Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 6 January 2018

Durability of peace in South Sudan


The future Engagements by Governments, Politicians, Cattle Herders and Youth?

By Ukongo Benson

The Republic of South Sudan, having gained independence in 2011, was desired to follow the path of peace and development since the people of South Sudan suffered too long enough, to bear more the tragedies associated with 1955-2005 wars. Unfortunately, unknown to expectations of many, the conflict emerged again in December 2015, due to the internal divisions within the ruling SPLM/A that fought for liberation war of 1983 to 2005. You and me, are confused and thinking of what exactly can bring a durable peace in the country, deeply divided; along parallel lines of wants and interest groups. I have thought of the putting down my personal opinion as a citizen concerned, which I believe if factored into, over a period of time can bring sustainable peace. We may attain peace today, tomorrow or near future, how sustainable it could be, is a concern of every one of us. I personally suggested the following means to achieve permanent peace and these are.

Stopping Cattle raiding and communal violence: Many innocent lives have been lost in the cattle raids, with children abducted, that could not sometimes be traceable all to their beloved parents. The country is believed to possess millions of livestock, goats and sheep; individually or collectively owned by some sections of different our societies as their livelihood, wealth and for marriage; which as well believed to be the raw materials facilitating raids and deaths. While these animals multiply and increase in number daily; by the natural process of reproduction, there are as well misconducts, associated with the dishonest way of multiplying one’s livestock by violent raids onto the neighbouring cattle camps. These raids, always come with many risks. The raider as well the raided camps, incur animal losses and human loses. Fighting due to resistance or an attempt to evade the cattle camp communities; often lead to an exchange of fires and killings thereafter. Those who lose their cattle due to raids, would retreat to their camps and draw up strategic plans to revenge and retrieve the lost cattle and compensate the lost lives by further attacking their perceived raiders, sometimes, the wrong targets.

Government obligation: The Governments at both national and state levels throughout the country bear the absolute responsibility of stopping and discouraging the cattle raids through arrays of incentives and measures. First, the Governments, need to come up with a clear roadmap and policy on regulating the livestock rearing in the country. There’s need to have Domestic Animal Act, that would streamline how animal possessions and safety can be ensured. Expectedly, the registration of all cattle camps and mapping should be part of the package to regulate the animal rearing in the country inter se, as hereunder. Mapping and registration of cattle camps throughout the country, be done; to ensure that cattle and camps, be known by the Government as to their numbers, latitudes of location; names people residing there and especially the exact number of animals, owners each and every cattle camp. Then, it follows that, as part of the plan, that all livestock must have ear tags marks, from number one up until those unspecified millions are known. The ear tags used in numbering should contain the serial numbers allocated to all animals in the country. This should be a continuous process, in which, zero days old calves, will get registered as soon as they are delivered. Any animal, not registered at the fault of the owners, should be confiscated and claimed as nobody’s property. The law enforcement officers and veterinary personnel should work hard to ensure that they cooperate to implement that law. This discourages theft as possession and sale of suspicious or animals with suspicious numbers, require explanations for any disparity and the reason why such an animal did not have or has a wrong number? It will also help in identifying the stolen cattle since numbers from one cattle camp will have different figures from another camp. The mapping and registration of cattle camps would mean, any unregistered cattle camp, would become illegal and be deemed an area where criminal activities are taking place.

There is no way, a person can be free to reside anywhere with his or her animals, without the Government having knowledge of that existence. The animals form part of components of the country, they must be known. It will also assist in planning like how to execute veterinary services. Hitherto, the movement of livestock and sale, from one camp or market to another; should require clearance from the Government and a lost ear tag, be reported to the camp leader, and to the police in less than one hour after it came to notice by the animal’s owner. A new but same number should be reproduced by the licensing authority to ensure that no duplication. To the contrary notwithstanding requiring vigorous questioning of the alleged offender. No other person be allowed to reproduce the ear tags unless authorized by the body concerned. Thirdly, the cattle herders, form part of the society and thus, their leaders, should be recognized and be part of the government. They can be elected in presence of officials; from a certain level of government, under some conditions, and be replaced from time to time, as term of their terms of offices come to an end and the new leaders installed.

