By Alma Ettore
Any organisation is like a great big house that is built to hold the owner and his family. People can come to the house and enjoy its comforts and security and in return, appreciate it and refrain from destroying its fabric, contents or name.
In a functional, loving family home, people who live in the house and their extended family refer to such a loving space as “our house” The same goes for organisations.
A successful organisation is one that values every single individual that walks through its door; the poor, the rich, the young and the old. A successful home is one where there is freedom of expression. If the owner of the house says:
“We will do it that way, leave it or take it”
Will be a recipe for a divorce and housebreak.
The other important factor I want to mention is freedom of movement. When the children grow, they will leave the house. The parents should let them go freely. Try and prevent your son or daughter who become of age from moving out and see what will happen!
Just look at a tree, when its leaves turn brown, they leave the tree by dropping on the ground. Will the tree die? No; even if every single leaf drops off. The tree will survive because its roots are intact. On the contrary, it is better for the tree to shed its leaves because it will grow better, younger and stronger leaves to replace the ones that dropped.
Look at the fruits of a tree. If they ripen, they will fall on the ground or get plucked and eaten. Does the tree cry when its fruits fall or are picked? No! If its fruits fall to the ground, they will become seeds and more trees will grow. This is the rule of nature, called regeneration or growth, or replacement, however you want to look at it. If there is no regeneration or replacement, living things will die and will stop from growing.
In any organisation, people come and go exactly like the leaves in the trees. This is called “turnover” It is good and healthy for organisations to have turnover. A good turnover is when people who are disruptive or disinterested leave the organisation. Today I, Alma can be productive in any organisation when I first join. One day I can start to be disruptive or disinterested through a grievance or a grudge or whatever reason. If I vacate my job, a more productive, fresh face will come and help the organisation to move forwards. This is called ‘functional’ turnover.
I can choose to leave the organisation in a professional manner, or I can choose to disrupt, destroy or hurt the organisation before leaving, such as by spreading bad propaganda against the organisation, stealing its resources or wilfully vandalising its system(s). If I choose to go down that road, I will burn the boats that will take me one day to the shore (future ventures) and I will destroy my own image and legacy regarding the good work I did.
It is therefore best to leave an organisation in an orderly manner by coming clean with the management and telling them to excuse you because you are moving on. No one can force anyone to stay on in an organisation which they do not believe in. However good you are, you will be replaced. Trust me! No one is irreplaceable. The management will have to thank you and bless you and let you go, just like a ripened fruit.
You can then start whatever venture you want to do; but to work against the organisation while you are still one of its members amounts to misconduct or even treason in the case of an organisation such as National Salvation Front (NAS) which has a military component.
The recent rebellion within NAS led by Dr James Kwajok made me stop and take stock of NAS as a movement; how it started and how it has grown rapidly in the course of four years into a formidable organisation.
NAS has come a long way from being led by a handful of people through the leadership of General Thomas Cirillo Swaka in 2017. Now, it has the capacity to stand face to face and challenge the government of South Sudan
The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO )is no longer an opposition party as it is power-sharing with the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) party in the current government after they signed the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The other so-called opposition parties such as South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) followed suit and are all now powering -sharing with the SPLA/M ruling party in Juba.
Unfortunately for the people of South Sudan, the country is going from bad to worse and nearly every provision that has been agreed on when the Revitalised R-ARCSS was signed such as power- sharing and reformation of the security sectors among others were trampled on by the self-appointed group, the Jieng Council of Elders ( JCE), headed by President Salva Kiir from day one of the supposed 2 year implementation of the interim government before the general elections. This is because if implemented properly, the R-ARCSS will prevent the JCE from carrying out their tribal policies and practices such as mass genocide of certain groups and ethnicities while occupying their land by force etc.
The so- called opposition who are in government have willingly become complicit entities, aiding and abetting the implementation of the wicked JCE ideology. The obvious example is the persistent attacks on NAS forces by the forces of the SPLM-IO.
The only genuine opposition parties are the current parties within South Sudan Opposition Movements’ Alliance (SSOMA) and the National Alliance for Democracy and Freedom Action (NADAFA) of DR Hakim Darius. This means that the current largest opposition movement that has the biggest clout is NAS of General Thomas Cirillo Swaka. NAS is one of the SSOMA entities.
NAS has well-established political, diplomatic and military wings and has proven to be a thorn in President Salva Kiir’s SPLA/M side. Therefore, the JCE are hell bent to break NAS and dismantle it as they did to all the opposition parties that joined them in Juba.
The JCE started putting plans in earnest, which culminated in the well documented defections in 2018 of few NAS members which took place in Khartoum when the R-ARCSS was forcibly signed by ramming it down the opposition’s throat through the combined bullying tactics of Al Bashir who was the then Prime Minister of Sudan and the machinations of the JCE and its tentacles such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the ‘invisible fingers ’ of the Islamic groups in Sudan such as the National Congress Party (NCP) etc. who hid their cowardly elements within NAS as ‘moles’ and informants.
After a lot of coercing, bullying, arm twisting and bribing, a group broke away from NAS headed by the NCP moles or informants such as Khalid Butrus and Gasim Barnaba as mentioned above and joined the South Sudan government. THIS is the proof that the Juba regime works hand in hand with the Islamic Sudanese groups to keep perpetual unrest and war in South Sudan. This cowardly group of Khalid Butrus decided to keep NAS name and identity such as the logo, the mission statement and vision in order to confuse the genuine NAS members but they failed.
To me, this is the lowest moral level any group purporting to work for the benefit of the suffering masses can sink to. They acted as servants of the JCE and NCP destructive machines to destabilise NAS and destroy it but unfortunately for them, they are the losers as they are now part of the overlooked tail of the monstrosity called the SPLA/M, trying to drag NAS name down with them but in vain.
