Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 23 March 2013

Security implications for elections in Lakes state


By Sunday Manyang Agok

I am writing in response to South Sudan Human Right Society for Advocacy petition to President Salva Kiir Mayardit calling for formation of Lakes state High Election Committee and for an election of governor in Lakes State as published in Citizen Newspaper Thursday, March 14, 2013 vol.7. Issue No.404. While I partially agree with their petition and treat it with utmost faith and respect, I also hold an opinion to give a chance to the current stringent policies for the restoration of peace and stability in the state.

The security situation in Lakes State earlier this year called for an appointment of a Caretaker Governor for Lakes State that would restore peace and prepare the state for election of a new governor to finish the term of service for the deposed elected governor as indicated in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. The decree for the removal and appoint of Governor and Caretaker Governor respectively was applauded with approval in the state and was seen as salvage to the rampant insecurity that also reached State Headquarters of the government. The nature of the conflict in Lakes state is not ordinary one, it involves armed conflict whose effects may threaten national security of this country. It warrants bold decision of the like President took.

The mandate the President gave to Gen. Matur Chut Dhuol made him confident and determined to contain the insecurity. He took a unique approach to consult with people of Lakes State citizens in Juba and indeed he toured eight counties of Lakes State on how the security situation could be contained. The consultation informed the programmes Caretaker Governor intend to undertake to overcome the endemic insecurity caused by the Cattle raids, revenge attacks, unresolved disputes over water points and cattle camps, wide prevalence of AK47 in hands of civilians, etc.
The wisdom expressed in the petition by the South Sudan Human Right Society for Advocacy reflects a mature appeal for respect of constitution and the rule of law.

However, the situation and conditions in Lakes state are still fragile and need patience to realize peace and stability before elections are conducted. The current programmes for arresting culprits and outlaws need to be implemented and the gains consolidated by Gen. Matur to prepare grounds that will pave the way for smooth democratic transition for the people of Lakes state to legitimate rule of their duly elected governor of their choices.

The social structure is psychologically traumatized to believe that revenge killing is the best weapon to inflict on opponent. Personal trauma experiences are as well horrific to tell in most part of the state. It would be good to create social safety net programs that include psychological counseling on how to make peace and live with it throughout. The communities in the state are more worried about their basic survival and safety than following the constitution. It seems the situation in the state turned catastrophic as there was little legal solution. Perhaps this is due to prevalence of weak or traditional coordinated policies and their implementation. The poor coordination between warning systems and the preventative measures for the conflict essential for monitoring conflicts and responses were also pertinent to poor containment of the conflict.

I would propose that the constitution be put aside for some time and Caretaker Governor be given public support to quell the insecurity till pocket of residence conform to law and order and the state to be set at governable state. A quick request for observing and implementing constitutional requirement in Lakes state will frustrate the achievement of peace and stability because many people in Lakes State perceive injustice and lack of transparency in the way their conflict are resolved. Mistrust is bred and ripened in these communities and there is a need for a coordinated effort to restore the people’s confidence in their state government’s ability to resolve conflicts. Some people have at some point implied that virtually everybody involved in the conflict would see himself as a victim and take the law into his/her hands that have resulted into outrageous and unwanted insecurity that deposed former elected Governor.

Yes I would agree with popular statement that democracy and political stability are closely associated with maintaining peace and preventing the eruption of violent conflict. It is also important to denote that success in preventing conflict requires an understanding of the root causes of war, local capacities and interests, and the magnitude and type of provisions made by the national government seems to address them. I would prefer as my opinion that Gen. Matur should be given more time to create stable and conducive environment so that future conflicts are prevented and the next governor does not face other major insecurity problem and sectional upheaval of the kind and condition that forced the President to remove the Governor of Lakes State.

The civil society that includes South Sudan Human Right Group should continue to engage in advocacy for peace and reconciliation in the state. Huge investment of building peace, promoting culture of peace, conflict prevention and strengthening local capacities for maintaining sustainable peace and prosperity for the people of Lakes state should top priority of the lobbying groups. ?If elections are conducted as required by the constitution, it will make it hard for security and peaceful stability to be realized given the complexities involved in the current affairs of Lakes state problems.

