Akol Madut Ngong
A lawmaker in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly representing SPLM-IO has called on the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to initiate a policy frame work to guard livestock movement in the country.
This came during the closure of the three days Livestock Conference that brought together relevant stakeholders from the states and three Administrative Areas under the theme “Stop cattle raiding and migration-related conflict-transition to commercialization”.
Addressing the conference over the weekend, Nhial Bol, the chairperson of Standing Specialized Committee for Livestock and Fisheries urged the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to look into policy framework that guards livestock, “five ministers served in the ministry and there is no single framework adding that partners are ready to serve the ministry but the institution is not in order.
“We cannot increase the budget while we don’t know the ministry’s activities, there is need to understand what you are doing as a members of parliament including the relation between national and state ministries,” he said.
Bol stated that you cannot have commercialized livestock without carrying out census for the livestock in this country saying many countries are interested to buy our meat and invest here in South Sudan but they are asking for how many cattle do the country have.
He appealed to UN Agencies and your government that in April or May, we have to carry out livestock census.
Meanwhile the governor of Eastern Equatoria state Louis Lobong Lojore said that people with over 15 wives go for cattle raiding and those people with over thousand heads of cattle also go for raiding.
“Let us treat agriculture and livestock equally important for us in South Sudan, try to allocate the budget equally the same to improve this sectors. If we protect livestock as in the same way we protect agriculture, we have been trying all the time on how to improve the agriculture even thinking on how to bring fertilizers for agriculture. We have been bringing seeds from outside to improve our agriculture but nobody goes outside to bring things that can improve livestock. Services of livestock that include protection of the livestock from greedy people who want to raid,” he added.
Lobong added that raiding is not about being poor but its greediness, people are very selfish, they want to get more hence leading people to go for raid.
He advised people to learn from our neighbors the likes of Kenya who have enough police reserves and they are well armed they work to protect livestock of Kenyan people while ours are vulnerable, the mandate of our forces in South Sudan is to defend the territories of the sovereignty and protect the lives of South Sudanese people and their properties including the livestock,”
“Can we provide services to the livestock such as water and veterinary services? Can we come up with strong laws to guard the movement of livestock during the dry season and other disaster? That our livestock can go anywhere but provide that are guarded by law, the national ministry of livestock and fisheries have to lobby market for livestock to bring hard currency also to deploy veterinary personnel in the rural areas, Lobong stressed.
He reiterated that when we talk about dowry, you are not selling or buying a girl, it is a token of appreciation, can be bringing a family together, I and we together condemn commercialization of marriage where some of our communities advertise a girl and people compete over cows while marriage in Africa is an understanding between two families regardless of number of cows whether they are 10, 40, 100”.