Kokora: Often misunderstood, grossly misinterpreted and most feared

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, South Sudan, JAN/28/2013, SSN;

The word Kokora is neither English nor a Latin word. It is therefore difficult to find its definition in any English or Latin dictionary. The word Kokora is only found in the language spoken by Karo, the natives of Central Equatoria State. The Karo include the Bari, Pojulu, Nyangwara, Mundari, Kuku and the Kakwa. May also be included among the Karo are the Mundo, Keliko and the Lugwara in Yei River and Morobo County respectively, and the Lokoya in Juba County. Although the Mundo, Keliko, Lugwara and the Lokoya have their own languages, they are also well versed in the Karo language.

The word Karo is a collective name or noun for the Bari, Pojulu, Nyangwara, Mundari, Kuku and the Kakwa as sub-groups of the whole (Karo). Karo as a collective name has not yet been endorsed or adopted by the sub-groups. However, it will not do any harm to use it when referring collectively to the Bari, Pojulu, Nyangwara, Mundari, Kuku and the Kakwa as a way of showing their affinity.

The Karo can be seen as ethnic groups that are closely related to each other by language and culture. They could have been one single ethnic group but probably migration trends in search of resources and space might have caused the Karo to spread far and wide, dividing up into smaller groups.

However, the spread of the Karo to the various areas seems to have not affected their language very much although there appears to be some variations in accent. Nevertheless, the Karo still share the same traditions, for example, in naming new born babies. There is a lot of commonality in folklore. In brief the Karo can be considered as one ethnic group where the word Kokora is only found in their language.

Definition of Kokora
The definition of the word Kokora may help stimulate an intellectual debate for a better understanding. This is because the word Kokora has often been misunderstood, grossly misinterpreted and the most feared as being divisive. I must admit that I have not come across a Karo dictionary that offers the definition of Kokora. However, it is not difficult to define what the word Kokora means.

In simple terms, in the Karo language, the word Kokora means divide or division. The question to ask is what is to be divided. There must be a context in which division takes place.

In a patriarchal society when a parent passes away the sons inherit the property of their late parent. The property is divided (Kokora) equitably among the sons of the late according to their seniority. Also, when hunters in a team effort killed, for example, a buffalo, the meat is divided (Kokora) among the team members. In both contexts, dividing the property and the meat is for the benefit of the stakeholders. There is no indication that dividing the property and the meat is to the disadvantage of any of the stakeholders.

Common sense shows that Kokora offers a fair deal when people are in a positive frame of mind.

Kokora is in daily use but people seem to be unaware. Division of labour for maximum benefit is Kokora of labour. Also, people may not know that taking towns to villages is Kokora of resources so that neither village nor town is deprived of development.

When South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in the referendum in January 2011, they were in fact voting for Kokora. Did that mean the people of South Sudan and Sudan were enemies? The people of South Sudan only hated the oppressive system but not the entire population of Northern Sudan.

South Sudanese did not hate each other when the South was divided (Kokora) into ten States. In fact they fought as people of one destiny until the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) of January 2005. Similarly when Equatoria was divided (Kokora) into three States concrete walls were never erected between Eastern, Central and Western Equatoria State.

From the elaboration made it is hoped that a better understanding of Kokora is generated for an intellectual debate that will promote mutual understanding.

Kokora often misunderstood
In a pamphlet titled Decentralization: A Necessity For The Southern Provinces of The Sudan published in 1981, the author said, “Political leadership, with a strong tribal orientation having satisfied themselves that the only way to remain in power is to fan tribal loyalties from their tribe, which they believe must dominate because of sheer numbers, are now turning around to point a finger at those who want to correct the situation as power hungry politicians.”

The author went on to say, “The basic problem that bedevils any heterogeneous society like ours is how to attain unity. In most cases unity is attained by recognizing and accepting the principle of living in diversity.”

It was evident that the author of the pamphlet was initiating decentralization (Kokora) in the then three southern provinces which were known as the Southern Region after the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972. The agreement gave the three southern provinces of the Sudan self-government.

However, in the 10 year period of the self-government problems mounted without a solution in sight. One major problem was the perceived domination of the self-government by one ethnic group. For example, the High Executive Council of the self-government consisted of 50 per cent of people from the one ethnic group. How that could be in a region of over sixty ethnic groups?

In addition, it was alleged that records of intake into administration, police and prisons colleges, and records of promotions would have revealed some painful facts about institutionalized tribalism in the Southern Region. Given the above scenarios any initiative on decentralization (Kokora) would have been an unattractive proposition to those who perceived they were being targeted.

As the decentralization of the three southern provinces was initiated mostly by people of Equatoria and the word Kokora was used, a Pandora box of misunderstandings, misinterpretations and fears was opened.

Kokora was misunderstood as the kicking out of non-Equatorians to their ancestral lands. Arguably, Kokora should have been understood as decentralization and a development tool to bring services closer to the people. Kokora had nothing to do with uprooting people. On the contrary it should have been seen as a fair way of distributing resources and services to the people. In short Kokora should be seen as an equivalent of decentralization, nothing more or less.

