Date: October 16, 2015
To: UN Secretary General, the Hon. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Headquarters
885 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017, USA.
Subject: Chollo (Shilluk) Petition on the Establishment Order Issued by the President of the Republic of South Sudan Dividing the Country into 28 States
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
We, the Chollo (Shilluk) community in the Diaspora would like to present this petition to you as an appeal to urgently intervene to arrest the catastrophic situation that may befall our country, the Republic of South Sudan, as a result of President Salva Kiir’s recent “Establishment Order Number 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states”.
We are profoundly concerned about the Establishment Order because it has adversely affected the territorial boundaries of our kingdom, the Chollo Kingdom. Thus we demand immediate revocation of the Establishment Order. The situation is so grave and deeply disturbing that we urge your immediate attention and action before the situation develops into a catastrophic confrontation and conflict between the affected communities.
Your Excellency, here is our case and recommendations for your consideration:
On Friday the 2nd of October 2015, the President of the Republic of South Sudan surprised the country by issuing an Order establishing 28 States instead of the existing ten. No studies or popular consultations were carried out as to the viability of the new states some of which are quite small counties.
The Order is a flagrant violation of some Articles of the Constitution: 55(3), 59(a), 86(5), and 162(1) among others. It is also a contravention of the “Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan” signed in Addis Ababa and Juba on the 17th and 26th of August. This becomes abundantly clear in reference to the Preamble, Articles 3 and 15 of Chapter I and more importantly Articles 2 and 3 of Chapter VIII.
The Peace Agreement has sufficiently provided that the devolution of power and resources to the sub-national levels of government will be dealt with during the Transitional period which is about to begin in two months’ time. This being the case, why issue the Order now that purports to be doing the same?
The answer is that the President and his Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders see the implementation of the Peace Agreement as obstructing their long well thought out plan to establish a Dinka-controlled state in Upper Nile. The timing is critical so as to create a new reality on the ground in Upper Nile and Unity states, with Governors to be nominated by the armed Opposition, before the commencement of the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
In Upper Nile State, Chollo lands that were being claimed by the Dinka east of the Nile are granted to them, and the oil territories in Unity state are carved out into a state which is exclusively Dinka by joining two Dinka counties which do not share a border (unless a Nuer territory that borders both is annexed to the new state), so as to prove Kiir’s theory that oil in South Sudan belongs to the Dinka.
This is purely a tribal game. Little wonder that it is only the Dinkas who are celebrating in support of the move.
The consequence of this gerrymandering is that the Chollo Kingdom got divided into two with some Chollo in one state west of the Nile and others in another east of it. The Chollo in the east are to be reduced into a minority in a Dinka state that extends from the border with Sudan in the north to the northern border of the Fangak Nuer in Jonglei state in the south.
The Dinkas that formed the northern part of the old Fangak District in Jonglei state are to be annexed to this large state to increase the number of the Dinkas in it to ensure tribal domination of other minorities including Chollo.
Therefore, the Chollo Kingdom has been divided between two states for the first time in its 500 years since its inception. It is also the first time for State and County borders to be breached since the advent of administration in Sudan and South Sudan.
The Chollo Kingdom predates the concept of government in South Sudan and Chollo cannot accept any power on earth to temper with their system for tribal interest. Since President Salva Kiir is bent on creating states composed of single tribes, no tribe or tribal section is more worthy than Chollo nation to get its own state by virtue of its organization, history, economic viability and population size.
It is a well known fact that some Dinkas neighbouring Chollo have been laying baseless claims on Chollo lands east of the Nile since late 1970s up to the time of the issuance of this Order.
In the past, the authorities in Juba have ruled in favor of Chollo on the basis of facts on the ground. However, since President Salva Kiir assumed power he has been consistently supporting the Dinka in their greed to grab Chollo land.
All Chollo attempts to get the issue resolved through a technical committee to peg the borders on the ground in accordance with the agreed 1/1/1956 borders fell on deaf ears. One petition after another to President Salva Kiir himself and his government were thrown into the wastebasket.
