The birth of the Republic of South Sudan was a moment of great joy. It was the realization of centuries old dream of our people who were reeling under oppression, repression and marginalization from successive regimes in Khartoum. It goes without saying that the independence of South Sudan was not an end in itself but the beginning of the long road for the attainment of peace and prosperity for our people, who have been kept behind by the war. All these need a government that is forward-looking that rises to the enormous challenges posed by the birth of the new state.
The situation in South Sudan today is slipping into an abyss unless drastic steps are taken to stop the slide. The country is gripped by many serious problems, some of which are:
1. Civil War
Since 15 December 2013, our country has been gripped by a destructive war that quickly degenerated into a tribal conflict. Unarmed Nuers were massacred by the government in Juba, and Nuer Commanders in Bor and Malakal turned on the Dinka in revenge killings. Also in Malakal and the surrounding villages innocent Collo were killed in cold blood by the marauding Nuer White Army that invaded the area.
All observers agree that the war was caused by a power-struggle within the SPLM leadership but because of the accumulated grievances and the mismanagement of the affairs of the country since 2005, things went out of hand.
Apart from the war, the country suffers from many forms of insecurity due to inter and intra-tribal fighting. The Lakes State is now suffering under sectional intra-tribal armed conflict, a situation the authorities have miserably failed to control. The life of a human being has become so cheap in South Sudan! A government that cannot provide security for its citizens is not worth being in office.
3. Land grabbing
The tribally-oriented government in Juba has made it a point to grab Collo land and give it to the Dinka. This was done despite the known facts on the ground since the concept of administration was introduced in Southern Sudan.
President Salva Kiir threw his full weight behind this sinister project. He personally chaired a Dinka conference in 2009 in which Pigi (Obang), well known to be Collo’s land, was given to the Dinka south of the Sobat River.
Again, in 2010, he declared Akoka, comprised of three (3) Omodias (Chieftaincies) only, a full County and pronounced Collo’s Bilthiang (Pathao Nyiger), only established by Upper Nile government as relief point to supply Dongjold Dink with relief items, it was taken as its capital. All these actions were supported by no documents. It was simply misuse of power for tribal ends.
Today, Kiir tells his Dinka hegemons that the border between Collo and his neighbours passes in the middle of the two rivers (White Nile and Sobat)!
Land grabbing did not stop at Collo land only. Similar cases are recorded in Maban County, Upper Nile State, Central Equatoria State and other areas.
There is also the other dangerous phenomenon of Dinka pastoralists that are unleashed fully armed with automatic weapons upon the farms of sedentary Equatorians to graze on especially in Western Equatoria and the recent killings of innocent villagers in Maridi and Munduri Counties are still fresh in our memories.
4. Rampant Corruption
Corruption in South Sudan is a cancer that has evaded treatment. It involves all levels of government from top to bottom. Thus, nothing short of the change of government will ever eradicate corruption.
5. Tribalism and Nepotism
National unity is the safety valve for the progress of our country. Unfortunately, tribalism and nepotism have become the order of the day threatening the fabric of our unity.
6. The Spiralling Inflation
Lack of clear economic policies has led to uncontrollable rising prices in basic commodities, especially the staple foods making them beyond the reach of the common citizen. The dollar is undervalued deliberately to enhance corruption. The official rate is kept artificially at three (3) pounds, whereas the official rate has gone beyond ten (10) pounds. This comes at a time when the monthly minimum wage in South Sudan is only three hundred (300) pounds.
7. Bad Leadership
Our country has been led irresponsibly for the last ten (10) years. The ruling clique has arrogated to itself the right to define the country in their own image. They are the country and the country is them. Their exclusion politics led to the alienation of many sectors of our community and eventually armed resistance in many parts of the country.
The foreign friends of South Sudan who rendered unlimited support and were instrumental to help bring about our independence were shocked by the way we conducted ourselves. South Sudan which was welcomed by the whole world at birth is today a pariah State. The country is isolated internationally and regionally for its bad leadership and lack of clear direction.
For all these failures and more, the AGWELEK Movement was launched to spearhead the struggle to rid the people of South Sudan of this corrupt, inefficient and tribally-oriented government. The AGWELEK stands for the following:
1. Unity of the ranks of all the groups fighting in the bushes of South Sudan, in order to quicken the removal of the dictatorial and tribally oriented regime in Juba.
2. Full abidance by the fundamental rights and basic freedoms as stipulated in the international conventions and covenants.
3. Immediate implementation of a truly federal system of governance in which the former districts during the colonial rule shall become states.
4. Implementation of a socio-economic revival programme for South Sudan that will reverse the current decline of the economy and render basic services to the people.
5. Establish an independent Commission for reconciliation, transitional justice and healing so as to repair the social fabric of our people.
6. Pursuance of a sound foreign policy that will break the current isolation of the country. It shall be based on our interest and promotes regional and international co-operation.
7. Building a truly national army and security organs of South Sudan, both in mission and composition which shall be under direction of the civil authority. All the States shall be proportionally represented in the national army similar to the integration of the Any-nya One movement in 1972.
8. Carry out a complete overhaul of the security and law enforcement agencies to be for the service of the people and their protection.
9. Reform of the judiciary, civil service and all government institutions.
10. Diversification of the economy and prudent management of national wealth and resources to serve the welfare of the people.
Upon the removal of the current government, there shall be established a transitional government of national unity the mission of which shall be to prepare the country for multi-party democracy including adopting a permanent constitution by a National Constitutional Conference in which all the political parties will take part.
