By Juma Mabor Marial
September 4, 2014 (SSNA) -- Three months ago, I wrote a three series article entitled “The genesis and phenomenon of intra-clans conflicts and revenge attacks in Lakes state”. In these series, I had given account of root causes of revenge attacks and how each and every governor including the incumbent governor of Lakes state mishandled the situation, hence leading to the deteriorating and unlawful situation the state has found itself in today.
In that article, I had proposed recommendations which I had hoped the President would find prudent to apply and contain insecurity in lakes state, months have passed by and security situation in lakes state has worsen. My conclusions then befitted that, it is either my calls like many other calls for stability to return to lakes state from many other citizens of lakes state have not reached the president, or he must have read my concerns and felt that they are not worth noticing or even still, he might have seen the substance in what I was trying to draw his attention to but again wonders of who I am to give such recommendations. Whatever that might have been the opinion of the president, the fact now is that the situation in Lakes state with regard to insecurity has worsen.
The president visit to lakes state soon after the 3rd independence anniversary celebrations was a step in the right direction and as part of his peace message to the people of lakes state at freedom square, he told them that he is going back to Juba and wouldn’t want to hear of any reports of killings. Two weeks later, a paramount chief was killed, and as a result of this brutal assassination, 18 women were raped including an old woman who succumbed to shame, agony, bitterness and dies, another 12 year old girl was also raped and dies, a young woman who was expecting a baby was raped and she lost her pregnancy. Houses were vandalized and private properties were looted in malek-agok and other surrounding neighborhoods. All these heinous crimes were carried out and successfully implemented with impunity and as we talk, no single culprit has been apprehended to answer for such crimes.
Before the end of the same calendar month, a daughter of the governor (Matur Chut) attacked an innocent pregnant woman and as the woman was rushed to hospital with hopes to resuscitate and save her life, she unfortunately dies with twins, meaning that the governor’s daughter killed three people at once. Coincidentally, when one put the month in review in terms of security situation in Lakes state, you would find out without much struggle that, the people of lakes state are so shocked that the insecurity they have been informing the central government about has now reached it worse with the assassination of the paramount chief Apareer Chut who happens to be the elder brother of the governor (may his soul rest in eternal peace) and the brutal killing of an innocent pregnant woman and her unborn children planned and executed by governor’s own daughter (may the law take its course).
It is also almost two weeks now since the national legislatively assembly debated the security situation of Lakes state and unanimously adopted a resolution to remove Matur Chut as first step towards bringing back peace and stability to the people of lakes state. The ministers of National security, Interior and Defense agreed with the legislators that Matur Chut is part and partial of insecurity in Lakes state and therefore more of a problem than a solution by himself. It is through these deliberations that the Minister of National security Obutu Mamur Mete took it upon himself and declared that Matur Chut must go in the interest of national security and as demanded by the citizens of the state.
Matur Chut in his defend has made hysterical efforts to counter this resolution by calling the members of the national legislative assembly thieves and stupid people who do not comprehend that the issue of insecurity is not only about lakes state but the whole country. He even went to the extent of lamenting that if there is any governor who should be sacked because of insecurity, it should be Clement Wani Konga of Central Equatoria state because thousands of people lost their lives in the 15th December, 2013 crisis. Not only this, Matur also ordered his public service ministry to get to all the ministries in the state and record the names of all the employees and ordered them to go on demonstrations with the message of rejecting the resolution of the legislators removing him from the office, school children were also forced to attend the demonstrations such that they would tell the nation Matur is the best governor and the decision by the national legislative assembly to sack him were just but crazy ideas by those in Juba. The demonstrations didn’t take place in freedom square as initially planned because most of the employees refused to turn up but the news that the governor had ordered that any government employee that does not attend the demonstrations would forfeit their August salaries coerced some to turn up at the government Secretariat and this is where Chut succeeded in his claims for support by state citizens for him to remain in power. He then before these threatened employees and vulnerable school children gathered courage to insult left, right and center all lakes state members of parliament and intellectuals for masterminding the resolutions to remove him.
