By Peter Mayom
The senseless war that engulfed South Sudan, which started on 12/15/2013, has exposed how disunited our country is and how some individuals wanted to exploit the weakest of us to launch or solidify their political ambitions. In my previous article titled “Riek Machar’s war against the aspirations of a people” I wholeheartedly sided with the people who say what took place on 12/15/2013 was a coup d’état. Also, I mentioned that ex-detainees were not part of the coup. We can debate the merits of whether it was a coup or not a coup. Regardless of what side of the debate any South Sudanese is on, tens of thousands of innocent lives were lost. In solving and de-escalating the problem facing our country, Abraham Deng Lueth, the current chairman of Greater Bor Community in the USA, proposed and suggested very idiotic if not infantile ideas.
After Peter Gatdet declared allegiance to Riek Machar, killed Ajak Yen (RIP), and scattered Bortown civil populations into the bushes and the swamps of the Nile River, Abraham Deng Lueth made a call that Gatdet’s rebel forces should not be attacked. He boldly suggested to high-ranking individuals from Bor Community in President Salva Kiir’s government that rebel forces should be left alone.
Abraham Deng Lueth’s reason why those forces were not to be attacked was that it would put civilians in a harm way. Besides, in Lueth’s narrow view, Bor civilians in Bortown were not being killed by Peter Gatdet’s forces.
However, the harmonious dwelling of Gatdet forces and Bortown’s civil population, which Lueth wanted people to believe, was nowhere to be found. On the first night Gatdet’s soldiers took control of the town, two cousins of mine were shot on a motorcycle killing one instantly and severely injuring the other. And some other first casualties included two brothers from Kongor Payam who were summarily executed. Every section or clan in Bor Community has stories like that.
To show his naivety, Abraham Deng Lueth and a few like minded individuals contacted Peter Gatdet’s nephew. They asked him to talk to his uncle not to harm any civilians in the town. As bizarre as the request was, it was not a bad attempt on the part of Lueth and company. Lueth and the Company were and still are living in a fantasy world. I do not think he and his group knew the history of the man they were dealing with. There they were trusting a ruthless and a perennial militia commander who previously killed some of the bravest men and founding fathers of the SPLM/SPLA by the names Kerubino Kuanyin Bol and William Nyuon Bany. Civilian’s lives were not of any importance to him because he has killed civilians before.
Deng Lueth and his group put the government and the Bor Community leaders in Juba in a predicament. They feared that civilians could be killed in the course of military assault on the rebels as Deng Lueth and his group deceived them to believe. As government mulls over attacking Gatdet’s forces, more civilians’ lives were lost. Those who chose to sneak back to the town to search for food never made it back to their loved ones in the bushes and swamps.
So, has Deng Lueth, as a leader of Greater Bor Community in the USA, made the right call during that trialing time? In his distorted mind, he thought and probably still thinks he made a brilliant call.
For someone like me whose loved ones were in the bushes, I do not distinguish Deng Lueth from Riek Machar, Peter Gatdet, and the White Army. The civilians who were scattered in the swamps of the Nile River and bushes would not consider him a hero.
The heroes are and will always be Generals Abraham Jongroor and Ajak Yen and many other individuals who died fighting in and around Mading Bor!
Since Deng Lueth is a leader of the Greater Bor Community in the USA, I challenge him to go to IDPs camp in Minkaman, in Awerial County, Lakes State, refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda. There I would like him to Look those people in the eye and tell them that he once called for the government not to attack Gatdet’s forces.
Feelings change just as Deng Lueth’s call for “President Kiir’s plan for exit strategy” has changed. For that matter, he might prove me wrong and get a hero welcome in those places.
He paid a visit to the seven high-ranking political figures released on January 29, 2014. I believe he could do the same to the people of Bor who are displaced in South Sudan or sent to the refugee camps in East Africa.
My bet is that he would not do it.
Until he proves me wrong, I would consider Deng Lueth a naïve and a disingenuous man.
It was despicable for a tiny man to make such a mammoth life-and-death situation call.
Could he (Deng Lueth) be held accountable for the lives lost when Gatdet’s forces were roaming and shooting at anything moving in Bortown?
