"Mr. President, you need to be reminded that gone are the days when, you and other government officials were greeted with flowers when you come to the West," warns the GBC in North America in this position paper addressed to South Sudan President Salva Kiir. "Those days will be over until you change the course of directions of our country. You will be greeted with voices, signs and all sorts of expressions through peaceful protests that will make you so uncomfortable. So, you have two choices, change or don’t and our peaceful protests against you begin immediately."
To: The President of the Republic of South Sudan
H.E General Salva Kiir Mayardit
From: Greater Bor Community USA,
Greater Bor Community, Canada
C/O Governmental Affairs Committee
Date: December 21, 2012
Re: Voices of Concern: A Position Paper on the Assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol
Dear Mr. President
SHOCKED by the recent senseless cold blooded assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol and by the massacre of peaceful demonstrators in the City of Wau as well as by the killings and harassments of journalists, human right activists, innocent citizens and foreigners;
DISCOURAGED by the deteriorating security situation in rural communities of our “free” homeland of South Sudan without an end in sight;
MINDFUL of the sacred promise we have to our martyrs like Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol who continue to give the ultimate sacrifice to show the importance of holding one’s government accountable for its own failings;
RECALLING the original founding principles and timeless creed of the SPLM/A to commit itself to guaranteeing freedom of expression including criticizing one’s own government;
BELIEVING that in an independent South Sudan, every South Sudanese deserves freedom of expression without fear of retaliatory measures including cold blooded murder;
CONGNIZANT of the fact that few elements within the national security apparatus are substantially suspected to have murdered Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol and are creating havocs among the fearful citizenry in the Capitol of Juba;
RECOGNIZING the indispensable role all South Sudanese need to play as stewards of our society; and
PROUD of our Community of Greater Bor which prides itself of an all-encompassing human virtue of self-restraint “Kon Madang” when reacting to tragedies;
We hereby resolve to send you, Mr. President, an unambiguous message with clear and unmistakable demands.
PHOTO of mass protest in egypt, a reminder to President Kiir that the same thing can happen in South Sudan if he does not CHANGE THE direction the country has been going: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL-GHANY
Mr. President, in the midst of unbearable tragedies and difficulties, we the people of South Sudan remained firm in our pursuit of peace, equality and justice for all. The brutality of the last 21 years of conflict in Sudan bears tragic evidences of an immeasurable destructive war. Our long quest for justice and equality was spontaneously confirmed by our people’s unanimous endorsement of C.P.A, and your unwavering commitment to lead our nation through a well-executed south Sudan Referendum in 2011.
Despite your successful guidance and vision in leading our nation through Referendum and Independence, the people of South Sudan and of Greater Bor by and large believe that you have knowingly abandoned the nation’s founding principles of freedom, justice, equality and prosperity. Mr. President, your government is currently at its worst state of affairs, evidenced by rampant corruptions, violence, oppression, mistreatment of citizens, poor delivery of services to our people, and worse of all, bad governance across the board. Thus, the assassination of Major Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol cast a final verdict for a deteriorating security situation in South Sudan. Major Isaiah Diing was brutally murdered on December 4th, 2012, an act we unequivocally condemn. We also condemn the killings and harassments of other citizens of this country as well as foreigners who are peacefully residing in the Republic of South Sudan. Sadly, the tragic assassination of Major Diing is undeserved, unwarranted and certainly should not go unpunished. The perpetrators of this intolerable heinous crime against humanity should quickly be brought to justice. Major Diing was a man of great accomplishments; among them he was an SPLA/SPLM decorated war hero, and a patriotic man who has given the Republic of South Sudan all his dues.
Guided by the principles of a religiously devoted mother, Rev. Rebecca Nyalueth Wel Akau, and a fiercely admired chief from Kongor, the family of Chief Chan Awuol was amongst the very first families to suffer from the painful grief by losing three of their sons during the liberations for the country they so dearly love. Late Isaiah’s mother is a devoted pastor who prayed hard for the freedom of South Sudan and peace amongst all South Sudanese people. In fact, on the day of her son’s assassination, she was on a mission to Rumbek to pray for peace in Lake State when she had to be rushed back to Juba for the news of her son’s murder. Several written articles showed that Diing received several threats from unknown telephone numbers before his death. He knew that he was being threatened because of his criticism of the government for its failures. He also understood that he had a responsibility as a citizen to criticize government policies that would take the nation in a wrong direction. His death in the hands of his own people is a national tragedy!
