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Take Precise, Concrete Actions to End Perennial Inter-communal Violent Conflicts in the Greater Jonglei Region

South Sudan NEWS PORTAL

By Kuir Mayen Kuir, Nairobi, Kenya

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 (PW) — The matters pertaining Jonglei state conflict with the neighbouring murle community are pertinent and frantic. They need to be handled with professionalism, consistency and expediency and not just a hearsay. They do not ONLY require speed but also a political, social and economic will to implement all the demands and resolutions that are going to come out of the brain -integration between the committee members and all the other stakeholders involved from both sides of the conflicting parties.

These matters have been perennial and the long narrow end of the resolution tunnel appears bleak. No more faith in the committees and their recommendations for it is believed that the committees always take resolutions from people with a promise that they will be back only to end up debunking them. This is evidence by the fact that the preceding committees had terribly failed with a thud especially with matters with Jonglei state communities at beck and call. The recent example of such cited stories is the Sherkat incident.

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The committee that was supposed to present the findings within a span of 7 solid days ended up keeping people in a long-range probation hitherto. These kinds of PRs for the lack of a better word are unprofessional and we pray that this intentional dialogue is administered with much difference to oil future expectations. We demand to not only be heard but also implement the resolutions that will come out of the negotiations to the very latter.

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The reasonable intellectual opinions

The common feelings from the many intellectuals whom I contacted personally to consult is that the matter before hand has reverberatedly become irritable. It has come a time when the long-lasting solution is needful. The situation is palpable and heavily tense. Many of them or us rather are in agreement with the forthcoming negotiations, however our common palatability settles on the fact that local chiefs and the youths ring leaders should be part and parcel of this particular discussion in order to hit the depth of the awful conflict.

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In our societal setup today, we tend to ignore or rather look down upon the diplomatic capabilities of those around the animal camps, however in matters that are begging for experience in the fields such as these, it goes without saying that these brothers, fathers, uncles or chiefs are more experience and specialised to a higher calibre compared to any PHD holder residing either in Juba or even abroad.

If you want to oppose this point because of thick and tangible egos, then interrogate the well-known adage that he who wears the shoe, knows where it is pinching the most. You cannot know enough when you spend peaceful nights in Juba as compared to he who spends seriatim of nights standing and guarding the community.

What I am saying in simplified terms is; give our elders who reside back in the villages a chance so that they are part of the process. They will eventually help you in ensuring the recommendations are implemented at the grassroots. Their vitality therefore has to be crowned at the onstage. The the committee and the representatives can consider the following causes and their possible recommendations to treat this recurring conundrum.

1. The government should invest in education to eradicate the vast illiteracy levels among the murle community and subsequently introduce a strict and compulsory policy of taking all children between the ages of 4 and 20 to school.

Education is a global tool that helps in fixing some social challenges that accrued as a result of falling out between communities. When the government build both primary and secondary schools and make it mandatory for the aforementioned ages to access schools. It will break the chain of illiteracy and as a result enhance the effectiveness of the youths in that area and more essentially it will make them more productive.

The main focus of the national government here would be to liaise with the PAA to ensure that all the families strictly adhere to this policy and failure to which a heavy fine would be incurred. In order to make this effective, the national government should ensure a continue evaluation of the policy on a quarterly basis. This will ensure these dangerous youths will be tame from continuing these heinous atrocities they keep committing.

This eventually curtailed the conflicts and peace reigns. If possibilities allow, some of these murle children can be taken to other schools in the other regions to enhance some positive interactions in schools and intellectual exchange of importance information, they can learn from other tribes and other tribes can understand them better.

This strategy is feasible if the national government is willing to end this very intercommunal conflicts that are economically draining the state.

2. The government can consider to invest in agricultural sector in the areas where murle community is densely living.

The sole purpose of this strategy is to create and help the community to supplement their meat and milk meals. The community as it is widely known are largely pastoralists who keep only cows, sheep and goats for their livelihoods. This has become the norm of their life as they have no other alternative to switch to, this makes them want to control the cattle activities for the sake of protecting this communal interests.