To add salt to injury, Deng Lueth’s mother and siblings were hundreds if not thousands of kilometers in a far away land when he was calling the government to leave alone the just-rebelled forces.
What was he thinking?
Wasn’t he trying to advance his political ambition or career at the expense of our vulnerable people? I believe so.
I would have seen Deng Lueth as a committed pacifist if his loved ones were in Bortown when he made that call. Nonetheless, his loved ones were enjoying modern amenities in Kenya.
Having followed Deng Lueth as the leader of the Greater Bor Community in the USA for some time, I have come to admire what he wanted to do for the people back home in South Sudan. In 2010, he campaigned and won the leadership of the Greater Bor Community in the USA. His grand ambition was to eradicate hunger in the Greater Bor Area. I knew it was a little stretched vision because some countries that have been in existence for hundreds of years are still fighting hunger now. But how could anyone say something negative about a young man with big dream.
After fight broke out in Juba on December 15, 2014, Deng Lueth has strayed from his witty and keen way of doing things. His writings and plans are witnesses.
In his article titled,” Kiir should plan his exit strategy: A Citizen’s Concern”, Deng Lueth talks about how he does not want President Kiir to be removed from power in a humiliating way. He also mentioned that “the conflict has literally forced Kiir out”.
The question then becomes, what side of the conflict is Deng Lueth on?
Whom does Deng Lueth want to take over from Kiir?
Would those who previously killed thousands of civilians in Bor County villages and Bortown spare civilians’ lives this time if they take over by force?
One doesn’t have to go far to find answers to the above questions. From the onset of this conflict, Deng Lueth has been a stalwart ally of Riek Machar and the rebels.
First, he called on the government not to attack rebel forces in Bor while the rebels were going to churches and hospitals raping and killing old women and men, respectively.
After his previous attempt was squashed by the government by attacking Gatdet’s forces, Deng Lueth devised another way to get President Kiir out of power.
On January 16, 2014, Deng Lueth contacted leaders of various communities or sections of South Sudan in the USA. At the conference, Deng briefed the leaders of what he wanted them to do, which is to stand in solidarity with the Nuers. He told them that there was no coup, which is his opinion, and that what took place in Juba was something started by President Salva Kiir to eliminate Nuers and his archrival Riek Machar.
After saying that, he asked the attendees to select one person from each of the ten (10) South Sudan states and those ten individuals would write a letter to be taken to the Whitehouse. In the letter, President Barack Obama’s administration would be asked to support or plan the removal of Salva Kiir. Moreover, the letter would be given to the international media, which will then be followed by mass demonstration by South Sudanese in the USA who would be chanting down down Salva Kiir.
Standing in solidarity with Nuers is not an abomination. However, charity begins at home and Deng Lueth should have stood first in solidarity with Bor County’s victims of the White Army and rebels.
To me he is just another blind and full-throated supporter of Riek Machar and the rebels.
I have never been a fan of President Salva Kiir. He has his shares of failures and any objective person would acknowledge that. Thousands of innocents’ lives perished under Kiir’s leadership. However, I do not stand with people who want to overthrow a democratically elected government by force nor do I want to form an alliance with tribally affiliated movement that is fighting to avenge the killing of their tribal members.
Deng Lueth justifies revenge and fight to overthrow the government by Riek Machar and the rebels. One justification of why Machar is fighting is in his article titled “Understanding the positions of the stakeholders in the Addis Ababa peace talks”. In the article Deng Lueth talks of how the war was forced on Riek Machar. And that it was “a self-defense rebellion”, which is exactly what Riek Machar says. I am not a legal scholar. However, after Riek Machar left the scene of the crime, Juba, and tried to come back fully armed to attack the aggressor (the government; according to Deng Lueth), he is no longer a victim but an assailant. That simple fact should have been known by someone with an MPA from Kansas City. Deng and I actually do not know the exact number of Nuers’ civilians killed in Juba, although Machar exaggeratedly puts the number at more than twenty three (23) thousands. The number Machar says would include more than three-quarters of underage children he (Machar) recruited to fight the government. Had he been a leader and asked the white Army to return home when it was in Gadiang, the death of Nuer’s civilians would have been confined to Juba and Kiir would have paid dearly for it.
One justification of mass killing of civilians in Bor County villages when the rebels took over Bortown the second time was that they were ambushed by civilians after Abraham Jongroor chased them out of town the first time. That is a naked lie.