The author of the pamphlet who was not a member of the Karo did not mention Kokora. How Kokora entered into people’s vocabulary is not clear. I am sometimes amused when people even do not know how to pronounce Kokora.

Kokora grossly misinterpreted
Kokora has been grossly misinterpreted as the hatred of non-Equatorians in Equatoria. Any mention of Kokora is often viewed with contempt and suspicion, and any argument for Kokora will produce a harsh criticism from those who are not only ignorant but frightened.

The slightest of reference to Kokora is enough to trigger an immediate barrage of condemnation. This is partly because of the gross misinterpretation of Kokora. The word Kokora has been misused.

As Kokora was initiated by the people of Equatoria as the decentralization of the three southern provinces, the non-Equatorians who strenuously opposed the decentralization of the provinces had a grudge to settle. The gross misinterpretation is on as people are still reacting harshly at what is perceived as a hint of Kokora.

The relative peace and security in Equatoria, and the civility of the people are so attractive that Kokora is grossly misinterpreted as kicking people out of beautiful and attractive Equatoria.

Kokora most feared
It is common knowledge that insecurity in the other greater regions is rampant. In contrast Greater Equatoria has been a peaceful region and this has been attracting inward migration where people feel secure living among the civilized people of Equatoria.

However, the problem is that most of those of pastoralist background always misbehave, for example, in shamelessly grabbing people’s lands with no respect for the law. There are always legal ways of acquiring a piece of land but land grabbers want a shortcut because of a culture that seems to condone unruly behaviour.

The people of Equatoria are predominantly sedentary farmers and are very conscious not to infringe on others land. In contrast pastoralists are often in perpetual wars with each other over grazing land because the concept of a boundary may hardly exist. Insecurity among pastoralists may therefore be more rampant than among sedentary farmers.

In Equatoria, non-Equatorians may hardly worry about insecurity. This may explain why Kokora is most feared and misinterpreted as the forced removal of non-Equatorians from guaranteed peace and security in Equatoria. If there is insecurity in Equatoria it is mostly caused by non-Equatorians.

A law is needed to regulate relationship between pastoralists and sedentary farmers for both may not be good neighbours, thereby aggravating insecurity.

Addressing fear of Kokora
People should not be unduly fearful of or worried about Kokora. It is a perception problem that can easily be addressed. It is a matter of understanding clearly what Kokora is in order to develop a positive frame of mind. Kokora is decentralization and it is difficult to see how decentralization can be most feared.

Decentralization does not mean throwing people out of their property or residence to relocate to their ancestral lands. Decentralization is the bringing of government and services closer to the people regardless of their ethnic background.

The most feared of Kokora is nothing but paranoia for some past bad experience. At any rate those who continue to fear Kokora are living in the past. Since Kokora took place in 1983 a lot have happened.

South Sudan is no longer three regions but has been divided (Kokora) into 10 self-governing states. The next step is for the states to be elevated to a federal status to boost development for a high standard of living.

The question one may be tempted to ask is, why isn’t there a fear of South Sudan having been divided (Kokora) into 10 States instead of the perpetual fear of South Sudan divided (Kokora) into three regions some thirty years ago?

The exaggerated fear of Kokora could be because people simply do not want to understand what Kokora means or people do not want to have a second thought.

Kokora is feared most because of the paranoia that it divides people. This is, however, unfounded because according to the definition of Kokora it is basically an equitable way of distributing power and wealth among stakeholders. The bad experience of Kokora in 1983 when it was implemented should not be taken that Kokora is divisive. It was then a politically charged atmosphere that animosities were unnecessarily created.

The people of South Sudan will never be divided the way Kokora is feared. Even prophets such as Moses, Jesus and Mohamed, peace be upon them, walking along the shores of the Nile couldn’t have divided the people of South Sudan. This is not an overstatement or an ambitious assertion. The evidence is there for all to see.

The National Congress Party (NCP) of the radical Islamic fundamentalists used all the known tricks they could master to divide the people of South Sudan but failed miserably. Over 98 per cent of the people were solidly united because they strongly felt they were of one destiny. People voted for independence.

In conclusion, the people of South Sudan should not waste their energy worrying unnecessarily about Kokora but instead should be worrying about indiscipline and institutional weaknesses in the various components of the system that is the real danger to unity.

Decentralization which is Kokora in the Karo language is universally accepted as an appropriate factor of good governance.

Revolutionaries should give credit to the Karo of Central Equatoria State and indeed Greater Equatoria for being farsighted and the real architects of unity of South Sudan. END


  1. Duma Lokiden says:

    Bravo Elder Jacob K. Lupai,
    you’re the first to speak the truth in your mind and educate the idiots South Sudanese about independence and Decentralization. I don’t know why people in South Sudan want to incrust in one Region of the Country leaving their places to rot for nothing? The ruling party is talking of unity, taking towns to the people but nothing in practice and the unity being preached is on the expenses of Equatoria.
    South Sudanese, as Lupai has elaborated on Kokora, he is perfectly right, South Sudanese need to learn how to love, live independently and Stay in their States like the Equatorians.
    In fact Eqautorians are traditionally known for their tolerance, mutual acceptance and respect toward each other and any foreigner (Non Equatorian) this has made trouble makers communities in South Sudan.

