By Chuol C. Puoch
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]pinion – In this latest round of peace talk in Addis Ababa between the GRSS and the SPLM/SPLA (In Opposition, something ugly has been brought up and signed by the leader of the opposition Dr. Riek Machar, I don’t know who the […] actually brought it up – handing over Jonglei governorship to the GRSS.
In the initial draft of the IGAD-Plus peace proposal, it was proposed that the SPLM/SPLA in Opposition will nominate the three governors of Greater Upper Nile for appointment as well as running away with 53% share of the three states government seats of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei.
In an effort to try and broker a peace deal between the two warring parties, the said proposal has been negotiated and the content extensively changed and the end deal has now brought up what am talking about.
Well, as I said I don’t know how that proposal (giving Jonglei to the GRSS) came up and under what reasonable justification was it accepted, here someone like me could ask: If one state from Greater Upper Nile has to be given to GRSS in trying to narrow the points of disagreement, why was it that Jonglei was the chosen? What was/is the justification?
Accepting such unnecessary political decisions as matter of completing today’s task is as risky as remaining to fight in correcting them for the rest of one’s life. I leave this to the community to decide.
When IGAD-Plus proposed that the SPLM (IO) should be given 53% share in the governments of the three states of Greater Upper Nile, the justification was that Nuer alone make up about 53% of the Greater Upper Nile population, combined with 15% of the shilluk population who are both wholly with the SPLM in Opposition, the percentage will be 53% (Nuer) + 15% (Shilluk) equal to 68% of the greater Upper Nile population. The remaining percentage will be about 32% for Dinka combined with other communities including Murle, Anyuak and Mabanese (Bunj). Deduct 10% out for Anyuak and Murle who are now under Greater Pibor Administrative Area, the remaining percentage for Dinka and Mabanese who are with the GRSS will be about 22% vs 68% for Nuer and Shilluk in SPLM (IO). Complete the mathematic! That was the simple justification from IGAD.
Jonglei initially used to have 11 Counties, GPAA has now gone with two out of the eleven and the remaining are nine Counties. Out of the nine Counties, the GRSS is in control of three Counties of Greater Bor namely Bor South, Twic East and Duk Counties. Meanwhile, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) is in control of 5 Counties which includes Fangak, Pigi, Nyirol, Uror and Akobo; Ayod remains in control of both sides as government is in the town of Ayod while SPLA/SPLM (IO) control the rest of the County.
I ask once more again, what was the justification of giving Jonglei State governorship to the GRSS? Is this not comparable to British policy of giving leadership to minority for stability to continue as that has been the case in the then Sudan?
It would have been justifiable if it was Unity State given to the GRSS because they are in control of 6 out of the 9 counties of the state namely Mayom, Abiemnom, Parieng, Rubkona, Koch and Leer. The SPLA (IO) are only in three counties of Guit, Panyinjiar and Mayendit counties.
During 2005 peace agreement, the entire community of Lou Nuer was dumped into three Counties and put under organized discriminatory leadership of minority. As a result, the area has remains as it was during 19th centuries – nothing changed. Killings, massacre, cattle wrestling, communal fighting among other untold stories have been our daily breads.
Now, the same thing want to repeat itself. We fight for general cause, Nuer cause sometime in particular, and our position always remains unshakable, but we happen to be the losers at the end.
In 1991, we fought with Bor in a fighting which was politically motivated between the late Dr. John Garang and Dr. Riek Machar over the leadership vision of the SPLM; the losers remains to be the two communities of Bor and Lou as people were killed and the hatred and scares of that conflict are permanently unforgettable in our heart. We are not wrong in fighting hard, are we?
It’s not a surprise that some dudes in SPLM/SPLA in opposition thinks Lou Nuer are shield of wars; the proof is that we have been under absolute danger as there are no many rivers or swamps for government to cross and attack our areas. We are not bullet proof to be left to an absolute enemy unarmed, but we are aware that some dude inside the house are quite disturbed by our defensive strengths and commitment which has let our land untouched.
Leading to this point in time, there is no backward movement or a chance to reverse the decision/proposal since Dr. Riek signed it already. However, to me personally and the rest of my brothers and sisters at home and in diaspora, we consider this as a gentle WAKE UP CALL!
There may only be two alternative way out as far as my senses are concern: First, is to reverse the proposal (if that may be possible) and give the leadership of the state to Lou Nuer with immediate effect as possible uprising against this proposal is anticipated which may affect this partly signed peace agreement. The second option is to either peacefully or forcefully accept a formation of a separate state for Greater Akobo to be known as Bieh State.
I am sure my brothers and sisters from Fangak and Ayod will ask of why I only focus on Lou Nuer on this regards; with sincerity and frankness, I must reveal to you that we felt the pain of being led for years by aggressive minority (excuse me for my language), and more unforgettably, we also feels the shame more than you did.
In conclusion, I urge all the Lou Nuer youths at home and in diaspora, the community leaders and elders, women and the entire community to jointly come up and object to this proposal.
I urge the commissioners of the counties and the SPLM/SPLA (IO) appointed governor to allow our community to express their objection to this negative and unjustifiable proposal with no interruption or restriction.
I urge all Lou Nuer youths forums both at home and in Diaspora to come up in objecting this unfavourable proposal. The right time is just NOW!
I strongly challenge our sons and daughters who are in the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) to question this decision and find out the circumstances leading to its acceptance. We thought that you are there for the community and not for your individual fulfilment.
May God bless the land and the people of South Sudan as we hope for peace to prevail in our land…
Chuol C. Puoch can be reached on email at: email@example.com and on twitter @chuolcpuoch. You can also add me on facebook: Chuol C. Nyabieh