Terekeka adopts resolutions supporting UNMISS reconciliation efforts

UNMISS Civil Affairs officer addresses communities in Terekeka

UNMISS Civil Affairs officer addresses communities in Terekeka - Courtesy Photo

9 Mar 2017

Terekeka adopts resolutions supporting UNMISS reconciliation efforts

Birungi Machrine and Olivia Victoria Davies

09 March 2017 - Communities in Terekeka have adopted a set of resolutions designed to promote reconciliation and peaceful co-existence between four counties of Gwor, Tindilu, Tali and Tijor.

This came after a two day reconciliation conference, organized by the Civil Affairs Division Field Office of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan – UNMISS, to reconcile the communities of Gwor and Tindilu County as well as Gwor, Tijor and Tali Counties.

“These communities have over the past year, fought over cattle related raiding issues as well as grazing lands, so we decided to try to build the trust in the communities and at the same time try to ensure that they try to come up with a community resolution mechanisms,” said Olivia Victoria Davies, UNMISS civil affairs officer.

Encouraging reconciliation and peaceful co-existence, the two-day discussions between 1 March and 2 March, came up with a three-page resolution highlighting key steps to pave way for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.

The resolutions endorsed by about 400 community members who turned up for the meeting, touched on steps to restore trust and confidence between communities of Gwor, Tindilu, Tali, and Tijor.

The communities resolved to apprehend culprits of cattle raiding and recommended continuous search  and recovery of the cattle raided by commissioners, chiefs and cattle camp leaders.

Some of the other resolutions reached include; the introduction of cattle permits to facilitate the movement of cattle across the state and the formation of  compensation committees, to facilitate compensation by the state government.

Noting the persistent problem of conflict over water resources, a resolution seeking the intervention of development partners to facilitate the construction of water dips in each state was passed. This would control the movement of cattle keepers with their animals in search of water.

The meeting also resolved to have continuous reconciliation conferences among the communities, intellectuals and political leaders of Terekeka State. These would be backed by Inter-state reconciliation conferences with specific focus on state boundaries between Terekeka,   Eastern Lakes, Jongeli Boma, Madi and Jubek states.  

Participants agreed to organize a workshop between the cattle camp leaders and the elected chiefs. cattle camp leaders have been asked to observe the communal agricultural norms, while elected chiefs urged to abolish harmful traditional practices such as Rupi, young kodupa and girls camps.    

Another notable resolution revolves around the need for cattle camp leaders to prevent rapes, other forms of sexual violence,   including the reduction of number of cattle paid as dowry.    

The State government and other development partners were asked to support the implementation of these resolutions.

UNMISS civil affairs officer expressed her optimism that the implementation of these resolutions would help mitigate the intercommunal tensions between the communities in Terekeka. “The people have taken the responsibility themselves and the resolutions hopefully will be implemented,” said Olivia.

“There was so much enthusiasm, there was a process where all of them were allowed to speak their minds, issues affecting them, the root causes and how they think these can be resolved and since government representatives were there they will take it forward,” Olivia adds.

Listen here for an interview with Olivia Davies

The UNMISS facilitated reconciliation meeting brought together Hon. Clement Wani Konge - Special Advisor of President of the Republic of South Sudan, the Chair Person of the Mundari Community Union, Juma Ali Malou,  Terekeka Goveror, Chief. Benensio Modi Wani and Terekeka State paramount Chief; Chief Markulang Achien.

Also in attendance was the Paramount Chief of Tali County, and Chief. Anderia Wani Kipi of Gwor County.