The Union of Nuer Community in North America (UNCONA) is deeply troubled by the proposal of Col. Bol Gatkuoth that members of UNCONA should petition Vice President Salva Kiir to remove Upper Nile State Governor, Dak Dup. We are bedeviled by his request, which calls for community to urge Salva Kiir and his military deputy Lt. Gen. Paulino Matip to fight SSDF under Gen. Gordon Koang Chol.
The Supreme Council would like to inform the public that UNCONA supports Juba Declaration because peace among South Sudanese is the first step towards achievement of development. The people of Sudan have been at war since 1955. Any peace which is internationally recognized should be protected rather than destroyed. It is responsibility of every Southerner to make sure that war is a last resort.
As Col. Bol Gatkuoth alleged, Governor Dak Dup, Gen. Gordon Koang and Salah Gosh, Sudan’s security chief, have been taking 2% of oil allocated to Upper Nile State by the Wealth-sharing protocol of the CPA to train militias with the aim of destabilizing the South. According to him, Dak Dup and Salah Gosh are responsible for fighting which erupted recently in Longuchuk.
Although his allegations may be true, the Supreme Council finds it difficult why SPLA officer like him would urge the members of UNCONA to petition Salva Kiir to fight Gen Gordon Koang. As former official spokesman of SSDF, col. Bol called for dialogue between the SPLA and SSDF. He once stated that differences among Southerners should be resolved through dialogue. His call for elimination of Gordon Koang and Dak Dup is unfathomable.
The UNCONA is in the position that Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir and his deputy Paulino Matip should continue dialogue with Gen. Koang until they iron out their differences peacefully. UNCONA does not want to be used to ignite fire that will burn the CPA. If Salva Kiir and Paulino Matip want to start war with SSDF under Gordon Koang, UNCONA would like to inform the public that it would not be part of that. It is up to SPLA commander-in-chief to go to war without implicating members of our organization.
If it is true that governor Dak Dup and Salah Gosh are taking 2% of Upper Nile oil as col. Bol alleged, there are mechanisms in place to resolve the problem. First of all, the Upper Nile State Assembly should raise the issue with the governor. If the matter is not resolved within the State, the legislatures should appeal to President of South Sudan Government (GoSS). Secondly, Vice President Kiir can discuss the problem with President Bashir. There is Oil Commission already set up that is capable of resolving such a problem. Thirdly, if President Basir fails to stop Dak Dup and Salah Gosh, the SPLM Party, which signed the CPA, could appeal to IGAD and its partners to investigate the problem.
There are ways in which a problem can be resolved without resort to war. Col. Bol Gatkuoth should know that mobilizing civil society to support confrontation between the SPLA and SSDF is detrimental to the implementation of the CPA. If the SPLA does not like Upper Nile Sate Governor, Dak Dup, the blame lies with Vice President Kiir, who allowed the National Congress to appoint the governor. Although the CPA gives NCP power to appoint some governors in the South, the SPLM leadership should have made sure that Upper Nile Sate’s governor comes from the Southern party.
The UNCONA calls on Vice President Kiir and Lt. Gen. Paulino Matip to suspend Col. Bol Gatkuoth from the SPLA army. His mobilization of South Sudanese in Canada to encourage war between SSDF and SPLA is unprofessional and dangerous to the smooth implementation of the CPA.
We also call on President Bashir to investigate whether governor Dak Dup and Salah Gosh are in fact taking 2% of Upper Nile oil as alleged. If the allegation is not disproved, the South Sudanese in diaspora would not support the CPA. The president of the Government of the National Unity (GONU) has a responsibility to make sure that wealth-sharing protocol is implemented without reservations.
John Gatluak Kam
President of Union of Nuer Community in North America (UNCONA)