Gwalla Community of Bor county petitions South Sudan President Salva Kiir over a controversial land ownership

       The manner of soliciting information used by the plaintiff’s camp is shocking and, smocks of a vile corruption. For the State authorities to abandon their duty to impartiality in administering justice and, to come down on one side in a legal suite among its citizenry is unbelievable, abhorrent and revolting. All officials, from the previous Governor down, did not give themselves time (not a chance) to weigh the claims and counter claims in this case before coming down on the side of the plaintiffs. It appears like they were simply swept off their heels by the power of the names behind the plaintiff claim that they seem to be falling over one another, as to who would render the most brilliant testimonial in support. Reading those testimonials one could not fail to discern where the authorities favour lay. They had unfairly decided, contrary to the norm, to side with the rich, powerful and mighty in power. The case is a clear example of land grabbing prevalent in the Jonglei State Capital, exacerbated by the rich and powerful using their muscle and resources and working in tandem with few corrupt officialdom against legitimate rights of local communities. This curse must and should be fought head on by all in the South to the very end. Corrupt judgements, irrespective of whoever makes them should not and will not be allowed to stand unchallenged in this 21st Century. 

It is our view, herein, that the only authentic documentation admissible in court, is for Bilal’s daughters and their husbands to produce a certificate of land purchase from Gwalla Traditional Authority dating back to the 1950s, and carrying the signatures of Chiefs Ajak Pac Ajak or Alier Ajuong and Mr Kelei Kur, the Kolnyang Court Clerk at the time, as a witness.  

It was common knowledge in Bor Community that when Bilal’s will was disposed in court and involved long legal battles with Mr Abdel Fadhil Agot in Juba at the close of the 1960s, this particular piece of land wasn’t in the will, otherwise we would have challenged the daughters to produce proofs, as we do now, rather than rely on fraudulent, Post-dated statements from young public officials who are not knowledgeable about the origin of this case; are simply eager to please to be in good books, and the provided testimonies by public servants keen to payback favours received in times gone by. Such testimonials are not accept in the court and should have been thrown out. Our position in respect of such documents is affirmed by the recent position taken by Bor County Commissioner, who realised his error of judgement and had to publicly retract his statement because the kangaroo court, understandably, wouldn’t allow him to do that in court, for they, the Justices, had already made up their minds (stitched up their verdict) on the case and felt they would be embarrassed before their sponsors if they were to change course. We want to point out here, that falsification of documents with intent to wrongfully acquire material or moral benefit is perjury and a perversion of justice punishable by law.  

It was clear, right from the start, that this whole matter was motivated and driven by nothing but greed. Getting rich quick at the expense of the wretch of South Sudan (represented here by Gwalla Community), using extortion and falsification of facts known to all, is the name of the game. The Plaintiffs want to extort wealth from ASCOM at the expense of not only Gwalla Community but the entire South Sudan for the benefit of runaway wolves. For who would believe that, a local clan (like Gwalla) that prizes it prime pastoral land would give away over 200 Feddans (see our estimation of area given early on) of its land to a townsfolk (Mr Bilal), as claimed by Hon Alier and his greedy bunch of relatives? Bilal didn’t have the means during those days when he ran a small shop in Bor Town. So, the patch at Malwal-Agorbar was just a small homestead (like any Dinka family farm (5 acres (4.5 Feddans)) run by a single labourer (Mr Majok Deer) who manually worked the farm, planting vegetables, few citrus, guavas and mango trees. Save the contradictory element of the figures branded for Bilal Agricultural land, even if he said he have had the 20 Feddans claimed by his daughter, Zenab, he would have required a tractor or other Agricultural machinery and a construction of a canal for irrigation (not Majok Deer) to work it, neither of which Bilal could afford till his death. The aim here clearly is “let us maximise the extortion loot before it is too late”. For it should be recalled that one of the conditions given to Bilal when he was leased this land was that he would have no ownership claim to it and that the land was to revert to pasture once he (Bilal) ceased to stay on. That was the case after his death when this land became part of the Pakai/ Mathiang-Adar pasture. We repeat we are not aware of any claim to this land prior to 2005 when Mr Alier secretly submitted his claim to the former Jonglei State Governor. The issue was simply stirred up by the arrival of ASCOM for oil exploration in South Sudan and being rightfully granted lease by the Gwalla Community, sanctioning a request by the County on behalf of the state, proving our assertion of extortion.      

