AN APOLOGY MIGHT HELP, BUT YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT ONE: A RESPONSE TO SOUTH SUDANESE
By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda
April 12, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— Before I embark on the subject of this article as stated in the title, I would like to make the following observations: firs of all, I have for the time being ceased writing on negative politics in South Sudan, this is because of two reasons:
The first reason is that I have concluded project on politics with the article which I am responding to in this work, whose title shall be reinstated later in this work.
Secondly, I have accepted the advice of Uncle, General Daniel Awet Akot who I respected so much for his role in creating the history of South Sudan. He advised to stop writing on politics for a while as the country is facing serious problems.
However, this ground is not convincing to me nonetheless, I have still accepted his advice on another ground. I accepted his advice to stop writing on politics because of the fact that the Office of the President has found out that I am related to him and it will be bad if I continue attacking the system yet he is working in that office.
In addition, I have accepted because of his advice because he gave me an alternative to writing on the newspapers or media. He advised me that I should be informing him on anything wrong in the system or government so that he can forward them to the president. This was the strongest point which made me to regret for not following such a procedure. For that reason I apologize to him not because of the article I wrote but for the truth in what he is saying. So I have to say to him: “sorry uncle, Daniel Awet Akot Thou”.
Another point to note before I commence this work is that I am not going to apologize to the Office of the President or to any person for two reasons:
First, when we make an apology, it means that we have admitted guilt for making false allegations against the person. This is why the apology is defined as an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret. Hence, to apologize in order to kill the truth is injustice and worse than death because it violates the rights of millions of people to information in South Sudan.
In that regard, the dirty politics I wrote about in the office of the President is not false but the truth and because of that I will never apologize and whoever wants to do anything to me let him or her do it but the truth is my defender. What I wrote about is nothing but the truth and if I apologize it will defeat the purpose for writing that article.
The purpose I wrote that Article was to bring to the attention of the general public of what is going on in the Office of the President and those working in that Office that there is something which is not alright inside there and they must reform or otherwise the President is going to be hate even more.
For the reason stated above, I will neither apologize to the President, the Office of the President nor any person unless those working there produce evidence to show that, that article was premised on false allegations. If they prove that I will apologize there and then without hesitation. Otherwise, if I apologize yet the things I talked about in that article, (which I am responding to now) is correct, then, I would have validated the wrong things going on in the Office of President to the detriment of South Sudanese and to my personal integrity.
Finally, what I wanted to say before I explain the title of this article in response to those who say that I should apologize or respect the President and his office is that I cannot apologize based on such a ground because I have not wronged the President.
If I accept such wrong and baseless demands that I must apologize, it then means that I have incriminated myself who is innocent and declare the guilt innocent. In fact, those in the office of the president are guilty of the mismanagement which means that they are also guilty against South Sudan. If I apologized, I would have sold South Sudan due to personal interest which I will never do while alive and even when I am dead.
Moreover, I cannot apologize even I were wrong because those demanding that I must apologize must know that there is a difference between an elder in the village whom we ought to respect unconditionally by the virtue of being the elder. And because of that, culture dictates that we must respect the elders.
Hence, if President Kiir were Dinka elder in the Village, I would have apologized even if I were right but being the holder of the office of the public, I will never apologize. This is because by becoming the President of South Sudan, all South Sudanese have the right to criticize him as he is in charge of the resources of the nation and must take care of all of them with discrimination.
What these people who demand the apology from me must know is that when a person is in public office he or she ceases to be an ordinary elder in the village and contrary to that he or she must not be allowed to invoke the cultural immunity to protect him or her yet people are suffering. We must not fuse culture with politics. By joining politics, a person has sold himself to the public and must pay the price of joining politics which is disrespect.
Therefore, the person like President Kiir does not benefit from cultural immunity against criticisms and attacks from the public because he is there for their benefits. In such a case the issue of respect as understood in our cultures does not arise. In this regard I am not ready to apologize for what I wrote against the office of the President because I have not wronged the President.
As I have already stated above the rule is that where a person has taken public office such a person must serve people and if he or she fails to meet their expectations then the people are entitled to complain and even write to expose his or her lapses and failures.
