First off, let's remember that the elders I'm talking about are not the REAL ELDERS, but the dollar-intoxicated, Prado-Driving, educated political 'elders' in Juba. I'm not referencing the real elders in Jieeng Villages!
Elders, the world over, are supposed to be the voice of reason and wisdom. They should be the people to calm down a young and fiery generation, who’s always interested in solving everything through myopic physical means. However, this is not the case in South Sudan as the nation has had every order of things turned upside down. Elders have lost wisdom and reason as they are the first to beat the drum of war and division. Personal benefits are put above the health and long term well-being of all citizenry! It’s very sad but there seems to be no end in sight. We are free falling!
Since 2005, after the death of late Dr. John Garang De Mabior, South Sudan continued a downward spiral toward failure, naïve tribalism and unbridle corruption. The saddest part of all this affair is that the perpetrators of the problems don’t seem to realize the danger they caused and continue to cause.Since the days of Sudan African Nation Union (SANU) with the likes of Father Saturnino, Joseph Oduho, Agrey Jaden and Deng Nhial, tribalism has always been a problem. Tribalism also caused Oduho to form Azania Liberation Front (ALF) and Agrey forming Sudan African Liberation Front (SALF), all of which short-lived. Tribalism also dogged the Southern Sudan Provisional Government (SSPG) with Gordon Muortat and Agrey Jaden. The formation of Nile Provisional Government (NPG), the Anyidi Republic and the eventual takeover of the liberation struggle by Joseph Lagu resulted from both personal ambition and tribalism. After the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement, the power-play between Joseph Lagu and Abel Alier was an epitome of instrumentalized tribalism. Energies and resources were focused on tribal rivalry as development was shamelessly ignored.
In a word, tribalism isn’t something new in the South. However, one always hopes that past historical mistakes be corrected in an attempt to create a helpful way forward. Unfortunately, in South Sudan, past mistakes are reimagined, reformulated, and instrumentalized for power and wealth. This brings me to the infamous Jieeng Council of Elders (JCE). Instead of making sure all tribal elders in South Sudan come together to not only help children understand tribal values, histories and historicity across tribal lines, but also make sure they institutionalize tribal wisdom in a helpful manner, JCE has become a divisive, boot-licking, dirty group bent on making South Sudan a Jieeng republic!Jieeng are supposed to be peace-loving people, people who try to bring people together. It’s either I was wrong, or our elders have changed. JCE, headed by the likes of Martin Majut Yak and Ambrose Riiny Thiik, has become a great liability to South Sudan. Where on earth do you find young people advising elders not to be divisive and hawkish? Where have the Jieeng values gone that I can clearly see the danger they are causing South Sudan when they can’t see it? If these are the elders we have then South Sudan is doomed to fail beyond the current failure-pit level. Are these the elders young people should consult for wisdom?
Martin Majut recently told a Jieeng radio presenter [SBS Radio] that Jieeng liberated South Sudan so we [Jieeng] deserve to be the rulers. Are these the elders we should admire? Why do I know that such a statement is wrong when an elder can’t see it? Ambrose Riiny Thiik recently admitted that the idea of the unconstitutional 28 states was their idea. It’s no wonder the president accepted it without putting any thought into how dangerous the idea could be.
How did we, the Jieeng, become this callous, greedy, divisive and short-sighted? Have Jieeng values become completely eroded that elders are now behaving like children? A nation where younger people advise elders to be wise, conciliatory and inclusive, is a nation whose values have been eroded. How can Jieeng elders allow Nuer to be massacred in Juba? Where is the wisdom of Jieeng in making sure Nuer are safe in Juba and out of UNMISS camps?It’s no surprise that President Kiir has no elders to give him wisdom to lead. His being advised by corrupt, myopic, blood-thirsty, greedy old man who’ve abdicated their duty as elders is taking us to the grave.