March 25, 2012 (BOR) - Bor residents complaining that basic services are not available to them have called for the intervention of their members of parliament.
- A child at a cattle camp in Bor, Jonglei State, cattle herders cover their bodies in ash from burned cow dung in order to protect themselves against tsetse flies, mosquitoes, and other insects, May 2009 (UN)
Youths, women, chiefs and elders from the Gok South constituency converged in Bor to meet Philip Thon Nyok, who represents them in Jonglei legislative assembly and Jun Malat from the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, on 24 March.
The constitutional dialogue is was organised by the Sudan Network for Democratic Elections (SuNDE), the largest non-partisan democratic motoring organisation operating in South Sudan with funding from National Democratic Institute (NDI).
In the dialogue, one of the elders, Bior Majok, blamed the elected MPs for putting them into conflict with those who lost elections in April 2010.
“Why don’t you provide us with enough and clean water in our places?” Majok asked.
The late George Athor led a rebellion in Jonglei state after an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2010.
Part of the new leadership of the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A), which Athor led before his death in December 2011 claimed to be signing a peace deal on behalf of the rebels in February. The remaining leadership has since renounced the peace deal.
Majok was also critical of the poor road network and healthcare facilities in the region.
“We carry sick people on our shoulders from far to Bor hospital because both roads and health centres are not there,” he added.
Akuol Buol, one of the women who attended the event, expressed her concern about the education situation, saying that many teachers in the region have left for higher-paid work.
“The children of the government officials and rich people are in good schools in Kenya and Uganda,” she said.
Many of the participants said that the majority of the water taps and pumps in Bor are controlled by foreign businessmen who collect more than 20 jar cans (20 litres each) at a time, often for resale, making it difficult for them to get water for home use.
Thon of the state assembly promised to ensure that the water taps and pumps in Bor are open for use by all the citizens to fetch water for home use.
Malat told the gathering that she has funding for constituency development and that there would be a focus upon agricultural mechanisation in the state.
Makech Deng, one of the youths, asked the officials to tell the community how much the money was set aside for the development projects. The question remained unanswered.
The ongoing ethnic conflict in the state, predominantly between members of the Murle and Luo-Nuer ethnic groups will inevitably make service delivery more difficult. In February the UN estimated that 140,000 people in the state had been affected by the conflict.