We want to draw the attention of the nascent judiciary in South Sudan to the fact that this case is a test case that could determine the public perception of the judicial system in South Sudan. Whether or not it is worth bestowing upon it the seal of the third authority in the South Sudan governance system hangs in the balance. The case represents many flashpoints in the South, especially Jonglei State and needs to be deliberated upon by experienced competent judges known for their moral fibre, wisdom, honesty and integrity. We trust that this will be the case and the August Judiciary will dismiss the ruling by the re-trial Judge and uphold the decision of the initial court.   

While this land issue is to be followed in a judicial court of law as we stressed above, let us make it crystal clear to the rich and the powerful up there who may be tempted to use their (nouveaux riché) status to buy judicial favours and/or abuse their authority and place in public trust that the public in the South is at their heels and watching. We empathise also, while we will sustain our claim to this ancestral land, we concede that for the general good of the people of south Sudan, international and national investment companies maybe leased small parts of this land and we are available for negotiation with the state (GoSS or Jonglei) to determine those parts, on a case-by-case basis, as was the case with ASCOM. This will ensure that we retain the right to ownership on land that maybe leased once the time and purpose of the lease are over and prevent the abuse of the privilege we accord to the state. Under no circumstance would we accept displacement over our ancestral homeland by the rootless and fortune-hunters, who have no relation to this piece of land. We have seen in this case that all the testimonials given by the State of Jonglei were politically motivated discrimination against ordinary people interests (e.g. Gwallei are not on the List of Honourables). Let the State of Jonglei be warned- “Go on and grab the land with your fraudulent Land Bill: The Displacement Bill” sponsored by the Minister for Infrastructure noted in this petition and be prepared for the consequences. We have every reason to believe that this Bill is fraudulent. For how can the governor be removed and sign bills the following day after his relief from office! If he did the Bill would be unconstitutional. It is up to the former Governor to publicly explain himself in respect to this Bill. As it stands we will take as fraudulent act by the Minister to realise the schemes perpetrated by his criminal group. In the meantime, we admonish the state authorities to think of what to do should hundreds of thousands of cattle and people starve, that is if they allow the state to do so alive.  

In conclusion, we emphasise that Malwal Agorbar belongs to us, we will pay for it at any cost. Gwalla Community will do whatever it takes to protect and uphold its community rights till justice is restored and the scourge of corruption is eradicated. It is noble to stand on the side of justice even if we sojourn on the cause of justice alone. 

