role played by other ethnic communities in the liberation struggle. I know stating bitter truth may hurt now but it will eventually pay off in the future. Time will judge our moral compass during such a bumpy journey of forging the nationhood and statehood of South Sudan.

The author is a follow of Africa Center for Strategic Studies, US National Defense University, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Rift Valley Institute and University of Juba.

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