By Bor County Payams Youth Leaders (Bor)
“An identity is what one makes of it. It is one’s own disease………………..” ~ Francis M.
Deng Early this week, the people of Bor County were shocked to learn that their identity had mysteriously metamorphosed into unrecognizable entities when the names of the Counties in the newly established States were decreed into law by H.E. the President of the Republic. In addition to an unjust distortion of Bor identity, the number of Counties deserved by the Bor County, according to the 2008 National Census, was slashed unfairly.
Before the establishment order, the Bor County citizens had numerously petitioned the previous governors as well as the sitting one to subdivide the County into five Counties. This was done with the hope that the people who are tasked with running of the public affairs have the obligation to acknowledge and act according to the people’s popular opinion. Astonishingly, the Governor’s recommendation basically ignored the popular aspiration of Bor citizens by denying them their deserved Counties and painfully, by dismembering their unifying identity – the Bor identity. Owing to their law-abiding nature and mature approach to politics, the Bor County intellectuals measurably launched a search for the party responsible for the sudden dismemberment of Bor identity.
In Juba, H.E. Philip Aguer Panyang was asked by the Bor County Leader and MPs, ostensibly to enquire from him if he was aware of the uncomfortable developments surrounding the Counties establishment in the State. In his own defense, the Governor squarely denied any role in the matter and accused the Council of States of acting contrary to his recommendation. To correct the error, the Governor agreed to co-sign a complaint, dated 18/04/2016 in which the number and Counties that the people of Bor County deserve were spelled out unequivocally (See the attached complaint by the Bor County Leader and MPs). While in Bor, the Governor consistently denied his involvement in the matter while briefing some of his Cabinet Members in the State.
All the citizens of Bor County who had managed to reach the Governor were given the same assurance that the Council of States had acted contrary to the Governor’s recommendations on how the Counties in Jonglei State were to be established. He also insinuated that the names of the “new Bor Counties” might have come from unspecified proposal written by the Bor County MPs in the past. 2 However, we just learnt with dismay that all these maneuvers were embarked upon by H.E. the Governor ostensibly to evade taking any responsibility for his actions.
As the Governor and custodian of the entire State of Jonglei, it makes it the more perplexing that H.E. Philip Aguer would push for such a divisive, flagrantly hideous agenda with the intent to annihilate the Bor identity. Indeed, it is quite worrisome that our Governor would stoop this low to pander and recoil to his own seemingly grand designed crusade to erase the Dinka Bor identity – forever. As citizen of this great Country, we are very concerned and we hope you are as well, that we have such leaders among us.
Given the fact that H.E. Governor Philip Aguer Panyang is known for his notoriety in evading any responsibility for his own actions, the Bor County Youth were unconvinced by the intricate web of choreographed deceitful political maneuvers that were being employed by H.E. the Governor, and embarked on finding out exactly what the Governor has recommended. It didn’t take long before the Governor’s letter, which he wrote to the Speaker of the Council of States, requesting nine Counties, with their respective names as they appeared in the Republican Order No. 13/2016, was unearthed by our team of technologically competent youth. In his letter dated 31/03/2016 to the Hon.
Speaker of the Council of States, Hon. Joseph Bol Chan, our Governor correctly explained that the people of Jonglei State demanded to have their Counties created as follow: Twi County (3 counties), Duk County (4 counties), and Bor County (5 counties). However, in his letter to the council of States, the governor disagreed with his citizens, stating that, “ Reasonably, it could be 3(BOR) 3(TWI) 3(DUK), with their names as follow: Panyang County, Duk Padiet County, Twic North County, Twic Central County, Twic South County, Athooch County, Anyidi-Makuach County, Kolnyang County, and Bor Municipality……..” The letter was signed by H.E. Philip Aguer Panyang Jot under the seal of Jonglei State. (See the attached letter from the Governor to Hon. Bol Chan.)
If there was ever any doubt in anybody’s mind that the person responsible for the dismemberment of Bor identity was someone other than H.E. Gov. Philip Aguer, then that doubt has now been busted asunder by the revelation of the Governor’s personal letter to the Speaker of the Council of States. It is also crystal clear that the Council’s Committee on the establishment of the Counties was guided by our Governor’s letter when it wrote the Resolution that culminated in the establishment of Counties as they appeared in Jonglei State.
Therefore, the people of Bor County should now be informed that it was H.E. Gov. Philip Aguer who decided to deny us our deserved Counties and intentionally lynched the Bor identity as it appeared in the Counties establishment order. It is neither the Council of States’ fault, for the Committee that was setup to create the Counties was acting on the Governor’s recommendation, nor is it H.E. the President’s fault for he was guided by the Resolution of the Council of States, and this Resolution, with respect to how the Counties were to be created in Jonglei State, was guided by H.E. Gov. Philip Aguer’s recommendations as spelled out in his letter. 3 The question that sorely begs to be asked is what grudge does H.E. Gov. Aguer Panyang have with the name Bor and the people of Bor generally?
If history were to serve as any guide, then it is to be remembered that the War on Bor Identity is not a personal preoccupation of H.E. Gov. Aguer Panyang alone, but a long running campaign in which many Twi intellectuals have been devoting their political energies to see to it that the name Bor is wiped off the list of nomenclatures of administrative units of this Country. Historically, the whole of the present Jonglei State was administered as Bor District.
Although there were some murmurs within the Twi establishment against the name Bor, the whole saga become much more pronounced during the “Twi renaissance”, which resulted in a marvelous militancy against the name Bor within the Twi Community. This movement later culminated in the founding of Twi East County and absolute disowning of Bor Identity. The same happened with the people of Dukeen when they delinked themselves from the Bor identity.