Gwalla Community Diaspora

1-Jonglei Anyang Abiei-USA

2-Jok Bol Achok-USA

3-Majur Bol Achok-USA

4-Agor Alier Agor-USA

5-Machar Alier Agor-Australia

6-Riak Achiek Aguek-USA

7-Aguto Matiop Aguto-USA

8-Deng Anyiwei Ajuong-Australia

9-Mawut Kuol Ajuong-USA

10-Gai Mading Ajuong-Australia

11-Panther Alier Akuei-USA

12-Akuei Deng Akuei-USA

13-Joh Achop Alier-USA

14-Pach Bior Alier-USA

15-Panther Bior Alier-Australia

16-Garang Deng Alier-Australia

17-Pach Maluk Alier-USA

18-Alier Manyiel Alier-Australia

19-Bol Manyiel Alier-Australia

20-Pach Manyiel Alier-Australia

21-Alier Mawut Alier-Ireland

22-Mabior Mawut Alier-Ireland

23-Alier Thon Alier-USA

24-Deng Thon Alier-USA

25-Mawut Thuma Alier-USA

26-Mayol Gaker Aluel-Australia

27-Anei Nhial Anei-USA

28-Anyang Awai Anyang-USA

29-Ateny Dhal Anyang-Australia

30-Alier Ngong Anyar-USA

31-Awan Aguek Anyieth-USA

32-Alier Mayola Areet-USA

33-Dhieu Thuom Areet-USA

34-Ajuong Aguek Arou-USA

35-Bior Kuer Bior-USA

36-Kuol Thuom Bior-USA

37-Makol Ajang Bol-USA

38-Mayen Alier Bol-Australia

39-Bol Kuei Bol-USA

40-Gai Mach Bol-USA

41-Mangok Mach Bol-USA

42-Ajith Yuot Bol-Australia

43-Madit Alier Bur-USA

44-Thon Majak Deng-USA

45-Bior Longar Dhuka-Australia

46-Mabior Kelei Dut-Australia

47-Dut Majok Dut-USA

48-Garang Kuol Garang-Australia

49-Joh Mabior Garang-USA

50-Aluong Ajak Jila-Australia

51-Ayuen Ajak Jila-Australia

52-Jila Ajak Jila-USA

53-Jok Ajak Jila-Australia

54-Manyok Alier Jok-USA

55-Mayol Pach Jok-Canada

56-Alier Ajak Jongkuch-Canada

57-Deng Ajak Jongkuch -USA

58-Chol Bior Jur-Australia

59-Jur Bior Jur-Australia

60-Jur Deng Jur-Australia

61-Mamer Deng Jur-Australia

62-Gai Thon Jur-Australia

63-Kelei Mabior Kelei-Australia

64-Bol Deng Kok-USA

65- Maker Kuol Koriom-Australia

66- Thon Garang Kuachlek-Australia

67-Chol Abraham Kuchkoon-Australia

68-Gai Abraham Kuchkoon-Yemen

69-Ajok Magok Kueng-Australia

70-Agau Alier Kur-USA

71-Aluong Deng Kur-Australia

72-Mangok Chol Mach-Australia

73-Ajuong Lukuach Mach-Australia

74-Mach Majok Mach-Australia

75-Nhial Thoor Mach-Australia

76-Malueth Nyuon Machel-USA

77-Ajak Akai Machot-USA

78-Adut Adhieu Mading-USA

79-Makol Garang Makol-USA

80-Makol Mach Makol-USA

81-Mayol Aguto Malaak-USA

82-Kuol Mayom Malaak-USA

83-Maluak Mayom Malaak-USA

84-Panther Ajak Mayen -USA

85-Thon Deng Mayol-USA

86-Mayom Pareng Mayom-USA

87-Machar Ateny Nai-USA

88-Alier Mareu Ngang-USA

89-Akol Aguek Ngong-USA

90-Ngong Kur Ngong-Canada

91-Matiop Alier Ngueny-USA

92-Majur Alier Nhial-USA

93-Thon Char Nhial-USA

94-Deng Mach Nhial-Australia

95-Kuol Nhial Nyiel-USA

96-Mayom Majok Nyiel-USA

97-Nhial Majok Nyiel-USA

98-Majok Mach Pach-Australia

99-Alier Mayola Pach-USA

100-Pach Monyroor Pach-USA

101-Bol Riak Pach- USA

102-Pareng Riak Pach-Australia

103-Alier Achuek Paka-USA

104-Alier Mayen Panthum-USA

105-Panther Mabiei Panthum-USA

106-Joh Alier Riak-USA

107-Mawut Ayor Riak-USA

108 -Riak Deng Riak-USA

109-Riak Gai Riak-Australia

110-Agot Garang Riak-USA

111-Joh Garang Riak-USA

112-Majur Garang Riak-USA

113-Akoi Majak Riak- USA

114-Abol Pach Riak- USA

115-Riak Piok Riak- Canada

116-Kuol Riem Riak- Australia

117-Anyieth Mabiei Yuol-Australia 

Petition Committee Contacts

  1. Mangok Mach Bol; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. Matiop Alier Ngueny; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  3. Deng Ajak Jongkuch; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Pach Bior Alier-Madhony; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  5. Akol Aguek Ngong; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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