  2. Lewi A. Mursale says:

    Jacob Lupai,
    Thanks for this intellectual deliberation of Kokora. I think your explanation is by far very acceptable. We as South Sudanese had and have already exercised KOKORA in 2011.
    However, though some quarters fear the word, also its understood because of the trauma that KOKORA had caused in 1979
    Kokora is real and it’s happening every day across the nation – God forbid that we shall ever revisit the 1979 again. It’s just a word of caution: Our leaders have to incorporate anti-kokora policies into their programs, which mean equity and “Nation Building Programs” be crafted and projected to public to show harmony and unity instead of waiting for World Medias to impose other programs.

  3. Dinka land says:

    Equatorians are Ugandans, Congolese and Kenyans.

  4. Words can create a very bad situation when they are not understood in its real context. Kokora was indeed misunderstood and to this day it hurts some people because it deprived some people in the then government of High Excutive council or southern Region for that matter.

    Juba was thought of as the only place where there is life and indeed it is the same today as it was yesterday. KoKora or decentralization is a good thing, it creates equal opportunity and development for all across the country.
    Now that a true meaning of “Kokora” (decentralization) is a policy of the government to take Towns to the people and not people to the towns, it’s a good thing and has nothing to do with a hatred for a particular people.

    Now see what decentralization has brought in the days you need to come to Juba to go to University as University of Juba was the only instituition in the then Southern region. There is now Bhar El Ghazal University, Upper Nile University and others Like Northern University of Bhar El Ghazal and Torit University to come in the future, is this not a good Kokora?

    Kokora like many words was created by the Bari Language which makes up 50 % of Arabi Juba, But things are changing fast as Arabi Juba is now believed to comprise of many south sudanese dialects from all walks of life.

    You now hear of “ocoyo Lamero” which translates in Acholi as ‘It has a awoken a drunked man or person women also drink anyway.

    What about “Payam and Boma” which is now part of the system means exactly the same as Kokora because it brings the government closer to the people along side development. Arabi Juba is not for Bari or Equatorians alone.

    Come up with a new word and it will be incorporated into Arabi Juba a unique language just like swahili.

    Give Kokora a thumb up as it creates equal opportunities and treat it as Payam and Boma which we understand their significance.
    The world is changing fast and so are the words.

  5. JKL says:

    It is not a secret that the fake liberation was a master plan to occupy Equatoria, the most beautiful and advanced, because Equatorians are seen as Ugandans, Congolese and Kenyans but not as fellow countrymen.
    Only an animal will not know that occupying Equatoria is like occupying an active volcano.
    National unity is not built on branding others as foreigners because of the outrageous inferiority complex of people that seem to appear as sub-humans.

    • Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang says:

      The prophet Ngundeng had predicted the wars between North and South Sudan. He had also predicted the tribal wars in the South and the total Liberation/independence of the Republic of South Sudan. However, he had never predicted the tribal wars on the internet. Therefore, I advise each and everyone of you to refrain from preaching tribal hatred on the internet.

      I strongly advise Brother JKL not to wish or be hopeful for an erruption of the active Volcano in the Greater Equatoria. I have never lived in Equatoria and I don’t intend to live in Equatoria, however, as a South Sudanese, I like the Equatoria and the people that live in Equatoria. Thus, I don’t want to see the Equatoria being taken down by the Lava of an erupted Volcano.

      Will you be there to witness the second eruption of the active Volcano in Equatoria this time around? Please bear in mind that the second eruption will be more disastrous than the one of 1980. Take care and plan for your safer exit when the Volcano erupts again.

  6. J. Kei says:

    Dinka land,
    if Equatorians are Ugandans, Congolese and Kenyans, then get your lined face out of the Equatoria land. peroid..

    • Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang says:

      Please be reminded that Equatoria is a part of the Republic Of South Sudan and it was liberated by the people you refered herein as lined faced. The so-called lined faced people had sacrificed their lives to liberate Equatoria from the Arabs and therefore they deserve the right to live anywhere they choose in the the Republic of South Sudan. It is the lined faced people that are currently risking their lives in defending the republic Of South Sudan from the Northern Sudanese Arab Army.

      It is the so-called lined faced people that are presently fighting the LRA in Western Equatoria along side with the Azande (Zande) tradional/tribal Warriors. Why do you like the lined faced to fight for Equatoria and not to live in Equatoria? Are you being fair or Naive? Where were you when the Arabs were occupying the Greater Equatoria? What are you doing now to stop the LRA aggression/occupation in Western Equatoria?

