OpEd, Politics

He who says cattle are the cause of communal fights, is the causer instead

By Theem Isaac Machar Akot

Cattle are not just a source of food and income in South Sudan, but they also hold a significant symbolic value in the country’s culture. As such, the theft of cattle, also known as cattle rustling, has been a major cause of communal hostilities in the region for many years. However, the problem is not inherent in the cattle themselves, but rather in the human behavior that surrounds them.

Greed is a powerful motivator that can drive people to do things they might not otherwise do. In the case of cattle rustling in South Sudan, greed is often the driving force behind the theft of cattle. People who engage in cattle rustling are not necessarily motivated by a need for food or income. Instead, they are driven by a desire for personal wealth and status. In many cases, the stolen cattle are not even consumed by the rustlers themselves. Instead, they are sold to others or used as bargaining chips in negotiations with rival communities.

Cattle play an important role in South Sudan’s culture and economy. They are a source of food, milk, and meat, and they are also used as a form of currency. In many communities, a man’s wealth is measured by the number of cattle he owns. As such, the theft of cattle can have a devastating impact on individual families and entire communities.

While greed is a major cause of cattle rustling in South Sudan, several other factors contribute to the problem.

Limited Resources South Sudan is a resource-poor country with limited access to education, healthcare, and other necessities. Many people in the region are forced to engage in subsistence farming, which means they rely heavily on their cattle for survival. As a result, there is often competition over scarce resources, which can lead to conflict and theft.

Weak Governance South Sudan has a long history of political instability, which has led to weak governance and a lack of rule of law. This has created a situation where people feel they can get away with criminal behavior, including cattle rustling.

Armed Conflict and carrying of unauthorized weapons by cattle keepers have been other significant factors. Cattle rustling is often used as a tactic in armed conflict between communities. In many cases, rival communities will steal cattle from each other as a way of gaining an advantage in a larger conflict.

Poor Border Control in the country has greatly encouraged cattle raids. Since the independence, demarcation for local communities has never been done, especially where cattle rearing activities take place.  As a result, they become the potential reasons for disputes.

Climate change is another factor affecting the nation at all levels, which is having a significant impact on South Sudan’s environment, leading to increased droughts and food insecurity. This has put additional pressure on communities to protect their cattle, leading to more frequent cattle raids and thefts.

In conclusion, cattle rustling in South Sudan is a complex problem that is driven by a range of factors, including greed, limited resources, weak governance, armed conflict, and climate change. While the theft of cattle is not inherent in the cattle themselves, it is a symptom of deeper societal issues that must be addressed if lasting peace and stability are to be achieved in the region. Efforts to address these issues should focus on improving governance, promoting peacebuilding initiatives, and addressing the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in South Sudan whereas disarmament policy stands out as the best measure does the government needs stability.

The writer is a third-year student at the University of Juba School of Education Department of English Language.  

Comments are closed.