BY: David Aju Kanyara, South Sudan, APR/09/2015, SSN;
On Wednesday April 8th, south Sudan president Kiir issued a decree read on state owned SSTV calling for immediate return of cattle keepers both from Mundri and Dinka Bor land to their respective places. The Presidential decree came amidst rising tension in central Equatoria state between the nomadic communities mainly from Dinka Bor and central Equatoria communities who are farmers.
There have been constant clashes between the nomadic communities and communities of Western Equatoria State who are farmers. The tension further escalated recently due many farmlands being destroyed by the roaming cows. This, in one occasion caused a clash between the nomadic and the farm owners, resulting in loss of lives from both parties.
But the authorities, especially the national government in Juba showed no sign of willingness to solve the dispute between the two communities.
This is because the Dinka cattle keepers have previous blood in the eyes of sitting authority in national government, and since they have brotherly ties to achieve modern occupation of Equatorian land to reduce Equatorians to live under the mercy of Dinka and their led government in Juba.
Many people believed the government in Juba has modernized itself in executing Dinka imperialist colonization agenda to enslaved the Equatorians and this agenda has been blessed and endorsed by the few Equatorian politicians who lacked vision and wisdom to articulate on behalf of Equatorians and their lands, the corrupted in leading are the likes of James Wani Igga, Martin Elias Lomoro and Ann Itto just a few to mention.
The lack of political will shown by the government made the farmers and the majority of the Equatorians to believe that the cattle belong to president Kiir and his henchmen in the likes of the military officials, Salva Mathok, Koul Manyang, the south Sudan’s defense Minister and a few others.
A similar picture of what is happening in central Equatoria is the endless clashes between the Dinka nomadic have seen in Ma’di land over the years since independence. Recently there has been an increase of cows in Ma’di land more than anywhere else in south Sudan.
Days after the unrest engulfed Jonglei, the numbers of cows that landed in Nimule were 85,000 excluding the numbers of illegal cows smuggled to Nimule in Madiland before and after comprehensive Peace Agreement and after South Sudan’s independence of 2011.
The thirst to seek for grazing land in other people’s ancestral land has intensified of late. So while Kiir is cleansing the Nuer, he is amassing land for himself and his right hand men in return for keeping his grip to power.
A classic example of such endeavor is the arrest of two chiefs on 2 April 2015 for refusing to sign illegal documents granting grazing land for cattle in Ma’di. The two Ma’di chiefs, chief Modi of Moli Andru Boma and head chief of Kerepi Payam, John Amba, were arrested and detained in Nimule army Barracks.
The two chiefs were later freed by the governor of EES after their illegal arbitrary arrests by the soldiers have attracted huge outcries from the Ma’di community and Ma’di intellectuals both at home and from Diasporas.
The Wednesday 8th of April decree by President ordering the cattle keepers to return to their kraals in Jonglei is not a fair decree since it did not include Ma’di where huge numbers of cows and their owners are roaming with AK47s in broad daylight for protection of their animals.
They have not been ordered by any decree to leave Ma’di to return to Jonglei.
Simply put, this soft talk from a man calling himself a nationalist and president for all is just lulling the Dinka to redirect their cattle to Ma’di.
The Ma’di people are now fed up of the constant destruction of their crops. We are farmers who want to get on with our lives too.
As farmers we should have been the producers of certain foods to cut out this import of food from our neighboring Uganda, a bid to improve our economy and welfare.
It is a negative economy for cattle to eat crops farmed for human beings yet these cattle are protected with AK47 as perishable wealth, not for feeding the hungry multitude.
This inaction by the President will leave us the youth of Ma’di with zero option that will result in taking arms to defense our farmlands and our people from been evicted from our God given ancestral land.
We have been applying diplomacy for years but you, Mr. President and your cronies have misused this civilized and diplomatic stance.
Mr. President, this is the last warning if you cannot issue a decisive decree with a dateline for Dinka Bor to return to Jonglei with their cows soon, the result will be catastrophic.
If you do not take heed of this warning, we the youth will have no option but to defend our properties, be it to the last drop of our blood.
To jog your mind before you think this is an empty threat, try to recall the cost in human value and finances when we launched offensive on SPLA who came in our villages abusing and raping our women in 1980s. Find them and ask what happened to them?
It is not a matter of being a small tribe that cannot fight. On the contrary it is the bigger tribe like yours who go looking for a fight which when daring men choose to answer you back in the only language you know, then you run away from the battle-field to go portray yourselves as men in someone else’s land.
Mr. Kiir, it is not out of ignorance or because we are cowards that we have not raised a finger as we did not want to destroy what has been built by our hard working Ma’di nation.
Fleeing from a war zone should bring women and children, not mature men and cattle to litter the Ma’di land.
Now that the government has control in Jongolei, we urge you to immediately issue a decisive decree for these cattle keepers to leave the land of others, particularly the cows in Nimule, Kerepi and Moli, to evict without delay before anything happens or else you will be held responsibly for whatever happens after our patience runs out.
My writing today is also to serve as a notice to inform all the Ma’di able bodied men and women to arise from every part of south Sudan and the Diasporas to come home to rejoin their brothers to fight for homeland.
Note that your identity is your homeland, we can only be defined as Ma’di when we have the full ownership our land.
This land has been passed to us by our forefathers, and as they entrusted the responsibility for looking after this land to us we must prepare to hand it to our children and their sons and daughters as the ways our forefathers handed them to us today.
As the Red army and the White army lock horns, you, Ebi lukunde, the lion Army must arise. (Iligo Madri Nyi robi dri amatro…..). I salute you all the able Ma’di to rise and let’s join in singing the Ma’di warriors song of our forefathers.
By David Aju Kanyara,
Voice of the voiceless