By Dr. Laura Nunu
June 1, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – From 1983 to 2020, it is exactly thirty seven years in which more than 3.5 millions lives lost in SPLM/A war of liberation but did that struggle have a hidden evil agenda with it? It is now crystal clear if not to every single South Sudanese, but all Ma’di community what the primary intentions of this war was all about; oppression not justice and liberty as claimed! To make the point, I will present the case of the Madi people, while I understand that similar, if not the same cases can be seen all over the regions of Equatoria, Bahar El-Gazal and Upper Nile.
“There is nothing like peace here. The Dinkas are having overall control over the local people. And the recent distribution of guns is so scaring. One of the SPLA Commander called Malith, had already declared the actual Dinka intention in the Madi Land and the guns are distributed to guard against conspiracy he said. He talked with authority on behalf of GoSS that Madi land is a promised land for Dinkas, the civil war is over, but protecting these promises is another agenda among the Dinkas, because they don’t want to disappoint their local leaders who made those promises(MTRG, Oct 2013).”
During the war, a lot of atrocities were done to innocent civilians by, specially, the tribal spla militia, which made South Sudanese to question the intentions and the legitimacy of the war that was being fought. Dr. John was confronted several times with those facts. He admitted the allegations but reduced it to few illiterate militias misbehaviours, which to him was normal. But for those who were in the middle of it, it was not atrocities committed by few illiterate militias. It was a deliberate act of domination, intimidation and humiliation in all the regions of Equatoria, Bahar el Gazal and Upper Nile most of which was done under the evil spells of revenge.
In the case of the Madi people and Equatoria in general, Equatoria was (and still is) safe heaven to the survival of the so called ‘struggle’ due to its geographical location and culture of tolerance and peaceful co-existence of Equatorians among themselves. As a result, most of the splm/a millitary bases were in Equatoria, of which, Nimule was one of them. However, irrespective of the practical aspects of the rationale, the evil hidden agenda of these establisments was to infiltrate and dominate the people of Equatoria by influx of force migrations and settlements.
The case of Madi Land
It was between 1990-1993 during the famous Nasir defection , which was also used as a legitimate reason for a revenge war for the genocide of the Nuer people in 2013 under a false coup de’ tat, that the so called internally displaced people (IDP) of Bor infiltrated the region of greater Equatoria to settle in Nimule. Those groups were planning to cross to Uganda but when they arrived at Nimule, Dr. John seized the opportunity to settle them as IDPs so that he could use them for feeding his soldiers. He succeeded by asking World Food Program (WFP) and reinforced his plan further by establishing Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commisions (SSRRC) which was headed by late Elijah Malok as a commisioner(1). Elijah would used 2/3 of the ratios for spla soldiers and 1/3 for the IDPs. That was how the spla/m survived.
Can you remmember how much you had contributed to those organiztions, splm/a and SSRRC? Little did you know you were feeding a monstor that was not only oppressing your people but had a different agenda for the struggle.
Equatora and especially the Madi people are still paying a heavy price of those settlements due to deliberate discrimination and protection of the IDPs at the expense of the native communities, as well as continuous intimidations, looting, killing, raping, forced marriages of Madi young girls and married women to spla soldiers and forced recruitment of Madi boys into the army. But, as soon as they graduated, they would be taken to the northern frontlines leaving their families behind for Garang and his tribal soldiers to intimidate and humilate the natives. It was a deliberate act of domination, intimidation and humilation. No wonder when a group of Madi elders petitioned Garang to bring his attention to the crisis faced by the Madi people, he turned deaf ears and blind eyes to them. As a result, the oppression, intimidation and humilation took organized form and structures where by, the customary laws and institutions of the Madi People were taken over by the military and paramillitary authorities. And the Madi people were deliberately excluded not only from military or SSRRC administration but also from civil administration in Nimule( 1).
