(May 25, 2020 by Cryton Philemona,
Elder, Equatoria Community, Canada
X-chair, Political advisor )—Recent events or developments in South Sudan can be characterized as disturbing and mind boggling. The news, social media videos that emanate from there are not only nerve-racking, but are indeed heart-breaking. It’s nearly impossible to believe that, in the twenty first century an ethnic group such as the Dinka can still think the way they do. Any Equatorian who cannot be disturbed by these developments either lacks common sense or a human soul all together. The heinous crimes perpetrated against the Equatoria people are not only sad, but indeed outrageous and unforgivable. I cannot idly standby, hear and watch this continue.

The recent murder of Brig. Gen. Sam Logeleng from Pojulu and his comrades Brig. Clement Samuel and Col. Wokil Peter are just the latest targeted series of assassinations of the leadership of the people of Equatoria. Of course, this is not an end to this senseless killing. More recently and previously as a matter of fact, there had been similar carnage in Yei and other regions of the Western Bank. There were also reports of influx of cattle in Nimule, almost simultaneously unfolding with the assassinations of these heroes. The cattle owners were spotted to be having Jeeps mounted with machine guns. We have heard of such incidences before, and it isn’t ceasing, despite the signing of the recent peace agreement. One can only wonder if that was a coincident or a deliberate and sinister move by the government to drive away the ancestral children of these regions from their homes?

The latest video by Arch Bishop Dr. Paul went viral when he went public to announce the killing of the victims whose names he announced. The entire Pojulu community has been entirely uprooted. It would therefore seem that, the military confrontation with NAS that led to the killings and displacements of thousands of the Pojulu people was not another coincident that civilians were caught in the cross fire, but rather another sinister move to uproot people from their lands. While all these were happening, we have fellow Equatorians like Dr. Ellia Lumuro and Dr. Wani Igga, top government officials and many others were all as silent as graves. They couldn’t utter a word of condemnation. We know why they were silenced; they simply want to keep their jobs and provide their families overseas, whether they are in Europe or in Australia or wherever they may be. They are telling us everybody is for himself. They are for themselves and the communities are on their own. To this point and time, I don’t know if we should call them our brothers or enemies. You will sooner than later have to make judgement. In my opinion and the opinions of many others, I suppose, such leaders lack the wisdom of what is right and what is wrong. Perhaps, what is right doesn’t really matter anymore. I think, we have good reason why we should not align ourselves with these individuals and many more.

With all these targeted carnage and massive displacements of Equatorians from their ancestral lands, many Equatorians, especially the diaspora community, are beginning to voice their concerns, anger and deep sense of frustration. Myself, I ‘am one of those. It just doesn’t make any sense at all that, a carnage and displacements of this magnitude that alarm conscious minds would take place, and yet we can be quite, burry our heads in the sand and let another day pass by; totally, totally unacceptable.

The current regime has been in power following the succession of South Sudan from Sudan. A year or two years later, it became the national policy of the regime that Equatorians are systematically uprooted from their ancestral homes and driven to neighbouring countries. The Jange council would spend six hours, from 10pm to 4am in a meeting presided by the president in the State House strategizing how and when the execution would take place. I can say with certainty, that they have accomplished so much so far, and this is just the beginning of a long term campaign. Let’s just pause for a minute and ask ourselves, if they can accomplish this much within nine years span of time, how much can they achieve in just fifty years? Yes, Equatoria as a land will still continue to exist, but there will be no Acholi, Lotuho, Toposa, Lopit, Lulubpo, Lokoro, Lokoya, Didingga, Madi, Kuku, Kakwa, Keliko, Lubareh, Pojulu, Nyambara, Bari, Mundareh, Moru, Makarkah, Baka, Mundu, Avukaya, Zande and many more. My apologies if I missed any ethnic group in Equatoria; but it doesn’t end there. Once this is achieved, the same agenda will be implemented in Bahar El Gazal to uproot, eliminate or exterminate ethnic minorities like the Kiresh, Ndogo, Atuot, Aja, Boor, Bai, Balanda and many more. In fact, a systemic and targeted campaign of this nature already began in Bahar El Gazal previously. Once again, my apologies to the ethnic minorities of Bahar El Gazal if I missed out any ethnicity. Why is this worth any discussion? Once the regime achieves such goals, all these ethnicities will end up like the Rohingya refugees of Myanmar with nowhere to go and no land to claim as theirs. That means our uprooted and displaced people will forever live in neighbouring countries as refugees and have no home like the Rohingya of Myanmar. The diaspora community will remain where they are in their new adopted homes. Is that a solution?

We Equatorians are not tribalist by nature. In the early 80s under the High Executive Council of an autonomous Southern Sudan (Bahar El Gazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile), achieved as result of the leadership of retired Honorable Joseph Lagu, the Dinka people had shown an ugly face of tribalism; their uncivilized way of looking at life from their own perspective prompted us to embark on a campaign of decentralization (Kokora), although some of us knew well that, that will weaken southerners as a whole. Under the leadership of Abel Aliar, they dominated the mistreated Equatorians, despite the fact that, not of many of been in the bush fighting (1955-72). Upon the return of peace to South Sudan, Equatorians never settle in Dinka land, let alone abuse fellow Dinka men and women. Had the Jange had a degree of civility like the Equatorians, amicably and harmoniously co-existed with Equatorians, southerners wouldn’t have spent 21 years fighting Khartoum. In later years under the dissolved High Executive Council, southerners would have voted peacefully in a referendum to opt out Sudan without going back to civil war again; but that opportunity was blown up.

