Withdrawal of Community Confidence from Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö
Withdrawal of Community Confidence from Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö
My name is Laila Barnaba Yatta Lokosang Lomurö. I am a proud son of Pojulu parents, born and nurtured in Lainya County, where I also completed my primary schooling.
It is out of a sense of duty, loyalty and profound love to my community that I am appealing to you to consider endorsing my motion to withdraw full confidence in whatever leadership role Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö is assuming in our Community. For the love of our Community, please sign this statement!
I wish to make it known to you, fellow Pojulu, in all honesty and faith, that my move is in no way motivated by a malicious desire to settle personal scores against Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö, or by any political difference whatsoever. Far from these, my motivation is purely in the interest of my Community whose dignity is outrageously being taken for a ride by one of its sons. I respectfully outline below the reasons why I have raised this motion.
1. In an article that appeared on the online newsletter “Nyamilepedia”, published on 26th September 2021, the current South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU), is quoted as pontificating that he is the “Chairman of the Pojulu Community”. He insinuated that given this status, he should be beyond reproach; else he would sue for defamation. His polemics and wayward innuendoes aside, it is prudent to set the record straight. Dr. Martin Elia’s claim that he is the sitting Chairman of the Pojulu Community is utterly false! He was elected on 28th August 2008 by delegates from all five Payams of the present-day Lainya Country (alphabetically, Kenyi, Kupera, Lainya, Mukaya, Wonduruba and Wuji), Wonduruba and Khartoum, to serve as Chairperson of the supposed Lainya Community Community Organization (LACCO). The exact term of office was supposed to be specified in a Constitution to be decided by the organization’s General Assemble.
2. Dr. Martin Elia was elected in a convention, which I initiated when I wrote a concept note. I had chaired a series of task force meetings in July and August 2008 in Juba and led a fund-raising team to make it happen. On 29th and 30th August 2008, the event titled “First Conference of Lainya County Community” was convened under the chairmanship of Dr. Yatta Lori Lugör (MD), who was the Chairperson of the Ad-hoc Committee for the Organization of the Conference. The event assembled hundreds of delegates from the six payams (sub-county administrative areas), as mentioned above, in addition to those from Lainya Town – the venue of the Conference – and its suburbs. Notable Community Elders, namely; late Vincent Kujjo Lobung, former Commissioner of Lainya County; Chief Yosapata Jöjön (Wonduruba); Chief Scopas Loduwö Torujö (Mukaya); Elder Erasto Lasu Ladu (Kupera); Retired Chief Mikaya Lasu (Wuji); a representative of late Chief Lupai Lung’aju (Kenyi Payam); and late Chief Enosa Laki Yona (Lainya Payam). All this information is detailed in the Conference Report – a copy of which is available in my archives. In total, there were 118 delegates and 20 constitutional post holders, including three (3) central government ministers and advisors and nine (9) Members of Parliament. Five topics were tabled for discussion in both plenary and breakout groups, namely; the Wonduruba status; administrative boundaries; outstanding/unresolved inter-community disputes; inequality and injustice in allocation and distribution of social and developmental services; and security issues.
3. Together with Dr. Martin Elia, five other members of the Community to occupy the different positions created in LACCO were elected. These were: late Jimmy Lemi Mila, as Deputy Chairman; Dr. Yatta Lori Lugör, as Director-General for Development, late Rufus Taban Zebedayo, as Director-General for Social Mobilization. In the first and last meeting of the LACCO Executive, that took place immediately after his election, Dr. Martin appointed Mr. Simon Leeka Wure, as Secretary for Finance and Administration, Susan Keji Lupai, as Secretary for Information and Culture; Godfrey Ladu, as Secretary for Business Development and Training; and Laila Lokosang, as Secretary for Civil Society Organizations. The conference concluded with concrete resolutions which I compiled into a bound booklet. After the resolutions were sanctioned by the LACCO Executive, I was among the delegation that went to pay a visit and submitted the document to the then Central Equatoria State Governor, Mr. Clement Wani Kong’a.
4. A month or so after the conference, I volunteered to single-handedly draft a constitution for LACCO and duly submitted the draft to Dr. Martin Elia at his house. He promised to review it later. However, since that time Dr. Martin Elia has neither called for any meeting of the LACCO Executive Committee, nor a General Assembly meeting to ratify the draft constitution. Furthermore, he did not register the organization to officially function as a non-governmental organization as configured. This already invalidates the legality of the organization and his claim to its custodianship.
5. Defying all the expectations of the Founders of LACCO and the Pojulu Community at large, Dr. Martin Elia irresponsibly resorted to using the organization (now calling it “Pojulu Community”) for his vanity and as a tool for propagating his personal political ambition.
