Articles and Analysies
Truth hurts, but should be told By: Raan Naath, JUBA
By [unknown placeholder $article.art_field1$]
Jun 13, 2009 - 3:16:38 AM

Truth hurts, but should be told


By: Raan Naath, JUBA


There is a saying that ˜truth hurts." But sometimes it doesn't hurt unless one is not ready to swallow it, in case it is intended to scrape out the untruthfulness in you. First, I would like to say sorry to my brothers Zacharia Manyok and Lual Garang if things I wrote hurt them or affected things they had wanted to believe. But my conscience tells me that it is both my right and at the same time moral to tell the truth.


Denying that the split of 1991 was a result of conflicting ideologies and strategies within the old SPLMA and wanting to make it tribal-based can only serve the interests of self-defeated tribalists. But the truth remains truth because both factions were joined by various tribes including Dinka and Nuer, and that is a living testimony.


Also one is advised to read the points of declaration which included self-determination for the people of South Sudan, democratization of the Movement and respect for human rights. Those were the core principles that led to the split; no tribal-based principle was ever mentioned.


I don't have much to say about Lual Garang who preaches the idea of Confucianism or trying to justify changing colors like a chameleon by former leadership during the struggle. A chameleon remains a chameleon whether it changes colors several times or not. Those who know the shape of a chameleon will always identify it even in different colors. The aspiration of the people of South Sudan can never be covered up using fake and alien and fluctuating ideologies.


Changing or confusing the SPLM/A objective from Socialist New Sudan(see SPLM/A manifesto of 1983 which was adopted from former Ethiopian dictator Haile Mariam) to ˜Secular United New Sudan (from 1993, taken from Dr. Mansour Khalid who was late Garang's political mentor to now joining the self-determination does not help any one out by justifying him or her a thinker.


Being a chameleon did not spare two million lives of South Sudanese. It was worth it fighting and dying for your true cause, which some countries can reject while others can understand and support. This is why in October 1993 when late Garang and Machar went to Washington, DC, on the invitation of the US former administration, self-determination became the first point among the other seven points accepted by Washington and agreed upon by the two leaders.


If you know how to articulate your cause for your friends to understand it, then you don't need to die for a wrong one. Driving people to death for the wrong cause of so-called new united Sudan was a sin and betrayal of the oppressed South Sudanese people.


The so-called unionists, now ashamed, are the ones to apologize to people of South Sudan for resisting the true cause under the influence of Jalaba politicians during the war. They are now a very minority and lonely voice in the South and this proves them to be blood traders for unity project of Jalaba at the expense of the long time oppressed masses in the South. They are traitors of the first order!


I hope this influence will not work to confuse the cause of South Sudanese this time. Darfur is now fighting its own war without the SPLM/A, so what was the adventure about? There are people who pretend to fight on behave of the whole Sudan just for the sake of the name. Their people die in millions just for the sake of making a fake history. These are purely pretenders!


I was not trying to narrate on the two ideologies that existed and still exist in the SPLM/A; how they originated; who initiated or championed which of them; or how peace agreements are reached in the Sudan. But as some body who has been always associated with the SPLM/A since my childhood in 1983, I would tell the true story about the things I personally witnessed, publicly or privately communicated during the liberation struggle.


People talk of separatists stabbing the unionists at the back during the bush wars. Well, why not? If late Dr. John Garang, as the leader, stabbed the people of South Sudan at the front and derailed them from their match towards self-determination since 1955 Anya-nya I war, why shouldn't his subordinates stab him at the back so that he turned around and listened to the voice of the people? It is the same whether you stab at the back, front or sideways.


With due respect to my brother, Zachariah Nyok of Texas, USA, on his views or rather re-interpretations or denials of my arguments in his response to my short article about the appointment of Lt. Gen. James Hoth Mai, where he seemingly thought he got an opportunity to express some of his grudges with our sitting Vice President on ideologies, peace and governance, I didn't intend my points to generate a war of ideologies on two conflicting SPLM/A camps. I did not either mean my short article to be a source of dialogue on distribution of credits achieved.


On the ideology of self-determination that developed into the 1991 split, and which Manyok said was never an initiative of or credit to Dr. Riek Machar but rather that of Dr. Lam Akol, I don't want to argue on what transpired in the year 1991 or discuss who should solely get the credit in championing self-determination. In that year, it could be Dr. Lam Akol who said the time was right for action to correct or champion the ideology or objective for war on the basis of self-determination. It could be both of them or many more.


However, what I know and could recall is that Dr. Riek Machar brought up the idea in 1984 after he joined the movement and was the first SPLM/A diplomat or representative in Ethiopia, the country that hosted the SPLM/A. We know the idea of self-determination was there since 1947 or even beyond, but nobody came out boldly to champion it like he did.


He also presented his position to late Dr. Garang that SPLM, as a political wing should be fully established and its activities should precede or have upper hand over the SPLA, the military wing. It is not by accident that the order of name SPLA/M which put military first and existed since 1983 has been changed to SPLM/A after 1991.


He (Machar) recommended that qualified South Sudanese political figures could be recruited and deployed to foreign countries in Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Americas and to the UN to explain the inevitability of war in the country unless a peaceful resolution on North-South wars were reached as the way forward.