The Caretaker Governor has shown great potential to handle insecurity in Lakes state and I think he needs more time than what has been indicated in the constitution otherwise conducting election now will exacerbate the insecurity and make the state ungovernable that may destabilize Republic of South Sudan. Implementation of the constitutional requirement now I am afraid may be identical to ignorant of the current fragile realities of peace and stability in Lakes State.

Sunday Manyang Agok can be reached manyangsun@yahoo.com or on twitter at @newestnation. His South Sudan mobile is 0956228850.

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  • 23 March 2013 10:25, by Young Patriot

    Sunday, I doubt if Kiir dismissed Gov Chol cuz of insecurity in Lakes State..Kiir doesn’t give a shit about Lakes community particularly Agar section. He had his own interest in getting rid of Gov Chol since Kiir suspects that Chol was too close to his VP Dr Riek. That is a naked truth! You are a respected intellectual in Lakes and you need to stop singing praises to a priah President like Kiir.

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  • 23 March 2013 10:32, by Young Patriot

    Maj Gen Matur is part of the current sectional killing in Lakes state when he and Mayom Akech used to fire squad rival clan youths fighting their Panajuong relatives.He has not achieved anything so far as you claimed in the article.I am living in Rumbek and people are getting killed everyday even in Rumbek town. The only tangible truth in your article is that Agar people must stop revenge killing.

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    • 23 March 2013 16:37, by Mapuor

      Young Patriot
      Lets support the current government in order to achieve peace and security in the heart of our country which is Lakes State.Its true that institutions such as prisons,police and judiciary were not doing their jobs properly.Prison officers are apparently jailed for releasing murderers on bribery.Is this not good?

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    • 23 March 2013 20:31, by Peacocktail

      Young Patriot,
      The writer state the facts in LS communal conflict.Gen.Matuor from day #1 state clearly that security in Lake state is managable if the communities cooperate and listen to Government policies. Election called by SSHRA is just fake resolution, who shall campaign in LS with massive insecurity all over? Election is foolish idea.Citizens are not aware of constitutions,Gen.M.Chuol is ok

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  • 23 March 2013 17:40, by Truth Teller

    The fact remain that Eng Chol Tong was remove y the President on accusation of not doing good job but also not far from being accused for closed relationship with VP Dr. Riak Machar. However, there is no such special relation since Machar is country’s vice President, but there are pple and deed heavy weight politician from Lakes State in Juba who doses not want Chong Tong for having not im

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  • 23 March 2013 17:41, by Truth Teller

    implement their cheap motion including bring in their people as ministers and other constitutional posh holder in Lakes state gov’t. Let Chol remain at home for he was elected by the peoele to do people needs and not individual interest. We will see the temptation with Matur Chut. Finally, election must take place, otherwise there is no principles of constitutionalism in South Sudan

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  • 24 March 2013 08:12, by Maker Costa

    Well done Sunday, what we need now is peace and security in the state. Let everybody else wait for 2015 if they want to be governors. Lakes State is not ready for elections now; that is just a fact. Of course, observing the clauses of our constitution is praiseworthy but sometimes reason will just tell us that being pragmatic is better in such situations. By the way, the president can extend the p

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    • 25 March 2013 12:10, by Peter Mading

      Mr. Sunday. We shall support the Caretaker Governor but what you proposed on paragraph six is not true. General Matur can not have natural constitution or a law of his own. It is that existing law or constitution which the Former Governor could have implemented is what Gen. Matur should enforce now. It is that bais and division which former Governor do is what Gen. Matur should eliminate now.

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  • 25 March 2013 07:55, by Agutthon

    You people who resist conduct of elections for Lakes State are mocking this country and its constitution. Chol’s removal was not in order. There are governors like Kuol who should have been prime targets for removal but ignorantly left to overlook death state like Jongley. Kiir must not apply law selectivel. It is a shame.

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    • 25 March 2013 09:35, by Morthon Akol

      Yes man that is true. how many people are been kill in Jongle and the governor are not been remove. the issue of removable of elected governor is not security issue is political issues.

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      • 25 March 2013 12:17, by Peter Mading

        All the time people keep on relating Lakes State with Jonglei. Jonglei issue is a tribal conflicts while Lakes issue is Sectional conflicts. If You compare Kuol with Chol then you have nothing to say. Despite the Jonglei unrest, the public is convinced on a little development in Jonglei which is absent in Lakes. Even a little infrastructure made before signing CPA went into total death.

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