These cattle camp leaders, be temporarily on payroll by the Government as an incentive, on condition that they report, any suspicious activities by either the neighboring camps or their own camps. With the above steps of participation in their activities, the ‘we are abandonment’ scenario will be avoided. They will feel sense of being part of the network of the government, and with incentives of salary, how low it appears, every one of them will behave responsibly or else risks not be elected. Take government to the cattle camps. Do not leave them alone! This is to encourage reporting network through camp leaders. The report by camp leaders; should detail, the disappearance of some of the camp members from the cattle camp, for so days, without the notice of leadership of camp, totally having no knowledge of where they had gone. The type of report should indicate, whether the disappeared members, moved with their weapons or not and if yes, the direction they took? It will help aerial and ground monitoring in their mentioned direction and prevent their attacks onto their neighbours. Fourthly, it has been learnt that Firearms Licensing Act, is already a law, only lacking implementation. The licensing of all firearms across the country be a serious matter, so as to outlaw unlicensed firearms. Once all guns, are licensed and registered, the licensed guns with numbers marked become legal. In contrast, the possession of unlicensed firearms either in cattle camps or beyond, will become illegal and punishable severely. For now, we rely on the Penal Code Act, 2008; which gives the right to hold guns to organized forces; but silent on those who possessed guns previously under different situations, concurrently with the then SPLM/A soldiers during liberation period.

It is cheaper and easier to monitor and control the licensed gun. You cannot control what you don’t know in term of numbers! Calling any gun, in custody of a civilian or any person illegal, does not absolutely makes it illegal, since it might have been obtained by lawful means; through purchase by payment either money or cattle. This could have been for defensive purpose against an unknown number of unlicensed guns in the circulation of many unknown people by that time. Fifthly, the peace among the cattle owners in the various camps should be translated into actions. The inter-cattle camps exchange visits, under monitoring and supervision by the government should be explored. The youth from another camp, especially different communities, should be given conducive atmosphere to pay a courtesy visit to the cattle camp of their neighbours. They should stay unharmed and be engaged in even accompanying grazing cattle with their friends from that visited camp and vice-versa for all cattle camp owners. They in the process learn the language and culture thus, getting associated and appreciate benefits of cooperation and togetherness. The tendency of calling the other camps, those bad people, will be replaced with those friends and brothers of ours. No more hatreds can be directed towards friends.

These visitors, can even; be introduced by their hosts to the community at cattle camps or villages at large and be allowed; when, attracted to any girl in that society, with the free consent of the lady and parents, to enter into marriage agreements. The dowry should be paid according to the agreed mode of payment. Either the host friends pay for the dowry, owing to the distance and the same be refunded, in exchange for the future marriage in the visitor’s community or cattle be repaid and brought to the host’s camp by the visitor’s camp. These dowries; can as well be kept as part of the animal’s different camps owners on agreed terms among the two different friendly camps, like the right to milking and disposing off dead animals This means, no need of moving with animals from one camp to another to clear dowry; as one already had cows, in the other party’s camp; either taken there for cross-breeding purpose or due to breakout of certain diseases. Once, people call themselves names of uncles, auntie, nephew, niece and cousins due to intermarriages among communities, resistance will become stronger. The society will never allow their relatives from the other side to be attacked.

They will form internal-resistance factions from within against any negative force, thus complete peace. Sixthly, daily monitoring of cattle camps by government helicopters, be taken into account. With registration, mapping of cattle camps, surveillance included as above, it assists in dealing the few notorious ones; whom my community called “upoodhi ciik” (radical rules breakers in Päri language) who may ignore the steps taken. An ambush, based on signals from the aerial surveillance, be jointly laid by law enforcement and the cattle owners, from whom the suspected raiders, are, can be that so as the looted property retrieved after apprehending the suspected thieves. Seventh, the dams’ construction alongside the water catchment areas, can assist in availing water for livestock, hence avoiding rampant migration and nomadism, in search of water and pasture.
Water is such an important need for animals as well as pasture. We have to flood in some years. This water should not be wasted to evaporate but harvested for use for different purposes. For irrigation or livestock survival. The availability of water means, livestock, can be trained to graze on the hay (dry grass), stocked during rainy seasons by the cattle herders. Our cattle are stubborn that, they are blessed with green pasture, due to seasonal but adequate rainfall; that give them variety of choices of grass, to the extent that they disagree to graze on certain grass in a wet season. They should be asked that their upkeeps and reliance on green grass, result into quarrels and killings of their herders and themselves sometimes. Therefore, they can be denied migration, in a training period and be confined to graze on dry grass, watered with either sodium chloride to make it more plausible and delicious or just as it is.