      Please bear in mind that the Greater Equatoria and the Republic of South Sudan can not be defended/liberated on the internet. Get the gun and join the lined faced people and the Azande (Zande) warriors otherwise unless you will perish in Exile.

      Are you aware that the CPA and Referendum were brought forth by the lined faced people? The referendum would not have been achieved without the CPA and the CPA was the results of the lined faced people’s Armed Struggle. The Independence of the Republic of South Sudan was achieved through the votes of the lined faced people and Equatorians. Where do you fit in, my Brother?

  7. Eastern says:

    Dinka land,
    All Dinkas are Sudanese. That’s why a good number of them are still STUCK in Khartoum. Abyei, part of the Sudan is a Dinkaland.

  8. kikisik Black Brother says:

    Mr. Lupai,
    You are so brilliant in your writing, thank God, we have people who can move mountains.
    Keep on the excellent work, well done!
    I hope those non-Equatorians could read this excellent piece so that they can understand what kokora means.
    Thank you very much, keep it up.

  9. Leon Nyerere says:

    Jacob K. Lupai,
    I’m an Equatorian and I’m disgusted by some of the things you have stated in your article. I hope to respond to it soon. Words such as “civilized and misbehave” are offensive. For someone of your stature, I wish you could be a little sensitive.

    • South Mole says:

      A name doesn’t make Equatoria, Leon Nyerere. You’re one of those transplanted Dinkas in Equatoria who now think they’re Equatorians. If you’re disgusted by the truth that Lupai stated, go to hell or go back to your ancestral home.
      On the other hand, if you’re an Equatorian, then, I’m ashamed to know you b/c you’re one of those Equatorians who serve your Dinka masters.

  10. Konybai says:

    Why kill then, non-Equatorians that were in Juba, mostly students if it was meant for descentralization? may be common Karo in the villages know it better than you fools intellectuals.
    As J K Lupai put it, when South Sudan was divided into Ten states southerners were not killed in Khartoum like what you people did here in Juba. that shows (J K Lupai Kokora) was not basically an equitable way of distributing power and wealth among stakeholders otherwise it would have been peacefull, but you, Lupai, like it to kill innocent people including children.
    I think J K lupai and his likes are commemorating the killing of innocents people in 1983.. keep up J K Lupai

  11. Kenyi Alex says:

    You said; “Equatorians are Ugandans, Congolese and Kenyans” So leave us alone and go back to Dinkaland. Why are you happy to be in a foreign land?
    Know that history repeats itself meaning one day Equatorians will declare another KOKORA whether you like it or not, if you continue to provoke it by those policies that brought it last time; Corruption, Land grabbing, Domination, disrespect, discrimination, dis…….
    Dinkaland are you normal? Please C your Dr. ASAP! otherwise you will run crazy soooooooon ooh! Eh how do you say the above? please apologize right now! because your own masters or brothers will not accept what you have said.
    Instead some Ugandans, Kenyans and Congolese are Your own Brothers (now) South Sudanese!

  12. Kenyi Alex says:

    Dinka Land,
    Denying brotherhood does not deny oneness. WE South Sudanese will pray for almighty God to forgive you for denying Equatorians as your own brothers. Why did not you say that during the struggle? So that you know that when you have no enemies with in the enemies outside there can not harm you.

  13. Malith Alier says:

    Kokora = Apartheid, nothing less.
    Keeping preaching

  14. Mr. Lupai,
    I refuse to accept your explanation that “kokora is often misunderstood, grossly misinterpreted and most feared” word. Whatever the word means in karo language, the term kokora came to mean division of the south Sudan into ethnic groupings.
    In the 1980s when many equatorians got dissatisfied with the Dinka dominance of the south Sudan executive council, politicians in greater Equatoria especially those in PPP (Pojulu Progressive Party) who were mostly Bari speakers, came up with this word kokora. Indeed, they wanted everybody in Juba to go to their regions.
    Puppets like Joseph James Tombura who was the president at the time and others, were used by Bari politicians to implement their ill agenda. When this brutal division happened, the Dinkas and other tribes left Juba, they went to their provinces and kicked off Equatorians from their land. Remember, this is one of the reasons why SPLA took up arms.
    When other tribes left Juba, those in central Equatoria began to expel those tribes from eastern and western Equatoria saying, each is to go to their region or province.
    Kokora came to mean a bad political division and it was inscribed in several streets in Juba town. Kokora as we know it today means division of the peoples in south Sudan, each to their states or homes. There was no misunderstanding using the term at that time, because tribal politicians such as Eliaba James Surur never say that kokora was a misunderstood word.
    Now, a clever man like Lupai tells us that Kokora is grossly misrepresented, it is a technique used to cover the damage that kokora inflicted on our people especially those of us in eastern/western Equatoria states.
    Kokora is more than just division, it is an ethnic cleansing.
    Today ask I speak, kokora is happening, see who are those behind the move of the capital of south Sudan to Ramchiel. It is the karo people who thinks that Juba belongs to them and not to the whole south Sudanese. Kokora is not a misunderstood term, it is a correctly used word in the very meaning of the karo language.

