Eastern Jikany Peace Initiative Council (EPIC)
Office of the Executive Committee
Joint Press Release
Date 26th December 2020
To: Padang Community Leadership
Upper Nile State, Republic of South Sudan
Subject: Response to Padang Community rejection on Upper Nile State Peace Conference
December 27, 2020 (SSNA) — After the decision of the Presidency dated 9, December 2020 that announced the Upper Nile State Peace and reconciliation conference, the Padang Community wrote a letter of complaint. However, there appeared to have been no consensus to participate in the Upper Nile State Peace Conference, citing as quoted.
“Dr. Riek Machar as the Chairman of SPLM IO is the cause of the destruction and killing of the innocent people in Padang areas and his forces are still occupying Padang areas”. The second reason is that “Dr. Riek Machar contradictory statement about the Upper Nile communities conference, which is contrary to the presidency statement, dated to 9 December 2020, article 3 and 4 where it states that the President shall issue a decree to formalize of the decision of the Presidency and not Riek to do so”.
This is an unfortunate move, and we strongly condemned it. It is wrong to trade accusations over the cause of this current political situation in this trying moment that the youngest nation is working hard to bring peace to South Sudan. Who does not know the root cause of the South Sudan crisis?
The current crisis erupted in Capital Juba on December 15, 2013, and killed over 20,000 innocent Nuer lives in three days before it spread to other states. Vulnerable was burnt to ashes, forced to eat the flesh of their loved ones, murdered, butchered, and hunted through door-to-door killing projects at the watch of all 63 tribes from 16th – 22nd December 2013. It spread to other states because none of all 63 ethnic groups condemn the killing. In this fact, the tears of those who survived, and the blood of those who were killed innocently in the streets of Juba and those trapped on their ways to UNMISS for safety and killed left us nothing but curses, and that explain why the crises spread to the other states after date 22nd December 2013. So, where was the position of Padang Community when the regime was busy implementing door-to-door killing project against their fellows Nuer ethnic group in Juba, that would today make you more special in Upper Nile State to the extent of rejecting the peace that will only reunite us as people of Upper Nile State?
So, the Eastern Jikany Community had warned you (Padang Community). We also warn politicians for attempting to misdirecting the affairs of the communities of Upper Nile State for self-benefits. We are both non-politicians, and therefore we must behave neutrally and embark on peace. Let politicians not overrun the communities. Currently, the complicit behavior of some politicians as shown by their lack of concerns for the peace conference of the Upper Nile State has now emboldened the regime in Juba to negotiate in bad faith the appointment of the Upper Nile State government. There is nothing better than rebuilding our trust. We belong to one state and we must be called “People of Upper Nile State”. It is this fact that we strongly warned you for politicizing and undermine the Peace conference by omitting all potential progress and amend any suggestions in the interest of spoiling what would re-brand the broken relationship between the communities in Upper Nile State. Your move is evidence that the Presidency failed to convene the peace conference on its original schedule.
Upper Nile State is occupied by five ethnic groups namely, Nuer, Chollo, Maban, Komo, and Dinka. They have been living together irrespective of political, religious, and social status. Their social relationship and mutual trust have been developed by a long history of intermarriage. However, many rebellions in Sudan including Anyanya I and II did not separate this social and cultural coexistent. But, after the 15 December incident in Juba, some of the potential responsibilities tossed apart and the unity of the people of Upper Nile State remains under question. That is why Eastern Jikany Community had welcomed the peace conference.
We welcomed this tremendous idea since it will be the first inclusive peace conference in the history of Upper Nile State. The people of the Eastern Jikany Community describe it as a bold step to build peace in the state. That means the Presidency had remembered Upper Nile State in the Map and hope that it will open the way to resolve contentious issues that derails the formation of the Upper Nile State.
On separate development, the last year 2019, the people of Eastern Jikany Community under its Community-Based Organization named as “Eastern Jikany Peace Initiative Council (EPIC)” also discussed and scheduled to convene popular Peace and Reconciliation Conference (PPRC) with all her neighbors and beyond. This came after the community decided to revert from its long history of political bandages, torture, and killings of her innocent lives and recruited peace for the sake of South Sudan. So, we ask the people of Upper Nile State and particularly the Padang Community to focus on mechanisms that would bring peace to the state.
We, the people of Upper Nile State are morally obligated to change the course. It has long since the country missed its future, but today, peace and stability are something we can do to help the people of Upper Nile State, rather than hold fruitless meetings and mobilization in support of the crises that increase each month. We knew all along that the regime’s disdain for peaceful negotiated settlement and proclivity for military violence in the country make it inherently unwilling and unable to lead South Sudan from the current conflict trap to stable and long-lasting peace.
We call on the R-TGONU to reject the interest of the people of Padang Community since it does not supersede and supplant the course of durable peace for the people of Upper Nile State.
We call on all five ethnic groups in Upper Nile State to recognize the reality on the ground and immediately embark on an inclusive peace process that would address the root cause of the conflict
We urge our fellow members of the Padang Community to reject any alterations that may be imported by politicians in the recently announced peace conference and work to realize real peace. It is after this conference that would bring peace, slow violence, slow flow of arms, and probably open road network so that our civilians resume trade and other related activities.
We also urge the Parties to the agreement to find the political will to compromise on the longer-term security and governance arrangement that would meet the needs of the people of South Sudan, particularly the formation of state governance and the Revitalized Transitional Legislature both in National and states as resolved in SPLM IO Peace Conference held in Juba.
Eastern Jikany Community worldwide is calling upon the R-TGoNU to accept the appointment of Lt Gen Johnson Olony as the Revitalized Governor of Upper Nile State because it is in the provision in the R-ARCSS. Lt Gen Johnson Olony was nominated by his Political Party just like the other nine governors nominated by their Parties.
We call upon R-TGONU, IGAD, and Troika to consider seriously accountability measures for those who refused to pursue peace and stability in the country, particularly individuals being arms by the regime in the direction of Morota, Maban, and elsewhere.
Merry Christmas to all 64 ethnic groups. May the Lord Jesus Christ bring peace this year 2021.
- Mok Riek Badeng – Acting Chairman of EPIC
- Simon Ngut Kun – Secretary-General of EPIC
- Lew Lual Deng – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Community Council of Australia
- Dak Wal Miyong – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Community in the USA
- Koang Malual Khor – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Community in Western Canada
- Dang Gatwech Deng – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Community – Eastern Canada
- Tar Jal Bol – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Youths Union of Australia
- Chuol Bidit Duol – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Community in Juba (POC)
- Thakuey Tut Dey – Chairman of Eastern Jikany Community in Egypt