By Jon Pen de Ngong
No! He is not. And he is the one answering you as follows in the grammar of a ‘First Person Singular’ and Direct Speech.
I have suffered from reported speech, from people whispering behind me. They do not open their mouths when facing me. Perhaps that kind of cowardice explains the practical definition of backbiting.
They report more than necessary on my name, including those I have not done, said or written, or those things am yet to write about tomorrow. They feed their leaders, readers and listeners with trash. Tragedy is the recipients believe them!
Since I fled Juba one year before the December war of 2013, I have been labelled rebel to every individual or group that jumps out of that frying pan to this fire. Kiir fries them in the pan, and the fire awaits them out there…!
The first to be linked to being SPLM-IO, and the last is this Red Card Movement. And there are dozen other groups in between for the last 6 years. And the gossips are not giving up linking me up every time a group pops up.
It is a nuisance. This security threat,a distraction in my daily dealings. I cannot turn this or that way without a friend or relative screaming in warning. I just wonder why our leaders have turned themselves into some sort of those deadly fairies in folktales!
Yes, the evidence is this: I have met so and so from that group, or have written a favourable blog about them. Kiir’s system does not want relatives or friends to chat or dine one-on-one. Oh, they are rebels! Or they are plotting a coup!
Every corner I turn, someone is there lazing and gazing, either in awe over my precious life at risk or taking quick notes to rush to the NSS’s freelancers’ desk for some Judas Iscariot’s coins.
The other day in Kampala, an old friend bumped into me. I noticed from his face wondering why I was crisscrossing the streets with books in my hands and the rest in my computer bag.
I was sweating and hasty. He exclaimed upon our hug, “John, what are you doing here?” He jokingly told me that he read the other day that I was the RCM leader, a new coup-plotter group that is heavily bankrolled with millions of dollars by “TROIKA and America to overthrow Salva Kiir!”
He must have been referencing that not-so-proper propaganda by Garang John or Gordon Buay. The so-called Red Card leak showed their members pinching some dollars from their private purses for buying manila placards and what have you. So where are the millions the security goons are scaring Kiir with? I pity their readers!
I introduced myself in my usual funny way. “I am now ‘Mr. Johnnie Hawker: I Keep Hawking’! Here you’re!” I dished out a copy of my ‘ADDISAGREEMENTS’, followed by ‘The Faithbook Digest’.
Thus, the ‘Lost Boy’ became my ‘Troika and America’. He paid for both. I pocketed my shillings, not dollars, as he eagerly rushed to his hotel to settle on his friend’s literary stuffs.
In Nairobi the other day again, I met my friends and discussed South Sudan in general, and my books in particular. Then some guys appeared and sat over there taking tea or coffee, ogling under their armpits at us as usual.
I pity them. For a peanut of intel gathering in bars and hotels, they are exposed to the frequency of drinking sugars in sodas, ‘teas’ or beers everywhere you go!
A day after, one friend called me that he got a phone call from a friend that he was discussing ‘Red Card’ with Jon Pen that day! That is how they get their pay: selling goss .
Then a call to myself from a friend who saw me cross, “Hey, watch your back, buddy!” I laughed and told him, “Thank you. But, unfortunately, my eyes are in front!”
Our population is driven into a psychological torture. Every street or house appears to them a psychological ‘Blue House’. Bad news is that the ‘authors of terror’ do not know that they are damaging our country; good news is that the history tape is rolling.
So, Is Jon Pen an RCM Leader? No. He is a lot not.
I am an RCM reader, not their leader. Yes, I have an LCM with the RCM. Not only with the RCM, I am an LCM (Least Common Multiple–to remind you of your primary arithmetic) to every South Sudanese that tells Salva Kiir and his kleptocrats, “No, sir, that’s not what we fought and voted for!”
From the ‘Kiiristian’ notebook, such naysayer citizens are the rebels, ripe for elimination! But, truth be told, the RCM and others are just a scapegoat, the elephant is in the room in Juba, itself. Not for this topic, though.
I am on over 50 Social Media groupings of South Sudanese and internationals. I have no enemy among my individual citizens, I stay with them: rebels, government’s, humanitarians, etc.
And this is where my problem lies. I am everybody’s friend, and nobody’s enemy, except Kiir’s. And, take note, I do not hate President Kiir per se, it is his poor leadership. I have a grudge with him for throwing away the gains we all fought for and lost our dear ones to. This does not exonerate Dr. Riek Machar and other politicians and generals. Political hate is normal, and also constitutional.
