Twic East Conference report and analysis of the Commissioner’s tour of the United States

The Twic East Community-USA held its 2nd Annual Reunion Conference from July 4th to July 7th 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference was planned and held with the aim of sensitizing and re-igniting the spirits of all members of Twic East Community in diaspora (the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Africa) and the purpose to urge them to take responsibility and ownership for their own county’s development. The Twic East Community leadership of the United States and members vowed afterward to work with their brothers and sisters in Australia, Canada, East Africa and many other regions to development their own county. The leader of Twic East, David Kuol Anyieth Kuol called on members of Twic East County by asserting that the “development of your county is in your hands.”

1001301 576129329110343_2070181094_nThe conference was headlined by the honorable Dau Akoi Jurkuch, the commissioner of Twic East county, whose keynote address was well received by the entire audience.

Mr. Kuol Anyieth, the leader of Twic East in the U.S. reiterated during the opening of the conference that the Twic East Community Commissioner Dau Akoi Jurkuch, member of the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, honorable Deng Dau Deng Malek, former deputy minister for defense, Dr. Majak D’Agoot Atem, and the majority whip of the South Sudan National assembly honorable Atem Garang Deng Kuek were all invited to attend this conference. However, among the invitees, the Commissioner, Dau Akoi attended 2nd Annual Reunion Conference, and the rest did not come because they had busy schedules. Mr. Dau is the first Commissioner from South Sudan invited officially by the Twic East Community-USA leadership to attend the conference. Although Majak, Atem and Deng did not attend the conference, the members of Twic Community understood that their schedules did not allow them to come; after all they sent their best wishes with the commissioner, in in fact MP honorable Deng Dau Malek called in during the conference to greet members and pledge his support toward the proposed project. The Commissioner arrived in Omaha Nebraska on July 2nd Omaha 2013. The leader of the Twic East Community in the State of Nebraska, Bol Mayen Chol with members of Twic East warmly welcomed him. The next evening, the commissioner and his family who came from Australia were hosted by Twic East in Omaha. It was a mini-social gathering meant to ask him few concerns, and questions, and to all him to deliver greetings from home. In that meeting, few issues facing Twic East County were raised ahead of the bigger conference.

The leadership of Twic East community believes that the conference could not have been successful without the extraordinary leadership of Twic East State Leader, Dr. Philiph Tor Manyok Garang, who was assisted by Abraham Deng Lueth Mayom, and Gabriel Bol Jok. Also the leadership and the entire community will not forget the immense work of Aluat Gabrial Dau, and Adut Manyuat of Twic Mayardit and their teams who cooked and catered excellent food during our conference. On behalf of the thousands who attended the conference, we say thank you to those two ladies. They made Kansas City more hospitable. Both the men and women we have mentioned exceeded our expectations by going above and beyond the call of their duty. Nevertheless, the members were delighted and pleased to meet with their commissioners. Most importantly, the primary reasons that make members supper excited was to meet with their leader who is taking care of the disables, orphans, old and young, and all the vulnerable in Twic East County. It is worth noting that the members of Twic East fully comprehend magnitude of issues and challenges facing their County, however, they wanted the commissioner to answer fundamental questions that were raised and any questions beyond his capacity must be answered by the Jongeli State’s governor. We as members of Twic East County are being affected by the same issues and challenges that are facing South Sudan Nation. The President of South Sudan, Jonglei State’s governor, and commissioner, all these leaders take credits for positive developments in Twic East County, hence they must also take responsibility of constant problems. However, members do understand that the war of liberations has given us independence but its consequences has exacerbate ill tribal conflict in Jonglei States, cattle rustlings, insecurity, starvations, lack of educations, lack of roads and infrastructures rampant poverty in Twic East Community. Because the few buildings we had in our county were destroyed during the war.

While unity, peace, food security, and development of development of county were among the topics introduced by the leadership of Twic East Community-USA, the members were eager to be updated about the Twic East County’s achievements, current needs, and challenges were of greater interests to the conference attendees, especially those who came to Kansas City, Missouri, to celebrate both independence of their two countries: the United States of America (July 4th) and the world’s youngest country, the Republic of South Sudan (July 9th).

