JUBA (HAN) September 7. 2020. Monitoring Regional Issues. By Musa Magoor. After fighting for it collectively and subsequently voted together for her independence, South Sudan was born a proud nation created as a result of the unity of its diverse ethnicities, cultures and languages. The peoples of this young Republic, therefore, entrusted President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party a duty to manage the abundant resources of this young nation in order to make the lives of the South Sudanese people better.
Unfortunately, President Kiir and his wife Ayen Mayardit have hijacked our hard-earned nation and turned it into a family and clan property, using national resources to finance family and clan projects in order to execute their clan agenda. Yes! This is what has been going on. The rest of the tribes have been thinking it is a Dinka government, the rest of the Dinka have thought it is a Bahr-el-Ghazal Government when it is, in fact, an Awan Chan Clan and Relatives Government. In Short ACC&RG.
A few weeks ago, South Sudan Central Bank officials declared to the public in a press conference that the central bank had run out of foreign reserves. This announcement left South Sudanese wandering as to what the government has done with the money when the civil servants’ salaries have not been paid and implementation of revitalized peace agreement stuck.
Some South Sudanese officials blame the collapsed South Sudan’s economy to the civil war, deteriorating oil prices and coronavirus pandemic. But these are not really the causes of what is depriving the bank of foreign reserves and killing the economy of South Sudan. President Kiir family and his clan are.
In 2012, the Bank of South Sudan was doing great under the wise and able leadership of a non-Awan former Governor Late. Elijah Malok Aleng. That time, South Sudan had suspended oil production following some disagreements with Khartoum over transit and tariff fees. Even without oil revenues, the economy of South Sudan was doing great. The reason was that the bank Governor was a nationalist, serving the interest of the South Sudanese people.
Elijah Malok Aleng (Rest in Peace uncle), was at monetary warfare with the first family and the clan of President Kiir. He had the ability to say no and the aptitude to turn down several unnecessary payment requests approved by Mister Kiir so that the bank continues to have enough foreign reserves. As he tried to make sure the nation has enough reserves, the first family took him as a barrier on their way to riches. And as a result, Malok was fired and replaced with Cornelius Koriom, Mister Kiir clansman and family ally whose second name means locust.
Knowing what was coming next after his sacking, Malok awarded the new bank governor a broom. His gift was an illustration to President Kiir, his family and the South Sudanese that he has handed the responsibility of the bank to the family and clan of Mr Kiir and that they can now sweep out all the foreign reserves in the bank. It didn’t bother Kiir and his associate as much. The barrier was removed. That was the time Mr Kiir started using constitutional powers meant for serving the nation to instead implement his family and clan agenda.
After President Kiir successfully took control of the central bank, foreign reserves surely and quickly became a family property. Clan networks and clan deals penetrated into the bank and took deep root in what was supposedly be a formal regime. Decisions to appointments who would become the next central bank governor or Executive Director of the State-owned lucrative National Petroleum Company were made by the family and clan of Mr Kiir. Decision-making process shifted from the cabinet meeting hall and the SPLM political bureau to Mr Kiir family and clan in what can best be described as “the rise of clan politics in South Sudan”.
Consolidating clan power
After the successful control of the bank and the national finances, President Kiir family and clan then resorted to using the national wealth to consolidate clan power in order to implement a clan agenda which is to terrorize and intimidate the rest of the tribes in the country. Here are some examples.
In 2013, the clan regime of Mr Kiir aggravated the Dinka against the Nuer and managed to divide the nation along ethnic lines. He, therefore, used the national resources and the rest of the Dinka like Paul Malong and Mathiang Anyor (Kiir Militia Unit that fought 2013 war) to fight a clan-based war with a clan schema in the name of protecting the legitimacy of his self-imposed government against the so-called coup plotters.
After he was pushed to the corner to end the war, Mister Kiir reluctantly accepted to sign a peace deal. Although the peace agreement redefined governance in its rightful meaning and management of State resources in a more formal setting, Mr Kiir has persisted on serving the interest of his family and that of his clan over the national interest.
While training of the unified forces, feeding for these forces, forming of State governments, reconstitution of the Parliament and formation of the hybrid court (some of the major parts of the peace agreement) are desperately in need of funding, has continued to fund clan activities leaving major parts of the peace agreement unattended for.
The regime has continued to amass military power which is currently largely and firmly in the hands of the clans. You can see them heavily armed on the streets, in armoured mounted vehicles or at the junctions at night doing patrol to keep the clan regime in power. You can hear them looting property at night in the name of unknown gunmen. You can see them releasing their fellow criminals mistakenly arrested by the National Police Services at detention facilities, you can see as judges in courtrooms passing biased judgments on innocent South Sudanese like Peter Biar and Kerubino Wol. All of them are clan’s men in different levels of power executing same clan agenda, which is to marginalize South Sudanese forever.
