Home | News    Monday 2 June 2008

Jonglei governor unveils state strategies; asks citizens to listen

By Philip Thon Aleu

May 31, 2008 (BOR, Jonglei) – The top official in the Southern Sudan state of Jonglei outlined a series of steps taken by the local government to address a number of issues including security as the primary focus.

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Jonglei governor Kuol Manyang

Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, speaking to reporters this weekend, detailed a number of achievements and challenges Jonglei is going through - stemming from insecurity, unemployment among the youth and what he described as “corruption in government machinery” and seeking Jonglei citizens’ attention.

“The function of government is to establish good governance and delivery of social services, which means respect for law and order, such that citizens feel secured and develop their economy,” Governor Kuol Manyang said before tackling the main challenges in steps.

INSECURITY AND DISARMAMENT

The governor reiterated that the road to achieving peace is through disarmament.

“Civilians are stronger than police forces and this have increased the rate of crimes. “We must disarm them” he said.

Manyang said that the recent clashes between Duk County communities where at least thirty people died are returning to normal after two days of intensive talks by a peace committee headed by his Advisor on Peace Rev. John Jok.

“There is now peace in that area. The reports say that a total of 70,000 cattle were looted from Wuror County to Duk County and another 1,700 cattle by Wuror from Duk County. This has been the main reason why Wuror citizens were prepared to attack Duk County.”

The clashes were sparked-off by a disagreement over cattle bartering [heifer for bull], the governor confirmed putting an end speculations on the cause of the fight.

The governor said that he appealed to “Wuror not to attack Duk and we are doing our best to return stolen cattle to the rightful people.”

The governor promised an investigation into the clashes which resulted in displacement of people and closure of projects that including school construction and clean water points drilling in central Jonglei Counties. The governor said he is seeking citizens’ adherence to peace and allowing the government to provide security for them.

Jonglei insecurity has crossed perimeters into Ethiopia and Central Equatoria State (CES). Manyang is due to fly to Ethiopia in a few days to negotiate with his Ethiopian counterpart some mechanisms to normalize ties. As for cattle keepers that budged into CES, the state government has arranged to return them back to avoid “interfering with farms and stability there [CES]” the governor disclosed.

Disarmament, according to recent decree from Southern Sudan president 1st Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayadrit, all the ten Southern states has to start disarmament as June 1st, 2008, Governor Kuol maintained. “To avoid self-destruction and looting of others’ property, we shall start disarmament tomorrow [Sunday June 1st] and continue for six months,” Gen. Kuol said.

Asked whether the disarmament process may not be so peaceful, the governor said all units of government, particularly the civil society will be given time to convince people and those who choose to comply will be issued certificates.

The armed forces (SPLA) “will then move in to disarm any one refusing to surrender arms to civil societies using all necessary force,” he said. Mr. Manyang revealed that the disarmament will commence concurrently in all counties to circumvent any “negative” conspiracy in Jonglei state as well as the neighboring states.

POST-DISARMAMENT FRUITS

The governor said that after disarmament, police force, to be boosted by more 500 citizens undergoing training, will take over from the SPLA and maximize protection against looting and invasion of foreign lands.

He also predicted that road networks linking Jonglei towns will be built with little obstruction and the number of foreign investors will surge paving the way to social-economic development.

“After the peace agreement [CPA], many foreign investors expressed their interest in coming to South Sudan and Jonglei in particular, but who wants to invests in war zones?” Manyang asked.

A road connecting Jonglei capital Bor Town to Pibor is underway and the “work will continue despite the rainy season because the contracting company has good trucks,” he said. The state has also built a Higher Institute in the memory of John Garang de Mabior.

CORRUPTION, UNEMPLOYMENT & WEAK JUDICIARY

An intense review to the number of government employees has been carried out several times to deal with ghost names and double workers. The governor disclosed that the exercise has been successful and a next move to check on substandard grading is completed and same (good) results are expected.

“There are ministries in place alright, but what are they doing? There are no projects planned or implemented; for example no construction of officials building is going on, hospitals and health centers are in a very bad shape, towns in Jonglei have no drainages but the state receives money from the government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) monthly. What is the government doing? The money is paid to numerous workers for doing nothing,” Mr. Manyang wondered.

However, the governor attributed this not solely to corrupt leaders, but to the huge number of staff that encompasses SPLM and Government of Sudan pre-peace administrations.

“In some cases those years, the government (of Sudan) employed children, elderly or non-existing people. A person’s job is occupied by up to five (5) people,” he said adding “we have already removed some names and money can now be served for development.”

High rate of unemployment among the youth has to be solved by substituting into positions realized vacant after the “employees reviewing roll calling.” Other youth will be riveted into the oil companies after training - to be organized by them as requested by the state government.

The governor requested higher schools and institutes students to opt for the faculty of law to catch up with the ailing judiciary. “There are complains about how cases are handled in the judiciary, but that is not my work. It is the human rights watchdog to supervise these cases including myself,” Governor Kuol said before adding that “delayed justice is denied justice.”

The governor acknowledged that Jonglei is trailing behind in agricultural sector and warned the citizens to take care or starve. “Rains are very good this year and I hope our people we will hear our voices and help in producing their own food rather than depending on imported foods,” he said.

“Jonglei state is better now than last year which was better than the previous years and hopefully, the trend will continue” the governor concluded.

Manyang also urged local reporters, whom he said are free to operate, to “collect information from state ministers” in order to spread peace messages and strategies of the government.

(ST)