The Cases of Stolen Ambassadorial Positions and Tribal Conflicts in Jonglei State

Posted: April 30, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Featured Articles
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By Apioth Mayom Apioth

                   The three counties of Bor South, Twic East, and Duk were allocated 12 ambassadorial positions by the Government of South Sudan, but during the process of allocations in Bortown, 8 of those 12 positions were given to Bor South communities, leaving just 4 positions to be shared between Twic East and Duk counties. Having being born in Jonglei state and having  had a splendid opportunity to spend my lifetime around the members of Jonglei communities, I would have to conclude that Bor South, Twic East and Duk communities have shared a great history together.
                   In the past, if an issue of war or economic development arise, members of the three counties would take up their war shields and wits to defend themselves  from any foreign invasion. As far as I can remember, it has been like that since time immemorial. The three communities were like a set of triplets, born from the same mother and father. Even though, they were not exactly real triplets from the same parents, they resembled a replica of an actual set of triplets that were carefully brought up by their good and loving parents, which was recognizable in how they stood their ground in harsh moments of trials and adversity throughout their history of existence in Jonglei state.
                 People tend to disagree on different things when they can’t find a way to accommodate their differences. But it is only through diversification and acceptance of our differences that we can find numerous ways to  strengthen and build up our communities from the ground up. Once we learn to respect to our differences, then we can soldify a united front where diversity in unity is a social organization that resolve our communal barriers. If this case could have started a conflict among the three communities, then we could have experienced a bloodbath right in our backyard, with a mere issue  that could have been easily solved by our leaders in Bortown by equally distributing 6 ambassadorial positions  to Bor county and another 6 appointments to Twic East and Duk counties.
                   Is this the end of the line for a truly remarkable history created by living side to side all these centuries? I hope not; because we were recently awarded our independence from Arabian colonialism. If it is indeed the case, then we ought to say goodbyes with our heads held high up, not through thievery of our political positions endowed to us by the Government of South Sudan because they belong to us through our birthrights, unalienable rights and our stake claims as citizens of Jonglei state. From 1956 up until July 2011, South Sudanese were fighting Jallaba’s colonist regime in Khartoum to spurs on their claim to get a shot at the modern-day civilization, only to see our Great communities of Twic East and Duk face marginalization from Bor county in Jonglei state.
                  Why didn’t our cousins from Bor county tell Twic East and Duk communities to remain in the bush to fight their own war of self-determination from them in the first place? If Bor South communities continue to hustle away our economic opportunities like the way of these ambassadorial positions, then, we no choice, but to campaign for the division of Jonglei state into two separate states, where we will live in a state of abundant without someone robbing us of economic projects. Governor Kuol Manyang and Bor South communities, we are urging you to recall those ambassadors and be returned to their rightful owners in Twic East and Duk counties.
                   It is not too late to solve a problem that will leave a lasting scar among these three communities. The time is still ripe to make a difference because the appointments were only made in late March. We don’t want anyone to stunt our economic growth in any way possible. If you happen to scale through the map of South Sudan, one wouldn’t fail to recognize that Jonglei state is the largest state among the 10 states. During the recent Jonglei state clashes, some pockets of peace activists briefly mentioned that, the only way to bring peace to Jonglei state is by dividing the state into two states to ease up turmoil among conflicting communities.
                 That might have seemed like a far-fetched  solution to an age-old problem of cattle rustling and child abduction among the intertwined communities of Dinka Bor, Twic East Dinka, Lou Nuer, Murle and Anyuak. Imagine, if Lou Nuer and Murle were grouped together again in their own state, the same problem would have continued or further escalate into a bigger humanitarian crisis than it is already is. The Jonglei state clashes is a mult-faceted problem that can be solved through two alternative routes. The first part to solve this monotonous problem is for the conflicting communities to pick a third party member from outside Jonglei state and be none other than from Dinka, Murle or Nuer tribe, this third party member will then conduct a dialogue among them.