    Just a reminder Mr. Oyet: Was it not Dr John Garang and those ministers and generals now building hotels and grand mansions in Juba who bitterly swore and decided to make Ramchiel the new Capital of a liberated South Sudan (a country they’d rename as ‘KUSH?’
    For your information, the same Karo leaders including Mr. Eliaba James Surur traveled to New Site in 2005 after Garang’s demise and assured Kiir and company to set the headquarters in Juba first until they had sufficiently prepared Ramchiel or Rumbek to accommodate their new infant government. Ask CES Governor Clement Wani Konga, who led the Karo elders team to New Site to meet Kiir. Just for your record. Editorial

    • South Mole says:

      Oyet (if that indeed is his name) is a stupid liar.
      When were Western and Eastern Equatorians kicked out of Central Equatoria? Wasn’t Gov. James Tombura from WES? Even WES and EES didn’t exist before kokora, thereby exposing you for the vile liar you’re.

  15. nypuata says:

    Oyet Lokilachong,
    it seemed you completely missed the point about Kokora. It was not karo people who came up with redivision of south Sudan (kokora) for that matter.

    Kokora as a term, means tokor in Toposa language as well as those who are toposa speakers and word shared by many people who migrated from Ethiopia higland. the word karo is a tribe that still exist today in ethiopia and who knows, may be karo speakers share the language based on an anthropolgical background.

    Anyway to make things short, Oyet you need to refresh your memory about kokora. kokora were not just a word that’s fetched from street as you may think. kokora were debated in south Sudan legislative assembly for many weeks between proponents and opponents and at the end it was pass by overwhelming majority in the parliament.

    if some of our brothers who were enjoying in juba were told to go to their respective provinces and help develop, their regions, they thought they were being chased away by equatorian or bari. they just behave the same they are behaving today.

    Look what are they doing now in the so-called capital city? if all of us moved to capital, who will look after old ones in the villages? or they also move to capital?

    Oyet let me ask you a question, what makes you Dinka not to love your own village or state? please go back to your village or state county and start doing something for people otherwise all of you will be consumed by past anger.




  16. Joseph says:

    Mr. Oyet, you got it wrong my brother, This word Kokora exist before Jesus was born. However, its application in 1979 may have carried a different meaning. “So let the dead bury the dead or let bygones be bygones.”
    For your information, not all Equatorians and Bari speakers are happy with what is happening in Juba right now especially when it comes to the issue of allocating of lands to Bari speakers in Juba or equatorians. Even Bari speakers are not being treated equally like Bari people .
    For example if you see Juba County, it comprises of Bari, Nyangwara, Pajulu of Wondurba, Pajulu of Tijor and Luluba. However the seat for the commissioner is dominated by Bari tribe only. So the other sub-tribes mentioned above raised a serious complaint demanding their own counties. When the governor realized it was becoming a problem, he appoint Major. Stephen Wani Michael for Nyagwara tribe as the current commissioner of Juba County to silence those other tribes who wanted their own Counties.
    Nonetheless the explanation given by Lupai is very correct and the meaning of the word is clearly define. Keep educating them (South Sudanese) Mr. Lupai.

  17. Dinka land says:

    Kenyi, move out and declare kokora again if you are really men. You see and regret by God. Congo, Uganda and other foreign countries you are refusing will be accepted by you if Dinka eject you out of Juba. Fake South Sudanese. Get out of South Sudan and leave Dinka alone as you left them during the war. Declare Kokora! Declare kokora! Declare kokora you will see

    • Martin.L says:

      @ Dinka Land.
      My brother, you said “Fake South Sudanese.” I’m not sure you understand what you’re eluding to! You must be young to know the history of our land called South Sudan.. Mind you, our struggle for freedom did not start somewhere in the nineties, eighties or seventies, but it goes many years back. For example, Torit town is where the first war started; and the last time I checked, the revolution was started by Equatorians, and these were/are South Sudanese, not Ugandans or Congolese, as you claim.
      So get it right whether you like or not, we all are South Sudanese, and we are not going anywhere!

    • Dinka Land,
      even though you don’t fear man who came and settled in Equatoria land, fear God who made Equatoria land to be his settlement. Let’s praise God who made us to settle in the land of south Sudan regardless from where we came. Whoever settled in land of south Sudan for so long has right to boast of being indigenous.
      As you said, Equatoria people came from east African countries, where then did Dinka people come from or do you think God created them in south Sudan land? Don’t isolate the people, Dinka people only love peace and unity than hatred.

    • Andrew Jienge says:

      D(S)inkaland, be careful of what you are wishing for, scattered brain, for it might not go your way as you are in foreign land. When it happens you will forget the way home. How long have you been away from your home area?! Did you ever think as to when you will go back home from Equatoria to build your area?! Did you ever asked yourself, as to why I am the only one who is always bugging, discriminating, grabbing others land, disrespecting my host and yet nobody from them came/coming to my area behaving the same way as I do?!

