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June 18, 2021
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Some Tips of Anyuak History:  To Those Repudiate Akway Agada as a King of Anyuak (Ojullu Abala)

Anyuak people, Gambella, Ethiopia

More importantly, thank to Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for  warm welcoming  the King Akway Agada, hospitality, initiating peace process between wary group of Boma State of South Sudan wherein people  leeriest of violence though more has to be done, and of course for retuning abductee children.

With all due respects the writer of this article has no political interest, nevertheless prompted by devious articles and Facebook comments written two weeks ago in attempt to gainsay Akway Agada of Otalo as king of kings by turning His Majesty visit to Ethiopia into contentious issue, treating it as political intrigues and by rebuffing the traditions vouchsafe Him authority for which the writer of this article left with no option but to criticized such baffle averments.  His Majesty historic visit to participate in border security discussion organized by two countries – Ethiopia and South Sudan – is clear.  It is a protracted perturbation that has hobbled socio-economic development of Gambella Regional Sate, and creeped consternation and apprehension into its indigenous community.

Obviously this border security issue has plagued political system of the region, drawn attention of the since South Sudanese internal political unrest erupted and has become more alarming issue since Ethiopian citizens abducted early this year by Murle tribes of Boma, precipitated by cattle raiding and illegal transhumances.  On one occasion, the predecessor late King Adongo Agada attended similar meeting in Ethiopia, later followed by leaders of Cobra the ruling party of the former Greater Pibor state alias Boma whose impolitic seems to have caused internecine conflict in Boma state.  Overall, this border security issue is a perceptible to even any layman who knows the geopolitics of the region. No need to belabor about much.

The attempts of these dissenters to belittle the authority of the king, however, fallacious, politically motivated and implausible claim.  Herein the writer not adopting Socratic Method to define Anyuak traditional values and social norms.   Anyuak has its rich pre-defined ancient history perhaps of antediluvian and passed on to this generation through oral traditions and lores.   Lucky enough, in this modern era, we have books written base on these valuable oral traditions.  Yes, in Anyuak ethos kingdom emerged with laws, structure, exquisite beads associated with divine power in a society that was solely ruled by chiefdom.  In Anyuak society kingship is one of the oldest institution binds with some valuable traditions that reflect their true identity.

It must be understood oral traditions was the only singularly method used in the period of making the history of most Africa countries inasmuch as Africa in general regarded as a continent with no history and thus no cultural heritage due to absence of written documents.   It was said, Africa initially was nothing but human wilderness and cultural emptiness.  Some argued, that Africa initiated its own history only after the arrival of European, Arabs, and other foreigner who had turned them into saves.  While assembling pieces of oral traditions to create African ancient history, some again had belabored  that these oral traditions doesn’t exist and consequently  oral traditions cannot possibly become a historical fact  but only until Jan Vansina introduced the fundamentals  of oral  traditions,  when he said:  ‘’………..there should be no doubt anymore that oral tradition are more than just myths of social or political significance but reflects, a concrete reality in the past and thus are true references to historical events……. ’’ This is hold true in case of the Anyuak in particular.

The sad facts is:  According to compiled Anyuak oral traditions Kingship is a hereditary or an oligarchy like system in which most of royal family members notably brothers – Nyipems – become bellicose and engage in deadly altercation over who may become the next king when king died.   The right successor determined by elders in royal circle inherit ‘Ochuock’, the ancient bead, and others royal emblems.  He pronounced to be King of whole Anyuak.   Albeit chiefs and other kings reign over their perspective territories, they yet have moral obligations to give respect to Him.  Most of the times assigning some sort of authority to the rival Nyipem to avoid any further incongruity is the best solution.   Thence, in a good spirit, this Nyipem later requires some amount of wealthy to be crowned by the ones owns ‘Ochuock’ to become a king of certain area mostly of his uncles village.   This is why we have so many local kings in Anyuak land today.  But this doesn’t justify contentions over royal emblems is ended.   There always skirmish and mistrust within royal family over this divine beads.   In nut shell, it always quietus to expropriate Ochuock.

