BY: GABRIEL PAGER AJANG, NEBRASKA, USA, OCT/22/2013, SSN;
The current flood and tribal conflict in Jonglei and Warrap states warrant state and central government interventions. The government of South Sudan should and must accord its citizens full protection. Numerous attacks of civil populations have occurred and continued to occur in Jonglei State and there have been no government responses.
Arguably, more people die today in South Sudan than during the liberation Struggle. Have we learned anything from the previous tribal conflicts? It must be made clear the government of South Sudan can collapse if the international and internal pressures continue to mount significantly on the Kiir’s administration and especially if the tribal conflicts and merciless killings of innocent civilians continue.
Warning, the government will only survive if it discharges its core functions, and maintains law and order.
Flood disaster is a major concern. Although other parts of South Sudan are affected by the overflowing Nile waters, the the scale and magnitude of this disaster is yet to be known. Besides flood disaster in Twic East County and the current rampant insecurity is exacerbated by lawlessness and state of anarchy.
The flawed disarmament government policy has created loopholes and placed thousands of people in precarious environment. The government of South Sudan has struggled to annex effective violence-reduction techniques since the time the Referendum was conducted.
Now still, there is no clear policy from the government of protecting its citizens. We frequently mourned, cried and grieved with thin shreds of hope that the central state and local governments will create policies, and means of bringing criminals to justice, executing murderers to deter future criminals and most importantly reduction of violence by a few percentage points.
Apparently the government had no remedial and viable policy to curve killing and death of its citizens. The ensuing collapse of the central government force residents revert to local forms of conflict resolution; and escalate killings, child abduction and cattle raiding.
This country that emerged from the wreckage of war is so rogue (failed) that she does not remember Torit and BorTown, two shining cities that make all citizens of South Sudan proud. So what renders the government of South Sudan delusional or has it been confused by array of issues its faces?
I must reiterate that it is the responsibility of the government of South Sudan to ensure security of its citizens and put in place remedies of natural disaster and this means it must implement Emergency Preparedness Policy to reduce and remedy man-made and natural disasters.
The government must meet the perceived basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government. Obviously, this government has lost its control of Jonglei state, and this may have worrying implication that the whole national government had lost its legitimacy in Jonglei.
The people of Twic East and people of Jonglei state are sick of hearing their loved ones killed or ruthlessly murdered. The constant killing of the innocent civilians is caused by the government’s inability to ensure safety of its citizens.
Common characteristics of a failing rogue nation are government ineffectiveness to practically control its citizen’s reckless behaviors and inability of government to control widespread criminality, insecurity and provide rule of law.
It is incomprehensible, and unimaginable to learn that over 3000 Murle youths armed to the teeth attacked Twic East County, raided cattle, burned villages and massacre hundreds of people in Ajuong Payam and Pakeer. The death toll stands at 150 and it continues to rise.
It is mind boggling, and deeply sad that this tragedy happened in country where the government claims an absolute sovereignty and good governance. If this killing was to occur in another country, some officials would have resigned from power and criminals would have been brought to justice but it happens in South Sudan, life will continue as usual.
Our beloved government had lost the meaning of life, its essence and destiny. It is heart breaking.
The flood disaster and mass killing orchestrated by Murle have severely impeded and destabilized life in East County. There could be potential outbreak of water borne diseases; unknown number of cattle could die, huge population is displaced, elders and children are threatened by the disaster, hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the flood and death toll continuing to rise.
The threat post by this crisis is immeasurable. This case study of flood disaster in Twic East County could potentially be applied to other counties situated in the Sudd region and affected by the flood. It is obvious that the state government’s emergency preparedness might be different from one county to other counties because the emergency preparedness largely depends on state and local resources that its set aside for the purpose of natural and man-made disasters.
It is worth noting that the South Sudan government emerged from ruins of wars, therefore its institutions are still structurally weak.
On the one hand, the president continues to load citizens with series of speeches, and many projects after projects are proposed and it is not absolutely clear whether all the promised programs are implemented. Now the disaster hits, the public is confused and no senior official knows where the disaster assistance will come from come.
Given these realities, it is imperative to develop a comprehensive national government program to curb tribal conflicts and disaster’s reductions. For how long will the government of South Sudan officials continue to appeal to None Government Organizations (NGOs)?
The government of south Sudan must define the strategic objectives. The strategic objectives that underpin our national critical and vulnerable areas and key asset for its protection effort, identifying and assuring the protection of those infrastructures and assets that we deem most critical to the livelihood of the people for instance, crops, cattle, and homes. The national government can ensure that the health, safety, economic and security of its citizens.
Both Current flood and Twic East attack on Ajuong and Pakeer Payams caught the county unprepared. The level of the Nile water is rising and continues to rise, while people that have moved to higher ground are killed by Murle Youth.
The Commissioner blamed flooding on the rising level of water from the River Nile and Hippopotamuses that destroyed regular Dikes at night while grazing on both sides of the dikes. The repercussion of flood calamity has affected the whole county.
The demographic at the highest risks are elders and the children. Just like any other counties in South Sudan, Twic East County was rebuilt from the ruins and the remnants of the 21 years of War. Hence, any outbreak of new diseases besides, water borne diseases could potentially exterminate the populations.
If the government of South Sudan does not act now, people of Twic East County could be decimated by the flood. This county is just like any other county in South Sudan, the Twic East County owed enormous debt to the government of South Sudan. A debt that either current government or next government will never pay back.
Yet this government is aware of the ongoing reported tribal conflict and catastrophe and never contributes a dime or soldier as part of a disaster relief.
The flood had claimed the lives of 600 people and Murle has killed over 150 people. This nerve racking crises can naturally warrant’s government interventions.
However, the history of South Sudanese tribes indicated that they protect their people, honor and respect the death of their love ones. I urge our government to anchor the government on the traditional values and norms, where the death of one person would trigger government concern. The government must do whatever it can to protect, prevent and mitigate issues and crises that its citizens face.
I urge members of Twic East community in the United States who have been conducting series of meetings to continue in their fund raising efforts for disaster relief and I also appeal to the donors, friends, and our own members to contribute funds toward the victims of Murle Youth attack in Ajuong and Pakeer Payams and flood disaster efforts in Twic East Count, Jonglei State, and South Sudan.
The author teaches political and History at Career college, former Nebraska legislative assistance and passionate advocate of responsive government that observes rules of law, and guarantees citizens protection; as an important principle of democratic government. Besides, he is specialized in Public administration and policy.
By Gabrial Pager Ajang
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org