               This is true in part due to the fact that, a Murle community would not accept a member of Lou community to solve this problem because they might suspect a member from Lou Nuer from wrongdoing in this conflict. The same thing holds true for Twic East Dinka, Dinka Bor or Anyuak communities, they would blatantly refuse a Murle or Lou Nuer community member to hold the conflict resolution dialogue among them. This problem doesn’t require westernized conflict resolution methods or approaches similar to those of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This problem bears no resemblance to the genocidal cases of ICC because it is a centuries-old problem that needs to be uprooted from its genesis of beginnings.
                Once the third party dialogue member has been selected, then all these communities need to involve their youth leaders, traditional chiefs, payam leaders, Members of Parliaments, and county leaders. Traditional wisdom is as important as modernized African methods of conflict resolution partly to the fact that these were applicable methods that continued to keep our communities as cohesive as possible up until our modern era and those methods have not failed us since the first time we stepped our feet on this planet.  After the dust is cleared and settled, the conflicting communities can then talk to their youth, young adults and all the community members who are considered responsible for this problem, that we are here to live side by side as diversified communities of Jonglei state and most importantly as good citizens of the Republic of South Sudan.
               The Human Rights Watch, who is very popular with its slogan which goes, “Defending human rights wordwide,” has a statement which says, “Every human being has human rights by virtue of being a human being.”  We need to find creative ways to drum ideas of communal relations into the youths and young adults of Jonglei state to learn from us that no one, even the Pope of the Vatican City is not above the law and that there is a need to respect everyone’s human value, dignity, and property. Disarmament of Jonglei communities is not a long term solution to the Jongle clashes, it is a short-sighted approach to cover up the failures of our government in Juba. While the process of disarmament is taking shape in Jonglei state, some pockets of Jonglei communities may run to the nearby bush and hide their guns that they may retrieve later after the tides of disarmament has died down.
              And better yet, some members whose weapons were forcifully taken from them, may rush to the blackmarket dealers to buy yet another gun. On the other hand, deploying South Sudan Police around Pibor county is another short-term solution that may later make this problem worse than it is already is.  While South Sudan Police is deployed around Murle villages, these same Murle youth may talk their way out of the deployment lines by saying we are going to attend a wedding or school in Central Equatoria state. After they infiltrated the deployment lines, they may group themselves up again and attack in Dinka Bor areas.
              If these Murle youths can’t find a way to get rid of the South Sudan Police, they might confront them head on, which is another altercation that may cause another senseless lost of lives. Murle has a long-held cultural practice where youth are allowed to raid cattle, abduct children, and kidnap women from their neighboring communities. Murle boys must perform these deeds before they become adult. If these deeds are performed to satisfactory standards, then they are rewarded with statutory privileges and wealth. That is why this cultural practice has been hard to break in the mainstream Murle culture, because it holds prominence important to everyone, youth or adult.
               The second alternative route to solve this problem is for both our federal government and Jonglei state government to take immediate educational initiatives and economic projects to Pibor county, these social institutions can then be used to build schools, hospitals, roads and thereby creating an atmosphere of community empowerment. Our Murle brothers need to be taught the civilized methods that are encroaching at everyone’s doorsteps in South Sudan.While Murle youths are trying to raid Lou Nuer of their cattle, their Lou Nuer youth counterparts are busy studying for their final exams to pave way for their futures as engineers and doctors.
             Installation of social institutions and active community leadership in Pibor county can bring tangible results of social change never before seen possible. Murle community needs cultural socialization approaches that will create awareness and consciousness which are bound to break down cultural practices that are harmful to other Jonglei communities. These social institutions have capacities to teach Murle community that other communities in Jonglei state are as important as them.
Written by Apioth Mayom Apioth, a South Sudanese citizen living in USA.
  1. Dear Apioth Mayom,