      You want Equatoria out, for real?! Just visualise where will you find a peaceful environment/time to put your sticky fingers to a keyboard to start writing nonsense! Equatoria will go with everything that belongs to it, it is about time to take your head off your butt and start thinking like human being!

    • Aj says:

      Dinka land,
      I hope you are not just talking the talk. Do you know how far you have demonstrated your rationale? Think it twice all dinkas that call themselves IDP and are seeking refuge in greater Equatoria. If indeed the greater decided fight against dinkas, your dead meat before you go beg for refugees status in Khartoum. You are provoking people and i advice you to think twice before you can jump onto keyboard.

      Again, i am advising you to refrain from such utterance.. Don’t forget, when what you wish happen, our army will split along regional line and I can see Nuer and Murle joining Equatoria, and I can predict that Dinkas will join Meseria -Dinkas in Abyei and Khartoum. Can you now picture what you preach will look like to you? Good Luck.

      I think most dinkas do not wish or even think in an idotic manner like you do. I am sure if you indeed live in Juba you will agree with me that most dinaks who pour into juba are there to seek for survival. I work at juba town opposite to Dahabshil. I have many dinkas friends who are just like me and complaining about government failure to govern.


  18. Lewi A. Mursale says:

    So, Mr. Oyet, what you are saying is: “What goes around comes around”? or in other words “history repeats itself”?
    Here I solemnly disagree with you because simply we are not denying history in details but just trying to advocate, to break the cycle of violence which would occur again and again; as you know violence is no property of one individual or group.

    Much more I would love to see you me and him preach positive messages to narrow the gap that was caused in the past responsibly. I know you know currently we need social engineers to mold us into a nation which in the past we could not be.

    One strong reason why we should be a molded nation is the fact that when all of us run defeated to Khartoum serious inter-marriages took place and a new generation came up of people whose parents were from the divide. I am sure that you will not be able to speak on their behalf.

    I can assume that you are still a pure member of your tribe to remember the past, but tomorrow you’ll be challenged to give up these extreme ideas. Look around you in your neighborhood who married who and how do they relate to this nation, but I also invite you to start interpreting history in a way it actually closes the gap between people who were members of the divide yesterday – this is going to be in-disputable courage in the face of history.

    God bless our Country

    Lewi A. Mursale

  19. Dear Nypuata, Joseph, and Lupai,
    Whatever you say does not change the fact on the ground. I am not a Dinka and I do not live in Juba. I love to see our country, south Sudan develop and develop well. Lupai stated that “kokora means division,” and there are so many things that we can divide. Kokora did its work well of dividing southerners, and chasing other ethnic groups away from karo home.
    We should not re-visit the history of KOKORA nor seek its new etymology. I am only surprised why should you be ashamed of the word, retreat from the very meaning of the word simply because it caused damage to some people. Kokora is a beautiful word and if I were a karo person, I could laud it but not blaming the word or other people. If kokora was debated in parliament by intellectuals as someone said, how can it be a misunderstood word now?

    • Joseph Okello says:

      Do not hide in that brother, why do you deny your tribe.

    • Joe says:

      Dinka land is a mad man. This man who has been moving between Khartoum and Kakuma never saw a war. Dinka land, if you are a fighter, why are you not prepared for Abei rather than preparing to Fight Equatorians? Where were you in the recent war in Heglig?
      where the Nuer and the Equatorians you are preparing war against were confronting the Arabs.

  20. Kuot says:

    you maybe naive or trying to hide the negative impact of Kokora in 1980s. Every word is nice in definition but its action portrays the real intention. when the KOKORA was announced in 1980s, it was not just intended for decentralization. kokora went further to evict non-Equatorians from Juba. Ask people who were in Juba that time they will tell you that most common slogan was Dinka “TURUJU”.

    You people should remember that other South Sudanese come to Juba to work for government of South Sudan not for the government of Central Equatoria. What makes the government of South Sudan stay in Juba is known to communities of Central Equatoria. They want Juba to be the Capital of S. Sudan. You cannot allow the capital to be in your land and assume that your fellow countrymen will leave you all the institutions of government. it never happens in any country around the world.

    You accused people of grabbing land. that is true some people have grabbed the land to live and continue to do their government jobs in Juba. It happens this way simply because the government of CES has refused to design land policies. When people go to CES land office to ask for land they are denied to get land. This is simply means CES is intentionally forcing other South Sudanese to leave their jobs in Juba and went to farm and keep cattle in their villages.

    This attitude is unpatriotic and those who justify it will see its ugliness one day. Those who assume that Dinka and Nuer deserted their villages for Juba are wrong. Dinka and Nuer farmers and pastoralists are still in their villages and the ones you see in Juba are working for the government of South Sudan.

    • South Mole says:

      Nuers may be in their land but the parasitic Dinkas are IDPs in Equatoria.