Funding proxy wars, deadly disarmament and assassinations
After securing all the military hardware, power and all the money, Kiir clan regime then resorted to using national finances to fund proxy wars in an effort to destabilize other clans and the South Sudanese people. You might have heard about the unending Murle verses Dinka-Bor and Nuer conflict.
Before South Sudan’s independence, Sudan was the major funder of this conflict. Kiir inherited the style from Khartoum and continued to fund the Murle, arming them against the Dinka-Bor and Nuer people. Millions of our dollars that should have been used to implement the revitalized peace deal have gone to this Clan project in terms of arms, ammunition and other military logistics.
Another major clan project that contributed to the bankruptcy of our bank is the private airstrip in Tonj. In June 2020, South Sudanese learnt of a private airstrip built in Tonj by the Director-General of Internal Security, Akol Khor, who is Mr Kiir’s niece and Mr. Kiir right-hand man holding the brutal national security service. The airstrip whose importance is yet to be known by South Sudanese was funded by the clan regime using national finances.
In August 2020, the clan regime also funded a massacre campaign against people of Luanyjang in Tonj East in the name of a disarmament exercise. 127 people, including women and children, were killed; women were raped, and thousands were displaced from their homes. You may wonder why Kiir would target people from his own State of Warrap. Well, let me give you some understanding.
Luanyjang is the same clan Late. Kerubino Wol Agok ails from. You may remember this renowned young businessman who was detained for nearly a year without charges at the national security detention facility without charges. You may remember the abuses inflicted on him at the blue house. You remember how he was unjustly convicted for ten years and late pardoned after spending some months in Juba central prison. You may also remember how he was provoked into forming a rebellion. You may also remember how the national security went after him and immediately killed him weeks after forming his rebellion. This was the cause of the massacre in Luanyjang.
After the clan regime had succeeded in killing Kerubino Wol, they went further to target his clan, terrorizing them in the name of disarmament and showing the people of Luanyjang, how their neighbouring Awan clan has become more powerful than them. This is the same thing they did to sons of Aweil when Paul Malong Awan declared his rebellion against the clan regime. Before his eyes were opened, Malong had served the clan regime as an Army chief to the last atom of his energy and sadly dumped after executing what the clan wanted.
Again, a good amount of our money that was supposed to be used to pay civil servants was used to fund that devastating disarmament exercise.
On August 23, 2020, the clan regime also funded the assassination of Major General of Police Bior Ajoh Bior. A junior army officer was paid to kill a brave high ranking official from Bor who has fought several battles during the war of liberation and come out alive. Gen. Bior assassin had confessed Late. Bior that he was on a revenge mission. He said he has been looking for Bior in order to kill him to avenge Lual Akok wol also known as Lual Marine, President Kiir cousin.
Late. Lual Akok was killed in Sherikat in early June after trying to turn a graveyard with still fresh graves of former war heroes into his makeshift shops. He also closed a public toilet near that area, a case that triggered the dispute which led to the killing of seven civilians including some potential young men from Bor.
Lual had married Ayen’s niece and his killing has since become a business and the basis for Ayen and her brother Gorgori to assassinate Dinka Bor high ranking officials. According to the information leaked, Bior is not the only one that was targeted. The family of Mr Kiir and his clan especially Ayen Mayardit has made a long list of generals and many other VIPs, particularly from Bor to be killed in the name to avenging Lual Marine. National Money and State power are being used here to intimidate, maim, and kill innocent people from Bor in the same way they have done in recent years.
In 2017, the clan regime used enough money to deport James Gadet Dak, First Vice President Riek Machar spokesperson from Nairobi to Juba before peace was signed. I think Riek Machar might have used a lot of adjectives to beg Salva Kiir to spare Gadet’s life.
Another amount of dollars was used to kidnap Activists Aggrey Idris and Human Rights lawyers Dong Samuel from Nairobi. The two were later killed. In the same way, these projects were carried out in the past, the family has bribed and paid spies and assassins in what they call a revenge project against the Dinka Bor people which is under the lead of Ayen and Gorgori. This is the government that South Sudanese are waiting to bring reforms to the country.
If you are thinking like me then you need to know that the time has come for us to wake up and unite our strength against this clan regime, Mr Kiir. We must not remain at his mercy just like that. Don’t be fooled by the Transitional Government of National Unity. The reformists who entered into this government have since remained quiet. The clan government of Mr Kiir must have given them something to keep their mouths busy. And therefore not thinking about reforms they have been singing.
Therefore, let all non-awan officials in the cabinet, in the judiciary, in the parliament, in the army, in the police, university lecturers, schools teachers and others holding some of those fake positions in this clan administration resign and join the rest of the South Sudanese in calling this clan regime to step down. It is the right time for South Sudanese to take back their own country and restore the principles that led to the formation of this great nation that has been under the captivity of Mr Kiir and his clan rule for years.
Let the UNMISS be ready to send its cameras into the skies to documents our new martyrs and unarmed freedom fighters.
The writer is South Sudanese and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org