By Juma Mabor Marial
May 11, 2014 (SSNA) — It is clear from part I and II that the intra-clans conflict and revenge attacks in lakes state are not just any insecurity threats in South Sudan but a major one that threatened the lives, national security, development and progress of the people of south Sudan. The orchestration of these conflicts by some of the perpetrators as mentioned above has made it more complicated to find long- term solutions to this pandemic.
It is in this regard that the author wishes to re-emphasize some of the likely solutions that if heeded to and implemented by the concerned authorities may help in bringing peace and stability back to Lakes state and indeed the whole of south Sudan. These recommendations are not new, they are not magical and they may not too, be acceptable to everyone as some of them maybe too foreign to the realities on the ground but it is my believe that, unlike those who have been saying them without acting on them, those who would put them in practice and implement them will definitely realize and achieve some meaningful results.
Therefore it is my utmost belief that, to bring the craziness of intra-clans conflict in lakes state to end, the following solutions should be provided swiftly:
1. If Kiir still appoints governors or if the electorates may elect any one soon as a governor, he/they should this time appoint and/or elect a competence individual who understands the intrigues of governance, the next governor should be someone who sensitize people rather than intimidating and threatening them, he/she should be someone who is civilized and halfway educated. This is importance because governance is a science not an art and anyone entrusted with the life of the people must be a bit knowledgeable and administratively competence. This mean, Kiir has to start acting by removing Dhuol or organize elections for the people of lakes state to elect a new governor that may sign a new social contract on a range of issues with them.
2. The rule of law must be restored and punitive measures laid out, this mean, the negligence by the state government of allowing the civilians to take law into their own hands and kill with impunity must be put to end. It is unfortunate that the current governor has resorted to the customary ideologies of telling people that, those defeated will never attack and that the only strong can survive in the state. The government has to reaffirm it authority by declaring that, no one including the cattle rustlers that have rampaged lakes state is above the law.
3. The concentration of governorship on individuals from few counties of the state is not helping the situation at all, if the issue of electing governors on individual merit is so much replaced with appointment by the president, then, it is even good enough and easy for the president to appoint a governor from other counties of lakes state like Yirol and Wulu, maybe he should send Telar Ring back such that he can find another solution for insecurity like he had some for economic and social development in the little period that he had ruled in Lakes state. This is because; the governors from Cueibet and Rumbek have failed the state in a very big way and there would be no point of appointing anyone from these counties to lead the people of lakes state again.
4. The army, police and other organized forces must be reminded that, their first, second and last duty is to keep law and order and this is why they are in the government pay roll. There is no legitimacy of them letting civilians butcher themselves as they feared being killed in the process of maintaining law and order. It is disturbing to hear from the law enforcers in lakes state that ‘the civilians have become too dangerous for them to apprehend’. This is a declaration by the government that it has lost control of the state and so, someone must do something to train the law enforcement agencies on their sole duties of keeping law and order all the risks that comes with it notwithstanding.
5. The politicians both at the national and state levels must look into themselves and apart from supporting their respective clans in perpetrating intra-clans violence, they must too ask whether they are delivering on the pledges that they had given their electorates, they should once in a while forget about their personal interests and spare time to talk to their constituencies about the importance of peace and stability. They should discourage those who come to them with books full of tales about what the other clan has been doing to their clans and now that he/she is in power, they must revenge by him/her providing logistics and the civilians implementing their plans. The professionals, academicians and students too must refrain from being part of the intra-clans conflict, they must distinguished themselves as peace-makers and people who have a certain civilization traits that denounce sectarian ideologies. They should take over the duty to voluntarily sensitize their communities and clans on the negative impacts of intra-clans conflict.
6. A law should be introduced to regulate hate speeches and this will deter chiefs and anyone who recklessly release statements that are likely to incite violence. questions like, which clans has been defeated and how many people have been killed are the same as taking pride in the intra-clans and sectarian conflicts, the chiefs and everyone who possess this kind of behavior should be brought to book because it is these kind of statements that inspired the youth to take revenge and possibly defeat or kill more people from the other side and the cycle continues.
7. The cattle keepers, rustlers, thieves are all in one name criminals, and they should be without any hesitation subjected to the full force of law, there is no two way about it, if one has killed, they have to be charged with murder and if found guilty convicted accordingly. Bargaining or begging criminals to submit themselves to the authorities is not a legal principle and the government using all it available resources should ensure that all criminals are apprehended as no criminal should be left at large or they will continue to carry out these heinous crimes of killing people with impunity.
