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An Appeal to Jieeng Council of Elders (JCE)

By Kuir ë Garang

January 11, 2016 (SSNA) -- To argue that the 28-States proposal is what the people of South Sudan want is to be opportunistically dishonest. Learned people always make decisions based on empirical studies that can be independently verified. In South Sudan, the learned ‘elders’ are an authoritative, opportunistic clique that hides behind the president under the banner of Jieeng community.

In a society where people support everything the leadership decides, the people can’t be the best judges of what’s really good for the country when presented with face-value importance. The pros-and-cons of the proposal need to be discussed and adequately addressed with the people before the consideration of such an unfortunate, segregational proposal.

What’s the rush? The rush is meant to derail peace and prolong the people's suffering! How can a leader, a learned elder, just assume something will work without it being subjected to the needed scrutiny? This speaks volume about why things are going wrong in South Sudan. Decisions are made on a whim!

South Sudanese rely on the learned to make their decisions, unfortunately, the elders they trust don’t have the interest of the citizens at heart. People need peace not slicing up of the country into tribal enclaves.

Even when the Juba-JCE knows very well that the proposal could jeopardize peace in South Sudan, they went ahead and coerced the president to go ahead with it. Peace is obviously not one of these ‘elders’ wish.

Western nations are plagued by discrimination and racial hatred because of the racial segregation imposed by economic and class differences and the not-admitted subconscious view of others as inferiors. Children grow up in racially homogeneous neighborhoods with the view of racial others as different and inferior. Since they [children] don’t meet racial others to personally ascertain the claim of ‘inferior others,’ they grow up believing that false assumption.

The 28-States proposal will do exactly that. It will keep South Sudanese apart and limit the crucial interaction that reduces tribal animosity. To say that keeping people apart in their ethnic states will bring peace and harmony is a parochial, naïve thinking not worthy of a learned, 21st century African elderman. Tribal states were created by colonial administrators to help them control the ‘natives’ as they called us then. Those states were created in the interest of His Majesty not the colonized subjects. For the Juba-JCE to argue that these tribal divisions were good for us is ignorant.

I wished my dad were alive. I would have asked him if this is the nature of Jieeng; or if this is how Jieeng elders acted in the past.

It’s crucial for you [Jieeng] elders and leaders to remember that we are the ones to appraise your deeds and achievements once you’re gone. You’ve destroyed President Kiir Mayardit and his legacy and it’s time for you to remember that history will judge you in a very unkind way. President Kiir now says 'Order number 36' doesn't violate the peace agreement. But what part of the agreement allows it?

We’ll not write 'facts' you’ve not presented. You're living like immortal beings. A man is as good as his legacy; something Juba-JCE is denying president Kiir. 

You’ve showed how you disdain inter-tribal unity. You’ve shown how little you care about the well-being of the average South Sudanese except the size of your wallets. You’ve shown how little you care about peace in South Sudan and that’s why you support a controversial decision that could derail peace and keep the nation in a perpetual state of insecurity and instability (political and tribal). And you’ve shown how little you care about the future of South Sudan because you’ll never be in it.

And you’ve shown how little you care about the national constitution and that’s why you had to help the president make an unconstitutional decision. Once you realized that you couldn’t bully Mr. Kurbandy, who’s fortunately not a Jieeng man, you had a recourse to constitutional amendment.

What exactly will you do when the new constitution is written based on the peace agreement? Since SPLM-IO, SPLM-FPD and other political parties reject 28 States, the writing of the new constitution will be a sticky issue that’ll threaten peace. That’s what you want, isn’t it?

You are the very reason why other tribes hate us! But you are living in an insular fantasy so you don’t care what other tribes think of us. You’re stuck in the past that any thought that a future free of tribal parochialism is possible evades you. I’m ashamed of you.

I want a South Sudan in which Gatluak is a minister in my state, Ajullu a mayor of my state capital, and Deng a head of state inter-tribal council of elders. I know mine is a beautiful dream that’ll not materialize because I happen to belong to a tribe in which the wisdom of our village elders has been rejected and replaced with the political opportunism of the callous city dwellers masquerading as 'elders.'

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudan poet and author currently living in Canada. For contact, visit his website on www.kuirthiy.com

Mini-Open Letter To: Hon. Maker Thiong Maal, Jieng Council of Elders

By David Mabior Atem Kuir

January 7, 2016 (SSNA) -- The leisure of Christmas holiday had given me the opportunity to explore some websites where I came across the following season’s greetings; titled: “New Year Message From Jieng Council of Elders” published at Gurtong: http://gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ID/18244/Default.asx

Upon skimming through it, I saw Hon. Maker Thiong Maal’s name as one of the signatories; although I am not certain whether it is the same Maker that was in-charge of the education system during the liberation struggle or a different person of the same name as the name Maker is very common among Jieng. If it is Maker that was in-charge of the education system in Kakuma refugee camp, then I intend to write to him.  I am writing to you as a way to express my humble opinion that being a mentor, leader and guardian of the red army from across ethnicities would oppose to serving in an organization that represents one ethnicity. This would make them shy away from seeking advice and inputs of national significance. I will be focusing on Hon. Maker because of the followings:

