Hon. Jacob Akech Dengdit: Making the Case for Duk Padiet Municipality in Jonglei State

Posted: August 14, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Jonglei State, Junub Sudan

By Hon. Jacob Akech Dengdit, Bor, Jonglei state

jacob-akech-dengdit-making-media-statement-during-peace-innitiative-in-duk-in-2014

Hon Akech Deng Kanyin, former Jonglei state information minister

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 (PW) —- This marks my first ever endeavor into  cyber space as the great resource to both international and local partners in term of long-term planning, and as well as on the social ground in evaluating developmental achievements of a community. I have herein this document presented the general logic behind the establishment of gubernatorial administrative order which confirmed the establishment of Duk Padiet as a Municipal location that only follows Bortown Municipality.

It’s all attached to SPLM vision of taking town to the people of which Jonglei state governor H.E. Philip Aguer Panyang extended to people of Duk inform of municipal area. I think on my personal point of view, we, the people of Duk should stand and embrace such an incredible agenda brought to us in silver plate. Yes, it might sound to someone who is not exactly informed about the merits of Municipal area differently but honestly take your time and understand what I distinctly analyze in this piece of writing.

Duk Padiet is currently the headquarter of Duk Padiet County which is part of the former Duk County and is located about 172km (103miles) from Bor, the headquarter of Jonglei State. The current demographic population of Duk Padiet can be broken down into 4 groups including Dinka host community (from Padiet), Dinkas displaced from other areas of Greater Duk (from Duk Payual County, Duk Panyang County and Duk Pagak County), Lou and Gawaar Nuers displaced from Former Ayod and Uror counties.

Duk Padiet and the surrounding counties are home to diverse tribal and ethnic communities: Former Uror County to the east is composed primarily of Lou-Nuer; Ayod County to the North West is Gawar-Nuer; Pibor County in the southeast has a large Murle population; and Duk Payuel County to the South is primarily Dinka. These populations often traded and intermarried before the recent conflicts, and continue to do so, to some extent, currently. They are primarily agro-pastoralists whose trade includes cattle, fish and other commodities.

The location of Duk Padiet at the border of the Dinka and Nuer tribes has made it a hot spot and war zone during conflicts induced by the national political differences that often take ethnic dimension at the grass-root level. Being a bilingual county with shared cultural practices between the Dinka and Nuer, Duk Padiet’s proneness to such conflict-induced violence is always very high.

The inhabitants of Duk Padiet who are Dinkas but fluently speak the Nuer language and have their foreheads cut (just like the Nuer) become targets on either side of the tribal divide. When they cross into the Nuer community they are considered as the Dinka and hence become targets during conflicts while on the Dinka community side this group is perceived as the sympathizers and supporters of the Nuer community.

Duk Padiet community has proven to be resilient over the past several years of conflict, providing survival and coping mechanisms for insecurity and vulnerability associated by such conflict-induced crisis. These communities readily find ways to adapt to such situations and they strive to restore their social life even without much help from outside world. Duk Padiet is thus envisioned as the heart of the neighborhood, in the fact that the inhabitants themselves often come together to help each other, reconcile and seek peace whenever conflicts breakout.

For instance, displaced Nuer communities from the neighboring Ayod and Uror Counties normally find it safer seeking refuge in Duk Padiet and yet the UN never set up an IDP camp there. These bilingual communities peacefully co-exist without clear structures put in place proving that when assisted they can solely initiate peacebuilding, reconciliation and development process in the whole Greater Jonglei Region. Duk Padiet is therefore an ideal neutral ground for all in the Greater Upper Nile Region. The creation of a municipality in Duk Padiet would provide the avenue needed to achieve a lasting peace in this region that has been affected by conflicts over the years.

Actually, what would be the better way to smooth over old social divisions than by creating a new and neutral center of social, economic and political gravity, not influenced by old histories and old divisions? A place such as Duk Padiet Municipality, American founder James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 43, would “satisfy every jealousy” because it would belong to one-and so to everyone all at once (His advice soon led to the construction of Americans “federal district” on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland).