6. The organization, which was envisioned to be for advancing development for the entire Pojulu People, has henceforth been deliberately diverted for personal use. I care to reveal that in the draft constitution of LACCO, which Dr. Martin Elia decided to shelve inexplicably, it is stated as follows:
“The purpose of the Organization shall be to promote unity and social harmony amongst the communities of Lainya County, protect their common interest and contribute toward an accelerated socio-economic development of the County”
This goes to show that unity and socio-economic development was what we all aspired for. So, if the organization had seen the light of day, rather than remaining paper work in someone’s drawers, if at all not shredded, the Community would have seen its activities in the form of projects, which some of us were intending to work on; alas!
7. As if deliberately sitting on the Community’s aspirations and desire for progress and unity was not enough, Dr. Martin Elia has remained complacent in siding with the Community at the time when we need a leader most. In fact, I am sure that I am not alone in holding Dr. Martin Elia guilty of connivance with the oppressor. The case in point is when entire villages in Wonduruba were displaced by unruly soldiers of a government Dr. Martin Elia is a senior cabinet minister in. Of course, there are other known charges by the UN Security Council that has landed him into incurring sanctions and that are enough grounds for holding him responsible for the suffering, rampant killings, displacement and stagnation of economic activities of the Community.
8. A really caring and responsible community leader would have really listened to his/her conscience; he/she would not only stand by his people in their dire need, but resign from serving a regime that has manifestly vowed to punish his/her people. It is on record that senior officials of the current regime in South Sudan, which Dr. Martin Elia has been serving for 16 years, have heartlessly been rubbing the current plight of the Pojulu People in their faces. In 2016 it came to my knowledge that a group of members of Pojulu business community met a deputy inspector of the regime’s police force in Central Kampala City, to complain to him that they lost everything which they owned in Lainya due to the destructive conflict. The group was told that “you Pojulu People are paying for helping someone the government holds number one enemy”. Clearly the official meant Dr. Riek Machar, who in July and August 2016, trekked through the Pojulu land for several weeks with over a thousand of his fleeing combatants. It is to be known that the crime of genocide is defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group”. Genocide can be meted out slowly or in a matter of a day or a few days.
9. It is common knowledge that a leader of a community is supposed to live beyond politics. I am sure that Dr. Martin Elia knows this fact very well. I recall that during the 2008 Conference described above, his fellow Cabinet Minister from our Community, late Dr. Samson Kwaje Lukare (RIP), who was also a Member of Parliament for Lainya County besides late Honorable Eliaba James Surur, stood on a point of order to advise that politicians should not run for seats of community organizations. Alas, he was ignored! Indeed, it was clear from the voting pattern and certain behavior exhibited that Dr. Martin Elia had lobbied in bad faith using the card of existing intra-community apathy. A certain section of the community was vilified in a clandestine patrimonial style; quite defeating the spirit of community harmony and unity.
10. A true leader would conform with the ideals of democracy, abide by constitutional provisions, work to reconcile the people in cases of any conflict or dispute, and relinquish the seat to others or seek new mandates. Of course, it is clear that Dr. Martin Elia, albeit the obvious conflict of interest and a demanding office of a senior minister, has not done that! Paradoxically, he contradicts the former Pojulu Community Chairperson, late Fr. John Zakaria, who was openly criticized for keeping the organization unproductive, but only visible in funerals of prominent Community members. Thirteen years is too long a period to hold onto an elected position. It simply speaks of greed for power!
11. It is estimated that three-quarters of the Pojulu Community members have fled their traditional homes to either Northern Uganda and DR Congo, or to urban centers. Even though he travels to Uganda routinely, in private and official capacities, it never occurred to Dr. Martin Elia to visit his people at the refugee camps in Northern Uganda. Instead he has used the Community’s plight to get funds from the government’s treasury and used it in bogus “community peace initiative”, which to-date have never borne any fruits anyway. What kind of community leader is that?
12. Recent developments have revealed that Dr. Martin Elia has amassed a lot of wealth to the extent that his total foreign currency transactions in one bank alone amounts to millions of US Dollars. Meanwhile, the last announced donation from Martin Elia to war displaced villagers in Lainya Town was USD10,000 only, according to a Facebook report by one of his former associates. This goes to show that Dr. Martin Elia, only cares about himself and his immediate family members. It also shows that he lacks morals and corporate responsibility. Accumulation of wealth during a gruesome war in itself raises questions in the morality and public opinion courts.
In consideration of the foregoing reasons and accounts, Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö is in my opinion guilty of holding the Community hostage and dragging it around according to his whims and selfish agenda. He part of our problem. It is reasonable to look at him as not fit to be a leader of the community, even for one more year! Matter of fact, he is a disgrace to the Community. I think that it is morally wrong for us, especially the educated members of our Community, to allow one power obsessed charlatan to abuse the trust we afforded him, does not identify with our needs, and does not demonstrate empathy toward the needy among his people. All it matters to him is his ego, vanity and overflowing source of wealth and assets. I move that we vote him out NOW!