Why I kept quiet for so long

After I did an interview with Radio Tamazuj last Week some of my fellow South Sudanese specially from Equatoria asked me why I have not spoken out all this time as the silent of many Dinka leaders has led to the conclusion by other communities that all the Dinkas are supporting all actions of the Government which is why they are targeting ordinary Dinkas on the roads.

As you can see from the passage below, the Bible teaches us that the best way to advice a leader is to do it privately instead of criticizing him publicly. So when I was appointed Bishop of Wau Diocese in 2009, I thought I was well placed to give Pastoral advice to our President on national issues not only because I am a Bishop but because we come from the same community.

So one time there was a huge conflict among South Sudanese university students in Kenya because of the funds that the Government was distributing to them. At one point some group of Nuer students stormed a building where the funds were being distributed prompting the Government Officer in charge who happened to be a Dinka to call Kenyan police to intervene. The conflict was so intense that Rev James Baak Nhial who was at Daystar University and so was among the students called me and told me “Bishop the money will get finished but the enmity it has created will have a very negative effect on South Sudan for many years to come”.

I quickly thought of seeing the President and share with him the following ideas which are not perfect but I thought could be modified by educational experts in his Office or in the ministry of higher education if they are accepted ;

1)      To review or stop the Educational funds that currently being sent to University students in East African countries as they are causing unnecessary enmity among South Sudanese students.

2)      Consider using the funds to sponsor the top 1000 students from all the ten States (100 from each State) in the five public universities every year.

3)      Consider recruiting university lecturers (giving priority to South Sudanese in Diaspora) from our neighboring East African countries, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia etc. These lecturers will be assigned to the five public universities and will be funded through the scholarship funds. This is not to say that lecturers from East African countries are more qualified than the current lecturers in our public universities, but it is because our current lecturers are not enough. Some universities like the university of Bhar El Ghazal return newly graduated students as Teaching Assistants due to lack of enough qualified lecturers.

 

This programme will give the following benefits to South Sudan:

1)      Educational benefits.

a)      This programme will motivate secondary school students especially those from poor families to work hard so as to be among the top 100 students in their State in order to secure the Government scholarship. This competition will raise the quality of Primary and secondary education in South Sudan.

b)      The lecturers will now raise the quality of higher education in our public universities so that South Sudanese students will not need to go for further studies in the neighboring countries where they will need to pay not only tuition fee but also transport, visa, accommodation etc.

2)      Economic benefits

a)      These lecturers will stay within South Sudan, so they will buy their daily basic needs such as food, water, fuel etc from South Sudanese business community and the Government will benefit from the taxes from the business community.

b)      The lecturers will employ some South Sudanese as house helps, security guards, drivers etc. This will create job opportunities for some of the South Sudanese young men and women who are currently begging on the streets or at the gates of hotels in Juba, some of whom are wives and children of our heroes who lost their lives during the struggle for our independent.

3)      Political Benefits

a)      The president will be seen as a hero by the people of South Sudan and so they will voluntarily vote for him if he wants to continue as President for more years. In fact he will be like the Rwandan President Paul Kagame whom the people refused to step down as President when his term ends.

b)      The president will have a very good legacy at the end of his time as President of South Sudan which is my main interest. The president’s legacy whether good or bad will affect South Sudan as a whole either positively or negatively, then the Dinka, then the Dinka of Bhar El Ghazal, then the Dinka of Warrap State (at that time), then the Dinka of Gogrial West County and ends up on the Dinka of Awan Chan section which is where the President I come from. So you can see why I want the President to have a good legacy not only among the South Sudanese but internationally.

Unfortunately I was not and has never been allowed to see the President probably because the people around him thought I was going to gossip so that some of them will be removed from their positions, or they thought I was going to look for a job or ask for help. As many of you know there is a perception among South Sudanese that church leaders are poor so when I church leader comes to a political leader, it is likely that he is coming to ask for help. I may not be rich myself but I am not poor either. At one time all of us the seven ECSS Bishops from Greater Bhar El Ghazal wrote a letter requesting an appointment with the President but we were not given the chance.

So those who are blaming Dinka leaders, particularly church leaders for keeping quiet needs to understand that our intention was to advise our President privately as this is what is in line with the Biblical teachings instead of criticizing him publicly. It is only when the private advice is not working as I explained above that some of us have now come out publicly because the country  is disintegrating and the hatred against the Dinka community is running high among other South Sudanese communities based on the assumption that all the Dinkas are supporting all actions of the Government. In addition the Jieng Council of elders (JCE) has publicly announced that it is representing all the Dinkas.

  


 

2 Samuel 12 New International Version (NIV)

Nathan Rebukes David

12 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the Lord, the son born to you will die.”