May 16, 1983 and 37 Years Later, When and Where Did the SPLM/A Went Wrong?


By Eng. Chuar Juet Jock

At any given course of history, a real revolutionary movement has two major objectives; to liberate and transform the people and the land that it says to be fighting for. To liberate the people and the land from the domination and the marginalization of the colonization forces and this liberation process could be through armed struggle or through mobilization for a popular uprising. That’s phase one.

Comes the second phase when the first phase is accomplished successfully and which could be termed as the second liberation and the start of the transformation of the people and the land, a nation-state building process respectively.

This is the liberation of the minds and transformation of the lives of the impoverished and the long-dominated people as well as building the solid and accurate foundation of the country, from infrastructures, independent institutions, systems of governance…etc.

Well, in the case of South Sudan and with the SPLM/A as the leading liberation movement, one would wonder where did the SPLM/A as a revolutionary and a liberation movement went wrong and away from its liberation and transformation mission and particularly from the period between 2005 to 2018 or we could trace the current political chaos and failure of the SPLM/A in the phase two back to that period between 2005 and 2011 when guns were silenced and peaceful transformation of the nation-state was expected. To sum it up, one can say that the SPLM/A after it won the liberation war and referendum for the independence, it failed to right start the second liberation and transformation process which has begun officially in 2011 after independence. Humans are the engine of every transformation, building of great civilizations and all the great things, it was first of the things for the SPLM to revolutionize the South Sudanese mindset which was long culturally and systematically humiliated and dominated by the successive Khartoum regimes. That’s to free the people from mental slavery, misconceptions and miseducation engraved deep within by northern Sudanese ruling elites, if the new independent South Sudan has to be any better and different from the old Sudan.

Wrong from start, the SPLM/A was made a failure by its current leaders who suddenly found themselves scrambling for power and wealth using all the old grudges and conspiracy theories and then power drunk, they have thrown the movement liberation ideals and objectives and replaced them with selfishness.

But above all, we can attribute this failure to the abrupt and mysterious death of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, the man who knew what the SPLM/A was really for and what it was going to do in its entire course of struggle. But his invisible enemies, locally, regionally and internationally decided to cut his life short in order to cut his plans short as well and prevent them from materializing.

Garang also failed to build up a possible successor whom he could have oriented and sharpened with his unique leadership skills. It is worth noting that even president Kiir admittedly said at the time he took over the leadership of SPLM/A by default that he wouldn’t be able to fill Garang’s shoes. If Garang by any chance did groom a successor on the same revolutionary ideals he held throughout his 23 years triumph as a leader of SPLM/A, such a well equipped successor would have to continue with the mission of the movement and in the same course, continue to engrave solidly the vision and mission into the mindset of loyal and committed future generations.

In such a course, the revolutionary movement could have continued in successful transformation of our people and country through generations and its leaders could have kept the power, leadership and accumulated wealth in a good way and not through murdering of their people and looting of their country.

Sadly enough, after his death, the liberation movement, the SPLM/A became a body without a head, where greedy, the so-called leaders took the stage, playing only with skulls and skeletons of their dead people and engaged intensively in transforming the SPLM/A this time and around into a tool of self enrichment, corruption of all types, tribal empowerment and marginalization and hence, things started to fall apart and become increasingly evidenced that this unexpected change in leadership has affected the SPLM/A and that its in serious internal dilemma which is going to have a very serious future consequences. It happened and still happening and the rest is history.

Undoubtedly, from 2005 to 2018, a long 13 years since the CPA was signed, such a period is relatively enough for South Sudan to have in place a 24hrs/7days running electricity, clean water, adequate healthcare and education system, paved roads, efficient and functioning communications system, solid infrastructures and of course the country would be sufficient in food production industry given the plenty of resources it has and the technological tools the world has acquired today. Undoubtedly, the good part of the world was on our side given our people long struggle for freedom and independence and the huge sacrifices of nearly 3 million souls they bravely gave as a cost of the liberation. This part of the world was ready to donate huge funds for developmental projects, invest in different industries/sectors and assist with the technology and the know-how. However, this was going to happen if we had a competent movement and leadership in place. We just need a transformation movement with a competent leadership and leaders that are equipped with constructive substance. Unfortunately, this was far from being the case.

The SPLM/A under its current leadership, while clinging with an iron fist to power and control, standing on the doors of transformation and the future, preventing others to come in to do the right thing and in the same time they are not doing a thing but destruction and neither they want to leave, is putting the country into a gloomy path and bloody road. Well, if the SPLM/A has to come back from its lost and be a transformative and liberation movement again, it must trace back where things went wrong at the first place for it to regain its liberation and nationalism soul. Otherwise if it is convinced that it is behind repair and too deformed to be reformed, could it pave a way for transition of power to others who have the desire, the will and the national spirit to make South Sudan a great country? We can’t stay in the limbo forever and for us to just watch our country falling apart and our people continue to suffer and die with no end in sight.

Eng. Chuar Juet Jock

I originally wrote this piece of the “In a Nutshell” (edited) 2 years ago on Jan 29, 2018

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2 thoughts on “May 16, 1983 and 37 Years Later, When and Where Did the SPLM/A Went Wrong?

  1. I do agree to a certain point with the writer. You have mentioned that in a certain point of the struggle we the Southerners have made a U turn to drink from the same cup we rejected before which is the northern cup. So it is our mistake or the elites in the government to bear that responsibility. When we come to international support we could not ignore that the international community from the start was pouring their support to sustain the agreement of one of the supporters in the USA both in cash and training and transforming military sector and others, unfortunately. The ruling eiltes mostly dominated by fews that were intruded lately to the system by the Islamic government in khartoum became a cancer to kill the spiration of the southerners until today. Did the current system learn from its mistakes and try to fix what is going wrong after they released the northerners holding them hostage for political and economical reasons? No they still continued pulling themselves to the same everlasting hole in which they knew the result was going to be catastrophic to the nation and according to the president who one day said, when that hole is pulling me lastly I will not go there by myself alone!
    Peace, we all need it. It should be our focus point if we put the interest of the nation first. The president and those around him including the first vice president Dr. Riak Macher need to leave their egos behind and focus to what is needed to bring all the nations to the pool on conventional spirit and mind and if required and experts to be hired in order to expedite the broken system in the country. Why not? Let us stand up together with open minds and hearts and learn from others.

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