NAS managed to heal itself and got stronger by building sturdier systems and re-organising itself further so that currently NAS is represented worldwide by well placed cadres to express political views as well as a strong military presence on the ground. NAS currently commands well established branch offices in every continent. NAS has become a global organisation and the government of South Sudan can only sit and watch it grow in stature, depth and breadth.
Remember the famous statement of the cantankerous and arrogant Michael Makuei
“NAS is irrelevant; we will implement the R-ARCSS with or without NAS”?
The man seems not to learn from his past verbal diarrhoea: He has yet lived to eat that diarrhoea because today this same government is in talks with NAS which they considered “irrelevant” only 2 years ago!
I remember the sayings of my grandmother; may God the Almighty rest her soul in peace
“Your tongue is your horse, if you honour it, it will honour you and if you dishonour it, it will dishonour you”
Let the JCE appoint a better horse!
Today the same game played by the JCE with its partner the NCP in 2018 is being played yet again but in a more sophisticated manner. They used the tentacles of the defunct NCP from Sudan to infiltrate NAS with the aim to disrupt and destabilise it which culminated in the rebellion led by Dr Kwajok but unfortunately for them NAS at this stage is much stronger than in 2018 and it has managed to deal immediately with the rebellion which forced Dr Kwajok and his colleagues to resign.
Many people think that Dr Kwajok was lured into this horrible net of vipers by Murtada Jallal Aldin who held a senior office in NAS. Jallal Aldin is from the defunct NCP many clones and has links with Juba. If this is true, then it means that unfortunately Dr Kwajok who is fighting for the suffering people of South Sudan has been snookered.
The SPLA/M has been hampered and rocked by several eye- watering rebellions as well as the SPLA-IO and many of the other parties that now it has become the norm.
I am not sure if these movements and parties have tried to link most of these rebellions with frustrations and poor leadership skills. Poor leadership encompasses disorganisation and lack of empathy, among others. Nearly all the South Sudanese parties do not admit that they have ‘bad’ leadership, although the lack of democracy, which is bad leadership, is very apparent within most organisations in South Sudan.
The rebellion within NAS should be looked at seriously by its leaders in an objective way and solutions must be sought by wide consultations, a process which has already been started.
If people within any organisation feel that they are not listened to, they will go out and air their grievances in public which is not good for any organisation.
NAS should develop ways to allow constant dialogue between members of its leadership and its leadership and the rest of the members so that any issue or concerns should be dealt with straight away in a transparent and constructive manner to allow the organisation to keep hold of its best talents, supporters and sympathisers.
People who live in the Western world know that every organisation, big or small must engage with people who are its movers and shakers. In other words, organisations do all they can to gauge the opinions of anyone who loves or competes with the organisation so that they can strategize. Therefore, strong organisations have strong systems of managing not only complaints, but canvass people’s opinions and their preferences regarding certain products, services or important decisions.
Snap opinion polls across a section of NAS members could have shown the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of its members regarding certain policies such as the SSOMA formation, the Rome Peace Talks etc. I gave these as examples because it is the basis of some of the reasons cited in the resignation letters by Dr. Kwajok and his colleagues which led to their rebellion. With hindsight maybe this is how NAS has missed the simmering discontent in some of these ex- members which could have been addressed in house with less pain and upheavals.
The good news, if I may add is the fact that all the brothers who decided to rebel and resign from NAS have put several objectives which are in line with NAS objectives such as fighting the JCE evil regime in Juba and alleviating the sufferings of the South Sudanese populations but unfortunately some of these ex- members are not genuine in their utterances because they are linked to non-other than the NCP and JCE whose aim is to crush the people of South Sudan.
The gain that the JCE will make if NAS is dismantled is to carry on with ethnic cleansing of minorities and the NCP and its clones’ aims, which can go as far as ISIS, is to see to it that there is no peace and development in South Sudan and the worst thing which is to bring about the domination of Islam in South Sudan. It is happening as we speak. The JCE and the defunct NCP and its clones have infiltrated each party in South Sudan.They are working hard to reunite Sudan and South Sudan. This means that they are quietly eroding the will of the people of South Sudan which was gained through a Referendum that was fought for by all of us for 21 years.
No organisation is perfect; an organisation can be perfect only at a given moment in time due to the constantly changing context within and without, linked to the changing environment.
Therefore, NAS leadership must start embracing change based on what their internal critics say. The internal critics is the “correction system” of NAS who should be valued because they see more than a few leaders at the top can see and they want things to be put right before it becomes an organisational crisis.
NAS should start building on the recent changes it is making and must put in place a robust system of self- checks such as anonymous surveys, opinion polls , commentary box etc, which will help it in seeing clearly the red flags and constructively dealing with it in a timely manner.
There are a handful of people in NAS who think that members should not voice concerns at NAS policies because they see it as opposition to the Chairman. These people will have to know that any criticism should not be taken subjectively because usually such criticism/ objections are normally directed at policies and ideas and not at the Chairman, unless the critic(s) decide to use insulting or derogatory language towards an individual.
I personally think that such people who disapprove of others’ constructive criticism are the very ones who are letting NAS down. They might have inadvertently contributed to the current crisis. If someone wants to talk, the leadership must listen.
NAS is bigger than anyone, starting with its leaders to the less significant members. Everyone in NAS must be equal NAS is not an animal farm where some people are more equal than others. NAS is the people. NAS is us; each one of us. We have the collective responsibility to own and defend it. I hope people understand what this really means.
I genuinely hope that we will all learn from this recent crisis and thank those who have decided to leave us for the work they have done for NAS and I hope we will build on this life-changing experience in a constructive and positive way to make NAS greater, bigger than what it is today.
For every cloud has a silver lining!
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