MANASSEH ZINDO HAS SPOKEN ON THE SITUATION IN TOMBURA COUNTY, WESTERN EQUATORIA STATE.
By: Manasseh Zindo
For couple of months now we have received news of brutality in Tombura County of Western Equatoria State (WES), South Sudan. Photos and videos of killings that we have seen are horrible, an indication of intense pain inflicted on the victims before they met their death in an inhuman manner. Fear and search for safety has created huge displacement among the civil population.
Mainstream churches under the Inter – Church Committee (ICC) has tried their best but the crisis can only be resolved politically since it has heavy political undertones.
In July last year, I was an active member of the SPLM-IO under the First Vice President (FVP) Dr. Riek Machar before the movement split this month. In the race to the appointment of the Governor of Western Equatoria State, I was a front runner but since it was the prerogative of Riek Machar, he had to decide on his preferred candidate. My colleagues who were in the race with me met several times in the presence of Riek Machar, where disturbing utterances such as “there will be no peace if Manasseh Zindo is appointed Governor” were made. I was shocked that such utterances could be made in the presence of the FVP without being reprimanded.
When Mr. Alfred Futuyo was eventually appointed Governor, I wished him well but cautioned him to avoid traps that might ruin his legacy. I made it clear that I will speak if tribal hatred is heightened during his reign, I said so because I was not and I am not oblivious of the complexity that an hidden agenda can give rise to such as the Tombura crisis. My fear at the time has now come to pass, I, therefore, call on the state government to take responsibility for the ongoing crisis in Tombura due to it’s inability to develop a concrete strategy to restore peace in Tombura.
Although I am no-longer in the Riek Machar faction of the SPLM-IO, I have the moral obligation to speak when things are not right. A section of the community in the Tombura county are now fully convinced that the Riek Machar faction of the SPLM-IO is deliberately killing people and targeting community leaders.
In our region there are certain things that must not be interfered with if one want to remain a relevant political player; there are:
1. Don’t create displacement because our people are farmers, they rely on seasonal rain. Their calendar for farming must not be interfered with because it will create hunger.
2. Don’t target nor humiliate cultural leaders such as chiefs, sub-chiefs and headmen. Our people hold such leaders in high esteem, failure to respect them will result in the wrath of the people.
The Riek Machar faction of the SPLM-IO is now hated in the counties inhabited by the Azandeland and Balanda because of the humiliation, distress and grief inflicted on them as the Riek Machar led SPLM-IO state government is engaging in unfounded accusations instead of bringing the crisis to a halt.
Today, I am breaking my silence and calling on President Salva Kiir to dissolve the Government of Western Equatoria State and form a commission of inquiry into the killings in Tombura, so that culprits no matter who they are should face the rule of law.
Senior Member of the SPLM-IO allied to the Kitgwang declaration.