We have given a detailed account of these attempts in our petition to the Secretary General of the United Nations dated 19 July, 2010, which is hereby attached for easy reference. By this Order, President Salva Kiir is misusing power in order to impose new borders between Chollo and the Dinka as claimed by the Dinka.
This position proves what we have been saying all along that the government of President Salva Kiir was complicit in the insecurity that has been created by the Dinka in Chollo Kingdom since 2005.
This attempt by the government in Juba to give Chollo land to the Dinka threatens instability in the area and is a recipe for conflict and confrontation. Let the Dinka neighbouring Chollo tell the world the moment in history when they were occupying the lands they now claim, and had to be subsequently displaced from it by Chollo.
Chollo displacement of Dinka at some distant time in history would be the only plausible reason for the Dinka to claim their lands back. However, there is nothing of the sort.
On the contrary, it has been the Chollo sovereign that had provided protection throughout history to Dinka neighbouring the Kingdom. As mentioned earlier, Chollo came to where they are today in the 16th century.
The first Dinka to arrive east of the Nile did so in the 18th century (Abilang and Dingjol). The rest came to their present settlements in the 19th century following the Nuer migration to the current Jonglei state. The Ngok Dinka are actually occupying areas vacated by the Anuak on their eastward migration as evidenced by the names Abong, Adong, Gel Achiel, etc. These are well documented historical facts.
There is no doubt that the raison d’etre for the issuance of this Order at this time is to obstruct the implementation of the recently signed Peace Agreement that is likely to stop tribal schemes. It is important to bear this mind.
President Salva Kiir’s objective to grab the lands of Chollo and other tribes in the interest of his tribe the Dinka through abuse of power must be confronted by all. We humbly call for the following steps to be undertaken:
(a)- The Establishment Order issued by President Salva Kiir on 2/10/2015 is to be declared null and void as it violates both the Constitution and the Peace Agreement;
(b)- The guarantors of the Peace Agreement (in the region and internationally) must take a decisive action to prevent President Salva Kiir or anyone else from obstructing the implementation of the Agreement as its unraveling will result in a more destructive war between the tribes marking the end of the new country.
(c)- President Salva Kiir to be held accountable for committing gross violation of the Constitution and throwing the country into a tribal conflict;
(d)- The institution of an independent and impartial international fact-finding committee to investigate the atrocities that took place in Chollo land since 2005;
(e)- On the basis of the findings of the investigation committee above, all the culprits ought to be committed to a transparent international judicial process;
(f)- The issues of devolution of power and resources to sub-national levels must be deferred to be discussed during the Transitional Period as stated in the Peace Agreement;
(g)- A technical committee of surveyors must be formed at the commencement of the Transition so as to demarcate the boundaries of the old districts and provinces comprising the existing counties or states as per the 1/1/1956 boundary. These are the agreed boundaries as per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005 and the GoSS Council of Minsters’ resolutions in its meetings Nos. 01/2009 and 08/2009 in the year 2009. This demarcation must precede discussing the change of states’ borders.
The Chollo nation is a peace-loving people and has never been in conflict with its neighbors throughout the modern history. So far, we have been seeking and still seek amicable settlement of the land dispute affecting our people.
However, it appears that some quarters are misreading our peaceful nature to be a sign of weakness. If pushed to the wall as this Order is bent on, the Chollo are more than ready to exercise their right of self-defense under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in order to defend their ancestral land and live with dignity.
Your Excellency, your prompt intervention into this serious security matter is necessary and urgently needed, so as to avert total anarchy South Sudan may descend into if President Salva Kiir’s “Establishment Order Number 36/2015 for the Creation of 28 States” is not revoked.
Signed by Chollo (Shilluk) Community in:
The United Kingdom
1. Dr Joseph Kucburo Ajang
2. Mr. Peter Fashoda Ageng
3. Mr. Gabriel Gwang Ajang
4. Mr. Karlo Kwol Akol
5. Mr. Ojiango Abar Dingmejok
6. Mr. Okuc Peter Awol Ajal
7. Mrs. Mary Otor
8. Mrs. Veronica Saverio Ayik
9. Mrs. Lucia Aywok Bol
(AND HUNDREDS OTHER CHOLLO MEMBERS IN THE DIASPORA)