BY: Micheal Okia Amuru, Magwi, MAY/05/2016, SSN;
Do not cheat each other; tell the truth, and the truth will set you free. Long before December 2013, I published an article depicting the act of South Sudan government in Magwi County. The SPLA/M inaugurated Magwi as a county before the independence. The Madi and Acholi were brought together in one County supposedly as good neighbors and above all as a family, because we the Acholi and the Madi ethnic shared a lot of things in common.
As an Acholi, I was critical about some developments in Magwi County, in particular how the government of South is treating Madi people. It was clear that some SPLA generals like JJ Okot and others were directly used by South Sudan government to punish the Madi tribe as the land of Nimule and Mugale was forcefully taken and given to Dinka settlers.
Today, I would like to assure South Sudanese that it was a mistake that Magwi County officials supported the act of violence imposed by the government of South Sudan in Madiland.
As I said it before, and I will mention it again, JJ Okot and his legion that signed a document with SPLA/M in 1980’s on behalf of the Acholi Community against the Madi tribe was a grievous mistake.
As an Acholi, personally I regret when Simon Deng exposed the secret and threatened us for breech of a treaty. Today, I would like to assure South Sudanese that the treaty JJ Okot signed with SPLA/M in the 1980’s was not on behalf of the Acholi tribe.
That was a treaty between JJ Okot, his legion and the SPLA/M. We the larger members of Acholi Community are innocent until Simon Deng exposed the secret in 2014 when some members of our community joined the SPLA-IO.
The claim that Kit, Amee, Opari and Owiny Ki Bul areas belong to us, the Acholi Community, was a nightmarish imagination of SPLA/M and JJ Okot. It was an illusion set to keep us divided so that Dinka can do what they want in Madiland and other part of Equatoria.
SPLA/M claim of land for resettling Dinka in Equatoria is not felt in Madiland only, but across the wide Equatoria region. Nakapal in Taposa land was taken. Yei, Tombura Yambio, Mundri, Juba, Western Bhar el gazal were subjected to the same situation.
Pitching one tribe against another tribe was a policy of SPLA/M and the problem between Madi and Acholi was not exceptional.
Surprise! The same government of South Sudan decided now to grant Madi people a County. The land, Owiny Ki Bul, Opari, Kit and Amee which SPLA/M and JJ Okot and his team signed to be given to us Acholi people was declared by the same government to be land that belongs to Madi people by right and now it falls under Pageri County.
In the first place, I’m glad the government of South Sudan came to its senses to clear the doubts from the minds of those who know nothing about the history of Madi and Acholi people.
On other hand, it was unfortunate because the confusions set by the government and JJ Okot had caused serious damages between the two peaceful ethnic communities. We are neighbours, we are cousins and we are a family.
Now that we the Madi and Acholi learned a lesson from the government. The government was only concerned about the Dinka policy of expansionism, but it does not care about us.
We are in a total dilemma. To be honest, as Acholi, the government of South Sudan had slapped us in the face. We knew the land of Kit, Amee, Opari and Owing Ki Bul belonged to Madi people.
But the policy of SPLA/M exposed us to an illusion which led to the consistent mistake of attacks on the Madi tribe and the Madi people responded violently in self defense and defense of their right to land. There are mistakes from both sides.
Today, I am appealing to both Acholi and Madi community elders. Since the same government had withdrawn their support to JJ Okot and his legion and made a public declaration about the land of Kit, Amee, Opari and Owing Ki Bul as belonging to the Madi people by right and by nature, we now understand the reason why there is too much confusion among us.
The current governor of Imatong State said, “there is no such thing that those lands belong to Acholi tribe, it is politics.” The governor pulled out a document which showed that the disputed land is part of Madiland and no one can argue it.
A lot of people disagreed with me in my previous articles just because they live in the world of illusions, but as a teacher, I vow to tell the truth. It is the Truth which will set us free, not the lies from the government of South Sudan. Those who opposed my previous articles about the Land of Owing Ki Bul, Opari, Amee and Kit as part of Madiland should not sit and watch, but pay attention to the activities of the government of South Sudan.
Now the new era has begun. The Acholi and Madi communities have to do the right thing that will keep us together. Our elders will know how to fix the damages done by JJ Okot and his legion and the government of South Sudan against the Madi people. A true chapter of reconciliation must begin.
I am a teacher and an Adventist. As a Christian, I know it is the right thing to “give to Ceasar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God.”
Although parts of Madiland became an issue in the past, some of us from the Acholi community knew it was not going to be an easy journey to take land which does not belong to us. Thanks to the government of South Sudan for clarification. Such mistakes must cease to exist.
Do not cheat each other, tell the truth and the truth will set you free.
Micheal Okia Amuru
Professional Teacher-Magwi County