Western Equatoria State: Press Briefing in Juba
By Charles Barnaba Kisanga
July 29, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — My name is Charles Barnaba Kisanga, I’m the State Minister of Information and Communications in Western Equatoria State and the spokesperson for WES Government. I would like to brief our media in Juba especially our SSTV on the current situation in Western Equatoria State (WES).
The security station is moderate a in Western Equatoria and by moderate I mean there are no threats or clashes that is happening that can lead to any violent related issues.
Yes in the past two months we had indeed a lot of insecurity around 2 counties: Mundri West and Maridi; and this threatened to undermine the peaceful nature of Western Equatoria State. The consequence of the violence is still being felt as we have over 15, 000 citizens from these counties displaced to Yambio and other peaceful towns.
The issue was between pastoralists and local citizens and youth and it seemed some pastoralists /cattle raiders were enraged when they heard about Presidential Decree which asked them to leave Equatoria with their animals for the sake of pace and farming to return to local people in affected areas .
Some were refusing and started targeting villagers and crops fields in their anger. Instead of helping WES to solve the issue and enforce the Presidential decree some political and Army elements decided to take sides as there are people who are jealous of the peaceful and cool existence in Western Equatoria State. Some of these anti-WES elements who are connected with some authorities in Juba immediately wanted to declare Western Equtorian as rebellious so that soldiers can encroach on human rights and cause havoc in the pretext of fighting non-existence rebels.
All these were calculated as part of lobbying for Governor Position because current Governor will be discredited on security grounds and he can then be relieved and their favourite plan executioner is appointed. This is what ensured in Mundri and Maridi and to make matters worse some commandos were sent from Juba with no cooperation with State authorities or even the Army Division stationed in the state. Even though this group was headed by a mere captain they claimed they were only answerable to Juba Army headquarters.
Following their looting spree and harassment of people in Maridi they went on to detain 36 local youth from and then return with them to Juba. All these led to displacement and people fleeing the burning of houses and looting of market places plus some killings.
I want to stress that there has been conflict in many other states between Army units and pastoralists especially in Lakes Sate and Jonglei but no one ever want to call that rebellion. But when it is Western Equatoria those who are jealous of why we keep the peace immediately want it to be said rebellion instead of the contributing to solve the misunderstanding as much as was directed by the President of the Republic for the cattle to go.
Even now the road to Wau from Tambura is threated and people are being killed on the side of Western Bahr Ghazal near Bazia but no one is sending troops there and talking that there is a rebellion around Bazia. Only the case in Western Equatoria between locals and pastoralists over farming areas is what some quarters in Juba want it termed as rebellion for the pretext to move in troops to undermine human rights and destroy everything.
If we want build a prosperous nation then let us stop this card of double standards in dealing with our fellow citizens. Let us rise above tribal politics and ethnicity because a Peaceful and Developed Western Equatoria can be a model for the rest of South Sudan to embrace examples of peace and development.
Lately an MP who is former Minister of Interior went to talk in a newspaper, The Juba Telegraph and attacking WES Governor and Western Equatoria in general because Governor was elected by the people and not appointed. He claimed he was first SPLA chief of staff and defending SPLA but then defending misbehaviour of some soldiers which was the point raised the Governor.
How can it be that one who was first Chief of Staff can use bad behaviour to glorify the name of our mighty SPLA? SPLA was created by Hero Late Dr. John Garang for deliverance of South Sudanese and even Sudanese people and had clear mandate for the liberation and bringing freedom, justice and equality to our people and not mistreatment and so it seems the speaker was part of those indoctrinating some few soldiers to break the rule of bringing peace freedom, equality and justice to South Sudan people, otherwise every soldier will be perfect today.
For us in Western Equatoria we want to carry and implement the SPLM/SPLA vision of development and freedom, justice and equality to all our citizens. People who are jealousy of our green state status are the one who go to attack WES and the Governor in particular over the media. We had built several boarding schools in the past few years and one of them; Maridi girls Secondary was ransacked by some SPLA units brought from Juba and all the girls fled to bushes and some are now in Yambio with no School for them.
Is this what an honourable MP can defend, the destruction of a Girls Boarding Secondary for nothing? I thought an MP is to talk on development issues for the constituency of is concern rather than stirring hatred in other states which has its own MPs.
We have three goals in WES: Education, Agriculture and Health services and WES had done well in these areas and we did not want any more unnecessary war to come and destroy while our President, HE General Salva Kiir Mayaradit, is tirelessly working day and night to bring peace and get South Sudan back on the track for the SPLM/SPLA vision of taking towns to the people.
Justice will always prevail and we have some normality coming back to affected areas though people are still scarred to returned home due to the fact that the whereabouts of Youth taken to Juba is not known and they are yet to be freed and people fear for their other children. Many of pastoralist and their cows had to accept peace and logic in the end and many have now returned except few remaining in some areas but soon all are also heading away.
Those who are making noise against peaceful co-existence in Western Equatoria now are mainly doing job hunting and want use WES as bait for positions . Yes reshuffle can come but our President made it clear, during 4th independent Celebrations, it will come for peace and development and not for destruction any more.
Hence my message to all, is to stop the war, stop the intimidation and threats against one another as they cannot take us anywhere. Let all South Sudanese people unite as ONE to build one prosperous nation, the Republic of South Sudanese, and not as tribes.
Hon. Eng. Charles Barnaba Kisanga
State Ministry of Information, Communications and Tourism,