UNMISS trains rookie politicians on good governance and responsibility to prevent conflicts

unmiss south sudan northern bahr el ghazal politicians parliamentarians training good governance

Being new to politics and its inner workings can be confusing. Photo: Emmanuel Kele/UNMISS

20 May 2022

UNMISS trains rookie politicians on good governance and responsibility to prevent conflicts

Emmanuel Kele

NORTHERN BAHR-EL-GHAZAL- In the world’s youngest nation, there are few politicians who are familiar with administrative procedures and what is expected of them.

Fortunately, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is here to make their lives easier by conducting workshops on good governance and the nitty-gritty of exercising political power. Their latest such endeavour took place in Aweil, where about 100 newly appointed members of the Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State legislative assembly were duly enlightened.

“We are responsible for our country, which means that we have to pull up our socks and deliver the goods. Let us identify what is in the best interest of our people and then work accordingly,” said Mayen Kon Akot, a trainee who had picked up on the importance of listening to what citizens have to say.

The agenda of the capacity building session was a veritable smorgasbord of political delicatessen, covering everything from how the state legislative’s work is linked with that of the national parliament to local politicians’ responsibilities when it comes to contributing to the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

“Since they are new on their jobs, they need training on parliamentary processes, but also on their role in preventing intercommunal conflicts and dealing with budget issues,” said Dwan Dunlop, an UNMISS Civil Affairs Officer.

Earnest Mangok, one of the members of the state parliament, had his appetite for know-how visibly whetted.

“I am requesting more trainings like this as it will enable us to enact human rights laws. It will also help us enact a legislation that will protect and empower the state to improve our economy,” he said.

Women’s political representation, which the revitalized peace agreement stipulates shall be no less than 35 per cent at all levels, was also the subject of much debate, seeing that Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal has failed to reach that quota.

“Without women having an influence, our society will not be strong and will not develop. Women are responsible for bringing up those who will be the future of South Sudan, and doing so successfully is crucial,” remarked Angelina Aweng Abraham, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, urging her fellow politicians to do more to involve more women in decision making.

Increased accountability for the performance of elected officials was another battle cry during the workshop, as this was believed to significantly contribute to adequate delivery of basic services and hence to the quality of life of citizens.

Governor Tong Akeen Ngor believes that the capacity building offered by the peacekeeping mission was a good first step in the right direction.

“Trainings like this one will change our thoughts on leadership, governance and administration. They will no doubt bring in new and valuable ideas,” he said.