Transcript: Kiir’s ‘one people, one nation’ speech
Courtesy of Radio Tamazuj
The speech text transcribed below is presented near verbatim, with some redaction for length. Sub-headings and images are an addition to the text and not original to the speech.
February 17, 2014 [JUBA] — South Sudanese President Salva Kiir delivered a speech to a gathering of SPLM Youth in Juba on Saturday under the theme ‘One people, One nation.’
He addressed a number of political and historical issues relevant to the current situation. He told the gathered party loyalists that they have a responsibility to tell people about the truth of what happened in the country.
The president spoke in a mix of English and South Sudanese Arabic. The speech text transcribed below is presented near verbatim, with some redaction for length. Sub-headings and images are an addition to the text and not original to the speech.
Speech at Freedom Hall, 15 February 2014:
Your Excellencies, and my young comrades, ana beselim aleikum kulakum, wa nirahibeikum fil Freedom Hall. De shahrein hasil min ma kalaam de hasil yowm khamastasher itnasher wa lahati yowm de nahar de, de shahrein [I greet you all, and welcome you to Freedom Hall. It has now been two months from the 15th of December until this afternoon, two months].
Wa shahrein de… ma fi zul gaid bitwaqa’ innu yakun fi zul gaid fi Juba. Mafrut nas kulu yakun jere. [And two months ago, there wasn’t anybody who expected that there would still be people staying in Juba, but rather that everybody would have run away]. So this is very encouraging that all of you are in Juba…
In the first place, the theme you have selected, or the theme you have chosen for this gathering is excellent and I want you to go deep so that you implement it. The most important thing in life is when you define the mission. Al hadaf shinu? [What is the purpose?] So when you define your mission, you will know how to go around it. Now the mission here is ‘one people, one nation’. What brings people to be one? That is peace. And peace cannot come alone without the work of the people themselves.
Examples of leaders who avoided revenge
There are two African leaders whom you should take their examples: President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, despite his death is somebody that can be remembered for generations to come, because ma fi haja batal, haja batal ke de nas apartheid ma amalnau, aw ma amal li nas bitaum in South Africa [there was nothing bad that the people of apartheid did not do to him or to his people], but when he walked out of the prison huwa kelim li nas [he said to the people], let us abandon this.
No revenge, there should be no revenge. He knew that revenge against the whites will cause more sufferings even to his own people. They were the majority by numbers but ma kan indum guwa bita silla… [they did not have the force of the gun].
And so fikra bita Mandela mumkin nas bigul innu ma kan fakiru kwayes, hatta within the ANC [and so the idea of Mandela maybe people were saying he was not thinking well, even people within his party]… and then the coloureds were being targeted, being eliminated by the apartheid. Some members of the ANC decided that people must go back to war with these people. But he refused, he said, no, let us not do it.
And he insisted on that, and went on campaigning for people to remain calm, for people to be at peace with one another. Now South Africa, despite all the upheavals that happened – these things can happen in any country – but he has managed to bring people together. It is one example, it is a living example we should take.
Another person is Paul Kigame of Rwanda. When his people were killed – it was a genocide, it is known as genocide – including the church groups, people who claimed to be people of God, they took people to their churches and then they allowed them to be killed. It was very bad. …But Paul Kigame rejected the revenge and with all that the criminals who killed people ran away.
Post-CPA integration of militias
These are a few examples that I can cite to you. We did not do it the way the two leaders did. But what was preventing us when we signed this peace agreement in 2005 and we came in and we received all these militias that were killing our people, that were attacking us behind, taking our weapons , taking what – why did we embrace them?
Lo kan katalnau bi wada, gulna innu we want to take revenge on them, kan Junub hassa keif? [If we had killed them in revenge, if we’d said we want to take revenge on them, what would the South be now?] It was bad. And somebody asked before, why did we do it at that time?
Dr. Riek knows how to hit hard on his own people. Laman amal haraka bitaum fi 1991 [when he made his movement in 1991], we had mobilized our forces sufficiently and we were closing on Juba to come and take Juba, because there were no forces in Juba. Jebel Kujur de, yau kan observation post bita quwat bitana [Jebel Kujur there, that was an observation post of our forces].