The development of a new municipality would help smooth over some of the social divisions that have, for a very long time, hung low over and acted as catalyst of conflict in the northern Jonglei and South Sudan as whole. Duk Padiet Municipality will serve a strategic purpose to promote business, industrial development and investment as well as increase the security of the entire Upper Nile Region.

Creating Duk Padiet Municipality will bring a strong force of unity in Jonglei State since it will act as glue that shall bind together all the diverse communities of Jonglei State (and other neighboring states) in peace and mutual coexistence. Duk Padiet Municipality shall be the neutral city at the far end of Jonglei where citizens from all around Jonglei State will comfortably interact and do business while seeking to build a lasting peace and reconcile with each other with neither parties feeling threatened due to cultural alienation.

For instance, the citizens from Bor, Twic, Nyarweng, Aborom and Hol will be able to peacefully establish business, buy plots of land within the new municipality, build permanent homes and engage in other development programs. Similarly, the citizens from the Lou and Gawar communities will also be attracted to Duk Padiet Municipality by the new investment and development opportunities that shall arise. All these will strengthen the feeling of collective ownership in Duk Padiet leading to sustainable peace within the region.

Duk Padiet Municipality would attract significant investment in the northern Jonglei economy leading to increased growth and improvement of the lives of the citizens.  The municipality will be a common meeting point for both the Dinka and the Nuer. Due to its bilingual nature as well as its strategic location at the border of these two major tribes, the municipality shall act as a peacebuilding and reconciliation center for the entire former Jonglei State.

Both the Dinka and the Nuer speakers will feel more comfortable to come to Duk, interact and do business while seeking to build a lasting peace and reconcile with each other with neither parties feeling threatened due to cultural alienation. This initiative will help meet the desired goals of restoring peace and reconciling the Dinka and Nuer community in northern part of Jonglei State using an approach that is entirely self-functioning and fully sustainable.

As a Municipality, Duk Padiet will have corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by the national laws. It will be distinguished from the county which includes the rural areas including the numerous small communities and villages. Duk Padiet Municipality will be autonomous and as such will have the right to tax individuals, businesses and corporations thereby increasing its pool of revenue that will be used to initiate life-changing development programs.

In addition, the mayor acting on behalf of the Duk Padiet Municipality will be able to directly negotiate and receive substantial funding from the both the national and state governments, foreign governments, International NGOs and Corporations as well as the UN Agencies, and use such funds to formulate the municipality’s own policies and initiate development programs without the interference of the national or state government.

A new municipality will ensure sustainability and resilience of economic development within the region by playing the key role of creating conducive environment for investment through the provision of infrastructure; formulating economic development friendly policies; and provision of quality public services. The Duk Padiet citizens will therefore be able to access the services such as clean and safe water, sanitation and sewerage services which at the moment, to the majority of population, are just a dream.

Since lack of security has been one of the main causes of underdevelopment in northern Jonglei, creation of a municipality in Duk Padiet will result in a well-structured administrative and policing system under the leadership of a mayor hence improving the security of not only Duk Padiet but the entire Greater Duk Region.

With the improved security, the inhabitants of Duk Padiet would feel safe and secure to freely invest in economic activities such as farming; fishing and livestock production hence improve the food security and livelihood of the entire region. Among the projects that a municipality would implement include the rehabilitation of the Duk swamp for farming and other agricultural activities which will greatly enhance the livelihoods of Greater Duk Region and the whole former Jonglei state.

Duk Padiet Municipality will undoubtedly be the glue that shall bind together all the diverse communities of Greater Upper Nile Region in peace and mutual coexistence. The municipality will also spur socio-economic growth of the once hostile neighboring communities of former Ayod, Uror and Pibor counties. A municipality would add better control mechanism for livestock migration to the swamp area of Toch during the dry season.

