Feasibility of the “Project Finish”, Disarming Nuer in South Sudan
By Kor Tot*
May 6, 2006 — Since the signing the Comprehensive peace Agreement (CPA) the people of Southern Sudan, having been promised their own government by the CPA, have come to defend the proposition that government are created by the people, empowered by the people, derive their just power from the consent of the people, and must forever remain subservient to the will of the people.
Today, sixteen months later we look upon the CPA and find inspiration, determination, and courage to protect the principles of freedom, equality, and justice that it promises us. It is therefore a cruel irony that the government of southern Sudan, through its bad policies that target only a segment of its society, is forcing us to think twice before deciding our fate in 2011.
In absolute certainty, no segment of southern Sudanese society will tolerate marginalization by government or individuals. When we (southern Sudanese) took arms against the government of the Sudan, we did so to protest marginalization; therefore, a southerner who seeks to marginalize another southerner would meet resistant somewhere along the way because he/she just can not take any more of that.
Disarming civilians in southern Sudan, particularly Nuer, makes the feasibility of the process a major public concern. In legal context, southern Sudan does not currently have laws that make it illegal to keep and bear arms. The southern Parliament has yet to pass legislations that outlaw the possession of illegal fire arms. You can not confiscate my weapon if it is not illegal to carry one nor can you disarm me if you do not guarantee adequate protection for my life and my property.
In a moral context, the disarmament of Nuer presents opportunities to those who see Nuer as threat to their unjust endeavors. To majority of Nuer, the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) is Dinka’s tool for subjugating others in southern Sudan. Instead of being people’s army, the SPLA has more often resorted to the use of excessive force to deal with civilians, particularly, Nuer. The use of such excessive force on the part of the SPLA had put it at odds with Nuer, often times, in violent confrontations that result in military brutality against the Nuer. This brutality has created a pattern of deep mistrust between the army and the Nuer public. So far the SPLA, of which Nuer are members, has not taken concrete steps to repair its wounds. By disarming Nuer without ensuring their security from future attacks by their traditional foes such as Murle cattle raiders, Dinka, Annuak, and the like, the sponsors of the disarmament project hope to achieve their goal of completely neutralizing a potential armed opposition by some elements in Nuer Community.
Given all the motives behind the disarmament of Nuer, the Nuer Community in Diaspora, Nuer members of the SPLM and other political parties and those targeted for disarmament should joint forces to take an in-depth look at the feasibility of the “Project Finish” - a project aimed at silencing Nuer once and for all and making them vulnerable to attacks from their armed adversaries. It may not be wrong to disarm civilians if that is meant for the sole purpose of maintaining laws and orders. Likewise, before disarming civilians, conditions such as enacting gun laws, providing adequate security to communities being disarmed, establishing peace treaties among tribes that had been involved in violent confrontations sometimes in the fast, and making sure the political process in southern Sudan is inclusive, among many others, should be met. Obviously, our current political system is not inclusive enough. In the current government of southern Sudan, Nuer are either under-represented or represented by those who choose not to advance their political agenda. The issue of political inclusiveness and adequate security are central to the debate of whether the “Project Finish” is politically feasible.
* The author is a Sudanese living in Overland Park, KS - U.S.A. Email : Krualmim@yahoo.com