Speech of the Honorable Commissioner Dau Akoi Jurkuch, Delivered at the Twic East Community Conference in Kansas City, Missouri

President of Twic East Community in US,

Leadership of Payams here in US,

Church Leaders,

US Government and friends of Twic East Community

And let me not forget my dear fellow brothers and sisters of Twic East Community and South Sudanese at large.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1149134 10100980243830473_1525679441_oOn behalf of the Twic East community from home and on my own behalf, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to the leadership of Twic East community here in the United States and to those who helped with the organization of this occasion [program]. Thank you for inviting me and my wife and daughter to attend this important conference. I feel honored and appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today. I also want to thank H.E Kuol Manyang for approving my request to attend this very important conference.

To begin with, our community is doing well and people are going on with their normal activities of cultivation, keeping cattle and fishing, despite the on-going insecurity situation in the State.

Brief Background of Twic East County

Before war erupted in 1983, Twic East County was part of the Bor District.

In 1994 the SPLM established the civil Administration of New Sudan in SPLA liberated areas and this was the time Hon.Nicodemus Arou Maan was appointed Commissioner of Bor County. Later, Bor County was divided into two counties: Bor North and Bor South and the late Hon. Michael Majok Ayom was appointed the commissioner for Bor North and served until the implementation of the CPA. During this time, North Bor County was further split into Duk and Twic East counties.

Hon. Isaiah Chol was appointed as commissioner to succeed Michael Majok and served a short time because of his later appointment as chairperson for the Commission of Census and Statistics for the GoSS.

In 2006 Hon. Diing Akol was appointed commissioner and he served until the general election of 2010. My appointment then followed in July, 2010 and I became the fourth commissioner but the first commissioner of Twic East County after independence.

Therefore, Twic East County is one of the eleven counties of Jonglei State, which is currently identified as being part of the greater upper Nile region of the Republic of South Sudan. Twic East County is bordering Bor to the south, Pibor to the East, Duk County to the north and the river Nile to the west. The county headquarters is located in Panyagor.

The county population is about 85,434 people according to the 2008 population census but it has increased due to additional population as citizens have returned since the census.

In 2011-2012 a local government registration was carried out and the registered population was 126930, which is now considered our current population statistics.

Twic East County is mainly agro-pastoralists with the main activities being farming, cattle herding, fishing, and small scale trading.

The NGOs in the county:

The NGOs currently working in Twic East County are: LWF which is supporting School construction; NPA which is supporting agriculture and mitigation of natural disasters and; CRS is dealing with food for Asset [Feeder roads, dyke and seeds provision]; Care International is supporting Health and WASH program; JAM is supplying food items for school feeding program and nutrition; Ayual Community Development Association (American branch) is providing school buildings and general academic support to the Pongborong Primary School.

Governmental Departments operating in Twic East County:

In Twic East County there are departments operating in line with Jonglei state ministries:

Education department: There are 34 Primary schools with 25,412 Pupils [Boys and Girls] and 257 teachers. Out of 34 schools, 8 are fully constructed permanent, 8 are in phase one [semi-permanent] and 18 are temporary constructed. There is one high school: Dr. John Garang Secondary School with 274 students [both boys and girls] and 14 teachers, there are 17 schools for Alternative Education with 2006 pupils [males and females] and 49 teachers and plus 7 Pastoralist schools with 583 pupils [both sex] and 14 teachers.

Health Department: We have 3 permanent Primary Health Care Centers and 13 Primary Health Care Units. Out of 13 PHCUs, 4 are permanent and 9 are semi-permanent. There are two other private Primary Health Care Centers including the Dr. John Garang Memorial Health Care Center-Lual-ajokbil in Nyuak Payam and Maar PHCC, Pakeer Payam

Agriculture Department: The state Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with UNDP have come up with a youth program that covers all of the 5[five] Payams of Twic East County. They have cultivated and planted 100 hectares per a Payam: 100 hectares of Nyuak Payam is divided into three according to the three communities in the Payam; 40 to Ayual, 30 to Dachuek and 30 to Awulian.

There is also a Farmers’ Association formed in the County and supported by NGOS.

Additionally, individual farmers play a significant role in job creation and providing local foods and seeds. The prominent people with this initiative include the Hon. Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior-wife of the late Dr. John Garang, farmers in Piol, Pakeer Payam and Dr. Lual Achuek and many others.

We also have organized forces such has the Wildlife Service, Prison Service, Police Service and SPLA in charge of security in the County.

