Equatoria’s Professionals Call For an End of Dinka’s Occupation
Equatoria’s Professionals in Europe (EPE)
Oct. 29, 2006
After a thoughtful examination of political situation in the South, the Equatoria’s professionals in Europe have decided, in no uncertain terms, to support the call of Equatorian Solidarity International (ESI) to bring to an end Dinka Bor’s occupation of greater Equatoria province.
There are prophets of doom within the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) who have an agenda of tribal occupation of other people’s lands for reasons contrary to the objective of South Sudan liberation struggle as well as nation building. It is now two years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has been concluded. However, out of 30,000 IDPs, only 1000 returned to their hometowns. The rest have completely refused to go back claiming that they could live anywhere they choose irrespective of whether the lands they currently occupy belonged to certain tribes.
Following the split of the SPLM/A, thousands of Dinka Bor IDPs migrated to Equatoria for their own safety. The Equatorians accepted their Dinka brothers with open arms as a demonstration of South Sudan nationalism. Unfortunately, the IDPs, with the support of late Dr. John Garang, abused the hospitality of Equatorians and began the process of occupation. Villages were renamed in Dinka’s language. Without approval from local chiefs, the IDPs established “Bor one”, Bor two” and so on. The Equatorians who questioned the wisdom of changing local names were either imprisoned or killed. Dr. Garang ordered the killing of Didinga’s chief at the mountain where his helicopter crashed on July, 30, 2005.
The administration of President Salva Kiir has no policy of returning IDPs back to Bor. The Dinka’s nationalists within the GoSS claim that “every Southerner can leave anywhere in the South”. This bogus and irrational interpretation of freedom of movement is what the Dinka’s nationalists use to justify occupation. According to the meaning of the principle of freedom of movement, IDPs who escaped from danger and resided temporarily in somebody’s land could not claim the ownership of the land. For instance, South Sudan refugees in Kakuma camp cannot claim the camp as theirs by invoking freedom of movement which is guaranteed by international treaties.
In Europe and Africa as well, every citizen has freedom of movement. It is a right which is constitutionally guaranteed. However, the meaning of this right as known in most parts of the World is totally different from the interpretation of Dinka’s nationalists. A Dinka who is a government employee has a constitutional right to work everywhere in Equatoria provided that he/she does not occupy somebody’s estate illegally. The same thing is true for a Nuer. South Sudanese who live in Khartoum either own their houses or pay rent to the landlords. In Europe, one can move to London and live there provided that one is able to pay the house rent.
The idea of Dinka’s nationalists that IDPs have constitutional rights to occupy lands which belonged to Equatorians violates South Sudan Constitution as well as international treaties. Property right is enshrined in South Sudan Constitution, including the Constitution of the Government of National Unity (GONU). If Dinka Bor IDPs have a constitutional right to own Owiny-Ki-Bul as the Dinka’s nationalists would like us to believe, then it would also mean that a Southerner in Khartoum would also claim a land or an estate of a Northerner in Khartoum. Most legal jurisdictions, including the Supreme Council of Al-qaeda, would not buy the argument of Dinka’s nationalists.
The misconception of freedom of movement by the Dinka’s nationalists does not auger well with facts on the ground. First and foremost, the Dinka IDPs in Equatoria are cattle owners. Every piece of land they occupy is completely different from a Dinka government employee who could either rent or buy a house. All the cattle camps of the IDPs in Equatoria were established on the lands of farmers. If they are allowed by President Salva Kiir to own the lands they occupied with their cattle, it means that the Equatorian peasants have to be relocated to Bor to get piece of arable lands to feed their families. It goes without saying that President Kiir’s decision to allow IDPs to settle permanently cannot pass without a constitutional challenge in court. It is internationally recognized that indigenous peoples have rights to own their ancestral lands.