8. Most importantly, since cattle and getting to cattle camps has been the reason why so many youth (Galweng) get together and start slaughtering themselves, I have a too drastic suggestion about what should be done and in my opinion, the citizens of lakes state as part of the Dinka tribe still have the right to continue keeping their cattle but this time in a different way, if one want to continue having so many cattle, they must also be ready to take charge of their expenses and this is to say, all cattle keepers must be turned into cattle farmers and what this mean is that, your 200 or 300 cows will not be taken from you but you must make sure that, you organize your large farm for them, look for them food to eat and water to drink, treat them when they are sick and you cannot have any other person apart from your children or your close relative looking after them, this would mean that, there would be nothing like a cattle camp where everyone goes and gang up and start butchering themselves. If someone comes to raid your cattle in your farm or homestead, you shall not go and take them back but rather report to the authorities and the culprits will be apprehended, charged and pay for your cattle, there would be no need of you killing or stealing because someone has stolen from you. Secondly, I want to revive the suggestion once made by the former governor Daniel Awet Akot that, the cattle owners must be made to pay taxes, this was condemned by so many people including myself but now I am finding sense in that and changing tone, Akot was right because if one look at it critically, these cattle keepers are not contributing to the state government in anyway, instead, they are busy causing havoc and masterminding unprecedented loss of life and therefore, the only way their cattle and they can be made productive is to levy taxes which in this case should be a property tax on their cattle, the reason being that, these cattle feeds in cattle camps which are government owned, drink water which is a government resource and sometime even got treated by the government, so there is every need for owners to raise revenue and pay taxes for these services. This if done, would not only help the state in raising revenue but will also ensure that the owners of the cattle may also know that their cattle are not pure assets but also a liability that need them to cater for. This will diminish the number of cattle that one keeps because more cattle will always mean more taxes.
9. A serious and more disarmament campaign should be carried out to take away all the sophisticate weapons that are now in the hands of the civilians. The sources of supply and those who sell these weapons to the civilians should be investigated and stringent measures taken to punish this practice. It is because of weapons in the civilian’s hands that has made it easy for them to overtake the constitutionally established authorities and kill with impunity.
10. The educated members of the society should take it upon themselves and embark on a door to door campaign sensitizing their brothers and cousins on the negative impacts of sectarian violence. This if carried out honestly will help solve the madness of intra-clans conflict from the grass roots.
As I have earlier stated, the recommendations given here are not in themselves new or magical, they are not unique discoveries that can be used as miracles to end the rampant intra-clans conflict in lakes state, these are recommendations that some people have previously tried to put forward to the authorities but unfortunately, no one acted on them absolutely. Some of these recommendations have been tried by some governors but in a pedestrian way that made them backfired. My only hope this time is that, these recommendations will get to the right people and authorities that will act to bring the intra-clans conflict in lakes state to their ultimate end.
It is disturbing to accept that these intra-clans conflict regarded by some people as ordinary transitional activities have denied lakes state so many things including but not limited to, loss of human resource through regular death, lack of development in all sectors, migration of intellectuals from the state, disappearance of investors and development partners, tarnishing the image and loss of respect for the people of lakes by other citizens of south Sudan and a lot more that have made the state a no-go zone for those who favored their lives.
Some of us had lost hope and decided never to comment on anything to do with lakes state as commenting on lakes state issues has always been taken as opposing the people in power but when I visited lakes state recently, I was convinced to write this one article in order to speak out my chest and see if what I say will count in bringing an end to the craziness in my state. I didn’t go to lakes for pleasure or family visit but I went there to bury my cousin who had passed on in Juba and as we arrived in Rumbek and buried the body, we could hear some gunshots around the town but that wasn’t the real threat, three days later as we were in the funeral prayers, we heard the news that sectarian violence were on-going in my village, a village that I had planned to visit soon after the prayers.
After the fighting stopped on its own not by the government, I learn that eight of my cousins were killed and this meant, after the cousin who passed on in Juba, I lost eight (8) more cousins that I had hoped to meet but did not have the chance to give my last farewell and do you know why I didn’t have that chance? It is because people advised me not to go to my village or else I would be killed on revenge by members of the clan that was fighting with my clan. So I ended up returning to Juba without visiting my village. This is the price we all are expected to pay because of the intra-clans conflict in lakes state and that is why I feel, every one of us may continue to be affected in one way or another unless we all put our efforts to end this madness.
I rest my case here!!!
Juma Mabor Marial is a Lawyer and concern citizen of Lakes state Reachable at: [email protected].