Vehicles can be sold to herders, at subsidized prices, to enable them harvest grass during the rainy season, for use in dry season. Maintenance and fuel should be their own cost. The law that regulates marriage needs to be enacted (Marriage Act). High dowry prices, especially among the cattle herding societies of our communities, often rob the beautiful ladies of their poor but handsome young men, due to inability to pay high dowry. There should be a regulation, to set a minimum dowry one can pay. Payment of dowry beyond the minimum agreed upon dowry, should solely discretional and based on the wealth of the bridegroom.

Thus, the punishment should, upon any complaint by a young man or a lady, be handed down onto a wealthy person who interferes with the relationship between the two lovers, due to his ability to pay high prices. In other words, the court of law, stand a better chance to declare null and void any marriage procured through undue influence based on high dowry and declare the complaining young man as the legitimate husband of the bride; asking them to proceed with the marriage arrangements. Parents too, be punished for any wrong intervention in favour of the wealthy. Otherwise, the poor youth will ever, be ready to do anything dirty, including raiding cattle in anticipated payment of high dowry. Finally, in my opinion, the dairy, beef, and leather factories be invested into. Investors can be asked to enter into the agreements with herders, as to shares of ownership of these factories. These plants in the potential livestock areas can also create payable jobs of labourers and watchmen for the herders on part-time. The herders will know, that leather, milk, hooves and bones they see as of no use due to lack of market, are all money; let alone the live animal. Where there are no markets, milk excessive of consumption, get poured away. This is very bad.

Community consultation for appointments into the government offices and risks: The Communities and tribes of South Sudan are the foundations of the state existence. Their contributions, in various capacities to achieve the independence in 2011, cannot be underestimated. However, not all 64 tribes or half of them can fit into the limited government offices, when community consultations are taken as a factor to determine appointments into government offices. We are organized as individuals from different communities, into single or many political parties. Therefore, it would be more convenient to concentrate the appointment of office bearers at national or state levels on political merits. Usually, it is not those not appointed that complain, upon removal from their positions, though there are times; when they may voice their disagreements in their community meetings. The problematic ones, are those appointed after consulting communities due to the jubilations and congratulatory messages that follow appointments. Removal of such individuals, can misinterpreted as the abandonment of that very community, something controversial as well unnecessary evil; since we don’t run a country on community wishes but rather national and party directions. That’s to say, a given ruling party should be given absolute right to make its own internal party consultations with its cadres regardless of their tribal backgrounds and decide appointments on merits.

After all, the party reserves the right to judge their members on performances. Those duly charged with the mandate to render their utmost services but did not do as desired can be recalled one by one or as a whole, on the decision by party members. That’s only in the situation their failures to perform in the interest of the country, has been proven beyond a reasonable degree of doubt This is especially, the service delivery failure to citizens, in whose interests; lies sovereignty the party came into the mantle of the nation to exercise. The sole reason behind holding public offices is to deliver services to the citizens, in line with the viable programs designed by the parties. This means, any party, member, who does not; execute his or outmost performance to meet the public demands as decided by the political party, could ask to resign forcefully; from the office. A new party member elevated into the office to that effect. With the above plan, it throws away the mentality of commotion, related to removal of a party member; appointed into the office on community consultations.

A powerful community’s party member, who got removed, will anytime simply storm his native in the peripheries of the country and tell them that “my people, you recommended me for appointment into the office X last time, and now I have been removed without reason or my notice”. “We are not wanted in this country”. I need your thoughts. What can we do? This is not a problem in the first place. He or she can ask such questions, based on the facts of his or her appointments. The worry is not the relieved, but the degree of response by the youth in a given community, to any call by the relieved political figure, by taking drastic measures, especially the capacity to stage a violent rebellion. In my opinion, it does not matter at all, were office bearers come from but the services they offer will earn them good names across various sections of the tribes in the country. They are judged by their records and abilities to translate their parties manifesto into reality and selling the good image of the party.

Workable Youth programs:
In discouraging the youth from responding to the flammable claims, by any person removed from office for one reason or another, and thereby, avoiding such problems accompanying such claims; the governments need to consider in future, the engagement of the youth in economic activities. The vulnerability of the youth to political manipulations are not out of context and wishes. The youth, who own productive economic activities, can never accept to abolish their projects and rush to the bushes, picking arms against the very government positively impacting their lives. One can rarely, accept to lose a resisting power, to leave his family, wealth and community, simply because one of their members have been removed from the office. The crises of violence, sweeping across the country, may not squarely be blaononto the dissident politicians.

