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Articles and Analysies Last Updated: Dec 20, 2009 - 3:34:53 PM

Rebuttal of Argument About Pigi by A Dinka Refugee By Dr. James Okuk

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Rebuttal of Argument About Pigi by A Dinka Refugee

By Dr. James Okuk


I was eager to read the reactive argument presented by a Dinka refugee called Dhieu Dok Miyang in Calgary, Canada in an article titled “Dr. James Okuk is a liar: Pigi Belongs to Dinka Paweny of Jonglei State.” But the man presented the same boring invalid argument that was watered down by Shilluk lawyers in the law courts long ago in 1970s and 1980s. The valid arguments and concrete evidences have shown that Pigi is a Shilluk land and has nothing to do with Dinka of Paweny who are members of the larger Padang Dinka Community. Dr. Okuk possesses those evidences and challenges Mr. Dhieu Dok to prove his case in the Court.

Honourable Abel Alier who is now the Chairman of Sudan National Electoral Commission (NEC) was the one who adjudicated this case, and he ruled the final decision in favour of Shilluk though he was a Dinka from Jonglei. He was fair and ruled in accordance with documentary evidences presented by Shilluk lawyers. The Dinka lawyers were only relying on oral narrations by their Elders who failed to produce sufficient legal evidences for the wrong claim of Shilluk lands on the East banks of Sobat and White Nile rivers. These Elders claimed to know Shilluk language more than the Shilluk Elders. But the wise judges ruled according to the original meaning of word “Log Jiäng – i.e., the Shilluk reserved land on east bank of the river” rather than interpreted meaning of word “log jäng” from the Dinka interpreters. Look at how Padang Dinka try to be more language kings than the kings of Shilluk!!

Also the Padang Dinka’s Elders said there were ‘iron marks’ in the middle of Nile and Sobat Rivers put by the British colonialists to demarcate Shilluk-Dinka borders. But when witnesses were sent to locate those marks nothing concrete was found. Thus, they were told that genuine legal courts don’t take fictions as evidences.

According to historians like Darly Forde in his book the African Worlds (1954), the land of Shilluk is bordered by the following areas: Nuba Mountains , Kosti, Renk, Melut, Bayliët, Pangak and Pariang. Also it is known from some administrative historical evidences that Shilluk land has been called Central District of Upper Nile Province with the following geographical boundaries drawn by non-Shilluk scribes before the Dinka started to claim parts of Shilluk Kingdom as they do nowadays.

1)     On the Northern Front, the Shilluk land border is marked on the East bank of the Nile by a line drawn from the junction of 10o 15o north parallel with the Nile to the apex of the junction of 9o 30o latitude and 32o 54o longitude;

2)     On the Southern Front, it is marked between Anakdyiär and Bangläy, then to Wünakir on Khor Fullus along the Sobat River, then to the mouth of Zeraf River entering into Lake No; and

3)     On the Western Front, the border extends from Lake No and stretches to Kordofan-Upper Nile boundary northwards to 11o north parallel.

In a common person language, the official demarcation of the Shilluk land left by the British are eight miles away from Nile and Sobat rivers eastwards between Fangak and Kodok. The Dinka Ngok and Dongjol are twenty miles away eastwards of White Nile River . Finally the Administrative territorial maps with geographical coordinates presented by Shilluk lawyers were accepted and the claimed parts of the Shilluk Kingdom by Padang Dinka were handed back to real owners.

Now if the Paweny Dinka have got new Administrative maps according to 1956 demarcations as legally stipulated in the CPA and Interim Constitutions of the Sudan and Southern Sudan, let them appeal in the court of law that Pigi belongs to them. The Shilluk are ready to face them and defeat them again with valid arguments and concrete evidences.

According to an ear-witness, veteran politician Mr. James Ogielo, in 1975 some intellectuals and politicians of Padang Dinka brought a Feluk (river boat) to Khor Fullus area to collect revenues. But when this move created some tension between the Shilluk of Pajur and Dinka of Thoi, the late Commissioner of Upper Nile Province, Mr. Peter Gatkuoth convened a reconciliation meeting. In that meeting, Paramount late Chief Olwak Nyilek asked him whether or not it makes sense to give a car to river people and a Feluk (river boat) to forest people? The Commissioner answered him angrily “Chief Olwak! How long do you think we should remain in the forest?” Look at wisdom from a Shilluk Chief?

Just to ask: If Mr. Dhieu Dok admit that his Dinka group regarded fishermen who are attached to rivers as poor people, especially among themselves as Dinka, what changed this attitude now that Dinka Padang are starting to fall in love with Sobat and White Nile rivers including delicious fishes that dwell therein? Why don’t they leave alone the Shilluk to do this humiliating fishing work (as some lazy Dinka call it) and just be content with their sorghum farms and collecting trees leaves in the forests far from rivers and Shilluk lands like Pigi?

The case of burial of Shilluk Royal Family members on the West bank of White Nile is connected with religious rituals and has nothing to do with land ownership. Even in the Shilluk areas that lies on the West bank of White Nile some deceased members of Royal families are taken to another place for burial in accordance to their wishes or as the ritualistic tradition demands. But Let me pose this question: If I own a piece of land in Juba but I request to be buried in Doleib Hill or my community tradition demands that I should not be burried in Juba should my heir lose my land ownership titles in Juba ? No, it will remain my land even if I am buried elsewhere. This is the case with some Shilluk important persons whose bodies were taken from Pigi (Obango) and ‘Obay Pa Buoy’ to the West bank of the Nile for traditional burial.

So Mr. Dhieu, it is crystal clear that you don’t know King Tiero (nickname of Dr. Okuk). Know that taking critical consideration of small things is the start of humility which is said to be a virtue. A PhD holder does not live in an island or up above the sky, detached from concrete realities that affect the simple people at the grassroots. The fact that I defend the case of Pigi in favor of Shilluk people does not reduce an inch in my PhD academic qualification. The type of thinking that you have is what has spoiled many PhD holders and reduced them to intellectuals who risk falling into fits on the ground as they waste their time studying stars above the Earth. I don't belong and will never become part of that school of PhD holders. You will always find me expressing my free opinion whether in small things or big things. I am a king of my own mind and no human being can intimidate me with false attribution!!!!

Dr. James Okuk can be reached at [email protected]


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