The United Nations unequivocally recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples everywhere to own their lands. According to the article 10 of the Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, “indigenous peoples shall not be forced from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return”. A part from the violation of this article in most parts of Equatoria, the Kiir’s administration disregards the rights of indigenous peoples in the case of Juba. The Central Equatoria State (CES) is completely right to argue that the land in Juba and its surrounding shall be administered by the state’s government. There is nothing wrong for the GoSS and the CES to share the same capital provided that the land is legally administered by the people who belonged to CES.
However, Dinka’s nationalists with an agenda of grabbing lands want the land around Juba to belong to GoSS so that they resettle their relatives illegally. Despite the well known fact that the Nuer IDPs who temporarily settled in Bhar el Ghazal during the war returned to Nuerland shortly after the signing of the CPA, the Dinkas want to settle in Equatoria permanently. If Dinka Bor IDPs are environmental refugees looking to occupy lands that would sustain their cattle, the problem is that the time for a certain community to occupy lands ended internationally with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. There are no more white people dispossessing natives in North America as the white racists did in 15th C.
Instead of accepting blame, the Dinka’s nationalists want us to believe that the Nuer and Shilluk in the GoSS support the occupation. Every informed Southerner knows that Dr. Riek Machar made his position clear in 2004 concerning the relocation of IDPs back to Bor. Machar’s recommendations in Yie that IDPs should go back as soon as the agreement is concluded was totally ignored by late Dr. Garang. Even commander Salva Kiir supported Dr. Machar back then. However, he has changed his mind now that he is at the helm of power.
Concerning other Southerners like Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak and Pagan Amum, there is no evidence that they support the position of Dinka’s nationalists to occupy Equatoria. However, people should not be surprised to learn that Oyai and Pagan may support Bor’s occupation. Their wives hailed from Bor. Supporting Equatorians in this case may lead to breakup of their marriages as far as tribal politics in the South is concerned. The very reason why Dr. Garang forced them to marry girls from Bor was to control their minds and Borize their thinking. They are just Shilluks by birth, but ideologically, they are totally Borized to the point where their rational thinking would be blurred when it comes to issues where Bor’s interest is at stake.
It goes without saying that vice-president Riek Machar is of no help to Equatorians when it comes to whether Bor IDPs should relocate back to their dry and arid land. Salva Kiir is the president with the ultimate constitutional power that can override Machar’s position. It is also important to mention that the de facto vice-president of the South is the tribalist Justin Yac Arop, who most of the times chairs meetings and occupies president’s office when Kiir is out of the South. Dr. Machar is completely marginalized within the presidency to the point where most Nuers recommend to him many times to resign. For instance, Dr. Machar, Wani Igga and Dr. Lam Akol have no positions within the polit bureau of the SPLM party. Salva Kiir has no deputy in the party. The only person next to him is the Borized Pagan Amum. Should Salva Kiir die in another helicopter crash, the SPLM party would automatically tell Pagan Amum to take over as a matter of protocol. President Kiir himself does not deny that the person next to him in the SPLM party hierarchy is Pagan Amum.
It is an insult to the intelligence of Southerners for Dinka tribalists to say that Nuer and Shilluks of the SPLM support the occupation. The structure of SPLM party speaks for itself. It doesn’t make sense at all for the Dinka’s nationalists to mention the name of Lam Akol as having power to reverse Dinka occupation. The man is busy in Khartoum with national foreign policy let alone the fact that the founding fathers of the famous and historic Nasir Declaration are completely marginalized. The EPE has no time to mention the conspiracy theories of Dinkas against Dr.Lam Akol.
We therefore call on President Salva Kiir to relocate Bor IDPs before the outbreak of tribal war in the South. Contrary to erroneous beliefs of Dinka’s nationalists, the Equatorians are capable of defending their ancestral lands as internationally recognized. This is not 1970s where Equatorians were not armed to defend their inalienable rights. There are Janjaweeds and Al-qaeda in Sudan that could come to military support of Equatorians to expel Dinka IDPs.
Dr. Luka Udiong
Chair of Equatoria’s Professionals in Europe (EPE)
Email: [email protected]