Accessibility to water points for livestock as well as grazing land which has been a source of conflict among the diverse communities of northern Jonglei will be effectively enhanced and controlled by both Duk Padiet County and Duk Padiet Municipality. Some of the longstanding socio-economic problems such as cattle rustling will greatly diminish since employment and other income generating opportunities for the youth will be readily available hence the youths will no longer feel excluded and abandoned.

The improved security will also attract more investment from within and out of South Sudan resulting in a sustainable socio-economic development in the Greater Jonglei Region and the entire former Jonglei. Socio-economic structures such as schools, health and trading centres will function efficiently under such conducive environment hence providing the much needed enticement for our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers who are currently living as IDPs in other parts of South Sudan, refugees and immigrants in foreign countries to come back home and join hands in the development of Duk Padiet and South Sudan as a whole.

Another development benefit of creating a municipality in Duk Padiet is that it will in improving the accessibility of areas of economic importance within the Greater Jonglei Region which is considered one of the remortest areas in South Sudan.  With the presence of municipality, the planned construction of the road from Ethiopia to Akobo will be extended (due to the presence security and the enhanced economic opportunities) to the Duk Swamp where the fishermen from the Greater Duk Region and former Ayod County will readily access market for the fish hence improving their standards of livelihood.

In addition, the road from Duk Padiet through Payai into the Fly Camp will be built to provide the fishermen from Toch easy access to markets in Duk Padiet and other neighboring counties. Other products such as farm produce and livestock products from the mainland will also find market in Toch area as well as far beyond Ayod County.

Nelson Mandela once said that “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Creating Duk Padiet municipality will therefore provide an ideal opportunity and a neutral ground for both the Dinka and Nuer to meet, interact, do business together and consequently create the much needed mutual trust and understanding among themselves which is very important for peacebuilding and reconciliation in South Sudan.

Summary of benefits of Duk Padiet Municiplality

  1. As a neutral ground, the Duk Padiet Municipality shall act as a peace center for grassroots peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives between the Dinka and Nuer in the Greater Upper Nile Region.
  1. A new municipality would help smooth over some of the social divisions that have, for a very long time, acted as catalyst of conflict in the northern Jonglei and South Sudan as whole. The citizens here will no longer feel abandoned and excluded from the Government development programs.
  1. Duk Padiet Municipality will strengthen the feeling of collective ownership in Duk Padiet leading to sustainable peace within the region. The citizens from Bor, Twic, Nyarweng, Aborom and Hol will be able to peacefully establish business, buy plots of land within the new municipality, build permanent homes and engage in other development programs. Similarly, the citizens from the Lou and Gawar communities and other South Sudanese will also be attracted to Duk Padiet Municipality by the new investment and development opportunities that shall arise. All these
  1. Duk Padiet Municipality would attract significant investment in the northern Jonglei economy leading to increased socio-economic growth and improvement of the lives of the citizens.
  1. The mayor acting on behalf of the Duk Padiet Municipality will be able to directly negotiate and receive substantial funding from the both the national and state governments, foreign governments, NGOs and UN Agencies for initiating development projects that would provide basic services to the citizens.
  1. Creation of the municipality will attract more people back to Duk Padiet and with the population, security will improve and the region will develop economically.
  1. Social service centres such as schools, health centres will be greatly improved as well as availability of clean water, sanitation and sewerage services.
  1. A new municipality will ensure sustainability and resilience of economic development within the region by playing the key role of creating conducive environment for investment.
  1. Creating a municipality in Duk Padiet will help in improving the accessibility of areas of economic importance within the Greater Duk Region, for example, the road from Duk Padiet through Payai into the Fly Camp will be built to provide the fishermen from Toch easy access to markets in Duk Padiet and other neighboring counties.

The Author, Hon. Jacob Akech Dengdit, is the former commissioner of Greater Duk County, former Jonglei State Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport, and the current advisor to Jonglei State governor on Youth Services. He can be reached via: jwadeng@gmail.com

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 Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s