An Equatorian response

An Equatorian response

A Chapter by Opoka.Chris

A response in defense of Equatorian indentity


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An Equatorian response:

By Opoka p'Arop Otto on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 00:35

By Opoka Christopher Arop

I have been reading an old opinion piece by Charles K Deng, a well written classic about the history of Southern Sudan and northern Sudan, in which his primary focus among many was to highlight the role of the Arab-Islamic Elite in the matters of war and peace as a linkage between Southern and Northern Sudanese relations. ( 5th December 2005, 10:52 AM)

I ploy the above writer to be litmus for the comments of Isaiah Abraham. The Equatorian Conference was legitimate in all its dimensions, whether secessionist or unitary, for a simple argument, that as you have effortlessly inferred, something is brewing. I have enjoyed a rage in me toward your blatant reference to Late Hero Dr. John Garang as "Our founding father." This may not be a distortion of the role Dr. John Garang has played in the history of the South, but i think Equatorians too have their very own brand of founding fathers many of whom are seldom mentioned nor commemorated despite the gallant strides they strode first for the liberation of the South as a whole and never at any juncture bringing up the notion of Equatorian unity. I think Father Saturlino Lohure must be turning in his grave for having sidelined the unity of Equatoria first, instead of a national agenda (I would also question his-Father Saturlino Lohore's concept of national unity vis-a-vis Equatorian Unity and Independence as opposed to Southern Sudanese unity and independence.)

It is agreeable that the larger cause was Southern Sudanese independence, but neglect of the non-Arab people of Darfur, the Eastern Sudan, Southern Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains draws suspicion about the reasons for this neglect, and the path Equatoria would have taken independent of other parts of Southern Sudan. When the idea of SPLM.A was hijacked from the leadership of Joseph Oduho and his colleagues, the outrage of Equatorians was silenced yet again by calls for a broader based unity of the peoples of Southern Sudan, at whose expense and for whose benefit?

FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN. This in my opinion should have been the name of the new country on 9th July 2011. Federal because as history has taught us that the genesis of liberation struggles in Southern Sudan was never about religion and race, FEDERALISM was a call made as early as the times of Sudanese President Al-Azhari of the National Unionist Party's ministerial committee in which two members of northern, Islamic and Arab decent lauded Southern Sudanese parliamentarian's call for Federation on the one hand by Hassan Mahjoub and total independence on the other by Ibrahim Bedri. The federalism demanded before Sudan's independence was so that Southern Sudan would self-govern, not only at the level of a national government structure (GOSS), but such that States would have full autonomy in their regional (state) governance and deliberation of issues at various levels. Service delivery would be the mandate of the state governments, but the echelon of leadership with ensure resources were channeled to lower governance structures in timely manner, correct amounts and so forth.

Based on this understanding of federalism, i see a very ripe demand for a full implementation of federalism now more strongly as we stroll towards full independence. GoSS should be reduced to about five ministries only....and these ministries will perform overseeing duties.

Implementation should be federated in a United Southern Sudan. I believe strongly that at some point, Southern Sudanese elites will not be shocked when a UNITED EQUATORIA (including Western Bahr Al Ghazal, whose Governor was almost getting invitation to the high table along with Clement, Louis and Bakasoro) begin to demand for FEDERATION OF GREATER EQUATORIA IN A UNITED REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN. This is what is brewing dear reader.

Democratic, because we want to remind ourselves and generations to come that the core of our legitimate demands for secession was based on democratic principles of equality of all peoples, equity of resources and unity of peoples with shared national interests. I will wish to discuss the pity with which i was greeted at a pan-African-like conference, when asked what Equatorian Core National Interest was there to show, apart from a Dinka-Nuer Shared national interest that the world is fast embracing?!!

