Truth Empowers The Short History of Lirya Rural Council, Revisited

BY Christopher Sebit



Terribly disappointed by rigid, uncompromising attitude of the politicians running the defunct CES, the Lokoya leaders were almost giving up the search for autonomy. The establishment of Oponi County with its headquarters at Lokiliri and the appointment of a Lokoya son, Hon. Hitler Abili Roberto as its commissioner did nothing to alter their hardened, irreversible position. The Lokoya leaders boycotted the inaugural ceremony organized in Lokiliri for the reception of the commissioner. “We are not going to work in a location chosen by politicians with vested interest in Lulubo land. We shall continue to demand for our own county”, says a Lokoya leader in a conversation with the author.

The challenge from the Lokoya leaders on the one hand and the political intrigue of the Lulubo leaders on the other hand prompted the Governor of Jubek State, H.E. Augustino Jadallah Kamilo to split Oponi County into two counties: Lirya County and Lokiliri County in order to harmonize the relationship between the Lokoya and the Lulubo. The author congratulates Governor Jadallah and President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit for taking such a wise decision giving separate self-governments to the Lokoya and the Lulubo. The next task for our government is to overcome the debilitating Lomega conflict and the suppressed border conflicts to ensure permanent peaceful co-existence of the two communities. There is an emerging border conflict between “Kudwo” in Lokiliri County and Ngangala Payam in Lirya County. Another emerging border conflict is between Ngulere in Lirya County and Lokiliri.

Overcoming the debilitating Lomega conflict requires immediate intervention from the national government. The state’s reliance on the probability solution to the conflict and at same time retaining its resolution No. 15/2018 empowering the Kworiji families, weakening Arinyakono family and frustrating the entire Lokoya Community is a clear indication of incompetence. Indulgence in geopolitical interests has blindfolded the state administration and greatly reduces its capacity to handle Lomega conflict transparently and impartially. To avoid more complications and provocations arising from the geopolitical interests of the state officials, the author calls for intervention from the president office. Unless the president office intervenes quickly into the conflict and allows for a credible and neutral committee of government conflict resolution experts to be formed and entrusted with full powers to actively engage the parties into comprehensive negotiations leading to a permanent and just solution, the author sees the conflict moving in the same direction of the protracted conflict in South Sudan.

The Lokoya leaders including the author believe that the intrigues of state elites have pushed the conflict to the stalemate stage, i.e. the stage of uncertainty. In a great deal of situations, governments cannot rely on decisions based on uncertainties. Governments must take courageous decisions that solve problems in the face of uncertainties—thus minimizing dependency on probability solutions that are subjected to the forces of chance and do not offer appropriate solutions to problems. At times, probability solutions are said to be misleading in the sense that they may work in favour of the party perceived to be on the wrong side of the conflict and does not possess convincing evidences justifying its points of views.

My message to the Lokoya leaders is that pursue the resolution of your political grievances peacefully and respectfully; continue to apply the principle of non-violence in search for genuine and holistic solution to Lomega conflict and other possible pending border conflicts; remember the challenges you encountered from Juba and Torit authorities when demanding for the creation of LRC; recall the mountain of difficulties involved in the struggle for your hard-won autonomy, Lirya County; put concerted efforts on the development issues of your community; identify qualified, competent, dedicated, honest, faithful and visionary individuals to represent your community at all levels of government;  embark on dialogue as the only viable tool to solve conflicts that have caused hatreds and divisions among yourselves and between you and others; and above all, invest a lot of energy and time in uniting your people under one administration so that you are able to talk with one strong voice.

To the state government: flexibility, cooperation, neutrality, transparency and accepting mistakes in dealing with communal conflicts is power and wisdom; collection and accurate analysis of information about the conflict at hand before intervention is key to success of the resolution process; creating an ethnically balance committee of conflict resolution experts; and giving local government officials and traditional authorities enough powers to deal with local conflicts. To our national government: effective maintenance of inter-governmental linkages through giving technical support and promoting co-ordinated efforts geared towards mitigation or termination of conflicts; encourage states to develop mechanisms to enhance inter-state co-ordination and co-operation in the resolution of conflicts; and purse good governance through democracy and a federal system of government having the capacity to appropriately separate powers and allows for transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law to be pursued in a manner that will help bring about genuine and sustainable peace and political stability in the whole country. May the Almighty God the father bless and bring peace among the Lokoya and Lulubo!

The statue of Captain Robert Chavellier Cooke, Commissioner of Mangalla, Rejaf and Juba Districts 1918-1946.

Juba: Arinyakono family paid tribute to the tomb of Chief Lolik Lado and performed a ritual upon return from Lomega.

Langabu: Mr. Joseph Lokudu, the grandson of Arinyakono Kajame


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