Abstract: South Sudan, the youngest nation has never known peace; not even after hard-won independence from the larger Sudan. Civil war, violent deaths from often overlapping armed rebellions, and intra and inter-communal violence in Jonglei is just one such example that South Sudan has been at “wartime levels” perpetually. Whereas it’s true the country has faced many internal security challenges since gaining independence in July 2011, one of the deadliest and most complex has been inter-tribal violence, mainly involving the Lou Nuer, Murle, and Dinka. Lack of effective civilian governance, service delivery, and security are some of the trigger factors that have made Jonglei a hotbed of violent state- and national-level power struggles. The 2010 elections and 2012 disarmament campaign for example sparked armed rebellions but it cannot be lost that the state’s conflicts have always been intertwined and driven by a complex set of political, communal, and personal motivations. Underlying causes include persistent lack of services, increased competition over natural resources, and the erosion of traditional leadership structures, and the unspoken rules of cattle raiding. Force has long been the preferred governance tool, with the largest armed group, the SPLA, widely believed to be in the service of the Greater Bor Dinka, while the large and militarily strong Lou Nuer and Murle have felt marginalized in the Jonglei state. This study sought to evaluate the efficacy of the dispute resolution process amongst ethnic groups within the Jonglei State of South Sudan and perhaps offer an empirical reflection on the way forward. The study established that between 2009 and 2015 conflict in the Jonglei State was aggregated at 5940 deaths; that the IGAD peace initiative was the most preferred dispute resolution mechanism followed by inclusive governance and restorative justice programs at 39%, 24%, and 17% respectively. That of the key challenges to conflict resolution, marginalization, bad governance, and cultural factors were highly rated at 36%, 22%, and 17% respectively.
Keywords: efficacy, conflict, strategies, ethnicity, Jonglei.