War Does Not Pay: It is Time for Law and Order.
By Obang Kello *
This is a message to both warlords and peaceful people. War does not pay. The Anyuak have said many times even in front of the GoSS President that they do not want their voice heard through violence. How much more can this position be made clearer to the Lou Nuer warlords? In recent article published by the Independent on line: “The crisis in the Horn of Africa: Nomads with no future,” (08 September 2006) herdsmen from 60 tribes including two Nuer clans, the Lou and Jikany Nuer who have fought a savage for decades gathered in Ethiopia, united by the battle to preserve their way of life. According to the article, for the nomadic herdsmen of east Africa, this was an opportunity for their voice - so often ignored by their own governments - to finally be heard. Is not the peaceful way the Anyuak want to get their land back from nomadic tribe?
Sudan Radio Service [SRS, Nairobi] went down to Akobo and spoke to the people on the ground. Chief Chol Odio Omot did not talk of war. In simple but clear terms, he explained the misery of his people whose ten villages are occupied by settlers at this time. He said the local government did not do enough for the Lou to vacate the villages. He did not threaten anybody. The local commissioner himself acknowledged land property rights of the Anyuak. Yet, he has done nothing than calling the Anyuak to come back. Come back where? The Anyuak villages are possessed by the Nuer. Is this call legitimate? Does it come from the heart or is it not a mockery? Not because the Nuer do not know what is bad. It is that you got it and telling the Anyuak to fight back for it. Unfortunately the Anyuak have taken the right approach by engaging the GoSS to find peaceful solutions. If you want war from the Anyuak you will not get it. You can fight among yourselves. That is good for you. You like it all the time. The Nuer is the only tribe in Southern Sudan with intra-tribe war as a way of life.
In Anyuak terms, peace is here. A government is here. War does not pay. People have suffered long enough. Any unnecessary harm or death must be avoided. The brunt of this burden is on the GoSS to apply the law, order and freedom we all fought for with the Arabs. Domination of one tribe by another must not continue. If you cannot understand this, then it is you having some sort of trauma if not knowingly refusing to understand. They are traditionally sedentary in their land. They are not nomadic tribe like the Nuer who have no future when there is a real law and order in the country. Thus, it is not the Anyuak problem to find a land for the Nuer settle. We just want our land back you took in amid of nomadic way of lives, and two civil wars. The hot blood who are more direct about fighting are frank than those people who do not know the proper time line of history. All migrations came to a halt in the 1800s. All tribes stabilized under British rule in the Sudan within established boundaries. Those boundaries were in existence till early 1960s then broke down around Akobo at the onset of the liberation moments. This is the time when the Akobo Anyuak started to be vulnerable for hosting the liberation movements. The Anyuak of Akobo did not complain to any government before that time because they were happy in their homes. You can refuse to understand it. That is your problem. If you continue to make historical arguments to justify the Lou Nuer presence in Akobo, the more you show to the world [and the Southern Sudanese in particular] how much you don’t know. You fail arguments because of lack of facts at your disposal. If you don’t understand the time lines you have no ground to stand on. The more you attempt to insist, the more you feel guilty. You know you are wrongs. You admit to yourselves in privacy. Most importantly, the Anyuak will not back down in their engagement with the GoSS in spite of all your war threats.
Here is an example familiar to the Nuer very well. During the dry season the Nuer of all clans go cattle-camping at water points for grazing. Families and clans camp at the same sites every year. Should another family or clan camp at the wrong site it generates enough reason for a fatal fight. If the Nuer can kill themselves for seasonal camping sites, is it wrong for the Anyuak to talk when they lost the permanent homesteads? You claim to be intellectuals, kind, young, reasonable and smart. Do you and the MPs have moral ground to stand? Talking about the MPs someone said Anyuak were jealous of their positions. Note that all people cannot be MPs or ministers. Anybody can contribute in another way than being MPs who are politically misplaced. The assertion in response to Mr. Ojoch’s article is irrelevant. The MPs’ spokesmen must find some other way to attack the Anyuak. The problem is not about personalities being jealous. It is about unnecessary invasion. Very seasoned intellectuals must talk along those lines. Attacking individuals is not a good presentation in civilized societies. It does not help you in your quest for more lands. However, you can continue to degrade yourselves in front of the audiences. It is one of your (Nuer) tendencies. Sense of shamefulness does not exist in the Nuer culture.
Talking about MPs again, it is proper to criticize them when they do not conduct themselves appropriately as leaders. Your MP reduced himself to an ordinary tribal leader by taking sides for the tribe to rally around him obvious in the various articles from the Nuer circles. If the MP can spill out that much he must have done so much damage to the Anyuak behind the scene by abusing his position. Anyuak are not blind to this sabotage. It has been the Nuer work through the ages. Some writers have talked about Nuer having bought Anyuak land with four cows. This is a useless assertion because the whole county does not worth four cows. No authority in Anyuak land that could have sold land to some selfish groups. It is only the language of cheating, intimidating and tormenting others. Let all the birds and flies laugh at the writers.
*Obang Kello is a Southern Sudanese living in Port Sudan, and can be reached at email@example.com