South Sudan: Jonglei Commissioners' Forum Begins in Bor

Bor — Jonglei State launched a forum for county commissioners, executive directors, paramount chiefs, chairpersons of county legislative assemblies and women representatives in Bor on Monday.

South Sudan's largest state has struggled with insecurity since the country's independence last year from both cattle-raiding-related violence and a localised rebellion in Pibor County.

Addressing the meeting, Jonglei's minister of local government, Diing Akol Diing MP, asked the commissioners and executive directors to account for the county development grants and the Community Development Funds (CDF) that they had received.

Diing asked for the county's to provide work plans and account for their workforce. Corruption is a major problem at all levels of government in South Sudan.

"We want to know the workforce of the local government and the line ministries. We want know how many workers are there in your counties and how much money in the budget [is] spent on them yearly."

According to the Jonglei minister, the state government has transferred over one million South Sudanese Pounds (around a quarter of a million US dollars) to the state's 11 counties to spend on development projects. However, no single county has accounted for how the money has been used.

"We want to know you have used the state money transfer. Monthly, the state treasury transfers over 1 million pounds to the counties, we want the report, what have you done with this money? We are not asking you to bring back the money, but we want the report", he said.

Jonglei State Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, urged the commissioners to make development a priority, adding that South Sudan would not develop without the efforts of the commissioners.

The Governor has long complained of the lack of roads in his state and how this impacts on trade, the economy and the ability for the security services to respond to reports of cattle raids or rebel attacks

He asked the commissioners to work for peace in their communities, as this was a key determinant for development in Jonglei.

"You have the duty to security in you county. Let them remain in peace with themselves and their neighbour's", he said. "When there is peace, then people can engage in food productions".

He advised the county commissioners and directors to implement the local government act to help them in the process of governance.

In their presentations to the forum, county commissioners said they were facing similar challenges, including insurgencies, lack of roads, poor health and education facilities among others.

The conference was also attended by state ministers, MPs and other government officials, including the head of the Jonglei State disarmament campaign.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) "the security situation in Pibor County remained tense with clashes reported between the South Sudan army and non-state armed actors in Likuongole on 19 November. While there are still about 5,500 people from Likuongole registered in Pibor town, more people are believed to be in the area between Likuongole and Pibor, totaling up to 10,000 people."

The OCHA report covering 19-25 November said: "Aid agencies have positioned household items, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies in Pibor town, and food is due to be flown in imminently.The Protection Cluster has voiced concerns that people may be robbed of their rations on their way back home having collected them in town. Unexploded ordnances pose another concern, especially around Gumuruk."

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