Yet, the Madi people endured that for the sake of the so called ‘liberation’ till 2005. Like any South Sudanese, when the call for self-determination was announced, they voted overwhelmingly 99% for separation; thinking that when we got a country of our own, the discrimination, intimidation and humiliation would stop. They also thought since we fought together, bled together and died together, we would rise above it all. Little did they know they were taken for a ride and cheated of their votes. The real evil hidden agenda of the struggle is far beyond their wildest imaginations because the so called IDPs who continue to destroy their livelihood after the independence are now claiming their land and renaming it. As seen in the recent viral radio interview summary of which I included below, they are now boldly telling the Madi people to relocate claiming to be the new settlers in town! (2)
Last week, an Interview report went viral on social media because of the content of the interview. The interview was said to be a discusion on Pageri Forum on 97.3FM NTC radio station between the representatives of Madi and Dinka communities. The Dinka representative, Joseph Thon was reported saying arrongantly that: they, the Dinka, are already part of Madi community, they have been in this areas (Madi Land) for 27 years, returnees from refugees came and got them already in the areas, they even got married to Madi(Intermarriage), they developed the areas already and working in the areas, presidential decree is not working because they belong to Madi, they acquire the cattle from within (Locally acquired the cattle). They didn’t bring them from Bor or warrap. So they will not take them anywhere, BUT they can relocate them far away from farm land but within Pageri County.
About the weapons and ammunition he said all the 64 tribes are armed. Anyone who wants to question, should ask the government of South Sudan. He said they are South Sudanese and can stay anywhere. That they only occupied three areas of Nimule, Mugali and “Eleju” where there’s no farming activities. Any Madi who wants to come back home is free to go in areas like PAGERI, moli Tukoro, Loa, etc where there is no cattle.
Such arrogant remarks are not new but rather a continous display of oppressions, intimidations and humilations, the Madi people are subjected to, daily by this Dinka IDPs. Madi Technical Resource Group documented similar statements in their October, 2013 report. In that report, one Dinka man said:
“The Dinkas have decided to immigrate to greater Equatoria as they immigrated to South Sudan many years ago. Cousins, the Dinkas who are presently living in Equatoria are the SPLA veterans. They fought and kicked out the Jalaba [Arabs] from those areas when you were busy sweeping and cleaning the Jalaba’s Kitchen and Toilet in Khartoum. They have been living there since 1983 and they are not going anywhere. So please stop calling them IDPs because they are not IDPs as the Equatorians claimed. Anyone who will attempt to attack them or force them out from those areas against their will, will join the Rwandans Hutus in Goma, Congo for good. The Dinkas are not leaving the Equatoria even if the leadership changes in South Sudan.”
These are not only statements of empty threats but arrogances of well established actions. In the same report, the existence of Dinka in Nimule and their force occupation of the area had been likened to the apartheid era in South Africa, as witnessed by one observer:
“…the situation in Nimule has no difference with pre-1994 South Africa except for the fact that the people are having one skin colour. People from Dinka tribe have now created their own schools, playing grounds, Bars, and recreation areas, where no other tribes are allowed. Shockingly, I couldn’t believe these developments at first, but the current incident forced me to go to bring my relatives from Nimule and that’s how I found out the situations actually exist” (MTRG, Oct 2013).
On the 8th July 2011, elder Ambassador Angelo Voga Morgan invited 20 IDPs Dinka elders to discuss and find out what their plans were for this new South Sudan that we all embarked on. But none of them turned out for the meetings nor gave reasons why.
On 19 August, 2011, the Madi community appealed directly to the President Salva Kirr for his intervention to repatriate the Dinka IDPs from Nimule to prevent genocide taking place in Madi land but all efforts were in vain. To understand why, this is what one Dinka man in Nimule got to say:
“The Madi elders initiative to repatriate Dinka from Nimule is not in line with the government of South Sudan. Our coming to Madi land was not a peaceful one. We were forced by SPLA/M politicians to come and settle here. Today the same politicians are quiet when it comes to Dinka going home from Nimule. In series of meetings held in Bor demanding Nimule must be secure for Dinka settlement, we knew in the nearest future Madi from exile will come home and our stays here will be in a big question. Our elders in Nimule did not attend the meetings initiated by Madi elders, instead they met with ROSS [Republic of South Sudan] officials who are also members of Dinka community. In 6 hours meetings, some firearms will be flown to Nimule and some SPLA soldiers will be deployed in the Corridor. To me as a Dinka, this is not politics, it’s a plan for genocide.”(MTRG, Oct 2013)
As we speak , there are 15 government tribal malitia baracks all over Madi land. And thousands and thousands of cattle dumped in Madi land with their owners or grazers very armed by the government. As am writing this piece and article, another influx of cattle to Madiland is in progress. A total of 70 thousand herds of cattle and armed herders from the Dinka Bor came to the area. This shows that they are adamant and are ready to carry their plan of grabbing Nimule from the Madi people. Such move is not just a bully but a declaration of war on the Madi people embarked upon by the Bor Dinka.
