Press Release

A response to Hon. Samson Oyay on Padaang –Chollo contest over land ownership

To Hon. Samson Oyay 

Chairman of Chollo Community in Khartoum 

18th September, 2020 

From Joshua Dau Diu 

Dear Hon. Samson Oyay, 

Sep 21, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — I came across a document without a date purported to have been crafted by a certain “Jalpan  Samson” indulging in our correspondences with Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba. I first thought that this  was a ‘pen name’ or descriptive dog fashion you are using to disguise yourself out of fear, but  later on someone told me that ‘Jalplan’ could be a name of one of your kids. However, I could  hardly persuade myself to believe that, while you are alive, your child/ children can dare to  contemptuously address your age mates in the most uncouth manner such as depicting me to  have “… diabolical scheme to grab Chollo land east of the Nile including Malakal town.” (Page  4). Your own children have their peers among my children with more or less capacities to  engage in all spheres of life problems. Hon. Samson Oyay, you know very well how long we  lived and worked together in Malakal as health workers, as youth leaders, in Khartoum as  politicians of USAP till you represented us in parliament in Juba, as co-chairs of mediatory and  reconciliatory ad hoc committees between our respective ethnic communities. This long-time acquaintance, I am hoping, cannot and should not end up in contempt and disgrace of one  another.  

Firstly, what you allowed your son to do would not be in line with African cultures, norms and  code of behaviour and more so amongst the Nilotics. But if such an awkward pattern of lifestyle  without borderlines between juniors and seniors or social distances in Chollo community is not  categorised as indicated by the same marks at the forehead of men and women, youngsters and  adults, you should not allow it to surface publicly to be known by other communities with lofty  standard codes. Although there are no physical visible marks these days, it alienates you  completely from the decency of Nilotics mode of life particularly in regard to respect for elders  in general. How can you permit your child, no matter how much of age he has become or what  level of high education he has acquired, no matter how disobedient he might be, to write  disgracefully about leaders of other communities whom you claim “…they have lived  harmoniously together punctuated by intermarriages between them…” but describe Joshua Dau,  “Due to his disrespectful behaviour” (page 2). How does a youngster disparagingly accuse their  in-laws saying “The Jieng community of Thiony and their neighbour escalated the matter and Chollo was targeted leading to fighting between the two communities in which innocent lives  were lost on both sides instigated by Jieng elites. Indeed that was the first schism which  occurred between communities that were in peaceful co-existence for centuries” (page 2). 

We all know that it was Nuer SPLA-IO that destroyed all the Chollo villages – Obel, Dolieb  Hill and Pajur and not Padaang. The Chollo and Padaang were forced into U.N. Protection of  Civillian Centers (PoC’s) until you led Chollo Community Delegation to surrender to Nuer led SPLM/A-IO in Pagak. After that Agwelek militia under the leadership of Gen. Johnson Olony  proved their submission to Nuer led SPLM/A-IO by rebelling against the government and  destroying Malakal town. This is a proof that Malakal area does not belong to Chollo; otherwise Gen. Johnson Olony and Agwelek militia could have not demolished to the ground the  infrastructures in Malakal. It was at that moment when the Chollo and the Nuers in the U.N.  POC in Malakal forged their solidarity and fought Jieng – Padaang out of the POC.  

Thirdly, let me turn to shed light on the fallacious issues raised in your ‘pen name’ literature. I  expect all of you to know that the genesis of the current conflict originated and continues to  reign as a political power struggle among elites of all classes and from all ethnic communities  whose primary interest is to control power. Nonetheless, since you are interested in branding it  tribal, then let me go into some specifics. 

The first outstanding confrontation was when SPLM/A in Nasir staged an abortive coup d’état  against far away leadership of the SPLM/A, later found to be in Torit. This was the beginning of  tribal politics in South Sudan, initiated by Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin:  Nuers and Chollo against Jieng.  