I was added to the RCM’s public group on WhatsApp, not even on Facebook, yet, by a friend. And my friend was added by his friend. And so on. I am not even sure that movement has any leader or leadership structure.
Those who didn’t want to stay there have left. For me, I stay on and contribute in the debates, just as on any other forum. To me and the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, as well as the international human rights documents, the ‘Red Carders’ are not enemies. They are exercising their constitutional rights, and so am I.
Then, there was this leak when WhatsApp was hacked, as reported, by an Israeli company that deals in security spyware. South Sudan must have paid for it generously, as usual. And bragged they hacked the Red Card Movement’s secret group page. Welle…!
I pitied them. They scooped a wrong page! On that public page of RCM (not the organizers and mobilizers’ group, which I don’t even know), South Sudanese who were added at random by friends and have not yet realized are on that crap that Gen. Akol Khor is holding on his table as ‘the leak’. And you might have heard some being already arrested or shot dead by the ‘Un/known Gunmen’–unaware!
Of course, my articles, like this one, are public, so is my name. I am a writer without borders. I am rioting by writing, not on the streets but always here. My posts and comments are on the RCM Public Forum as well as on any other Opposition or Government Social Media group.
For example, I have seen a rebuttal that I wrote in response to the opinion by a friend called Junior William Deng, which was imported from another group to RCM, as a normal practice on Social Media. And now this comprises the list of RCM membership on the NSS bureau desk. Deng does not even know his article is on RCM page. They collect garbage on the internet and make misleading decisions on them in Juba!
As if that is not enough, the Red Card publicists lifted a screenshot of a private chat between some group of lawyers and their member, and rushed to unilaterally put my name and a private nimber, together with 4 others, on their press release, crying their members were under threat in Uganda.
I have lived under this threat for the last decade. I am sorry for the names of my fellow civil society leaders in Uganda for the risks they have been innocently dragged into. Activists and youth leaders mentioned therein (names withheld as I have not yet talked to them) have never seen a member of Red Card, leave alone being members of that movement. They are nothing but propaganda specimens. I condemn that on their behalf.
I write for or against anyone going contrary to our people’s expectations, which is the normal practice of intellectual discourse on our country and others. So why should I be confined to a particular group? I am not a politician. And I don’t want to be that ‘political crostitute’, crossing like a prostitute from this to that party.
I am sorry for that friend of mine who has completed his cycle of defection: from Kiir’s SPLM through three others and then back to Kiir again: 4 defection journeys in 5 years!
They find me here. I let them in, out and about, while I stay put. And back again: war without end, world without end. For my mobile friends, this ‘defection metamorphosis’, a desperate attempt for leadership search, an embarrassing monkey business, indeed, can cause dizziness. And I mean acute ‘intellectual dizziness’! You know how it kills?
In conclusion, which is another beneficial inclusion, let me be. I am harvesting my talent for survival. I am printing and selling my books. Stop selling me, but my books. Of course, the raw materials therein are Kiir, Riek, you, me included.
And to President Salva Kiir, somebody near you is selling your legacy for quick gains like that Biblical Essau who sold his birthright for a single meal. And you are facilitating them: to kill, loot, Rob, rape and scare off the whole population in your name! Yes, in a desperate attempt to keep you in power, that is, to keep their taps flowing out of our people’s national belongings. That is why they mold a mountain out of a molehill i.e. the Red Card Movement, like all those daily ‘coup attempts’ they make you panic on, turning your fellow citizens into your enemies.
Mr. President, can you just step aside from that crowd of parasitic sycophants fanning an elephant on fire, and then imagine yourself sitting alone — ë kät cök ë rɔt– or inside your luak, reading a book entitled, ‘How Salva Kiir Messed Up The Baby Nation!’? It will be too late for you to respond, and your Tiger and NSS attack dogs will have gone; others writing confession books on you, like Iddi Amin’s men did! This is not the right way of retiring, sir.
The youth of this country are wriggling with their talents wasting away with age on their brain or hands and their rights rotting with rage in their throats. Therefore, give us a little space to let out of our boiling minds the fumes of your senseless war.
Let the babies scream, let the women cry, let the youth shout out their lungs, even if they sing “Kiir Must Go!” It is part of healing the nation. Please, do something to save the lives of the citizens, or they will do it, themselves!
You can read this and my other rioting-by-writing blogs on: http://www.weakleak.wordpress.com