Having explained my position above that I am not going to apologize for that article, I now venture into the subject of this article, which is the response the mixed reactions caused by the article that I have already referred to above and whose title I am going to restate below. As referred to above, the recent article I wrote was about the office of the President which was entitled: LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BASKET: THE DIRTY POLITICS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT EXPOSED. As expected it has seriously caused a lot of uproar in the State House (J1) and different parts of Juba. The content of that article are as summarized below:
The firs point was that “in the Office of the President of South Sudan there is dirty politics going on. Such dirty politics is in the following forms: betrayal, original sin, greed, corruption, discrimination, gossip and hatred which are order of the day”.
Second to it is that “the Office of the President has been turned into business where those working there derive profits as some of them are more of brokers than government employees”.
As soon as it was published by the Dawn Newspaper, which appeared in the issue of April 10, 2017, serious crisis emerged from the office of the President as officials in that office became restless as they tried to either find out the truth or term with it. The main question that filled the State House was “who is the informer feeding me with all the true information or how do I have access to such credible information?”
In the process while searching for the truth, it was discovered that I was related to the Military Advisor, Uncle Daniel Awet Akot. So, as soon as they discovered that they reported me to him and even gave Uncle Awet a newspaper to read it by himself in order for him to have knowledge of what is going on and be able to advise me correctly.
In fact, I appreciate the officials in the State House for respecting him because if they were like other people, they would have accused him that he was the one who discussed the issues of the State House at home where we may pick from his conversation. However, if they had done that they would have been wrong for two reasons—
First of all, as I know him, Uncle General Daniel Awet Akot is a professional soldier. Hence, he will never discuss with anyone any secret of the office unless something is widely known. Moreover, since January 2015 to date I have never met him face to face and I do not have even his telephone number to talk to him so the issue of discussing with me such issues does not arise.
Secondly, he is a diehard of the SPLM party and because of that he will never give away (betray) the SPLM no matter what. Therefore, he will never discuss such important but discrediting matters to the party or government that is likely to affect the party. Hence, I appreciate the officials in the State House of not thinking that way.
However, to tell those officials in the Office of the President the fact is that there is no secret in the State House. Everything is public even before it is released for public consumption. Thus, I intentionally undertook the risk to publish all those vices in the office of the President though detrimental to the Government as a way of teaching the State House Officials that they must learn how to keep the State Secrets secret.
It is only in South Sudan where the issues of state secrets are not taken seriously. In other states, the Office Secret is protected by law and if someone discloses it without the consent of the State, then it amounts to treason. This why State Secret is referred to as State Secrets privilege as they are protected by law.
In law the State Secrets are protected by the state secrets privilege, which is an evidentiary rule created by law. Application of the privilege results in exclusion of evidence from a legal case based solely on affidavits submitted by the government stating that court proceedings might disclose sensitive information which might endanger national security.
In summary, what I wanted to say is that I am not going to apologize to anyone including State Security Personnel whom I heard that they are demanding an apology from me or come for me. The fact is that the liberation war of South Sudan started when I was there, I know how women, children and elderly suffered under the SPLA/M when they were rebels and how they are still suffering from the problems caused by our leaders including the President. Because of that I cannot keep quiet or apologize to validate wrong things.
In fact, the State House has its contribution to the sufferings of South Sudanese due to the problems I discussed in that article which I expected that the officials in the State House must reform but demanding from me that I must apologize is going too far.
In addition, I am not a rebel and I do not dream of becoming one but I must fight for the reform through my skills of writing. Besides, I am ordinary citizen and I am not a politician so my writing was based on the truth as the officials in the State House have acknowledged it.
In short, I would like to conclude by saying that an apology might help, but I can change my life without one. As I have already promised in the introduction to this work, after writing about dirty politics in the State House, I have completed the project on politics and I am now going to concentrate on subject of peace and national dialogue in South Sudan so that South Sudanese. How peace can be achieved in order to achieve justice, liberty and prosperity.
The author, Daniel Juol Nhomngek, is a concern South Sudanese who lives in Kampala, Uganda. He can be reached at juoldaniel