The essence of decentralization was that, the three regions should have three separate local regional or provincial governments run by locals; the people of Bahar El Gazal would administer their province, the people of Upper Nile would do the same in their province and Equatorians would govern Equatoria. It was never a hate by any measure. Kokora was a paradigm of the ugliness of tribalism displayed by the Jange. But it was politically imposed on Equatorians. Shortly after imposing Kokora on us in 1983, General Garbino Konyin fired the first bullet in rebellion, hence the birth of Anya Anya 2, which would later be hijacked, renamed or baptised as SPLA/SPLM by a technocrat Dr. John Garang De Mabior when the then President of Sudan Jafaar Mohammed Nimiri sent him on a mission to quell or silence the rebellion. Ideally, the inception of Anya Anya 2 was to seek revenge. That narrative was later blended into SPLA/SPLM by Colonel Dr. John Darang. In later years during the armed struggle of the SPLA/SPLM, the movement would hardly promote a lot of generals from Equatoria and other small ethnic groups in Bahar El Gazal. Again, the blame would be squarely put on dysfunctional Wani Igga, but I strongly doubt if he was the only one to shoulder the blame. Nepotism is prevalent among Africans; but the ugliness of tribalism displayed by the Jange is just beyond tolerance. South Sudan’s regime is driven by the ideology of ethnicity. It desires to drive other ethnicities out of the South, while at the same time aspiring a hegemonic state, predominantly ruled by the Jange.

The ethnic groups targeted were already in Sudan or were collectively part of Sudan prior to the political demarcation or partitioning of the African continent. By the time Sudan gained her independence in 1956 they were already part of Sudan. In the twenty first century, post-colonial history, for a single ethnic group to think of others as belonging to neighboring states, is an absurdity. It just reflects their level of thinking as national leaders. Since when have the Jange been courageous? Historically, they belonged to the north; Khartoum belonged to them. They got pushed down south because they were not brave enough to resist the Arab settlers. They had no stomach to fight the Arab settlers, as a result, they were pushed down south. Had Equatorians been in the north at that time, we would have resisted the Arab settlers.

Comparatively speaking, as a government they have the all the resources at their disposal; I would also say that all the neighboring countries stand by them due to the fact that, there is business interest going on, hence, they get every support they ask. Within the next 11 years the Dinka people can drive out the entire ethnic minorities in South Sudan. Unless we the Equatorians and the other minorities in Bahar El Gazal take decisive, drastic action to reverse the progress of their systemic campaign to uproot and drive out ethnic minorities; it’s is so inevitable. It’s is also possible we can stop them; it can be done and it can be achieved, given their arsenal of weapons. We only need the spirit of the Anya Anya 1 fighters who liberated the South and gained self-autonomy in 1972. This is not an ethnic cleansing against the Kakwa, Kuku, Madi, Pojulu or Acholi etc. This is an ethnic cleansing against all Equatorians including ethnic minorities in Bahar El Gazal. At this point our main challenge is organization. We need to organize ourselves and the masses on the ground. Our brothers on the ground may sacrifice, but they lack the resources to effectively fight back. In order for us to effectively organize ourselves, we need to take statistic of our diaspora community. The statistic should take into account all families including all single men and women above 18 years. This should be done by the heads of communities. After such a statistic is readily available, we should then come together as a block and strategize.

Once we get organized to our own satisfaction, then we need to get in touch with IO-Equatoria and NAS; it is my humble opinion that we reconcile the two movements. They should not fight each other; instead, they should fight their common enemy and respect territories by either of them. All we need is to rally behind them and give our one thousand percent support. Those who support NAS can pledge their support to the movement and those who support IO-Equatoria can keep supporting the IO-Equatoria movement. We are all family of Equatoria. This is a do or die situation. Equatorians need to unite; they must unite. We are brave people; we are never cowards. Our civility makes look cowards, but we are not. The time has come for us to teach those idiots lesson that their unborn descenders will never forget centauries to come.

Moreover, this time we must sincerely disown politicians like Dr. Ellia Lumoro, Dr. Wani Igga and many like them who serve in this government. By serving or associating themselves with the Dinkas, they are aiding and committing their abiding faith in the regime, which itself is nothing more than an insult.

In conclusion, I commend our sister for her bravery to challenge our manhood. I deeply share her sense of anger and frustration. I think she just ran out patience due to the fact that, these incidents are repetitive in nature. I also commend my brother of the Equatoria Civil Association who not only strongly spoke about the Jange regime, but condemned it as well and called for immediate action. This is an indication that, there are many out there concern with the gravity of the situation in Equatoria. There are more ideas for strategizing. We only need to come together first and foremost. Let’s take action and do it at speed.

(The views expressed herein are not Ramciel Broadcasting’s but the writers’)

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