The Abel Alier-Gatkuoth Gual Leadership Model: What the troubled Jonglei State and South Sudan at large can learn for it!

Hon. Abel Alier Kwai and Late Hon. Peter Gatkuoth Gual

By Eng. Chuar Juet Jock (Written on Feb 20, 2017)

The working relationship between honorable Abel Alier and the late honorable Peter Gatkuoth Gual simply can tell us that Bor Dinka and Lou Nuer (Borchar) or that Dinka and Nuer at large were never enemies. Gatkouth and Abel were the pioneers of South Sudanese political leadership and patriotism and the two men had a remarkable working relationship in both politics and administrative endeavors. History also indicates that Bor Dinka and Lou Nuer were never foes otherwise we couldn’t have lived and co-existed as peaceful neighbors throughout the centuries. During the days of South Sudan executive council, the Equatorians labeled both Nuer and Dinka as jienga during the semi-autonomy rule known as South Sudan Regional Government and this is due to the united front, consistency, smooth working relationship between the two South Sudan political giants, Abel and Gatkuoth; however, this never meant that Gatkuoth and Abel never had political differences.

But the two were professional politicians who knew that they were in position of leadership not only for the Nuer and Dinka but for the entire South Sudanese and whatever differences they had were contained and confined behind closed doors and hardly spilled to the general public. Aware of their leadership role and how fragile is the South Sudanese society and how tribalized is the South Sudanese public opinion could be, the two solved all their differences far from any political intruders or the general South Sudanese political street and hence, South Sudan was relatively stable and developing during the leadership of the men, from 1972-to-1982 and until the Equatorians staged the Kokora. The Kokora was in a major way attributed to the monopoly of our Dinka brothers of the government’s institutions at their various departments. While the Nuer were guilty by association, the Jiengism was the main cause of why the Equatorians opted for policy of segregation and which was exploited by the dominant Central government of the North as a golden chance to divide and conquer the South and hence elevating Equatorians, Lagu and Tumbra to leadership positions of the South and demoting the Jienga of Gatkuoth and Abel. The Jienga felt the power lose and hence started the rebellion pretexted as the North breach of Addis Ababa agreement.

The rebellion started and even though Abel and Gathouth stayed in Khartoum, their role in the rebellion still unknown but there are indicators that the two were part of it in a way or another. In the bushes of rebellion, Garang Mabior and Samuel Gai Tut started a new history for South Sudan which implications are still affecting the course of life and politics of South Sudan until today through their heirs, Kiir and Machar. The South Sudanese political front had a peak of union and consistency during South vs. North and I still remember how uncles Gatkuoth Gual, Abel Alier, Samuel Aru Bol, Joshua Dei Wal, Andrew Wiew Riak, Thomas Kuma Khan, Gabriel Yual Dok, Aliaba Surur, and countless others worked together to defend and represent the South vs. North and as a result we were just South Sudanese in Khartoum, united than ever and looking forward for the SPLM/A victory.

Back to my point: The Bor Dinka and Borchar Lou Nuer are never enemies but by now, the politics of exploitation of the SPLM and the current regime has made them either looks like that or truly are, despite that the social ties and intermarriages between Borchar and Bor Dinka are never easy to be ignored even though Makuei Lueth and Kuol Manyang seem to be complete strangers to this perspective. Of course, we can’t ignore the contribution of 1991 Bor war between Riek and Garang and which Taban and Kiir are now trying hard to repeat by transferring the War to Junglei and as a result, what will happen between Bor Dinka and Borchar in part and with Murle in another is unpredictable.

Abel and Gatkuoth has shown us how crucial is a professionalism of a leader and at least they have kept South Sudan running smooth and in peace with itself for 10 years even though the North was exploiting many pockets to destroy it and even though our brothers the Dinka were out of control, populating the whole regional government with their tribesmen, occupying all positions from the department director to the gatekeeper and which has led to Equatorians’ Kokora. Politics in South Sudan needs professional politicians, those who are for South Sudan and South Sudanese without marginalization of any its nationalities. Politics is an art, it need skills, it needs brains and when we have real politicians in South Sudan, war will be the last we can think about and peace will be the first our collective objective but in current South Sudan of Kalashnikov, the meaning of politics has shifted to a bloody and destructive way. This must change. The borders between Bor Dinka and Borchar won’t be erased and won’t change even though the people of these two areas are in a an endeavor to change or to be changed. Let us be vigilant, it is politics not the end of the world.

Eng. Chuar Juet Jock

I wrote this article on February 20, 2017 and is part of the “In a Nutshell” 3rd Volume

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