    Interesting article Mr. Apioth!

    However, I wonder though if you have satisfactorily shown that there was indeed any connection between the state government in Bortown and the appointment and distribution of ambassadorial posts from Juba. Was the state government consulted by Juba or did they influenced President Kiir’s apportionment of the portfolios?

    If yes, did that happen only in the three counties or across the entire state of Jonglei where Kuol Manyang is the governor–he is not just the governor of the three counties of Bor South, Twic East and Dukkeen. One would believe that seats given to Bortown would be in term of all counties, not just the three ones. Were the 12 positions given to the three counties by Juba or by Bortown?

    How about other states in the Republic of South Sudan; did they influence the distribution of ambassadorial positions too or was it restricted to Jonglei only? Same could be extended to ministerial positions too; had any hidden hand (s) been at play in that regard or is this only in regard to ambassadors? Why?

    Just a thought because, though I did see your point—-8 ambassadors going to one county while the two counties received just 4 out of the possible 12—-I just did feel as if the full picture…all the possible questions….were not adequately addressed in your article.

    Take care,
    PaanLuel Wel.


  2. Apioth Mayom Apioth says:

    Paanluel Wel,

    I was told 12 positions were given to these three counties by the GOSS. Then after much consideration, 4 positions were given to Twic East and Duk counties. This incident blatantly took me out of my feet, where did the rest of positions? You just have to study “Making sense of Ambassadorial appointments” you wrote in March. About eight positions came from Bor county, I only found three individuals coming from Twic East and Duk counties.


  3. Agereb Leek Chol says:

    Your piece is very interesting to read and I like your recommendations about peace and reconciliation aspect. However, I want to agree more with Paanluel who also question the connection of ambassadorial selection between the government in Juba and the state. I don’t see any connection as well. Can you please enlighten me who took those 8 positions in Bor South and left Twic and Duk counties with 4 spots? Perhaps some names. If that’s the case, were these positions appointed by the governor Kuol or nominated in Juba? Second, what’s the connection between ambassadorial positions and “tribal conflict in Jonglei state in regard to Twic east and Bor south who “stolen” ambassadorial spots? Is this a prediction or something that’s already happening? Is it appropriate to compare Murle tribal disputes with other tribes in Jonglei State in regard to Bor South, Twic , and Duk counties internal conflicts?

    Also, if I can response to your last article call “what is in the name of Bor”?, you writes, “As knowledge become easily accessible to mass of people around the world, it has become apparent to some degree that something that is considered unique as the name of Bor can be used as for a profit organization by the people such as Gok and Athoc who consider themselves as the flag bearers of Bor. When NGOs, IMF, WTO, and many other well-recognized bodies of international organizations come to Jonglei State and ask to invest in the Agricultural markets, provide humanitarian assistance or educational assistance, the name Bor can easily pop up and from there, resources can start pouring to the Gok and Athoc sections of Bor from all the corners of the world”. Can you please provide some links because last time I check there are no such developments under IMF and WTO in Gok or Athoc areas in Jonglei State. Twic or Duk counties won’t be the only people complaining about these developments since everyone in Jonglei State deserve similar rights? Perhaps maybe under Abel Alier era, just to give you the benefit of the doubt since he’s not from Bor South.

    Thank you for your time,

    Agereb Leek


  4. Agereb Leek Chol says:

    Abel Alier is from Bor South. Excuse my typos. Thanks.


  5. Dinka Twi says:

    It is legitimate folks. The positions were from South Sudan’s government and not government. Bor County took 8 positions alone while Twic East County and Duk County just took 4 positions.


  6. Ajak Lorya says:

    Zero tolerance to any inequality is the way forward to our unity as Bor South,Twic East and Duk. Besides; may God pay back those who do things in darkness be it at national level or state level.


  7. Maditroor. says:


    It is imperative that someone in your statue who has access to chronological system of rule and knowhow can’t settle for less and primitive way of analysing things.
    There was no connection between appointment made by the South govt and the state.
    You should make some commonsense acknowledgement before going public on issues.
    The appointments where made based on qualifications and if there was tribal trace then State are not involve.


  8. Maditroor says:

    Just a bundle of thoughtlessness and primitivity analyse if i could ruin the word “analyse” in this particular case. Who told you government positions are distributed based on tribes instead of qualification but not states. You are a graduate but still lack commonsense and how system work.


    • Apioth Mayom Apioth says:

      @Paanluel Wel: I posted Kuol Manyang’s name up there in my article to alert him and the rest of the Jonglei communities to bring justice to these affected communities. He is not a culprit in this case whatsover, his healthy record speaks volume for itself.He has been known to stand for justice under all circumstances he had faced throughout his political career. I brought this case to his attention, since we all know he his a righteousman and not a clan divisionist. One particular case, in which he crossed all boundaries, was the case when he brought his own mother to stand trial under his watchful eyes. These particular ambassadorial positions were given unmolested to the state government of Jonglei by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be distributed to three counties of Twic East, Bor and Duk. However, during the process of allocation, one notorious man, known for turning things upside down in this particular arena, gave four positions to Twic East and Duk counties. It is up to people like me, you( paanluel Wel, Agereb Leek and Gabriel Pageer Ajang) to bring this crooked individual down by any means necessary. We all talked about the failures of Kiir’s administration, but first we must clean our backyard squeeky clean before we can pass judgements on other people’s reputations. Twic East and Bor people say, they make great leaders, let’s start charity at home, if you may please.


      • Dear Apioth,

        I appreciated the extra information you have introduced into your argument.

        It is my guess that many on this site would be glad to know who this “one notorious man” is and how he could have had the power to decide such importance assignments when Governor Kuol Manyang is around. Who authorized the “man” and who is he? It appears as if there might be two centers of power in Bortown, correct me there!