Wa laman innu Riek Machar amal kalaam bitau de [and when Riek Machar did that thing], the reverse happened, and our people were killed on this mountain, mish by jellaba, lakin by jinubin. De jinubin yau dak katalu nas bitana fi jebel de… [not by Arabs but by Southerners. That was Southerners that killed our people on that mountain].
Revenge was not taken
We did not think of the revenge. And I think I told you in this Freedom Square there on this Independence Day when we raised the flag, I said let us forgive the northern Sudanese for all what they did to us. But we should not forget. The most important thing is that you can forgive. But don’t forget about how these things happened.
If we were to take revenge on Riek Machar, 2002 when he came and joined us, it would have not been good. Lakin ma amalnau. [So we didn’t do it]. Now, he saw that the development was moving, and which was the cause of fighting. We fought because our areas were neglected. And so when we got the power we were able to direct the resources for projects that we did to be built.
Fixing damage caused by Riek
Comrade Wani talked about the investment conference that was held in this hall, attended by over 500 international investors. That was a very big step forward. Everybody who came to attend that conference went back excited and were prepared to come back in with their money for investment.
If you are really a nationalist, why would you be so selfish to that extent that you don’t want this thing to happen to your people, you have to spoil it, to kill it immediately.
So for him, he chose the time because he knows this is when he will really pull back South Sudanese. That is the time he will pull back South Sudanese… This is something bad, but we want to put things correct, this is why we have chosen this theme today: ‘One people, One nation’. Your mission is correct.
Battle against Anyanya-2
When we planned for the rebellion against Sudan government, it was the first thing that we have to sit down and identify our mission, what is it going to be, and how do we go around it? When we considered how to conduct the armed struggle, this was the first battle that we fought with those who did not want to toe the line we were toeing.
We said, we want to fight for the whole Sudan. Those who did not understand the concept, said, ‘But why would we fight for the whole Sudan? Why would we sacrifice South Sudanese for the whole Sudan? We first fight to separate ourselves so that we’re liberated, and then we just sit with our independent state.’
This group was led by Uncle Akuot Atem and Samuel Gai. Gulna kalaam de ma yarfa [we said we don’t accept that position], because now at this time nobody will assist a separatist. And the country that we have ran to, Ethiopia, was fighting with Eritrea. Eritreans were fighting for secession. How do you expect that the then government will then come and assist the same secessionists that they are fighting in the north. Gulna kalaam de ma sa [we said those words are not true].
The second thing was that when you fight for separation of South Sudan you (would) unite the whole north. Al Shamal kulu belim, biga wahid [the whole north would become united against us]. But fighting for the whole country, to transform it, because innu an-nas al gaideen fi sulta de istahadu al nas al taneen [the people in power were marginalizing the other people].
So the war of marginalization that we have been neglected for long, we have to fight for equality, this is how we divided the north. The Nuba, all the black race in Sudan, they joined us. And this is why our war biga (became) very effective.
Parallel leaderships not effective
The other thing that you need to determine is the core cadres, the core leaders who will do this mission, who will go to explain to the people. We did this the other time, and we refused that parallelism should not again be allowed. In Anyanya-1 military commanders were just soldiers. Al siyaseen gum al nas bitat al sulta. [The politicians held the power]. The generals are not supposed to talk in politics. So now you have two parallel leaderships.
‘Leadership centered in one person’
Wa kalaam de ma basmau kwayes [and that position we didn’t like]. Our position was that leadership must be centered in one person. And we chose our leader. That was Dr. John Garang. Al quwaatna ma biyafhamu, they didn’t understand. But we insisted. Now when John was the chairman of the SPLM and was the commander in chief of the army, orders were one always. He will give orders, and orders would be implemented immediately. That was how we prosecuted the war.
How did we become independent? That this unity that we were imposing on Khartoum, they did not like it. …we were calling for the opposition of sharia, we wanted a secular state. This secularism, and without shari’a, did not go down well with those who gave up and declared themselves as Muslim brothers. When they found out it was untenable that they cannot win the war and they cannot let us compromise to allow shari’a to exist, they accepted the right of self-determination and they threw us the South. … We did not ask for separation; we were forced to get out with our country… So we were forced to this condition and we accepted it.
