BY: Peter Dragu Wani, RSS, NOV/08/2013, SSN;
Dear Bishop Daniel Deng,
Whilst thanking you for your effort to bring peace in EES (Eastern Equatoria State), I categorically want to state my understanding that peace is not only the absence of war, especially in the situation of our nation of South Sudan.
Your Grace, allow me to define peace to enable my readers to understand why I chose to write about your inexhaustible effort to bring peace in our new nation the Republic of south Sudan.
* Peace is a situation or a period of time in which there is no war or violence in the country or an area.
* Peace is a state of being calm or quiet.
* Peace is a state of living in friendship with somebody without arguing.
Having given the above definition, let’s try to analyse the situation in our own context. Out of the ten states of South Sudan today, which one of them is the most peaceful or most violent and why is that so?
Without any doubt, seven out of the ten states in South Sudan have the Dinka ethnic groups as dominant or significant indigenous inhabitants.
Unfortunately, however, out of the seven states where the Dinka are present, Jongelei state scored the highest points of being the worst state.
Since the comprehension Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, exhaustive efforts by stakeholders including some European countries and USA have been availed to maintain the hard-earned peace in Republic of South Sudan (RSS) but instead of sustained peace, war is on the rise.
One wonders why after millions of dollars were spend there still is no peace. Does this mean the term ‘peace and reconciliation’ is used solely to attract more donations? I leave it for others to answer for themselves.
The situation in EES where I come from, is relatively peaceful compared to the seven Dinka populated states I referred to earlier. The unrest in EES state can be characterized as a new problem caused by external forces mostly the Internal displaced persons [IDPs] being engineered by some elements of politicians within Juba.
Your Grace Bishop Deng, you can’t categorically be a peace advocate when you don’t have your house in order. Just as you can’t remove the speck from someone’s eyes unless you removed the speck in your eyes first.
Equally, the qualities expected from you before you step out to take the banner of ‘peace and reconciliation,’ I would like to refer you to the very doctrine by which you live in the Book of Timothy 3: 2-7.
The most pressing issue, let’s be candid here, that will derail the peace and reconciliation endeavour in the state and spill out to the remaining nine states, eventually eating up the whole country is Jongelei state.
I wonder why the unrest in Jongelei which was created in the watchful eyes of the government in Juba has taken so long to find a solution to it.
What has been happening in the South Sudan since the day CPA came into effect and now since gaining Independence can be characterized as solely due to the unbalanced representation of power by the Kiir led government, which is an extreme exercise of superiority complex by one tribe over the others.
As a result, this has directly created power vacuum, repression, land grabbing and massive occupation particularly by Dinka tribe of lands belonging to other nationals or tribes.
The Dinka tribe, a tribe where you came from and which wrongly values such qualities as their right, I must say, is a thing that is very unfortunate for reconciliation and peace building because whatever you say will not be effective on the subject of peace you are preaching as your very people are doers of the opposite of your preaching.
Frankly and emphatically, the Kiir government should have appointed someone other than you, because, how can you talk about peace when your own people, whom you are part and parcel of are still causing havoc and they are not ready for peace?
Bishop Deng, as a man of God, let me draw your attention to the volatile issue of Nimule where there are more than 45,000 Dinka forcefully occupying the land of Ma’di and forcing the Ma’di of Nimule to remain in Oliji Refugee camp in Adjumani District of Uganda.
Theses IDPs have been in Nimule since 1994, the date they fled from the defection of commander William Nyuon Bany and up to the eventual signing of the CPA, but inexplicably, we haven’t seen some of them ever return back to Jongelei.
Instead, since attaining the independence, a new massive surge of IDPs and IDPs’ cattle influx in Nimule has been seen, reaching a startling high figure.
Your Grace, Bishop Deng, this astronomical invasion has been brought about by the imperialistic political agenda that has now become a common knowledge, the prevailing intent is to wipe out other smaller tribes from their land of origin.
