Women of Valour

The war between Khartoum and South Sudan may be long ended but the reconstruction of South Sudan is not going to be an easy ride. Even as the ruling on Abyei was recieved, African women and children in Sudan still face challenges from food, infrastructure to lack of security. One major obstacle left behind by the war are land mines. Some were planted by the Lords Resistance Army and others by government forces and rebels in Sudan. For this week’s Women of Valour, I chose the women of South Sudan who bear the harsh hot sun to demine the villages  to make safe places for people to resettle.

Read their story on BBC.

“Jamba Besta had planned to be a secretary, hoping to find work in an office as her homeland of South Sudan emerged out of a 22-year long civil war.

Instead, the pregnant mother heads an all-female team of de-miners, removing dangerous explosives from former battlefields.

“I never thought I would be doing this,” says Ms Besta, welcoming her six-woman team back from the danger zone they are clearing.

Tabu Monica Festo
Many people have died or had their legs shot off because of a mine
Tabu Monica Festo
Mine clearer

“But it shows those people who think that women can’t do jobs like this that they are wrong.”

Migingo Island: A clash of egos

Migingo Island row has raised its ugly head yet again. Teams of Ugandan and Kenyan

The disputed Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.
The disputed Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.

surveyors whom we expected to shed light on where the island lies have disagreed. And Uganda’s minister for East African affairs has said the matter could end up at the International Court of Justice which recently gave a verdict on the fate of Abyei region in Sudan which was claimed by both the government of South Sudan and the government in Khartoum.

After spending a lot of taxpayer’s money to the committees to demarcate the border, citizens in the eastern African nations will still have hold their breath for the way forward. I read a good commentary on the situation from Global Politician by Ronald Elly Wanda, a political scientist.

I agree with him that the dispute has been magnified and it shows that these governments aren’t that dedicated to find a amicable solution. But where I differ is the way he thinks that colonial agreements are being given too much attention as where the solution lies.

“In fact, one striking feature that the Migingo tussle vividly illustrates, is that the so called independence we were granted is in actual fact ‘dependence’. The territorial dispute and the references sought to pre-colonial documents (as a possible resolution), indicates a collective colonised Kenyan and Ugandan mindset that is still soaked in cultural imperialism.”

Much as I find it distasteful that we still have to be affected by these colonial agreements we can’t escape the fact we have to depend on them because after many years of defining our states many of us see ourselves more in terms of those boundaries that we didn’t put up. Migingo I believe shouldn’t be detraction for these two countries but where ‘big men’ rule and are in charge almost solely, we are bound to see such issues become a clash of egos.