Bori and Molbur communities discussing in a Peace Dialogue in Lado County last Friday (photo by Sheila Ponnie)
By Sheila Ponnie
Farmers and cattle keepers in Ladu County of Jubek State have agreed to stay together and not to cross-path each other’s territories during cultivation season.
The relationships between the Bori of Bari-who are mostly farmers-and Molbur community of Mundari-who are mainly cattle keepers, has been tense as Bori and Molbur accuse each other of destroying crops and killing cattle respectively.
The Facilitating Action for Community Empowerment (FACE) conducted the one-day peace dialogue in Ladu County at Bori Payamon Friday last week where the two communities reached an agreement.
The peace dialogue session was aimed to guide the community leaders, peace committees to put forward key resolution in solving conflicts in Lado County.
Under the theme, “Strengthen Community Cohesions and increase women participation in local peace for process”, the peace dialogue session brought together more than eighty farmers and pastoralists form Bori Payam and Molbur cattle camp.
The peace dialogue session was heated as both sides started accusing each other.
Justin Lado Wani, Executive Chief of Lumonik Boma in Lado County said that cattle often destroy crops and farmers kill cattle threatening their harvest when herders move their animals in search for water and pasture.
“Yes, it is true these things are happening and the cattle keepers should be kept far away from the farms and also if the cows are near the gardens then it will cause problems that lead to conflict,” he said.
“A child is innocent; he does not know anything because he is young and can decide to leave the cattle and go to play with other children while leaving the cattle to graze on their own. Besides that, those children are given guns while looking after the animal which is dangerous because it’s difficult to make a child understand than an adult,” Wani further explained how sometimes cattle get into the gardens.
Vivian Poni a farmer from Bori Payam accused the cattle keepers of deliberately letting their cattle to eat all their sorghum.
“My sorghum have been eaten all and yet this sorghum have been helping me and feeding my family and even paying school fees for my children,” she said.
Poni added that the cattle were arrested by the county authorities and the cattle owners were charged 100,000 South Sudanese Pounds by the authorities.
“I only used that money to pay school fees for my three children and that100, 000SSP got over and now I have no any idea of where about to get food to feed my children, and now I don’t have even anyone to support me and my children,” she added.
She said all the cattle keepers should not graze their animals in our farms. Daruio Gai, from Tokoro Boma Isiro said that he gained from the peace dialogue.
Gai advised that let all the cattle keepers ensure that their shepherds are not children.
“From this peace dialogue, I learnt that there is no need to fight insistently if the cows have eaten someone’s crops. We have to sit down and resolve the issue and we pay the farmers for their crops damage,” Gai said.
Gai also said that the issue was all about the cattle and thieves but the problem is that whenever crops were destroyed, people blame the Isiro Boma cattle keepers.
“Cows are not human beings, if they could speak; they would have known between the good and bad. The only problem with cows is that when you take them to graze and leave them to move, they will just move and eat unnecessary,” he said.
The farmers and cattle keepers further recommended that cattle should be taken far away during the cultivation season and that there was need for dams to be constructed to ease shortage of water.
The dialogue was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).