Explanation of 15 December events
We are supposed to come and sit down and plan properly so that we develop our country. Mish kilaam bita ingilabaat, ‘ma fi ingilabaat’ [not this talk that there was no coup]. So I want to analyze that what happened on the 15th of December was then unfortunate and was uncalled for. Ma kan fi sabaab li kalaam de [there was no rationale for what happened].
If people wanted the reforms, we were in Nyakuron Centre, we were there and they decided to boycott the meeting of the National Liberation Council, simply to go and prepare for a government takeover in the night. They are even very ignorant that this thing is not allowed these days, even if they were to be successful they would not have been allowed by the world to sit in Juba here comfortably. What happened to that general who took over Mali, last March?
African Union violating their own regulations
Now Riek Machar and his group are lucky, leave alone nas who are telling them that they are better people, forgetting that African Union is actually violating their own regulations that they should not support anybody who takes power by means of violence.
Reconciliation will come
And so what would it cost at the end of the day with all the people that we have lost and we want people to be one, and we want our nation to be one, what will happen? We will have to sit down and we say let us forgive those who did this, and even those who killed people here. It will happen. It is not happening today, it will not happen tomorrow, but it will happen.
If you want your mission to succeed to build one nation with one people that is the only way it will succeed. Because there is no nation that can be composed of one ethnic group. Even when Riek allows his fighters to kill innocent people – women, children, old people and everybody – he doesn’t think of it. If he was to succeed, hai yaji yahkim minu? Al nas huwa katulu yau al nas huwa baji bahkimu [who would he come to rule? Those people that he killed are those he would come rule].
Appeal to youth: Forget revenge
And so we must do right things. And we should not go his way, that if he has done something bad, we must also do something bad. And with this I have to appeal to you youth, and especially the Dinkas, whether you are in Jonglei, in Upper Nile, in Unity State, or in Greater Bahr al Ghazal – forget about the people that you have lost. And you go back to the fold to think of how to reconcile. It is your duty as the youth to take this message home. That we want this thing to stop.
Fadiiya de hasileina khalas. Al hasil yowm 15, wa yowm 16, wa yowm 17, fadiiya biga arifu al alam kulu. [The outrage that happened to us is over. The events of the 15th, 16th and 17th of December, that outrage has become known by the whole world]. Let us stop it. Kede Riek Macahr yaamal haja bitau. Agents bitau lissa shagaleen bi kalaam de [Let Riek Machar do his thing. His agents are still working on that talk]. Amalna ceasefire but they refuse.
Fi renegade commanders who say innu they will never accept to stop fighting until they see me resigning and go. Yea, this is what – this is there demand. Bigul [they say] I must resign and go, if not then they are coming to Juba. Lakin they have not come. Shahrein [two months] and they have not come to Juba.
During our war I was leading the SPLM delegation to the talks in Nairobi, IGAD talks. We met the team of Sudan, and that was the time they were putting a lot of pressure on us. They had just taken a place just 12 miles away from Nimule and they wanted to go to Nimule, and these people became very arrogant that they will just get news at any time…
The mediators then look at me, what will be my response. [I told them] that the Sudanese negotiator has now suggested the postponement of the talks: ‘Let them go to Nimule first. My brother, Nimule is 12 miles away from where you are, but you will not reach. Ma hai yashuf nimule [you will not see Nimule]. This 12 miles will take you three years. It will take you more than three years if you reach to Nimule, but let me reassure you that you will not reach. Fi nafs al yowm amal sabaa hajum [on the same day they made seven attacks]…
And that was a very terrible determining battle. So kulu haja [any thing] with determination done you will succeed. That war in that area won us the support of other countries because that was our last stronghold and from there this is where we made the reverse.
So those of you who take this mission, you go with the full information about what happened on the 15th and so that southerners should live as one people, and forget about the difference.
SPLM youth to reassure people
You do your mission here. Here in Juba. People are still living in fear. You talk to your friends that you know and that have run to the UN compound. You talk to them, let them come out. And you talk to the youth that are terrified people that if they come out people will come and kill them. Talk to them to abandon that spirit of revenge. Let us live together.
Mobilization prior to December events
Warlordism is coming to South Sudana do you will see so many warlords if this situation is allowed to continued. Warlordism babda keif? Babda be when you laman t asas jeish khas [How does warlordism starts? It starts when you make a private army]. They were inciting – nas who broke away now, gal innu [they say that] I have my private army.