Unfortunately, like our brothers and sisters in Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile, the people of South Sudan and particularly, the people of Equatoria were taken for a ride and cheated of their votes. The splm/a had an evil hidden agenda to occupy and resettle Dinka tribe in Equatoria as seen below:
“A meeting of Dinka Bor held in Kampala, Uganda on 6th October 2009 at Ark Hotel revealed the true intentions of the Dinka Bor to annex Equatoria to be under their authority. Based on the theme of the meeting “He who succeeds is never in the wrong”, it can be deduced that delegates to the meeting believed in their conspiracy plan as a good thing. They saw no difference between SPLM/A (leadership) and Dinka Bor. The group outlined the following five objectives (Jongroor et al., 2009)(1):
- a) “To attain self reliance.
- b) Provision of Dinka Bor services to take control over the Mundari land;
- c) To develop Dinka natural resources and annex the pastures land and rivalry for territory with Juba capital of Southern Sudan and have political influence in Central Equatoria State.
- d) To create Dinka Bor a class society which is superior to any other tribe at national level.
- e) To attain national recognition and defend plan to annex basically part of Equatoria.”
The minutes of the meeting concluded by asserting that any true follower must pledge love, respect, obedience and loyalty to John Garang:
“Every true behaviour must pledge to John Garang our emperor love respect obedience loyalty military service God be with him in peace.”
No doubt late Dr John Garang had visions (good or bad) for Sudan / South Sudan. If his visions included the subjugation of one tribe by another, then such a vision was an evil one”(1).
In conclusion, may be you want to ask, where are the Madi people and why are they not doing anything? And I keep hearing voices from all over South Sudan in general and from Equatoria in particular that asked: where are the Madi sons and daughters and why are they always running to Uganda; as if Madi have not contributed in the war of liberation of South Sudan! Some went as far as calling them cowards, asking them first to begin the fight before others could join them. Something very pathetic and naïve, especially, when it is coming from an Equatoiran. Why, because what is happening in Equatoria is an existential threat plan long time ago, which is now specifically aimed at silencing Madi and the rest will follow. If you think this is Madi problem, wait until it knocks your door. At that point, even the most fearful tribes in eastern Equatoria will not be immuned and will be easily managed because the occupiers of Equatoria would have finished the rest of the Equatorians. Mind you, these guys are PhD holders when it comes to divide and rule policies and always, I repeat, always, will be the lion in the house. And the rest of you are just cows to be fed on. As such, together we stands divided we fall!
Like many South Sudanese, Madi sons and daughters have played their rightful roles in the Splm during the 21 plus years of the fight and when the recent war started they also joined the splm-io to fight the injustice in their area. History is there to tell that the first Equatorians who joined the IO were/are the sons of Madi led by General Martin Keny. He later formed the Anyanya Division which became the nucleus force under IO in these areas. Their act in defense of their land through armed resistance have made IO to build alliance with them so that they would carry a unified struggle against the injustice committed to the people of South Sudan in general and Equatoria in particular. In the aftermath of the launching of the National Salvation Front under Thomas Cirillo Swaka , another Madi general Maj General Max Ebi was there to join the rank and file of the newly created movement. All these moves show that Madi were present and will continue to be present in the political history of this country. So, for those who are saying that Madi are cowards, let them go to records of history and they will know the contributions of Madi sons and daughters since the time of Siricio Iro, passing through Lagu, Martin Kenyi to date.
As this conflict drags on, the only crime the Madi people appear to have committed at this point in time, is to engage in legitimate diplomatic, peaceful and justifiable approaches. As their culture dictates, the Madi people all this time have been asking for is peaceful solutions to the land occupation problems and avoid bloodshed if possible. Talking diplomacy should however not be taken as a weakness. But at the end of any failed diplomacy is war and we the Madi have been pushed against the wall where we don’t have a choice but to fight back. You cannot arrogantly come and tell me that you were promised this land by a person who is not from the area. Garang is a Dinka from bor, he has no jurisdiction over the land of Madi, he cannot promise anything except in his own land because if he promised the land of Madi to the current generation of Bor then Bor is promised to who? Are the Bor Dinka running away from the Murle? This evil must stop and it will be stopped whether Dinka Bor land grabbers like it or not!
The author is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and can be reached via: email@example.com.
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