Kidepo Valley, 18 December 2018 - UNDP and partners just concluded a 3-day cattle pre-migration conference between seven cattle keeping communities of Torit and Kapoeta states of Eastern Equatoria region.
This conference brought together 122 representatives (19 women) of Boya, Dindinga and Toposa of Kapoeta state and Logir, Dongotono, Lango, Lopit, Lotoka communities of Torit state who agreed on promoting peaceful migration during dry season in Kidepo valley County.
The conference was jointly organized by the State Peace Commission, UNDP and UNMISS Civilian Affairs Division. In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Torit State Peace Commission, Hon. Ojok said: “I want to thank UNDP and UNMISS for working with us to organize this conference. This conference provides an opportunity to express and address all community conflict issues… community members will be responsible for implementation of agreed resolutions and recommendations’’.
Kidepo Valley County in Torit state and Chukudum County in Kapoeta state are fertile areas that play host to surrounding communities who traditionally bring their cattle to graze and access water during dry season. The communities that cross state borders to graze are from Torit East (Lotoka), Ikwoto (Lango), Lopa (Lopit) and Kidepo (Logir/ Dongotono) counties of Torit state, as well as Kimatong (Boya), Riwoto (Toposa) and Chukudum (Dindinga) counties of Kapoeta state.
While addressing participants during the conference’s closing ceremony, Esther Mini, a female participant from Lopa County said: “We need to revert to the past good relationships with the neighboring communities when people from Kimatong and Chukudum could even spend nights in Logir/ Dongotono villages on their way to Torit”. Another participant, Franco Ohuro, from Torit East County added “Today we have been able to come together face to face with neighbours whom we had considered as difficult people to dialogue with to realize peace. We need peace in Kidepo Valley and with our neighbours”.
This conference provided an opportunity for the affected communities to dialogue and find ways of sharing pasture and water peacefully. They also deliberated on the support required for the communities to manage cross-border migration and to manage conflicts between host communities and pastoralists ina non-violent manner.
The participants agreed to:
- Obtain valid documents approving the cattle migration from the local chiefs;
- Anyone caught with stolen cattle to pay a fine of ten cattle for every stolen cattle in his possession;
- Cattle migration route must be agreed upon with the land owners to avoid destruction of crops
The conference participants further agreed on a 42-member (7 women) joint border migration committee to disseminate the agreement and monitor its implementation.
During the closing remarks, Governor of Torit state, H.E. Tobiolo Oromo concluded: “I call upon all communities to co-exist and use the shared resources peaceful. I urge all county commissioners and Paramount chiefs to commit, monitor and ensure this the agreement is implemented”
Cattle migration conference have recently provided a good mechanism to resolve conflict during the dry season. The Northern Bahr Ghazal region has provided a best practice on how premigration conference are a useful conflict prevention tools. UNDP, with support from Sweden, has been providing training to joint border migration peace committee as well as other peace committee as part of strengthening local community driven conflict prevention and resolution.