Open letter to governor Augustino Jadalla Wani

Date: 20/08/2019

Open letter to H.E Lt. General Augustino Jadalla Wani, Governor of Jubek State, Juba, South Sudan

We, the undersigned, would like to extend our sincere greetings to you and all the members of the State Government and Assembly. Indeed, we commend all the hard-working officials in the State Government who are doing whatever in their capacity to serve the people of Jubek State.

To begin with, we are a group of concerned citizens from all corners of Jubek State brought together by our collective concerns regarding the current events and developments in our State. As you are aware, the recent clashes between government troops and the opposition forces had led to the displacement of our communities and the worsening of the humanitarian situation in the affected parts of the State. It adds to the previous population displacements under similar circumstances. But now the people are very much worried following your recent decision to distribute land to SPLM/SPLA heroes, heroines, and martyrs. They wonder, where would that land come from if it’s not another move to take land from the local communities.

Your excellency,

We want to express our grave concerns regarding your decision based on the following facts:

Firstly – As you very well know, the land issue has reached a crisis stage due to the expansion of Juba city area. The increase in city territory was necessary at the early stages of the establishment of the government of South Sudan to accommodate the massive influx of citizens from other parts of the country and foreigners as well. But that process was marred by corruption and exploitation. The top government officials and army Generals found it a means to dispossess the local community from their ancestral land through coercion and intimidation, which often occur at gunpoint. As a result, the Bari lost some of their villages that used to be part of Juba suburb. With that, they lost their farms, cattle (stolen by armed pastoralists), and other means of subsistence. The Kamiru village incident in early March 2012, is one of the examples of the injustices carried out against the local community.

The Bari community is the most welcoming and embracing of their fellow citizens and foreign nationals in the country. When the Dinka Bor were driven out of their homes by floods in the early sixties of the past century, we embraced them as fellow countrymen. Similarly, the Bari welcomed the Congolese refugees who escaped the war in their country during that decade. They never harassed or attacked these communities. Indeed they were exemplary in showing tolerance to diversity. But that friendly nature had been taken advantage of, and as a result, the Bari lost a significant amount of land to powerful government officials and high ranking SPLA/SSPDF officers. Furthermore, some of their properties were encroached upon by armed pastoralists. At present, there’s hardly any land left to be given without dispossessing the locals of what they inherited from their ancestors.

Secondly – Around the world, the remains of heroes, heroines and martyrs are usually returned to their communities and places of origin. If they don’t have homes there – then the government will allocate plots to be built for them, all in their cities, towns, or villages of origin. It’s a sort of pride for the local community to have their fallen sons and daughters final destination on earth within the community. In many cases, those homes would end up being transformed into museums in their memory by their respective communities. 

 It’s, therefore, more appropriate for the heroes, heroines, and martyrs to be awarded pieces of land in their respective States. Juba should not exclusively have the honour of having the homes of all the esteemed and distinguished people in South Sudan. Each State should have the honour of having the homes of its heroes, heroines, and martyrs.

But if it’s a case of giving them pieces of land in the capital, then Juba is not the right place. As you may recall, the community has consistently demanded the relocation of the capital of South Sudan from Juba to anywhere else in the country. Our great community leader, late Dr Philip Tongun, said it clearly over the SSTV – “Juba has always been the seat of the capital of South Sudan. The Bari people should not be the only community to have the privilege of housing the capital. It’s time for other communities to have that privilege”. 

The Bari community remained steadfast behind its demand for the capital to be moved out of Juba. A resolution was passed on 04/02/2011, in a meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by President Kiir, to relocate the capital from Juba to Ramchiel. The Bari community position hasn’t changed regarding this matter. Hence, the heroes, heroines, and martyrs should be allocated plots in Ramchiel, which is the new capital of South Sudan.