The Mega Conference indeed brought members of Twic East from all the corners of the United States. The Twic East County leadership and members appeal for unity, peace among its members, in diaspora and South Sudan. While this community-based organization came into existence in 2005, the goals and programs of organization were laid out to achieve its vision, missions, and goals it was founded. However, for the first time since the organization was founded in Tennessee nearly 10 years ago, this year’s two-day conference and reunion brought together hundreds of its members, leaders of various US-based Twic East County’s Payams and community organizations, and states, and most importantly, guest speakers were: Hon. Dau Akoi Jurkuch, the Commissioner of Twic East County of South Sudan’s Jonglei State, Mr. Ajang Chan Awuol, South Sudan Diplomat to Europe, and Madam Achol Garang Aguer, the First Lady of Twic East County who came from Australia with her daughter, Ajah Dau Akoi.

The chairperson of the Twic East Community Council Deng Chol Yuang, explains the mission and vision of the Twic East county Youth Center. He told the members that this Youth Center will be a humanitarian resource; the center will focus on peacemaking effort coordination and fundraising services and also serve a resource for career advancement by offering women’s empowerment training, tutoring, job training, and career counseling among others. The center will also serve as a county gathering area to help the county in times of political rallies and celebrations as wedding and entertainment concerts, and finally, as a social services resource by offering child care, public access to information, and health awareness. To the conference success, those who attended this historic conference and reunion, in cash, pledges, and raised over $20,000 toward the proposed Twic East County Youth Center project, a multipurpose facility that will serve as a resource center, career advancement, humanitarian, and social services for the residents of Twic East County and its neighbors

Members concurred that having a place children can call their own will help the idle youth to engage themselves, enabling them to regain their self-worth and contribute to the development of their Twic East County, Jonglei State, and South Sudan at large. Since the leadership aims at raising more funds, the organization is determined to raise between $50,000 to $100,000. The leaders of Twc East Community-USA are appealing to the organization’s members and friends within the United States and beyond to donate at least $100 by this year’s December. The members of Twic East county residing in the United States are estimated to be 4,000. The members have agreed to pay dual taxes, one tax to United States government and one to their county in South Sudan for development. Details of where if members and friends will send their donations will be provided at the bottom of this report.

The Payam Leaderships have exceeded our expectations because they are accomplishing their set goals. The Commissioner Dau Akoi congratulated them on their jobs well done. He told audiences that clinics and schools currently standing in Twic East County because they were built by diaspora. All the Twic East Community Payam leaders that attended the conference premiered their projects, and those who did not make it sent their representatives. Payams leaders have also done remarkable job here in the United States; they sponsored and funded 1st Twic East Community major Reunion Conference which was held in Omaha Nebraska last year. Therefore we cannot thank them enough. Among the Payam leaders who premiers their projects during conference were: Chairperson of Lith Payam, Apai Mabior Apai will soon unveil developmental project in his Payam of Wernyiel Boma. Chairpson of Kongor Payam, Abuoi Monychol Deng is now renovating and reconstructing Pawel Hospital (clinic), a project that will be completed at the end of this year. However, the Chairperson of Ayual Community, Lual Bul Manyok, has completed Poborong primary school and it is being attended by over 600 children. Lual who spent 3 months in South Sudan, and came last month has shifted 300 packages of seeds to wangulei, because he wanted to initiate agricultural projects in Nyuak Payam. He has also taken school facilities and stationeries to sustain Poborong primary school supplies. He had completed hand pump drilling to ensure clean water supply to community. Lual is exploring new opportunities for development for his payam, he wants to either build clinic or another school. On one hand, Chairperson of Ajuong Payams, Agok Thuch Mabior is currently building Paliau primary school, and finally Alier Reng, Chairperson of Pakeer Payam is currently building clinic in Maar Boma and, it will be completed next. The Nebraska Dioceses has finished Aliet Primary school, it was built using concretes and Jim Yate of Nebraska dioceses had suggested that it will be primary boarding school for girls only.

The chairpersons of Awulian and Dachueek in the U.S. are also working on development plans for Lual-Ajokbil and Baping.

The conclusion of the Mega conference in the Kanas City Missouri was the beginning and launching of series of Twic East State based conference, that were aimed at bringing members of same region to meet at one location with Commissioner. The First of that meeting that seeks to bring members of the South West region of the United States was held in Dallas Texas. The Leaders of Twic East Community in Texas, Atem Deng Ajang (Deng Ayang), invited commissioner to meet with members of the Greater Bor Community, South Sudanese Communities. Honorable Dau addressed the South Sudanese communities during the celebration of South Sudan’s independence. However, in separate conference, he met with members of Duk, Bor South and Twic East counties and friends in Dallas Texas. He spent 4 days in Dallas Texas, from July 10th to 14th, 2013.