      • Dear Brother, South Mole,
        How would you tell Dinka from Nuer?
        Believe it or not, the population of Dinkas and Nuers are the same in Juba.
        I know some Equatorian Brothers, they refer to Nuers as Dinka Nuer. Nuer always goes where Dinkas are because they used to be Brothers and Sisters long time ago and you can not tell who is who. Nuers don’t mind being called Dinka when they commit a crime that is blamed on Dinkas. Test my word, Make a fault announcement in Juba that you are giving away a free land to the Dinkas only and you will see for yourself how many Nuers will come forward complaining to you for not giving them their portion of land in Juba. They look dumb but they are smart people. Take care brother.

  21. kikisik Black Brother says:

    Who is this Dinka Land?
    My friend, this web site is designed for intellectual people like Lupai not for people like you. You are always negative in all your responses; may be because of your inability to express yourself due to limited education.
    Man! Go and finished your primary four before you can start writing. This website is not for beginners, let’s leave the field to those who can write something that is very beneficial to us all.

  22. upiu says:

    i think most of us would agree with what Lupai stated about the true definition of the word KOKORA. i am not from any of those ethnic backgrounds where the word is derived from but i can buy the innocence of the word per se.
    just like anything in this world – religion, weapons, you name them, they were invented for a better cause than their contemporary dirty applications that is witnessed all over the world.
    so, i think those who ‘own’ the origin of the word KOKORA are the ones who misunderstood it, misinterpreted it and used it to instill fear in the rest of the southern Sudanese ethnicities.
    if it really means decentralization, then where in the English speaking world have communities risen against each other to implement decentralization?
    where have people killed each other to exercise decentralization?
    if over 80% of GOSS budget stays in Juba then it’s logical that all communities of south Sudan should partake in that chunk of cake.

  23. Dennis says:

    Having read the essay about “kokora” by Mr Lupai, I would say he is right by definitions as well as by the intended meaning of the word kokora. What I don’t agree with is the shimmering heat of hate and despise toward non-equatorians in Juba. My suggestion is that Equatorians that are not happy with behaviors of Dinka and Nuer should direct their anger on both the CES and SS government with reason being that the CES government is to blame for not formulating measures to land issues, while SS government is to blame for staying in Juba.
    Again like mr. Upiu had mentioned that “80% of south Sudan budget stays in Juba,”it is therefore sensible for the rest of South Sudanese communities to be part of the government. These non-Equatorians are all in Juba because it is the center of their government hence, to get rid of these people from Equatoria, Equatorians should advocate for the relocation of SS government and the land grabbing will all be history.

    • Dan says:

      Did the land grabbing start after 2005? As far as I know alot of places in Equatoria and particularly Juba were under the occupation of jallaba before the cpa. Were the so-called Karo complaining then? Or is it the case of saying as long they are not from either Upper Nile or Barelgazel, then they were cool?

  24. Dennis says:

    There is also a deep and underlying issue that many on this board do not understand concerning the hate toward non-Equatorians residing in the greater Equatoria regions. Some Equatorians want south sudan government relocate out of equatoria to pave ways for Equatoria to seek secession from south sudan. After moving the national government to dinka areas, Equatorians will therefore complain that dinka do not want Equatorians in their land or the national government is discriminating against Equatorians and therefore, why not also ban dinka and nuer from coming to Equatoria or traveling through equatoria to East African countries or separate Equatoria from south sudan. These are the issues that I see looming and that need critical attention from both patriotic Equatorians and non-Equatorians.

  25. Chicken, Chicken Dinka land. Why don’t you expose your ID but you prefer to hide in a Tortoise shell?.

  26. Mr truth says:

    you don’t know anything about places in Equatoria or Juba for that matter, so don’t jump the gun. Who told you that Jallaba had places in Juba before CPA? For your information Jallaba were all renting or staying in government houses unlike you who thought Juba was like one of your villages where you go and settle anywhere.

    • Dan says:

      Mr truth, so the jallaba that were occupying juba university during the war were paying rent and who were they paying it to?

  27. Martin.L says:

    Dan said “the Jallaba that were occupying juba university during the war.” Yes Jallaba did occupy Juba University, just as many other places in southern Sudan then, but why would you or any South Sudanese copy what Jallaba did? Why grabbing someone else land if there are legal ways of acquiring it?

  28. Dan says:

    Martin L, some Bari/karos, when they write or speak about their kokora, they think every tribe in Equatoria share their tribal hatred of others. I have to make it clear to you brother Martin that I have not grabbed no land in Juba. I have never been to central equatoria. I have been to Eastern Equatoria and the folks there especially the Toposas despite their low level of education in comparison to the Karos never see other fellow south Sudanese as strangers. I don’t agree with anyone grabbing, anyone land wherever it maybe, however I do not agree with these small or big groups of Karos who think we should be living in separate tribal cities or towns. they must be stopped at any cost. if they want to be by themselves, let them declare the independence of central equatoria.

