Traditional leaders in Yambio learn more about their role in implementing revitalized peace agreement
Traditional leaders in Yambio have been taken through every chapter of South Sudan’s Revitalized Peace Agreement, not least to fully understand the obligation of the state government and community leaders to inform communities about its content.
“I am happy to acquire this knowledge about the different provisions of the peace agreement, especially chapter five, which talks more about the role of the chiefs and the local government to keep citizens informed,” said Edward Mumbasa, acting paramount chief in Yambio County.
Organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the United Nations Development Programme, the two-day forum brought together more than 30 chiefs from different villages and communities. Among the issues discussed were the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement related to healing and reconciliation, the establishment of a hybrid court and and enterprise development fund.
“It is important that communities understand the peace agreement, chapter by chapter. That way they can stay away from politicians who might try to create conflicts and division rather than peace and unity,” said Robert Roba, a political affairs officers serving with the peacekeeping mission.
Forum participants also took a closer look at the role of community leaders to gain a better understanding of a customary court system and conflict management processes are supposed to function in practice.
“Traditional leaders are handling a lot of issues of the community. If they can do that well, while sensitizing communities about the peace agreement, it will result in the promotion of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between communities,” said Robert Roba.
Executive Chief for Li-Rangu Payam (district) Priscilla Elikana, was pleased with her learning experience.
“Now I will be able to safeguard my community, help resolve conflicts and refer cases beyond my capacity to the appropriate bodies. We can handle incidents of land disputes and marriages, but I have understood that we, as chiefs, should not get involved in politics. We have to be neutral,” she said.
Christopher Murenga, head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Yambio, also emphasized the role of community leaders in the peace process.
"We are here to support the government and people of South Sudan in implementing the revitalized peace agreement, and we can only do so by working closely with traditional leaders at the grassroots level. That way, everyone will gain the knowledge they need to build the durable peace South Sudan needs,” he said.