The Commissioner was also invited by the leader of Twic East in Illinois Chicago, Chol Ador Deng Manyang. He hosted commissioner in Chicago for four days, from July 19th to 23rd 2013. He also addresses the South Sudanese Communities in Chicago, Illinois. And in separate meeting, he met with members of Duk, Bor South and Twic counties. Both in Dallas Texas and Chicago, Illinois, the following issues were raised by members of Duk, Bor South and Twic East:

  1. Unlicensed physicians practicing their medicines in Twic East, Duke, and Bor South was a concern and it needs to be immediately address by Jonglei State leaderships;
  2. Rampant prostitutions in the triple counties (Duk, Bor and Twic East) spilling over from East Africa, carriers of HIV are disseminating or spreading this disease in the triple Counties;
  3. East African fake doctors have come to Twic East, Duk and Bor South Counties and they are prescribing fake medicines to the innocents civilians;
  4. The commissioner was congratulated for banning alcohol in marriages, but the members urge him to lower bride price (lowering price of dowry going back to Paramount chief Ajang Duot price of 1960s. Setting 30 cows as a price, but that it could be increased based on individuals’ status, and this means wealthy individuals could pay more and poor can pay less.
  5. The issue of child abductions and cattle rustling must be criminalized. The Jonglei state lawmakers must adopt or debate legislations that could penalize and criminalize child abduction or cattle rustling. Because individual’s property, and children must be protected by the government.
  6. Suggestion that home to Dr. John Garang Mabior, and Bortown where Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, Twic East, Duk, and Bor South be connected by the Freedom High Way (a suggestion to President Kiir Mayardit) The nation should plan this project as part of Garang legacy.

In addition, the Commissioner met with members of Greater Bor Community in Denver, Colorado. He met with members and discussed issues facing Twic East County for two days.

The following issues were raised in Denver Colorado

  1. Unity among Twic East members is paramount;
  2. Provision of constant security in hot spots areas of Ajuong and Wernyiel and Nyarweng borders were important;
  3. Creation of viable network and effective communication between diaspora and Twic East leaderships in South Sudan;
    1. Building houses and expansion of Twic East County eastward of the River Nile is essential;
    2. Welcoming individual’s projects and developments at home was emphasized and it needs better understanding at home.

The Commissioner answered the question of child abductions and insecurity by saying that the government of South Sudan has proposed community policing. The community police can be funded by the community members, and the government could only provide ammunitions, transportation. Dau asserted that the citizens of Twic East County were skeptical about proposed community police, because they think that it could be a way in which government could collect guns at the hands of civilians. Commissioner Dau clarified that lingering confusion that continues to cloud the relationship of the three counties of Duk, Twic East, and Bor South, and issue of Greater Bor Community. He told the members that they have Greater in South Sudan, and it organizes social and cultural lives but not political. He narrated how the triple counties are historically tied (as one history) and connected by cultural and social lives but had separate administrations. He suggested it could be good for members of three counties in the United States to focus on ocial, political and communal structures used here in the United States as models for their organizations. He urged members to understand meaning and roles of the Greater Bor Community in its larger contexts. He added that in South Sudan legislative Assembly, there are seats of the MPs that are shared between Twic East County and Duk County; between the Twic East County and Bor South County. The good example is the parliamentary seat of held by Maker Deng Malou which was shared by Twic East County and Duk County. Hence the relationships of the three counties are solid in South Sudan, and they need to be solid here in the United States.

Messages from the visiting delegates of Twic East County

Twic East County’s First Lady, Achol Garang Aguer, who came from Australia with her daughter Ajah Dau Akoi, extended greetings from the Australia’s community members. She acknowledged the Commissioner’s respect for members of Twic East Community-USA by stating that "You are very special people and that is why Commissioner Dau accepted your invitation and visit you in America as he is among you today"
In reference to the young women and men who came from Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp between 1999 and 2001, she added that "You were first in Ethiopian referred to as Jesh el AMer or Red Army, then came to America with the name Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, and you are now our founded men with the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed back home to transform our young country."

Since the first lady visited Twic East County in December of 2012 and January of 2013, she listed the needs that include medicine and midwives in the area of health, agriculture to address food security, and sport activities such as basketball so that our youth are able to compete globally. Concerning politics and division among the Diaspora Community, she questioned everyone at the conference by asking, "Why are you all politicians?"