In spite of the genocide inflicted upon disarmed Jieng officers and men of the SPLM/A and  civilians in Nasir in 1991 by Nuer and Chollo dissident armed forces under the command of Dr.  Riek Machar Teny and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin and the subsequent holocaust of civilian  communities of Bor; Jieng, although more powerful in the mainstream of the SPLM/A, never  resorted to revenge on Nuer and Chollo. SPLM/A leadership under Dr. John Garang de Mabior  considered it as an act of subversiveness by an enemy that had penetrated the ranks of the  SPLM/A. Thus, had he given it attention, that could have diverted the objective of the people of  South Sudan Revolutionary war of independence from Sudan, to an internal South Sudan Civil  Strife. For that reason, the leadership deemed it a betrayal deliberately designed and calculated  to interrupt and to delay the execution of the war. However, it was a momentous transitional  political crises, though it lasted over ten years (1991-2001), it eventually became exhausted and  leaders of that mischief surrendered to the very Movement they betrayed. However, it has now transpired to have been a tactical surrender in 2002/3, while the hidden agenda remained to be  pursued.  

In 2013 – 2016 the same actors of the failed military uprising in Nasir attempted similar  insurgency in Juba and when defeated, they went back to their NCP Islamists in Khartoum who  hired them to fight as mercenaries against their own people in the South not to be politically  liberated. They formed themselves into SPLM/A-IO and SPLM/A-DC. Similarly, in 2018 – 2020 the rebellion expanded to include others versus SPLM/A in government. Then the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ACRSS) was crafted and guaranteed by Foreign Political hawks, intended to accommodate leaders of those groups in  a government which cannot deliver services or achieve peace, leave alone economic  development. As such, the current R-ACRSS Government, which was formed in February 2020, is comprised of all the political rebellious factions, represented by five (5) vice presidents as  heads of clusters of ministries. This is a government of numbers, accommodation and political  appeasement. Therefore, to naively conclude that it was the issue of Chollo land grabbed by  Padaang, Bari land grabbed by Bor, Madi land grabbed by Jieng, Mundari land grabbed by Bari,  Fertit land grabbed by Jieng, etc. is a simplification of political leadership crises and a  deliberate diversion of the realities of failures in nation-building and lack of economic  development and mismanagement.  

In any case, let me respond to your queries as contained in the literature or document of your  “pen name” of unnecessary interference in dialogue between mature political ideologues and  age mates (Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba and Joshua Dau Diu). 

  1. Padaang –Chollo contest over land ownership: East of River Nile: 
  2. a) Chollo migration from Bahr El Ghazal to Upper Nile – East Nile dispute shall be  presented and deliberated upon during a tribal conference between Chollo and  Padaang. Or in an arbitration that shall be convened and each ethnic community be  represented by a team of experts of which none of the current proponents shall be  qualified to participate in it. 
  3. b) Malakal town as a municipality may not be an issue as administrative arrangement  shall determine its status.  
  4. c) Agwelek militia led by Gen. Johnson Olony and others who are resolved to end the  contest through military warfare, if successful to conquer Padaang and occupies the  land or vice versa, might be a quick solution.

2. Attempt to survey East Nile land,

During High Executive Council (HEC) 1972-1983 late Molana Natale Olwak was the  minister for Legal Affairs. Engineers Matthew Othou Deang and Angelo Othou were  senior engineers in the Ministry of Housing and Public utilities. Eng. Matthew Othou  was the Director General of the Ministry. The three (3) prominent members of Chollo  Community decided to send a team of surveyors from the Ministry of Housing to Upper  Nile province to demarcate the area east of River Nile and North of Sobat River with the  ill intention of claiming it as Chollo land. The plot was discovered only when the team  arrived Atar where they were stopped by local area authorities. Paramount Chief John  Gaijang Awol and Executive Chief Michael Miakol Deng stopped the survey work on  the basis that there must be authorization document from both the Ministry of Housing  in Juba, the Province Commissioner and the District of Fangak authorizing such a  scheme, Court President John Gaijang approached the relevant authorities (The  Ministries of Local Government Administration and Ministry of Housing and Public  Utilities) in the Regional government. 

