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Activist doubts usefulness of Kiir’s high-level committees

Authors: Woja Emmanuel | Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, June 25, 2020

One of the scenes of protests at Shirkat, Juba, where SSPDF officer Col. Lual Akook reportedly shot dead unarmed civilians on Wed., June 3, 2020. The committee that was formed to probe into the incident is yet to publicize the findings | Credit | Courtesy

A civil society activist has questioned the ability of the high-level committees set up by the President to investigate into security incidents in greater Jonglei and Juba.

There are reports of ongoing violent clashes in the Pibor area following attacks by armed youth from greater Jonglei.

Fighting in Akobo County and Jale Payam of Bor County in Jonglei, and Gumuruk County of Pibor Administrative Area have resulted in the death of civilians.

On Tuesday, President Salva Kiir tasked Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga to resolve the ongoing conflict in the restive areas.

Dr. Wani Igga, according to the directive, will lead a 13-member high-level committee to conduct meetings with elders from Jonglei and Pibor in an attempt to contain the ongoing clashes.

The committee is directed to identify the root causes of inter-communal violence and organize a peace conference between communities in the areas affected.

According to President Kiir, the committee shall bring on board all stakeholders to ensure a lasting peace and stability between the two areas.

But the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, CEPO, has expressed doubts over the ability of any committee to resolve longstanding conflicts in the country.

Edmond Yakani wondered why previous committees formed by the President have not delivered results.

“This might be the seventh committee to investigate the situation in Jonglei,” Yakani recalls.

In 2017, President Kiir set up a similar fact-finding committee headed up by the then FVP Taban Deng Gai, who is now a vice president in the peace government.

In early June 2020, Kiir also established a high-level committee tasked with investigating the Shirkat incident, which involved deaths, including that of his relative, Lual Marine.

The findings of all these committees are yet to be publicized and their recommendations implemented.

“The previous committees have not led us to any tangible results. The question is, how different will this committee be in comparison to previous committees in handling the situation in Jonglei or even the recent one of Shirkat?” Asked Yakani.

“I’m a bit disturbed by this issue. Are committees formed to kill issues, to kill requests or to kill accountability?”

The Ministry of Presidential Affairs is yet to comment on this matter.

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