1. As a member of the red army, I had spent most of my childhood in the bush with Hon. Maker Thiong Maal. Through him I was able to learn and benefit from his dynamic leadership. His leadership in education paved the way for some of the red army to score and record excellent achievements in education;

2. As a mentor and leader for the red army group, I am well-aware that your remarkable contribution was an integral part of SPLA/SPLM vision of liberation for freedom;

3. No doubt, other signatories have significant national contributions and reputations but I don’t know them the way I knew Hon. Maker;

The intention of writing to you is to seek answers but in lieu of that, expressing my view is one away of consoling my soul in an event of disgrace;

Straightaway, I would like to admit and confess that JCE season’s greetings content has nothing to do with Jieng’s sub-communities but political initiatives and activities. There was nothing mentioned about how many cultural activities were accomplished in 2013, 2014 and 2015. What are the future goals to be accomplished by Jieng leadership in the name of its people? Given the content, it would be necessary to form the South Sudan Council of Elders (SSCE) to unify, nationalize, symbolize inclusive unity and social cohesion. Having that would also eliminate interfering institutionally and constitutionally.

Hon. Maker, anything that reduces you to one body like JCE is a compromise to your national reputation and integrity. You are a transformer of generation of the red army through education and you earned and gained an honest account and respect for that selfless contribution! You cannot believe how many times your name has come up in many social conversations about what you said and what did etc. Thus, you were one of the leaders who had suffered a very hot climate of Kakuma refugee camp plus humiliation of Kenyan police when you and Hon. Deng Dau spent months in Jail. You had spent years educating and encouraging us to see each other as brothers although we are now infected and influenced by the forces of separatists, tribalists, corruptionists and nepotism whose legitimatized and institutionalized looting and robing of public resources.

I am not exaggerating nor underestimating the issue of your nationalistic. With the education we gained while hiding in the bush, we had become very successful among the global Diasporas completing in the top universities in the west. So, you and your teachers whom taught us will be the proudest people in that country when you see your invested knowledge and time yield the fruits of successes at your watch.

As you know that red army was mobilized and recruited from different regions of old Sudan. Our membership was drawn from Nuba Mountain, Nuer, Equatoria, Chollo Kingdom, Jur-Chol, and Dinka etc. Together with your teachers you had told us to see each other as biological brothers from different territories which were true; as we cared for each other, lived together under one roof, shared little resources and we used to bury each other as we were strike by the multiple forces of death etc.

As elaborated above, I am of the opinion that serving in JCE would create limitation for the red army from other communities across South Sudan. However, curiosity has pressed me to explore and research the origin and objective of JCE but I have found very little resources available on the net. Thus, strong language built-in previous positions and letters make it sounds like one of the institutions in the government of South Sudan but why there are no others ethnicities council of elders? The same curiosity forced me to scan through the South Sudan transitional constitution but there was nothing specific about JCE. This begs two simple questions. Is JCE is a cultural or political organization? Why not forming a South Sudan Council of elders? There are many questions to be asked but I cautioned myself because I am writing a mini-open letter

South Sudan is a nation forged on the basis of different ethnicities or communities which deserve equal representations if it is deemed as one form of the governance. From a common sense standpoint, that forum should be headed by the Jieng’s paramount chiefs to channel their issues to different level of governments which should also be replicated across the board. 

Concluding Remarks:

The title of your seasons greetings and content were not rhyming or aligning whatsoever. Jieng is one of 64 ethnicities in South Sudan and your group message was addressed to whole South Sudanese. Therefore, anything aided to one ethnicity over others is a source of mistrust and disunity. However, as you were one of drivers behind red army successes, it is time to let them light the candles of their successes at your watch because their achievement is a national pride. Their acquired knowledge and experiences from various institutions around the world will be imported back home to replace despairs with hope, miseries with joy of freedom and identity, under trees with modern houses, barefooting for months with luxuries of planes and V8. Finally, aligning the title of that organization with content of messages will convey sincerity and eliminate fear of Jieng name being used for a political manoeuvre. Jieng is one of sub-communities that had borrowed different cultures that conflicted with their ancestral practices which require rethinking and refocusing in order to weed out inapplicability and emerge adaptable cultures to appreciate the global village of 21th century.

David Mabior Atem Kuir lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

An Open Letter To Jonglei State Governor Philip Aguer Panyang

By Jok Mayom

January 6, 2016 (SSNA) -- First and foremost, Your Excellency Philip Aguer Panyang, allow me to congratulate you for the selection made by the people of Twic Community and Greater Bor at large not forgetting His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan for his trust bestowed upon the selection owing to your new job as Governor of new Jonglei State.

Little did the people of the Republic of South Sudan know that H.E President Kiir Mayardit was ever going to make such a decision for creating the 28 States in the Republic of South Sudan, in most needed time you finally came to what people said your once a dream.