Whom did Shilluk’s civilians massacred in Malakal kill? How do those people explain away the killing of civilians in Panrieng (Panaru)?
In the same article titled, “Understanding the positions of the stakeholders in the Addis Ababa peace talks” Deng tries to make us believe that Riek Machar was fighting to force the government to release the detainees. He can sell that theory to some uninformed and naïve individuals such as himself. Majority of us who know Riek Machar’s history are not buying it. The former detainees never wanted bloodshed to remove President Salva Kiir. If it was not because of hasty decision by Riek Machar, other means could have been used to take SPLM chairmanship away from Kiir.
Another Deng Lueth’s insult to former detainees is trying to advise them on what to do in this conflict.
He said, “Leaving Dr. Riek alone, even when he abandons hostilities, is a clear betrayal in the eyes of many members of the rebellion and it does not bring a just peace but a fake one (one with grudges embedded among people). It does not unite the people of South Sudan”.
Should Deng Lueth find it a celestial call to provide a political cover to Ngundeng-prophesied Messiah, Riek Machar, he is free to do so. However, he must first relinquish the Chairmanship of the Greater Bor Community in the USA, which gives him the platform to make friends like Riek Machar.
Chairman Lueth does not need my counsel. Nevertheless, I will voluntarily give it to him.
Sir, the ex-detainees are well read and politically savvy individuals. Therefore, they will do what is right for themselves and the people of South Sudan and must be left alone.
Chairman Lueth was not a good advocate for the former detainees when they were in jail and I do not think he would be any different now.
While those leaders were in jail, Deng Lueth and certain circle (they know themselves) accuse all the individuals from the Bor Community in President Salva Kiir’s cabinet of working for a political if not a physical destruction of Twic East in general and Majak Agoot in particular.
Their main culprits are Kuol Manyang Juuk and Michael Makuei Lueth.
What do Kuol and Makuei have against Twic East and Majak Agoot? The people attacking and calling Kuol and Makuei names here in the West are doing a disservice to Majak Agoot, a potential leader, and Twic East.
During the war of liberation, Kuol Manyang Juuk was the second highest-ranked person in the whole Greater Bor Area behind only John Garang. His support to Dr. John Garang and South Sudan’s course never wavered during the war. Why would he stoop low and divide our people now?
Michael Makuei Lueth was one of the main CPA negotiators and Garang’s allies during the war of liberation. He is unapologetically a Greater Bor unionist. Makuei has proven his loyalty to our people in the trenches (Kandaks) and dungeon (prison) during the struggle and he has never faltered.
Would he betray Majak Agoot and Twic East now that the leadership of the SPLM or South Sudan is on the other side of the Nile River?
If that is the case as some individuals duped our (their) community into believing, whom did Michael Makuei Lueth betray when John Garang (RIP) was alive? He was employed before May 16, 1983 and still had a job when John Garang unexpectedly died on July 30, 2005. Therefore, the allegation that he (Makuei) betrays someone fails on that front.
If people in the camp that calls Kuol Manyang and Makuei Lueth betrayers of Twic East think it is a noble duty to accuse them of something, I would like them to accuse Makuei and Kuol of loyalty.
To the people who want to divide our community (Bor) and gain political ground on a very bad situation facing our country, you either straighten up or you will be called out.
We came too far to be divided by fleeting positions in Kiir’s administration.
It is Michael Makuei and Kuol Manyang right now in Kiir’s government and tomorrow it could be Atem Yak or Atem Garang or it could be Lual Achuek and Majak Agoot again. There is no betrayal needed to earn a position in Salva Kiir’s government! I do not think for a second that Majak Agoot, Lual Achuek, Elijah Malok, Atem Garang, Bior Ajang, and Rebecca Nyandeng betrayed anyone when they were all in previous Kiir’s administration.
Why don’t we work on getting the leadership instead of fighting over appointments handed to us by others?
With that in mind, it is our moral duty as informed and educated citizens of the Greater Bor Community to disseminate substantially proven information to the uninformed. Let us unite first as people of Bor before seeking union with other people. Our bond and destiny are shared. If we fail to unite, we will fall victim again to the same people we are attempting to form alliances.