The recent sanctioning of three of Kiir’s henchmen by the US government is having a salutary effect on the slow progress towards peace in South Sudan. However, much more remains to be done, especially further identification of the main culprits of obstruction and anti-peace elements that must include the self-styled Jieng Council of Elders, the JCE. To most South Sudanese, the JCE is the single most important candidate for sanctions, which it has so far evaded by hiding, under the cloak of a community-based organization, in the plain site of the sanction investigators; the latter should now turn their searchlight on this shadowy and dangerous anti-peace outfit.
Evidence abounds on the obstructive role that this mafia-like organization has been playing in frustrating effort to achieve peace in our country. When in the past Kiir refused to sign the ARCSS in Addis Ababa in 2015, he gave an excuse that he wanted to first consult with his “people”; the people he meant was actually the JCE. The same organization has also been responsible for several other objections by the Kiir regime on issues concerned with deployment of peace-keepers in South Sudan. JCE and its members do not just obstruct peace; they also get involved in decisions of the military council and other security matters that have direct bearing on the war and peace in that country. Consequently, one must therefore, wonder what drives the JCE in playing this negative role in our body politics.
In order to answer this question, it is important to know where the JCE is coming from. JCE is what it is: it is a conspiratorial and tribal mafia-like organization whose main objective is arguably to advance the interest of the Dinka people at the expense of other non-Dinka South Sudanese. It first came into being in the 1960s when Southern Sudanese leaders decided to wage a war against the government in Khartoum for the right of self-determination. The war was largely fought in the region of Equatoria and was largely led by Equatorians. Names of leaders like Saturnino Ohure, Joseph Lagu, Pankrasyo Ocheng, Abu John, Gbatala, Jada, Aggrey Jaden, Joseph Oduho, all of whom are and were Equatorians, can easily be remembered.
The Dinka leaders were conspicuously absent in the movement; under the tutelage of Abel Alier, they chose to fight for the same cause in the enemy’s capital in Khartoum! It was there that the budding JCE ideology of ethnic dominance, captured in the epithet “Dinka are born to rule”, emerged. At its very basic, the ideology postulates that the Dinka are born natural leaders and should prepare themselves to dominate political, military, and economic leadership in South Sudan. But while expounding this Hitlerite ideology the JCE was also aware at that time that the educational, economic and social backwardness of the wider Dinka population then and now would not provide the necessary structural support for the actualization of this ideology. To cure this weakness, they preferred that an alliance with the Arabs in northern Sudan was essential; as the power holder in the whole Sudan, the Arabs would hold the ring against their more advanced competitor, the Equatorians, while at the same time promoting the dominance of the Dinka elite in the South.
The opportunity to implement this policy presented itself in 1972, when the mainly Equatorian leaders of the liberation movement entered into peace negotiations with the Arab government, in Addis Ababa. The head of the Khartoum government delegation was none other than Abel Alier, the Chief Priest of the “Born to Rule” ideology. This was the first evidential confirmation that the Dinka indeed were in alliance with the Arabs.The subsequent autonomous governments of the South which were the result of the negotiations were dominated by Abel Alier with his key lieutenants and acolytes that included an anti-Equatorian politician, called Bona Malual. But the Equatorians did not take this dominance lying down. In a clever and dexterous political maneuver, Joseph Lagu, and other Equatorian leaders, managed to bring about the division of the South into three autonomous regions of: Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile. Kokora, as the act of the division came to be called in the Bari language, made Abel Alier and his Dinka people to vacate Equatoria and return to govern and develop their own region. This move expectedly angered the Dinka elite as spelt doom to their plant for dominating the whole South. The ire directly led to the creation of the SPLA/M.
After the division, the immediate objective of the Dinka leaders of the SPLA/M was to revert the South to the single entity that had existed before the division in order to restore their alliance with the Arabs and revive their plan for the South. This, as we know, did not happen, instead, the South became independent with the Arabs permanently removed from the South’s political scene. This move again threatened their ideological objective and also incurred the loss of their essential ally. To counter this loss of an important ally, and rescue their overall plan, the JCE had to go back to the drawing board to reformulate their ideology without their Arab benefactors. The consequence of this reformulation is what is now taking place in the Republic of South Sudan.
Now, the solution for countering the perceived educational, economic and social superiority of their nemesis, the Equatorians, is to devise a situation where the Dinka population, mainly the youth, is preferentially empowered through quality education in foreign countries in Africa and oversees. (Meanwhile schools and universities in South Sudan that cater for the rest and poor South Sudanese are starved of funds and government attention). This accelerated educational program is fashioned on the Kenyan emergency plan at independence that uplifted young Kenyans to the US where they underwent intensive instructions in governance and administration to prepare them to take over from the departing British colonialists. (The father of President Obama, Obama Snr, was a beneficiary of this plan). It is therefore not surprising that tens of thousands of Dinka youth are found in towns and cities of eastern African and overseas countries pursuing various level s of education, from nursery to university. These kind of opportunities are not available to the Equatorians. At the same time, schemes have been devised for ordinary Dinka to access plundered government money through bogus entrepreneurial companies to empower them economically. The infamous grain scandal is one of the schemes. Other South Sudanese do not benefit from such unjustified favor.
The planners in the JCE further realized that for their plan to produce the desired outcomes there has to be a state of political confusion in the country for at least a generation (25 years). The state of confusion is provided for by the massive and unprecedented level of corruption and the equally massive displacement of South Sudanese through war, assassinations, rape and disappearances. This tumult in the country affords a free and corrupt access to government money for the Dinka elite and their people and secondly, it delays and holds down any form of development in Equatoria so that, in the estimation of the JCE, the Dinka population can catch up or surpass the Equatorians. At that future stage, the fundamental tenet, that of ethnic domination in South Sudan as espoused by the JCE ideology, will then be readily achieved.
The membership of JCE comprises of highly educated people, including strategists, diplomats and operators with keen knowledge of the working of governments in the White Hall, the White House, and the UN system. So far they have deftly and successfully managed to conceal this insidious and dangerous ideology from the gaze of the international community to evade a deserved opprobrium. This Nazi-type of social engineering has no place in the present world, and if left unchecked, will have a devastating effect on the cohesion of the people of South Sudan.
The Chairman of JCE, Ambrose Riiny Thiik is a well-educated man and a former Chief Justice, who also has lived in a modern and liberal country, the UK. Yet, he is at the apex of a Neo-Nazi organization orchestrating the killing and ethnic cleansing of his fellow citizens in South Sudan. The US government sanction committee should investigate him thoroughly with the aim of sanctioning him as a deterrent to his other equally dangerous confederates. Rumors have it that he is a landlord to the US Mission to South Sudan. If proven, this could provide a pressure point through which his divisive action can be curtailed. His son is said to be a minister in the country’s ministry of finance and is said to be the man behind the recent hiking of the registration fee for international NGOs; the hike is a sinister move to frustrate the delivery of services to the famished and dying South Sudanese. We look forward to the next list of individuals for sanctions that we hope will include the Chairman of JCE.