20 January 2013

South Sudan: Refrain From Bullying Smaller Tribes, Machar Tells Nuer Community

Juba — South Sudan's Vice-President, Riek Machar Teny, has warned the largest communities in the country to refrain from bullying smaller communities saying this can create further disunity among the people.

Speaking at a gathering organized by the Nuer Christians Mission Network in South Sudan at Nyekuron Culture Center in Juba on Saturday, Machar, a Nuer, condemned the behaviour he observed from elements of the Nuer and Dinka communities, the two largest communities in South Sudan, for bullying other smaller tribes.

"You will not be recognized by bullying somebody. It is the friendly attitude that brings people together," he told the gathering.

Machar who spoke mostly in Nuer language to address thousands of Nuer Christians from different denominations, who came to celebrate peace and freedom and to promote unity among the Christians and the people of South Sudan at large, said it was high time that the people of South Sudan are united.

The decades of war for the struggle to achieve independence from the former Sudan had sometimes fitted communities against one another. These wounds should be healed so that peace and unity is achieved among the diverse communities of South Sudan, he said.

Land grabbing, particularly in Juba, has become another factor tearing communities a part, he added.

While he acknowledged that populations from the other communities including the Dinka and the Nuer have the right to move to Juba and acquire land in the national capital, he further explained that the acquisition of land should have been legally and orderly managed by the authorities.

Central Equatoria state has been doing its best to address the issues of land grabbing by finding solutions to the already grabbed lands as well as on the future acquisition of land, the Vice-President further added.

He however reiterated that the government's decision to relocate the national capital to Ramciel is still in place.

Machar called on youth in the country to desist from the violent culture, drunkenness, and prostitution, saying these have negative impact on the welfare of the nation.

REDUCE BRIDE PRICE

He also called on the Nuer not to abandon their culture of fixed dowry payment in marriage. Machar said the Nuer customs in marriage fixed the bride price to only 25 heads of cattle, but now the figure has been randomly increased up to a hundred or more heads of cattle.

He urged the Nuer elders and chiefs in the three states of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity to make sure that the figure is maintained only at 25 heads of cattle even for marrying daughters of senior leaders.

"When our great grandfathers fixed the bride price at 25 heads of cattle, this was not because they didn't have lots of cattle. It was because they wanted our society to move forward together so that even a poor person could also afford to marry and have family," he said.

He said the recent highly inflated bride prices have become an obstacle for marriage and deny others to have a family.

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