BY: OKUDRA PAUL OJJALI, NIMULE, E.E.STATE, OCT/22/2013, SSN;
Like any other South Sudanese citizen, the day when Independence was declared on 9th July 2011, I was overwhelmed and found tears running from my face all the way to my chest when the then speaker Honourable James Wani Igga read the declaration speech.
I knew we had obtained our respect, dignity, freedom and liberty at last. Today like any other fellow citizens in South Sudan when the Ma’di people enjoy the peace, justice, liberty and freedom well deserved as prophesied by our fallen hero late Dr John Garang, I look back and say, my sacrifice as an SPLA soldier to pick up the gun as opposed to the pen and fight for my nation has well paid off the sacrifice I made.
That sense of peace, freedom and justice became short lived and has sent me in a state of shock with the unfolding events happening in Ma’di land, particularly in Nimule. The Eastern Equatoria State (EES) government came up with Nimule Town Council (NTC) conversion plan.
Rather than consulting with the Ma’di people, particularly the Nimule clans who are the rightful owners of Nimule, EES government delegates met a handful of local businessmen in a nightclub and plotted the scheme. When the Ma’di heard about this, they summoned their local MP for Nimule, Mr. Aventore Amure Bilal for further enlightenment and further discussions about the plan.
In that meeting which was attended by many Ma’di people from all walks of life to include engineers, local authority expertise, lawyers… etc, the attendees of the meeting voted with the overwhelming majority of 513 against NTC introduction and a minority of 16 voters for the introduction of the town council before proper assessments, consultation, demarcation proposals, compensation plans, benefits of the scheme in terms of employment, population influx with its associated crimes and so forth are at hand.
Ever since this unpopular NTC came to light, meetings upon meetings have been held between the community and the chiefs and their local MPs with all the feedbacks being sent in forms of memos or documents to EES Governor Luis Lobong Lojore.
The Nimule payam chief, Livio Ajugo, after several meetings with the community realized the need for further consultation as the impact of imposing the town council on his people would be great and uncompromising if the NTC is forced on the Ma’di as it were proposed.
Shortly after announcing withdrawal of his signature in that decisive meeting of 24/08/13 in which he named and shamed all those who paid bribes in order to see to it that the NTC is urgently imposed on the Ma’di as soon as possible, he was gunned down by unknown persons when returning home on a night out watching football with friends.
Ajugo’s killing can only be explained by the exposure of the names of those involved in the money payments. In order to keep quiet further exposure of what other dirty deals went behind the closed doors in relation to the dirty scheme of NTC, the illegal selling of the Ma’di land, the dirty games of the Internally displaced persons (IDPs).
So the EES can only win by doing a dirty game. This saw Daudi Kisire, a local businessman, a self proclaimed businessperson in the name of John K Maire who fans the fire in Torit where Deputy Governor Jerome Surur, immediately takes action in the constant absence of the undergraduate Governor Luis Lobong who is studying in Kampala.
Torit puppet MP Bilal, hungry local businessmen Daudi Kisire, Inyani Jackson along with the die-hard IDPs whose dirty schemes against the Ma’di nationals are to wipe the existence of the Ma’di from their heritage land, all have to protect their interests – money and power.
I believe the killing of chief Ajugo brought the NTC scheme to a halt and of course this became an embarrassment to the EES who paid huge monies to see to the completion of the plan. The failure of the NTC can only mean something to the three categories of people:
1. The EES governor who lost monies paid him in bribes and his failure to deliver the huge chunks of land or plots they have promised the land grabbers.
2. The local businessmen and women who have been promised business deals.
3. IDPs whose hidden agenda is to forcefully occupy Ma’di land and establish a dynasty in Nimule and push the Ma’di from their ancestral land where they will enjoy peace and basic subsistence to across the boarder, an act of mass injustice against the Ma’di.
Barely 2 months after chief Ajugo’s death and the killer(s) still at large, the EES government pressurized to deliver by the hungry underworld land-grabbers, has announced a town clerk.
Governor Luis Lobong is dying to install his brother-in-law David Eriga as Nimule Town Clerk to seal the scheme of land-grabbing, forceful land selling in order to ensure he remains in power, an act of corruption of its highest level at the expense of the Madi people.
It is also crystal clear the EES government knows that it will fail to secure a majority vote regarding the NTC implementation plans in its current state.
I would like to make it clear for record purposes that we the Ma’di in principle have not refused the town council as we know it will bring development and employment opportunities to our land. In fact should this be a government scheme to boost development in Magwi County, then town council status should be awarded to Magwi, where the headquarters is.
We the Ma’di wrote to the EES governor demanding the repatriation of the self-proclaimed Dinka Bor IDPs and their cattle that is a constant source of destruction of our crops and pollution of the up coming town.
Secondly we demand the granting of our Pageri County, which we were tipped of as approved but awaiting sorting of austerity measures before announcement.
If there is no budget for a county so much desired and rightfully deserved by a people is denied, why does the government so much desire to impose the town council on a people it does not care about its welfare?
The fact the Ma’di people were not informed about the inauguration ceremony shows clearly that EESG has hijacked the people of Nimule and held them hostage.
As I write the generally mood in Nimule is like in funeral place, the only visible people one can see on the streets in Nimule or at inauguration ceremony are boda-boda riders who had been brought from Elegu, Uganda, to escort the delegations that accompanied the designated town clerk, and commissioner of Magwi, just few to mentioned.
For boda-boda riders from Ugandan side this is an opportunity for making money, as I was told each one of them was paid an amount of 500 SSP and free full tank of fuel. This EESG project has been imposed on Ma’di though the plan was rejected by the majority of Ma’di people.
Finally Torit has succeeded in its agenda which it has pushed it through, what I don’t know is the consequences that will follow the days after. As I said before, the mood in Nimule right now is like in funeral place.
Earlier on I talked to an old man in his 70s in Nimule who expressed his disappointment and he said, “the noble called for further consultation fell into deaf ears in Torit.” He farther said right now in Nimule people are scared about the Pro-NTC and fear to speak openly as the threat for more arrests is going on.
The so-called democratic Republic of south Sudan remains in theory, but practically we are at the mercy of dictatorship of Mr Louis Lobong Lojore, an ex-seminarian who by chance became a governor without sound academic background.
As I write the inauguration ceremony is on going today in Nimule, this was done without informing the community and the people the town clerk is supposedly coming to work with.
I wonder whether this is how democratic south Sudan for which late Dr. Garang died for, or if this is the new beginning of Kiir’s empire, where critics and writers like Isaiah Abraham were silenced by a single bullet and till to date his killers are still at large.
Importantly, this is not only Ma’di issue, this is a national issue. The people of south Sudan will one day wake up from their sleep and find Kiir is everything, as we have already seen recently how he forced the parliament to endorse his vice president without legislative procedural background check.
Okudra Paul Ojjali, Business man in Nimule.
Okudra Paul Ojjali
NIMULE, SOUTH SUDAN