Blogs | 23 July 2018 | by guest blogger

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Farmers and pastoralists engage in dialogue after Human Security Survey in South Sudan

This blog has been written by John Malith Mabor from SSANSA. PAX and SSANSA collaborate since 2005 and work together on the implementation of the Human Security Survey in South Sudan.

In December 2017, during a community security feedback dialogue following the Human Security Survey in Jubek, farmer- pastoralist relationships were identified among five main security concerns in the area. A security committee was set up to carry the recommendations from the discussion forward and plan activities to address the identified community security issues.

On July 10, 2018 we travelled to Mangalla to start a dialogue between farmers and pastoralist, which took place from 11 to 12 July, 2018. We hired a car that carried food items and the members of the security committee. The meeting was attended by 80 people. The pastoralists who attended include the Dinka Bor, the Mundari from Terekeka, the Murle and some native Bari people who keep cattle.

Opening

The commissioner of Mangalla county officially opened the dialogue, in his speech he thanked PAX, SSANSA, the security committee and  UNMISS for organizing the event that has been so important. The commissioner said such dialogues or forums were good because they encourage community cohesion and peaceful co-existence. “We used to have both the cattle and the farms at the same time and there was no conflict, why conflict now?’’  Cattle and grain or crops are sources of  communities livelihoods, and there is no way that people do away with either the cattle or the farming, the commissioner said. The deputy commissioner also made opening remarks and acknowledged his participation in the Human Security Survey feedback  session in Jubek which was the beginning of everything including the dialogue in Mangalla.  He also explained how the five issues were prioritized in the long list of other community security issues. Some other senior local government officials have also attended the forum. UNMISS Civil Affairs staff was also present in the meeting. A member of the security committee who was also the youth chairperson for Mangalla County moderated or facilitated the two days program and at the same time translated the speakers.

Discussion

We invited the media and the dialogue was well covered and  formed part of the last weekend national news from the Miraya FM.

During the two days of dialogue, the pastoralists cited insecurity as a reason why cattle are kept close to farms. If you go far away in the deep bush with your cattle the raiders will take away your cattle and even kill you, they said. Unless the country returns from war to peace and disarmament takes place, that will be the only opportunity pastoralists be living far apart from farmers.

Farmers also cited lack of respect by pastoralists.They said pastoralist do not know how to say sorry in situation were cattle have destroyed crops. While on the other hand, some pastoralists said that farmers are so short tempered they even shoot and kill animals whereas instead they could also report the damage to authorities. They take law into their own hands, and if a pastoralist sees that his cow was killed he will fight the farmer and that may lead to loss of lives, something that has been happening in some bomas (equivalent to a village, red) in Mangalla.

Results

During the dialogue the pastoralist and farmers recognized that they must co-exist and live peacefully in the community and they decided to pass some resolutions:

  • Mapping and identification of routes for cattle movement within Mangalla County. The migration routes were identified and areas to be settled by pastoralist were named and agreed upon, animal movement is to be controlled to avoid destruction of crops.
  • A common market and common farm will be set up in which both the pastoralists and farmers will share the local government will make by-laws or rules to back up the community resolutions, and the by-laws will help addressing the violation of the resolution,
  • The farmers will be reporting to local authorities when issues of cattle destroying farms arise

Before the commissioner concluded the dialogue, another small Mangalla-based security committee was set up, which will  have a link with the Jubek committee and the local authorities and Mangalla pastoralists and farmers community. Three members from farmers and three from pastoralists were chosen to monitor and oversee the implementation of the community resolutions.

The issue between pastoralists and farmers has become a serious community security threat in Jubek, and a growing tension was reported between Jubek farmers and Mundari of Terekeka pastoralist in Jebel Lado areas northern Juba.

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