Thirdly– There’s an issue about the criteria you adopted for allocation of the plots. Why is it confined to the SPLA/SSPDF heroes, heroines, and martyrs families while excluding the families of the Anyanya heroes, heroines and martyrs?  Furthermore, why did you omit our martyrs in1992 who were your colleagues in rebellion but couldn’t make it to the SPLA lines? We all know what happened to them as they were brutally massacred by the Khartoum regime of deposed President Omar Al Bashir.

 The community has no amnesia regarding SPLA atrocities and their sons who were made to disappear through the collaboration between the regime and a neighbouring government. The case of our brave leaders; Justice Peter Abdul Rahman Sule and General Elias Lino Jada is not and shall not be forgotten. The Bari community sees your decision as another attempt to grab their land but this time through the back door. The scheme seems to be geared towards facilitating Bariland acquisition by members of the President’s ethnic group, clan and family. The fact that you appointed the President’s nephew illegally as Deputy Mayor of Juba speaks volumes about the plot. You must be aware that land grabbing is going on in Rajaf East as we speak. The national government appears to be complacent in helping the State government to curb these illegal acts. You have shown generosity by your intention to grant land to the SPLM/SSPDF heroes, heroines, and martyrs. But members of the same institution and others continue to indulge in the unlawful acquisition of land as mentioned above. The question posed earlier repeats itself – where would the plots you intend to give them come from? 

Fourthly– We are well aware of our rights that are enshrined in the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 ( TCSS 2011 amended 2015). It stipulates that the land belongs to the communities.  Decisions by the President, the Governor or any other authority to allocate land without consent from the relevant population; would necessarily go against the Constitution. Such undertakings are thus deemed illegal and non-binding. We will regard them as nothing but land grabbing.

Fifthly – We also note that you and the President are both unelected. The President who was never elected as President of South Sudan appointed you as Governor of Jubek State without an election. Thus, both of you don’t have the mandate of the people to take decisions on their behalf in matters related to land distribution. It’s only the Bari community that has got the right of dealing with issues related to their God-given land.

Your Excellency,

Your move could be likened to giving something that you don’t own to a third party without the consent of the owner. Of course, in the current circumstances in our country where there’s no law and order or freedom of speech, your decision could materialise. The Bari community can’t stop you or the President right now. But we do know there’s time for everything. Neither President Kiir nor yourself will live to eternity. But the Bari community would be there long after both of you have gone.

We are appealing to you as a Bari beloved son and one of our renowned heroes to rethink this unpopular undertaking. We want you to think about your legacy which until now remains immaculate and unscathed. Think of the damage that could be inflicted on your celebrated name by such a move. You need to abandon this decision, which has angered the overwhelming majority of the Bari people.

As for those who have started queuing to get their promised plots, we would say; not so fast. They shouldn’t rush into building what you gave or about to provide for them. The final say which belongs to the Bari people is far away. Otherwise, they would be constructing their houses not on rocks but on moving sands. The Bari community will never recognise any plots acquired without its consent.

Your Excellency,

We remain hopeful that you would heed our advice and rescind what you had intended to do. We stand ready to work with you and render our help in any endeavour set for the betterment of the lives of our people.

Thank you and may God bless you. 

