By Philip Buda Ladu
The two Governors of Eastern and Central Equatoria States are complaining about lack of logistical support from the national government to enforce presidential orders for immediate evacuation of armed herders from farmlands in the Equatoria region to their places of origin.
The Governor of Eastern Equatoria State Louis Lobong Lojore and the Governor of Central Equatoria State Emmanuel Adil Anthony presented their complaints to the Council of States on Wednesday.
The two governors appeared before the Council of States after they were summoned to answer questions on the persistent insecurity caused by the presence of armed cattle herders from the neighbouring Bor.
The two Governors were summoned as a result of an urgent and important motion on security threats and encroachment of cattle herders into Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State and parts of Central Equatoria State.
The motion was raised by a member of the Council of States by Hon. Okello Odongtoo Lawiri from Eastern Equatoria.
The Council of States later summoned the two including the Governor of Jonglei State, Minister of Interior, Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs as well as the Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The five high ranking government officials were summoned to testify on issues pertaining to the causes of the insecurity, damages caused to human lives and properties, efforts made to address the conflicts.
The council cautioned why the Presidential Orders on the return of cattle to their areas of origin have not been implemented up-to-date.
Four of the five understated officials summoned appeared at the floor of the parliament as the Governor of Jonglei was absent at the session for undisclosed reasons.
Governor Lobong said the organized forces in the State are poorly equipped, they lack the logistics needed for robust and effective intervention against security threats such as those posed by the invasion of the armed cattle keepers.
“I plead with you (lawmakers) to lobby for the Security Fund to be allocated to the States to help them equip and prepare the organized forces for urgent response to security situation” Lobong said stressed.
Governor Lobong however suggested that in order to avoid clashes between cattle keepers and the predominantly farming communities as well as different cattle keeping communities there is need to establish a legal framework to guide the movement of cattle in South Sudan.
He added that presence of such laws and proper sensitization of their citizens will be of great importance in preventing clashes between communities.
Governor Adil said the existence of huge number of illegal sophisticated firearms in the hands of those cattle herders and unregulated cattle migration poses a national security threat.
He said the persistent refusal by the cattle herders to return to their places of origin on the grounds of floods, cattle rustling and grazing pastures has perennial challenges to the State, urging the august house to look into this scapegoat with great concern.
Adil said they as State government are faced with the challenge of inadequate financial support from the national government to provide logistics to the forces engaged in the cattle evacuation exercise.
He added that lack of compliance and respect to the Fountain of Honor in the person of President of the Republic of South Sudan is a serious breach of allegiance to our nation and its supreme law.
The security situation in Eastern and Central Equatoria States being caused by the armed cattle herders from the neighboring Jonglei State resulted in unnecessary loses leaving the communities in both States in grief.
Adil emphasized that there is need to address the roots causes of cattle rustling in the country adding that as a country they there is also need for them to have a comprehensive arms control and disarmament policy.