The people of Bor County felt comfortable with being Buor, since they have never been anything but Buor, and kept their identity. Instead of being contented with their newly discovered identity, the Twi intellectuals have been moving mountains, feverishly trying to rename the people of Bor County, disregarding the well-established dogma in identity philosophy that “Identity is what one makes of it. It is one own disease that has nothing to do with others.”
At the height of his political stardom, when he was calling all kinds of shots, ranging from who should be branded a ‘Nyagat” to who should be summarily lynched, Hon. Malok Aleng once lamely attempted to change the name of Bor to “Athooch-Gok”, without making any effort to find out if the people of Bor even recognized such a clustering. Hon. Malok was subtly resisted, and his effort failed spectacularly. However, the Twi intellectuals didn’t relent, and have consistently been employing all kinds of dirty political stratagems to see to it that they rename us. The people of Bor County never displayed any malice toward their brothers in Twi.
If history is to be taken as the best judge of our deeds, then it is imperative to take a brief walk through the tortured corridors of our nascent history to discover if there is anywhere that our brothers have wronged us and where we might have inadvertently wronged them.
In most recent history, when the rebellion led by Dr. Riek Machar brought the country to its knees, the people of Bor County also witnessed with bewilderment how Mrs. Rebecca Nyadeng De Mabior handled herself at the early stages of the raging conflict in the Country. With the aid of a mobile phone, Mama Rebecca instructed and directed Chief of Twi to direct their youth not hindered “Wen de Adit”, a.k.a Gatwech Dual and the White Army Warlord, to wreak havoc only in Bor. Nyandeng even instructed a chief from Twic to leave Bor immediately as an attack by Gatwech was imminent. The mighty SPLA forces and Bor Youth averted another tragic comparable with the infamous images of sexually assaulted elderly and sick patients in their hospitals beds as well as the overall indiscriminate assault on the whole County.
This shows, unequivocally, that the Twi intellectuals have always intended malice toward us, and we have never reciprocated this sociopathic act toward them. Their consistent conniving attitude toward 4 us is beginning to gnaw our patience and we are afraid that stability of Jonglei State may be in jeopardy unless the Twi intellectuals cease conspiring against us. Therefore, the Governor’s recent clandestine undertaking can only be nothing else but another covert scheme designed against Bor County.
It is an act that fits perfectly within the historical context of a sustained assault against the Bor identity by various Twi intellectuals and Governor Philip Aguer is just a continuation of that piece of the puzzle.
It is undeniably clear that H.E.Gov. Philip Aguer is tracing the footsteps of Hon. Elijah M. Aleng when it comes to the politics of identity in Bor. What remains murky is whether he will succeed in his sadistic endeavor since the torch of Bor politics will soon be passed to a new generation of Bor citizens who are less susceptible to emotional manipulation and flimsy political schemes. Having laid out the facts before the whole nation, the Youth of Bor County would like to register its discontentment with how H.E. Gov. Philip Aguer has been conducting himself throughout this crisis and how he has been running the State generally. Soon after his controversial appointment, the Governor has been setting off political firestorm after.
Instead of showing leadership, our Governor has always displayed helpless incompetence in his attempt to put off those fires. For instant, his major blunder was how he handled the hiccup surrounding the distribution of the additional MPs in the State after the formation of the 28 States. Instead of resolving the matter, he allowed it to simmer until the SPLM Chairman, H.E. Minister Kuol Manyang, had to intervene and untangle Bor and Duk Counties. The paralysis that ensued has resulted in a major stalemate in the State in which the Parliament has not been sworn-in, and Aguer’s cabinet is half-functional. Under H.E. Gov. Phillip Aguer, the Bor Municipality has ceased to be a municipality as it has been shamelessly tethered to the office of the Bor County Commissioner. This is just another attempt to diminish the historical importance of the town of Bor in South Sudan, as the cradle of our revolution that led to our independence as a nation.
Instead of making sure that there is a functioning government in the State by ensuring that all the hurdles that impeded the formation of his government are cleared, the Governor has hastily embarked on a mission to mushroom his government by forming a battalion of useless Commissions which are only meant to suck the State dry of the meager resources to the detriment of our people in the far-fetch villages. As if that was not enough, he has again injected himself into a long running Bor-Twi feud by recklessly taking side.
All these are signs of a personality that is unfit to lead. If this is how H.E. Gov. Philip Aguer is going to run the State, then we are afraid that the shaky social fabric that inextricably binds our citizens together will be endangered. As a corrective measure, we demand the following from H.E. the Governor: (1) He must leave Bor for Juba within two days from the date of this Press release to come and follow up with the Hon. Speaker of the Council of States to approve the five Counties of former Bor County as requested and named by our elders. 5 (2) He must write a letter of apology to Bor citizens for dismembering their identity unwarranted and highhandedly. (3) In the event that he fails to do (1) & (2), within two weeks’ time, H.E. the Governor ought to spare us the anguish of having to forcefully evict him by voluntarily abdicating the governorship so that he can go and nurse his battered reputation in peace and away from the public spotlight. In conclusion, it is obvious that the Governor has start-off wrongly and the sooner he retraces his footstep backward, the better.
At this embryonic stage of our State, we only need a reformer and a fair arbiter of our many mild but persistent disputes, not a cunning political maneuver that is bent and focused on the deleting the Bor identity in the annals of History of South Sudan. While H.E. Gov. Philip Aguer’s political dagger is still plunged deeply in our back, we are hanging on to a vague hope that the Governor can still redeem his chattered political images by correcting his blunder as stipulated in our aforementioned conditions. We have been told many times that he values consensus and we can only expect not much less from him. Given the plethora of budlers, we can say he is seemingly not to do much consultation and consensus building.
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