On receipt of his complaint Hon. Natale Olwak persuaded the Minster of Regional  Administration, Kuot Catim to dismiss the complaint. However, the chiefs stood their  ground and surveyors never went back till today to demarcate the land which the Chollo  assume to be their ancestral land within the midst of Padaang territory East of the White  Nile and along Sabot River.  

3. Obel Peace Conference

This was a murder case of Monyyik Yor, from Luac (section of Padaang). A Shilluk  man, who never had any problem with him without provocation, speared Monyyik Yor  to death. He murdered him in cold blood, typical of characteristics of Shilluks. The  incident took place at Khorfulus Court Center. After instant death of Monyyik Yor, the  entire physically fit male population of Shilluks from across Sobat River: (Panyidway  and Pajur villages) crossed to the Southern side of Jieng land – Khorfulus Court Center  – to obstruct the burial of the remains of Monyiik Yor. The few policemen at the Court  headquarters could not prevent them to save the situation.  

When the age group of Monyyik Yor learned of the never-heard-of before, inhumane,  humiliation posed by the Shilluks, to let the birds of the wild devour the body of their  fellow age mate, they took off heading to the scene of the incident. This was to them an 

intolerable insult that must be challenged. The young men ran throughout the night to  arrive at the scene in the following morning. In the afternoon of the second day after the  death of the victim, the contest ensued. After a brief engagement the Shilluks ranks were  broken into and they lost the demonstration of their manhood and found themselves 

defeated. Some who escaped death swam across Sobat River back to their villages. In  light of this incident, Gen. Kuol Amuom, who was then Minister of Interior in the High  Executive Council Government, went to Obel to convene and oversee the reconciliation process between the two ethnic communities.  

On the second day of the reconciliation conference, Paramount Chief of Khorfulus  Court, Piot Yak Buk, in his address remarked, saying, “How wonderful and great it is  that there is a higher authority, the government minister, the Mekh, before whom the  Shilluks kneel in adoration and address him as child/son of god (nyajwok) can now sit  down before him with us his equal tribal chiefs.” Mekh Ayang was terribly enraged by  the remarks of Paramount Chief Piot Yak. He murmured in Shilluk language/ tongue but  all the same, the conference procedures continued uninterrupted. There was no chance  given for non-court members and the minister’s delegation to speak, neither Uztaz Acuil  Lual nor Joshua Dau Diu could be permitted to talk.  

The Conference in its final resolutions concluded that the two neigbouring tribal  communities must return to live in harmony and to co-exist cordially. That brought the  conference to an end. However, the Shilluk intellectuals and politicians continue to  agitate for the revenge of their lost ones during that past confrontation. 

4. SPLM/A Concession for Peace

Many enlightened Chollo community leaders are vocal and capitalizing on the circular  Dr. John Garang de Mabior issued; approving Dr. Lam Akol’s counties for the Chollo  immigrants and settlers east of Nile River. [These counties were later in 2016 – 2017  created again by Dr. William Othwon then Governor of Pashodo state, across west of the  White Nile]. This circular on Chollo to have ownership of land east of the Nile was  instantly refuted by Padaang SPLA Generals and community in the SPLM/A controlled  areas. Since the claim of Malakal as well as the entire Eastern Bank of the White Nile,  from the confluence of Zeraf River up to Renk (eighteen miles) deep inland, is claimed  and being militantly fought for by Agwelek Militia under Gen. Johnson Olony Thuba 

and politically pursued by all Chollo politicians, I strongly advocate that the matter be  adjudicated by arbitration to be followed by negotiations and reconciliations. Fighting  will not help any party to gain the land, rather it will deepen animosity and perpetuate  long time bitterness. 

However, it is worth noting that Dr. John Garang was hard pressured by a host of  international, regional and local mediators concerned for peace in the region in general  and in South Sudan in particular. He was constantly advised to pursue a negotiable  settlement rather than a bloody chronic conflict between North and South Sudan whose  root causes go deep down into slave trade and oppressive governance by Arab – Islamic  Administrations in Khartoum after the colonial Anglo-Egyptian rulers relinquished  power and granted independence to Sudan on 01/01/1956. Intelligently enough, Dr. John  Garang designed a humble political strategy to unite the Southern dissidents and  defectors by offering to them attractive terms of amnesty for all sorts of blatant  betrayals. Traitors were permitted to return to the SPLM/A without conditions even to  be reinstated into their previous positions both in the revolutionary army and in political  portfolios. It was under these relaxed circumstances that Dr. Lam Akol came back with  his package of demands for approval of the four counties for the immigrants and settlers  on the eastern bank of River Nile, which is his constituency.  

