Building capacities, building peace: New members of Jonglei State Transitional Legislative Assembly trained on effective representation
JONGLEI - Some 100 new parliamentarians from the Transitional State Legislative Assembly, drawn from all the parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement of 2018, recently benefited from an interactive workshop facilitated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The focus: to raise awareness and enhance their understanding of parliamentary processes and enable them to fully contribute towards shaping a peaceful, prosperous future for all communities.
Facilitated by the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Civil Affairs Division in partnership with the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) was the first-ever such forum and drew spirited participation.
“It has been enlightening and thought provoking,” said Apotho Ojullo Oketh, Jonglei parliament’s Acting Speaker.
“We went through the provisions of the Peace Agreement and are now clear on how all of us can pave the way for lasting peace and prosperity for future generations,” he added.
Before civil war broke out, there were only 49 parliamentarians in the Jonglei region. Following the establishment of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area in 2014, 10 of these 49 were separated.
After the signing of the peace deal in 2018, which led to reduced political violence and a transitional government of national unity, 61 more members of parliament were added in.
Many of these new members lacked proper orientation into the political spectrum.
UNMISS, therefore, decided to hold such training activities to help new parliamentarians ably represent their constituents and broker a lasting peace.
“This workshop has definitely finetuned our approach to affairs of state,” said Tuong Majok Deng, an MP from Fangak county.
“We have a broad mandate when it comes to resolving challenges that community members face and upholding the rule of law. Coming together and sharing experiences makes the entire undertaking simpler,” he continued.
Mr. Deng’s words are echoed by Hellena Akech Marial, an MP representing Twic East.
“My experiences have taught me that no matter what political party we are affiliated with, we have a collective responsibility to foster social cohesion and not division. We must inculcate unity of purpose if we are to shape a brighter future for South Sudan,” she stated passionately.
Challenges were discussed as well as ways forward to execute their duties.
“As members of the state assembly, we must be united among ourselves if we are to educate our constituents in a culture of peace. The notion of citizenship and a shared national identity must first be embraced by us and only then, can we expect the people we serve to emulate us,” averred Buol Lual, an MP from Bor.
For her part, Geetha Pious, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Jonglei, assured participating parliamentarians that the mission will continue to facilitate such productive exchanges.
“This training is to build your abilities to effectively represent your constituents,” said Ms. Pious. “As UNMISS, we will support you every step of the way as you move Jonglei towards progress and development.”