Defence of cattle keepers earns Governor Chagor condemnation

Defence of cattle keepers earns Governor Chagor condemnation
The Governor of Jonglei State Denay Jock Chagor. [Photo: Courtesy]

The Minister of Environment and Forestry, Josephine Napwon, accused Jonglei State Governor, Denay Chagor, of feigning ignorance over the presence of Jonglei cattle herders in the Equatoria region.

The minister faulted Chagor for being emotional whenever the matter was being discussed at the Sixth Governors’ Forum, adding that the order by President Salva Kiir for the eviction of the cattle herders was a sure indication that the cattle keepers had infiltrated the region.

“The governor should admit it because he is like people are taking the cattle herders’ issues for granted and giving their comments based on their reactions,” she said at the governors’ forum on Tuesday.

“Why can’t the governor just admit that, ok, if these are my people doing that, why can’t we find peaceful solutions to address such issues and how those cattle can go back to their places of origin instead of making reckless statements in front of everybody?” she further posed.

Chagor’s statements, according to Napwon, amounted to “defending crimes,” and would exacerbate the tense relations between herders and host communities in Equatoria.

“Governor Denay Chagor should admit that because he is a young person…. We need to speak the truth to address such issues. “You must stop defending when it comes to the issue of killing, and the herders must go back,”  Napwon said.

 “I am from Toposa, we keep cattle, and at the same time, Toposa has farms; but cattle do not go and enter people’s farms, and the herders do not kill people,” she said.

Napwon’s statement came after Governor Chagor told the delegates at the Governors’ Forum that the herders from Jonglei were innocent and should not be blamed for the insecurity in the Equatoria region.

Exchange of words

In a separate press conference, the governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, blamed herders from Jonglei State of causing insecurity in the state. 

Adil claimed that the cattle herders contributed immensely to the rot in the state’s insecurity and instability.

“Not the people of Jonglei [but] cattle herders…some of them have come here, but, [again] not all of them perpetrate crimes and havoc. We have a lot of lives that are lost,” Adil said.

However, Adil’s statement did not sit well with Chagor. The Jonglei State governor refuted the allegations and delinked his administration from the state’s woes.

Chagor asked Adil to produce evidence linking the herders to the wave of insecurity.

He said the problem existed prior to the arrival of the cattle herders.

 “I do not necessarily agree with that because there has been looting, killing, and stopping vehicles on the road. “These are criminals, and for somebody to say that any criminal along that area is a cattle keeper from Jonglei; what evidence do we have?” Chagor asked.

But Adil clarified that his claim was pointing to the 2017 Presidential Order, which highlighted Jonglei as one of the states having cattle in Central Equatoria.

Last week, a village along Nimule Road was attacked, and seven people were killed, with several others wounded.

The incident, which has caused panic and fear among travelers on the country’s main lifeline route, marked a series of attacks.

 The forum seeks solutions to the impediments to the overall revitalised peace agreement’s implementation and, in particular, the roadmap through collective efforts from actors, including state governors.