Apparently, the diabolical reason is to pass the so-called ‘newly conquered land’ to those Dinka who were brainwashed to fight a war that will see them make a comeback to occupy the Equatoria land, a cynical deed of kokora payback!
Whilst I was fighting the war of liberation against the Jalaba oppression, little did I personally know that what was being chanted in Dinka language to those foot soldiers was none other than a stabbing in the back for the rest of us the non-Dinka South Sudan liberators.
Nearly ten years since CPA was signed and nearly two years since South Sudan became an independent country, there are still armed Dinka men who are not part of national army of RSS who are dangerously roaming with AK 47s in the market of Nimule, threatening the lives of the unarmed poor Ma’di people.
Seriously, you, Bishop Garang, how can you talk about reconciliation when you have failed to tell your own people about forceful land grabbing and oppression of others in their very own ancestral land?
Your Lordship, Bishop, surely reconciliation comes as a result of the offenders realizing and recognizing their offence, and must be willing to rectify and apologize for their actions against the offended or victims.
That forms the basis and essence of true reconciliation. Without identifying the core problems and outlining the solutions to the problems, I wonder whom are you coming to reconcile in EES?
Is it the killing of an innocent people or the killing of the Nimule chief by your people?
Or is it what is suspiciously sitting at the tip of your tongue which will easily roll out as the so-called Acholi/Ma’di issue?
Whichever it is, I will assure you that, yes, without any denial, the Acholi and Ma’di have some issues to reckon with but these are brothers who have lived together in peace and harmony.
Their intermarriage has seen some disharmony amongst aunties, uncles, nieces and nephews and what eroded that harmony of co-existence recently between the Acholi/Ma’di was influenced and fuelled by some greedy politicians to gain their own interests and power.
Again, not far from the influence of deceitful power promise to the politicians by your Dinka minded government that has exacerbated the problem.
Bishop, let’s not be blindfolded by what you claim to offer because we are all matured in our God given knowledge. Peace will come to EES when your present boss, Kiir, agrees to take decisive stand to say enough is enough, and tell the Dinka IDPs in Nimule to pack their roaming cattle which have become part wildlife and go back where they came from.
Until this is done peace will not prevail and the training program you talked about during your visit to Torit will be a waste of state resources.
It doesn’t take a million dollars or 100 people to bring peace, so why waste vast state resources on what is not peace?
Bishop and Mr president Kiir, let me suggest to you five ways if you want to see a democratic South Sudan to be a nation we all aspire to cherish, where our children’s children will grow in peace without hatred.
The suggestions are as follows:
1. Repatriate all the Dinka IDPs in Equatoria, Shilluk and Nuer land, just to mention a few.
2. Address the issues of Murle amicably.
3. Stop forceful land grabbing in Equatoria or any other parts of RSS. Let’s follow normal and legal procedures to acquire land.
4. Try to be inclusive in the formation of your government rather than your cabinet being your close friends or tribes mates, resulting in you sacking others without any sound reasons.
5. Finally, speed up the program to rewrite the national constitution, and stop dragging the national army into politics in order to fulfil your long time political ambition.
I would rather like you to pave way for the coming election in order to bring fresh blood into the nation.
Bishop, it is very important for the sake of peace to prevail in our nation that you do exactly what a peace maker should be doing, tell those Dinka in Nimule to go home, advise the President precisely that he is the president of the nation, not president of Dinka.
Remember, the referendum was our collective effort, it was our common belief that has resulted into the birth of RSS. This is the long awaited aspiration of every South Sudanese.
Please, my appeal is, don’t bury this long aspiration to see our people living in peace, our children growing up in peaceful environment without been discriminated regardless of their appearance and the language they speak. It was on this that I was prompted to write this note to you.
How I wish I could address you and Mr. President directly but unfortunately in a nation like ours, leaders are not servants but rather they are Kings which makes them become utterly unreachable.
Peter Dragu Wani