By Kiden Stela Mandela
Land grabbing has apparently become a big issue in the country and needs solutions before citizens think it is done intentionally.
On the other hand, this could be construed as a misuse of power by government forces, with a serious impact on counties and states, where lots of complaints are emanating from land issues.
Violence increases every day in the country mostly in the counties and states.
In Ma’di area of Magwi country of Eastern Equatoria state, mostly in Nimule town and Mugali Payam, cattle keepers have flooded the place with their herds. Western Equatoria faces similar turmoil of land encroachment by armed herders.
Armed personnel who are supposed to take care of civilians have turned as perpetrators in the suffering of the people on their own land, thus land grabbing.
Sometimes causes of insecurity in an area these days are hard to understand. One wonders what prompts arms persons to turn violent to citizens in the country, yet many are also facing rough situations such as the current economic hardship.
Adding violence over land on top of natural calamities and cyclic fate, it becomes worse than war because people get trapped and end up being killed.
Women, children, and the elderly continue to bear the brunt of such actions.
The question is where are soldiers supposed to stay if the country is at peace?
The issue of land grabbing is very common here in South Sudan even in Juba where a piece of land may have 10 owners.
Sometimes three police officers were shot by residents who claimed to have tokens of plot allotment which caused multiple disagreements to the domiciles in Gurei and this is not only happening in one area but almost all over Juba.
Recently, a series of plot disputes arose among residents and top government officials due to an illegal demarcation exercise verbalized the role of the government and the community towards the organization and a few months ago.
Several court hearings over land disputes in Gurei were conducted where individuals tended to raise claims over ownership. These despites and disagreements over plots in Juba remain trending.
As ridiculous as it feels to the residents, the land grabbers turn deaf ears to the law enforcement agencies.
Other perpetrators of land grabbing are the politicians who hold top positions in the government and those who have powers in any other way, in the country.
Some of the contested land belongs to the people who ran for refugee during the 2013-2016 crises in Juba and have clear documents but due to their absence, the grabbers tend to forcefully fix their claws and build on every empty space in the city.
Sometimes the area chiefs, commissioners, and the Ministry of Housing are a mess as in a scenario where you find that one plot is sold to 10 different people depending on how much money is paid, and who pays. Such bravery or absurdity is confusing and causes conflict among citizens.
In other cases, gun power is used to take land from a legitimate owner and any resistance in the process leads to the death of at least three or more people. Where the two parties are all armed, then the toll increases.
Land grabbing is a bad practice that must be condemned in the country, criminalized, and perpetrators taken to the high court.
God Bless South Sudan.
Be right Back.