By Dak Buoth
26th January, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The Liech community Association in Kenya formerly known as Unity State community Association was established as nonprofit and political organization ahead of the Southern Sudan Referendum that brought our independent to fruition on 9th July, 2011. Whether at home or in the diaspora Liech community is often made up of following original Nuer clans namely Bul, Dok, Haak, Jagei, Jikany, Leek, and Nyuong. These clans shared not just cultural background but the destiny as well. They have blood relation with other Nilotic communities and African people in general. We normally elect our leaders for one year in office.
Sometimes, we select our Leaders through consensus among the community stakeholders with Elders involvement and blessings. In 2017, the Liech community has had some unresolvable disagreement caused by contestants in the past election. Through the Elders’ intervention and input, those rival contestants were persuaded and told to step aside, which they did. Thereafter, the Elders sat and initiated an open process of selecting an Interim Executive Committee with a clear mandate to reconcile and reorganize the community after which an election can be conducted.
I was fortunate to be selected as the chairman of this interim executive committee. On 1st June 2018, I was sworn in with my team in Nairobi on broad day light. With unending support from our community members, we managed to complete our mandates. Soon after we reorganized and reconciled our members, we formed a constitutional review committee to relook at the contentious issues in our constitution 2015.
Immediately after this process was over, on 19th July 2019, I constituted 7-man electoral committee led by Brown Dor Biliny Wang also known as Professor. Those who were willing to serve our community voluntarily applied for various seats. None of my board member vies for any seat. Soon after forming electoral committee we left and kept a distance from their activities because they’re independent constitutionally. On 31st, December 2019, the electoral committee led by their chairman Mr. Brown called us for a meeting and said that they are prepared and ready to conduct the election. We all agreed together with contestants to hold our election on 4th January, 2020 at SWAN CENTER along Ngong Road, Nairobi. Soon after this pronouncement, the message of election was spread in churches and in all our social media platforms in Nairobi.
However, on 3rd January, a night to the Election Day, our electoral committee chairperson Mr Brown wrote to the Kenya police asking them to stop the election without good reason. The following day morning on 4th January, 2020, the OCS at Kilimani Police station came with his officers and ordered our election to stop immediately. Mr Brown was not at the venue, only the deputy chair, Mr Simon Bol Luoy and other senior electoral committee members were present plus observers. All our members woke up and traveled via buses to the election venue only to find that the election was abruptly canceled unilaterally by Brown. On that day, most people became very angry because they wasted their time and money to travel in vain. I soon took responsibility and apologized to our members for inconveniences caused.
MOSES RUAI LAAT
Moses Ruai Laat is one of our community Elders who we respect. However, he is now doing wrong things that will make him lost the respect we had for him all along. On 4th January, the day our election was canceled by Kenya police, he took advantaged and transported some youth to Nairobi Town for an illegal meeting which he sponsored and chaired. I learnt of this meeting late in the evening. About 30 people attended this meeting, majority of them were from Bul, Leek, Jagei, Jikany clans. The leaving out of members of other clans speaks volume. I then described this meeting as illegal because it was organized without my consent as community chairman.
It was not just the meeting perse that is illegal but the agenda of the meeting as well. In this meeting, Moses intentionally misrepresented the facts with a view to incite youth of some clans against the others. He told the people that members of Dok clan were behind the cancelation of the election while he knows very well that the election was canceled by the Kenya police through a letter written by electoral committee chairman Mr. Brown Dor Biliny who hail from our Jikany Clan. In fact the calculation of election by Brown cannot even be used to generalize all members of jikany community. The truth of the matter is that Angelo Gatjang Manguany from Dok Clan was contesting for Chairmanship Position with one Ruot Nuor Wawuo from Jagei clan. Many are of the view that Gatjang influenced Brown’s decision to cancel the election at the eleventh hour. However, this cannot warrant Moses to blame the all Dok community members to an extent that he can call for community division at the wrong time. Moses’s understanding of Dok is that Nyuong, Dok and Haak are one and the same. I’m sure Moses Ruai knows that Nyuong, Haak and Dok are different clans that are currently living in three separate administrative districts or counties in South Sudan, but the aims of doing this is to cause dislike and disharmony among our members. Moreover, he went on to preached a negative propaganda that Dok have dominated other clans from the Northern Liech. Thus, he encouraged the youth present in his meeting to form separate Association called Northern Liech Association. On that day, Moses ended his meeting and later produced a letter titled ‘’Northern Liech State breaks away from Southern Liech.’’ As you know, there was no Southern Liech that exist which Northern liech can break away from. It’s just mere incitement of people for no good reason.