Following the Presidential Order on October 02nd 2015 cited as “Establishment Order No. 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states” in the decentralized Governance System, you become the governor of Jonglei State under Order 4 subsection 4.23 alongside 9 governors of the Upper Nile Based which Jonglei falls in the formally regional base.

Law makers said the powers vested upon him [President Kiir], under article 101 (k) and (u) mandates the president to establish independent institutions and perform any other function as prescribed by the law. That make the order sounds paramount.

Thousands of South Sudanese in the capital Juba and across the former ten states of South Sudan joyously celebrated the Establishment Order No. 36/2015 as well as the appointment of the governors making the Christmas different from other Christmas festive celebrated in the Country.

As I begin the flow of my open letter Your Excellency, the creation of 28 States in the decentralized Republic of South Sudan will be seen as the long overdue “Implementation of Dr. John Garang Vision of taking town to the people” and therefore, concern citizens need to air their views out for that matter on how services can be reached to them this time –I mean this time – of special need.

Your Excellency, I write this letter from the deepest concern of my sole heart, how I look at the sufferings and great gaps the people of Jonglei State have had. Our people have really been behind in terms of development, no good schools, health centers, roads, amongst others which I thought it is the time for services to reach them now since the powers have been downsize from the original state size to only now three counties of Greater Bor.

My article was to get directly to the nerves of the 28 states governors but because of the saying that charity begins at home, I proudly begins here with you for I have much corners I know in Jonglei unlike other states and because you are going to be my governor.

Your Excellency, your turn is number four among those who led Jonglei State with Philip Thon Leek (2005-2010), Kuol Manyang Juuk (2010-2013) and John Kong Nyuon (2013-2015) it was good for those governors during their time but little light was seen in the far ends of Cuei-Keer to Cuei-Thon in term of services delivery though some efforts were reached.

Your Excellency, as you prepare for your next cabinet, I would like to humbly bring to your attention and stress that you change the system, by bringing in youths to work with you in your new government. Records and history speaks better about Jonglei and Greater Bor in particular, as a matter of facts, Buor are amongst those in the Country who have reach nearly the last ladder of academic and so there would be no reason of recycling the former government officials when other fresh minds with fresh ideas are abundantly in big supply.

As if it is not enough, be reminded that nearly all those who have been in the state government have perform little to the people of Greater Bor from Cuei-keer to cuei-thon being their ministers of government officials and for that matter you need to bring in new faces this time to your government whose capability shall be to develop the state and deliver services most needed.

Furthermore, from your few priorities reported as you saying, amongst them the unity of the people, state building, peace and security. These are truly what the people yearn for in this dire situation and I must appreciate and applauds you for that but be reminded my governor that for services to be delivered well it needs tough people who can be able to put them in pipeline.

Your Excellency, you may recall that the people of Greater Bor were majorly affected by the crisis of December 2013 similarly to those in Greater Upper Nile, amongst your priorities should also include the home return of the people to their original land as well as making sure the security is hundred percent maintain.

Your Excellency, many people in Awerial or Minkaman internally displaced camp (IDPs) are majorly from Bor with more others that flock to Uganda and Kenya. you have a tough challenge ahead of you that is to either make our people of Greater Bor remain in the IDPs camps and Refugees Camps or bring them back, with that it will add your weight in your leadership and you shall hold record of Greater Bor.

Your Excellency, I know your capability when you were the SPLM/A spokesperson and for that I know you will surely make all successes possible to the people of Greater Bor communities.

In expenses of getting job by opportunist, Your Excellency, be humbly reminded to take keen look on those approaching you, it’s unfortunate and of course am forced to say this that some are gossipmongers who want to be your drivers to pull you to their individual interest which will not just end there but will tear the Unity of Greater Bor. My dear governor, please set your eyes on whoever is approaching you for any position in your government.

For the old faces who are struggling to be retained in their positions, they should come out in the broad day light and speak out what they have done to the people of Bor not just for the sake of getting position and solve one stomach.

I hearsay that the states cabinet ministers will be based on the Payams; Your Excellency, should that be true I bet it will not hold water in terms of services delivery as well as the inclusivity of gender equity unless we want to encourage clanism system which will later degrade the unity of Buor.

On that note, I would kindly suggest that you appoint people on merit of qualifications and capabilities noting that they come from all parts of the Greater Bor communities from Cuei-Keer to Cuei-Thon with that, the government will be strong and service delvery government that will make its people satisfied with the needs. Success and maburuk in your new job, happy New Year 2016 and may you work to deliver services, kill clanism, nepotism and the likes.

In a nutshells, as the saying goes “new brooms sweeps better” yes others may counter react that old brooms knows all the corners, but if I may ask “What corner and what have they done in those corners they know?” hence for those who are lobbying to retain their positions it is time to ask each and everyone to give you what he or she has done in Greater Bor in the past years. Civilians with open eyes are watching and will account for those who will claim to have done enough during their time.

Long Live Unity of Greater Bor! Long Live 28 States! Long Live South Sudan!

The writer is a South Sudanese living in Juba. He can be reached: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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