Signed: Concerned citizens of Jubek State 

1. Dr Lako Jada Kwajok               UK

2. Baba Wani                                Sudan

3. Alfred Lado                               Egypt

4. Edward Loro                           USA

5. Tombe Jada                               Withheld

6. Wani Loro                                 Withheld

7. Jada Lo Lako                              USA

8. Dr. Wani Rondyang                  UK

9.  Jildo Gore                                   UK

10. Stephen Lukaja Ladu              Ethiopia

11. Wani Gwuddu                          Withheld

12. Wani Chrispin                           UK

13. David Laku                                 UK

14. Masmino Gore                           UK

15. Pita Na Morbe                           Withheld

16. Venusto Dennis                         South Sudan

17. Le’Jong Na Pitiya                        Withheld

18. Wani Sule Jada                          South Sudan

19. Loku Wani Jada                         South Sudan

20. Loro  Emmanuel Ladu             South Sudan

21. Mogga Dennis                           South Sudan

22. Wani Juma                                 South Sudan

23. Loro Kwajok                              Withheld

24. Kaku Na Tongun                       Withheld

25. Moulodyang Gore                    Withheld

26. Nene Na Tombe                       Withheld

27. Sule Lo Loro                              Withheld

28. Kwajok Jada Kwajok                 Canada

29. Jubara Ladu                               Withheld

30. Jada Tongun                              Withheld

31. Igale Yanga                                Withheld

32. Lodu Jada Pitiya                        Withheld

33. D’oggale Ladu                           Withheld

34. Ladu Tombe                              Withheld

35. Wusong Jada                             Withheld

36. Keji Na Loro                              Withheld

37. Emmanuel Augustino             South Sudan

38. Kulang Lowala                         Withheld

 39. Poni Na Yogu                            Withheld

40.  Awad Laku                               Withheld

41. Loku John                                 Withheld

42. Mori Pitiya                                 Withheld

43. Grace Bojo                                Withheld

44. Wani Chris                                Withheld

45. Matthew Laku                          Withheld

46. John Ladu                                 Withheld

47. Pitiya Swaka                             Withheld

48. Lowala Bepo                             USA

49. Le’Yong Na Laku                       Withheld

50. Maring Tongun                         Withheld

51. Sokiri Modi                                Withheld

52. Dario Kasmiro ( Wani Kriba)   USA

53. Erkolano Yogusuk                     Withheld

54. Antilia Paulo                              Canada

55. Pitiya Lo Wurda                         Australia

56. Joseph P. Lako                           Sudan

57. Swaka Martin                            Withheld

58. Yokwe Mogga                            Withheld

59. Gune Na Bureng                      Withheld

60. Womba  Ladu                           Withheld

61. Subek Lo Poni                           Withheld

62. Wosuk Na Swaka                      Withheld

63. Ladu Tongun                             South Sudan

64. Modi Loro                                   Withheld

65. Sule Wani                                    Withheld

66. Najowan Jada                             USA

67. Kapoki Na Rombe                     Withheld

68. Dr. Robert Ladu                          UK

69. Gora D’oggale Wani                   South Sudan

70. Stephen Lado                             South Sudan

71. Wani Stephen Erkolano           South Sudan

72. Robert Sala Pitiya                       South Sudan

73. Andrew Pitiya Subek                  South Sudan

74. Angelo Longkui Sarapano        South Sudan

75. Marsa Bondya Lado                   South Sudan

76. Augustino Modi Korsuk             South Sudan

77. Lado Yanga Morris                     South Sudan

78. Jada Angelo Tongun                   South Sudan

79. Gore D’oggale Ware                   South Sudan

80. Emmanuel Takak Lado              South Sudan

81. Wani Tombe Dedamo                South Sudan

82. Dr. Keji L. Jada Kwajok                USA

83. Gumba Na Davide                       Withheld

84. Soma Yokwe                                Withheld

85. Jaden Daniel                                Withheld

86. Kitale Gori                                    Withheld

87. Legge Thomas                             Withheld

88. Jada L. Jada Kwajok                    UK

89. Peter Lukudu                              Withheld

90. Dr. Poni L. Jada Kwajok             USA

91. Kenyi Jubek                                 Withheld

92. Kiden Laku                                  Withheld

93. Santo Waden                             Withheld

94. Gworit Ladu                               Withheld

95. Denya Na Buluk                         Withheld

96. Kose Lowala                                Withheld

97. Lisok Wani                                   Withheld

98. Ladu Gubek                                USA

99. Emmanuel Stephen                  South Sudan

100. Morbe John                              South Sudan

101. Gworit Joseph                         South Sudan

102. Musa Juma                              South Sudan

103. Nyagong Joseph                     South Sudan

104. Moses Samson Kriba             Italy

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