September 29, 2015 (The Bieh Telegraph)–-This brief statement goes to believers of 21 States created by Riek Machar after his failed coup attempt on December 15th 2013. After evading arrest on that fateful night, Riek and other coup plotters fled to Lou-Nuer land for protection and upon arrival led them in declaring that he was going to wage war of resistance against Juba. In his usual political gimmick, Riek started to advocate for adoption of federalism as preferred system of governance in the country. In a haste aimed at soliciting political and military support he decreed creation of 21 states based on former 21 districts established during British colonial rule. Withou sufficient consultations, carrying out viability & feasibility studies, he appointed state governors interestingly even in places where SPLA IO had presence.
The glory of being members of imaginary national and state legislatures, cabinet ministers of showdown state governments and county commissioners, regional commanders based in Addis Ababa and other regional capitals provided short lived satisfaction and titles deemed necessary during introductions at private and public functions.
The euphoria of being this and that abruptly and unceremoniously came to an end at stroke of a pen when the mischievous rebel chief signed flawed Compromised Peace Agreement (CPA Two) on August 17th 2015, a document which confirmed his position as First Vice President designate in would be formed Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) but rendered null & void 21 states he created and governors appointed along with numerous near to useless institutions established. For those who were successfully black mailed up to the point at which Riek signed CPA Two, hold no grudges against this well-known Professor of use and dump policy who has gained notoriety for destroying lives & properties, ending or messing up promising political and military careers as a result of leading 1991 and 2013 splits. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for sons and daughters from Greater of Akobo who had outlived their political and military usefulness in Riek’s now defunct camp. The good news though is that the dream of having a state for the people Greater of Akobo is still much alive and would only be achieved through peaceful engagement with the democratically elected President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit.
The process of getting an administrative area or state for the people of Greater Akobo is being championed by South Sudan Resistance Movement/Army using dialogue and other peaceful means to advance this noble demand. For the first in in South Sudanese politics, reasoning and other persuasive methods are being used to convince the President and other leaders about the cost benefits in terms of viability, sustainability and feasibility of creating a State for Lou-Nuer people (Greater Akobo).
For first time readers, it’s worth mentioning that SSRM/A leaders led by its founder Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang on 30th March 2015 met at State House-Juba with H.E. President on the need to consider granting a state for the people of Greater Akobo. A document justifying this noble demand based on sound reasoning was submitted and is currently under serious consideration by H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardi.
The leadership of SSRM/A appeals to sons and daughters from Greater Akobo who are disenfranchised with Riek’s leadership to join hands and work with H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit in rebuilding & reconstructing our country and realize dream of having a Lou-Nuer State within a peaceful South Sudan.
For believers of this eventuality, rest assured that President Salva Kiir Mayardit has the political will and constitutional mandate to decree creation of Lou-Nuer State and it won’t be long before this comes to fruition. Attached are contents of the same document submitted to H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit detailing reasons why he should consider granting a state to the people of Greater Akobo (Lou-Nuer)
Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang,
Leader of SSRM/A
Justification for Proposed Lou-Nuer State (Greater Akobo Administrative Area-Lou State)
The Lou-Nuer is one of the sub-nationalities of Nuer Nation. It is the single largest Nuer cultural group on eastern bank of the White Nile River. According to the results of 2008 National Census, the population of the Lou-Nuer was at 450,000. The vast Lou-Nuer land borders Gawaar-Nuer in the west, Anyuak in the east, Murle in the South, Jikany-Nuer northeast and different sections of the Dinka tribe southwest and northwest. The Lou-Nuer had been at conflict with their neighbors for years over grazing lands, water points and other resources.
Reasons Justifying Demand for the Establishment of Lou-Nuer State
As mentioned in the brief background information above, the combined population of the three Greater Lou-Nuer counties of Akobo, Nyirol and Wuror was at 450,000 according to disputed 2008 National Census. This number exceeds the prerequisite stipulated in the national constitution for any given entity to demand the creation of a state.
- Size of the land:
The land inhabited by Lou-Nuer tribe is larger than the size of Uganda and Rwanda combined. The vastness of the land makes governance and provision of security services difficult.
The distance from the state capital Bor is estimated at over 300km compounded by lack of roads connecting all counties. This in turn hinders normal internal movements and engagement in meaningful economic activities.
Communal clashes are common occurrences. Establishing a state for Greater Lou Nure people would bring security services closer to the people and enhance rapid and timely responses during disturbances.
- Lack of Facilities:
Greater Akobo lacks roads, health care facilities, schools, permanent water points and grazing lands. Establishing a state would help in bringing services closer to the people thus realizing SPLM’s vision of taking towns to the village.
