Opinion: Open letter to president Salva Kiir from Paramount chief of Eastern Equatoria

By Lakana Molyec, Magwi county

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – MARCH 27: South Sudan President Salva Kiir is pictured during a meeting with German Development Minister Gerd Mueller (not pictured) on March 27, 2014 in Juba, South Sudan. Mueller is on a two day trip to Southsudan and Mali. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

April 16, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) — We cannot have a situation where forcefully land invasion as a result of the actions of Chief of the General Staff of South Sudan National Defense Force (SSNDF) and relatives day-to-day transporting cattle in Magwi County territories Nyolo, Ayi, Orumeli, Nyagotoboto, Comboro as well as Wai. This indicates a monumental weakness in the lack of implementation of 2017 presidential degree and requires the government to act swiftly and decisively.

Dear Mr. President,

Since you (issue a presidential degree for removal of all cattle from non-cattle keepers’ territories and Magwi county included), I have followed your communiques with respect and admiration. From your first announcement of the cattle removal, you have set the tone and values for this national disaster, most important of which is that this is in the best interest of all in South Sudanese, that respect for the rules for the 2017 degree and the rights of others are paramount, and that we should all strive for (implementation)and understanding.

You repeat this in all your addresses, and also in your latest formation of the revitalized Government of Transitional National Unity you made mentioned about all people of South Sudan must not fight one another and let no one priest hates and people must go back and embark on agriculture and cultivate.

What we fail to understand though, is how, in your latest appeal, which details the actions of those among us who seek to exploit this tranquility for their own sinister ends, we need to made mention the violence perpetrated by chief your Defense transporting his and relatives cattle on their own to forcefully off-loading in Nyolo with Armed men and their children. Damage to our land in Nyolo areas by cattle is appalling, and we request the investigations and attempts to bring this to a halt.

But we do also mention of security forces’ abuse of power in the areas. Just like our oppressors and slave masters used to do. 21 people have been killed by ARMED cattle keeper and SSNDF brutality, three women have been raped and three (3) children have been adopted and three (3) other people missing and there were about is not known since 2018.

On April 3 to date 50 truck full of cattle have been off-loaded in Nyolo were registered at Aru Junction.  Since then, information has been scant. We should receive a daily count of cases of misconduct being registered.

We have no doubt that you have the primary information on what is going on in our territory. This territory is not, like that orange buffoon across the ocean. We cannot help but wonder if this avoidance is more a political choice than oversight. Let us venture to request you, Mr. President, that today’s selective censoring is a grievous error of judgment.  We require you to sympathise with all victims of alleged assault. We do not care about your party’s factions, or the power of our security chiefs. You, after all, are commander-in-chief.

Let us venture further, with all due respect, to thank you, R-Transitional Government of National Unity! A blot on the face of our nation, forever.

We are in a crisis of monumental dimensions. We can ill-afford loose cannons. We don’t have a perfect society. We don’t have a perfect government. For now, in this crisis, we work with what we have. We have demonstrated as a nation that we are prepared to settle for our government, as it is currently, to lead us in this crisis. We place our trust in you, to ensure that it proves to be a responsive government.

We cannot have a situation where our people become destitute in their land as a result of the actions of the General Chief of Staff and relatives cattle approach half of those attributed to Covid-19. This will indicate a monumental weakness in the R-TGoNU strategy and requires the government to act swiftly and decisively.

The law must take its course, but in a state of disaster, with the increased authority of the government and its security forces, immediacy is required. Let us remind you again, Mr. President, you are commander-in-chief.

As they say, better late than never. Mr. President, like you did with the COVID-19, we appeal to you to form High Level Task Force under your command to organize for the heads of the military and police to drive the cattle out of our land before major disaster can occur. The means one of the component tribes has chosen is real threat for national Unity.

The chief of General Staff of SSNDF uses national resources to promote itself and its own people and keep others starves them from their resources or take from the resource a territory and transfers his own cattle and relatives on our land as own. So, when using the resource of the nation, this modern colonialization.

This is the position comrades of yesterday wanting to demote fellow comrades into the category of second- or third-class citizen or their servant’s citizen. Make the security forces aware that their powers in the driving out the cattle are virtually unchallenged and this brings great responsibility to the common good of ALL the people, that they have a duty to protect the life, rights and dignity of everyone, whether citizen or cattle migrant.

When the truth has to be started, we need the right kind of leadership. If the leaders of our security forces cannot provide this, remove and replace them. They risk bringing down this entire country and plunging us into unbearable suffering for years to come. Time to blow that whistle to bring the substitutes onto the field, Mr. President!

The author is the Paramount chief of Eastern Equatoria. He can be reached via: lakanam91@gmail.com


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