By William Madouk
First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, has said weak land legislation scares away investors.
According to the first vice president, most investors could not come to the country unfavorable land ownership laws and irregular appropriation of land.
“We are now losing investors because we are unable to regulate and operate the land so that an investor can come. In less than two days, they get an appropriate land to use,” said FVP Machar.
Dr. Riek Machar was speaking during a 2-day consultation meeting to review Land Act (2009), and Local Government Act (2009), and enact a settlement and registration law.
He said that they had a hot debate on land policy, last week, at the Council of Ministers meeting, which later passed the amendment bill with the provision that land belongs to the people of South Sudan.
“We passed in the Council of Ministers the Land Policy; it was seriously debated because the land is important. During the CPA, we introduced this concept that land belongs to people; that was not abstract; it is the truth of the matter,” he explained.
According to Machar, land is a precious heritage that is vital for the transformation and progress of the present as well as future generations.
“We are users of land, and being users of land, particularly our local communities that own the land, always fights for its use and management, and that means it must be regulated,” Machar stressed.
“They fight over pasture, over water, over even ownership, community against community, saying this is my land,” he continued.
Dr. Machar underscored that the government has been relocating cattle herders back to their state of origin in order not to disturb farmers, but they (the cattle herders) would still make a U-turn coming back.
“In less than some months, we see them back moving with their cattle, sheep, and goats, so, in a way, they are telling us we are not relevant to the situation that is affecting them,” he lamented.
“So, land is important, whether you are a farmer doing agriculture or a pastoralist; you need to use it or even for other transport,” the first vice president noted.
FVP Machar disclosed that he could not go to the office on Monday because some pastoralist groups invaded his house and were pressing him to prove that the policy being used was not in their favor.
On Friday, the Council of Ministries passed a land policy with the provision that land belongs to the people of South Sudan as per the constitution and not the communities, which was misinterpreted by many people.
On October 20, 2022, the Senior Presidential Advisor, Kuol Manyang Juk, accused social media users and activists of publishing false information that he alleges scares away investors from the country.
According to Kuol, the private sector remains crucial in bridging the gap in employment because the “government cannot employ all its citizens.”