Land Policy in South Sudan Can Help Reduce Land Grabbing and Conflict

South Sudan (SSB) – In economics, land comprises all naturally occurring resources whose supply is inherently fixed (Written By: The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannic Last Updated: 3-30-2009 S). The land is the source of human survival and any person that takes the land of other people must be ordered to return that land to the owner.

As a source of survival land is rich in all kinds of minerals. For example all geographical locations contains different mineral deposits, forests, fish stocks, atmospheric quality, geostationary orbits, and portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In that respect, natural resources are fundamental to the production of all goods, including capital goods (Editors of Britannica cited above). Location values must not be confused with values imparted by fixed capital improvements.

In classical economics, land is considered one of the three factors of production (also sometimes called the three producer goods) along with capital, and labor. Land is sometimes merged with capital to simplify micro-economics (see; Britannic cited above).

As it has been noted somewhere, however, a common mistake is combining land and capital in macro-analysis. Income derived from ownership or control of natural resources is referred to as rent.

Land was sometimes defined in classical and neoclassical economics as the “original and indestructible powers of the soil. Georgists hold that this implies a perfectly inelastic supply curve (i.e., zero elasticity), suggesting that a land value tax that recovers the rent of land for public purposes would not affect the opportunity cost of using land, but would instead only decrease the value of owning it.

Looking at all the benefits of the land stated above, including its customary and cultural aspects, it is not over exaggeration to state that land is the most important asset any human beings can have.

However, in South Sudan land grabbing is common especially in the Equatoria Region, which is a pure theft. It is not surprising to say that one of the causes of the current conflict is the land grabbing.

A good number of government officials and soldiers who see guns as a license to have access to other people’s land have been involved in very serious scandals of land grabbing.

As a result, vulnerable South Sudanese whose land was taken at gun points are left with no any option but to engage in fighting and other crimes. Of course, though I do not support what they are doing, their actions and feelings are understandable.

Any ordinary human beings could have behaved they way they are behaving because they are left in dilemma. Either to die in poverty or to fight to get it back or die in a dignify way.

I should not be seen by those who have grabbed the land from the land owners in Equatoria Region as if I am inciting the land owners. What I am talking about is a common sense issue.

For instance, a son from Yei or Juba or Upper Nile went to Gok State and just built on my land without permission. When I asked him he just chased me away because he has a gun. In such a scenario, what would I have done? Automatically I would have sought for redress in Court but if no Court then I resort to the law of self-help (Jungle).

CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

We must be realistic and face the fact squarely. Land grabbing in Equatoria region and other areas in South Sudan is injustice and a shame on government to allow such injustice. The government must work hard to return the land to the true owners unconditionally.

In doing that the government should formulate a land policy which shall provide for how the land that was grabbed or taken illegally should be returned to the true owners. It is in doing that the government might have helped to reduce the chances of further war.


This report prepared by Daniel Juol Nhomngek for PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers