Will the Hon. Akol Paul Kordit’s Disarmament Initiative restore peace in Rumbek?

Posted: January 6, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

“The  Former defunct Lakes State is ailing, the malady  stems  from  the  pervasive    inter-communal violence  due  to  the  persistent  cattle  raiding and a  cycle  of  revenge  killings  over the  last 10 years and  the  most  virulent  cause  of  all – the  limited rule  of  law  or  the  absence  of rule of law in the State.”

By Duluma SK’ Maker, Juba, South Sudan

Deputy minister for information, Akol Paul Khordit

Deputy minister for information, Akol Paul Khordit

January 6, 2018 (SSB) — December 6-8 2017 has been a period where Pakam-Rup feud resulted to a loss of nearly 200 innocent lives including the ones of vulnerable people, properties destroyed and a thousand of people displaced in an inter-communal fight in Rumbek, Western Lakes State (WLS).

Notwithstanding the strongest condemnation from all citizens of Rumbek and other South Sudanese citizens at large, the WLS specter has at last pierced the conscience of Hon. Akol Paul Kordit prompting him to write a timely and most welcomed genuine letter by citizens of WLS and other concerned South Sudanese on December 8 2017 addressed to President of the Republic H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit asking him to quickly and decisively act.

In the Letter signed by Hon. Akol Paul and Hon. Daniel Dhieu Matuet, courageously they wrote; “As people representatives, we will be left with nobody to represent in this Country unless your Excellency quickly and decisively act by undertaking the following recommended measures;

  1. Declaration of state of emergency in Western Lakes and Gok States
  2. Immediate deployment of full SPLA military division to conduct total disarmament of the civil population
  3. Facilitation of all stakeholders peace conference in Rumbek
  4. Settlement of all pending court cases related to killings in Western Lakes State
  5. Delivery of humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable groups that have been affected by the conflict”

  Few days later, President Salva Kiir responded by declaring requested state of emergency and ordering the SPLA Chief of Defense Forces to immediately deploy a full military division in Former defunct Lakes State. Congratulations Hon. Akol Paul for having done a heroic move which is required of people’s representatives and therefore your efforts must be acknowledged and due credit be given where necessary.

The Former defunct Lakes State is ailing, the malady stems from the pervasive inter-communal violence due to the persistent cattle raiding and a cycle of revenge killings over the last 10 years and the most virulent cause of all – the limited rule of law or the absence of rule of law in the State.

 As a big gun behind the disarmament initiative,  Hon. Akol Paul led a delegation from Central government comprising of 12 MPs from WLS and 2 members of South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) to Rumbek airlifted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) helicopter on 27 December 2017.

Upon arrival to Rumbek Airstrip, the delegation was accorded warm welcoming by the WLS government and the delegation main objective as broadcasted on SSBC was to sensitize the armed youths and the WLS community at large about the importance and possible disarmament of guns from the civil population that shall commence as soon as possible.

On December 30 2017, the delegation held a joint meeting with State Cabinet and discussed many issues including sensitization and awareness campaigns, registration of Gelweng (youths tasked with cattle protection) and how both the National MPs and State government could work together throughout disarmament period.

According to the representatives of Chiefs, Gelweng, women groups and the WLS government, all the armed youths are willing to surrender their AK47s because they have realized now as a result of the National MPs sensitization and awareness campaign that they are possessing dangerous weapons which are taking their lives and causing more suffering in their once most respected community.

The writer is in agreement with this initiative of disarming the civil population but there are many queries that officials of former defunct Lakes State in the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU)  should also put into consideration;

  1. How will acquisition of guns/ammunitions be regulated and by who?
  2. Will the demand factors which forced Gelweng to possess guns be answered or be taken care of by the TGoNU?
  3. What about the status quo of the Gelweng from states neighboring former defunct Lakes State? Will similar disarmament of civil population be conducted simultaneously?

The writer believed that this disarmament initiative if properly conducted could mitigate the chances of inter-communal killings that had persisted for a decade in former defunct Lakes State but if the civil population and their properties will not be protected by TGoNU, they will remain as a prey for the neighboring states.

Thus, if the TGoNU wanted peace to prevail in the region, it should initiate Former defunct States (Lakes, Warrap & Unity) peace conference and hence a comprehensive disarmament strategy will be designed and implemented.

To bring to your attention once again honorable National MPs from WLS who went to Rumbek for disarmament mission, you need to re-double your efforts to convince the Gelweng to surrender their AK47s wholly simply because this inter-communal violence all over the country has been referred to as “a Lakes State Thing!”

For instance, on December 18, 2017 when Tonj police commissioner reported that 31 people have been killed in the inter-communal violence between Thiik and Kongor or Adoor-Jal-wau, it has prompted someone who is a learned figure to write on his Twitter Page that “Terrible thing to see Tonj people doing a Lakes State thing!” it’s not only an insult to people of Lakes State but it’s too absurd and irresponsible remarks which disturbed my thinking.

Therefore, if this inter-communal violence all over the Country has been narrowed to a Lakes State thing, I believe the sons and daughters of Lakes State have the potential to bring it to an end. For instant, Speaking on Radio Miraya on January 3, 2018, Hon. Akol Paul made it crystal clear that they will work closely with all stakeholders to disarmed Gelweng’s hearts and minds before SPLA physical disarmament process kick start and then initiate a healing and reconciliation process.

This is a positive beginning to bring an end to this persistent inter-communal violence which some adversaries to the people of Lakes State called “a Lakes State thing.”

In conclusion, the writer believe that this disarmament initiative will bring a lasting peace in the greater Lakes States because the National MPs policy is positive and promising as indicated in their action points;

  1. Disarming Gelweng’s hearts and minds.
  2. Initiating a healing and reconciliation process
  3. Avoiding Gelweng re-arming by ensuring that SPLA will provide protection of civil population and their properties and ensure that acquisition of guns/ammunitions by civil population will be properly regulated.
  4. Finally, pending court cases related to killings will be settled.

For information purpose to the readers of this article, Former Lakes State is situated in a central part of the now independent South Sudan and was a seat of the SPLA/SPLM during the liberation struggle. It was once a place of hospitality, a center for quality education in the then Southern Sudan.

Rumbek Secondary School has been a bread basket for the Liberation movement and a land that produced most feared revolutionaries whose vital contributions help create a nation called South Sudan. Should they be watched to slaughter themselves? and people called it “a Lakes State Thing!” it’s dreadfully poignant.

The writer could be reached via:  duluma88@gmail.com or on 0954440496

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, the city and the country you are writing from, plus a concise biography of yourself.

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