        I think Agereb, Pageer and the rest would be greatly constraint to respond adequately when they don’t have all the information you seem to have had access to.

        PaanLuel Wel.


      • Apioth Mayom Apioth says:

        Since you blatantly stated you don’t time for this case, I will do my best to see the justice is served to the victims of this crime. Great job by the way for putting up this blog. Good luck in your future endeavors, you are surely a bright star among the clouds.


      • Dear Apioth,

        I don’t think I have stated anywhere that I “don’t have time for this case.” Maybe there is a misreading somewhere, please check that out. Besides, your response was a reply under/to Maditroor but was addressed to me. I hope that is correct too.

        Your compliment is appreciated and so is your civility in debating your fellow South Sudanese!!

        PaanLuel Wel.


      • Thon Nul says:

        I have time to spare. I want to see justice done to Twi and Dukkens. I am joing Apioth Mayom on this issue.


    • Thuch says:

      Your comment about qualifications as reason for giving Buor 8 out of 12 ambassadors positions is ridiculously dumb! Are you saying Buor are more educated than Twic and Duk?


  9. Apioth Mayom Apioth says:

    @ Agereb Leek: The Jonglei state clashes involving Twic East, Dinka Bor, Lou Nuer and Murle is my own separate analysis apart from my last article on the discourse between Twic East and Bor South. There is no development yet in Gok and Athoc as we speak, but my recommendation is that, we need to separate Twic East from the mainstream Bor, since the Twic people don’t want to be call Bor. Since, some pockets in Bor South refuse to include Twic East as part of Bor county, I am afraid of marginalization in terms of overall economic development aspirations.


  10. Raan Jaam says:

    This apportionment of ambassadorial positions is interesting. However, there is aloophole in Mr. Apioth burning issue. I bet the allocation of these mentionedpositions was decided by the minister of foreign affairs (Nhial Deng Nhial) and then approved by the president Gen. Salva Kiir. I am not from the two Bor Counties but my inituition points positively to Juba’s government;lobbying might have been there if it’s true some Jonglei government officials were implicated in the selction. For the matter of truth, much was decided from the top and that is president Kiir and Nhial.


  11. Dinka Twi says:

    To mediator, do you that the Ministers of South Sudan were allocations through Three regions, States, Counties, tribes and many more.


  12. Garang e Ciluel says:

    Did you have to insult Apioth to state your point? Be civil and you can be easily understood. I think Apioth has a common sense and a better way of argueing his point that you are. You present yourself as if you are part of the system and know the system in and out. But your statements are just assumptions not facts. Are you sure that the selection of the ambassadors was based on qualifications? And if it was based on qualifications, was it on individual qualifications or county qualifications? What was the criteria used to select the most qualified individuals? Answer those questions since you stated categorically that it was based on qualifications and you know it.

    There is no information out there to tell us that the ambassadors were selected by the ministry of foreign affairs based on their qualifications and the state governement had nothing to do with it. Also, it is not clear whether the ministry of foreign affairs requested each state government to make recommendations on individuals that could be appointed as ambassadors. In my oppinion, which might be incorrect, I think the ministry of foreign affairs apportioned a certain number of ambassadors to each state and requested the state govenments to make recommendations. So, it might be that the government of Jonglei state used certain criteria to make those recommendations. I think the foreign minister appointed people that were recommended to his ministry by various state governments.

    Either way, there is absolutely unfairness in this issue. Jonglei state has a total of 13 ambassadors. Out of 11 counties, 3 counties (Bor, Twic East and Duk) got 92 %, with Bor county 62% alone. Even if it was based on qualifications, I don’t see the reason why only one person from the other 8 counties was found qualified. My arguement is based on the believe that the appointments were not solely based on qualifications. If somebody gives me a proof that it was done by the ministry of foreign affairs and nobody else was involved in this, then I will take back my statement.


  13. Garang e Ciluel,
    Correction!, the appointment of ambassadors was not made by department of foreign affairs but rather the presidency. If the president had consulted the minister of foreign affairs then he was the one who made the final decision.
    Hey! garang, since time immemorial, Bor county has had great edge in qualified members unlike Twic East/Bor North. It was just recently that Twic became a competitive member but still an old a bone that an old dog fail to chew can’t be chewed by a youngster dog/puppy.
    Whether your assertion that the vacancies were stolen, that wouldn’t be true nor will it bring back the already set appointments.