    • Dan says:

      I don’t think I have ever mentioned being Dinka anywhere here, but it seems anyone who does not support Karos’ Kokora becomes a Dinka automatically as it was the case with Oyet.

  29. nypuata says:

    People in Eastern Equatoria speak by action and that is why you behave very well there. Right now go and grab any toposa plot then you see what will he/she does to you? you know that very well based on what have been happening between you dinka and people of eastern equatoria.

  30. Joseph Okello says:

    Let us not get emotional here. Lupai is right to tell us the meaning of kokora. But the situation that u folded at that was unfortunate. Let us not live in denial. It was the same behaviour of dinkas that we are witnessing today the one responsible for the misintepretation of the term kokora. People were happy that dinkas were leaving equatoria. As a result they have expedited the process of their exodus.

    Let us learn from history otherwise history will repeat itself. This we learnt nothing and forgot nothing. Coming to the point of occupying equatoria by force, it is a big lie it will never happen unless people are demanding for chaos to befall this country. We don’t want that to happen; govt should form truth and reconciliation commission to handle the past injustices.

  31. Eastern says:

    the Dinkas have learnt nothing over the years! Division or Kokora was necessitated by the arrogance of Dinka meted on other Southern Sudanese (then). All public offices, all government entities were manned by Dinkas and their apparatchiks. Equatorians felt that the assertion of ‘we are the majority tribe’ should be exercised within the confines of your native area. This was going native! Dinkas went native as soon as the 1972 agreement was signed when they dominated the High Executive Council, they continued their native act by dominating all government entities. Today they are doing the same under the banner of ‘we liberated you’. Which tribe did not fight in this war? During the war all tribes in South Sudan including Ugandans, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Sudanese (from southern parts of the current Sudan)…etc were active and died in the battle field. I am not aware of Kenyans and Congolese.

    Kokora happened in the 80s. The ingredients that led to the situation culminating into ushering in Kokora are still at play. The last Kokora was requested from the government in Khartoum, the next Kokora will be requested from the ‘international club’ to which the nascent government is a member. The current government always thinks of ‘majority’ in their dealings. Look at their current government cabinet posts, ambassadorial posts, etc.

    Thecurrent situation in the country will make the idea of Kokora be revisited.

    Kokora Enthusiast

  32. Jackson - UJ says:

    This is a very comprehensive piece. I will wish if those who associate Kokora with divisions among the south Sudanese themselves better educate themselves and their followers to understand. many have been labeling the Equatorians as selfish, bad-hearted, etc. let them read, internalize and revisit their ignorant presumed ideologies of backwardness to understand and see the meaning behind the Kokora.


    • Dear brother, Jackson,
      The non-Equatorians understood the explanations given by Mr. Jacob Lupai in regard to the meaning and objectives of the Kokora. However, the arguement is that why the Dinkas were massacared in Juba by the Equatorians if the Kokora was meant for the political and regional divisions? It is unfortunate that all Equatorians are labelled as selfish and bad hearted people. However,the actions which were taken by some of the Equatorians to enforce the Kokora Policies were beyond human comprehension leave alone the Dinkas who were victimized in Juba.

      According to my knowledge and understanding, The Dinkas did not take arms to revenge the Kokora victims nor would they intend to occupy or liberate the Greater Equatoria from the Equatorians as some brothers claimed on this forum. However I warn that if the policies of Kokora are revisited, readopted and reinforced as they were done in 1980’s, there will be nothing call RSS and some people will leave Juba or the Greater Equatoria as the Whites left South Africa after the Apathied rule or policies.

      Please stop the hatred and the glorifications of Kokora and let us all remain patient and peaceful and find a peaceful and speedy ways or means to remove the Dinkas and Nuers out of Juba to the new Capital City, Ramcil..Deep in my heart, I know the Dinkas and Nuers are not there in Juba for the purpose of occupying it rather they are there looking for work opportunities as they preceive Juba as the capital City of their Country,RSS.

      Please let us all respect one another as citizens of this Country. Insulting your fellow Countrymen does not earn you a respect as a nationalist or an educated man. Insulting non Equatorians would onlly provok those of Dinkaland to call you an alien or a foreigner which I know you would not agree or sit well with it. Take care, brother, and learn how to live or put up with Non Equatorians. They are your brothers and sisters, and they are here to stay as long as the Greater Equatoria still remains part of RSS.

  33. Jayembee says:

    You might feel literal rather than contextual meaning, is a convenient approach to misrepresent. Well, when that Kokora to divide was finally implemented, we knew how it turned out. If it was not for the second war of liberation, would this supposed advantageous division have brought freedom?

  34. Lokeri says:

    Dinka should not claim that they are the real inhabitants of South Sudan. Dinka like any other ethnic groups migrated to this land of Cush. Karo group and lou group should be the real inhabitants of south Sudan. Why Dinka don’t want to talk out about their originality? The fact is that Dinka or Jieng ethnic migrated from Senegal. Dinka must be proud of their family trace of their originality.

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