Upper Nile inaugurates council of traditional leaders
28 November 2011 - To bolster peace building and conflict resolution efforts in Upper Nile State, a 39-member Council of Traditional Authority Leaders (COTAL) took their oaths today in a swearing-in ceremony held in the capital Malakal.
Present at the event were State Governor Simon Kuon Pouch, Shilluk King Koungo Dak Padiet and other state officials.
A first of its kind in the state, the COTAL is made up of members drawn from the 13 counties of Upper Nile. The Council, which includes 13 women, is expected to work hand-in-hand with the State Assembly on conflict resolution issues and will be answerable to the people of Upper Nile.
"We need peace in our communities and you must contribute in helping them co-exist," said Governor Pouch. "Make sure our people are not fighting one another."
He added that COTAL's responsibilities would also include advising the government on issues affecting communities.
"You will be required to advise the state and the national government on traditions and customs of our people," Mr. Pouch said. "You will be the ones to tell the government about what the people want."
The COTAL will complement state government efforts to involve people at the grassroots level in decision-making and the war against corruption, including the elimination of numerous illegal checkpoints put up by state residents.
To build capacities of the newly formed COTAL, the UN Development Programme and State Ministry of Local Government and Law Enforcement will conduct a three-day workshop.
The workshop will focus on key areas like their roles and responsibilities, peace-building, traditional norms, ethics of tribes of Upper Nile and human rights.