Opinion | Response to Hon. Viso Likali Ulum over Lopit Community insistence on the name LOPA as a county unifying factor
"What is likely to happen is that the Government led by President Salva Kiir will institute a transparent study of the Lopit Pari areas to ascertain claims made on petition papers, internet, social media and whatever forums you like to call on whether each deserves a county -- and if not, what county name would befit us."
OPINION – I came across an opinion article on social media last Saturday written by Hon. Likali Ulum, one state MP (under SPLM-IO voucher) in the Eastern Equatoria State Legislative Assembly.
The article was all but full of admirations of Lafon area particularly for its role in the liberation struggle. That it was here where attacks were first flung (after the 1983 Bor Mutiny) against several towns like Mongala, Mogiri pocketing Khartoum armed forces. It was also here where the defeated forces of William Nyuon withdrew in 1991. For the most part, Lafon was a war zone.
Fine, Hon. Ulum, this was Lafon at that juncture. And so were towns like Ibonni and Lohuthok and the like which you rightly mentioned to have been very popular during and after the liberation struggle.
Albeit, the difference of opinion of Lopit and Pari has not always been the above but that of the county name. Lopit, like better for the sake of unity, to call the county name LOPA – Lopit Pari – which you Pari intellectuals/politicians do not subscribe to (you wanted it all as LAFON County).
You people concluded that by Dr. John decreeing the county name LAFON, was all, but over for the Lopit People. This logic does not go well with Lopit public.
We are saying this because the two communities prior to the invitation by the office of Dr. John to request for new counties wrote a joint request for a county – for it was clear that Pari ethnic community singly could not constitute a county of its own. Therefore, joining hands with the Lopit community would mechanically be admissible.
We are talking about population, resources, existing structures, administrative units and so on at the time of requesting for a county.
We are very much convinced that Pari and Lopit combined had 5 payams (Lopit 4 and Pari 1) with a population of over 80,000 people – meeting the musts for a new county (out of Torit).
Let’s leave aside the subject of decrees here because decrees can be reversed depending on the outcomes. What we need to ask or answer for the notice of living in peace as two caring communities are as follows:
Did the two communities sit down when the county request was approved to discuss county name like they did when they requested for the county?
If they sat down, was there a signed agreement (with signatures from local chiefs from the two ethnic communities) on naming the County Lafon?
If there wasn’t any sitting arranged, how did the name appear Lafon when it was announced on the radio in May, 2004?
This is the surest way to go when trying to find answers to this long-standing difference.
Perhaps, Pari politicians or those (with interests) fastened to Dr. John at the time, somewhere were entrusted by Lopit front-runners to do the needful for us all since the journey was started by us all, but somewhere took advantage of the chancy situation in favor of LAFON.
Hon. Likali, Lopit recent request to the President of the Republic for a new county may not mean that Lafon County will remain as a county of Pari’s own.
While we understand that the government has very many challenges to attack it is also important to admit that the government will not rush into one-dimensional conclusion.
What is likely to happen is that the Government led by President Salva Kiir will institute a transparent study of the Lopit Pari areas to ascertain claims made on petition papers, internet, social media and whatever forums you like to call on whether each deserves a county — and if not, what county name would befit us.
Let us not celebrate yet. The absolute way out to our differences rests with the President of the Republic.
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