2. We cite a few incidences of worsening security situation and crackdowns on freedom of expression
In the wake of Isaiah Ding’s assassination, there is an acute need of concern for your attention to address issues that are affecting our new country, issues that may very well derail our fragile and infant democracy. Since our independence, there have been mounting evidences of brutality by security forces and rampant ethnic violence that has elevated alarm to an unquestionable high level of fear. However the government in Juba under your direction fails to do anything as a matter of resolving our most serious issues namely: insecurity, freedom of expression and human rights violations. The fact that these incidents, stated below, are carried out by security forces show someone in the administration has either approved the executions of these actions with your knowledge, or you have lost control of your administration.
Mr. President, our bottom line is a complete accountability. We ask you to hold those who carry out these heinous acts to account for their actions so that others who are inclined to follow their suits are deterred. We are focusing on the big picture. And here, we only highlight a number of selected key incidents to capture the gravity of the situation now in the Republic of South Sudan.
These are disturbing incidences but they do not account for unreported cases since we just listed those that are out in the public domain. Mr. President, the best question to ask you is what have you done to ensure that these things never happen again? Of course, nothing! Another question is will your government change the course if we do not fight for the reform? No, especially now in the wake of assassination of Major Diing Chan Awuol in which your administration has shown a lukewarm response. The only way your administration will change the course is not to shut up but loudly demand a meaningful reform now rather than later. Our nation is taking a wrong direction and we, the governed, must rescue it!
3. We know your failed governance is a South Sudanese problem
We the South Sudanese, as one people, must understand that the above mentioned incidents are cases of individuals who stood up to the most powerful for the sake of all South Sudanese to have a nation that is worthy of their sacrifices. They are as well cases of citizens being killed in their villages and in Juba with your government doing little to protect them. They are cases of individual journalists and civil rights activists who are doing their parts to ensure South Sudan is on the right track. We aspire to raise our nation up to a more perfect union where freedom of expression on all sorts of issues important to our nation are respected and valued. We aspire for a nation in which the citizens can independently express their views including sometimes using incendiary words without fear of overreach by the State. For example President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and many others were called idiots, yet they had successful administrations. Why not you too President Kiir because this is what it means to lead a democratic nation in which freedom of expression is cherished and protected?
We want to say no to borrowed bad governance styles from Khartoum, Nairobi and Kampala. Please, import only the good stuffs! We are seeing a nation in which enough material resources have been looted and innocent lives have been taken away without your administration holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Once accountability and freedom of expression are prohibited, your administration and its inner circle will live in a bubble and groupthink and you will only be told what you want to hear instead of what you ought to hear and that is a national problem for all South Sudanese.
We are taking a stand now rather than later for the sake of freedom from your autocratic rule. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: with rampant innocent killings, a red line has been clearly crossed and the people of South Sudan are setting a zero tolerance on your autocratic rule and failed policies of your administration.