According to him, the SPLA forces trainings would have continued inside Ethiopia before a full scale war was launched if dialogue under the auspices of the international community failed. So, the ideology on self-determination for the people of South Sudan and the peace strategy were in his mind and a priority since 1984. Unless he gave up on them after 1984, I wouldn't buy into the story of your denial.


This explains why after the 1991 split he prioritized dialogue in Abuja I and Abuja II in 1992 including Frankfurt, etc, to reach a peaceful settlement to the conflict with the Khartoum regime. If you don't want to put the credit where it belongs in some cases, which is contrary to your claim about appointment of Lt. Gen. Hoth, then I don't understand how you can put the idea right without bias.


Dr. Machar's forces didn't want to fight the government unless they came under attack because they were pursuing peaceful means. They also did not intend to fight against the SPLA unless attacked and would exercise their obligation to defend their peace agreement from spoilers in the same way the SPLA would now jointly defend the CPA with SAF against spoilers. An example of this is the recent Omdurman attack by the Justice and Equality Movement of Darfur last year in which both the SPLA and SAF forces in Khartoum fought against the JEM forces despite JEM being a former ally to SPLM/A. You can be obliged to defend your peace against whoever spoils it.


The CPA enjoyed support from the international community more than the Addis Ababa or Khartoum Peace Agreements. That is understandable in two ways: One the CPA was a comprehensive peace in the sense that it brought together all the fighting movements or factions in the South. There was no any movement that declared to continue to fight against the Khartoum government outside the CPA.


In Khartoum Peace Agreement, Dr. Garang decided to continue to fight, making it difficult to sustain the peace efforts as certain towns and bushes in the South were not secure. The CPA was lucky to have all the stakeholders matching for peace. And that was a very fortunate situation that convinced the international community that it was a peace they could trust and support. The credit goes to all those factions who, unlike the forces outside the Khartoum Peace Agreement, decided not to continue fighting.   


The second factor is international politics and interests. The West that mostly constitute the international community's decision-making disliked the Khartoum regime and therefore were not interested in whatever good initiated and negotiated by the Sudanese rebel movements with Khartoum without their influence on how to do it. They controlled Dr. Garang's peace-making efforts and were his mentors. They just call the Khartoum Peace Agreement a peace from within.


I don't understand how naturally a peace from outside would more likely be binding than a peace from within. Internal conflict resolutions can be deeply rooted than foreign imposed solutions. Either way, no peace agreement with Khartoum is exempt from violations whether domestically manufactured or foreign imposed. This is typical of the nature of Sudanese deep rooted mistrusts. This is why even the CPA's most important provisions are being violated on daily basis under the watchful eyes of the so-called international community. What is important is our internal unity to embrace and defend peace collectively no matter it is from within or from without.


And unless one does not understand any thing about what is called strategy, you would have appreciated the Khartoum Peace Agreement. Though violated by Khartoum regime, it still held on to its established government in the South under the former South Sudan Coordination Council which the Government of South Sudan just replaced in 2005.


The 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement was the first agreement ever signed in Sudan on self-determination and referendum that would lead to independence in the South. I would also like to remind my brother Manyok that the Khartoum Peace Agreement did not integrate the South Sudan fighting forces into the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). The forces were intact and separate in the South and were known as South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF) under independent command of Chief of Staff. This is why when Dr. Machar returned to bush, he returned with most of them. If some of them remained, it was not in accordance with the agreement.


The CPA is definitely a by-product of KPA (read both documents of Khartoum Peace Agreement and Comprehensive Peace Agreement in order to appreciate what I mean). The basis for KPA in 1997 was self-determination just as the basis for CPA in 2005 is for self-determination. If you think it was a coincidence that the two factions merged in Nairobi in January 2002 and signed the first CPA protocol for self-determination with the same Khartoum regime in July 2002, just six months after merger, then you need to think twice. Those who were insiders knew what transpired after the merger. Late Dr. Garang got the leadership he wanted to maintain, but Dr. Machar got the self-determination and peace strategy he wanted for our people!


It is up to you, Manyok, to come to terms with the realities or confine yourself in your mindset prison based on denials. It is inevitable in this world that enemies make peace and sit on the same table. Dr. Machar sat on the table with Beshir after making peace with him, late Dr. Garang also sat with Bashir and ate on the same table through peace agreement and now Salva Kiir is eating with the same Omer el-Bashir. Nothing is so unique about peace-makings.


In the argument against peace from within, even in family matters, you first try to make peace as internal family members and if you fail you invite in neighbors to help you find a solution. But by then the causes of the problem and the difficulties in finding the solution would have been clearly identified or some already resolved.


On governance, you are right that a Vice President should know what the President is doing. I believe they make consultations on issues. However, that does not mean that they always agree on actions the President takes. Because the President has the last say, and some of his decisions might be complicated by influence of tribalism or lack of respect for constitutions, the Vice President may not be collectively responsible with President on unilateral decisions taken by the President. This is the work of the parliament to intervene.


Let us join hands as one people with our clear and popular objective of self-determination for the people of South Sudan and to be exercised in an internationally supervised referendum, that would, as things stand of now, lead to creation of independent nation. Yes, for the appointment of Lt. Gen. Hoth Mai, we should give credit to both President Salva Kiir who appointed him and Lt. Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak who strongly recommended him. I can now rest my case.


© Copyright by