Visited Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) in what many people thought of to be an extraordinary journey around for its distinctive objective that focused on the greater Jonglei ‘security dilemma, Governor Chagor was accorded a very warm welcome by all Murle of different groups. It’s a remarkable visit of its kinds due to the fact that insecurity of the greater Jonglei region has been one of the shoddier owed to the extensive intertribal conflict which has claimed, and persist to fritter away uncountable human life; ruined properties; shattered social fabric, and above all, disintegrated this iconic region geopolitically. Governor was implementing a fraction of his well-planned peace expedition to all the counties of Jonglei State including Greater Pibor.
Governor Chagor “We know that Jonglei state communal conflicts have been there for a decade’s; that, the difficulties coupled with ethnic inconsistency over resources has never been politically endeavored to resolves them without wasting human lives and properties; that, all the governments which have been once ruled Jonglei State before Hon. Denay Jock was busied instead for prolongation of the bloodletting so that their scandalous projects maximize profits, and so on. One can totally agree with the fact that, almost all the types of nonpolitical initiatives which were mends to resolve the years of inter-communal belligerent yield no fruits. This is the time to address the issue from its inventive perspective. The young governor talked extensively in meetings with the Murle community, the Nuer, and others about the urgent need for true reconciliation. Fully aware that, “the greater Jonglei’s communal conflicts have complex historical roots in local practices of cattle herding, but their transformation into deadly communal wars like how we see the cycle of violence amongst the Murle of Greater Pibor and the Lou-Nuer of Greater Akobo was deliberately wrought by political elites in order to mobilize civilian raiders for their own ambitions”.
Governor Chagor once whispered that “in the shadow of the eight years-long civil war in South Sudan, cycles of large-scale communal violence in the greater Jonglei state have mobilized thousands of men from both warring communities into armed groups to protect communities and cattle and to serve in alliance with civil war actors.” He acknowledged that cattle ownership by national political elites represents a further important bond between national or state political processes and rural dynamics of violence. This is because many politicians have invested their wealth into cattle ownership in their Home Counties and fund male family members to guard their cattle, including the provision of guns and ammunition. These cattle herders are part of the cattle raiding conflicts and access further guns and ammunition through their patrons in the towns, thus worsening the general militarization of rural communities.
According to the governor, “The inter-communal conflicts have killed thousands and spurred numerous local peace initiatives by the local humanitarian organizations and, yet it is exposing the limits of civilian protection by local law enforcement agencies when countenance with communal militias. Governor Chagor repetitively makes it clear to the audience that “The reported conflicts in Jonglei are primarily dyadic rather than pogroms of a majority against a minority”. Meanwhile, most of the current conflicts between Murle and the Nuer or vice versa are stem from a history of cattle raiding and ethnic group polarization during the civil war with Sudan; discourses of revenge; lack of political representation and security provisions; local tensions over land, cattle ownership and grazing rights; the concentration of cattle ownership among the political elite; and deep distrust against the government.
Thus, the conflict is transforming into an unusual format where the communal militias who are engaging in battles and attack civilian settlements have another agenda apart from cattle raiding by killing innocents women and children, elderly people, and burning down villages. When a local ceasefire has been agreed, politicians may deliberately stoke tensions amongst the pastoralists’ communities, even outside areas affected by the civil war fighting, if this serves their political ambitions, leaving local communities with the limited agency to avoid and mitigate conflicts. Chagor assured the traditional authorities of their roles in the maintenance of laws and order amongst their communities.
The young governor acknowledged that “all the peace conferences and reconciliation efforts that were carried out at the grassroots level are doomed as long as politicians are still whipping up their communities.” Hence, observers continued to question whether any local peace negotiations could be viable as long as many national politicians own cattle and can order cattle-keeping communities into specific grazing routes. Knowing that, of all the attempts, what was lacked is a political will in response to the dire need of the people in this greater region for peaceful coexistence. The evolving nature of threats and insecurity in the region is further aggravated by increasing inter-communal violence which has become particularly deadlier in the former state of Jonglei. Communal militias may align with parties to the civil war but may not be fully controlled by either the government or rebel groups.
Furthermore, their mobilization dynamics differ from rebel groups in that their fighters usually stay deeply connected to their home communities, where they remain embedded as husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons, fighting often with extensive community support).. Women and men, children, and the elderly may support conflicts and provide the logistical preparations necessary for fighting. In his meeting with a group of Murle women, governor Chagor discouraged Murle women from often encouraging further cattle raiding by preparing special foods for the men who fight, and shame men into participation, while their small children aid the militias as combatants and herders. Meanwhile, governor Chagor reiterated that faced with this multiplicity of security challenges, national, state, and international stakeholders are needed more than before to embark on responses using various prevention, response, and mitigation tools.
Governor Chagor goes on telling people that, addressing inter-communal violence requires a holistic, full range of socio-economic, political, tackling of environmental issues, education, infrastructure development, social inclusion, and respect for minority groups among others, as well as respect for human rights and the rule of law. Without a peace process that integrates both national elites and local communities, even these ‘stable’ areas of the greater Jonglei may quickly turn into sites of renewed fighting on both the local with dire consequences for civilians. (example, a peace process spearheaded by the communities ‘ leaders and mandated by the government aimed at bringing the Lou Nuer and the Murle into dialogue is urgently needed. Governor made clearer the position of his state government that “they are working on a locally further to facilitates peace initiatives that to be culminating in the All-Jonglei Peace Conference where the paramount chiefs of all three communities (Nuer, Murle and Dinka) signed a detailed Framework Agreement for peace.
According to the young governor, “the increasing of intercommunity conflicts that are affecting the Greater Jonglei are including an absence of the state security mechanism, proliferation of arms, erosion of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms and other underlying factors such as poverty are the priorities of his government. “Such deadly communal conflicts fought by well-organized militias represent one crucial dimension of sub-state or ‘local’ conflicts that the two administrations of the former Jonglei State is increasingly expected to address”.
Governor Chagor argued that communal conflicts are fundamentally political and will demonstrate that such conflicts do not take place in isolation from national politics and state structures. Therefore, the young governor pledged to deals first with the elite politics in urban centers who may have been furthering undermine the rural conflict resolution mechanisms and contribute to an escalation in fighting.
Now that, the young Governor has begun what will surely modify all the botched approaches that were used by the previous politicians. Amongst many others triumphant leadership proceedings the governor achieved so far, taking the menace of visiting almost all of the greater Jonglei’s security hotspots, and having a direct rendezvous with both the culprits and victims of the communal hostility is one imperative signal of translating what he wanted to achieve into living out.
Meanwhile, the young Governor has been carrying keys messages which he usually delivered to the audience during the mission. For example, in his meetings today with several groups of Greater Pibor Administrative Area at its capital-Pibor, governor Chagor made a range of articulation on the need for a politically coordinated action to address all that has never been tried during the past rulers. Chagor started it to the point of dangerously jeopardizing the peace and stability of the greater Jonglei.
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