He then coerced my friend Peter Malith Bol to sign this break away letter. Moses’s claims that Dok were behind the cancelation of Liech community election was not true. We have documentary evidences showing that Kenya police stopped the election via letter from electoral committee chairperson, Biliny Brown.
In addition, his claim that Dok had dominated other clans is also untrue. In the beginning, when the Liech community was established in 2008 the founding head of this Association was James Madut Wal Ket from Bul Clan. Later In the year 2010 when the students union was separated from the mainstream community leadership, Gabriel Gatkuoth Tekjiek from Jagei clan became the community chairperson. In 2015,
Gabriel Gatkuoth was later succeeded by Kuol Ruai Kuol from Moses’s Leek Clan. Since the formation of Liech community, it has had five Chairpersons. The first three chairpersons of the Liech community Association in Kenya are not from one clan, Dok or Southern Liech. Moses is simply misleading the youth for reasons best known to him. In fact Dok like other 6 clans are the backbone and engine of this Association. Moses’s claim that Dok dominated other clans is sad narrative that lack tangible evidence.
On 13th January 2020, I convened a meeting with various stakeholders and Elders involved. Moses Ruai came and repeated some of these claims, adding that members of Dok clan have been mistreating other Liech community members right from the time they were in Kakuma refugee’s camp in Turkana district. Actually before this meeting, he went to the South Sudan embassy that morning to report that there is no Liech community anymore; and that anyone that will called Liech community meeting will do so at his own risk. We really don’t know what his plans are, but should he make other advances he will be encounter. During our meeting with Elders, we agreed that the elders should go and hold their separate meeting on the issue a day after. On 15th January, the Head of the Elders called him for a meeting but he declined saying they had already gone ahead to form their Association called Northern Liech. Then the elders led by Rev. Peter shaback Gatluak went ahead with their meeting and produced 5 points resolutions on the community crisis caused by election cancelation.
The Elders who met includes Rev. Peter Shabak Gatluak, Ezekiel Gorey Dang, Wol Thompson Thoan Teny, Michael Koang Khan, Stephen Dayak Biel and James Madut wal Ket. In their resolutions, they recommended the constitutional amendment to change the system of election with rotational system among others. This is after they identified that election became chronic problems to the community.
In defiance of the Liech community elders’ 5 resolutions produced on 16th January, Moses Ruai again called another meeting on 22nd, January in Nairobi with an agenda to drive and implement the division of Liech community based on the above mentioned propaganda. In the group photos that I saw, he appeared so delighted to have installed a new leader of his faction. From the look of things Moses Ruai wanted to divide our community based on the controversial and unconstitutional states of Southern and Northern Liech created by President Salva Kiir. In other words, he wanted to politicize and polarize the community on political lines. Nonetheless, Majority of us and the entire South Sudanese community in Kenya are not of this idea except the already politicized youth among us who will buy his idea for a short term benefits.
In the past, we have realized that the current Politics of South Sudan is dirty and unhealthy for us in the diaspora. We resolved to keep our community away from it. We had resolved that even if the Unity state will be divided into many more states, we can still exist as one Liech community in the diaspora. If in case Moses Ruai proceeded with Northern Liech state faction we shall take it as political entity which they have right to form. I write this article to state among other things that, Moses Ruai is too big to preach division for his political mileage. He should refrain from these divisive activities aimed at spoiling our unity in the diaspora. What Moses does not know is that, the unity that he wanted to disrupt has cost us a lot, and he is not too big to be feared or left untouched. Let him bring it on, and we shall face him now and in the future.
Moses Ruai does not need to divide us to succeed in whatever he wants in South Sudan. The unity and togetherness of our people in exile is good for they may use it to interact and seek ways and means to achieve education that they are yearning for. We shall not allow Moses Ruai to succeed. I understood he had suspended his going back to South Sudan saying he will first swear in Northern Liech state community before he leaves for Juba. I want to remind him that Liech community shall remain intact and undivided. I called on Moses Ruai to cease from conducting illegal meetings in the name of Liech community Association in Kenya. I also called on our fellow elders who are his colleagues to reach out to Moses Ruai about these negative things he is engaging himself in. I have seen Moses Ruai is bitter man, and i wondered why? We know he was not even a registered voter in the aborted election. In our last meeting with him, he claimed to be doing these things out of frustration. He should find other means to cure or nurse his frustration.
The Writer is the Chairman of Liech Community Association in Kenya, the views expressed here are his own, and he can be reached for comments via firstname.lastname@example.org
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