The level of responses of the youth, to take ups arms; even when they are fully aware that they will die in the course, and thereby unable to see their objectives, deserves new approach. They foresee their future as uncertain and had nothing at stake to take care of. Thus they see perhaps wrongly, by fighting, they are hopping of improving their lives after services to their leaders and by destroying the system they called uncaring. This a mistake that needs to be corrected in future. Youth forms the center and future of the nation and their grievances be budgeted for. The youth can be, whichever side they fall, be the most fruitful resources for the country as well the most destructive ones should the chance come either way.

Once, future Governments try the above opinions, and make the youth busy, the next dissidents will find it hard to gather massive support. Everyone will be busy. The Government of the day in future, will have less trouble when it has considered the youth empowerment as the most importance cornerstone for lasting peace. Achieving peace today or tomorrow, could not be construed the permanent peace forever. As long as there will be dissidents in any country for one reason or another, the possibility of these (these politicians), convincing the youth to back them up for their personnel interests remains, a matter of concern. The dismantlement of link between the politicians and their future followers (youth), deserve attention. All must obey our laws and constitution also in the process.

This cannot work. Unless, a different reason, like losing elections through rigging, and the court appears unwilling to resolve the dispute, can a politician successfully take advantage by default, to mobilize his or supporters by any means to stage resistance by whichever means. The busy youth have less time to waste. On the contrary, the youth who are traumatized, due to lack of jobs and self-reliance economic activities, can easily take up arms, on the pretext that they would remove the regime, and make profits like few of their prosperous colleagues; who for one reason or another are better off economically but the same age, having sat in the same class room and residents of a particular village setting. This creates us and them.

To deal with the above, there should be projects for youth empowerment with full backing by the government and development partners like NGOs. The government, can ask the youth to plant trees in desert, in their villages and the forest eventually be purchased by the Government in the long run. This self-employment projects; should apply to all youth. However, to be translated not to undermine the right of those having academic papers and skills; to get employed at any level of the government, NGOs or the Companies according to their qualifications. The NGOs Act 2015 be implemented in letter and spirit. This should be supplemented by the Labor Act when enacted, to give better employment opportunities to the youth. The most immediate one, is growing food crops. And after couple of time what follows is stopping or reducing importation of food from neighboring countries, once the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock announces, that there was a sufficient harvest in the country, in a given year.

The town communities, army, police and wildlife need food for their personnel and families. They can purchase these food from local entrepreneurs, who might bought have them from the youth at a nationally rated price. Of course, roads must be passable. Meaning, road constructions in all parts of the country, should be prioritized. Any well-wisher, who want to assist the nation, be asked to connect given location to another. With peace today or tomorrow, NGOs and UN agencies, can be asked to scale down their reliefs plans, and partake in the development. They should strictly channel their programs to the tunes of what the government wants and not as they wish. Companies as well should be engaged in any level of development. That will be the time, to tell them what we want them to do and not they deciding what we don’t need.

Those unwilling to assist in development need to provide a justifiable reason or they leave. We need clothes at all times. We need a uniform for our forces. The land in various parts of the country can perfectly support the growing of cotton. The youth, be distributed cotton seedlings and grow the cotton as cash crops. The investors can be directed to either set up ginneries to process the cotton to a marketable level or they specialize in purchasing the raw cotton from the country, for export to their own countries of interest for the final product. The double taxes or high taxations be out off plan, to motivate both the youth and the buyers.

Amicable political settlement of disputes: Until the contrary, the 15th December, 2013 outbreak of violence in Juba, remains exclusively a political disagreement within the ranks and files of the SPLM/A, which is a ruling part from that time up to date. To avoid such occurrences, as quarrel is inevitable in all political settings, any future quarrel within the SPLM/A, or any other party that may come into power; it’s cheaper and priceless to resolve disputes through mutual understanding after dialogue. A degree of political maturity and tolerance is highly desired here to ensure that no more war affect our country in near future. When the disagreement has reaches nearly a saturated level, seeking the intervention of a neutral third party, can also prevent any negative misunderstanding that sometimes results in violence. Should misunderstanding run out of control, lawlessness becomes the best candidate to flow in. Anyone can claim to be anything and anytime without reason, all to the detriment of the nation. We should seek external mediation from within or outside the country of our choices, after evaluating the degree of neutrality of that third party.

The neutral parties (good offices) can be the elders, renowned as novel peace prize winners, but of political divides (They should have been first retired from politics and be but South Sudanese nationals). In lieu of that, friendly African mediators, need to be consulted before anything messy happens, instead of them getting involved in the aftermaths. Peace comes from within. Nobody understands the unity and historical links of South Sudanese other than South Sudanese themselves. The moment, the divisions reach an unmanageable level, lawlessness becomes the best player. Those who had personally issues delinked with disputes would take advantage of the situation. Anyone, claiming as an ambassador peace can play any game especially if not a national of the country in crisis.

