By Gai Mayen Luk
If you look at the people who comprise the de facto leadership of JCE, most of them are known to have done nothing to the Jieng people during all those years of struggle against subjugation by the Khartoum based regimes. There is no historical umbilical cord that ties them with the grassroots Jieng people.
While our people were suffering the indignities of oppression in the hands of the successive Arab regimes, these traditional elites were busy doing politics with the very Arabs in the name of our people, whom the Arabs used to look down upon as infidels that deserved nothing but treatment devoid of respect which can be accorded to human beings.
These Dinka elites in Khartoum were representing people in whose midst they couldn’t be physically present but they were simply rubbing shoulders with the oppressor while dinning at the same table with him in Khartoum in the name of ‘their people in the South’.
When South Sudan attained its independence in 2011, the first casualties of our breakaway from Khartoum were these rent-seeking elites; the game of claiming a share of the national cake distributed in Khartoum in the name of the people in the South came to the ultimate end.
As political orphans of the abhorrent old Sudan order, they shifted their goal post to South Sudan and began playing just about the same game. This is the context in which the JCE came into existence in 2013.
Seeing a new oppressor that has lost touch with the people, after the fashion of the Khartoum based regimes, emerging in Salva Kiir’s regime, these old men leapt at the chance and elected to present themselves in Juba as the leaders of Jieng in order to exploit the unfortunate situation to their own advantage; the same thing they were doing in Khartoum.
They arrogated to themselves the authority to be the mouthpiece of Jieng people when in fact the people that they purported to represent had not asked them for leadership. At any rate, the Jieng people, in their respective communities, already have their traditional chiefs and members of parliament who legitimately represent their constituencies in Juba.
So the question is, who are these JCE elements and which void of leadership in relation to Jieng people did they emerge to fill? The answer is, the Jieng people do not actually know them. As a matter of fact, they are imposters who have elected to use the name of our people for their sycophantic purposes and to settle their own prejudicial subconscious tribal scores with the people they don’t like on the political arena.
Much as these people may not have had a direct bearing on the decision making in J1, the mere existence of something called JCE inspired fear and portrayed a negative picture of Dinka hegemony in the eyes of other tribes, something which has highly contributed to flare up the conflict.
By also posing as power brokers in Juba, this group sometimes prevails on Kiir to help determine who should get appointed into which position and who should be removed, a factor which has encouraged a corrupt political system of patronage that has doubtlessly added fuel to the war, because it caused discontent to some people who ended up rebelling.
In essence, the JCE has factored in South Sudan conflict in more ways than one. But the greatest harm which they have caused is to the detriment of Jieng people whose big name has dubiously been used by a tiny selfish interest group for their avaricious reasons. For that, the JCE must immediately strip itself of Jieng label and apologize to the Jieng people for tarnishing their noble image. What is more, the JCE must also atone for having added gasoline to the fire of war that has tragically consumed the South Sudanese people.
Gai Mayen Luk,
A Jieng son, South Sudanese Nationalist and a Member of the SPLM-IO.