First Lady Achol advised and warned everyone by stating that "Our addiction to politics is going to destroy us. And If you diagnosed your disease or the devil that divided you, then cure it and move forward as a united community, and accept to work for your people by showing it tonight", referring to the fund raising which followed the meeting. In her closing, she proudly thanked South Sudanese in the Diaspora for the support each of them have been giving to their families, communities, and country from the time of their arrival to the Western world to the presence.

Another special guest speaker was the South Sudan's Diplomat Ajang Chan Awuol from South Sudan Embassy in London. He started off by sharing the greetings from South Sudanese in London and officials, especially from Kuir Dau of South Sudan Embassy in London. Ajang thanked the leadership of Twic East Community-USA for an honor of inviting him and acknowledged he that easily came to America due to the fact that Europe is more accessible compared to Africa, which is some invited officials couldn’t make it. Mr. Ajang reminded members of Jesh el mer that, "I have been a soldier all my life and I had witnessed all your challenges throughout the struggles of Sudanese people." He publicly declared his support for the proposed Twic East County Youth Center project. He encouraged everyone to contribute to its success. Mr. Ajang Chan never mentioned anything about the pending investigation of his brother Diing Chan Awuol (Abraham Isaiah) who was assassinated in Juba last December, but instead, he concluded his speech by stating that "networking is very important and United States of America is the starting point with the coming of your home's County Commissioner Dau Akoi Jurkuch."

Twic East County Commissioner Honorable Dau Akoi Jurkuch, who was well acknowledged and introduced by General Mabior Nhial, opened his speech with a message of thanks to the Twic East Community-USA’s leadership and the entire community, and or course, his wife and daughter, Ajah Dau Akoi, who came from Australia to give him the company. He said, "I accepted your invitation to this conference because you are the next commissioners of your county and you are the future of Twic East County and South Sudan."

To conclude, our vision is to be a peaceful, harmonious and hunger-free community that is friendly and attractive to all its residents and friends. We are determined to commit both human and financial resources to charter new destinies in this age of progressive development.

Our mission will be geared toward the rehabilitation and reconstruction processes. We will focus on agricultural projects to confront acute food shortages. We will also combat diseases through public health education campaigns and building of health centers. We will focus on initiating a lasting peace and unity and repopulation of Payams. We will also work to establish good communication among Twic East community members in North America, East Africa, Australia and Southern Sudan. We are determined to re-energize our core ideals, tap on our strong values and deliberate on our strategic destiny in this era of development in order to produce a vibrant and functioning community. The following areas will be of priority but we will do more as we leverage resources.

Insecurity and conflict mitigation: Twic East County faces external threats and internal issues that need urgent resolutions. The internal problems require immediate action and strategic plans that would address clans or sectional conflict diplomatically. Due to internal and external insecurities, Twic East County is depopulated. The families are feeling insecure; general development, building of social amenities and infrastructures have either ceased or diminished.

Food security and school developments: The constructions of schools and subsistent farming have stopped. The little development that was happening because of Comprehensive Peace Agreement is on the verge of collapse. We will work to change this trend.

Unity of Twic people: We will work to unite Twic members and focus on dynamics issues that have hindered progress for last decades of war.

Public Health: We will also strive to confront wide spread water borne diseases by building health care facility and sanitation projects and providing clean drinking water (water purification techniques and water pumps).

Collaboration: we will work collaboratively with Twic communities and other stakeholders to create unique opportunities and meets challenges facing our community in southern Sudan. The following are summary of our goals

Our unity is fundamentally important; our strength as a community lies in our reconciliatory relationships, unity of purpose and coexistence spirits.

  1. Restoration of Twic community good leadership and adherence to its beliefs and traditional values: this mean we will follow leadership steps set forth by our prominent leaders who came before us.
  2. Building strong partnerships with Duk and Bor South Communities and enriching our relationships.
    1. Micro finance and Community development bank; to develop the private sector.
    2. We will work closely with Twic East commissioner to remedy the following unacceptable occurrences in the Twic area; livestock raiding, child abductions and Looting of civilians’ properties.
    3. We will also work with Twic East community chairperson, Dr. Dau Aleer Abit, to collaborate on a number of issues affecting Twic people.
    4. We will encourage collaboration and communication with Twic communities in Australia and Canada.
    5. Memorial Holiday will be Twic East Annual Conference Day; we will always invite our leaders from South Sudan to attend.

Any donations can be sent to Twic East Community-USA, Inc

This report was prepared by: Gabrial Pager Ajang Kur: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. AND Peter Magai Bul AYual : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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