“Regionalism is bad; we spent years together and no need to separate at the end of everything”...this statement is a good discussion point. The rage and anger tone in your language and diction is too obvious. If congregation of a people from the same geographic and geo-political status can anger you this much, what will a call for full Federation of Greater Equatoria do to your seemingly fragile egoism of perpetrating a bad face of regionalism as a way to pave a new path for unity at the expense of the core demands for regionalism and federation that were present/drive at the start of all liberation struggles in Southern Sudan? I have lived through the years reading and hearing prepositions for tribal unities in Southern Sudan, but was over-joyed when in Equatoria no such phenomenon existed, although some level of tribal unities were evident, Bari, Mundari, Lotuko, Azande etc.

In general Equatoria appeared over the years more united than the other regions combined, and for this stringent but simple reason, a united Federal Democratic Republic of South Sudan must by all means ally with Greater Equatoria, but this alliance must be on the terms of the people of Equatoria and not forceful and not on the legitimate pretexts of unity of the Republic of South Sudan. But as we Greater Equatorians walk lazily toward 9th July for all our fears, other tribal unities are expediting the process: Were we Equatorians ever going to be surprised that we didn’t not celebrate the CPA as much as the other tribal unities? The peak of celebrations based on tribal unities can be best illustrated by the influx of refugees from as far as Pibor and Ayod into Nimule and other regions along the border with Uganda even at the signing of the CPA, and soon after!! Today tribal unities have more than quadrupled in these areas, leaving the inhabitants landless, homeless, and with many Madi people preferring not to return!!

Land grabbing is another discussion for another day altogether. I am ashamed that the Equatoria Conference didn’t go as far as I hoped it would, and should have!

While in exile, most Equatorian students could hardly attend certain SPLM/A meetings that were branded too-high-level for Equatorians...this was true as far as Secondary school and university politicking was concerned. And as a result, most Equatorian students were ill-informed about the political-scape of the liberation struggle, and of the structuring of the movement.

 Dr. Martin Elia once rightly warned against demands for secondary referenda leading to further secessionist movements in Southern Sudan; “unless the very demands for federation were met by the government leading the country to full independence on 9th July,” (paraphrased from Dr. Martin Elia's speech during an open debate organized by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs to deliberate on failed peace agreements in the Sudan in 2008 at the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly). It is the failure of the GoSS leadership and SPLM/A structure to meet the demands for federation that has eventually led Equatorians to develop stronger affinity toward a united Equatoria than the failed forging of a national core interest by GoSS/SPLM/A. This is a fact, and anyone out there is free to contest, scream, and yell as much as they wish.

The point here however is that the TRIBAL-UNITIES ELITIST SECT are failing to solve the SOUTHERN PROBLEM before an independent Republic of South Sudan is ushered on 9th July and continue to ignore legitimate Equatorian calls for FEDERATION, just as the ARAB-ISLAMIC ELITE sat silent deliberately as Southern Sudan was robbed at its demand for FEDERATION IN A UNITED SUDAN before independence on 1st January 1956 and thereafter.



Opoka p'Arop Otto Thanks sis..Sorry we didn’t meet when u came to Juba City!!!! Ha!!!


Fareed Musa Fataki Bangale The Conference for greater Equatorians should be a time bound event and made rotational at each capital city of the Equatorian states. The question of some other regions always claiming we fought and therefore must take center stage is and should not be accepted. If we want sustainable peace in our new Republic, then the national cake must be shared equally. Equatorians Rise up and be heard. This is time. I quite agree that, continued dialogue on issues of concern is the best way for our country to move steadily with all inclusivity. Democracy is all about numbers, and united as Equatorians our voices shall be heard. I know there is steady resistance out there for this Equatorian forum to succeed. We need to show cause, let us make sacrifices. Personally, I am ready to contribute in any way possible to see yet another conference organized. Let us talk and see this happen. Thanks Opoka.

Luj Jadakiss The last conference took place in the city Juba, Central Equatoria, the next one is not schedule but to the best of knowledge the deployments of formation of the states government which was lastly finalized last week by Central Equatoria Government. So soon or later you get full information is just because of the current political situation, which need us to stand united against Khartoum aggression us South Sudanese.


© 2015 Opoka.Chris

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Added on March 10, 2015
Last Updated on March 10, 2015




Juba, Central Equatoria, Sudan

Journalist. Writer. Activist. more..