    I think the crux of the matter is that Bor has for long been perceived by Twic East as exceedingly cunning in the sense that it can and has ability to use its’ geniousity to take what belong to others namely Twic. That is a long held view by your ancestors but please don’t let the past hold you hostage. We are the same with the same reasoning capacity except consciential strength to unravel things wittingly. Once more and lastly, you have no positions stolen by Bor nor can sections gain one a position if he has no positively recognized qualification, quality and personality.


  14. Garang e Ciluel says:

    Dhal Nyootxa,
    Stop being naïve. You came swinging thinking that you have something to correct. When a president is said to have appointed ambassadors, it does not mean that he personally sits down and decide who to appoint (counter-correction). In most cases, this is done by the ministry of foreign affairs. They do the vetting of the potential ambassadors, determine their qualifications and then present their proposed names to the presidency. If the president has no problem with the proposed list, he will then use the law to officially appoint them. In some cases, the president will add some names to the list and decide not to appoint some of the names presented to him/her by the foreign minister.
    My friend Dhal, who cheated you that Bor County have always had an edge in terms of qualified people compare to Twic East. When did Bor County produce exceptional leaders that were never produced by Twic East County? The facts on the ground are that, Twic East County has the less number of illiterate people in the whole Jonglei state. In terms of integrity, personality and leadership qualities, Twic East won’t miss out. So, what qualifications are you talking about? If you are the epitome of the leadership in Bor County, then I have nothing more to say to you. Civility is the norm of the civilized people. So, refrain from hauling insults at other people.


    • Awulian cin piou says:

      Garang, I feel sorry when I heard you talking about your best leaders in twic, non of the offered his life during the war even today. Please you are coward brothers and weak. Can you list the names of the most highly educated commanders who died since the war started in 1983. Please think twic before you said anything. The family of Warabie Ayuel and Mabior Atem family brought you to the table otherwise. You will pays a price of what you had done brothers by killing Bor people

      Thank you

      Awulian cin piou


  15. Awulian cin piou says:

    Like son, like father, Mayom Apioth was negative contributing to most the problems between Twic and Bor. He used to mount negative allegation beween Bar-el-gazale and Bor South by then.

    Take Care man.

    Awulian cin piou


  16. Bor the root cause of terror and evil on the face of the earth says:

    Hey Aguek Aguto, Why did you steal Twic positions and turn back to abuse them? Where in the world did you ever hear of a thief who attack the victim? Since you have already stolen their positions why can you go back and fatten your asses in the so called ghetto town also known as Bortown. Everything that the Bor people on this earth was achieved through thievery. Thievery is written in every fiber of your being. Can you stop this thievery given that we have already achieved our independence and we need to move forward with a united front. Please learn from the Twic East people, they are the most calmest people on the face of this world. When they are not given anything, they stay to themselves. Twic people don’t go around robbing everyone of their properties. The whole South Sudan is going to run havoc because of your criminal offenses you are committing on the innocent people of this proud nation. Aguto, Achiek Mach Deng, Alier Deng Majak and all your Bor people please stop these heinous crimes. Look at you, people in Jonglei state are saying Murle are raiding cattle and creating havoc here and there, but the very people who are creating these crimes are Bor who are competing to get large of livestock.


  17. Bor ni watoto wa nyoka says:

    Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka. Always acting like a snake will forever be a snake. What Bor people fails to realize is the great hospitality Twic people have shown them since the dawn of time. Look back at our times in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Maker Thiong, Majak Nhial and other Bor directors used to handpicked Bor students to attend Kakuma Secondary School and Napata Secondary School. Even though other students from other communities such as Twic East, Bahr al Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile were qualified with satisfactory grades to attend those same high schools, they were left out because of Bor dirty-minded games they are so gifted with since they walk onto this earth.Even if you feed a snake, that snake will never leave its wild ways and it will one day bite you in the back. Bor people resembles snake wild ways. Now you are abusing Kiir goverment and the greater Bahr Ghazal. Imagine if Bor people had greater numbers like the greater Bahr al Ghazal, you will be butchering everybody like the butcher Hitler himself. Bor please stay out of Twic East people’s way


  18. kailoor says:

    The question that ought to be answered first is the procedures of ambassadorial selection, whether it is on individual merit or through states allocation which may as well go down the line to Bomas if not to family level.

    If we are aware of that process, then such query could be easily answered and address to prevent the future slide back to marginalization stage that no one is seem to be comfortable with.

    After all thank to your other ideas, were your are from is place of my greatest expectation.


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