4. We believe elements within the security apparatus are key suspects for Major Diing’s assassination
The politics of intimidation rooted in the philosophical attitude to silence political opponent or critics, is not a secret practice by your security personnel. As we look at this case of deteriorating security situation in South Sudan, we have to look at no other entity but security personnel of your administration as the suspects of killings and harassments of innocent civilians, South Sudanese and foreigners alike. Incidents prior to the assassination of late Diing make us to believe some elements within your security forces are major suspects. It is worth noting that Major Diing wrote several opinion articles which criticized you including an opinion piece critical of your administration’s foreign policy decisions particularly on the Malwal Dinkas’ 14 miles land corridor conceded as a demilitarized zone although it has never ever been contested by the North before because it is Malwal Dinkas’ Land right inside South Sudan. The piece was well liked by South Sudanese across the board but hated by your Morons, Mr. President Kiir! Here are some of the evidences why we think your security personnel are the suspects and as someone in charge, you should arrest them:
South Sudanese have also seen you as someone who has increasingly become intolerant to the freedom of expression. Not arresting those suspects would make South Sudanese believe you have a hand in the incidents of suppression of freedom of expression because of your reaction or lack of action. For example, during the demonstration against Mile 14, you appeared in public and geared your anger at the returning diaspora with a hate speech making the case that the demonstrators against 14 mile land concession were returning members of South Sudanese diaspora instigating lawlessness in South Sudan. Mr. President, how dare are you to insult the intellect of all protesting South Sudanese who never set foot on foreign lands? Don’t you think that they get it when their land is being conceded to the North inch by inch? How about the returning South Sudanese diaspora’s right to protest South Sudanese government’s incompetence to negotiating favorable terms for the South Sudanese? Are they only South Sudanese when they protest against Khartoum in foreign capitals? Major Diing’s assassination was a tragedy that shook the whole world but what was the reaction from your administration? A lukewarm and crocodile tears to say the least! There were cases of weird reactions by your administration’s officials and by you, Mr. President, that raise a question as to whether or not the administration might be more knowledgeable of Major Diing’s killers; for example:
The takeaway from those few examples regarding the assassination of Major Diing is we have a reason to believe he was assassinated by security personnel close to your inner circle, Mr. President. It is either you have lost control over the security personnel or they are committing these crimes with your full backing. The only way South Sudanese could be convinced otherwise is if you actually bring these individuals to justice for your inner circle cabals know who these culprits are, period.
5. We believe concentrated power in the presidency stifles checks and balances
One has to question our strong indictment of the president’s inner circle wondering if we are being balanced and sensible. But what else could we say especially if the power to govern the nations rests with the president and his inner circle? Mr. President, nobody else shares the responsibility with you and your security apparatus.
In our November, 2011 position paper on cabinet appointments, here is what we concluded as far as the balance of power was concerned “There is no question, the three branches of the South Sudan government: the legislature, executive, and judiciary are not independent from each other as the executive seems to have veto powers over all the decisions to the detriment of the other two branches.”
We then recommended that “The constitution needs to set up a system of checks and balances to help ensure that no one branch can be more powerful than the other. Each branch has powers that it can wield to keep the other branches in check. If the system of checks and balances were in place, the executive would have arranged to have all the president’s cabinet and judicial appointees scrutinized and confirmed by the legislature.”
Unfortunately, our recommendations fell on deaf ears and we are making a further conclusion that in the days when government’s critics such as Major Diing are cold bloodedly murdered with impunity, the power now rests with your inner circle cabals and security personnel, Mr. President. We now can categorically say that the assassination of Major Diing is a tip of a bigger iceberg. It is a wakeup call to all South Sudanese; what happened to him is an indication of fate for every South Sudanese who walks in Isaiah’s shoes. It is an indication of a turning point in South Sudanese history from a true democracy that so much blood has been spilled to a one man’s timeless dictatorship. Mr. President, this is the beginning of the implementation of the plans that you put in place when you formed your first cabinet a year ago and aggregated power within your circles and championed a constitution that gives you absolute powers to be able to commit blunders of this nature and still get away without accountability. It is a first sign that billions of dollars spent in South Sudan every year are being used to build a system that is dangerous to humanity and the world over. We have to ask you to change course and lead as people’s president --- Not as your inner circle cabals’ and security personnel’s president!