The AGWELEK shall discuss and agree on what it needs to bring about our unity in diversity and the principles of the permanent constitution of the country, and set the time for holding the general elections.
Although the origin of our fight against the regime was the war it imposed on us to grab Collo’s land, we believe that this problem can only be solved within the solution of the problems afflicting the whole country.
If the president did not support the claim of his tribesmen on Collo land the current situation could not have developed. Therefore, the spark to this armed resistance was local but its objectives must be national so that together we all solve our national ills that lead to what looks like localized problems.
We, belief in the peaceful settlement of the current conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, through IGAD mediation and the involvement of international partners, specially the TROIKA.
We affirm our commitment to the establishment of a decentralized multi-party democratic system of governance in which the transfer of power shall be through peaceful means, and uphold the values of equality, human dignity, justice and equal rights of citizens;
Further committed to the establishment of Democratic Federal Republic of South Sudan, as preferred option of governance;
We are conscious that the Republic of South Sudan is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious country;
Acknowledged that the seating Government in Juba had failed the people of South Sudan in delivering basic services and building a nation state based on principle of good governance and ethnic tolerance;
Conscious that the struggle of the people of South Sudan for justice, equality, human dignity and human rights, is a just cause that requires the unification of all patriotic forces in the country;
We, in the Agwelek put forth the following five clusters as our position in achieving the desired unity of our people:
2. UPPER NILE/FASHODA STATE
3. POWER SHARING ARRANGMENTS
4. SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS
5. TRUST FUND FOR THE UPPER NILE/FASHODA STATE
The Collo tribe is a major Nilotic ethnic group of South Sudan, living along the western and eastern banks of Sobat and White Nile rivers and around the city of Malakal (Makal). Collo also live in a number of settlements on the northern banks of Sobat River and around the confluence of Sobat and White Nile rivers, with Doleib Hill as an important missionary station. Some Collo settlements are found as far as Anakdiar (Kunaam) on the east bank of Sobat River.
Collo are the third largest majority ethnic group in South Sudan after the Dinka and the Nuer. Collo, one of the Lou groups of tribes, are led by a Rudh (King) who is considered to be divine and traces lineage back to Nyikang, the cultural and spiritual hero and founding father. The current Collo Kingdom’s capital was established in the year 1545 (about 470 years ago) by Rudh (King) Tugo Wad Dhakodh in Pachodo.
The Kingdom’s neighbors are: Salem Arabs to the north, Nuba to the west (both tribes live in the Republic of Sudan), and Nuer to the South and Dinka to the east and south east of the Kingdom.
The boundary lines demarcations between the Collo Kingdom and its neighbors are well demarcated as before the 1/1/1956 and as established by the colonial administration. These borders were acknowledged and recognized by the government of the independent Republic of South Sudan on July 9th, 2011 and the International Community.
In addition, several historians have written about Collo Kingdom and its boundary lines with neighbors. Also it is known from some historical evidences that Collo land has been called Central District of Upper Nile Province with the following geographical boundaries drawn by non-Collo scribes without bias:
a- On the Northern Front, the border is marked on the east bank of the Nile by a line drawn from the junction of 10o 15o north parallel with the Nile to the apex of the junction of 9o 30o latitude and 32o 54o longitude;
b- On the southern front, the border is marked between Anakdyiar and Banglay, then to Wunakir on Khor Fullus along the Sobat River, then to the mouth of Zeraf River entering into Lake No; and
c- On the western front, the borders extend from Lake No and stretch along Kordofan/Upper Nile boundary northwards to 11o north parallel.
In accordance with the popular aspiration of the people of South Sudan in establishing a Democratic Federal Republic of South Sudan, and on behalf of its constituency, The Agwelek demands State for the Collo nation with its borders as they stood on 1/January/1956, with its capital in Malakal town.
3. POWER-SHARING ARRANGMENT:
a. POWER IN THE CENTER
• In the recent proposal tabled by IGAD for the belligerence parties, the Government was allocated 53% and SPLM-IO 33% and other political parties 14% pertaining to the formation of transitional government. Agwelek shall be allocated 30% from the 33% allocated to the SPLM-IO.
b. POWER SHARING IN THE STATE
• Agwelek shall be allocated 50% of power sharing in Upper Nile/Fashoda state. Other South Sudanese Political Parties in government shall share the remaining 50%. Agwelek shall be given the right to appoint governor.
4. SECURITY/MILITARY ARRANGEMENTS:
a. SECURITY IN THE STATE
The overall control of security in the Upper Nile/Fashoda state shall be the sole responsibility of State’s government. Some of the Agwelek forces shall be integrated into the auxiliary forces in the state and shall provide security.
b. PRESENTATION IN THE NATIONAL ARMY
In accordance to the final peace agreement and formula reached in addressing the creation of South Sudan National Army, some of the Agwelek forces shall be dually and equitably represented.
5. TRUST FUND:
• UPPER NILE/FASHODO TRUST FUND shall be established for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the people of envisaged Upper Nile/ Fashoda state. For the three years interim period, the UPPER NILE/FASHODO TRUST FUND shall be allocated $500,000,000 [FIVE HUNDRED MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS]. The National Government shall contribute not less than $200,000,000. The International Donors shall fill the gap of $300,000,000. The National Government of South Sudan in cooperation and Coordination with two Upper/Fashoda state shall hold a donors conference to marshal the needed monies. END
Date: June 27, 2015
UPPER NILE STATE, REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
POSITION PAPER ON PEACE TALKS WITH
SUDAN’S PEOPLE’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT IN THE OPPOSITION, (SPLM-IO).