Home | News    Saturday 12 April 2008

Bor County officials threaten boycott to Sudan’s census

By Philip Thon Aleu

April 11, 2008 (BOR, Jonglei) — Officials trained to carry out the fifth Sudan’s Population and Housing Census in Bor County, scares Jonglei state director Friday April 11 that they will not go to the fields (counting sites) till contract forms are filled at the County’s headquarters Bor town.

State director promised complete solution to the crisis in 14 hours and “all shall be done by 8:00 am tomorrow (Saturday April 12).”

The group of enumerators- and the majority, claims the state census officials are creating room to cheat them “despite the fact that this exercise is fully financed by Sudan government” and internationally valued.

“You can’t start work without knowing what to sleep on? What to eat? How much to get at the end of the exercise?” Thon Nhial, the head of 216 enumerators for Bor County demanded the State director to explain the circumstances surrounding these processes. “Time to serve the nation free of charge has ended,” he added. “Unless these issues are correctly dealt with, we shall not go to the fields,” the shouted in murmurs supporting their representatives.

Bor County enumerators accused the high ranking at County level of under paying them during last week’s training that surged lost of confidence. The officials in question include field officers, coordinators and field supervisors who controlled monetary issues and senior in the ranks.

They denied any wrong doing.

“Who was not given his or her daily allowances?” Ayuen David, a coordinator, posed a defending to the enumerators but his argument fall on deaf hears. Jonglei State director for statistical commission Thiong Akuei eased tension when he connected the group (enumerators) to the headquarters in Juba. “I can’t tell you much to get at the end of the census but be sure that a plane is landing tomorrow at 8:00 am in Bor,” Southern Sudan coordinator for census commission in Juba, Philip Dau reportedly told chief enumerator Thon Nhial through phone.

This crisis tension is a mere beginning of problems, the director says. “There are many challenges like lack of tents, rains, roads inaccessibility, mosquitoes and distance,” Akuei told reporters at his office shortly after the tension was eased. Jonglei and government of southern Sudan are about to be defeated by these challenges, he says but maintained that all is still within their power ability.

Meanwhile, Pibor County (part of Jonglei state) census officials successfully reached to the fields Wednesday April 10 after their materials and man power was availed from Central Equatoria State (ECS). The county’s census is boasted by South Sudan government, Director Akuei says. “It is the only county with eleven cars. Other Jonglei counties have one each and others like KorKulos have none at all,” he said.

256 enumerators, 53 supervisors, 5 field officers and 1 coordinator; all ECS citizens are due to start census in the most nomadic - and feared volatile area in Jonglei in three days time.

The Eastern Equartorains will face language problem and food equipments, analysts predict. Pibor authorities refused census from Jonglei state claiming being “enemies on the line.” The November 2007 mobs in Bor town, where four Murle tribesmen are said to have perished stealthily distance Pibor County from Jonglei administration.

However, members of Jonglei state assembly and state ministers – born from Murle, resumed government positions after the exit of former governor Philip Thon Leek and receiving assurance of safety from Governor Kuol Manyang in December 2007.

All has not completely smoothened relationships between Murle and Bor where the state headquarters is based. Pibor authorities forth trained census officials in Yei (ECS). Bor county census says Jonglei or government of southern Sudan doubt standardized Pibor and less attentive to their equipments, a tool used to cause today’s boycott threats.

(ST)