The quintessence as history indicates is, I quote, ‘’…….Another Ethiopian-supported noble Uliimi-war-Agaanya exercised his new power to murderer his rival nobles, and expelled noble one, Akwei-wa-Cam, from his country.  Akwei fled to Ethiopia where he traded skin and ivory for rifles which  he brought back to his village north of Oboth river and distributed to young warriors.’’  Akwei attacked Uliimi village and captured royal emblems while he was in Ethiopia to unsuccessfully lobby embargo of Akwei arm trade.   Akwei became King of whole Anyuak and stronger than ever.   These are royal family members of different sections.   In fact royal family has split up into to two sections – Tung Goch and Tung Nyudola – for this type of disagreement.

Therefore, the relation between Ethiopian Authority and the Anyuak nobles in South Sudan is immemorial and strategic as indicated in the above quotes.    Furthermore, Udiel-wa-Ngenyo the noble of Abobo, Uliimi-war-Aganya and Akwei-war-Cam were at different times appointed as ftawarari, ‘leader of the vanguard’ of   by ras Tasma Nadu, administer of Illubabor province of Ethiopia based at Gore.  It was only after the death of Akwei-Wa- Cam in 1920 B.C when the British had control over Adongo area and co-opted the kingship institution by installing his 12 years old son, Cam-Wara-Akwei and royal emblems in 1921.  A year later international boundary that placed Cam-Wara-Akwei of Tung-Nyiudola and emblems firmly in south Sudan finally fixed.  Tung-Goc remained in Ethiopia and has become Ethiopian hitherto.  Then British tried to confiscate the royal emblems in 1927, and limited tenure of office of future nobles to one year when the nobles response to the new restrictions by absconding to Ethiopia with the Ochuock and emblems.   At some points it explicit Puchalla was part of Ethiopia 95 years ago.

Therefore the assertion that, ‘’the emblems was belonged to all member of the noble clan and not to a single man. It had passed regularly among king so frequently……….. So, the ochuock had been circled among the king even in Gilo area, in Abobo and in Gog’’, is absurd.  It was not on good wholesome tour rather than for the purpose of protecting it from confiscation.

Interestingly, the above mentioned tactless stringers so wedded to their quixotic quest to presumptuously emend errs with ire and taunting which actually attests their personal immodest.   They arrogated facts by yarning but proved not any better for they can’t produce any other substantive evidences to support their artifice claim but yet relay on oral traditions they averred invaluable in ancient history.  This really manifests the dearth of their knowledge on the topic they pretends to know lieu of being curious.   Yet most of them if not all intend to be applauded.    Jim Collins said: ‘’The moment a leader allows himself to become the primary reality people worry about, rather than being the primary reality, you have a recipe for mediocrity, or worse.’’   This can be construed as follows: If an elite allows himself to become a haughty imprecise rather than being epigrammatic he supposed to be, he loses the adulation of his protégé.   Hence they should be aware of their already dripping prestigious.

Concededly, it might sounds peculiar to say the Anyuak king who owns ‘Ochuok’  is a King of kings but doesn’t belies his moral authority to represent all Anyuak.  Can anyone become a king without consent of Akway Agada?  Of course no.  This is one of the kingdom’s norms that one can genuinely disprove  if need be rather than sticking nose  in empty muddy water like a pig not so sure of what indistinctively smelling in  entire marsh.  As per Anyuak traditions concern, King Akway Agada of Otalo is King of all Anyuak directly and indirectly.  No matter what political differences one might have with Him

In fact, since when in Anyuak tenets the Chief or Headman – Kwaro – has equal status to Noble – Nyeya – and uncrown noble – Nyipem – to noble?   Sometime it sounds ludicrous when the famous mugwump derived into arena to represent those behind the curtain with unsteadfast esoteric objective just to relish adulations or for leapfrog thereof.

These are irrefutable fact that might engender one to  pondering or ambivalent of,  whether the  ineptitude of the leaders of Cobra who hail from Tung Goc which a primary cause political unrest  of Boma State fused together with  the resumption of politicized kingship  struggle or not.   And bear in mind that this article not suggesting that all old traditions are beneficial to a society in this contemporary world but should be talked about exactly how they are.  If the incumbent king seems to stirring up plenty of bile in Anyuak society, it is the issue should be addressed with good conscience not to deny traditions installed Him.  By the way if one deeply looks into predicaments Anyuak ethnic have been in, what is wrong working with someone who has easy access to top leaderships to lobby any agenda?

Ojulu Abala can be contacted at: ojulu.kabala@gmail.com




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