Unsuccessful disarmaments and way forward: It is a known fact that the Government of South Sudan has been successfully and unsuccessfully conducting disarmaments according to the timing and place of the disarmaments; due to various reasons. First, the disbarments may not succeed when the targeted areas receive advance warning of likely disarmaments. The need to limit information outflow to those in the map of being disarmed require research. Where do the civilians get early warnings of disarmament and thereby hiding their new guns and submit old ones to the government? It may happen that shortly after disarmament, the following day, we hear more killings. It is suspected that these civilians had hidden their guns from sight of our organized forces conducting disarmament and only to pull them and start shooting themselves the other day. These guns, may be hidden based on intelligence leakage of information related to operation. It needs rectification in the near future for a successful firearms collection from hands of civilians.

What should be done to Collected Guns? It may be good idea to measure the risks of keeping these guns collected from civilians against disposing them off. Where are the collected fire arms and ammunitions kept? After successful disarmament as known in post conflict countries; guns can be stored in a designated government armory. To avoid these collected guns our case, in which these guns can easily find their ways into the wrong hands, temporary storing within a country could be the first option. But something must be done to make these guns varnish from the country once and for all. Selling them to foreign countries they may need them should be an opportunity to be explored. They should leave the country for the market overseas in any other case if no African country appears willing to buy them. Their proceeds can be part of the revenue to the government in another turn of fortune.

Unless they have any other purpose to be used, they should be rendered obsolete through the burning of selling does not bring good results. There may be countries that may need guns, more than us. The manufacturers of these guns can also, be requested to re-purchase their old guns for re-sell to their other customers. For us, we cannot afford to keep them anymore; as they facilitate unnecessary killings among our civil population. Destroying them by burning could be one way but of no benefits. We should get something small from the old guns. Again, individuals within the within our societies can either be asked by criminals how one can acquire a gun. One could not be both a Government employee as a well a criminal at the same time breaching his or her obligation. The call to identify those who initiate the civilians to fight themselves deserve more attention by everyone.

The Love for South Sudan and Its People
For one reason or another, it’s possible that a person may oppose the Government of the day and or future governments. It’s pretty healthy in contemporary political dispensation to disagree, sabotage or over throw the regime whose policies one disagrees with. However, given the prevailing level of hate space in various settings, a durable peace demands a duty from each and every South Sudanese citizen to show love for South Sudan as a Country and its people. It is wrong to attack the supremacy of South Sudan as a State merely because it’s undergoing difficult time. On equal footing, the tribes of South Sudan must be respected whatsoever and no blames should be directed to the particular tribe(s) for whichever reason. The Government you oppose to today may get out power tomorrow and a new one comes in, but the Republic of South Sudan, which we dearly fought for, and its citizens (good and bad) ones, will remain for generations. That’s part of our nationalism.

The views expressed above are personal. The piece of opinion supra and its entire contents whatsoever neither represents the author’s professional association nor any institution with which he is affiliated. The author holds Bachelor of Laws degree and also doing Master of Law majoring in International Law. Reachable at: ukongo2016@gmail.com.

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Sudan can not give what it does not have 2018-10-16 14:36:47 The Sudanese Regime Tends to Order Righteousness to others while ignoring doing so for itself By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Heads of Failed States in the African Continent are trying to save other (...)

Ethiopia’s PM should review policies 2018-10-14 20:42:05 Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed needs to change course in some of the policies he introduced in Ethiopia before history that brought him to leadership repeat itself. By Lul Gatkuoth (...)

Evaluating the IGAD-led peace mediation in South Sudan 2018-10-09 13:19:50 Lako Jada Kwajok September 12, 2018, marked the signing in Addis Ababa of the revitalised peace agreement also known as Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of (...)


Latest Press Releases

4th Annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum Announced for 25th October 2018 2018-10-15 12:38:14 PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER 14, 2018 Africa’s leading entrepreneurship-focused philanthropic organisation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), has announced October 25, 2018, as the date for its (...)

Unity State community in Kenya supports Khartoum peace agreement 2018-08-17 08:33:21 PRESS STATMENT 14th Aug, 2018 Re: We shall Rally behind Khartoum Peace Agreement The Unity State Community Association in Kenya was established in 2010 to organize and mobilize the people of (...)

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.