6. We ask you to change course now rather than later
You have and will have a very hard time convincing the people of South Sudan that you are the man we knew during the liberation struggle. The Commander Kiir we knew was calm, patient, laid back and loathed vengeance. Your personality during struggling years made people forget your colossal strategic and tactical errors such as River Gilo’s tragedy we already alluded to. But President Kiir we know today is clearly different in terms of personality and governance! Mr. President, you seem to have been spoiled by money and lust for unquestionable powers. As we stated up front, we are unmistakably asking you to commit yourself to correct the ills and wrongs that have been done to South Sudanese on your watch if you are serious about reestablishing your credibility and reassuring the wronged and victimized South Sudanese. Mr. President, we reiterate, the following must happen in order to rescue this hopeless and anarchic state of affairs in South Sudan:
Mr. President, once these changes are effected, South Sudanese and the world over may give your administration a second look and there is always a period of redemption. Your legacy which is what should be your most important focus may be redeemed. But it is up to you to choose to make those changes on the timeline provided. This is the final and last chance we give you and your administration before we bring the issue to the international stage. And it will be your foreign policy nightmare. Mr. President, if nothing changes in the foreseeable future, we have the recourse to wage a diplomatic campaign against your administration and it will take different forms noted in the following section of the paper.
7. We will resort to peaceful recourse if you do not change course
Mr. President, we say we have the recourse to campaign for changes within your administration because we know where you stand on the international stage. You are very close to isolating yourself already. It is now a known fact that the sour relationship between you and our important allies in the west is an indication of your failures in governance across the board. Mr. President, you need to be reminded that gone are the days when, you and other government officials were greeted with flowers when you come to the West. Those days will be over until you change the course of directions of our country. You will be greeted with voices, signs and all sorts of expressions through peaceful protests that will make you so uncomfortable. So, you have two choices, change or don’t and our peaceful protests against you begin immediately. Mr. President, if you do not change the course within a foreseeable future, we will no doubt resort to the following measures, among other peaceful options:
We will not rest until you change the way you and your security personnel are running the country today. It is a cause larger than ourselves and we, South Sudanese, are entitled to call for another revolution. Why, not? Even the Egyptians that brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak are now back on Tahrir Square asking for Mohammed Morsi to step down because his dictatorial signals weren’t apparent when they went to election booths this year to elect him the President of the Republic of Egypt!
8. Concluding summary
We conclude our position paper with message to all South Sudanese. Dear South Sudanese, we need to reflect on what we told the disaffected South Sudanese Youths in our November, 2011 position. We told our Youths that “[B]e reminded that you are the conscience and stewards of this very young nation. Our fervent plea to you is this: Let us be the generation that saves South Sudan from the wraths of tribalism, where leaders and communities, large and small, are constantly set against one another. A nation does not belong to those in power. Let us not wait for all leaders to come and empower us to help our people and communities. Start wherever you are to help children and the elderly in whatever small way you can. Such a small measure inspires hope. Plus, you know it takes sustained activism to bring about social change. If the entire youth fraternity works in our communities by sharing all the ideas for increasing opportunities and reducing poverty, our nation and the way of life can surely change.”
Given what we have seen so far since the formation of the government of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan when we had to make a stand on cabinet appointments, we were right then and we are still right today because things have even gotten worse than when we wrote our position paper. We now modify our position to argue that not only the Youths but also all South Sudanese must work hard to force the administration to reform and make meaningful changes within its ranks and files as laid out in the above demands.
Dear South Sudanese, what we now face is a clear demonstration of complete autocracy that knows no tribes or clans. It is our problem all of us as South Sudanese and it is us who will force the government to make meaningful reforms. It is not our desire to cause the disintegration of the little progress that has been made since CPA but common sense tells people of South Sudan that it is better to fight this corrupt government now rather than later when it takes roots and becomes stronger and harder to fight. That is why we are going to work with you, the peace and democracy loving people of South Sudan and the world, to make sure that this government changes for the better or get out of the way to give the people of South Sudan a long overdue prosperity. We will have to establish solidarity networks for democracy among ourselves as people of South Sudan around the world and work tirelessly to empower the grassroots citizenry and will never stop working until democracy reigns in the Republic of South Sudan.
PREPARED AND SIGNED BY:
Governmental Affairs Committee
Advisory Board to Governmental Affairs Committee
REVIEWED AND CONFIRMED BY:
Executive and Oversight Committee of Greater Bor Community (GBC)
Board of Trustees
Committee of county Presidents
1. Mabior Achiek Chaw, President, Bor County
2. Kuol Anyieth Kuol, President, Twic East County
3. Yol Goch, President, Duk County