Under normal circumstances, politicians with few people who support them are expected to fight back when their positions are attacked and threatened. However, the unique aspect about this particular situation is that, the people of Lakes state in all their walks of life do not want Matur Chut as governor and this is manifested in the continuous calls to remove him from office and it eventual culmination in the national legislative assembly approving the same. Attempts by Chut to order for demonstrations in his favor or even blame lakes state members of parliament and intellectuals for having political motives and witch haunting him out of his office do not give any meaningful message rather than perpetuating his jungle commandeering rules of intimidating people to do what is not in their interest. After all, lakes state members of parliament at the national legislative assembly are the official representatives of the people and there is no any other better role they could play than safeguarding the lives and interest of their electorates.
Some few descending voices on the need to remove Matur from governorship have alluded to the fact that, removing the governors in lakes state is not the solution to its insecurity. Yes, this is a logical argument and any reasonable person would agree with it from face value as so many governors have been removed because of insecurity in lakes state but no long lasting peace has been achieved, however, looking at it critically and objectively, one would agree that, unlike the other governors who were before him and those expected to come after him, Matur is not the best leader to be a governor in any state leave alone lakes state, why, whereas, the previous governors tries with the few number of law enforcers and meager resources to apprehend criminals, Matur Chut has declared the state of lawlessness in the state by telling people that “ your legs are your police and Texture, (the police patrol vehicle)”, meaning therefore that you have to be strong to survive in lakes state and that, if you are attacked, you must run as fast as possible since no police will come to your rescue. This could also explain his reluctance to ask for reinforcement from the minister of defense as stated in parliament by Kuol Manyang Juuk. Not only this, the second reason why Matur is not the best governor for any state is because he has never seen a classroom and even get the responsibility of controlling a class of 45 students as a monitor.
This is why one of the legislators was quoted as saying that; “Matur is a man who cannot rule a Payam leave alone, a state”. I know some of Matur’s supporters and beneficiaries are already cursing me and that legislator for bringing this bitter fact forward but I believe that with the way Matur is responding and insulting everyone even dogs that barks (although of course for a reason) when his convoy passes shows that, this man has no control over his emotions and this certainly cannot be a leader to anybody leave alone a state. Dr. John Garang once said and I quote “an eye for an eye will make all of us blind”, Matur taking on and insulting everyone that has an opinion contrary to how he is running the affairs of the state and particularly insecurity will not help the situation. Two wrongs do not definitely make right.
In Conclusion, Enough lives have been lost in lakes state, enormous suffering and anguish has been experienced by families and relatives of the deceases, consistent injustices are the order of the day, shame and embarrassments are slapped across the faces of citizens of lakes state every day, intellectuals, chiefs, civil society organizations, politicians, religious leaders have all called for the leadership of this country to pay undivided attention to the situation of lakes state and just like every day, no tangible action is forthcoming. I know and everybody understands that the president could in this particular point in time be thinking that even with the resolution by the national legislative assembly to remove Matur Chut from governorship in lakes state, the priority now is not the removable of any governor but stopping the crisis and rebellion that has engulfed the country, the situation of lakes state may according to the president, be handled later as these people are just crazy people who are killing themselves for no apparent reason, this could be true because lakes state problem is a man-made self- destruction and instigated problem but again, let’s assume that the situation remain the same for the next few months, what do you envisage would be the consequence because today in lakes state, a day can barely pass by without two, three, five, ten people dying not by natural causes but by revenge and criminal activities. This has become a norm and any citizen of lakes state is very much alive to this fact.
Secondly, the situation may escalate into something more than revenge killings and street robberies because, if for instance, today in lakes state, civilians are more armed than the government and they can as well carry machines guns while some of them have designated themselves with the title of ‘governor’ without any constitutional authority to be called so, then, what would happen if these armed civilians decided that they are well-off being themselves and not under no-body. That should be a food for thought to all of us…
Finally, I wish to request and inform the president that, Lakes state is now under two people and that is HIM and GOD because, the legislators have done their parts, intellectuals have raised their concerns, the church has prayed, civil society has condemned the atrocities committed, countless number of people have died, the children have been orphaned and women widowed, everybody except the PRESIDENT and GOD have decided that Matur Chut must go and a new page be opened to address the plight of the people of lakes state. So please Mr. President, listen to the concerns of your people and let this man go and serve you in other capacities, the evidences for atrocities committed in lakes state are too overwhelming for you to waste any more time. The sovereignty of the people is what you sworn to protect and here they are; the people of lakes state through their national parliament have spoken and said without fear or contradiction that “Matur Chut must go”. May God save the people of Lakes State?