H.E. Festus G. Mogae,
Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission
Subject: Implications of implementation of the 28 States in Upper Nile State;
We salute you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We, the Chollo Community would like to bring to the notice of your Excellency the real situation on the ground.
Chollo Community is being targeted and marginalized by the implementation of the Presidential Decree that divided the country into 28 states. The Decree effectively grabbed Chollo land east of the White Nile including Malakal town and gave it to the Dinka.
As if this was not enough, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan continues to commit atrocities against the Chollo Community. We are deeply saddened and shocked by such behaviour of a government that should have been serving all its people.
On 5th January 2016, we wrote a letter to reject the creation of the 28 states and the appointment of their Governors and cited in it the historical background about the land dispute between Dinka and Chollo.
We stated that that decree is a recipe for instability and insecurity in Upper Nile State.
Your excellency also visited Malakal and met the internally displaced citizens in UNMISS Protection Camp who told you frankly about their dissatisfaction about the annexation of Chollo land occasioned by the creation of the of 28 states and they rejected it in its totality demanding that the 10 states be respected as came in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSSS) signed in August 2015 by the two warring parties and other stakeholders.
On 8th February 2016, Chollo MPs in the National Legislative Assembly issued a Press Statement on the current situation in Chollo land, for they noticed serious consequences of the implementation of ill-intentioned decree.
The unconstitutional newly appointed Governor of so-called Eastern Nile State,issued an order dismissing all the Shilluk and the Nuer civil servants of Upper Nile State claiming that they do not belong to Malakal anymore and hence should move to their own states and new capitals.
Second, the Governor, Chol Thon Balok, has called all Padang Dank military personal to report to Malakal to wage war against Chollo community. This is further evidence that instituting the 28 states was intended to occupy Chollo land by force.
All are aware that the last IGAD Communiqué issued by its Council of Ministers on the 31st of January 2016, demanded from the Government of South Sudan to suspend the implementation of the 28 states, but the Government of South Sudan continues to ignore the the resolutions contained in the IGAD Communiqué.
What was initiated by the President Kiir and implemented by the unconstitutional Governor, Chol Thon, is a declaration of war on Chollo community in Upper Nile. Indeed, we will not tolerate this aggression and massive abuse and misuse of power by the state.
Outraged and agonized Chollo are convinced that the Government in Juba has a clear intention to eliminate them by forceful means using SPLA to accomplish Padang Jieng agenda, by taking over Chollo ancestral land and handing it over to Padang Jieng, a project that is being championed by Jieng Council of Elders.
Therefore, the Chollo Community see SPLA as a Jieng military organization which was instituted to accomplish Jieng aspirations like land grabbing, occupation and assimilation of original communities into Jieng culture.
Today, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan has contributed very much to the state of apathy and has sufficiently shown that it is a partial entity that protects a certain ethnic group at the expense of others.
The Padang Jieng ambition of Chollo land invasion started in early 1980s before the inception of the SPLM/A Movement.
The newly created 28 states have obstructed the implementation of ARCSS and its implications are obvious as follows:
1.The work of the National Constitutional Amendment Committee to incorporate ARCSS into the Constitution couldn’t go ahead or be completed.
2. The Transitional Government of National Unity couldn’t be formed on 22/1/2016 as it had been planned and agreed upon by JMEC and all parties to ARCSS.
3. It threatens to create imminent bloodshed through tribal conflicts between different communities.
4.Threatens the attainment of peace in South Sudan, and fosters instead disunity, and hatred between communities that have lived in peace for centuries.
In the last few days President Kiir in collaboration with the Governor of the so-called Eastern Nile state have already transported a huge army to Malakal, and this is a clear indication of the preparation for launching full scale war in Chollo Kingdom to dislodge them from their ancestral land.
We would like to bring to your attention the fact that the Government of the so-called Eastern Nile state is now demolishing and destroying houses and assets in Malakal, which belong to Chollo Community.
Indeed, such acts are a violation of the basic principles of Human Rights.
Chollo Community is aware about the strategic plan employed by President Salva Kiir and Padang Jieng to annex Chollo land on the eastern bank of the Nile after they have succeeded to dislodge its Chollo inhabitants from their land.
But that kind of project will be costly to both sides.
Now, the Chollo Community Council is appealing to you again as Chairman of JMEC, together with IGAD member countries, AU, UN, Troika, China and other international partners to intervene quickly to pressurize President Salva Kiir to revoke the 28 States, so as to avoid tribal war, particularly between Dinka and Chollo communities in Upper Nile State.
Finally, we would like to inform you that Chollo people are peace loving known by many communities. But they will not tolerate to accept being dislodged from their ancestral land.
In case this toxic Decree Number 36/2015 issued on 2nd of October 2015 is not revoked, and no quick action is taken, then Chollo in more likelihood will defend their rights over ancestral land.Should war break out later, the International community shouldn’t blame Chollo Community.
Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration and great esteem.
Samson Oyay Awin
Chairman of Chollo Community Council, Khartoum Sudan
CC. Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commision, Addis Ababa
CC. IGAD member countries (Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda)
CC. United Nations Secretary General, New York, USA.
CC. Troika Countries (USA, UK and Norway)
CC. His Majesty Reth Kwongo Dak Padiet, Reth of Chollo, Fashoda
CC. MPs in the National Legislative Assembly, Juba, South Sudan.
CC. Chairman of Chollo Intellectuals Committee, Juba, South Sudan.
CC. Chollo Community Members in Diaspora (USA, UK, Australia and others)