As a result, they pose unending threats to human lives in the other areas within Jonglei state as they go after what is clearly their livelihoods. They therefore forget that pastoralism is not their practice only, the other communities such as the DINKA and the NUER also keep cattles and they depend largely on them for their social practices. 

Introducing agriculture in this community will aid greatly in not only keeping the murle men busy but also it will create another avenue where the community get a second dependable income to improve their lives. The food that will be produce which is different from meat, milk and animal blood provides a supplement to their normal meals.

This can equally help them attain high immunity for reduction of dietary related ailments. They can be trained to acquaint them with necessary skills that can grant them to work in any part of the country. Thisagain help them interact with other people which smoothens their relationships with other people within the country.

3. Setting up army barracks and other specific units such as anti-raiding 

The setting up of barracks and anti-raiding unit at the borders of Jonglei state and Pibor is another suggestible recommendation to curb and thwart further escalations pertaining this perennial conflict. The presence of the anti-raiding unit will eventually help in retracing the animals that are raided by either murle men or men from Jonglei state and repatriate them to their owners.

This will reduce the contact between these communities that can results in loss of both innocent lives and property. The availability of the barracks in between these communities will dwindle the chances of the attack from either side as the soldiers will be manning the area and possibly spot any impending danger and quell before it culminates into a deadly expedition.

This will be a dream come true as major communities especially in Jonglei state want to live and do their other activities in peace for their economic prosperity. After establishing a barrack, a possible joint prison can be put up too to detain the cattle raiding and child abducting criminals after successful trials in court of law.

4. A compensation plan must be implemented 

The compensation plan will put to watch and reinforce the efforts of the two government to be vigilant about the activities of their men. The plan should be done in a way that the state government will have to sacrifice part if their budgets to pay for the loss caused after it is established that certain men from either sides were found guilty of the crime in question.

This should be done in all circumstances. That is whether or not the cattles or rather abducted children are repatriated. Jonglei state and the PAA government should be very vigilant all the times in order to make sure the accountability needed in this gradual process is enhanced.

For instance, if men from Jonglei state happen to cross to murle land and raid 10 cows, they should pay the PAA government regardless of whether the animals are saved from the raiders.

This catalyses implementation modalities for a long lasting solutions. If the will to keep a permanent peace between murle and other communities such as the Anyuak is at heart, then these recommendations can be adopted regardless of how hard they may seem to be.

5. The national government should facilitate the disarmament of these communities and stop rewarding warlords and killers.

This may sound politically motivated but the bottom-line is that people who are affiliated to rebellion and those that use political violence as a bargaining tool to blackmail the national government into rewarding them with positions use these armed youths to push for their self-interests. They use their youths as a bargaining power.

This is not right. Thegovernment in addition to their national policies of controlling the use of arms in the country should adopt the negotiation strategy to ask everyone to surrender their guns. They should make use of the chiefs in the villages to compel the communities to hand over their guns to the government.

And sincerely speaking, the national government should target those communities that have history of launching the attacks and make them a priority topping the list of disarmamentbecause they are public domain. This disarmament has been in the lips of the national government ever since the independence but it has never meet its fruition time.

The government probably could be fearing the interdiction of the international communities in the event the government use force to disarm the youths. This shouldn’t be an issue because anybody who doesn’t obey the laws that guide a country is a criminal. They can face punitive measures just like any other person in the country.

Let the government use force where necessary so that the government can reduce all these rebellions as well. This maybe hurtful but it will eventually save so many lives and property. There are known criminals such as David Yau Yau who are siphoning the government coffers but are having uncontrolled rebel-army which he called cobra faction. Has the national government ever ask about what the composition of these useless parallel army is!

These people are seemingly groaning in Juba now because their sources of income are being attacked, if he was the one that launched the attack, he would play a holy than thou attitude and pretend that he doesn’t know anything and probably he would be pardoned and release to go just like he did before attacking lou-nuer community.

Let me just extinguish my fury within me and move on. We need the government to take these conflicts seriously and provide the implementation reinforcements to make the sitting get recorded on the right side of the history.

The author, Kuir Mayen Kuir, is a South Sudanese Student of economic and statistics at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and can be reached via his email: mayenkuir@gmail.com

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