Dr. John Garang did not foresee the implications of his concession. I believe that he  thought it was a simple genuine request for administrative efficiency that was befitting  the Movement’s transformation process of raising the village standards to township.  

The irony of the counties Dr. Lam Akol created and subsequently approved by the  leader of the Liberation Movement (SPLM) Dr. John Garang where there was not yet a  government, would not be operational to deliver services to the people on the ground.  The area was even not under the SPLM/A control. Dr. John conceded to grant approval  of acknowledgement of the request in order to let Dr. Lam Akol not object to the peace  talks under negotiations (CPA) in Naivasha – Kenya. They remained hollow just like the  21 states of Dr. Riek Machar Teny which were created in Pagak when he had no legal  status to establish any workable entities; so they remain void and baseless. To  consolidate the position of South Sudan in the peace negotiations, Dr. John Garang had  to offer a great deal of concession to the Nasir faction that defected to the enemy camp 

in Khartoum and were being used against the South, both militarily and politically.  Hence, although the entire military forces of Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol  remained behind to be used as mercenaries against the South, it was better to win back  the leaders of blatant betrayal – (Nasir Faction). 

For instance, Dr. John Garang de Mabior allowed 50% of the oil of the South to North  Sudan in order to buy peace, which led to full independence and liberation of South  Sudan from the yoke of Arab domination and exploitation of resources.  

Hon. Samson Oyay, in conclusion, let me remind you that in my first letter dated  14/01/2016 which was a reply to your “declaration of war on Padaang”, I had said in  the final remarks:- 

“Firstly, I wish to advise you that since you are now Chairman of Chollo community in  Khartoum, contact your counterpart of Padaang Communiry Association Dr. Ramadan  Chan Liol… Secondly, it is evident that our ad hoc committee work is superseded by the  community councils as well as the revolt of Gen. Johnson Olony to fight for the  liberation of Chollo land as much as you are. You may continue to find the solution the  way you think best. I will no longer be in a position to mediate as we used to do together  in the joint ad hoc committee… Your options are intimidation and violence.” 

Now, that you have insisted on foul play through your son Jalpan, the intention is  evidently clear, for us to part ways. When I was proposing an Independent  Administrative Area or State for the Chollo, it was in good faith and a genuine  suggestion to bring to an end the subservient life the Chollo people are mostly subjected  to in others’ towns, cities and areas specifically in Khorfulus, Akoka, Malakal, Renk,  Melut, etc. to do the humiliating activities.  

Of course, being from a minority tribe with poor and limited subsistent livelihood,  people feel intimidated, inferior and dependent on the protection of strong shields and  big arms. This is what happened in Nasir when Dr. Riek Machar took the leadership  from Dr. Lam Akol and again, you led Chollo Community Council and the Agwelek  militia to submit and pay allegiance to Nuer-led SPLM/A-IO in Pagak. It was all for  protection in exchange for service and submissiveness. 

The reality is that I wanted to help save the Chollo people from a horrible situation to be free by having their own state or Independent Administrative Area like other people and  in-advertently even safeguard the decaying Chollo Kingdom. However, Padaang people, like other level headed Africans, the Europeans and the Americans or the Arabs have no  problem in accepting immigrants and settlers who volunteer to be enslaved by doing  most of the domestic functions. In the final analysis, the immigrants and settlers are not  the owners of the motherland, no matter how numerous and capable or skillful they  might become. So the Chollo people refusal of being in an Independent Administrative  Area or State, is not going to bother anybody hereafter. 

For more information on this response, you can reach the author through his email at landmarkcybernet@gmail.com

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