Opinion | The Disunity among Equatorians, Home and the Diasporas – Part One: Home
“Tell me what unites Equatorians and I will tell you what divides Equatorians” Lino Yobwan
Changing society is not through silence, but rather by speaking out. It has been overdue for many to acknowledge that Equatorians are deeply divided into states, tribal and the worst is based on clan’s levels. Nowadays we are seeing it with our own naked eyes, home and abroad.
What the differences between the Greater Equatorian Regional Conference in Juba and the Greater Equatorian Conferences in Fort Worth (ESSCA-USA) and Dallas (ESSMAA-USA), Texas, the United States of America? They are just three different cities and continents with the same tribal mentality.
If Equatorians are not really divided, why they allowed Non-Equatorians to preside over their regional conference? Who was Abel Alier to urges for unity among Equatorians when the man himself was the divisive figure who caused Equatorians a lot and led to the Kokora in the past? How Equatorians can invite the anti-Equatorians to head their National Dialogue of the Greater Equatoria Regional Conference? Was that not an indication that Equatorians are not capable of organizing their own conference? When will Equatorians learn from history? The history is repeating itself as we are all seeing with our own naked eyes. How long will Equatorians keep on following others than to be followed?
If a senior cabinet member of the government who is the son of Equatoria can walk out of the Equatoria Regional Conference over just a sitting protocol that indicated he doesn’t respect his people as well as his region and therefore, he prefers position over his people.
The unity of Equatorians is just words of mouth and written on the papers but in action, Equatorians are deeply divided. There are many prove of evidence to support that as we all seen it home since the inception of South Sudan, before and after the separation. Equatorians are used as tools to fight their own brothers and sisters for the interest of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) indirect way resulted in what taking place in the Equatoria Region today.
If Equatorians are really united as many claimed the land crisis wouldn’t be the center of dispute or Equatorians wouldn’t be treated like foreigners despite their massive contribution during the movement as the war started in their land and end up there. Another war started in Equatoria and now Equatoria is burning while lacking Equatoria leadership to come out and decide on how to turn the fire off. Because of the disunity of Equatorians, Equatorians are the majority in refugee camps across the neighboring countries. Why?
There are misconceptions where Equatorians used as excuses that what taking place with Equatorians abroad are supported by Equatorians back home. On the flip side what taking places in the Equatoria region are supported by Equatorians sons and daughters in the Diasporas? Yes, I will agree that the political divisions in the country reached the Diasporas Equatorians.
For those who are saying there is no tribal, racism and division among Equatorians are those who never lived with Equatorians in the Equatoria region and outside Equatoria. Equatorians by far are the most racism in slow motion, the most tribalistic in fashion way and the most divided in nice beautiful tone and therefore, their unity is in the fashion of circle dance only. Other than that Equatorians are all full of hypocrites, pride and overall hatred toward one another as the best people. Far from reality, many Equatorians claimed to be the most peaceful, a claimed which is false because there are many tribal conflicts in the Equatoria region, from the Eastern, Central and far Western E. Equatorians claimed to be the most educated and civilized people in South Sudan, a claimed which doesn’t reflect the grounds of Equatoria. Equatorians are good at talking but difficult to walk out their talks in actions. There is a difference between putting words on the paper and translating it into actions, something which we all witness in the failure of the Equatorian leaders in their Governor’s Regional Conferences which caused lives and some of those governors political careers.
The notions of what unite Equatorians are equally what divide Equatorians are not real but the misconception of the beneficiaries of the so-called Equatorians unity. They only use that unite for their own political gain on the exchange of the suffering of the Equatorians in general and smaller tribes in particular.
The distribution of wealth and power from the government among the Equatorians was not and is not equally distributed. Some Equatorian officials played games with those holding power to degrade other Equatorians by giving them a little instead of fairness. The distribution of states and counties was not equally fair and therefore, the representation of the national parliament is not balance due to the political game played by some Equatorian brothers and sisters known for the most local people in the states affected with such behaviors.
If Equatorians were really united, did they investigate the death of their own son or Brother Peter Abdel Rahman Sule, the leader of the Liberal Party? Shouldn’t they continue with his legacy of what his party stands for? Why forming many new political parties or movements when they can carry on with what was already been formed in order to defuse the enemy? Was that alone not a division among Equatorians?
What unites Equatorians in common is a little word of “Equatoria Region” which means the people from that particular region but doesn’t necessarily mean they have everything in common. There are differences in customary, beliefs, marriages, common laws of resolving disputes and many more.
With the impact of the Sudan civil war in Eastern Equatoria, some do not even have the gat to feel where they were saved from Jallaba bombs. Nothing was rewarded from the SPLM other than isolation of the state, people with less allocation of resources. Eastern Equatoria treated unfairly when it comes to leadership roles, diplomatic representation, military, police, National Security, scholarship and training and etc. Why?
Despite the minerals (gold, cement, and others) in Eastern Equatoria, Eastern still remains as a land without development. Not only the minerals found in Eastern Equatoria as the revenues, but the biggest revenue generators in the whole South Sudan come from Eastern Equatoria through its borders with three neighboring countries on the top of Uganda. Eastern Equatorians are not given the opportunity of representation in the revenue authority which dominated by other Equatorians whom their tribesmen are representing in the national government in Juba.
The Juba-Nimule road was built by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the lifeline support for the people of South Sudan for quick access to humanitarian. However, nothing benefited the people of the land as a reward for their generosity and peaceful just for the stability of the country. For how long will they suffer underdevelopment when their resources are taken by others due to the national government divide and rule policies to manipulate them? For how long will they suffer the unemployment when their state or land is full of opportunities taken by others who use the name and unity of Equatorians for their own political and wealth gain?