County’s administrative Division:

Twic East County is composed of 5 Payams - 25 Bomas,

  • Lith Payam in the North - consist of Adhiok and Abek communities with their headquarters at Wernyol.
  • Kongor Payam mainly Kongor people with their headquarters at Pawel.
  • Nyuak Payam consists of Ayual, Dachuek and Awulian with their headquarters at Wanglei
  • Ajuong Payam consist of Abiong, Nyapiny, Adiang, Ayolien and Kuach community with their headquarters at Paliau.
  • Pakeer Payam in the south – consist of Anok, Chir, Hol, Akonchok, and Bereh with their headquarters in Maar.

Achievements:

  • Local orders: We have managed to ban alcohol during marriages’ ceremonies and funeral rites and reduced the number of girls who used to accompany the bride from more than ten to ten (10).
  • External relationship: We have created a very good inter-counties relationship. We carried out workshops and exchange matters of mutual concern with counterpart commissioners from neighboring counties.
  • Construction of a prison in 2011 by UNDP through our initiatives.
  • Constructed and rehabilitated 22km of road from Panyagor to Wernyol and rehabilitated 6 km from Panyagor to Pawel.
  • Dyke construction was implemented successfully in 2011 and covers a distance of 34 Km. There were heavy rains in 2012 that resulted in water logging- floods which caused some breeches in the newly constructed section of the dyke. The worst 5 [five] spots of the dyke that were broken by water were rehabilitated in May, 2013 and we have also decided to extend the dyke by another7 km to North of Kongor Payam where the construction stopped in 2011. Different stakeholders funded the dyke: Members of the legislative assembly through their allocated fund known as Constituency Development Funds, County authority – County Grant funds and the Lutheran World Federation.
  • Renovation of Commissioner’s residential in Panyagor now includes a meeting room and the erection of a new fence constructed of iron sheets.

 

  • Access to media which is enabling us to inform relevant authorities and communities of matters of concern.

On-going Developmental projects:

Town survey: the town survey has three major stages;

  • 1st stage is a proposed town survey and this stage is completed.
  • 2nd stage is demarcation which is the hardest stage. It involves clearance of the bushes, opening of roads and drainages. This is the stage we are in and it is nearly completed.
  • 3rd stage is plot allotment. This involves giving out of the plots to the citizens for their permanent settlement.

At this 3rd [third] stage, I welcome all of you to register and own your own land in your home town forever because you belong to that land with equal rights and opportunities.

Challenges

  • Insecurity at the eastern side. This involves cattle raiding and unjustifiable killing and child abduction.
  • Flood from the western side and sometimes from the East.
  • Inaccessibility of roads during the rainy season.
  • Water shortages during dry season for both animals and humans
  • Hunger
  • Cattle death
  • Crop pests
  • Inadequate funds/grants( to renovate 12 buildings of the former Jonglei canal projects)
  • Church differences
  • Inter communal clashes/disputes

The tension between two communities of Ayual and Dachuek of Nyuak payam has ceased gradually. The two communities are living closely in their cattle camps of Pakou and Panguet respectively. I thank the Authority of Twic East County, traditional authorities of both warring clan, our members of State legislative Assembly for the effort they have exerted that brought together two communities to sign co-existence in the cattle camps. Therefore, these communities are sharing some of facilities in their payams. This move has created a very good interaction between the two communities, they move from cattle camp to cattle camp looking after their lost cows freely without obstacle. However, the final settlement of the case especially the damages of the fight is the process in the judiciary. The leaders of two communities are doing follow-up.

Twic East community’s expectation at home

The community is expecting more from you the county members who are in the Diaspora. The support that is most needed relates to the following:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Physical infrastructure [Road, dyke, town and Payams demarcation]
  • Agriculture
  • Peace and reconciliation initiative

Finally and foremost I am appealing to all the sons and daughters of Twic East County who are here in Diaspora, to unite and work together for the development and welfare of the County. We are also expecting you to extend this spirit of unity to our communities at home. Please, I address you as intellectuals of the Twic East who have move away from the inter clans ( Wut and Payam] issues. I beseech you to try to make one Twic East Community and help the community back home become better citizens of the Republic of South Sudan. Prove to our people that you are a different people with a high degree of understanding and reasoning.

I wish you good luck in all your projects and evdeavors.

May God Bless You

Thank you

Hon: Dau Akoi Jurkuch

Commissioner,

Twic East County

Jonglei State-South Sudan


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