Where did I recruit the private army from? Always there are people who act before the incidents happened. Those who thought of mobilization, mobilizing youth to be trained, was not a bad idea, because we have agreed all that we will have to recruit young people for military service.
These were recruited. Is it because they were recruited in Bahr el Ghazal, in Lakes, in Western Bahr el Ghazal, in Warrap and Northern Bahr al Ghazal, is it because they were recruited there that they were my private army?
Now when Riek rebelled here, al jeish yau jabo hassa [that army that we brought], they were denied arms they were not given armament, they were not been given salaries, they were not been given food, but they were fed by the people.
Now when this thing happened, who are those fighting now in the Unity State, who are those fighting in Upper Nile and who are those fighting now in Jonglei. De nas minu? De yau nas de. Ana ma ligitu dowla bidun reserve army [Who are those people? Those are the same people. I never found any country without a reserve army].
Lo ma ja reserve you cannot counter any threat. And this is what happened. We have been talking about creation of reserve force. Lakin ma amalnau.
Opposition spreading lies
All of you know where the money goes to. I don’t need to explain it. De bigul filani yau corrupt, wa de bigul filani yau corrupt. Humon nas yabanu amaraat, wa salva ma indu amara [This guy says so-and-so is corrupt, and that one says so-and-so is corrupt. They’re the ones building high-rises, and Salva has no high-rise]. What is the competition now?
This is ridiculous. And so they are still talking, indu (he has) private army, that created the problem. The story was that I have given the commander of the Presidential Guards Division that any Nuer in your unit you disarm them.
Fi zul masuul bifakir fi kalaam zay de? [Is there anybody responsible who believes such talk?] When did I not command the Nuer soldiers? In the bush I commanded them. When I was in the Sudanese army before the rebellion, we had our units that we used to command. Now why would I particularly at this time (do that)? Kalaam kidib kulu [all that is lies].
Nuer guards in close protection unit
If I want to disarm people, nihna hassa de gaideen hinna [for example, you people sitting here]. If I’m afraid that you may harm me, should I leave you here and then go and disarm the people who are sitting behind them? No, I will go and start with you. So there are guards of Nuer in my close protection unit. Why did I not disarm them if I am against the Nuer?
Fa de kulu kidib [So that is all lies]. Okay, if I have given orders that the Nuer in the presidential guards barracks be disarmed, what about nas fi New Site, fi Bilpam [the people at New Site, at Bilpam], did I order them to be disarmed? What about those in Bor, those of Gadet? Did I order for their disarmament, or did I order for disarmament of those in Akobo and Pibor? Bentiu and Malakal? I did not.
Those are stories that will justify why they made the military coup. But that is not true. These are things that you will find in any place that you go to . …we are now [inaudible] and Unity State, these two states are almost stabile. Because our forces – if it was not ceasefire, would have gone to Akobo.
But because the ceasefire has been signed and we are respecting it, we stopped. We did not go to Akobo. But if the people are ready to run away from Akobo before we could come. We are also in full control of Bentiu in Unity State. Ma fi ay haja hunaak [there’s nothing happening there].
In Malakal it is Lou white army and the people who come from Nasser, are the people who crossed Sobat to go and attack. These are the people who crossed from Fanjak who fought three, four days ago in Owach in the Shilluk Kingdom. But what is it that they want to achieve? Because they will just go there to go and break the banks and take all the money there, like they did in Bor. But there is not even any money in the banks left.
So it is just sufferings after sufferings that the people want to create. I don’t want to bore you with all these things, but when you go to the states as youth, you will be confronted with all these things.
So I want to thank you all of you, the organizers of this rally, naguleikum alif mabruk that you were able to assemble this big number wa kalaam galu Comrade James Wani gibel, that whenever we go to any state this event should be replicated.
Lazim innu yuamilu [you must do it] so that we see our people, and this is how you will know your support from the people. If people do not support you they will not even come out. We don’t want South Sudan to be all SPLM. But they must respect themselves as people of South Sudan, one people, so that they form one nation.
Photo: President Salva Kiir Mayardit addresses the SPLM Youth Rally under the theme ‘One People, One Nation’, 15 February 2014 (SSTV)