- Lou Nuer Geopolitics and Cultural Landscape:
Lou Nure community’s nationalism and resolute have been abused to fight unnecessary wars. Sad instances are the Dr. Riek Machar repeated sectarian and wars of treasons in 1991 and the ongoing conflict (2013-2015). During these unfortunate occurrences, thousands of Lou-Nuer got killed which had direct negative impact on their overall numerical strength. It is high time to explore the favorable condition of decentralization to devolve more federal powers to communities. Our quest for Greater Lou Nure State is based on our revolutionary ideals and that of SPLM. In that SPLM Constitution 2008 mandates the following:
- Article 5(2) Decentralization and devolution of powers.
- Article 5(7) Participatory Democracy, respect of democratic institution, and collective leadership.
- Article 36(4) of SSTC (2011) mandates composition of government at all levels shall take into account Ethnic [nationality], regional and social diversity in order to promote unity and command national loyalty.
SPLM Manifesto 2008 proclaimed that democracy should be granted to communities as follow:
- Section IV.10: Decentralization system of governance that would bring power closer to the Peoples, and is characterized by popular participation, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, consensus-seeking orientation, effectiveness and abidance by the rule of law, so that the Peoples of [South] Sudan are provided with necessary conducive environment for accelerated socio-economic development ad increased happiness.
Furthermore, the SPLM Manifesto explicitly proclaimed system of governance under section IV.11 to be based on;
- Restructuring of the power of the central government in a manner that would take into account the interests of all the [South] Sudanese, especially those of marginalized regions, [small population nationalities], and impoverished socio-economic groups, and
- A decentralized power structure redefining the relation between [Capital] and the regions [states] with a view to devolving more federal powers to the regions [states] and, where and when necessary, full autonomy.
Giving Greater Lou Nure there federal state shall enhance the process to keep the community and its leadership engaged in developmental programs hence will have no time to participate in subversive activities against the state.
- Marginalization by the state government:
The people of Greater Lou-Nuer feel economically marginalized and dominated by their neighbors from Greater Bor hence would prefer to have their own state.
The level of animosity, hatred and mistrust between the peoples of Greater Lou-Nuer and Bor has reached unmanageable levels as demonstrated by the killing of some Dinka community taking refuge at UNMISS camp in Akobo and revenge killing of Nuers at UNMISS camp in Bor on 17th April 2014. In the best interest of future peaceful co-existence, it would be better for them to have their separate states where the administration of the neighboring states shall mutually address their common interest. Forceful unity under one community may fuel the feelings of hegemony and resistance. Jobism by politicians is used innocent civilians to fight for limited centralized government jobs have used such sentiments throughout the country. Devolving more federal powers to communities shall make them self-reliance and would therefore seek unity in diversity and not through assimilation and demonizing as encouraged by sectarian politicians. Majority of communities would then seek collaboration and fraternal sharing of common natural resources. Federated governance shall bring decision to the Traditional Authority Leaders instead of them being sidelined now by sectarian politics.
- Lou-Nuer at Crossroads:
In the last 32 years, Lou-Nuer people took center stage in recurrent south –south conflicts (1983-1987,1991-2002 and ongoing 2013-2015) and each time a temporary political cum military settlement is reached, they would end up the biggest losers in terms of not getting satisfactory representation in the executive, judiciary, legislature organs and other key positions in security forces. The recently signed CPA Two between the government of the Republic of South Sudan and SPLM/SPLA rebels especially power sharing ratios which gave the former powers to appoint the government of Jonglei State once again confirmed Lou-Nuer’s reservations and fears of getting a bad deal whenever a settlement is found. The entire Lou-Nuer population in rebel held territories felt betrayed by their leader Dr. Riek Machar for giving away a land they had successfully defended at a high cost. The power sharing arrangements in Jonglei State inevitably and unwillingly pushed the people of Lou-Nuer back into the hands of the government whom they resisted so much to an extend that it won’t be easy for members of this community to mingle and feel free at state and national levels. However, H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit has a constitutional mandate to turn around Lou-Nuer’s dilemma and genuine feelings that they are at crossroads into political and military opportunities by winning their trust, minds and hearts through granting of an administrative areas (State) hence fulfilling an empty and elusive promise Riek Machar had repeatedly use over the years to win their support but reneges or does not enshrine it in any final agreement especially whenever he succeeds in accomplishing his usual primary objective of getting power.
Benefits of Establishing a State for the People of Greater Akobo
- Enjoy dividends of self and shared rule
- Establishing a State would be used to persuade/convince them to support GRSS which has granted it.
- Raise local taxes and revenues for state building
Benefits of Greater Akobo State to the National Government and Neighbors
- Reduce rampant insecurity
- Raise and contribute taxes to the national government
- Contribute towards overall nation building
Your true partner in search of just and sustainable peace in Greater Akobo (Lou-Nuer)
Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang,
Leader of SSRM/A