LAKE STATE MAY BE ANOTHER SOMALIA BUT REMAINS INTEGRAL PART OF SOUTH SUDAN

Gatwal Augustines,

Analysis;

Map frame of Lake State [photo: supplied]

Map frame of Lake State [photo: supplied]

March 22, 2015 (Nyamilepedia)— If you are a concerned South Sudanese, you must have probably been disturbed and frustrated by the appalling situation in Lake State regardless of your political color and affiliation.

Lake State is one of the most insecure states in South Sudan since CPA interim period up to date. It tops the bar and Jonglei State during YauYau’s insurgence follows. The state has for long been haunted down and affected by deeply rooted inter-clans feuds which every time leaves people dead in their hundreds.

It is one of the places in South Sudan where all sort of violence and human right violations happen in broad day light at the watch of its leaders and National leaders as well. This earns it a reputation only comparable to that of Islamic State of Somalia.
It is imaginable how many South Sudanese think the ongoing inhuman circumstance is upon the people of Lake State. But I suppose we are definitely getting the wrong side of it. We as South Sudanese, both at bad and good times need to acknowledge our situations.

We need to disregard this mind set at free will and instead join other stakeholders who are feeling concerned and hope something should be done to curb it. Nonetheless, we can possibly sympathize with them and raise our voices vehemently for the world to know that the rest of South Sudanese are never happy with what is happening to their fellows countrymen and women in any part of the country and Lake State in this regard.

Because, Lake State remains integral part and parcel of South Sudan in spite its security status. Anybody with sense of humors can without doubt amount the root cause of the situation to bad system of governance both at state and National Level and Lake State civil population could absolutely has nothing to do with it.

It is disheartening reading news; “80 people killed in inter-clan clashes today and on other day a teacher gunned to death 5 school children in class in Lake State.” This is pathetic and must stop! South Sudan as a Nation cannot afford losing anyone of its states to terrorism even though things are already falling apart.

The following are the anticipated root causes of insecurity in Lake State:

Motivated inter-clan feuds

In a report published in Nyamilepedia in December 2014, 44 people were allegedly killed in inter-clan clashes. 31 others reported to have sustained serious injuries and their lives were at stake should they have not been given immediate medical attention.

And 5 SPLA soldiers who were sent by the Caretaker Governor Matur Chut reported killed by the armed youth in the same incidence when attempting to separate the fight that ensued between the Kok-Awac and Kok-Keer clans in Panawac.
Another deadly inter-clan clashes reported was between the Gony and Thuyic clans in Panbarkon following the cold blood murder of Paramount chief by a Thuyic Clan member in August 2014. This just like many others was fatal and left many dead from both clansmen.

There are also piercing feuds between Ruop and Kuei and so many other clans continue to pursue enmity with their neighbors.

Galweng/Cattle Keepers and rustlers

Cattle keepers also constitute part to ongoing insecurity though to lesser extent. This happens seasonally and most especially in dry months of the year. The cattle keepers unavoidably collide in pastureland and water points. Competition certainly set in and fighting consequently erupts.

At that very meeting point cattle rustling and counter rustling occur where fighting either in offending or in self defense inevitably take place. Farmland wrangles also fall in this category.

State Political Leaderships and Politicians

This factor is the major cause of the insecurity in Lake State. Little in an attempt to stabilizing the state security has been done by the political leaders, right from the tenure-ship of former Governor Laat Awet Akot to the current Caretaker Governor Matur Chut.

In fact, their failure to curb and normalize the State is said to have led to their successive dismissals and appointments. Governor Laat Akot tenure was not good enough neither a bad one, but issues tasted his patience until time was up for him to allow in another comrade and that was before 2010 elections.

After Laat Akot, Telar Ring Deng took on the gubernatorial seat though for only 3 months. Judging his performance was hard since he had the shortest time in the office. However, changes were noted to have been effected by him include; regulation of excessive alcohol consumption. And Telar hardly achieved anything concerning inter-clan feuds and after a short while he packed bags and baggage.

In 2010 polls, Chol Tong was the governor elect. He is well educated and tried his best to deliver services to the people that include education, creation of employment opportunities among other social services.

However, it was barely long before Governor Chol could indulge in dangerous leadership ambition. This derailed him from the service delivery and resorted to fueling inter-clans clashes thinking he might get his way.

A pierce fighting between Ruop and Kuei clans in the center of Rumbek town which many people believe he instigated marked his downfall as his relationship with the President Kiir badly deteriorated and eventually fallout. And it was not long before the President could discard and relieve him. This misunderstanding with the President follows him until his arrest following the 15 December allegations.

In January 2013, the President appointed Caretaker governor, Matur Chut. Matur has no good education but a professional soldier as many of his supporters believe. Being a war general, President Kiir thought he could use his military tactics and strategies to crackdown the clashes that cropping up potential insecurity to the state and it neighbors.

Expectations were very high as he immediately visited the 8 counties of the State intimidating the civil population that he will use force to bring stability if the warring clans do not compel. This was the beginning of his iron fist characters.

He established a military prison in Langcok after feeling criticized and being called sectarian leader by both human right activists and local population; where he keeps depositing persons unlawfully apprehended for either being critical to his office or believes to have caused clashes.

This strategy still does not hold to bail him out as local media and activists continue accusing him of favoring people of Pan-ajuong in expenses of other clans. Today it is believed the number of people who died in his tenure remains the highest.

WAYS FORWARD
Good leadership strategy

In order to bring calmness to the Lake State, good governance is direly needed. A leadership that educates and sensitizes local population about the importance of peace and security is needed. Local people need to be talked to, about the importance of peaceful coexistence.

It is the same good leadership that is needed to create employment opportunities to at least engage half of the idle young people. Adult schools for adult education need to be constructed as well.

Clan chiefs and elders need to be involved in solving this problem by giving responsibilities that make them feel non-partisans. By doing this they will feel recognized and empowered and they will participate fully until possible solutions are reached.

If only possible the State authority should make pastureland arrangement and allotment certainly. This will curb seasonally clashes over grassland and cattle rustling.

Thorough disarmament

“Violence and victimization in South Sudan: Lake State in the post-CPA period” conducted by “Small Arms Survey” a Geneva based independence project come up with astonishing facts concerning small guns ownership in Lake State.
According to the following findings were made.

Firearms kept in the household; Assault rifle is more than 30%, while Handgun is more than 20%.
The arms the research found popularly owned include; AK-47 automatic assault rifle [31%], Revolvers and Pistols [26%] and shotgun [10%]

Opinions about the most pressing concerns: Police training [more than 50%], control of firearms [more than 30%] Army training [20%] and Education and community sensitization [60%].

Crime committed: robbery is 72% by guns/rifles, sexual assault is 34% by guns/rifles and attacks by other weapons is 57%
Personal protection is 25% by guns.

In recap, sequent disarmament, the Greater Bhar el Ghazal region to best knowledge of so many people was not thoroughly like other states disarmed for reasons known to the president Salva Kiir only. He might be thinking otherwise and not prudent enough to foresee any potential security threats that may probably result from letting civilians to harbor firearms.
Now, the unthinkable just come out and as a suggestion, an immediate thorough disarmaments should be conducted. If at least 60% of firearms possessed by the civilians are disarmed, chances of restoring stability to the State are more than five folds.

Gatwal Augustines
Associate Editor/Nyamilepedia
Chief Executive Moderator/The Snoop Magazine
gatwalyul@ymail.com

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