Equatorian lands grabbed and taken and if they speak out they are blackmail by their own Equatorians brothers and sisters who hold big positions in the government. They are tortured to silence, to disappear if not killed but if they are lucky they will be imprisoned. Every Equatorians are aware of that and yet no one said anything publicly because some of those suffering are not from their tribes, clans or states.
The Equatorian leaders are silent and some fear to speak out thinking they will be labeled as tribal and overall fear to lose their positions. They accepted posts for the exchange of the suffering of their people. However, when they exhausted and things fall apart, they go to the very people they collaborated with the enemy to oppressed to seek their supports for their armed movements or political parties. This is not hearsay but the ground of the Equatoria region proved this claim on the fact that Equatorian movements don’t survive because of the mistrust among the Equatorians themselves.
Which Equatorian leader visited the IDPs across the country particularly the Equatoria Region either from the governments or the oppositions? Which Equatoria leader visited refugees in their camps across the neighboring countries and far Egypt?
Many might think the union of Equatoria is factual but in reality, it is fiction and it just likes the union of Bahr el Ghazal as well as the union of Upper Nile. How many people think the Greater Bahr el Ghazal is united? How many people think the Greater Upper Nile is united? This is the culture of South Sudanese people and I called it: “The Culture of Denial” from my upcoming book.
So, if that is the case then what makes Equatorians unique from other regions if Equatorians themselves don’t speak the same languages as well the same dialects? Really Equatorians, Why don’t we tell the truth and the truth will free us from what we are going through?
Why and Why?
Why the people of Lobonok have to do with the political crisis in Juba for them to suffer while they have their son as the Vice President of the country?
Why they have sons and daughters as officials in the government? Or why they have Bishops in the national capital Diocese of the country?
Why the people of Yei and Lainya have to go through the humiliation while having their sons and daughters as ministers in the national government and can’t protect them?
Why the people of Wonduruba and Morobo have to go through rapes and massacres from the so-called national army when they have their sons and daughters serving in the same government and can’t speak out?
Why should the people of Kajo-Keji have to go through torture in their own village while they have their sons and daughters in the national government as well as top positions with NGOs?
Why should the people of Nimule have to go through arrest, tortures and arbitrary killing because of their land while having the powerful sons and daughters working in the national government and in control of NGOs in the country? There is a conflict between Madi and Acholi over the land; did Equatorians try to intervene or resolved it?
Why should the people of Kapoeta have to work as slaves in the gold mining which they are not benefiting from while having the power son as governor and can’t do something or say anything? Or the disputed Ilemi Triangle border area between South Sudan and Kenya, What happened?
“Tell me what unites Equatorians and I will tell you what divides Equatorians” Lino Yobwan
Here is my take for what divide Equatorians: The fundamental problems as to why Equatorians are not united because of the following reasons:
- The first fundamental problems are that the present purported leaders are invented by SPLA/M ideologies that are in their nature anti- Equatorians and their aspiration. The current Equatorians claimed to be leaders are nothing but more symbolism than being the beacon of Equatorians aspirations;
- The second fundamental problem is that the unity platform that brings Equatorians together is always suffocated by the political system created by the SPLM/A political establishment and legacy;
- The third fundamental problem is the inherent existence of Equatorian members in various political parties and movements which makes it difficult for Equatorians to unite because of most of them insubordinate the interest of the region capable to emerge as a country to their party interest whose principals by their ideological stance are anti- Equatoria unity and aspiration;
- The fourth fundamental problem is that the legacy of SPLM/A had reinvented Equatorians as Subservient and sycophant followers whose consciousness is driven by fear that associates with a call for Equatoria Unity and Emancipation;
- The fifth fundamental problem is that the silence of the Equatorians been translated into fear and adapted as peaceful people despite the abuses from rapes, land grabbing, arrests, tortures, killings and all kinds of human rights violations in the Equatoria Region. The current crisis in South Sudan is Equatorian's fault for not standing toll and therefore, Equatorians citizens are paying the heavy price for the war they don’t know how it started. Why?
We would have fought an oppressor together but since we have wolves in human clothing that their aims are just power and wealth. Since all want political chairman then let fight individually and see where will reached. Experience consciousness tells me they are not genuine other than opportunists who can sell their loved ones for money and positions.
Equatorians, let’s accept the fact that we are living in a culture of denial. Equatorians are the majority in Internal Displays Camps (IDPs) in the country as well as the majority in refugee camps across the neighboring countries while others are far Egypt. Why?
If you speak the truth about Equatorian's disunity, you are regarded as an ignorant, traitor, a preacher of disunity and overall an enemy of the Equatorians unity which never existed before leading to the destruction of the Equatoria Region.
Being a critic of the current regime with their corrupt officials doesn’t necessarily mean we are against a tribe. The criticisms are directed to the failed policies of the SPLM/A regime in South Sudan which collaborated with some Equatorians or used them against their own fellows Equatorians.
We would presume that we are living in the technological era which brought all of us closer to one another. We would presume that we are all value the importance of open criticism and its impacts on free media. We are not inciting or misleading tribes in South Sudan to fight or hate one another rather we are using the freedom of expression as citizens of troubling South Sudan and the Greater Equatoria in particular.
Now is your turn to let us know what unites Equatorians, be honest, sincere and avoid propaganda.
Will continue with part two, “The Diasporas”……………..!
Lino Yobwan is the author of “Who Failed Whom: The People or the Leaders?” He can be reached via email@example.com
The views expressed in ‘opinion’ articles published by Radio Tamazuj are solely those of the writer. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author, not Radio Tamazuj.