UNMISS and government teach Upper Nile local authorities good governance

unmiss upper nile malakal good governance traditional chiefs elections service delivery

Challenges are set to abound for local chiefs and administrators during the pivotal year of 2024, also in Upper Nile State. Photos: Samson Liberty/UNMISS

16 Jan 2024

UNMISS and government teach Upper Nile local authorities good governance

Samson Liberty/Filip Andersson

UPPER NILE – With 2024 expected to be an intense and challenging year, culminating with elections scheduled for December, traditional leaders, administrators and other local authorities will have a particularly crucial role to play.

In Malakal, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) therefore recently facilitated a workshop for 60 such stakeholders from across the state to give them the necessary tools to perform their duties effectively.

Part of good local governance is having the right person in the right place. In accordance with the stipulations of South Sudan’s revitalized peace agreement signed in 2018, 35 per cent of these persons should be women.

“That is why we are here, to demand that our rights are respected, and our voice be heard. Some of us should be local administrators, chiefs and have a say in court proceedings, which would help in reducing cases of gender-based violence and other crimes women are subjected to,” said Mary Nyonlong, a women’s representative from Malakal.

Over the course of three days, participants pondered how local leaders can become better at improving the delivery of basic services and coordinating their activities with humanitarian agencies.

While scheduled elections are still some way down the road, local authorities are already increasingly busy with the handling of an increasing influx of internally displaced persons and refugees, mostly South Sudanese citizens fleeing violent conflict in neighbouring Sudan.

“Returnees must be accommodated and resettled while maintaining good relations between them and their host communities,” commented Christian Mikala, Acting Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Malakal. “There will be difficulties this year, but if you take on board what you have been learning here, and spread the word among your communities, things will be fine,” he added.

The workshop was organized in partnership with the Upper Nile Ministry of Local Government and Law Enforcement.